Ray and Stein struggle to save Kendra, Rip Hunter and Sara hunt Vandal Savage's money, and... Captain Cold visits his childhood home?
The “legends” haven’t figured out how best to be a team, but they sure know how to tug at your heartstrings. Despite losing her soul mate in the last episode, Kendra’s not the one who gets the weepiest — that would be Ray Palmer, the man of a humongous regret and a tiny suit — nor is she the one who has the most affecting backstory tonight.
That honor, at least for the hour, goes to Leonard Snart. Captain Cold himself attempts to do good by saving his father in 1975 — a move that’s the opposite of chilly (sorry); in fact, it’s the most heartwarming act any of the “legends” have pulled so far.
Then again, Captain Cold has been paying attention to the rules of time-travel, as he reminds Rip Hunter at the start of the episode. They’re trapped in 1975 while Kendra recuperates — fragments of the knife are moving toward her heart, leaving her in critical condition and definitely not time-travel-worthy — and as Rip considers their options for attacking Savage again in this era, Captain Cold already has a plan of action in mind, not for hunting Savage, but for hunting the man who put him and his family on a dark path. This leads us to…
Mission of the Week #1: Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Jax IN Operation: Steal a Huge Emerald But Actually Repair the Snart Household
Captain Cold, after learning that the Waverider holds a smaller expeditionary ship, pickpockets Rip for the key. After Jax repairs it — looks like auto mechanics have enough skills to be spaceship mechanics, too — the Captain and his hotheaded partner convince Stein’s other half to tag along on their journey to steal an item off of their shopping list: a massive emerald in Central City. But while Captain Cold appears all:
…in reality, he wants to steal the emerald so his father, who was jailed for stealing it a few days later in his timeline, wouldn’t have to, and therefore wouldn’t abandon his family. At his childhood home, he speaks to “Leo,” his younger self, advising him, “Don’t ever let anyone hurt you, ever.” Just as he finishes his heartfelt speech, his father appears, pointing a gun at his head. Leonard gets away by giving his father the emerald, telling him he knows about his robbery plans, and leaving him stunned as he pleads with him to stay with his family.
Later, when the trio’s back on the Waverider, Leonard discovers that the future hasn’t changed — his father, it turns out, tried to sell the emerald two days later to an undercover cop and wound up imprisoned in Iron Heights anyway. It’s a gut-punch for Captain Cold, but all he can do is stare wistfully at Gideon’s projection. Mission status: Tragically failed!
While this is happening, Kendra continues getting worse, experiencing the same life-threatening issue Iron Man does: The tiny metal fragments keep traveling closer to her heart. Without Tony Stark around to build an electromagnet, the two scientifically minded “legends” come to the rescue, taking us to…
Mission of the Week #2: The Atom and Stein IN Operation: A Super Tough Game of Operation But in the Style of The Magic School Bus
Ray suits up, intent on saving Kendra before it’s too late. But after vaporizing one of the many fragments in her bloodstream, he gets hit, and the suit is too damaged to continue. Shaken by the failure, Ray refuses to try again — and his lack of confidence shakes Stein in turn. Insecure, Ray channels his disappointment into anger at Stein for not recognizing him as one of his former students.
But after leaving Ray to wallow, Stein later returns to tell him that he remembers a gifted student who made him feel inferior, and that he was messing with Ray because Ray’s, well, Ray. Spirits lifted, Ray decides to open up about his fear of failure: Ever since his fiancée was killed by Slade Wilson (in season 2 of Arrow, remember?) before him, he’s felt broken every time he felt helpless. Stein sympathizes and then advises Ray to try to save Kendra — after all, at least she has a chance at survival.
With that in mind, Ray manages to try again, vaporizing one piece after the other, and then exiting to call Stein out on the fact that he got a fact in his memory wrong, proving that Stein still must not remember him as one of his students. Stein admits to duping Ray, but with Kendra safe, the two heal their friendship.
NEXT: Has Vandal Savage met Stanley Kubrick?