Legends of Tomorrow recap: White Knights
The 'legends' must steal documents from the Pentagon, escape Chronos, and find out what Vandal Savage is building in a Soviet lab. Should be easy!
When it comes to the Legends of Tomorrow, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Even after they narrowly avoid Chronos tonight, they’re left with Rip’s former mentor, Time Master Druce, to deal with. Even after they’ve managed to get the ID card necessary to find out what weapon Savage is building, they get themselves captured and thrown in the gulag. Even when they’re stuck on the ship, learning to bring out their repressed hawk goddess or whatnot, they come into conflict with Rip’s decision to leave them stuck there.
Still, I guess it’s important to look at how many times the “legends” did succeed, and they succeeded fairly quickly as a team in this episode. Following Gideon’s Guide to Savage, they head to Washington, D.C., in 1986, where they have to find top-secret, uncensored documents at the Pentagon pertaining to a secret operation Savage is carrying out. When a later mission suffers from a lack of members, this feels overstuffed with teammates. Did Sara really need Kendra to tag along? Wouldn’t Leonard by himself have managed to get the ID card to the records room? Either way, they get what they came for — until Jax recklessly uses too much power to help with the extraction plan and winds up setting off the alarms and setting off poor Kendra, who without Carter has trouble controlling herself. With a hawk demigoddess and a human fireball going off the rails, the team yet again revisits what went wrong. Despite their bickering, there is a silver lining: Gideon erased all security footage of them, and the documents have revealed Savage’s 1986 location: the Soviet Union, where he’s defected.
En route, Chronos tracks them down, but with a risky bit of maneuvering on Rip’s part — he shuts down their ship’s cloaking once in Russian airspace to attract the Soviet Air Force and then cuts the engines to allow the missiles to target Chronos instead — they escape by the skin of their teeth. And so they move on to…
Mission of the Week #1: Captain Cold and the Atom IN Operation: Seduce Mrs. Wellick From Mr. Robot
Yes — the target this week is Valentina Vostok, played by the chilly Stephanie Corneliussen, who stole pretty much every scene she was in on Mr. Robot. She’s equally chilly here, as a nuclear scientist working on Operation Svarog (that’s “god of fire” in Slavic) for Savage, and it’s up to Ray and Leonard to get close to her at her favorite leisure activity — going to the ballet — to figure out what she’s working on for their favorite immortal enemy.
Ray’s not as slick as he seems, it turns out. Although he’s armed with Rip’s ingestible translator (whatever you’re saying in your native tongue comes out in the language of your choice), Vostok’s not fooled. He spooks her by mentioning Svarog, so Leonard swoops in, abandoning his wingman duties to play top gun and moving in and snatching her ID badge (and wallet) while they’re sharing a kiss. Hey, Captain Cold’s far more suited to the cool and collected White Queen of DC. Mission status: Accomplished, with an added bonus for the Captain. Meanwhile, there’s…
Mission of the Week #2: Rip Hunter, Firestorm, and Heat Wave IN Operation: Find Chronos and Fix the Timeline
When Rip discovers a temporal anomaly in the forest where Chronos crash landed, he hears the call of duty and brings along two teammates to find Chronos and dispose of him. But when they arrive, Chronos doesn’t show; instead, Druce, a Time Master, appears to offer Rip a chance at redemption — at least in the eyes of the Council. He tells Rip that if he stops his crusade, he’ll be acquitted of all charges, and his teammates can return to their timelines unharmed. Rip appears to consider the thought, but Mick warns him that Druce is clearly out to kill him no matter what.
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With that in mind, Rip debates what to do, chatting with Jax about how much damage they’ve caused. Jax reminds him that the mission to destroy Savage is bigger than any one “legend,” but Rip is still reeling from both Carter’s death and the fact that he lied to the team when he recruited them. In the end, he wanders into the forest to meet Druce again, and in no time at all (er, no pun intended), Chronos appears. Rip’s mentor doesn’t blink an eye, telling Rip that he has to be killed. But before Chronos can fire, Firestorm and Heat Wave show up. And though Stein — just like earlier in the Pentagon, when he tried to keep Jax from overdoing it — warns Jax from facing off with Chronos, Jax moves ahead anyway, resulting in this blast:
…that ends up separating the two halves of Firestorm, leaving Stein befuddled and Jax bloodied. It’s not a pretty sight as they head back to the ship and take Firestorm to the med bay, and not just because his wound looks painful: Stein chooses this moment to be a complete jerk, blaming Jax for what happened. He argues with Jax, telling him he’s young and immature for not listening to cautionary commands. Jax retaliates, yelling at Stein about how their partnership has never been a partnership. “This is a dictatorship,” he says. “You get to call all the shots, and I get to take all the shots.” (SHOTS FIRED, AM I RIGHT? Oh no. This punny show is getting to me.)
Fed up with Stein, Jax lets out his pent-up frustration, expressing how he regrets leaving his widowed mother alone in 2016 before walking away. And Stein? He’s just as sad because he knows he shouldn’t have been angry with Jax. As Stein tells Ray, he just doesn’t want to lose a partner all over again (aw, remember Ronnie on The Flash?), and so he’s tough on Jax to try to keep him safe. Mission status: Accomplished, but just barely.
NEXT: Jax and Stein aren’t the only ones unpacking emotional baggage…
Back aboard the Waverider, Sara goes to practice fighting with Kendra after Rip requests she help Kendra calm down from the way she was at the Pentagon. Sure, Sara knows it’s a bad idea, but she goes ahead and tries her best, instructing Kendra on how to get her warrior hawk side under control…while pummeling her with every punch and roundhouse kick. When Kendra can’t take it anymore, she spreads her wings and her eyes flash red, just as they did during their Pentagon op, before she knocks Sara to the ground. She tries to apologize, but the bloodlust has returned to Sara, who dismisses Kendra’s apology by attempting to kill her. Ouch.
Later, Kendra talks to Rip about their failed training session, and Rip admits that he wanted them to pair up because each could help the other with self-control. Sara needs to bring out her human side again — something the regularly reborn Kendra knows a thing or two about, probably — and Kendra needs to learn how to stay in control while fighting, something an accomplished assassin can pull off, no sweat. Kendra goes to see Sara while Sara’s sharpening her knives and, after a bit of convincing, brings Sara back into the training fray.
As for the rest of the team? Well, they’re off on the…
Mission of the Week #3: Captain Cold, The Atom, and Dr. Stein IN Find Out What Valentina Vostok Keeps at Her Scary Moscow Lab
The trio sneak into Luskavic Labs while Rip watches their progress on the Waverider’s screens, and they manage quite well at first: A brave Stein (maybe making up for all the yelling earlier?) uses the ingestible translator to get past the guards, swipes Vostok’s ID badge that Captain Cold stole, and plays Jack Bristow, smoothly getting inside and getting the intel. The intel, well, isn’t easy for him to stomach: From all the burned corpses, it looks like Vostok’s been trying to create Firestorm ever since Savage saw Stein and Jax’s ability at that weapons auction more than a decade ago. Mission status: Accomplished, but it’s so, so gross.
Of course, with this revelation, Stein’s determined to prevent Savage from replicating his power. He spots the thermacore that houses the energy to build Firestorm and decides to steal it with Ray and Leonard’s help. Unfortunately, at that exact moment, Vostok strides back into her workplace, and because Ray can’t bear to leave behind a trail of carnage, he asks Leonard to keep her from reaching the lab while Stein is taking the core. (During the taking process, the radiation from the chamber would kill everyone but Stein.) Suspicious of why the man she kissed outside the Bolshoi Theatre has shown up at her top-secret lab, Vostok quickly figures out that Leonard is an enemy and draws her gun on him. To force Ray into stopping what he’s doing to help Stein get his hands on the core, she threatens Leonard and has her comrades knock Ray out.
And though Stein just manages to get the core stored and ready to go, Vostok’s other guards find him and surround him, capturing him for the valuable information he knows about the core. As all hell breaks loose — this tends to happen with the “legends” — Heat Wave arrives to help Captain Cold but gets shot during the battle. Leonard, on Rip’s instructions, is forced to retreat with the core while shouting at Rip to send reinforcements.
Rip doesn’t, and Leonard is incensed that they left Mick, Ray, and Stein behind at the lab. But Rip says he had to be calculating — he didn’t want another death like Carter’s, and it’s important to re-group before things get even worse. Maybe it won’t get worse for every member of the team, but at this moment, Stein’s going to get the worst out of what happened: He’s thrown into a cell per Savage’s instructions, and Vostok is intent on mining him for information on how to create Firestorm — or else they’ll kill Mick and Ray. (Oh no, Jack Bristow! Where’s Sydney when you need her?!)
We’re left on a cliffhanger, but as always, here are tonight’s superlatives:
Cheesiest Line of the Night: “Damn, that was cold, even by a Russian’s standards.” —Captain Cold, making sure to insert the word “cold” in as many things he says as possible.
This Week’s Winner of the Unofficial EW Legends of Tomorrow Scenery Chewing but in a Good Way Award, a.k.a. The Legend-ary Ham of the Week: Close call among several of the actors this week, but I’m going with Victor Garber, if only for his continued clipped diction and for this entire scene, which I know wasn’t meant to make me laugh but totally did:
Team MVP: Captain Cold! He gets the records from the Pentagon without making mistakes, seduces Vostok easily, gets them inside the labs, and even gets that core out at the last second. All while looking pretty badass:
And now, some timey-wimey notes:
- The slowmo in that scene between Chronos and Firestorm looked super cool — probably because it didn’t involve any of the characters colliding, just two explosive objects.
- Maybe it’s just me, but it appears that these three — Captain Cold, Stein, and Rip Hunter — along with Sara and Ray have been positioned as the masterminds of the team, and not just for tonight’s missions. Yes, it’s only been four episodes, and yes, they’re the most recognizable stars, but still, I’d love to see the remaining members step it up some more. Join the table, Jax!
- I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see Sara and Kendra go and save the boys, but I guess that’s coming next week. No wonder this episode’s dedicated to the white knights…though I find it hilarious that Vostok considers Leonard to be one.
- Also hilarious: the fact that Stein, despite all his caution, is the one who winds up imprisoned. Okay, I meant “sad-hilarious.” You know what I mean.
- After Gideon erases the security footage from the Pentagon, everyone seems relieved because the crazy wing-sprouting by Kendra and fireball-ing by Firestorm is kept confidential there. But…what about all those civilians driving on the highways who must have seen what was happening in broad daylight?
- Another Gideon question: If the ingestible translators had to be set to languages by Gideon, how did Stein manage to swallow one and speak Russian without any activation?
- What exactly was Jax’s injury? That blood spreading around his stomach area under his shirt looked really bad.
- Heat Wave sure loves firing his gun. Did he really need to blast the room where he was arm-wrestling at the Pentagon?
- Where did Druce go after the kerfuffle in the woods?
- And lastly, this is not a good look for Ray:
Sorry, buddy. You need red to go with that blue, remember?