Our heroes-to-be visit 1958, where they find both Savage and his flock of Hawk-like mutants

By Shirley Li
March 11, 2016 at 03:50 AM EST
Dean Buscher/The CW
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Finally, a monster-of-the-week episode! And what a doozy it was: The “legends” try to stop Savage before he ever meets them, but they encounter both Savage and a flock of part-hawk, part-human mutants. Oh, and this takes place in Harmony Falls — the Legends‘ version of Wayward Pines, basically — in 1958. It’s like 11.22.63 but on, say, LSD!

Still, the biggest problem for the “legends” turned out to be the 1950s itself. As Jax and Sara say to Stein, the American culture back then may look poodle-skirt-filled and totally idyllic, but underneath that glossy sheen is a prejudice against anyone who’s not white or female. When Rip finds out that the town’s been plagued with a mysterious serial killer who slashes up his victims (as if with a knife, gasp!), the group splits up: Ray and Kendra play dress-up and pose as a married couple to establish their roots and investigate one victim; Stein and Sara quickly nab jobs at the mental institution to track another; Jax searches for three teenagers who disappeared; and Captain Cold and Rip dress like posh FBI agents to talk to the local sheriff. 

The plan hits snags right off the bat: Ray and Kendra, an interracial couple, rub 1950s citizens the wrong way, and worse, they’ve moved in right next to Savage himself, who in this decade is the most-trusted doctor at the mental institution — yup, the one Sara and Stein are at. Speaking of which, a young blond nurse named Lindsay Carlisle catches Sara’s eye almost immediately — a fact Stein notices when he finds the two of them sharing a drink. As Sara encourages Lindsay to open up about and feel comfortable with her sexuality, Stein takes her away and warns her that talking so openly with Lindsay and striking up a relationship isn’t a good idea. After all, they’ll have to leave Lindsay behind soon enough, and “liberating” someone who will be trapped in this era for a long while is not a good idea. 

Also in La La Land for Lovers? Jax, who approaches a teary cheerleader he recognizes as the girlfriend of one of the missing teens. He introduces himself, causing the jocks around them to look at him in disgust (because, well, racism) and to nearly start a fight, but Jax makes it out intact with a date with weepy cheerleader Betty. 

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Meanwhile, Ray and Kendra must cope with having Savage for a neighbor. After Savage invites them to a party he’s hosting, the pair head to the soirée, where Ray stalks off to roam the house while Kendra stays behind and, well, tries not to get murdered. She’s fairly confident, she told Rip earlier, that Savage doesn’t think she’s gotten her powers yet, so he’s not going to try to kill her for her abilities. Instead, he just…creeps up and hits on her in the most vomit-inducing way possible, smiling and touching her face as he waxes poetic about fate and destiny and yada yada yada. It’s all a bit much. Thankfully, Ray finds a locked metal door that must lead to Savage’s lair.

Whatever’s inside Savage’s suburban lair can’t compare, however, to what he’s got locked up at the mental institution. After some feathery creature attacks a man next to his car and kills what appears to be an orderly, Savage heads in to tame his pets. As he chides “Tommy,” the camera pans and reveals that that previous teen has become…

Gasp! Teenage mutant flying hawk-men!

NEXT: Mancaves and makeouts

Boy, do our “legends” move fast. In the middle of the night, while talking about loneliness (hint, hint), Sara locks lips with Lindsay — and then scuttles away, looking shellshocked. In another part of town, Betty kisses Jax almost as soon as they’re in the same car. But before they can go any further, the jocks find them, and as a fight breaks out, the mutant hawk-men show up and ruin the party, slashing both jocks and digging a deep gash in Betty’s neck. Jax races away to get her to Gideon as soon as possible — but the local sheriff catches up and knocks him out. Jax gets it right again: “I’m a black kid with a white girl bleedin’ all over my seat.” Yup.

Luckily for Betty — I guess the sheriff just…left…her…there… — Rip and Leonard discover her after tracking Jax through Gideon. Jax’s bio signature has faded, but the pair get Betty taken care of on the ship, and when she reveals Tommy’s now a mutant hawk-man and became one after they ran into a creepy man and a glowing meteorite, Rip and Stein realize they have their culprit for the mutant hawk-men: Savage, who must be trying to use the metal in the glowing meteorite to duplicate the effects of what happened to the Hawkcouple.

It makes little sense, but try not to think too hard about it. Sara and Stein aren’t: As soon as Kendra decides she’ll go be the bait and get close enough to kill Savage herself with the coveted dagger Ray stole from Savage’s lair, the resurrected assassin and SAT-word-spewing doc talk about Sara’s feelings. “The thing that sucks about feelings is that you realize how much you can hurt someone or get hurt,” Sara says, explaining why she ran from Lindsay: As a resurrected human being, she’s still finding it tough to have proper emotions. 

Kendra’s plan, unfortunately, doesn’t go smoothly at all. First off, Savage had been happily injecting Jax with the same meteorite fluid he used on his other captives, turning Jax into…

Oh no…

NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Anyway, by the time he meets with Kendra, he already knows his dagger’s been stolen, so he snatches it and pushes it against her throat — until Ray bursts in and blasts Savage out of the window. Chaos breaks out elsewhere in the mental institution as well: Captain Cold just barely saves Stein after Savage releases his mutant hawk-men. Sara saves Lindsay just in time, and when Jax approaches Captain Cold and Stein again, Sara knocks him out so they can bring him back. 

Good thing Gideon and Stein figure out the exact gene therapy cocktail needed to revert all of the mutants back to normal. Jax no longer looks like an alien and musters enough strength to buy Betty a car and approach Captain Cold to apologize for judging him earlier about leaving Heat Wave behind. Leonard has been brooding about losing his partner but accepts Jax’s apology. Kendra is also apologizing, as she tells Ray she shouldn’t have gotten angry at him for wanting to protect her. 

Just as it looks like they can leave 1958 in peace aboard the Waverider, the drama’s favorite plot device bounty hunter, Chronos, returns, this time breaching and entering the ship. Rip, Leonard, Jax, and Stein retreat to a dropship and fly off, desperate to evade Chronos. Trouble is, they wound up leaving Sara, Ray, and Kendra behind — or rather, an interracial couple and an emotionally wounded, resurrected assassin in the 1950s. Oof.

Cheesiest Line of the Night: “What a surprise. Tuna surprise. So many surprises.” —Ray, surprised to see Savage. The guy may be an engineering genius, but he could work on his poker face. Oh, and is it the smartest idea for him to be eating the tuna surprise a little while later?

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: Heh, gonna go with Franz Drameh this time. Between the pop culture references (“Biff,” Pleasantville, and all those call-outs to monster movies) and that nightmare-inducing makeup, he gave it his all tonight.

Team MVP: Kendra. I haven’t been easy on her the past few weeks, but she did stand out this episode as she took the reins on taking down Savage. Sure, she’s still regularly relegated to the job of being The One Who Watches the Action Through Objects Like Binoculars or The One In Training, but this is a step up. I like it.

And below, some timey-wimey notes…

  • How did everyone feel about the way the show tackled social issues? So many episodes have been filled with silly fun that at times, the pointed dialogue about racism and sexism felt out of place. Obviously, it’s a major obstacle for the team, but was having team members like Jax, Kendra, and Sara simply talk about or face off with racist characters effective to you?
  • On that note, I find it kind of hilarious that Rip would later warn Jax about being careful on his date with Betty when he was the one who approved of Jax going around in public in the first place. And did it not occur to Rip that coupling Ray and Kendra would look odd to that small town? 
  • Really loved the costuming on this episode. Just look at how delightfully dapper everyone — or at least, Kendra — looks:
    • Also, look! The Fast and the Furious: 1958!
      • Rip: “Nice work, partner.” Captain Cold: “You’re not my partner. There was only one person I ever trusted on the job.” Aw, man. Miss you, Mick! Hope you make a surprise appearance soon.
      • “I’m pretty sure he’s not going to kill me next to the canapés, Ray.” I don’t know, Kendra…
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        • 01/21/16
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