Legends of Tomorrow recap: 'The Legion of Doom'
The evildoers try to restore Rip's memory, while Reverse-Flash runs to escape... something
You know what, I’m just gonna call this episode what it should have been called: “The Legion of Scenery-Chewing, Sinister Speeches, and… Switzerland.” That last one’s just for alliteration.
So yes, we finally get an episode from the
Legion’s Team-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Because-Sara-Hates-It’s point of view! I’ll admit I was very excited for this one, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the big ol’ letter to the left of these paragraphs here reads “A-” — I love it when shows break format, and break format effectively, for bottle purposes or otherwise. It’s just even better when the actors are clearly having too much fun and let you in on it. And yes, we still got plenty of time with our heroes, but that was the point: Their scenes drew nice parallels to the group’s trials that underscore the evildoers’ own issues and, well, humanity. The Brotherhood of Big Bads may think they’re not at all idiots like the Rip’s old crew, but they’re really just as susceptible to infighting and power struggles.
For them, it’s about who among them is the Doom-iest of all, and at first, Eobard Thawne leads the pack. We open with the night of Darhk’s death, when Reverse-Flash brought a younger Darhk with him to recruit a drinking and dawdling Malcolm Merlyn away from Star City. Merlyn signs on to join the, uhh, Danger Rangers (better, Sara? No?) before the episode flashes forward to present day, where Merlyn and Darhk are finding it impossible to break Rip’s mind. Like, literally impossible, because this Rip doesn’t have any of Rip’s memories and thinks he’s Phil (of the Past!), a director torn away from his craft by the Trio of Evil (how about this one?).
Thawne gets frustrated, and when Merlyn tries to argue against him, he gets angry, pressuring the two to do more to break Rip. So, after Merlyn fails again, Darhk tries his extra-bloody strategy and ends up with… one of Rip’s teeth. He has a good reason to play dentist: The tooth he pulled had a strange marking on it that provided the number of a Swiss security deposit box. Just as they start talking about how they’ll retrieve whatever’s inside, Thawne’s alarm goes off, and he mysteriously rushes away yet again.
The remaining villains push forward anyway; they’ve been told enough times that they need Thawne in order to obtain the Spear of Destiny that will help them rewrite their realities. Of course, it’s not easy planning a heist when both of you consider yourselves the Danny Ocean of the team: Merlyn accuses Darhk of being too conspicuous, while Darhk thinks Merlyn’s gotten weak since his League of Assassins days. They threaten each other until they get so close I thought for a second Legends of Tomorrow was about to have Neal McDonough and John Barrowman kiss for no reason. Anyway, no locking of lips occurred — but no blood got spilled either.
They choose to pursue Merlyn’s plan first, which involves using poor Phil to pose as Rip and gain access to his own box. In 2025 Switzerland — when Rip opened the box — the pair equip Phil (of the Future!) with a communication device and wait as he asks a bank teller for help. The two of them sit nearby, and while they wait, Merlyn brings up Thawne’s shady departures. Why is he always running off? Why doesn’t he ever share his plans? And why does a speedster who can travel through time even need two non-time travelers to help him? Darhk just brushes his suspicions aside, saying that it’s almost cliche for Merlyn to be trying to pit them against each other. They need to all be there, he insists, because that’s how it works.
Of course, everything descends into chaos anyway once Phil’s taken to the vault and has to do a retinal scan followed by a voice scan using the passcode Rip had assigned. None of them know what it is, so Darhk steps in, shooting everyone around them until they’re able to escape.
Meanwhile, the Legends have begun wondering the same things Merlyn has. Aboard the Waverider, the team has separated into groups to solve their burning questions: first, what the medallion does — Sara approves of Mick’s idea to use the medallion as leverage to get Rip back — and second, who the speedster they faced in Los Angeles really is.
Stein has the perfect solution for the former: He brings the team to Central City in 2017, where he picks up his daughter and lets her take a crack at the unsolvable medallion. She quickly figures out that it reacts to an ionic charge, and once she’s on board the ship, she teams up with Ray to connect the ancient artifact’s technology to Gideon, who’s able to process the zetabytes of data and begin figuring out just where the Spear of Destiny may be located.
As for the latter, Sara, Nate, and Amaya peer at all the known speedsters in their world. But Sara has never met Reverse-Flash, and with that in mind, can’t figure out who they’re missing. She points out that it has to be someone who has an agenda of his own that he can’t quite accomplish. If they can figure out what he wants, they can figure out how to stop him. Thanks for the lesson from Being a Legend 101, Sara!
NEXT: Like Father, Like Time Aberration
Back inside the lair for the Group of Garbage People (warmer?), Merlyn and Darhk stress about what to do about their failure. Or rather, Darhk gloats while Merlyn defends himself, and they trade jabs, arguing about who still has two hands, and who was actually Ra’s al-Ghul and yada yada yada. It’s more entertaining to see which actor enunciates more and glares better than the other in these darkly funny scenes. The winner? I’ll let you decide.
They can’t even make a final call on who’s the un-fairest of them all. Merlyn pitches duking it out with swords and knives as the League of Assassins would, but after fighting until they both are holding knives at each other’s throats, Phil interrupts the struggle and points out that this is exactly what Thawne probably wants. Plus, it’s a bad reenactment of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and none of them are Clint Eastwood. So, Phil says, they should really just combine forces and take out the guy who’s treating them like lackeys — no wait! He means henchmen — no wait! He means… uhh… please don’t kill him.
Merlyn and Darhk think it through and agree that they can bring Thawne down to their level and work together on an even playing field. Thawne is not their Gru, and they most certainly are not ugly yellow toddlers that delight Ted Danson.
And so, the duo return to the Swiss bank that night. Inside the vault — Merlyn took care of torturing the override code out of a bank manager — the two of them wait. Without anyone left in the lair, Phil almost sets himself free, finally getting one wrist out of the ropes (with a tiny yelp of “ow!”) just as Thawne returns to tie him back up again. Thawne threatens him, and Phil relents, telling Thawne his non-henchmen have gone back to the bank.
And as Thawne heads back to his mutinous team, the Legends make their own breakthrough in solving the mystery. Nate has an epiphany and realizes that the speedster they’re looking for may be a mystery because he doesn’t exist; he’s a time aberration, just like Stein’s daughter Lily. And in order to continue existing before time catches up to him and sets, he has to run away from time, which makes his mission difficult to accomplish without recruiting members to help him. The name, though, eludes them until Stein walks in and shares the story of Eobard, who vanished after Eddie Thawne committed suicide to save the day back in The Flash‘s first season. And if you’re still wondering how exactly Eobard managed to make it this far, read my colleague Natalie Abrams’ summary here, or, you know, just listen to Stein’s explanation of the Speed Force: “It’s a little complicated.” Take his word for it; it’s easier not to know all the minutiae with this entity.
With that mystery out of the way, it’s back to The Dahrk Thawne of the Merlyn (…?), as Reverse-Flash finally speeds into the vault and confronts his scheming partners, who have opened Rip’s box and found the device inside. Thawne points out that it’s designed to store memories — most likely Rip’s — but before he can celebrate, Merlyn shuts the vault door and traps them inside. As Sara also realized aboard the Waverider, they can only stop Thawne from escaping time itself by making him stop.
Thawne’s obviously not happy about being trapped. He tries his usual tactic — the “you need me, so you can’t kill me” line — and then switches to his Doomsday threat — “If I die, you die” — and then concedes defeat as his minions coolly watch him panic when his alarm sounds again. Cornered, Thawne finally reveals what he’s running from: a being that looks like a rotting Zoom, a speedster dressed all in black that’s worse than a Time Wraith. It’s the Black Flash — and it’s already at the bank.
Though Thawne panics, Merlyn and Darhk have already figured out what to do. They advise him to pull a Jurassic Park: You know, as Sam Neill once told the children and also Jeff Goldblum, a T-Rex can’t see you if you don’t move, and especially if you don’t shine flashlights in its eyes. And if you’re covered in mud and rain, even better! It won’t smell you. Ha ha. What a dumb, frightened dinosaur. Spared no expense.
Sorry, what was I recapping? Oh, right, the Non-Idiots Brigade. So! They pull a Jurassic Park, with Thawne looking like he’s about to wet himself as he waits for the Black Flash to finish sniffing him and speeding around him and doing his best impression of the Babadook (I never saw The Babadook, but I’m guessing this is somewhat close). Merlyn shoots an arrow and Darhk tries to stab (?) him to distract him, and Thawne delivers a Speed Force punch that lands the Black Flash into the vault. Victory for the villains!
As for the heroes, well, it’s one big mystery solved, and another one revealed — to Lily, that is. While helping Ray with the medallion, Mick accidentally lets slip that she’s “fake,” a time
asphyxiation aberration that her father never wanted. Lily’s distraught by the news and when she confronts Stein, he’s unable to explain to her how he really feels. After speaking with Jax, who understands Stein’s feelings better than anyone as his literal other half, Stein admits that in his original reality, he feared he would be a terrible father like his own and therefore never had kids. But he tries again, this time telling his daughter that he loves her, even if it is strange to think that they’re from two realities that have blended into one… or something like that. Think of it as synthetic proteins folding into themselves, which is exactly what Lily’s researching at the moment. Without any more time to waste, Lily chooses to go back to Central City, and Stein lets her go.
- She makes the right choice. The Waverider will be heading onto another journey soon, this time to New Jersey on Christmas Day in 1776, where Rip winds up after getting his memories back from the members of Haters, Inc. (I’m out of ideas.) Thawne had fiddled with the archive they found inside the safety deposit box and made some changes that appear to have made Rip more… un-Rip-like. Well, at least his hair under that white wig is no longer a mess, right?… Right?