The Legends make like the Council of Elrond and enlist the help of J.R.R. Tolkien in World War I
It began with the forging of the Spear of Destiny. This Spear was bound the strength and the will to govern reality. But they were all of them deceived, for the Spear’s power was too great for any mortal to wield. Deep in the trenches of history, Rip Hunter attempted to destroy it and hide the pieces, but it was no use as the Legion of Doom sought to hunt the Spear down and dominate all life. One Spear to rule them all.
Alright, you get the point. The Legends found a young, pre-Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien to help with their mission this week, but of course, at first, they didn’t need to. Sure, the cold open saw them in media res, caught in the trenches of World War I, but 72 hours before they got trapped there, they were actually enormously successful. Having collected four of the pieces of the Spear, all they need is the piece the Legion of Doom has with them — and to do that, they have to go to their headquarters, which Rip knows after his time with them.
Their headquarters, it turns out, are located at the Vanishing Point, outside of time. It’s a place they last saw in the season 1 finale — and destroyed, thanks to Captain Cold. But though the memory of Leonard Snart lingers inside and gives Mick pause until Sara snaps him out of it, no other obstacles get in the Legends’ way. They find the small obelisk Thawne has used to house his piece of the Spear, and with some nifty transmutating, Firestorm manages to turn the contraption into Rip’s favorite candy: jelly beans.
Atom, keeping watch over Thawne, raises the alarm when the speedster finally learns of the breach. He’s too late, though, and as he lets out a scream while watching the Waverider flies away, it’s the most satisfying wail to hear.
But of course, the story lasts much longer than that — something Tolkien, as Nate points out, likes to do with his tales. Aboard the Waverider, the Legends learn more about the way the Spear works: It’s not some prop that can be wielded by anyone. It’s a dangerous tool that draws on people’s weaknesses, desires, and regrets, and when people are handed absolute power, they tend to use it incorrectly. (Power in the hands of the unworthy, after all, was the lesson of season 1. RI-the-opposite-of-P, Vandal Savage.)
The problem is, Rip’s plan to destroy it didn’t work — the Spear is crazy durable — and his plan to hide it in pieces clearly didn’t pan out. So what now? Should they all travel to Middle Earth, find Mount Doom, and throw it in there after an epic struggle?
Something like it. Nate, though more apathetic at first toward the entire mission after losing his grandfather on their last outing, perks up when he learns that the Spear, when burned with fire, displays a secret message, one that translates to, “Born of blood, undone by blood.” It’s another, fancy way of saying that Christ’s blood helped create the Spear — and that very blood destroys it. And short of the Legends traveling to the crucifixion to take some of Jesus’ blood (yeah, even Rip calls that out as far too ridiculous for the Legends to meddle with), Nate points out that they can investigate a theory on Sir Gawain, the knight who set out for the Holy Grail. That theory states that he in fact brought back the blood of Christ, and that he buried a vial somewhere in Northern France. Northern France is a large area, so where should they even start? A clue may come from the theory’s author: Tolkien himself.
Meanwhile, Darhk has returned to the Legion of Doom’s headquarters — now that I think about it, they really should have just called it Mount Doom — and he finds it hilarious that Thawne managed to lose their only treasure. But Thawne says it might not be a bad thing: Now that the Legends have the full spear, it’ll be much easier to steal the thing back. And, Darhk proposes, who’s the best thief who can help them, seeing as Merlyn’s still sidelined? Well…
…He pops up pretty much immediately in 1916 France, where the Legends arrive to track down Tolkien. Mick, along with many of the Legends, is out looking through the carnage in the battlefield’s hospital wing — Tolkien was sidelined in World War I because of trench feet — with Amaya when he sees Snart. He chases his former partner outside, but he considers Snart an illumination — er, sorry, a hallucination. Snart, though, gives him quite the wake-up call by punching Mick in the face, but he only does that after he allows Mick to inadvertently reveal the Legends’ plan to consult Tolkien to find more info on Sir Gawain and more info on where to find the blood.
Eventually, Rip and Nate find Tolkien suffering in a trench and manage to move him away from his commander and on board the Waverider. They fill him in on what they’re looking for and manage to convince him by talking about how the darkness of the war will pass one day, and how they’re fighting a much bigger battle on humanity. Besides, as a fan of legends and lore, Tolkien has heard of the Spear of Destiny — and he can’t help himself when it comes to tracking a mystical artifact like that down. Now all they need is a library to consult — and luckily, the Waverider can always giveth.
Well, not always. In the dining wing, Amaya sits by herself, worried about the future she saw and now wishes she could erase. Sara checks in on her, but Amaya can’t get past how much the nightmare of the war mirrored the nightmare of her village burning down in the future and leaving her granddaughter orphaned and alone. Sara sympathizes, telling Amaya that if it helps, Laurel once told her about Amaya’s granddaughter, the future Vixen, a girl who endures and becomes “a pretty remarkable person — a hero.” It’s a touching moment that I wish the episode spent just a few minutes more on; it’s always lovely to see the women of the team bond, and Sara surely has insight on how painful it is to know a future or a tragedy and not be able to change a thing.
Still, Amaya isn’t the only one haunted this week. Mick gazes longingly at the Spear, but Stein stops him from looking at it for too long. In fact, the professor comes off a little harsh in this scene, criticizing Mick’s intellect and not believing what Mick says about seeing Snart. It only makes Mick question his place in the team more, and when Sara tells the Legends Tolkien says Sir Gawain’s resting place is in a cathedral in Vienna, they move on so quickly he doesn’t have any time to process his grief and confusion at all.