Legends of Tomorrow finale recap: 'Aruba'
The team returns to the Battle of Verdun to save all of reality
Wow, what a finale! “Aruba” is pretty much the culmination of all of the great work Legends of Tomorrow has done this season. The season finale takes off like speeding a bullet from the moment it starts and doesn’t stop until its emotional climax. I had a lot of fun watching it and was even moved at times.
We start in Doomworld, Central City, 2017, where Rip has finally restored full power to the Waverider and is ready to reunite with his team. Well, that is, until he discovers that Thawne shrunk the ship. But Rip doesn’t let that stop him. He tracks the Legends down to Nate’s basement by honing in on their radio signal. When he arrives, he finds the Legends licking their wounds, sulking (Nate is responsible for 85 percent of the sulking, which is to be expected since he just watched Vixen die), and preparing to break the number rule of time travel: traveling back to past events they’ve already visited. (I am honestly surprised that none of them made a “We have to go back” Lost joke.) This rule was established in the first season, and it’s a surprise that the writers waited 32 episodes before breaking it. Needless to say, Rip isn’t jazzed about breaking said rule, but THEY HAVE TO GO BACK, KATE! (Sorry)
Before returning to the World War I, they have to solve the whole “Honey, I Shrunk the Waverider” situation they have going on, which means breaking back into S.T.A.R. Labs to recover Ray’s A.T.O.M suit. “I promise never to leave you again,” Ray says to his beloved suit once he’s reunited with it. Jax is weirded out. We should be weirded out, but to be fair, Ray isn’t the only one on the team to have complicated feelings about pieces of technology. (No, I have not forgotten that Rip is definitely maybe in love with Gideon!) Anyway, Ray uses his suit to restore the Waverider to its normal size, and from there, the team jets back to 1916.
Before they disembark the ship, Rip reminds them of two very important things: First, they’re racing against a “reality wave” from 2017, so they’d better hurry. Second, they cannot interact with their past selves because that’ll cause crazy damage to the timeline. However, that second part forces the Legends to realize something: In order to save the day, they need erase themselves from history, leaving only their past selves. It’s at this point that you realize the show has kind of stacked the deck to allow itself to do some crazy things in the finale.
To avoid some confusion, let’s set one rule: From this point forward, I’m going to refer to the Legends who traveled back to 1916 for the second time as FutureLegends, because things are about to get weird.
Naturally, the FutureLegends’ plan to steal the Blood of Christ before the PastLegends fails. Reverse Flash confronts Ray on the battlefield, destroys the blood, and rips out FutureRay’s heart like he’s on The Vampire Diaries (RIP x 2). The episode doesn’t give us any time to let that death sink in since we knew going into this that the FutureLegends were going to die anyway. “They were right, I should’ve done that ages ago,” says Thawne with FutureRay’s heart still in his hands.
Since Plan A failed, it’s time for Plan B. FutureSara decides that they need to steal the Spear of Destiny from the PastLegends and fly it out of there so that the Legion can’t get to it. While FutureSara and FutureJax keep watch, Rip, Nate, and Mick from the future sneak onto the PastWaverider to steal the spear. They almost make it out without causing any temporal problems, but FutureNate runs into PastAmaya, which delays them and gives the PastLegends enough time to realize that something’s up.
Thus, the Legends from the future and past find themselves together on the Waverider, which causes a time quake. The FutureLegends clue them in on what happened and the plan. It’s a lot for PastSara to deal with, and she exits the room because she needs some time to think. FutureSara runs after to her and reminds her that neither of them can use the spear because they have too much darkness inside of them, which is the writers’ way of preparing you for the episode’s climax. Meanwhile, FutureNate confronts PastNate and advises him that he needs to stop being the “ambassador of chill” and tell Vixen how he really feels about her. His future self’s advice seems to fall on deaf ears, though.
The Legion launches an attack on the Waverider. The Legends try to time jump out of there (which involves the two teams wrestling for their seats); however, that causes a Time Storm, and they crash land right in the middle of the battlefield. Seeing no other option, the Saras decide that the PastLegends will take the spear and make a run for the FutureWaverider while the FutureLegends hang back to fight the Legion.
This is one of the things that I really loved about the episode. It was designed to build to this big battle between the two teams of Legends and the Legion, and the fight is filled with a few very important character beats that highlight how far everyone has come this season. First, there’s FutureJax, who takes an arrow for Stein, which then allows PastJax to quickly steal an arrow from Malcolm’s quiver, stab him in the leg and knock him out. I’ll admit, I’ve spent most of the season laughing at the excuses the writers came up with for why Jax and Stein couldn’t Firestorm up; however, now that we’ve reached this point, it’s clear that handicap allowed Jax to really come into his own. Thus, Jax going full badass on Malcolm feels rather earned. The same can be said of Mick’s decision to choose the team over Snart and Sara deciding not to kill Damien for murdering her sister; their mature decisions feel earned and show true growth.
The Legends think they’ve made it out of hot water, but that’s when Eobard Thawne enters the battle with an army of Reverse Flashes he’s pulled from throughout time. This leaves the team with one option: They need to use the spear. And by “they,” I mean Sara. Sara doesn’t think she’s strong enough to use it, but Rip assures that she is. So Sara starts reciting the spell to activate the spear while the Reverse Flashes do a number on her teammates.
And poof! Sara finds herself sitting on a couch drinking wine with her sister Laurel in the best scene of the episode. (This is why this episode got an A.) Clearly, the writers rushed through everything before so there would be time to let the Lance sisters’ reunion resonate. Sara realizes that this is the Spear’s doing, and Laurel tells her that she doesn’t need a pure heart to wield it. She just needs to be strong enough, which she is. Sara started the season looking for revenge and still tortured by her dark past, but this conversation with her sister helps her accept everything. Once she returns to the present, she rewrites reality by de-powering the Spear and unleashing Black Flash on Thawne, whose smug and villainous smile disappears from his face as he’s erased from reality. Saving the day also erases the FutureLegends from history, too.
With the day saved, it’s time for the Legends to set everything right in the time stream, which means returning the Legion to the years from whence they came. Mick wipes Snart’s memory and leaves him in Central City 2014, and Sara, who fully understands the consequences, wipes Damien’s memory and deposits him in Miami 1984. (Damien is definitely more annoyed with the clothes Sara put him in than anything else.)
The Legends lineup also goes through some changes. Amaya decides to become a permanent member because she believes time is strong enough handle her running through the time stream with her woes (and bae) before returning to her destiny. Obviously, this makes Nate very happy. Meanwhile, Rip, having witnessed how well the team worked without him, has decided to leave them to their own devices. While Sara is sad to see him go, she gives him permission to borrow the jump ship. Where’s he going? Who knows!
So all’s well that ends well, right? NOPE! The Legends’ plan to enjoy some R&R in Aruba 2017 falls apart when a time storm rips them from the time stream and deposits them in Los Angeles 2017, which is overrun by dinosaurs, and its skyline features some futuristic buildings. “Guys, we broke time,” says Sara. Yeah, you did.
And thus Legends of Tomorrow season 2 ends on a cliffhanger that makes me excited to see what happens in season 3. Honestly, I didn’t expect to enjoy this season of Legends as much as I did given what a mess season 1 was. However, the show turned everything around by embracing how weird it is and turning up the fun. In many ways, it was what The Flash was in its first season: a fun, wacky diversion from the darkness in the rest of the shows.
Wall of Weird:
- Did the finale’s opening recap of the season remind anyone else of Supernatural? Follow up: Did anyone else spend half of the episode thinking about how Legends of Tomorrow is actually very similar to Supernatural?
- “Yep, still weird” — PastSara, when she returns to both teams after her alone time
- “You hug me, I kill you” — PastMick to Ray after he knocks out Snart
- “What a Goonie?” — Amaya, to Nate after he calls FutureSara out on quoting The Goonies before she fades away
- “Can we go five minutes without crashing the Waverider?” — Jax, at the end of the episode