[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 14: “River Of Time”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

This week the team has finally captured Vandal Savage and imprisoned him aboard the Waverider. Now they just need to offload him somewhere and they can all go home. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Yeah, we’ve got three episodes left in the season, so you know it’s not over that easily. Since they have Savage safely locked away and another three hours to kill, everyone starts taking their stupid pills. In a flashback to ancient Egypt, Rip lays in a cell for his attempt on Vandal Savage’s life. Savage demands answers about who he is and taunts his inability to stand from lack of food and water. Rip defiantly pushes himself up on shaky legs and declares he will always stand against Savage.

In the time stream/present, the Killer, the Klepto, and the Pyro all drink while Ray flies a mini-jet under a “Mission Accomplished” banner. All right, the jet part is fake, but close enough. Ray does bring news that his suit made a startling discovery – the technology in the Leviathan robot he fought is a century more advanced than 2166 technology. Savage has been meddling in the timeline. They now have evidence that points to Savage committing crimes falling within the Time Masters’ jurisdiction. So of course the Time Masters will look the other way on the Legends’ crimes, erase Savage from the timeline, and award them all medals!

Yeah, I know. Wait for it.

When Rip interrogates him, Savage claims he got time travel technology from Rip himself. When Savage saw him again in 1975, he deduced that time travel was possible and started researching it himself. Since he has all the time in the world, he was able to research how to make it work. Savage compares himself to Rip – both trying to save the world in their own way, both time travelers, both parents who have mourned children. But he says while Rip is a Time Master, he’s a master of time and he’s playing a very long and complex game. Yeah, this should clue Rip in right here but nope.

Ray and Kendra try to reverse Savage’s brainwashing of Carter. That’s not going well. He promises to kill them quickly if they set him free rather than making them suffer, so I don’t know, maybe they are getting somewhere. He sounds merciful.

Sara notes that the Waverider is flying a bit rough. Rip is pushing it harder than normal to get to the Vanishing Point. Seems the reason he’s in such a hurry is the timeline hasn’t changed – Rip’s family still dies. Sara isn’t sure the Waverider is up for that kind of speed on their journey, but Rip has flown the Waverider for thirteen years and he knows it will hold together.

Then something blows up. Do people on this show ever get tired of being wrong?

The time drive is offline, so Rip sends Jax to fix that and Sara to check on the prisoner. Savage asks her about her sister Laurel, saying he’s done research on all of them, but Sara doesn’t scare easily. Savage then warns her that Rip will sacrifice them all to save his family. Right on schedule, Jax repairs the time drive but is exposed to a large dose of temporal radiation, which starts aging him at an accelerated rate. I should add that this news is delivered by Gideon who always sounds way too chipper about things. It’s like adding a ^_^ emoji to the end of a terminal diagnosis.

When Sara tells Rip what Savage said about him, Rip thinks he might be right. He wonders if he sent Jax to repair the time drive, knowing the risks and not wanting to take them himself. Sara walks away in disgust.

Things continue to go badly. After Carter tries to strangle Kendra, Ray goes to see Savage because everyone else is doing it. Savage tries to play the “we’re a lot alike” game with Ray, comparing how Chay-ara rejected him to what Kendra will do with Ray once Carter’s mind is free. He claims to have found Chay-ara in her second life and tried to start again with her, but Khufu arrived and came between them. When he returns to Kendra and Carter, he overhears her quoting the inscription from the dagger about their eternal love. Ray is hurt and doubting the relationship, blah blah, same song and dance as the last several episodes. Break up already, please. Oh wait, they do.

Leonard and Mick are starting to see the writing on the wall. Jax is dying, Rip wants to take Savage alive to the place full of people who want to kill them all, and Rip isn’t being much of a team player. Rip tells them they can take the jump ship (which is programmed for a one-way trip to 2016) and leave. They head off to do just that but not before Mick asks Rip to tell the Time Masters, “Chronos says ‘kiss my ass’.” Mick is growing on me. Sara is willing to stay behind and see the mission through to the end.

Stein goes to see Savage in the brig – Christ, will someone please lock that door? This is going to lead to a problem. Anyway, Stein wants to know about the ritual Savage used in 1975 to impart immortality on his followers. Stein wants to use the ritual to save Jax. Savage just taunts him saying Carter’s blood is the key and Ray would probably help him spill it at this point. Charming fellow. Stein comes up with a solution anyway and rewires the jump ship to reverse the aging effect on Jax as it transports him to 2016.

…look, it’s bullshit science, but so was his condition in the first place. Bullshit cures bullshit.

To accomplish that he has to sedate Jax, which is a callback to that wonderful “roofie” incident from the first episode. Ugh. Stein does acknowledge that when he did it the first time to get Jax to go along on the mission, he was only thinking of himself. Now he’s only thinking about Jax and saving his life – possibly at great consequence to himself because Jax says if they’re separated too long, Stein will die. I forgot that part of the Firestorm deal.

Ray walks into the brig – seriously Gideon, revoke everyone’s access. EVERYONE’S. Oh, and Ray started a fist fight with Savage inside his cell…without his suit. And look, Ray lost! Savage then uses the unconscious Ray’s hand to open the cell because Gideon apparently doesn’t watch the brig or give two fucks who’s opening what doors and how.

I sound angry but I’m not. I’m just disappointed by plots that require otherwise intelligent characters to act like complete idiots just to get things rolling. Everyone is smarter than this!

Ray rushes to the bridge to tell everyone Savage has escaped because the ship doesn’t have intercoms or a high tech A.I. which could relay messages. Well, they don’t have useless Gideon much longer anyway, because no sooner does she tell them that Savage freed Carter and they’re messing with the wiring does she go offline. Yeah, okay, Gideon monitors everyone’s dreams, can diagnose Jax on the way to the med bay, and give full updates on the status of ship functions even when it’s mostly offline, but can’t be bothered to keep an eye on the one person on the ship she’s actually supposed to be watching. HOW DOES GIDEON WORK??

How much time is left in this thing? Eleven minutes. Right. Anyone else got some stupid left to get out?

Since Gideon is down, they have no access to the security cameras. FUUUUUUUUUUUU–no no, sorry. Already ranted about that. Okay, they’re also stranded in the time stream because they don’t have Gideon to navigate. Rip pulls out some old time stream maps, because that sounds like a thing that could exist, and tells Sara she’s going to help navigate. She reads “Jurgens Ridge” off of one of them – a sly nod to Dan Jurgens? Well, Rip said he’s seen men of steel die, so obviously he’s a fan.

Leonard, Mick, Kendra, and Ray attack Savage and the scene has my favorite line in the episode:

Savage: “Who are you to stand up against me? Vandal Savage, destroyer of empires!”

Leonard: “Leonard Snart, robber of ATMs!”

Carter attacks from the other end of the hall, so Kendra deals with him while the rest handle Savage. And by “handle”, I mean Ray fires a couple of shots with his blasters and then runs in to fight hand-to-hand. Possesses ranged weapons but uses them only once before resorting to fisticuffs? Yep, Ray is definitely from Arrow. Savage overpowers Ray for the second time in seven minutes and uses his own weapons to take out Leonard, Mick, and Ray himself.

Rip leaves Sara to fly the ship alone and knocks Carter down, then takes a shot from Savage meant for Kendra. This is supposed to show that Rip cares about his team after all, but the entire season has shown us this. It was only this episode which made him thoughtless. Savage tries to kill Kendra, but Carter snaps out of the mind control and fights Savage…and immediately gets stabbed. Maybe he needs a stab-proof incarnation. Kendra proves to be the most badass Hawk though, because she knocks Savage out in retaliation. Oh, but Carter is going to be okay. So he might be back on the team?

Then Kendra smashes Savage’s head in with her mace and they all go home. No? That didn’t happen? Well, it should have. It would be so satisfying if that scene ended with a squishy *thunk*, but no. No, we have to continue with the plan of keeping Savage alive because…the plot says so?

At the Vanishing Point they approach the Time Masters’ headquarters and are seized by a tractor beam. OH YEAH, THEY’RE WANTED CRIMINALS! Rip demands a meeting of the council so he can plead his case and hand over Savage. He marches Savage in and presents the evidence that Savage has been using time travel. Time Master Druce then releases Savage and intends to return him to 2166. Yep, the Time Masters are in league with Vandal Savage.

Rip is taken into custody, the ship is stormed and everyone but Sara and Leonard are captured. Savage says one last goodbye to Rip – intending to return to 2166 to murder his family.

This episode is just…bad. There are some good parts, and I’ll get to those, but mostly it was just bad. Almost everyone was acting out of character, the plot was slow and not particularly interesting until the end, and then the end itself was something many could see coming miles away.

I’m not even sure I can discuss characters this week because of how wildly out of character everyone was. Rip basically admits to sending Jax on a suicide mission instead of going himself because he wants to reunite with his family. Leonard and Mick regress to their early season personalities of only thinking for themselves and being thuggish brutes. League of Assassins Sara, who’s intelligent and cunning, allows herself to be manipulated by Savage. Genius Ray Palmer who’s normally optimistic and analytical goes completely off the rails.

The others are okay for the most part, although Jax is only in the episode to get imperiled. Stein does an admirable, self-sacrificing thing to save Jax’s life. Kendra kind of drops the ball when she gets too close to Carter and lets him attack her, but I’m giving her a pass because the situation naturally has her a little off her game. Plus she wrecks Savage at the end without even going into Hawk mode.

Speaking of Hawks, Carter is back. Not sure for how long though. I don’t know if Falk Hentschel is signed for season 2 or if they’re going to write him out somehow before the season ends.

The episode is just a mess. I understand why they did it – an extra episode to fill, the need for a bottle episode, a desire to have Vandal Savage acting like Hannibal Lecter. But when you have to write your characters so off base and your plot so contrived just to achieve those ends, you wind up with an episode like this. Hopefully things will improve in the final two episodes. I want to see where the Time Masters plot is going to take the series, I just don’t like what it took to get us here.

Legends Of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

Like our content? Please consider supporting us on Patreon!

Leave a Reply