[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 1×09: “Left Behind”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Never a dull moment on Legends of Tomorrow. Why would it be? We’re dealing with seven heroes traveling time and space to kill an immortal villain. This week we see the team split up by an attack, watch a gruesome escape, deal with marital squabbles, learn a lot about Chronos, and get to meet an immortal Australian…look, I never said “never dull” meant “good”.

Gonna give you a brief recap of the last episode before this one makes your heads hurt. Last time on Legends Of Tomorrow, the team traveled to 1958 to stop Vandal Savage yet again, and they failed yet again but saved a small town from the threat of meteor-created hawk mutants…the last episode was weird, all right? As they were leaving, the Time Masters’ bounty hunter Chronos attacked the Waverider with Rip, Jax, Professor Stein, and Leonard on board. The ship jumps back into the time stream leaving Kendra, Sara, and Ray wondering where their friends went and why they left them behind.

Give Rip and the other guys some credit, there isn’t much they can do. Jax and Stein can’t risk merging on the Waverider because they could potentially blow up the ship. I’m glad this was brought up during this and the last episode. I found it odd that they didn’t merge during the final battle with the time pirates two episodes back. If the violent reaction from their merger produces some kind of destructive force, it makes sense not to do it in an enclosed space – particularly a time ship. The four of them retreat through the corridors of the Waverider leaving Chronos on the bridge. Rip assures them the controls are locked down so Chronos can’t use the Waverider…but then Chronos overrides the lockdown and takes the ship into the timestream. Oops. Seems Chronos got some handy new gadgets from the Time Masters. Leonard says the ladies will be left in 1958. Jax asks what about Ray, Leonard says “Like I said…” Okay, normally I hate gendered insults, but that made me snicker.

You have to admire Ray’s optimism in even the worst situations though. He assures Sara and Kendra that the Waverider is coming back and the smart thing to do is to wait right there because the Waverider can return to any point in time. Ever the pessimist, Sara gives up ten minutes later. I kind of think she has a point – if they can travel to any point in time in the Waverider, there’s no sense in showing up ten minutes later. Ten hours later, they steal a car with the intention of getting out of town. Savage is still out there looking for them and they’re vulnerable without a means to kill him or the rest of the team to back them up. They travel to Hub City and get an apartment ten days later. Ray starts building a beacon which the Waverider can pick up on so they’ll know where to find them. Ten weeks later they’re playing board games and missing modern comforts like Netflix. But Ray finally gets the beacon working…and then it explodes. Sara thinks the beacon is a waste of time because if the others were still alive, they would have come back for them by now. She leaves Kendra and Ray, saying she needs to find her own place in the world.

Up on the Waverider, no time has passed at all – Rip decides to retake the ship with Leonard but orders Jax and Stein to retreat. I really like this part because they’re stumbling around the corridors looking sick and barely able to stand. Several episodes have touched on the effects of time travel on the human body, and we’re finally seeing why they’re always strapped in chairs. It’s a nice detail that I’m glad they added. Rip and Leonard storm the bridge while Jax and Stein head for the jump ship. The Firestorm duo stop when they hear what sounds like Leonard and Rip losing the battle, and in a rare moment of the two agreeing on something, Stein and Jax merge and Firestorm blasts his way onto the bridge but Chronos is gone – he’s taken the jump ship and Leonard. Rip quickly reboots Gideon to avoid being trapped in the temporal zone but now they’re falling through time.

Never one to take a job at a gas station or as a burger flipper, Ray becomes a professor. It’s been two years since he, Kendra, and Sara were stranded in 1958. He’s being a dope about it though and teaching theories about softening matter and miniaturizing atoms. He warns Mr. Gates, a bright student in his class not to try it at home and definitely not for at least 40 years. He also asks why Gates isn’t home with his sick son. Gates says his in-laws are looking after little William. “Your son is Bill Gates?” Gates thinks “Bill” has a nice ring to it. Ray, are you getting time travel lessons from Barry Allen? Kendra arrives and takes Ray on a romantic picnic where they celebrate their second anniversary of their new lives. Ray presents her with the time beacon so they can destroy it together as a commitment to their new life in the 1960s. He’s got another commitment in mind though – as he reaches for an engagement ring, the beacon suddenly picks up a signal from the plummeting Waverider. They picked up their beacon but due to a navigation error, they’re two years late. Kendra is thrilled to be back on the ship but Ray doesn’t seem too happy about leaving his job, his friends, and his life with Kendra behind. The others bring them up to speed on Chronos’ attack and Leonard’s abduction while Gideon searches for any reference to Sara Lance or a blonde vigilante in the 1960 records. The question remains: why would Chronos take Leonard?

Gonna be honest, I saw this next part coming a mile away. I actually started to think about it when writing last week’s review. Aboard Chronos’ ship, he tells Leonard (who is handcuffed to a railing) that a UFO was sighted in Hub City in 1960 – his friends are still alive. Leonard demands to know why he was taken and what exactly is going on. Chronos says he should have figured it out by now. I did! I figured it out! Do I get a prize? He removes his helmet to reveal…Harrison Wells! Wait, no, sorry. Mick Rory! We get a flashback to a few episodes before where Leonard supposedly executed Mick, but we’re treated to the aftermath. Leonard didn’t shoot Mick, he was aiming wide. He then knocked Mick out and left him there with the intent to one day come back for him when the mission was over. That never happened though, and Mick wandered for a long time eating rats and struggling to survive. The Time Masters found him and took him to the Vanishing Point where time doesn’t behave like it does elsewhere. They spent “lifetimes” restoring him to health and training him as a time traveling bounty hunter. The Time Masters barely had to ask their new weapon to hunt down the Legends. Mick wants to kill their families in front of them over and over by going back to earlier points in time. “I used to think the most beautiful thing on Earth was fire. Now I know – it’s vengeance.”

Let down by Kendra’s willingness to forget their life in 1960, Ray is feeling a bit depressed. He asks Kendra why she was so willing to jump back into the Legends thing after two years of happiness. Kendra isn’t really bothered though – she says this is who they really are. Ray thought they were moving on with their lives, and that returning to the Waverider feels like moving backwards. That gives Kendra an idea, and the team starts searching for Sara in the League of Assassins archives. Rip has the record of every League of Assassins member since its founding. This has some easter eggs – I saw Onyx Adams and Fadir Nasser on the list – and there are probably even more. The one they’re looking for is “Ta-er Al-Sahfer”, Sara’s name from her time in the League of Assassins. They chart a course for Nanda Parbat to get her back. That’s not what Nanda Parbat is, DC TV Universe, but whatever.

You probably think Leonard has a plan of escape and you’re right. While Mick dons his helmet again to storm Nanda Parbat, Leonard starts plotting his escape. He follows the railing to the other end of the corridor where the weapons are stored – including Leonard’s cold gun. Chaining the prisoner up in reach of several weapons…well, Mick didn’t get too much smarter, did he. Leonard manipulates the gun with his feet and manages to fire it at his cuffed hands. Pretty quick thinking, that will…wait, he froze his hand and not the handcuffs. Leonard, what are you doing? You can freeze the railing you’re handcuffed to, it looks pretty flimsy – hell you broke it in two places getting to the weapon stash. Why did you freeze your-wait, wait, no. Don’t- *shatter* JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST!!

Down in Nanda Parbat, Rip tries to secret Sara away in the middle of the night, but as they’re about to leave she calls for the guards and has Rip and the others captured. Sara has been indoctrinated. In the dungeon they learn they’re going to be executed. Rip explains something called “time drift” – that when you spend too long in an alien timeline, you lose your sense of self. Ray and Kendra talk about their relationship again and it looks like the rest of the team is tired of that shit too. Kendra reveals she hasn’t been able to “hawk out” in two years, something she attributes to the time drift affect. Rip gets an idea and challenges Ra’s Al Ghul (the head of the League of Assassins) to trial by combat. Ra’s picks Sara as his champion, dashing Rip’s hopes of having a sword fight with the legendary Australian immortal (seriously, he’s Australian in this universe. I blame Arrow) After Ray volunteers to be Rip’s champion and the audience stops laughing, Rip chooses Kendra. During the fight, Kendra hawks out and is even able to get through to Sara who remembers who she is just in time for Chronos’ attack on the compound. The League get their asses handed to them, so Rip and Sara convince Ra’s Al Ghul to free the Legends.

A pretty awesome fight scene happens with everyone taking on Chronos. This is something I’ve missed over the last few episodes. Flashy effects, each character using their specific fighting style and powers. It’s great seeing Hawkgirl and Firestorm back in action. They manage to bring Chronos down but before they can deliver the killing blow, Leonard arrives and tells them to spare him, revealing him to be Mick. Ra’s Al Ghul puts it together that they’re from the future since Sara clearly had League training before her arrival. He notes her ability to kill is in conflict with her desire to show mercy, and says the League is no place for someone with such conflicting thoughts. He releases her and the team is free to leave without further conflict. On the ship, Mick is put in a cell with a mute button and the others briefly ask Leonard why Mick is still alive – IS NO ONE CONCERNED THAT HE’S MISSING A HAND?? Rip says this is an opportunity to rehabilitate Mick. Kendra objects saying he killed Aldus, but Stein reasons that Chronos (under the influence of the Time Masters) killed Aldus and that Mick was fighting alongside them when it happened. Sara, Jax, and Ray are also on board with rehabilitating him but Leonard thinks Mick is beyond hope. Rip thinks miracles can happen on the Waverider, and sure enough the next scene has him in the medical bay with Leonard, regrowing his hand. With things wrapped up, their next stop in the mission to defeat Savage is 2147, an extremely dangerous time that Rip has been hoping to avoid up till now. The Waverider zips away from Nanda Parbat at ludicrous speed.

Probably need to get this out of the way first. I think the Chronos thing was really bungled. For one, they brought Mick back too soon. I realize they couldn’t leave a main character out of the show for too long, but I think a few more episodes would have solidified the fact that Mick Rory was really “gone”, making the reveal all the sweeter. A one episode absence just doesn’t have that affect. Then there are the promos that showed a very distressed Leonard Snart. I’m sure I’m not the only one who started to suspect Chronos was Mick over the past few weeks. Another incredibly stupid mistake was having Dominic Purcell do the “Previously on Legends Of Tomorrow…” voiceover and showing Mick’s last scene as part of the “previously”s. That all but confirmed it for me, and I think ruined any surprise the mid-episode reveal would have had – especially when Chronos only captured Leonard. I do like the idea of Mick being Chronos. It reminds me a little of a similar situation with Hank Hall and the villains Monarch and Extant from DC Comics. I really really wish this had been handled better because it had so much potential.

Rory and Snart are always great on camera together – especially when they’re in conflict. While not overtly stated, Mick is sort of responsible for his own recruitment by the Time Masters. Leonard says he was always going to go back for Mick at some point, and as was said earlier in the episode – you’re never late when you have a time machine. The reason Leonard never went back for Mick is he didn’t have to. Mick is right here, right now as Chronos. Leonard couldn’t travel back to the moment he abandoned Mick any more than Rip could travel back to 1958 to pick up Kendra, Ray, and Sara then. It’s hard to say how long Mick has been away from the team, but his reported “lifetimes” of training imply several years and maybe even decades. While I admire the sentiment of getting through to Rory and undoing all of the Time Masters’ conditioning, I really think they’re forgetting why they “killed” him in the first place. Even if they managed to get the old Mick Rory back, it was that Mick who betrayed them in the first place. Also interesting was Leonard’s behavior in this episode. Yeah, okay, there’s the 127 Hours stuff which…holy shit; but I mostly mean his conversation about how and why Mick is still alive. He says he never told the rest of the team that he killed Mick, they just assumed that. That implies he thinks the team doesn’t have a very high opinion of him – and maybe they don’t. I mean seriously, his arm ends in a frostbitten stump and they’re interrogating him. Priorities, guys! Get him some medical attention!

I mentioned last review that the Ray and Kendra relationship was growing on me. I take that back this week. I want them to break up. I want them to break up and have them and everyone else mind-wiped so that any memory of the relationship is obliterated forever. Every five minutes with these two is couples counseling. Last episode it was Ray being overprotective, this episode it’s that Ray was way too into them playing house in 1960 and how Kendra is too willing to rush back into the time traveling hero thing. Sure, they make up by episode’s end with Ray hiding the engagement ring from her, but I’m really afraid this is a going to be an ongoing thing. Time drift might explain away Ray’s behavior, and I’m willing to buy that explanation. Interestingly though, apart from losing her abilities for a while, Kendra was never comfortable in 1960. I really like how early on in the series she emphasized how out of place she felt on the Waverider seeing as how she was a barista a few months before. Now a “normal” life is weird to her and a time-traveling reincarnation of a hawk priestess is who she really is.

Lastly, Sara takes an interesting turn this week, and it’s a complete 180. She goes back to the League of Assassins when stranded in 1958. It’s strange that she’s more comfortable in the League than she is living in a suburban home. From my understanding of Arrow she spent around six years with the League of Assassins. Weird that she considers that her home. Or maybe it’s just Nanda Parbat is the only recognizable home for her in 1958. At the end of the episode we see her ensuring her future…or rather her past by telling Ra’s Al Ghul to send his then unborn daughter Nyssa (Sara’s future lover) to the island the League would one day find her on. Whatever traumatic experiences have happened to her because of her recruitment by the League, she sees it as part of who she is and she’s not willing to change that. Also when the team is talking about helping Mick, she empathizes with him. She knows what it’s like to be trained as a killer by an organization and the kind of loyalty that can cause. She wants to see Mick brought back from the darkness for his sake and for her own.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and the Legends are doing exactly that next episode when they travel to a distant and dangerous future. Will they stop Savage? Will Mick be saved? Will Kendra and Ray talk about their relationship some more? …God I hope not.

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

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