written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
It’s the final countdown! …is that song now stuck in everyone’s head? Good! We’re at the penultimate episode of Legends Of Tomorrow. The stakes are high due to an epidemic of Dumbass Flu that spread around the team last episode, so going into this episode Savage is once again free, most of the team is imprisoned by the Time Masters, and their chances of saving Rip’s family grow slimmer and slimmer by the moment.
We flash back to that moment five months ago when Rip Hunter first recruited the team on the rooftop in Star City. After Rip departs, we see what happened immediately after Heat Miser and Snow Miser walk away because it’s not their problem, Sara isn’t sure, and Jax is completely against it. Stein goes after him and and they talk in private. He wants Jax to think it over and then talk to him at his office the next day. As Jax walks away, Future-Jax walks up to Stein. He’s back from the future, and Stein is the only man who can help him! Well. Somebody saw the ending of Back To the Future Part 2.
At the Vanishing Point, Rip, Stein, Mick, Kendra, and Ray are locked away in cells. Stein is dying from his lack of a connection to Jax. Guards arrive to take Mick, Kendra, and Rip away but Kendra doesn’t go without a fight. Attagirl! She’s stunned and taken along anyway. Rip is taken to talk to Druce, who explains why the Time Masters sold out to Savage. In 2175 Earth is attacked by aliens from the planet Thanagar, eradicating humanity and only a united planet under the rule of Vandal Savage can stop it. At the tail end of that he adds “Even this realm falls to the Thanagarians.” So we see some selfish reasoning as well.
Druce takes Rip to the Oculus Viewing Chamber. They dedicate an entire room to watch a single Karen Gillan film? Damn, the Time Masters are corrupt. Nope, the Oculus is a fancy window through which the Time Masters get their information on the timeline. It and its ability to allow the Time Masters to manipulate time as they see fit is known only to the high council. They’ve been helping Savage by giving him time travel, but the Legends have too. Their interference made sure Savage wasn’t imprisoned for selling a nuke in 1975, they prevented the Soviet Union from winning the Cold War with Soviet Firestorm in 1986, and Carter Hall’s timely death in 1975 gave Savage’s lieutenants extra long lifespans. Yeah, but what did erasing every tape at the Pentagon do? All right, all right, I’ll stop bringing that up. Rip uses the Oculus to see for himself that Druce is telling the truth, but also sees a vision of Ray’s death. Rip gets angry, but Druce calmly says that’s exactly what they were hoping for – Rip’s anger. That’s why they ordered Vandal Savage to kill his family. Oooooooh shiiiiiiiit.
I usually wait until the end of these things to talk about the characters but there really is some fantastic acting by Arthur Darvill in these scenes. Not just in his lines either, but in his body language and facial expressions. It goes from disbelief and defiance to rage and horror when Rip learns the truth. He looks beside himself throughout the scene at the Oculus and then when Druce adds that the council ordered the deaths of his family, Rip looks like he’s going to throw up on the spot.
Sara and Leonard have been hiding in secret compartments aboard the Waverider, which Leonard found by casing the ship shortly after signing up. He wants to escape, she wants to rescue the team, and when an agreement can’t be reached, he points his cold gun at her. Oh Leonard…you shouldn’t have done that. Incredibly, rather than extract his teeth one punch at a time, Sara tells him to stop pretending he doesn’t care. She brings up Russia and how he talked her out of killing Stein. Leonard says it’s because she has a problem with killing, he doesn’t. Sara calls his bluff but before it can go any further, an old rotary phone in Rip’s office starts ringing. It’s Gideon! She gives the location of the rest of the team and says they’re alive “for the moment”. Gideon also has a plan.
Mick is taken somewhere in the Vanishing Point in order to be reconditioned into Chronos again. He delivers an ominous threat to the Time Master operating the brainwashing machine – if the brainwashing doesn’t take, he’s going to crush the dude’s skull with his boot. Unfortunately, it does seem to take as Mick is later put back into his old armor – Chronos is back.
At Star Labs in 2016 Jax is very vague with Past-Stein about the team’s fate and his own. Stein is impressed with Jax’s knowledge about the technology they’re working on. It looks like maybe they’re cannibalizing the time sphere from the end of The Flash season one. With the jump ship modified and bidding farewell to Past-Stein, Jax heads for the Vanishing Point.
Following Gideon’s plan, Sara and Leonard plant devices on the other time ships in the mysteriously unguarded hangar. Back on the ship they wait for Gideon to finalize the plan. Sara asks Leonard about the pinky ring he wears. It’s from the first job he ever pulled with Mick – one that went bad when three weeks of planning were shot to hell by the warehouse upgrading their security system. The ring was the only thing he was able to get before getting out and he keeps it as a reminder that even the best laid plans can go sideways. Gideon informs them the time drive is back online so they take off. Every Time Master ship is launched to go after the Waverider, but the devices Sara and Len planted disable the ships and cause the onboard A.I. to sing Captain & Tennille’s Love Will Keep Us Together. All right, disabling the ships was necessary and made this a good plan – the song was that extra bit of trolling that turned this into an awesome plan. The Waverider time jumps away.
Rip is taken back to his cell a completely broken man. Stein thinks he’s been tortured, but what Rip has been through is far worse. He tells them about the Oculus, including telling Ray about his own fate. Ray still believes they have a choice and a chance as long as Leonard and Sara are still out there. I like Ray’s optimism. It’s something that has remained constant throughout the season – when it looks like the future is set and there’s no hope, Ray will always be that doofus who finds a reason not to give up. It’s weirdly refreshing on a team full of realists and pessimists.
Druce isn’t happy about the Waverider escaping, so he orders the remaining members of the team executed, but the executioner delivers news that they know when the Waverider is headed – to right now. The Waverider attacks the prison and Leonard storms into the room, knocking out Druce and the guard. Chronos enters with Declan, the Time Master who brainwashed him and takes aim at Leonard. The Time Master orders him to fire, so Chronos shoots Declan. Heh, Mick is still Mick after all. Then he keeps his promise by crushing Declan’s skull with his boot. Okay…guess that wasn’t an idle threat.
Back on board the Wavrider, Leonard says, “The professor is in the med bay. Promises not to blow up while he’s onboard – which I thought was considerate.” I’ve mentioned how much I like Leonard, right? Rip tells the rest of the crew about the Oculus and they debate about what it means. Rip doesn’t think Ray’s death is part of the Time Masters’ plan but Mick demonstrates that they aren’t controlling every choice they make by smacking Ray in the head. Thanks Mick, I’ve been wanting to do that the entire Kendra/Ray love arc. The Time Masters don’t have full control, but they are able to subtly manipulate them into going where they are to do what they want. Saving Kendra and Carter may be part of their plan or returning to 2016 might be. The “Time Bastards,” as Leonard calls them, could be pulling their strings either way. What if they couldn’t though? Ray suggests destroying the Oculus, and their escape from the Vanishing Point seems to suggest the Time Masters can’t use the Oculus to predict events within the Vanishing Point itself. Everyone agrees with that plan. Time to cut some strings.
On the way back to the Vanishing Point, Ray and Mick talk. Mick mentioned earlier that the only way he held onto himself the first time he became Chronos was by holding onto his hatred for the team. Ray asks how he did it the second time. Mick was thinking about the team and how they would be screwed without him. Awwww, Mick. Oh, but if Ray tells the others that Mick actually cares, he’ll shave Ray’s head. I’d listen to him, Ray – he’s been following up on his threats recently.
Leonard and Sara chat too – she’s still mad at him for pulling a gun on her earlier. Leonard has always prided himself on being the guy who doesn’t play by the rules but now he finds out he’s been played all along. Sara isn’t sure it works like that – she still feels responsible for all of her actions. It’s the actions he didn’t take that bother Leonard. He regrets not giving him and Sara a shot together. Oh god, show…don’t do this. They’re so good as friends, please don’t do this. Sara says if he’s going to steal a kiss from her he better be one hell of a thief. Haha, sassy Sara.
They arrive at the Vanishing Point again, this time ready to attack the source of the Oculus – a downsized, contained supernova. Ray is going to mess with the containment and that’s going to make a really big boom. If you’ve been following along, you know where this is probably heading for Ray. Immediately after leaving the Waverider, they’re surrounded by Druce and several guards. Seems Druce saw this coming anyway. What he didn’t see coming was Jax arriving in the jump ship and shooting all of the guards. They head inside and Ray starts disassembling the containment unit.
Meanwhile, Savage has Kendra and Carter on his own time ship and he’s returned to 2166 to kill Rip’s family. Kendra begs him not to but Savage leaves anyway and does exactly what we saw him do in the pilot. Rip’s family is dead.
Sara, Firestorm, and Leonard keep the reinforcements busy outside while Rip and Mick guard Ray. Apparently when the Oculus blows, it’s going to be a massive explosion so they need to get far away before it happens. Ray removes some of his gear to get a better view of what he’s doing and Rip finally realizes that this is it – this is when Ray Palmer dies. Ray isn’t bothered though, he wants to make a difference, and creating a future where the others are free of the Time Masters’ influence definitely counts. A failsafe activates, ensuring that Ray has to stay behind to hold the failsafe in place until the detonation. Yep, this is definitely it.
Mick knocks Ray out, taking his place at the failsafe because he wants revenge on the Time Masters. Rip shrinks down the unconscious Ray with the Atom suit, puts him in his pocket, and runs outside to evacuate the others. When Leonard hears about Mick, he and Sara rush back inside. Leonard apologizes to Mick, then knocks him out and takes over. Oh no. Sara gives Leonard a kiss and then carries Mick to safety while Druce and his guards rush in to stop Leonard.
“There are no strings on me.” Leonard says as the Oculus detonates, killing him and Druce, and destroying most of the Time Masters’ base.
DID THAT JUST HAPPEN???
No, fuck you. I don’t want to review the rest of the episode. They killed one of my favorite characters. I was fine with Ray or Mick dying – well, not fine, but I wasn’t going to be this upset. Half the reason I tune into this show is for Snart’s purring sarcasm and anti-villain heroics. Fuuuuuck! What’s left, show? You wanna kick some kittens and puppies in the closing minutes?
The remaining members of the team are taking the loss pretty hard. Ray says Leonard died a hero, even if that’s not the way he would want to be remembered. Sara agrees that he was a hero. Mick just looks like he’s in shock. Rip asks Gideon to review the timeline, but there’s no timeline data with the Oculus gone. He asks her to review news accounts from 2166 instead. Gideon confirms that Savage has killed Miranda and Jonas.
ARGH! See?? Why am I doing this?
Ray goes to talk to Mick who just wants to be left alone. Ray says Leonard succeeded in destroying the Oculus, so without the Time Masters manipulating things behind the scenes, everything is a blank slate from now on. Leonard didn’t die for nothing. As Mick stares at the pinky ring that Leonard planted on him after knocking him out, he says he still wants to kill someone to avenge Leonard. Ray reminds him that Savage still has Carter and Kendra. Mick is more than happy to kill Savage for his part in all of this.
Meanwhile in 2166, Savage returns to his ship and tries to contact Druce, but is informed of his death and the Oculus’ destruction by another Time Master. The Time Master isn’t able to offer Savage any help, as their ability to manipulate time is gone and all of the events they manipulated are now in flux. Kendra laughs at Savage’s predicament but Savage isn’t bothered. He now has a time ship and the means to change history as he sees fit.
I’ll go over a couple of characters in detail but first I want to talk about how readily Ray, Mick, and Leonard jumped in to sacrifice themselves to destroy the Oculus. None of them even hesitated to do what needed to be done. Rip told Ray that this was the specific moment that he was meant to die, but Ray shrugged it off and accepted his fate. Which was a little weird given how optimistic and “anti-fate” Ray is. He always sees a way out, but when presented with the one situation where there is no way out, he isn’t even momentarily deterred. Then we have Mick knocking Ray out to take his place. Again, a very selfless act and one coming from a pretty selfish criminal. We’ve seen Mick show respect for Ray in his own way since their time in the Soviet prison, so I don’t buy the “I want revenge” excuse that he gives for taking Ray’s place. Lastly, there’s Leonard.
Leonard went out a big damn hero in this episode. He saved his longtime friend and partner, freed his team from manipulation, and possibly saved the entirely timeline from the hands of the corrupt Time Masters. This is the real Leonard Snart – not the selfish criminal who tried to go home on the jump ship in the last episode, but the reluctant hero who does the right thing in the end, even if he won’t admit to it or really understand why he’s doing it. At the beginning of the episode he’s ready to leave with Sara, but I think she’s right about him only pretending not to care. I don’t think he really would have left; I think he was waiting for her to talk him into saving the others because he didn’t want to be seen as the “good guy”. Goodbye, Leonard. We’re really going to miss you.
Rip’s whole world is destroyed again in this episode. Not only has he failed to save his family, but everything he thought he knew has turned out to be a lie. It will be interesting to see if and how he picks himself back up from all of this. With the Oculus gone he’s now in charge of his own destiny. Maybe he’ll start by asking the big question: does time “want to happen” or has that rule been in place all this time because the Time Masters wanted things to happen a certain way? Is there still a chance to save Miranda and Jonas? I hope so. Rip needs a break, and this show needs a goddamn happy ending after this week.
One other thing of note – the Thanagarians, as mentioned by Druce. The invasion doesn’t happen until 2175, but it’s possible that the Oculus being destroyed may have pushed up the timetable or next season can focus on altering events so that the future is prepared for the invasion. It’s an interesting choice for an invading race since Thanagarians, Nth metal, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl are closely linked.
This episode certainly made up for the stinker last week. With only one episode left we’re back on the trail of Savage. I’m not completely convinced Leonard is gone for good, and a lot can happen in one episode.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.
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