written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
In 2016 a pun-abusing dork named Dayna Abel texted me in the middle of the night and asked me to review a show at the last minute. I have assembled a collection of bad jokes to review each episode and give me something to do on Friday mornings. Unfortunately, my plan is opposed by an irregular sleep schedule due to late night internet habits. In the future, my reviews may not be professional, but if I keep writing them, they will be remembered as Legends…
…Of Tomorrow reviews.
The Time Masters are gone, the Oculus is destroyed, Kendra and Carter are in Savage’s hands, Leonard Snart is dead, Savage has a time ship, and Rip’s family is beyond saving. Well, way to start off the finale with a bang. Rip brings the Legends back to 2016 since the mission was a failure. He’s decided to cut them loose since there’s nothing any of them can do to kill Savage now, and he’s going to the orphanage to take their younger selves back to their appropriate timelines. He informs them that he had to bring them back to May 2016 rather than January 2016 when they left, but rather than elaborate why, he reveals he’s just a hologram. He knew they wouldn’t let him back on the Waverider without them, so he never left it. Holo-Rip says goodbye as the Waverider takes off and time jumps.
Each of them try to return to their normal lives. Sara goes to the Arrow Cave where her father is and learns about the death of her sister. Really great acting by Caity Lotz and Paul Blackthorne here, and as awful as that development in Arrow was (it made me stop watching the show), the fallout is handled well here.
Mick has returned to a life of crime, and even handed off Leonard’s cold gun to his new partner. The new guy doesn’t last long, because Mick sets him on fire for shooting a security guard. Ray turns out to be his getaway driver and the two have a heart-to-heart about Leonard saving both of them. Ray feels some survivor’s guilt but Mick tells him it wasn’t his fault. Ray wants Mick to be his partner while they finish the mission.
Stein plays Trivial Pursuit with his wife and he correctly guesses H.G. Wells’ childhood nickname – heh, nice callback. Seems Stein hasn’t talked much about his time-traveling adventure and he also feels he left the job unfinished. Not long after, Jax and Stein return to the place the Waverider dropped them off to try to get a message to it. Ray and Mick arrive to help, followed by Sara, who looks like she’s on a warpath. Rip is still looking for Savage and watching the last message from his family again and again. He goes back to 2016 where the Legends say they need him and ask him what kind of luck he’s had tracking Savage without their help.
“None. But neither have I gotten myself into bar fights in 1975 and the Old West, put dwarf star technology into the hands of terrorists, or got myself turned into a scary bird monster.”
Oh, but you have been causing incidents at the Pentagon, setting off nukes, and getting Soviet planes to shoot down time ships? Why isn’t anyone this self-aware when they’re doing this stuff? They convince Rip to take them back on board, but no one is paying a bit of attention to Sara, who looks like she’s revving up to slit Rip’s throat.
In 1944 France, Kendra has managed to escape from Savage and comes across an American soldier. She recognizes his helmet and asks to borrow it, tucking a note inside it just before Savage throws a knife into the soldier’s chest and knocks Kendra out.
On the Waverider, Sara continues the time-honored tradition of punching Rip in the face. This time she follows up by holding a knife to his throat, saying he knew Laurel would die and that’s why he dropped them off five months later. She demands to be taken back to save her sister but Rip pulls out the flashy “knock people out” gizmo and she’s taken away to “sleep it off.” Wow Rip, way to avoid the issue. The others discuss how to find Savage and Jax accidentally knocks a certain World War 2 helmet off of a desk. Everyone immediately realizes the helmet was in the wrong place and Rip says it’s “chronometric repositioning” – temporal changes causing reverberations through the timeline that physically move an object from one place to another. See, I love this! You get so many influences from other shows! The Arrow characters resort to fistfighting even when they have ranged weapons, The Flash characters use powers and “science” straight out of Silver Age comics, and Rip Hunter pulls time travel phenomenon out of his ass like the show his actor used to be on, Doctor Who.
That’s not even the dumbest thing in the episode.
With a place and date in hand, the Waverider jumps to 1944, where Vandal Savage is extracting blood from Carter and Kendra. Why? Well, their blood is the key to unlocking Thanagarian technology. Where did he get Thanagarian tech? You see, the meteor that gave the three of them their powers came from the Thanagarians, who actually sent three meteors containing advanced technology to Earth. When all three are activated, Savage will be able to erase time all the way back to 1700 B.C.
Before you can think about the stupidity of…all of that, the show dangles the drama keys in front of your face to distract you. Rip goes to see a slightly less murderous Sara, who begs him to take her back to save her sister. She says he of all people should understand why she needs to after all they’ve done to try to save his family. Rip doesn’t want her to live with the pain of failing repeatedly to save her sister. Sara is okay with that pain knowing she at least tried, but Rip tells her that when he recruited her in 2016, he already changed history – originally Laurel, Sara, and Quentin would have died. Sara suggests taking the team, but Rip already ran those scenarios and they would have had the same outcome. He convinces her to help save the ones she can: Carter and Kendra.
In 1944, Savage ambushes a German convoy carrying one of the meteors, but he’s ambushed by the team! He did Nazi that one coming…sorry. [EDITOR’S NOTE: No you’re not.] Firestorm rescues Kendra and Carter, but doesn’t blow up Savage’s time ship because the plot says so. He’s about to be shot by a Nazi soldier, but when he grabs the rifle, it turns into dust. One of Savage’s 2166 soldiers shoots down Kendra and the team is forced to leave her behind because their fight with the Nazis is already doing too much damage to the timeline. You know, unlike the soldiers in futuristic armor wielding laser weapons led by an immortal Egyptian trying to steal an alien meteorite.
Still haven’t reached peak stupid yet.
Back on the Waverider, Stein says that what they did to the Nazi’s rifle was transmutation – turning one object into another, similar to how their uniform materializes when they merge. Huh, I’ve been wondering about that. Also wondering where they hide the quantum splicer which was necessary for a stable merger on The Flash, but there I go overthinking the show again. They try to repeat the process with Kendra and Ray’s “lucky vase” but only succeed in destroying it because of a lack of concentration and teamwork.
Carter is taking a while to adjust to being back on the Waverider, but they have more pressing concerns, like what the heck is Savage up to? Well, Stein thinks he’s got it figured out. Are you ready for this? Are you sure? This is going to hurt.
Savage’s plan is to use a blood ritual to detonate the Thanagarian technology/meteors in three different time periods, destroying the world three times. Aah, but see, you can’t destroy the same planet three times, so that would create a temporal paradox that would result in a time quake that would return the Earth to the first chronothermic reaction: ancient Egypt.
Jax: “It’s official, this is the craziest bad guy plan in the history of bad guy plans.”
Hang that lampshade wherever you want, Legends Of Tomorrow, you’re going to fuck up the feng shui no matter what. Okay, where do I start? How does a ritual activate technology? I don’t pray to the Old Gods to turn on my computer, even if I do curse them when it crashes. What is the technology supposed to do? Why send it in meteors? Is the meteor the technology itself? What purpose does it serve? If it was meant to blow up the planet, why didn’t they do that upon landing? Why is a ritual needed? How does Savage know the ritual? Why is the blood of humans changed by the technology needed for the ritual? Why only Kendra and Carter’s blood and not Savage’s own? Why wouldn’t the blood of the teens turned bird monsters in 1959 work? If Savage just wants to reset time to ancient Egypt so he can conquer the world from there, why doesn’t he just travel back in time to that point?
They figure out that a rare alignment with Earth and Thanagar is needed for the ritual…why? And that’s not how planetary alignments work! Also, how does Stein know when Earth is going to be aligned with Thanagar when an hour ago he didn’t even know Thanagar existed? All right, so there are three different time periods that Savage has to do this in: 1958, 1975, and 2021. So those are the points in time where Savage will be, and since a Savage exists in each of those time periods, he’s just going to recruit his younger selves to do the rituals for him. So how do they stop him? Well, objects and people affected by the meteorite in Egypt can kill Savage, but during the ritual Savage will be exposed to the same radiation that’s being unleashed from the meteorites, making him briefly mortal. They can finally kill him! Wait a second, if they kill him in three time periods, wouldn’t that have the same temporal paradox/time quake effect but on a smaller scale? And wouldn’t killing Savage in 1958 mean their adventures through time past that would never happen and Savage would never kill Rip’s family? I’m starting to feel like I’m using question marks more than any other punctuation in this review.
They split into three teams: Ray and Mick in 1958, Firestorm and Sara in 1975, and Rip and Carter in 2021 where Savage has taken Kendra. We see moments from past episodes in different context: Savage and the teens discovering the meteor in 1958 and the arms deal turned nuclear explosion in 1975. They reuse the clip of Sara saying “nukular bomb” because the Legends Of Tomorrow writers are somehow aware of my reviews and hate me. Seems past-Savage was going to use the profits from the sale of the nuclear warhead to buy the meteor from…some guy? Eh, doesn’t matter who he was because while past-Firestorm is absorbing the nuclear blast, Savage kills the meteor salesman. All three Savages start the ritual and the meteors start going critical.
All right, all of time is going to blow up in ten minutes; time to attack.
Ray fights the bird monster teens while Mick takes on Savage #1. Firestorm fights the weapons dealers while Sara fights Savage #2. Rip and Carter free Kendra and the three fight Savage #3 and his goons. Now…from my understanding, Savage #3 is the 2166 version who orchestrated all of this and is fresh off of killing Rip’s family, and the others are native to their own timeline. This will be important for symbolic revenge purposes in a little bit. Savage #2 tells Sara she’s too late.
“A Time Master is never late.” …nor is she early. She arrives precisely when she means to? *shrug* I guess that sounded pretty badass either way.
Rip gets shot off a building and, after a brief moment of panic from the Hawks, he floats back up, standing on the Waverider. I’m not going to knock them for another Back To the Future nod; those make me smile. The Hawks take on Savage and we get a really nice montage of Savage getting his ass handed to him in three different timelines. This is just as cathartic as Kendra smacking him around the room a few episodes back. After a full season of chasing this guy with very little luck, it’s so good to see him take a “savage” beatdown three times over. Kendra ends it by plunging the dagger into Savage #3’s heart, Mick burns Savage #2 to death with his gun, and Sara snaps Savage #1’s neck. Daaaaaamn, all three of those felt personal. And for the icing on the vengeance cake, Rip twists the dagger while taunting Savage that he’s mortal now, so this death will stick. Savage taunts back that this doesn’t save Rip’s family. Again, why wouldn’t it? Technically Vandal Savage died in 1958 first. I guess this is the only one that counts? Rip throws him against an electrical thing on the roof and a large amount of magic/Thanagarian/whatever energy is released. Vandal Savage is dead.
The meteors start to explode. Oh yeah, those things. Did we have a plan for those? Mick tells “Robocop” to do something. Pfft, way to remove any tension in that scene. At least he didn’t call Ray “Iron Man”, right? Ray uses a shrinking laser (?) from his suit to shrink the meteor to microscopic size and it goes poof in the dirt. Stein and Jax finally get the transmutation thing sorted out and turn their meteor into water, but Sara complains they got her boots wet. I think she spent a little too much time with Leonard.
The Waverider takes the other two teams to 2021, where the last meteor is about to blow. The radiation buildup is too high for Firestorm to transmute it and Ray’s shrinking beam is out of power, so Rip takes the Waverider and pulls the meteor onto the ship with a tractor beam, intending to fly it into the sun. After goodbyes but before the Waverider reaches the sun, Rip hallucinates his wife and son and is able to say one last goodbye. Rip snaps out of the dream wanting to live – which is good, because Gideon wants to live too. They eject the meteor and make a time jump to just before he left. With the meteor gone and the Earth safe, the team makes another jump to 2016 in the severely-trashed Waverider. Rip gives each of them a choice: they can go home to their lives or they can stay with him and fill the gap the Time Masters left behind, protecting the timeline.
Sara says goodbye to her dad at her sister’s grave and remembers how Laurel convinced her to go on Rip’s mission the first time around. She’s going to join the new mission for Laurel. Stein decides not to go, but his wife and Jax convince him otherwise. Rip takes Mick to Central City in 2013 where he meets with past-Leonard in a bar so he can say goodbye in his own way.
Finally the full team assembles at the Waverider, much to Rip’s surprise. However, Kendra and Carter are only there to say goodbye. They have a chance to live their lives without Savage and they’re going to take advantage of that. After the Hawks leave, the others prepare to board the Waverider, but they’re interrupted by another Waverider crashing a few feet away. A hooded man steps out and tells them not to get on the Waverider or they will all die – and he adds that Mick Rory was the one who sent him to warn them. He then introduces himself as Rex Tyler, a member of the Justice Society of America.
Okay, I want to do a wrap-up of the characters for the season. I will try to be brief (hah!).
Rip Hunter has been through Hell and he’s had to not only wager his soul, but the souls of his teammates several times along the way. He’s a deeply tragic figure who initially suffered a terrible loss, but then discovered his entire life as a Time Master was a lie. I realize if he’d gotten his family back he would have just gone home to reunite with them and the show would be over, but I really wanted Miranda and Jonas to live. We got some good Rip moments in this episode, from his talk with Sara where he basically says he doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he’s gone through, to his dream goodbye to his family. I repeat myself on this point so often but Arthur Darvill really does a fantastic job with this role.
Leonard Snart: goddamn it, why did Wentworth Miller have to leave the show? Leonard started off halfway to being a hero at the beginning of the season after a lot of development on The Flash. He had some setbacks along the way and he was really put through a lot in the growing rift with his partner. Leonard was never a “good guy” but in the end he died a hero, ensuring that his teammates and friends will remember him fondly. I have a feeling we’ll see him again, but even if we don’t, his impact on the remaining team will be felt for a long time.
Mick Rory may have had the longest and most complicated journey of anyone this season, and if you had told me that at the outset of the season, I’d have called bullshit. I really wasn’t expecting much from Heat Wave, but under the brutish pyromaniac exterior we saw glimpses of humanity. I actually think becoming Chronos did him some good – it matured him a little and gave him a new perspective. Ultimately, what had the biggest effect on Mick was Leonard. What started as a rift between the two became an opportunity for Mick to reflect on himself and ask whether he has what Leonard had. When Rip is about to fly into the sun, Mick says he doesn’t want to lose “another friend” – a word he probably didn’t use much before. His goodbye to a very confused past-Leonard speaks volumes: “You’re the best guy I ever knew. You may not think you’re a hero, but you’re a hero to me.” He once considered “hero” to be an insult, now he’s using it as a positive label for the man he has the utmost respect for. I can’t wait to see where they take Mick from here.
Sara Lance started the season fighting a bloodlust that she felt was stripping her of her humanity. Not only did she overcome that, but she grew into a sort of second-in-command role behind Rip. It seems like in situations where she’s alone with other team members, she’s keeping them on track, and when Rip does something stupid she’s always the one to confront him (and in some cases punch him). She also has this weird way of toeing the line between criminal and hero that enables her to easily bridge the gap between the shining white knights of the team and the criminals.
Kendra Saunders had to come into her own very early in the season when Carter died. The one person who could guide her through her past lives and what she was going through was gone, so it was an opportunity for her to grow not as Hawkman’s lover, but as Hawkgirl. Unfortunately, the writers decided to almost immediately hook her up with Ray and relegate her to 90% relationship drama and 10% actual character development. Whenever she would talk about not believing in fate and wanting to decide who she was without focusing so much on the past, I thought “Hell yeah!” I liked her telling fate, destiny, and her past to fuck off so she could be a strong character on her own, but every time they brought back Carter and the destiny angle. Much of her and Ray’s problems centered around her hanging onto Carter and letting her past dictate her future – the exact opposite of what she claimed she wanted. I’m sorry to see her leave the team because I wanted so much more out of this character. I hope she will be back.
Jefferson Jackson didn’t sign up for the mission willingly, but he refused numerous opportunities to go back to his old life. Like Kendra, Jax is a very young and inexperienced hero. Going by continuity with The Flash, he’s been Firestorm for only a few months, so his reluctance to join the mission made sense. Aside from that first episode where he didn’t want to join, he’s pretty quick to jump into battle to help his friends, whether it’s as Firestorm or on his own. We eventually learn that the reason he didn’t want to leave was he didn’t want to leave his widowed mother all alone if something were to happen to him. Hopefully he got to say a proper goodbye when he left at the end of the season.
Martin Stein may be the oldest of the group, but he’s like a kid in a candy store aboard the Waverider. He suffers from a bit of Silver Age science, but he does seem like one of the smartest people in the room. He butted heads with Jax a lot this season and it became clear early on that not only was it because he was taking a sort of fatherly role with him, but he still feels guilt about the death of Ronnie Raymond. He also experienced some well-deserved guilt for taking Jax along on the mission unwillingly. By the end of the season, it’s Stein who’s reluctant to leave home again, but Jax convinces him that the timeline needs Firestorm.
Ray Palmer is a dork. …all right, I’ll add more than that. Ray’s character development this season spent a lot of time on his relationship with Kendra, but as with Kendra, I think his strength came from outside the relationship. Ray is a noble and optimistic person – maybe even to a fault. He can come across as naïve, but I think the team needs someone who can find the silver lining. Ray is the heart of the team and I think he may have had some influence on Mick.
So the season draws to a close. The finale was goofy as hell. I wouldn’t call it a bad episode because it was very entertaining and gave us some great character moments, but the entirety of Savage’s plan was so ludicrous that it sounded like something out of a 1960s comic book. I think that’s actually one of the show’s greatest strengths, though. Unlike DC’s film universe, its television universe embraces its comic book heritage and the ridiculousness of it all, and that makes it an enjoyable ride. I hated seeing Kendra, Carter, and especially Leonard go, but I have high hopes for season 2. The last-minute appearance by Rex Tyler/Hourman and the Justice Society mention have me excited for where the DCTV universe is headed. So I’ll be back for season 2 to see how this ridiculously fun nonsense continues.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Thursdays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.
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