[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 2×09: “Raiders Of the Lost Art”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

This week we’re going to try something a little different. So click below to experience the review in a whole new way!

Legends of Tomorrow Episode 9 Review

…all right, let’s do this the old-fashioned way.

Last time, the Legends traded their half of the amulet for Stein’s life. Now, Darhk, Merlyn, and Thawne have the complete amulet and a map to the Spear Of Destiny, an artifact that can rewrite reality. There’s still a missing piece to the puzzle, though…they need to find Rip Hunter, who’s currently working as a Hollywood director in the ’60s.

In a flashback to six months earlier and the events of the season premiere, we see what happened after the Legends were scattered across time and the torpedo struck the Waverider. Gideon tells Rip that it will take fifteen years for her to repair the ship, so he goes to plan B. He pries up one of the tiles in his office, and in a secret compartment underneath is a wood fragment. He then orders Gideon to shut down before heading to the engine room and reaching out for the core of the time drive.

In the present, Stein overhears Mick making a toast: “To my best friend. I love you, man.” Awwww! Mick tells Stein about his hallucinations of Leonard, demands that he tells no one, and asks for his help. I like this. Mick is actually pretty rattled by the visions he’s having – enough that he’s actually asking for help. In the library, Nate has woken up Ray and Amaya by listening to loud music while he’s researching the amulet and what it is the “Legion Of Doom” is after. The name gets a skeptical look, and Nate says it comes from an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon he watched as a kid. Amaya realizes the two amulets are one artifact and Nate recognizes it as the Longinus Medallion.

Sara and Jax are woken up for a meeting where Nate tells everyone that Longinus was the Roman centurion who pierced Jesus’ side with a spear during the Crucifixion. Jax adds that Longinus was blind until he got the blood of Jesus in his eyes and had his sight restored. Jax says he knows this because he went to Sunday school. Yeah, so did I, but I never learned that. The blood also got on the medallion and the spear, empowering them with magical powers. According to legend, the medallion and spear are linked, so the medallion will lead to the spear. The Spear Of Destiny, a.k.a. the Holy Lance, can rewrite history without causing timequakes or aberrations – the spear’s history alterations are permanent.

Seriously, was all of this taught during one of those Sundays when I was “sick” so I could stay home and play Nintendo?

Nate detects an aberration in 1967: two bikers killed by League Of Assassin techniques. They figure Darhk and Merlyn are there trying to find the Spear Of Destiny. Sara prefers the name “the Holy Lance,” though. Y’know, I think I’m going to call her that from now on.

They follow the Legion’s trail to a a movie studio with a sign reading “Legends” pointing to a particular set. Well, that’s convenient. Director Rip Hunter is watching a scene where character Rip Hunter talks to Vandal Savage. Director Rip yells cut and calls for his assistant Geo–oh my god, that’s George Lucas, isn’t it. That’s George Lucas. Congratulations, Legends. You’re actually going there. (I love you.) Director Rip is frustrated that his actor for Savage doesn’t really bring any menace to the part.

…what? What? I’m not saying anything. Look, go back and read the Season One reviews if you want criticism of Savage.

Darhk and Merlyn (wielding laser guns – trust me, that’s going to be important) show up to kidnap Rip, but the Legends arrive and a fight breaks out. Assistant George runs away in fear, the Legends and the Legion barely escape, and the cops show up and take Rip to jail.

Back at the Waverider, the team guesses that the reason the Legion found Rip (whom they assume is suffering from time drift) is that Rip has the Spear Of Destiny. The Holy Lance calls on Stein and Mick to bust Rip out of jail, with Stein posing as a psychiatrist. They head to the police station to see Rip (or “Phil Gasmer,” as he’s calling himself). Rip freaks out, so Mick administers a percussive sedative. The Legion Of Doom is incoming, so the Legends move to the roof, where they’re picked up by the Waverider.

A deep scan of Rip’s brain shows he’s not suffering from time drift, but instead a complete rewrite of his brain. Ray thinks it might have been from direct contact with the um….the thing. Time drive! That’s it. Stein says that would be suicidal, but it tracks with Gideon being disabled beforehand since she wouldn’t have allowed Rip to do that. Gideon also tells them about the piece of wood Rip recovered before he shut her down, which they think might be the Spear Of Destiny.

Ray and Nate are acting dumber than normal (I promise, you can actually tell) and when Gideon pulls up the schematics of the time drive, Ray can’t decipher them at all. Both are losing their memories and their education, and have been ever since the fight at the film studio. One of the items recovered from the set has the name “G. Lucas” on it.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

The historical records show that George Lucas was named Modesto, California’s insurance salesman of the year in 1977, 1980, and 1983. Ha! I get it! Turns out Ray was inspired by Star Wars and Nate was inspired by Raiders Of the Lost Ark, leading both to set out upon their respective career paths as a scientist and archaeologist. Ray is now a heart surgeon and Nate is a yoga instructor.

This plot is goofy as all hell and I think I kind of love it.

The Holiest of Lances is livid that her historian and inventor are now useless, so she sends them out with Amaya to get George Lucas back into film school. And that is a sentence I actually just typed. What is my life? They catch George as he’s getting in his car to leave, and after Nate and Ray fail spectacularly at convincing him, Amaya steps in to give a heartfelt speech about how his films will inspire not only the nerdbros, but millions of others. “The future of the entire world is at stake, and you’re our only hope.”

*GROAN* I love/hate this episode. I love/hate it a lot.

Meanwhile, Stein runs a brain scan on Mick and discovers a device implanted there by the Time Masters. He theorizes that it’s some kind of receiver that may be picking up a “time ghost” of Leonard created by the unusual way that Leonard died (being exploded by a temporal thing). Mick has another vision of Leonard and demands that Stein remove the device from his head. Stein isn’t a brain surgeon, but agrees to give it a go with Gideon’s assistance.

The Divine Sara tries to get Rip to remember who he is, but doesn’t have any luck. He does say she reminds him of one of the heroes of his movie. Jax runs in with the script – the movie is about them, or at least versions of them. The names are all changed, but the characters in the script are searching for the Spear Of Destiny. In the script, the spear is in several parts and the movie version of Rip has only one piece of it. Director Rip was inspired by an old piece of wood he had with him, but he gave that to his prop guy. His prop guy George. George Lucas has the Spear Of Destiny. It’s fine though; it’s not like he’ll use it to rewrite reality or anything. Lucas would never go back and try to change things that are already written.

OH SHI–

Darhk and Merlyn are waiting for Ray, Nate, Amaya, and George, and hold them at gunpoint. Amaya’s totem is taken, Ray finds his suit is no longer in his pocket, and Nate has lost the ability to steel up. I should mention that Darhk and Merlyn using laser pistols instead of ballistic guns in an episode about George Lucas has not gone unnoticed. The villains demand the piece of the Spear, but George has already thrown it away with the rest of the film’s props. Darhk has just one question for George…and his life depends on him answering honestly…where are the original non-special edition versions of the Star Wars films?! Wait, no, he wants to know where the city dump is. My bad.

Wait…the dump? They wouldn’t.

Merlyn and Darhk throw the four of them into the compactor that the spear fragment is in and to give them an extra incentive to find it, they start it up.

They would.

George and the Legends try to brace the compactor with a pipe as George finds the fragment. The Millennium Falc–sorry, the Waverider arrives and a fight breaks out. Rip stays on the ship and notes the battle isn’t going well, but he’s just a regular guy, what can he do to help? Gideon says that even when he had his memories, Rip Hunter never had superpowers. He just used his courage, intellect, and honor. Director Rip asks what Captain Rip would do. Down below, after some prodding, George Lucas decides he wants to be a director more than anything, which causes Nate to regain his powers and Ray to get his Atom suit back. Amaya takes her totem back from Merlyn and uses a gorilla spirit to toss him across the junk yard with what sounds like a Wilhelm scream. Yeah, I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t one in this episode.

Pontifex Lancimus steals the Longinus Medallion from Darhk just as deux ex speedster arrives – oh, hey Thawne, I was beginning to forget you were in the Legion .of Doom. Rip appears wearing his coat, carrying his trademark revolver, and speaking with his normal accent. He tries to shoot the Legion but he can’t get the revolver to work – turns out Director Rip was just putting on a show. He yells to Gideon to fire and the Waverider decloaks and shoots at the Legion, giving the Legends a window to escape. Unfortunately, Thawne is able to capture Rip as they’re leaving.

The Legends have lost Rip again, but they have the medallion and the first piece of the Spear. Her Holiness is down on herself for failing to save Rip, but Jax assures her they’ll save Rip and defeat the Legion. Stein tells Mick that while he removed the device, it hasn’t functioned in months. He’s not seeing a time ghost; he’s hearing his own conscience. Finally, Ray, Nate, and Amaya sit down to watch the restored George Lucas movies. Amaya says Howard the Duck sounds like a cute movie. No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no… They wonder if they should be watching movies with Rip still out there missing, but Gideon says that Rip would want them to enjoy themselves.

Elsewhere, a still-amnesiac Rip is questioned about the other pieces of the Spear, as he was one of its protectors. Thawne isn’t having any luck, so he turns it over to Darhk and Merlyn to torture the information out of him.

This episode…you know, it’s probably kind of obvious I play up some of my reactions to episodes, particularly the goofy jokes and groan-worthy pop culture references, but I really do love the spirit of it all. Above all else, you can see that the people behind Legends Of Tomorrow have a deep love for all of the things that have inspired their work. They love the comics, they love movies, they even love those goofy old Hanna-Barbera cartoons they reference so much this season. I see that in the other DCTV shows, too. They’re not afraid to be a little campy and make superheroes fun.

When Amaya is trying to convince George Lucas to stay in film school and make the films that will inspire millions, it almost seems like the crew behind the show are talking about the impact those films had on them. Given the pop culture references throughout the series, they were influenced by a lot more than that. Art influences future generations to make art of their own, and when they do, they will almost always put little nods to the things that inspired them in it. Even in George Lucas’ own works you can see how science fiction and adventure serials of decades past influenced him. Would we have Star Wars without Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers? Would Indiana Jones exist without Allan Quatermain and Doc Savage? What will the creative works of today inspire people to do?

Art doesn’t just inspire more art; it can inspire advances in technology and medicine or inspire someone to do other good in the world. There were fictional examples of that in Ray and Nate in this episode, but there are people inspired by science fiction or superheroes all the time. A kid watching Supergirl isn’t going to go out and start flying or bending steel with their bare hands, but they might decide to help people in other ways by becoming a doctor or starting a charity. A kid watching Star Trek might not grow up to invent the first warp engine, but they might join NASA and come up with a more fuel-efficient spacecraft. Art is important.

There’s a reason for this little editorial-like tangent I’m going on. It’s been announced that Trump plans to cut funding for the arts. One of the best ways to make sure a nation becomes ignorant, obedient, and stagnant is to remove arts and education. Certain politicians would see art become only privately funded, and from a guy who couldn’t name a single book he’d read, this is hardly surprising. These politicians do not recognize the value of the arts, but we do. That’s why we need to keep them alive for future generations. We need to make the things that will inspire millions.

When Carrie Fisher passed away at the end of last year, Made Of Fail’s own Kevin O’Shea tweeted about the impact of not only the character of Princess Leia, but the influence which Carrie Fisher herself had on us. She struggled with mental illness, but she didn’t hide that. She talked openly about it and did her part to help normalize it. She may not have had that opportunity if it weren’t for her acting career. And a lot of us wouldn’t have known who she was without Star Wars and Princess Leia. The tweet that gained a lot of traction that day and became kind of a battle cry for some emphasizes how we can help make the world better. Write that book. Make that movie. Draw that picture. Make that comic. Continue to fight to keep art alive in this world and be a motherfuckin’ general when they try to silence you. Don’t like being a general? Be a Sara Lance, a Rip Hunter, a Barry Allen, or a Kara Danvers. Let what inspires you also empower you to inspire others. Because you know something? As cheesy as that line may sound, Amaya had it right: the future of the world is at stake, and you’re our only hope.

Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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