written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
On a very special episode of Legends Of Tomorrow, Merlyn and Darhk learn the drawbacks of joining a gang, Rip continues to struggle with his amnesia, Thawne is confronted about his addiction to speed, Stein helps his daughter through an existential crisis, and Ray learns he might not be the father of Nate’s baby.
I may have made one of those up. Which one? Find out below!
Oh yeah, I nailed that intro. Speaking of intros, Legends changes things up a bit this week, replacing the “don’t call us heroes, we’re Legends” bit with an intro narrated by Damien Darhk, recapping his death in Arrow and how he was plucked from the timeline thirty-one years earlier. The show then opens in Star City eight months ago when Merlyn is recruited by Darhk and Thawne right after watching Green Arrow kill Darhk on the news. They propose a means to allow him to change his fate and we then get a darker title screen with the logos of the three villains swooping in. I like these little touches, and it lets us know from the start that this is going to be a Legion Of Doom-centric episode.
In the present, the Legion are frustrated that torturing the former Rip Hunter is producing zero results, since he genuinely can’t remember the information they’re asking for. Thawne berates the other two for losing the Longinus Medallion, but they turn it back on him and ask why he hasn’t been around much and why he needs their help so desperately. Interesting questions…been wondering about those myself. Merlyn proposes using hypnosis to draw out Rip’s buried memories and goes off to do that. Darhk asks what’s to stop the Legends from recovering the other pieces of the Spear Of Destiny now that they have the medallion, but Thawne assures him that the medallion is tough to decipher and the Legion has an advantage over the Legends.
THAWNE: “They’re idiots.”
Oh hey, Thawne has been keeping up with the show. Maybe he keeps running off to watch the first season.
Actually, the Legends are debating how to get Rip back. Mick wants to trade the medallion for Rip, but the rest aren’t exactly thrilled about giving the Legion exactly what they want. You know that fabricator the Waverider has? I bet it can make a lot of stuff…like fake medallions? Something that might fool the Legion long enough to get Rip back? I really should be writing this show. The Legends have another problem – they still don’t know who their speedster nemesis is (ask Barry Allen) or how to stop him (ask Barry Allen). Sara thinks using the medallion as leverage is a good idea but they need to unlock the information from it first. Stein suggests a visit to a colleague of his in Central City and he and Jax go to do that while the others research speesters.
ASK. BARRY. ALLEN. You’re going to Central City in 2017 anyway, S.T.A.R. Labs is right friggin’ there and anyone who’s watched The Flash can tell you that you can just walk inside of that place no problem.
Merlyn is having no luck with hypnotizing Rip and…huh. I just noticed a very specific piece of tech that isn’t used until later in the episode is already sitting right there in the Legion’s headquarters. Anyway, Merlyn can’t find the memories because they’re not repressed or locked away – they just aren’t there. Darhk tries torture again and pulls out one of Rip’s molars, which turns out to have a bank deposit box number written on it. Well, that’s…contrived. Thawne’s watch beeps, so he tells Merlyn and Darhk to go to the bank themselves. Darhk wants to storm the bank with weapons, but Merlyn wants a subtle approach and preps Rip to go into the bank to get his own deposit box.
Stein and Jax head to CC Jitters, where Stein’s colleague turns out to be none other than Martin’s daughter, Lily Aberration Stein (the middle name is an old family name). After accidentally activating the medallion’s display in the middle of the coffee shop, they move their research elsewhere. Wait wait wait, guys…you both come from Central City. You know the people in that coffee shop have seen far weirder things. Oh well, maybe you can move it to S.T.A.R. Labs and while you’re there, ask Barry about the speedst—you’re just going to the Waverider, aren’t you? Yep. Amnesiac Rip is suddenly very angry but doesn’t know why. Sara isn’t happy either – she’s fine with Lily, but bringing an aberration on the ship is a whole other matter. Stein thinks it’s fine and asks everyone (read: Mick) not to tell Lily about her origin.
In Zurich, Switzerland circa 2025, Darhk and Merlyn send Rip into the bank with just the box number. Rip, thinking he’s a recreational drug-using film student from the 1960s, is fascinated by technology like his earpiece and a retinal scanner. While they wait, Darhk and Merlyn discuss Thawne’s behavior. How he’s so reliant on the two of them, how he doesn’t stay in one place for very long, and how he knows their reasons for wanting the Spear Of Destiny, but they don’t know his. They’re interrupted by Rip not knowing his access code to the vault and the bank manager calling security. Merlyn and Darhk shoot their way out with Rip in tow. Weird how that doesn’t cause an aberration. You’d think that would cause an aberration. Maybe a timequake? Something that would alert the Legends?
Ray and Lily connect the medallion to the ship’s computer…somehow(?) and Gideon starts processing the data while the two nerds celebrate with some fabricated champagne. Apparently the food fabricator can’t make American cheese for some reason? Mick comes in for a beer and lets slip that Lily is a “fake person”. Lily presses both of them for information but only gets “aberration” out of Mick. Ray passes the buck and tells Lily to ask her dad.
The other Legends are getting nowhere with figuring out who the speedster is, since all the speedsters the Flash has faced are either dead, his friends, or his former friends who are now dead. They suspect that the speedster is from the future and that maybe he’s not trying to change something, but fix something. Getting warmer…
Stein admits to Lily that she’s a time aberration and what that means. She has a hard time coping with the information, so he explains about how he interacted with his former self and then his former self interacted with her mother’s former self, and when two former selves love each other very much…I’m not making that one up; Stein actually says that. I love this show. Lily is heartbroken that her dad never wanted kids, but a time travel screwup resulted in her birth. Aww, it’s all right. You’re hardly the first kid whose name should have been “Oops” – you’re just the first Oops to result from time travel…maybe. Jax has a heart-to-heart with Stein and reminds him that while the two of them share a psychic connection, Stein and Lily don’t, so he needs to tell her how he feels instead of just assuming she knows. Stein also admits the reason he never had kids was because he was afraid he would be the kind of parent his own father was.
Merlyn and Darhk argue back at their base and settle things the League Of Assassins way – with Rock Paper Scissors! Oh, wait, no, with a sword and knife fight to the death. That was my second guess. They’re pretty evenly matched until Rip calms them down by suggesting that Thawne wants to pit the two against each other. They don’t like that Thawne doesn’t treat them as equals, so they form an alliance. Two League Of Assassins members against a speedster? This will go well.
The team is still brainstorming about the speedster and Nate hits on the idea that maybe the speedster needs to alter history with the spear because technically, he doesn’t exist. He himself is an aberration, not one created like Lily, but one unmade by being a remnant of someone erased from history. Stein realizes that’s exactly who the speedster is (YOU KNEW THIS WHY DID YOU NOT REALIZE IT EARLIER) and that it’s likely Eobard Thawne who was erased from history when his ancestor shot himself. (You’re reading Kevin and Bethany’s recaps of The Flash, aren’t you?) Nate adds that Thawne probably needs partners because he needs to keep moving to avoid time catching up with him and erasing him from existence. In a sense, he’s trying to outrun death…oooooh nooooooo. Stein says to prove it you’d have to trap Thawne in one place and see what happens.
Oliver Queen’s leftovers storm the bank at night and break into the vault with the bank manager’s override code. In the safe deposit box, they discover a disc-like piece of future tech. Thawne arrives and not only takes the device but explains what it is – a mnemonic archive, a way of storing memories. Probably Rip Hunter’s. Well, that’s convenient. Merlyn closes the vault door and he and Darhk start trying to negotiate with Thawne for an equal partnership. Thawne’s watch beeps and he becomes increasingly distressed, to the point of being panicked and terrified. If Merlyn and Darhk don’t open the door soon, “he” is going to come for Thawne and kill them all. Thawne tells them that ever since Flashpoint, he’s been pursued by a supernatural entity that he originally thought was a time wraith, but it’s something far worse. OH SHIT! We’re given a quick shot of a zombie-like speedster in a black costume making his way to the bank. If you’ve seen the Season Two finale of The Flash, you’ve seen this guy before. Thawne agrees to make the two equal partners with him if they help him stop the Black Flash. Since it’s attracted to the Speed Force, they advise Thawne to stop running. So…Death’s vision is based on movement? Seems a little Jurassic Park, but okay. In a frankly spooky as hell scene, the Legion waits around in the bank for Black Flash, trying to stand perfectly still as it stalks around snarling and growling like an animal. When it stops in front of Thawne ready to attack, the three hit it together and knock it into the bank’s vault. They lock it inside and make their escape.
Stein finally talks to Lily, confessing that no, he didn’t originally want children, but time doesn’t always give you what you want, but it’s quite adept at giving you what you need. Huh, I guess in that way time is like a Rolling Stone. Stein says he needed Lily in his life in ways he couldn’t imagine. Awwww. Lily doesn’t want any more secrets between them, so Stein also tells her he’s one half of a nuclear-powered superhero named Firestorm. She laughs that one off. So…not going to tell her that one is really true? You know what, never mind. If she can’t figure that out from being on a time ship and aiding a bunch of superheroes with an alien invasion, she’s better off not knowing.
In the Legion Of Doom headquarters (I really hope it’s a spaceship in a swamp), Thawne plugs the mnemonic archive into the bit of tech I mentioned earlier, which conveniently only has one very large port on it big enough for the archive. He’s going to upload the data back to Rip’s brain…with a few alterations to Rip’s personality.
Fast forward – or backward, I guess – to Christmas Day in 1776 where George Washington is greeted by Rip Hunter, who pulls out a modern handgun and shoots Washington with it.
I liked this one for a couple of reasons that otherwise would have made it a bad episode, and if that sounds weird, hear me out. The Legends trying to figure out the speedster’s identity would have bogged down a regular episode with unnecessarily long talking scenes and exposition. Pushing the reveal of that information to the Legends into the C-plot of the episode really worked. With the A-plot focusing on the Legion, it allowed for some parallel exposition dumps which led right into the third act action bit of the episode – the Legion versus the Black Flash.
Speaking of which, I didn’t see that coming at all. I managed to avoid the spoilers about Black Flash coming back, so when Thawne began talking about a “he” who was coming for him, my genuine reaction was “holy shit”. The Black Flash is a personification of Death specific to speedsters – a sort of Grim Reaper of the Speed Force. Thawne is quite literally trying to outrun Death, and as a villain motivation I really like that. I loved Tom Cavanagh as Eobard Thawne on The Flash and Matt Letscher does share some of the qualities which made the former great, but what impressed me the most was his performance this week. He’s cold, menacing and calculating, but when he’s trapped in that bank vault you see a whole new side to him. Thawne is beside himself with terror at the thought that the Black Flash is going to catch him. Whether he’s afraid of non-existence, death, or an even worse fate, he completely cracks under the pressure. Letscher only had a few minutes to build from cold menace to panic-stricken fear and he did it beautifully, adding a lot of tension to a scene that may have otherwise been a villain getting his comeuppance.
The B-plot of the episode with Stein and his daughter was also handled well. I like the character of Lily more and more, and seeing Stein shift from grumpy old professor to loving father is a treat. We’ve seen his parental side before in his conversations with Jax, so it’s not a huge leap into an actual father role, but the two work well together. I hope we see more of Lily in the future – not just on Legends, but maybe The Flash as well. These shows could always use more nerds, and she fits right in with both groups.
Next time: Rip kills George Washington! Not because he’s British, because he’s brainwashed…also maybe because he’s British.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.
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