written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
I don’t know what direction to take this review, so I’m kind of going to wing it. This episode is odd. I don’t mean odd in its theme, because you see this kind of episode on every show about every year. No, this is more the timing. This is a Christmas episode…in February.
Right away, the opening cracks me up. Mick is narrating the intro this week by being very much himself, calling the viewers “idiots” who haven’t figured out the premise of the show by now and saying that when the Legends try to fix the screwed-up timeline, they screw it up just as bad. I like it; I wish they would do this with the other characters instead of just having them recite the stock intro.
MICK: “Who writes this crap, anyway?”
In 1776, Rip addresses the British army, telling them that General George Washington is dead (he killed him last episode). He gives them a gift to further squash the rebellion – automatic rifles. Rip then discusses his plan with Thawne: when the Legends detect the aberration and travel back to 1776 to prevent Washington’s murder, he’ll kill them and take their fragment of the Spear Of Destiny. Um…hold up. This is already after he’s killed Washington. So is this Rip going to go back in time a few hours to kill his former teammates, or is he saying his past self will handle it? If it’s the former, won’t there be two Rips at the same point in history? If the Legends stop one, will the other not exist? Or if they stop one without knowledge of the other one, what’s to stop the other Rip from killing Washington anyway?
Ugh, time travel headache.
It’s taking Gideon a while to go over the data from the medallion and the Legends are getting impatient. Gideon suggests shutting off life support so she can use the extra power to process the data. Sara likes the snark, but Gideon says she wasn’t joking. Well, forget time travel movies; I hope someone on the team has seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ray gripes at Mick for being a messy eater and attracting a rat which somehow got on the ship. Nate and Amaya flirt. Amaya says she hasn’t gotten used to not knowing what day of the week it is, which I think might be a way for them to handwave away the whole Christmas in February thing.
The ship is rocked by a timequake. They find its point of origin and are actually pretty smart about it, saying that of course it’s a trap and they’re going to be careful about it. Heh, yeah, you do that. I’m sure this episode will be over in five minutes. They time jump to December 24th, 1776, where Washington is attending a Christmas banquet in Pennsylvania. Everyone goes undercover except Jax and Stein, who stay behind on the ship. They locate Washington just as the redcoats storm the party with assault weapons…that Rip didn’t give them until Christmas Day after he already killed Washington in his tent and not at the party. Okay, okay, I’m not going to rant about time travel again.
Rip sets off an EMP device that fries Mick’s flamethrower, the Atom suit (leaving Ray shrunk), and the Waverider. He then shoots Sara and the British capture Washington and Mick. Sara is brought back to the ship, but without Gideon, they can’t extract the bullet. Stein and Jax try to use Firestorm’s nuclear energy to get the ship back online, but the EMP fried their quantum splicer too. Why haven’t the Legion Of Doom used that little gadget before? Sara tells them about Rip and puts Jax in charge before passing out. Jax and Ray attempt to repair the Waverider, Jax sends Nate and Amaya after Mick and Washington, and Stein does what he can to help Sara.
Nate and Amaya bond and continue to be flirty while they follow a trail of trash Mick has left. Nate notes they’re not in Kansas anymore – oh hey, Amaya knows that one! She was on a date to see The Wizard Of Oz in 1939, but never got to see the end because Hitler invaded Poland and the JSA were shipped off to Europe.
NATE: “Hitler ruins everything.”
Right?? Anyway, Nate tells her about dating in the modern times, how everything is more casual, and many of us see where this is going. The conversation is interrupted by an ambush from British soldiers and Nate gets knocked into an icy river. Amaya summons the abilities of a seal and jumps in to save him. Wait a sec, Nate was steel when the guy hit him. Didn’t he stop a train a few episodes ago? Amaya pulls Nate out of the river and takes him to a small camp the soldiers were using. He’s suffering from hypothermia, so she does that thing they do in every TV show and movie to keep each other warm – strips down and shares her body heat. That’s always perfectly innocent and never ever leads to sex or awkward situations. Nope.
Mick and Washington…bond? Washington thinks the British will treat him honorably as a prisoner of war, prompting Mick to say, “I bet you a hundred yous you’re wrong.” They are really on point with the jokes this week. Mick tries to teach Washington to rebel against the proper etiquette of war and fight like an American. I feel like there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Rip leads an assault on the Waverider, so Jax orders Stein to perform surgery on Sara while he holds off Rip and the British. Stein objects with “Damn it Jefferson, I’m a physicist, not a doctor!” Heh. Stein reluctantly tries the surgery while Jax sets up booby traps for the invaders. When did Jax learn guerrilla warfare tactics? I mean, it’s badass, but wasn’t he a football player and auto mechanic before? He makes short work of Rip’s men, but I’m ever so slightly disappointed he didn’t write “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho!” on one of their uniforms. Aside from the missed opportunity for a reference not even Rip would get, Jax is pretty awesome here. It sort of reminds me of Stein fighting the time pirates in Season One. Rip begins stalking Jax through the ship, taunting that he knows the ship better than him.
Nate and Amaya fuck.
What, I’m supposed to elaborate? Look, I told you the lead-up to it. And they have to do something to keep warm while they wait for their clothes to dry. I actually don’t have a lot to say about this one. No, it doesn’t have a lot of buildup from previous episodes, but this episode shows that the two do have some chemistry together. The DCTV universe has seen some really bad pairings, and this one kind of works, so I’m not complaining. Well, I’ll complain if every episode has their relationship problems as a subplot like Ray and Kendra in the first season. For now, this kind of works.
Rip is about to walk into the infirmary where Stein is working on Sara, so Jax is forced to reveal his position to lead Rip away. The former Time Master tries to tempt Jax by offering him the opportunity to save his father. Jax rejects the offer and in the process we learn that Rip’s memories have indeed been restored. This is the real Rip Hunter. He remembers the Legends, the Time Masters, and his family – he’s just had his moral compass flipped. He demonstrates the latter by going to the infirmary and threatening Sara’s life. Jax reveals where the Spear is, but Rip kills Sara anyway. Jax goes after Rip in a rage, but Ray manages to get the power back on in time for Gideon to bring Sara back. Jax holds Rip at gunpoint and Rip says something that makes it perfectly clear in what way Thawne manipulated his brain.
RIP: “There’s no rhyme nor reason to any of this, Jax. History is war and slavery and holding a dead son in your arms. There’s no point in protecting history, so we might as well just burn it all down.”
We saw those darker impulses in Season One. This was in Rip all along, but hope and morality always held that in check. Now Thawne has taken that away. It makes Rip a pretty chilling villain. A fully-healed Sara catches up and convinces Jax not to kill Rip, and the two are forced to let their former captain escape with the fragment of the Spear.
Mick and Washington fight back at the latter’s hanging and have the situation pretty well handled by the time Amaya and Nate get there. Later, Washington shares a drink and even a hug with Mick. Washington praises Mick’s rebellious spirit and says he represents the best of what America can be. Pfft…hahahahha!
Back on the ship, Sara has Gideon check the timeline – history has been restored, but there’s now a statue in Washington DC of Mick Rory. Close enough. The Legends celebrate Christmas together to make everything feel more like home, complete with drunken uncle/founding father Mick. Amaya wants to keep things with Nate professional because she still doesn’t believe teammates should fraternize. Nate says he’s fine with that, but he clearly isn’t. Sara gives a little speech, saying that things may seem bad now, but they have something the Legion doesn’t: they’re a family, and nobody fights like family.
All right, I said this episode was odd, and it was. This very much feels like a holiday episode – something that should have maybe been on the same week as The Flash‘s holiday episode. I don’t know if there was a scheduling issue or maybe this episode was supposed to happen earlier and just got pushed back to set up the Legion and Spear plots more, but it definitely seems like it was supposed to be shown in December. That doesn’t make it a bad episode, just tonally really weird. Parts of it feel like a heartwarming holiday-themed episode that just feels out of place at the beginning of February. It’s like watching A Christmas Story or It’s A Wonderful Life at any other point in the year.
This is a pretty good episode though. I hate seeing Rip as a villain, but he makes for a really damn good one. This is still the desperate former Time Master who lost nearly everything and would risk everything else to get it back, it’s just now everything that was good about him is gone. I’m honestly not sure where they’re going with this. I want Rip back on the team, but I feel like they’re leading up to him permanently leaving the show one way or the other. If that happens, I would at least prefer a happy ending for him. Use the Spear to bring back his family and give him a nice retirement.
In two weeks, the Legends go to Camelot and I’ll be reaching for every low-hanging fruit with my jokes.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.
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