written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
This week the Legends travel briefly to the far future and then to medieval times. And then I get fired for making too many Monty Python jokes.
We open on the futuristic city of Detroit in the year 3000, where Charles McNider – a.k.a. Doctor Mid-Nite of the JSA – is working in his lab. He’s visited by Rip Hunter, who takes interest in a device Charles is working on to alter minds. Rip is after a fragment of the Spear Of Destiny, but Charles is reluctant to give it up. All right, here we go. We didn’t get to really see Doctor Mid-Nite in action in the JSA episode but now we can see him go one on one with– or Rip could just shoot him. All right, that’s fine. It’s probably not a lethal shot. We’ll get to see him later in this episode or in another one and– Rip deduces that the fragment of the Spear is implanted in Charles and dissects him alive right there on the floor.
What the FUCK, Legends??
The data from the medallion leads the Legends to Detroit in 3000. As a historian, Nate doesn’t like the future so Amaya suggests he stay behind, which sets off an argument between the two. Sensing a Ray-and-Kendra-style lovers’ quarrel, Sara tells them to shut up. As soon as they arrive, Gideon informs them the piece of the Spear is no longer there. They go to the fragment’s last known location and find Charles’ body next to a note he left them identifying his killer, written in his own blood: “RIP”. I’m going to have so many words about this later…
Amaya blames Sara for Charles’ death because she stopped Jax from killing Rip in the previous episode. Sara defends herself by saying the Legends aren’t killers…though her profession, Mick’s profession, and the Legends’ previous history prove her completely wrong. Remember when Ray shrunk down and flew through a guy’s chest like a bullet last season? Good times. Gideon finds another Spear fragment on the Isle of Britannia in 507 A.D.
Random tangent here, but remember the Waverider catching the bomb in its tractor beam during the Invasion! crossover? I’ve been thinking about the plausibility of that from a standpoint of weight ratios. In order to maintain airspeed velocity, a timeship’s engine needs to maintain a thrust of…huh, now that I think about it, are we talking about an African or European timeship?
Sorry, back to the recap.
Ray is an Arthurian legend nerd, so he’s excited by the prospect of knights in shining armor, jousts, damsels in distress and so on, but Nate is one of those historical accuracy nerds who separates legend from history. Mick and Stein stay behind on the ship while the others go wandering through the woods, where they’re ambushed by knights bearing King Arthur’s crest. Their leader, Guinevere, says she will escort them to Camelot, but first she wants them to get her a shrubbery.
All right, look. I’m trying really hard not to make Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes here. That’s a low-hanging fruit, so I’m going to try to keep things classy and not just reference the same movie over and over. Shouldn’t be too hard. I mean, there are plenty of other things tied to Arthurian lore I can reference. Not everything has to be a Holy Grail joke.
At Camelot, Arthur questions whether they’re in league with the Black Knight.
Ray tries to assure Arthur they’re not with the Black Knight and they’re actually on a noble quest. Many of the Knights Of the Round Table have been captured, so Arthur is naturally skeptical and he calls upon his adviser Merlin. When “Merlin” removes his hood, it’s none other than Courtney Whitmore – a.k.a. JSA member Stargirl. They bring her back to the Waverider where she recalls the events of the JSA’s final mission to Leipzig in 1956 (first mentioned by Obsidian in Episode 2×05). They were sent to recover the Spear Of Destiny and keep it out of enemy hands, but they were accompanied by Time Master Rip Hunter. The Spear was broken into four fragments, one for Rip and one for each of the three remaining JSA members. Rip then took the three to different time periods where they would protect their piece of the Spear. Courtney used her knowledge of Arthurian lore and her influence over the people to create a real version of the legend. Huh, guess that handwaves the historical inaccuracies. Happy now, Nate?
At a feast in Camelot, Sara talks up Queen Guinevere – down, girl. As they chat, Arthur is fighting the uh…Black Knight. No limbs are lost, so there’s that, I guess. I mean I couldn’t avoid making jokes if that happened. The Black Knight turns out to be Damien Darhk! Oh, and Rip is there too. They capture Arthur and lead him to the feast with the same mind control device which Rip took from the lab at the beginning of the episode. Arthur holds Courtney at knifepoint, but the Legends start a fight. The fight abruptly ends when Arthur is commanded to run Galahad through and then hold the knife to his own throat. Darhk wants the Spear fragment or he’ll return with an army of mind-controlled knights.
Stein, conveniently, had also stolen one of the devices from the lab. Using that along with a doohickey recovered from a knight Rip was controlling, he attempts to override the signal. He’s not having much luck controlling his test subject Mick.
Since Courtney doesn’t trust the Legends to protect the Spear fragment, Amaya and Sara use the medallion to locate it themselves. It leads them to a sword in a stone in the court of Camelot because of course it does. Amaya uses her totem to pull the sword in a move even Sara notes is badass. The tip of the Spear is the end of the sword, so they break it off and make ready to leave, but Courtney stops them. She wants the Spear fragment to stay with her and she wants to stay in Camelot because she’s in love with Arthur. Amaya persuades her to allow the Legends to leave with the fragment.
Everyone makes ready to leave except Ray, who insists on staying to fight because…honestly, I have no idea. It’s not to protect Camelot from the Legion Of Doom and their army; it’s more out of some need to be like the legends he grew up reading about. I get that Ray has this ongoing arc about trying to prove himself and make a mark on the world, but this seems kind of shortsighted and out of character for him. It could be “time drift”, but they don’t even hint at or acknowledge that possibility. He’s modified his gauntlet to charge Galahad’s sword with energy making a saber of light – no, that is absolutely not a lightsaber. That would be trademark infringement! Ray’s also using medieval armor and not his Atom suit, which would give him a greater advantage. Even when Nate tells Ray he saw his funeral in a manuscript, Ray shrugs it off as “the stuff of legends”. No! If you’re going to die, at least die for something! Die to protect the Spear, die to save someone else, don’t just die to be part of some storybook!
Haven’t really had the opportunity to use that one. What can I say? This subplot really pushes my buttons. :D Eh? Eh?
…I’ll go update my resume.
Sara insists on leaving for…reasons? I can’t see her being so willing to leave a teammate behind, especially after last season and sparing Rip’s life in the previous episode. I’d say it’s because Amaya convinced her that the mission should come first before even teammates, but Amaya opposes Sara in this case. It just feels like there’s a page of the script missing somewhere which explains Ray’s willingness to die for absolutely nothing and Sara’s readiness to sacrifice a team member. They convince her to go back for Ray and defend Camelot, so it’s time to get medieval.
Jax finally solves the problem with the mind control tech. They don’t need a mentally superior mind, just an overbearing one. Enter Mick Rory! But they need time to amplify the signal, so the Legends charge into battle.
The Legends – who, as Sara said, aren’t killers – proceed to slaughter half the mind controlled army. Seriously, what happened to this episode? Ray asks Nate if he’s here to fight for an imaginary kingdom, but Nate replies that he’s fighting for a friend. A really dumb friend. Well, at least someone has some sense this episode. We do get a really good shot of Ray leaping into the air and knocking a knight off his horse with his lightsa–I MEAN SABER OF LIGHT. That’s pretty cool, if completely impossible to do wearing medieval armor. Mick’s brain of horrors broadcasts a signal to the mind-controlled army, which overloads the system and brings everyone to their senses…you know, except the ones who have already been brutally killed in battle.
Arthur knocks Rip from his horse and the brainwashed former Time Master calls out to Darhk, who says he doesn’t do rescues and rides off. He doesn’t do rescues, fine, but Rip is kind of integral to finding the remaining fragment of the Spear, isn’t he? Unless he already told the Legion where the fourth fragment is. Right now they’ve got two and the Legends have one and the medallion. Leaving Rip behind seems like bad strategy. Sara once again spares Rip’s life, but does actually capture him this time.
Sir Raymond of the Palms (no really, he calls himself that) pursues Darhk and they have a sword duel in the woods. Darhk’s arm is chopped off, but he refuses to yield, so Ray cuts his other arm off, then a leg, then the other leg and…I TRIED, OKAY?? In all seriousness, Darhk remains intact but Ray does win the duel. That is, until Darhk shoots him with a laser pistol because Ray is a gullible doofus. Ray isn’t a complete idiot though, and he’s saved because he was wearing the Atom suit under his armor. So good thing Darhk didn’t shoot him in the head, I guess?
Courtney and Amaya part on good terms with Courtney, saying Amaya has found a new home among the Legends. Sara says goodbye to Guinevere who says she’ll miss Sara Lance a lot. Lance-a-lot, geddit?! That’s not my joke, that’s seriously in the episode. Sara and Guinevere kiss, so I guess I wasn’t reading too much into their earlier conversation. It is a little random, though – I think they shared maybe three scenes together this episode? Also quit teasing us and give Sara a girlfriend instead of random flings throughout history.
Jax visits Rip in the brig. He tells the former captain he’s glad Sara stopped him from killing Rip, but that if he even thinks about hurting anyone else, Jax will end him. As Jax leaves, Rip calls out for Gideon and she replies that she’s there, implying that Rip still has access to Gideon.
No. No, they are not that stupid! Sara would not bring Rip onboard a ship he can still control! Jax would find a way to revoke his access or they would instruct Gideon to not follow his orders. Or, I don’t know, let Gideon think for herself! I watched the Season One finale again recently and Gideon expressed a desire to live when Rip was ready to sacrifice himself and the Waverider to destroy the meteor. Gideon has some measure of free will; she’s not just an interface.
I do like some parts of this episode, but character inconsistencies within the episode itself (not to mention within larger character arcs) are very distracting. I also really take issue with Rip slaughtering Doctor Mid-Nite at the beginning of the episode. First of all, I was really looking forward to the JSA this season, but outside of Amaya they’ve really been disposable since their introduction. Rex was killed by Thawne, Todd was nearly killed in the ’80s episode, and now Doctor Mid-Nite. He gets slaughtered, and by one of our heroes no less! I’m worried they’re pushing Rip down a path too far away from redemption. They had him shoot Sara and then strangle her to death, and now he’s dissected another hero. “Hero gets brainwashed” is not a new plot, but when you do it, you can’t have them do things that are going to forever taint the character. Yes, he was brainwashed at the time, no, it wasn’t the real Rip, but he’s still going to be that guy who killed Doctor Mid-Nite and who knows what other horrible things. If he’s brought back to the side of the angels again, you can always do an arc where Rip feels guilt about the things he did when he was brainwashed, but Rip already has a ton of baggage to deal with between his life as a Time Master being a lie and his life as a husband and father being ripped away from him.
The battle at the end was pretty cool, albeit unnecessarily bloody (given that they were trying to save people) and Ray’s duel with Darhk was also good, if pointless. Nate bemoaning the conflict between legend and history was neat, and I’ve definitely grown to appreciate the view of a historian this season. The sets, costumes, and props do an excellent job of immersing us in the setting. Whether any measure of it is historically accurate isn’t for me to say, but I didn’t have any trouble believing these were medieval times. A lot of the inaccuracies can be dismissed by saying this is a small section of Britannia influenced by Courtney acting as an adviser to Arthur to shape the court into what a 1940s person’s perception of Arthurian legend is.
Another great thing is the title of the episode. “Camelot/3000” is a reference to the two time periods that are visited, but also a nod to the comic series Camelot 3000 dealing with the Camelot characters being reborn in the year 3000 A.D. It’s a whole different plot, but the story is weirdly progressive in a few ways and also very much ’80s in others so, y’know…caveat emptor.
Next week: OH LOOK, RIP GETS OUT OF THE BRIG. WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY SEEN THAT COMING?
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.
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