DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 1 Episode 15
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow follows on from last week with the team captured by the Time Masters and waiting for their fate to be decided.
I have been very critical of this show throughout this season as I think there have been really significant missteps that stop it from living up to its potential. This episode really shows what this show is capable of by giving most of the characters good moments and focusing on delivering a really fun adventure.
The stakes were very high and the situation was a dark one but the episode still retained a reasonably light hearted tone. It was dark but not grim and I found it really infectious. This was definitely the strongest episode of the season.
As always the strongest characters were Mick and Snart who have definitely come the farthest as characters since the show began. When they first set foot on the Waverider they were a pair of self-serving criminals looking for their next big score and now they are fully part of the team and have developed some distinctly heroic tendencies.
Snart finds himself really questioning his place in the universe here when he and Sara are the only people that have evaded capture so they represent the team’s only hope for rescue. At first Snart is aloof about the situation but after some convincing he goes along with Gideon’s plan. It’s a really short scene but it is another example of how great Snart and Sara are when they share screen time. Sara sees through his persona and understands the sort of man he is becoming which bothers Snart slightly but he is also compelled to listen to her.
This is further explored later in the episode when he tells her that he has been thinking about the two of them in a romantic way before she completely shoots him down. They have always had great chemistry and it could transition to a romantic connection so I don’t really have an issue with this as it feels like it has developed organically rather than the forced nature of the Ray/Kendra relationship that the show has been beating us over the head with. These things always work better for me where they happen in the background and develop naturally. I’m not against characters having romantic relationships I just prefer them to feel real.
Snart’s character arc comes to a logical end in this episode when he sacrifices himself for the good of the team. It could be seen that he was doing so to save Mick and that was definitely part of it but his connection to the rest of the team is also in the mix. If you look at the Leonard Snart in the first episode of the season and compare him to the Leonard Snart in this episode then you see a defined change in him while him still being broadly the same character. He is a true example of character development and it has consistently been believable.
His sacrifice was really well handled from his decision to do it to the reactions of the characters. He will be remembered as a hero by the team which is probably the last thing he would want but the description fits considering everything he has done for the team.
The loss hits Mick the hardest but he reacts with a quiet and slow building rage. He doesn’t feel that Snart has been properly avenged but is happy to take this out on Vandal Savage to get closure on the whole idea. The scene between Mick and Ray was really nicely done. I like that Ray understands Mick’s need for vengeance and is willing to help him get it. He definitely feels that he owes both Snart and Mick a debt since they were both willing to sacrifice themselves.
The Time Masters try to recondition Mick to become Kronos which makes sense as he was a fairly effective thorn in the side of the team for quite a while. It’s logical that they would want to have that resource made available to them again. The episode foreshadows that this won’t work when he tells the team that it didn’t really work before as he focused on the hatred he felt for the team after he was abandoned. This attempt fails because he focuses on the team and how much he has grown to like them. This is something he confesses to Ray with the threat of a head shaving if he should repeat it. It’s a really funny interaction and shows how strong the bond is between these two characters despite how unlikely it would be that one would form between them.
Mick proves his loyalty to the team when he is willing to sacrifice himself so that Ray can live. There’s also an element of wanting to really stick it to the Time Masters with a sacrifice that will effectively cripple them but it’s clear that he has warmed up to the group and characters having complex reasons for wanting to do things is definitely a good thing.
This is a big episode for Ray as well as he is the only one confined to the cells who hasn’t accepted that they’re about to die. He has a lot that he wants to do so doesn’t want to die completely forgotten in a prison that exists outside of time. He gets the chance to make a difference later in the episode when he can cripple the Time Masters. The trade-off is that he won’t make it out alive but as long as he gets to go out making a difference then that’s ok by him. Ultimately he doesn’t get to do that but that’s fine as there’s still a lot more for Ray to do in this universe and death would feel like far too simple a resolution to his arc.
Rip receives some information that he finds difficult to accept. It turns out that the Time Masters have been using something called the Oculus to see the future as well as manipulate events so that they turn out the way that they want them to. It turns out that this is the device that allows Gideon to extrapolate the future but it has been kept secret from everyone outside of the higher positions in the Time Master organisation.
Druce tells Rip that their entire mission has been manipulated to get the desired outcome. In effect they have been enabling Vandal Savage and helping his rise to power because the Time Masters engineered it that way. Apparently the team being completely incompetent has been the plan all along. It’s one way to explain it away I suppose.
The worst part of it is that Rip’s family were killed on the instruction of the Time Masters to motivate him to start this mission in the first place. This adds an extra sting to the futility of Rip’s mission and tells him that everything he pledged himself to has been a lie.
Free will is something that is often debated in Time Travel sources. If the past can be changed then do the choices of people native to that time period really matter? This is the case here as Rip is confronted with the realisation that he hasn’t had free will all along. The sense of betrayal he feels can be clearly seen in Arthur Darvill’s performance.
Vandal Savage was allowed to rise to power because there is apparently a bigger threat out there that will lay waste to the Earth without Savage to lead it. Basically he’s the lesser of two evils. It turns out that an invasion by the Thanagarians is on the horizon which I imagine drops a hint at what season 2 will be about. If so then it could be an interesting story and will allow some expansion of the Hawk mythology.
The destruction of the Oculus as well as the Vanishing Point is a huge victory for Rip and his team. They reclaim their right to free will and they can now no longer be manipulated by outside forces. Their next move is entirely their own and that prospect is somewhat exciting. Now that the Time Masters are essentially off the board as villains that only leaves Vandal Savage. The mission to destroy the Oculus seems to be a little too easy considering how high value a target it is. It just didn’t seem to be all that well guarded despite the resistance they encountered. The framing of the sacrifice didn’t make sense either as it’s unclear why someone needed to hold the thing in place when it could have been stuck down by something that isn’t a human hand. It’s a small niggle but sticks out nonetheless.
Vandal Savage works well enough in this episode because he’s used sparingly which is definitely a good choice for this underwhelming villain. He has Kendra and Carter captive but only interacts with Kendra and returns to 2166 so that he can kill Rip’s family. Kendra comes across as strong yet helpless due to being unable to escape and her plea for Savage to spare Rip’s family is delivered well by Ciara Renée.
We see Savage kill Rip’s family which suggests that it is now an event that cannot be undone. Rip’s reaction to finding out that their deaths are still part of recorded history was very raw without overdoing it. Maybe he can start to put it behind him if saving them is now off the table.
There is a resolution to Jax being sent back to 2016 and it played out in a way that I didn’t expect. He arrives in the time that Rip gave the team to decide whether to go with him or not so he enlists Martin to help him return to the Waverider. This allows their relationship to be explored in a different way as Jax has the perspective of knowing what happens over their time on the Waverider and Martin can only react to the changed man he sees before him.
We have the usual business of Martin analysing every word that Jax says for clues to the future which does get tiresome but is understandable. The most important thing about this plot is to show that Jax has truly forgiven Martin for forcing him to come on the mission. This forgiveness comes with the acknowledgement that Martin did the wrong thing but the forgiveness shows that Jax has managed to put it behind him. I wonder if this is what gives Martin the idea to do it or if he was planning to do it anyway. Either way it shows that a strong bond has developed and gives Jax something meaningful to do for a change. I’m still not convinced by his ability to fix a time machine but that’s a conceit I’m just going to have to live with.
Sara more feeds into other stories but she is starting to develop strong leadership skills shown by her managing to convince Snart to help out so easily or how willing she is to take command of the ship at crucial moments. Could she become Rip’s first officer next season? It’s something that would really work for me.
The action sequences in this episode were excellent and there was a lot of variety from gunfights to hand to hand with some space battles thrown in for good measure. My personal highlight was the destruction of the Vanishing Point which looked incredible. Everything felt tight and well-paced because of the frequent action. There was also a lot of fun involved such as the other Time Ships being hacked to have the on-board computer sing “PUT SONG IN!” while the Waverider makes its escape. Episodes like this are what the show should be.
An excellent episode that takes advantage of the potential that this show has to be a fun adventure. Most of the characters are represented in interesting ways and the completion of Snart’s character arc works really well. There are a lot of well executed action sequences and most of the characters have an opportunity to play a significant part in the story. The mission to take down the Oculus seemed a little too easy but it was exciting nonetheless and I liked how significant a victory it was.
- the resolution of Snart’s arc
- strong moments for most of the characters
- exciting and well executed action
- Destruction of a high value target feeling a little too easy