This is the second time I’ve missed one of my lineup. It just didn’t occur to me that Legends of Tomorrow might show in a week that both Arrow and The Flash skipped. Whoops! And wouldn’t you know it? I think this is, hands down, my favorite episode thus far in the series. 😛
First off, we get a bit more of Rip Hunter’s backstory. Did we know his wife was a time master too? I don’t think I did. Well, either way, she was, and she was pretty good at it too. But she and Rip fell in love, which is forbidden. I can understand that rule, to safeguard not only time and space but also the time masters themselves, including their ancestors.
Hmmm, is that what the criteria for “being essential to the timeline” is, being some particular person’s ancestor? Certainly they have no hesitation in eliminating other people and all of their future generations from the timeline, which is perfectly hypocritical of the body that took it upon themselves to safeguard history. I guess they’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life. But I digress.
Rip Hunter and Miranda Colburn were not exactly discreet in their illicit relationship, and so they were brought before the council to face the consequences. The both of them would have been dismissed if Miranda hadn’t stepped up to resign before Rip could do so instead. Quite a sacrifice for the man she loves, stepping down from her career to let him live his dreams. Small wonder he loves her (present tense) so much. He is, after all, trying to save her and their son Jonas. But every failure… well, it means he’s failing them, and their deaths are a weight on his soul.
Speaking of, there was plenty of soul-weight to go around this episode. Yet they balanced it out with some pretty good humor, mostly of the, “I am saying something dramatic and now we cut to a hilarious truth that lies behind what I am saying.” I couldn’t stop giggling! 🙂 But back to the drama…
Another time master’s ship, the Akheron (is anyone else disturbed by the Time Fleet’s flag ship being named after a river in Hell?) has been taken over by time pirates (apparently, time travel technology becomes so abundant that even pirates have access to it… I think I see why the time masters exist) led by one Captain Valor (oh, an ironic name!). It’s not Rip’s first choice, as he has no obligations to help other time masters now, but Gideon needs an update in order to find Savage a bit further back in the past, and since they can’t go to Time Master HQ, they decide to “borrow” from the Akheron instead. Naturally, crap hits the fan.
A note about that: it was nice these last two episodes to have villains which were not Vandal Savage. Made for a nice break from a routine that quickly becomes monotonous and diminishes how threatening he is if they defeat/kill him in every single episode.
The situation is not made any simpler by the ongoing dispute between Cold and Heatwave. Heatwave really resents being torn away from what he views as a paradise, and he sees a change in his partner, once a coldhearted criminal, a thief, now fooling himself into believing he can be the hero who saves all of time and space from an immortal’s rampage. Fanciful fairy tales. Meanwhile, Cold, ever calculating and objective, sees that Heatwave is becoming a problem, no matter how he tries to deny it. His partner, the man whose criminal career blossomed alongside his ever since he helped Cold out of a mess in juvie, a man with whom he has faced down even the Flash… is becoming a liability and a threat to the team as a whole.
That threat comes to fruition almost immediately.
After talking Gideon through some maneuvers to protect the rest of the team on the Waverider, Rip, Jacks, and Heatwave are thrown into the brig alongside the Akheron‘s captain, Eve Baxter. Stein is still loose, and does quite well for himself, being the space ranger he always wanted to be, which is adorable. He sabotages the targeting array, evades capture, takes out a pirate with brute force, arms himself with the pirate’s weapon (and his beret, LOL!), and breaks the others out of the brig. Before that, however, Rip finds himself in conflict both with Baxter, who views him as a fallen traitor, and Heatwave, the brutish criminal he only recruited because he and Cold were a package deal.
That hurts Heatwave’s ego, when he realizes that he truly has no place on the team, especially now that his bond with Cold has been shaken. He wasn’t able to take having that bond broken, so he broke it himself. He sided with the pirates, left the others to rot in the brig, and sneaked half the pirates onto the Waverider.
Meanwhile, the Waverider has had problems of its own, including a hole in the hull which was only momentarily plugged, and not completely, so the doors slammed shut, trapping Sara and Cold to die. Sara’s gotten along pretty well with the bad boys up to this point, including playing cards with Cold at the beginning of this episode, and these two get a little closer as they face death, sharing stories about the past, including Sara’s first time dying and the first time Cold met Heatwave.
While the two of them are trying to not die for as long as possible, Ray ventures into the black of outer space, to fix the hull breach from the outside and save Cold and Sara. He’s successful, but runs out of oxygen, so bad his heart stops. Kendra is frantic, beating his chest, screaming how she needs him, she can’t lose another friend. Ray makes it, and is around to help kick the time pirates butts, and after, Kendra kisses him.
…seriously? I think the Arrowverse people might be just a little desperate for drama sometimes. They did an okay job pairing Ollie and Laurel, and a pretty good job pairing Ollie and Sara, as well as Barry and Patty, but couplings are clearly not their strong suit! There’s Rip and Miranda, of course, but now Ray and Kendra? Can any of these male-female relationships be “just friends,” or is that too much to ask? Sheesh, all we need now is for another Carter to come on board and make it a triangle (which is entirely likely) while Cold and Sara pair off as well!
Coupling-itis notwithstanding, I really liked this episode overall. One which note…
Rip and the others clear out the Akheron with a trick he learned from Miranda, sending the lot of them out into empty space (though he could have taken his friends into the bridge with him to subdue Valor more easily… and did I hear the Wilhelm scream there?), while the rest of the team pound the time pirates into the ground on the Waverider. (oh, Kendra got to throw more than two punches the entire episode for once, yay!) Heatwave tries to take the time drive, but Sara keeps him at bay. She could probably take him, flame-gun or no, but Cold arrives to finish the fight. Baxter gives Rip what he needs, and refrains from arresting him, directing him to find Savage again in 1956, in… Oregon?! What’s Savage doing in Oregon?!
That still leaves the team with the issue of Heatwave. It’s gotta burn him (yes, I pun) that the team really didn’t need him, defeating him and the time pirates, but that’s small consolation to the people he betrayed. What are the options? Dropping him off back in 2016, where all of their loved ones would be vulnerable to his wrath? Give him free run of the ship when they clearly can’t trust him? Hold him in a brig that isn’t meant for long-term use (design flaw!)? So they can’t keep him, have him, or let him run loose. That’s three options already gone. So what’s left, besides removing him from the equation, permanently and completely? What can they do besides kill him?
Sometimes the only choice is a devil’s deed.
Cold take him out into the middle of nowhere, they exchange a few final words while Cold points his freeze gun at him… and, anguish all over his face, pulls the trigger.
And suddenly, his role in this narrative, which I wondered about for awhile, becomes apparent: he’s there to drive Cold’s character forward, not his own. I can barely conceive of how this is going to affect him.
We may see another incarnation of Carter again, and quite soon, but losing two out of nine team members before they’ve even found the final battle would be a grim weight for any team to carry.