DC’s Legends of Tomorrow continues their sojourn in the 1970’s with this week’s “Blood Ties.” The feud between Rip and Vandal Savage goes back further than we realized. They had a run in in 1700 BC Egypt. It didn’t go that well, in part because Rip Hunter is a good man, and Savage is, well, Savage.
In Leipzig in 1975, the Waverider is still stuck. Between earlier damage and Hawkgirl’s injuries, the ship can’t move on. Time travel is a strain on healthy people, not to mention grievously wounded ones. The team debates what to do now, with Rip giving the speech we’ve seen in the previews about, “I’ve seen Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall.” Rip also sends Jax to look into repairing the jump ship, a small scout craft attached to the Waverider. Jax initially protests, saying he’s just an auto mechanic, but comments later that he found “an instruction manual.”
There’s a comic book I’ve really enjoyed over the years called the Legion of Super Heroes. The Legion has a huge membership, and often breaks into smaller teams to handle various situations. The Legends group seem to be following a similar example. Rip and Sara break off to go after Savage’s finances, following lessons she learned from Ra’s al-Ghul. Ray and Stein team up to help treat Hawkgirl’s injuries. Captain Cold, Heatwave, and Jax, the latter somewhat reluctantly, go to Central City in the repaired jumpship.
Sara and Rip run into all sorts of obstacles. One of them is a man named Blake who is very good with knives. To me, and many DC fans, this brings to mind Thomas Blake, Catman. Catman was a joke villain for years but became a much better defined character. Among his claims to fame are being one of the best trackers and knife fighters on the planet. They never say for sure this is him, but it’s a lot of coincidence if not.
Cold’s trip to Central City isn’t motivated just by theft and riches. He has a plan to try and change parts of his personal history. I don’t know if I can say that’s a recurring theme only three episodes in, but we’ve seen it before. As Rip said, time resists being changed. It was interesting to see this side of Cold.
Ray and Stein end up falling back on something the Atom did many times in the comics. Ray shrinks down and goes inside Hawkgirl’s bloodstream to get rid of fragments of the dagger that stabbed her. In the comics, Atom even had a special waiver from the AMA allowing him to perform such impromptu surgeries. I admit, I’m still very curious about Stein not remembering Rat Palmer as one of his students. Is this just Stein having had too many students, or do they do something in their travels that change history?
Eventually, after some issues with Sara’s control, she and Rip find out that Savage has a few more secrets. He has a treasure called “The Vessel” that’s a bit disturbing. Using it, he can give not exactly his immortality, but extended life, to some chosen of his followers. Stopping this ritual is what makes Rip call the team in, reuniting everyone to fight Savage again. This fight, and a few scenes of character work, round out the episode. They end by heading off for 1986.
What I liked: Ray doing surgery was both fitting for the episode and a nice nod to the comics. Cold’s reasons for his trip to Central showed some depth to the character. Even if Blake wasn’t Catman, it could have been. The life extension for Savage’s followers is interesting, and a new development I could do without.
What I didn’t: I’m hoping each episode doesn’t turn into “Whose past are we screwing with this week?” The team hasn’t gotten a solid win against Savage yet. The writers need to let them do that.
It was a fun show. I enjoyed it, which is really kind of the important part. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 for pure entertainment value.