For this week’s episode, “Marooned,” they seem to be patterning themselves off their companion show, Arrow. A good bit of the show is flashback, in this case showing us something of the origins of Captain Rip Hunter. We already know what led to his split with the Time Council, now we get to see the roots of that problem.
The episode starts with Rip holed up in his office. He’s morosely watching a recorded video from his wife and son, over and over. Stein comes in to see if he can help pick up Savage’s trail, and Rip snaps at him a lot. Apparently they’ve all been on the Waverider a week since last episode and have run out of leads. Some of the team are going stir crazy and tensions are high between some of them.
The Waverider gets a distress call from the Acheron, apparently another Time Master ship. Rip says they’re going to help because they need a software update the ship should have, but it might also be that boredom plays a part, considering they’ve been stalled for so long. The ship is captained by Eve Baxter, possibly a nod to Rip’s comic book girlfriend, a different Baxter.
The others, especially the assassin and the smart thief, are worried it’s a trap. They’re right. Evidently time pirates are a thing, and they have the ship, which Baxter has sabotaged so the pirates can’t go anywhere. The boarding party of Rip, Jax, and Mick Rory are captured, while Stein is left in the jump ship. Stein has been rhapsodizing about his childhood love of sci-fi, and a book series about “Space Ranger,” a classic early sci-fi series. Stein proves to have some unexpected talents as he helps the others escape the pirates.
The Waverider was damaged in the first meeting with the pirates. Palmer is notionally in charge of the ship, and a series of Kirk/Piccard jokes ensue, later branching out to Sulu and Solo. Ray takes his ATOM suit for its first trial run in space, which doesn’t go wonderfully well, but he needs to repair a hull breech before Sara and Snart die of hypothermia, trapped by an emergency bulkhead.
A running issue throughout the episode is the tension between Snart and Rory, which started last episode in the future Star City. This tension comes to a head with some choices Mick makes and a really ugly cliffhanger at the end. I have to say, I didn’t see the ending coming.
The series of flashbacks show Rip breaking the rules by falling in love. The Time Master he gets involved with might be the woman he ends up marrying; they leave that somewhat unclear. It does show how badly he went against the Time Master precepts, and why some, like this Captain Baxter, hold him in such contempt.
What I liked: It makes a lot of sense that Rory is still holding a grudge against Snart for last episode. Stein’s sense of wonder was nice to see, since he has spent so much of the series being a jerk. Ray is both a sci-fi geek and very brave, which is fitting for him. He also finally got back into his suit and was useful in the fight.
What I didn’t: Jax and Stein were highly outnumbered by the pirates and never even considered becoming Firestorm, which just seemed weird. I’m really not a fan of flashback theater, whether it’s on Arrow or here. Kendra didn’t get to do anything besides play cheerleader this episode until the final fight.
It was a fun episode and they surprised me a few times. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 overall. I’m really curious to see what happened with the cliffhanger.