“River of Time” is the next installment of Legends of Tomorrow, and the team is having more than their share of problems. They have captured Vandal Savage, and he’s on the ship, which is both good and bad. Rip has decided the best way to proceed is to bring Savage to the Time Council, which is probably not a good idea. And the team itself is fragmenting, several of them thinking that anywhere but Vanishing Point, home of the Time Masters, is a good destination.
In 1700 BC, Rip is in a cell, captured after his failed attempt to assassinate Savage. Savage gloats over him, but also wants to know who he is and why he tried to kill him. Savage knows the “sky rocks” are coming, and figures Rip will die in that catastrophe. Typical supervillain mind-set, “I’ll just leave the hero to die in this death trap.” You’d think they’d learn that’s a bad idea.
In the present, if you can use that term for a time machine, the factions are starting to form. Heat Wave and Captain Cold are both getting uneasy with how Savage is acting. Not being idiots, they don’t want to stick around with an immortal killer. Almost everyone wants Kendra to just kill Savage and get it over with, but Ray and Jax found evidence that the killer robot from last episode has tech from the future, so Rip thinks if he brings Savage and the evidence to the Time Council, all will be forgiven.
Rip makes the first of several visits to Savage’s cell. Savage taunts him about how he’s so much smarter than Rip is, and how Rip couldn’t possibly understand all of Savage’s plans. Rip counters with the deduction with the reason that it’s so hard to find Savage isn’t that he’s immortal, although he is, it’s that Savage, too, is moving through time. That gives Savage a whole other level of power which he really didn’t need.
For whatever reason, the Waverider apparently only has one cell. That seems like a design flaw if Time Masters go after pirates, as we’ve seen. Because of this, they have Carter chained up in one of the holds while Kendra and Ray try and get through to him. Carter doesn’t want to listen, and says that Savage warned him about his enemies.
Sara goes to Rip’s study, worried that he’s pushing the ship too hard. Rip is in the middle of telling her how well he knows the ship and its limits when the time drive fails. They might be marooned in the time vortex if they don’t get it fixed. Rip sends Jax to fix it, since he’s become the resident mechanic. To reassure them, Rip tells everyone that the jump ship can make a one-time jump back to 2016.
While Sara pays a visit to Savage for more mind games, Jax tries to fix the ship. The time drive is cracked and the room is contaminated, which makes Stein worry about Jax. I kind of wonder about this, since Stein was shown to be radiation proof back during their trip to Russia. I guess Jax doesn’t share this gift? There’s a minor explosion which exposes Jax to “temporal radiation,” that makes him start aging quickly. While he’s out, he gets a flashback to just before Stein kidnapped him at the start of the series.
While Heat Wave and Captain Cold raid the snack storage, complain about everything being sugar free, and say they have a bad feeling about what’s going on, Sara has another conversation with Rip. Rip is second guessing his own motives about sending Jax to make the repairs, and Sara worries he’s so obsessed that he’s putting his family above the good of the crew.
Kendra and Ray give another shot at snapping Carter out of his thrall-dom to Savage. He reacts even worse than before, and things get a bit ugly. Ray leaves to try and make Savage help free Carter, which was sweet and naive. Savage plays more head-games with Ray, which triggers Ray’s flashback (I guess that’s going around this week). Ray visited Felicity just before he left with Rip, and they had a conversation about his leaving and the reasons why. He comes back in time to see Kendra reading love poetry to Carter, which Ray understandably isn’t happy about. Kendra and Ray go off to have a little soap opera scene.
Snart and Rory are worried not only about Jax, but that what happened to him is only the beginning. The two thieves leave and go confront Rip. That makes sense; Rory and Snart have always been the most self-centered of the crew. After some argument, Rory says this quest has always been voluntary, and mentions the jump ship and its one-time escape trip. Snart and Rory stalk off. Sara looks disapproving, but says she’ll stick with Rip. This makes it Sara’s turn for a flashback, a scene of her with Nyssa in the dungeons of Nanda Parbat.
Stein goes for his turn to visit with Savage. After some more misdirection, and some not helpful answers about the immortality sharing ritual the team saw a while back, Stein leaves with another idea. He drugs Jax yet again, straps him into the jump ship, convinced he’s come up with a way to cure Jax. Of course, he’s now sent off the jump ship, which the late to the scene Snart and Rory aren’t happy about. This is also about when Stein has his own flashback, about him being too busy to have lunch with Clarissa.
Next is easily the stupidest scene of the show. Ray goes back to see Savage, and is goaded into going inside the cell and fighting him. This goes about as well as you’d think for a scientist versus an immortal warlord. Savage is now free on the ship. Ray gets back to the bridge just in time to tell them as Gideon shuts down.
The crew splits into desperate action, as some of them go off to fight Savage and Carter, who he freed, while others try and navigate the ship without Gideon. Ray, Snart, Rory, and Kendra have a long drawn out fight against Savage and Carter with a surprising ending. Rip eventually comes to help and shows that he is committed to the crew’s safety Sara initially acts as navigator until Rip leaves, when she becomes pilot as well. Stein helps with reading the charts. There’s a passing joke about “Jurgens’ Ridge.” Dan Jurgens has done a lot of writing for DC Comics, especially with time traveler Booster Gold, who I’ve mentioned before.
They arrive at Vanishing Point, after another Ray and Kendra drama moment. Sorry, but I’m sick of that plot thread. Rip, triumphant, marches Savage before the Time Council and shows all his evidence. Let’s just say it doesn’t go well for Rip and the team. The show ends with the majority of the team imprisoned. I strongly suspect the absent Jax will return and somehow rescue them.
What I liked: Really, this wasn’t one of their better episodes. I thought Snart and Rory’s reactions to the mess made a lot of sense. Stein’s concern for Jax rang true.
What I didn’t: The “characters parade to the cell to visit X” bit is getting old. We’ve seen this before. Ray was amazingly stupid. Rip was blindly optimistic. Sara, arguably their best fighter, missed the fight. I’m tired of the Ray/Kendra soap opera.
It’s really hard to find a piece of this I liked. I also don’t really see how they are dragging this out for two more episodes in the season. I’m giving this a 2 out of 5, and that might be generous. I want to love this show, I really liked the premise, the cast, and the characters, but they keep writing really dumb episodes like this one.