I’ve been commenting on the Legends of Tomorrow taking turns doing the introductory voiceover. Well, they outdid themselves this week. Mick Rory, Heat Wave, gives his own unique spin on the story of the Legends. Let’s just say he’s not impressed.
Heroes can be defined by their villains, and the clashes between them make for some of the best stories. This week, we get a break from the Legion of Doom, as entertaining as they’ve been. The bad guy this week is the reprogrammed Rip Hunter, with his memories restored but now a decidedly evil disposition. I miss Phil the director.
“Turncoat” is the name of the episode, as the now utterly evil Captain Hunter has gone back to the scene of George Washington’s great Christmas victory over the British in 1776 New Jersey. Hunter knows the best way to lure the Legends to him is to cause a major time aberration, so that’s what he does. It gets a bit confusing, because end of last episode and the start of this one, he seems to have done something fairly drastic, but the rest of the episode shows the exact opposite.
Back aboard the Waverider, there’s a lot of talk about Ray having come up with a “chore wheel” for everyone to do things to help out. They also, for whatever reason, are all dressed in black. I guess there’s a uniform for the crew now? Ray and Mick have a chat about Mick’s snacking leading to a rat problem, and Nate and Amaya have an interesting chat over making breakfast. Everything is going well until the ship shudders from a massive time-quake. Gideon tells them what’s happening, and the team is off to 1776, even though Sara is convinced it’s a trap. Smart woman, Sara.
Sara gives everyone assignments as they infiltrate a Christmas party in hopes of finding George Washington and keeping him away from a murderous Rip Hunter. I really question her choice of having Nate and Amaya pose as newlyweds. One of the dangers of doing a time travel show is imposing modern ideals on other eras. An interracial marriage in 1776 is going to draw lots of attention, which is not a good plan for a group trying to keep a low profile.
They get in to the party and even manage to find General Washington. That’s about as close to the plan as they get. Rip Hunter shows up, and has armed a squad of redcoats with M-16s. Of course, they’d need special training to use such a weapon, but we’ll skip over that bit. Hunter shows just how brilliant he is when he sets off a wide area EMP device (where he got that from, I’m not sure). The EMP shuts down the Waverider and Gideon, Ray’s suit (leaving him stuck powerless at six inches), Heat Wave’s flame gun, and even the splicer that lets Jax and Stein merge into Firestorm. Hunter shocks the team by showing up, kidnapping Washington and Mick, and cold-bloodedly shooting Sara. This is not one of the team’s better days. I will give Rip villain points for his, “Hello, Sara. Goodbye, Sara,” as he shoots her.
I’m not quite sure how this happened, but Jax and Stein, who had been monitoring the situation from the Waverider, manage to find Sara and get her back to the powerless ship. The medbay doesn’t do them a lot of good with no power. Sara tells them it was Rip that shot her, and puts Jax in charge, which he’s clearly not happy about. Jax comes up with a decent plan, and there’s an amusing running joke about saving Mick being “implied” in saving Washington.
Mick, to no great surprise, isn’t getting on that well with the Father of Our Country. While they argue strategy, Nate and Amaya try and track them, at an odd, unhurried walking pace for such an important mission. Amaya has a very Captain America moment when she gets Nate’s joke about not being in Kansas anymore (Cap’s was a Wizard of Oz quote, too). She never got to see the end of the Wizard of Oz because of Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Elsewhere, the shrunken Ray laments, “I get Rip is evil now, but does he have to try and kill Washington on Christmas?”
Jax’s day gets worse as Rip shows up with a team of Redcoats to board the Waverider. I’m not real clear how a group of men breech a timeship that can travel in space and underwater with just ropes, but they somehow manage it. Jax tasks Stein with operating on Sara as he goes off to see what he can do about repelling the boarders.
Stein grouses about having to operate on Sara, which is a bit weird since he recently preformed brain surgery on Mick. Jax plays cat and mouse with the Redcoats. There’s a scene where he drops one, and takes his rifle, while a package with wrapping that says “Ho Ho Ho!” sits nearby. I may be reading in to things, but I wonder if that was a Die Hard reference. Nate and Amaya have various setbacks that lead to some improbable developments in their relationship. They also end up finding a conveniently abandoned tent that even has a fire going. Unlikely, at best.
General Washington gets some of his ideals about the enemy shattered when he and Mick are brought before British General Cornwallis. It’s not a happy meeting. Jax and Rip keep stalking each other through the Waverider, and Rip comes up with a pretty good attempt to bribe Jax into changing sides. As all this goes on, Ray gets chased around by a rat. Me, I’m still wondering how a rat got onto the Waverider in the first place.
Rip sinks to some new lows of villainy as he gets leverage to make Jax tell him where the fragment of the Spear of Destiny is. This leads to a character-testing moment for Jax as he considers retribution. Eventually, the team is reunited, Washington is saved, and Rip escapes, still evil. George Washington ends up impressed with Mick’s fighting spirit before they part ways. History is restored, although now there’s a statue in Washington, DC that looks like Mick.
The team has Christmas dinner together, and there are a lot of family comparisons and analogies. Mick gets dubbed the drunken uncle. Amaya, despite being raised in rural Africa, seems completely at home with all the various Christmas traditions. Sara gives them a rousing speech as the show ends.
What I liked: There was some good dialogue this episode. Mick’s intro was one of the best bits they’ve done on the show so far. Rip makes a great bad guy. The EMP device really did a number on the team, but that all made sense.
What I didn’t: I almost wonder if the episodes were shown out of order. Stein being so squeamish about being a medic and their Christmas episode being in February are odd. Then again, it’s a time travel show, so I guess they can do their Christmas show whenever they want. I don’t get how the Brits got aboard the Waverider so easily, even with Rip’s help. The miraculously empty tent for Amaya and Nate, as well as Washington’s Schrodinger-like status, didn’t help the strength of the episode.
It was a decent episode. They managed to get in some great lines. I’ll give them a 3 out of 5 overall for the episode.