The Legends of Tomorrow are carving out a fun niche in the CW/DC Universe. Not only is it usually the most light-hearted of the shows, it wanders from genre to genre easily enough given the diverse nature of the crew and the time travel element. This week, they work in parts of a cold war-era thriller as well as spoofing a classic title with “No Country for Old Dads.”
Aboard the Waverider, Zari walks in on a “morning after” chat between Sara and Ava Sharpe, making a slight idiot of herself with an idea she had that the Time Bureau would definitely not approve of. Just as they are working out something weird is up with Ray, they get a call from Gary, Time Bureau dweeb. The Bureau has been sent a message from Ray himself explaining that he’s been kidnapped by the Darhks. After he gives the team a clue, we see how he’s faring in captivity with the attention he’s getting from Damian, Nora, and Kuasa. Hey, it could be worse. Grodd could be there. The Darhks can’t get Vixen’s stolen Totem to work, nor can they do anything with the shattered Fire Totem. Kuasa gives them a Totems 101 crash course, and they decide some of the answer might lie with their captive.
Things get even more complicated aboard the Waverider when Wally West and Rip Hunter portal in, using the Time Courier they stole from Gary. There’s a fair amount of babbled confusion as introductions are made and Ava’s presence on the ship is explained. The rest of the team wanders in from running down a lead, and they explain to Wally their policy on “moderate theft.”
Ray refuses to help the Darhks, and gets treated to a few unique threats, one of which seems to be a new reveal about Ray’s past. Finally, he’s persuaded and tells them what he needs to get to work. This results in them visiting Upswpiz, the company Ray briefly worked at during the hiatus between seasons when the Legends were disbanded after breaking time.
While Sara details the team to split up and look for Ray in various ways, Damian grouses about his profile on Upswipz. Most of Damian’s time there is just an excuse for Neal McDonough to indulge himself in the role and be the way over the top villain, mixing casual cruelty with some actual humor. Alan, the idiot boss, keeps trying to offer advice about how to use the profiles, which is another entertaining bit. Damian and Nora bicker over his clowning around and not taking her seriously. Ray’s work leads to a quest for cold water fusion, which in turn is going to send them back to 1960’s Berlin to face a dangerous assassin. Damian tells them, in flashback, the story of a scientist named Vogel, his discoveries, and what happened to him. Nora and Damian argue about who should go back in time, and both yell at Ray for speaking up.
Finally, it’s decided to send Nora and Ray back to prevent the assassination, or at least get the secret from Vogel.
Nora and Ray don’t exactly arrive in a subtle way, and panic Vogel from the beginning. Nora tries to bluff Vogel, and Ray provides earnestness and scientific knowledge to persuade him. Vogel, even with the assassin closing in outside, won’t leave without his daughter’s doll. Finally, they make it out, barely in time after some complications that prevent them just going back to Damian in the present. They also learn Nora’s magic isn’t quite working right thanks to Ray’s gizmo.
While Wally has a very awkward scene with Amaya and Zari, Ray tries to encourage Nora, babbling about “a typical Legends first attempt failure.” Let’s face it, their missions rarely go smoothly. Nora threatens Vogel with torture, and he stands up to the cold blooded assassin. Nora and Ray debate what to do, and finally come up with a plan.
Ray provides a voiceover as they acquire forged papers and a few other useful things for going from East Berlin to West Berlin. In the present, Damian worries about them being gone so long, chatting amiably with the body of Ray’s boss. After musing about the complications of fatherhood, Damian pursues them into the past.
Ray, Nora, and Vogel get to the checkpoint, where things get complicated. Nora pulls off a good bluff, but then the assassin and Damian show up, leading to chaos, gunfire, and death. Finally, Nora, Ray, and Vogel get away, but not before Nora swats at Ray for actually helping her. Damian links up with the others, and he and Nora bicker about his choices in her past. Damian blames Ray for her change in attitude, and she ends up storming off. Aren’t family quarrels fun?
Ava Sharpe returns to the Waverider to find Sara hurling knives at Damian’s picture. Director Bennett isn’t willing to work with Rip, so they can’t get all the help they want. Ava and Sara console each other which Rip sees. Amaya and Zari meditate their way into the spirit realm, and find a lot has changed.
Nora tries to walk off her rage, but end up running across the assassin, and she’s far too used to relying on her magic in a fight. That goes badly for her, as Ray gives Damian some good advice about his relationship with Nora. Ray just can’t help himself, he has to play hero in every situation. It makes him admirable at times, but really works against him a lot. Their chat gets interrupted by the assassin calling and suggesting an exchange of Nora for Vogel. How the assassin knew where to call, I’m not sure, but the scene ends with another great line from Damian.
While Ray actually helps Damian tie him up (see above), Damian keeps ranting about all this being Ray’s fault. The supervillain takes off with Vogel, determined to get his daughter back. The assassin, meanwhile and utterly unsurprisingly, is plotting to betray them.
Amaya and Zari get some advice and unwelcome news in the spirit realm. They also get some instructions regarding Kuasa, and find out why Damian is creating so many anachronisms. It isn’t good news, and it’s something the Legends are unintentionally helping with time to time.
The exchange goes as badly as you’d expect, and Damian shows he really does care about Nora. Ray makes a cool but somewhat unlikely escape and swoops in to the rescue, which is something he lives for. He pulls off something to summon help, and the Legends come charging in, giving Wally a chance to show his stuff as Kid Flash. Nora makes some unfortunate progress with the Totem, but Ray gets something that will help the team out.
There are some happy, if confused, reunions aboard the Waverider, and Wally pulled off something kinda cool in his brief encounter with Damian. The team tries again to persuade Bennett to work with them and Rip, but that goes really badly. Badly enough to require some changes to the hierarchy at the Time Bureau. Nate and Ray have a talk about Ray’s hopes for Nora, which Nate misunderstands at first. Rip and Sharpe go back to the Time Bureau, with Wally electing to stay with the Legends. Rip reveals he still has some hidden agendas, touching on both Wally and the Sara/Sharpe relationship. Damian and Nora have an almost touching scene that gets disrupted by Mallus sort of popping up.
What I liked: Wally was being underused on Flash, so I really hope they give him a chance to shine here. While I often complain about leaving members of the team on the ship for no reason, the balance actually worked for this one. Nate and Mick, for example really just didn’t have much to do. Neal McDonough is vastly entertaining as Damian Darhk. Ray is easy to dismiss as a goody-goody, and they do play that up here, but he really is a hero at heart and that was clear to see. The hunt for the Totems, which is probably going to be the focus of the rest of the season, is getting under way. I have an idea for the Fire Totem, but I’m going to keep it to myself for now. I am enjoying how they hop genres so easily. What happened with Bennett was ugly, but halfway deserved, and the Hamilton joke there was funny.
What I didn’t: Actually, not a lot. It was a fun episode. I kind of wish Sara and Ava weren’t trying to hide their relationship. Rip still hasn’t learned that keeping secrets from his allies isn’t a great idea. And really, that was about it.
I’ll go a high 3.5 out of 5 for this one. It’s not a high drama or big plot show, but it’s entertaining, and really, isn’t that enough sometimes?