We’ve known it was coming for a while now, and it’s been controversial since it was announced, but the time has come. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) are leaving the show. Ray was one of the few remaining original Legends, and Routh himself has made comments that he’s not happy about leaving the show, or some aspects of the departure. Ray gets an epic sendoff with chaos around William Shakespeare, and we get the first title parodying another DC title, in “Romeo V. Juliet: Dawn of Justness.”
Reflecting on things Damien Darhk said last episode, Ray has come to a difficult decision, and is slowly packing up his room on the Waverider, looking at various mementos and his ATOM suit. He shares his thoughts about leaving with Nora, and decides it’s time for one last mission with the Legends before he leaves the team to start married life with Nora. Their joke about morning breath leads into a big bottleneck for the bathroom with the rest of the team annoyed at Zari’s lengthy morning rituals. Why in the world a ship that size has only one bathroom I have no idea. That screams of poor design to me. You’d think they’d put in another one at the very least. At any rate, Ray uses the crowd to announce his departure to everyone except his best friend Nate Haywood. Nate arrives late, and no one wants to break the news to him.
It’s unclear exactly how this happens, but Mona turns up on the ship to talk with Mick about their shared career as Rebecca Silver, and talk about the troll Mick found out so much about last time. Packing up his lab, Ray notices that Rasputin’s bits and Marie Antionette and her head are all gone, and gets told about Astra recalling those who failed her to Hell. Charlie briefs the team on what she knows about the Loom of Fate, and the team sets up for a new mission. The talk is laced with hints about Ray telling Nate he’s leaving, but Ray keeps evading the issue.
Journeying to 1594 London, Charlie and the male members of the team go looking for her contact here: William Shakespeare. Sara sends them off with a really bad British accent that draws looks and even a comment from Constantine. Arriving in the past, John happily comments that London hasn’t changed as they walk around a bar fight. They find Shakespeare easily enough, and, with some prompting, he admits he sold the ring that Charlie left with him. Since the ring is, of course, what they need to hunt the Loom of Fate, it kicks off a whole bizarre string of shenanigans to get it back and help out Shakespeare, who apparently has writers’ block as he struggles with Romeo and Juliette. This leads to a lot of discussion and Zari being pulled in to the infamous “Book Club.”
Mick and Ray debate how to handle getting the ring back, and, while Ray is building the case for something epic with a weird, way out of place Mission Impossible theme, Charlie just goes and steals it. Ray continues to avoid telling Nate about his leaving, and Nate decides late 1500’s London is the perfect place for Ray’s bachelor party. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? Back on the ship, book club also switches to a bachelorette party. One thing that was a bit odd; Sara keeps talking about the “boys” being busy in London. I get Charlie’s a shifter, but her “base” form sure seems to be female. Down in Hell, Astra works with the mysterious Coin Maker to go spy on Constantine. For someone who is supposedly so acclimated to Hell, Astra keeps needing to get convinced to do the wrong thing.
While the women’s party turns to scooter races (thanks, Genghis) and strippers, the men’s gathering turns into a surprise sharing, where Mick makes a stunning announcement before things turn into a drunken brawl and showcase some powers and abilities that are really out of place in this time. Unlike almost every other time they’ve done this, people actually notice. In the midst of the brawl, Constantine realizes he’s being spied on, and takes countermeasures. The fight attracts the wrong kind of attention, and they kick off a major ripple in time. Unlike their motto, this time the Legends don’t screw things up for the better. A somewhat slurring Sara reads them the riot act then tries to give Ray some advice about talking to Nate. This turns into a teary goodbye between Sara and Ray.
Nothing is so bad it can’t spawn a really weird plan, and this is no exception. The Legends see odd versions of themselves as they go back to try and clean up their mess. By some chance (and poor writing convention), Shakespeare’s concerns about his writing mirror Ray’s about leaving the ship and the team. Unfortunately, Nate overhears something important, putting him in the worst mood to try and be fixing something delicate. Petulantly sulking on the ship, Nate has an unpleasant scene with Ray before Sara comes around to talk to the sulking Steel, and then the intrepid captain gets an idea.
While Ray sadly packs, Sara leads the team on a truly weird mission that, in her own words, she doesn’t think will work “but Ray would.” Some of the cast get to show off their acting chops, and turn in a surprisingly good performance as they jumpstart Shakespeare’s career in spite of the man himself. Ray says his farewells to Gideon as the show goes on and Nate gets sidetracked in a big swashbuckler-style fight. The play mirrors events as Romeo and Juliette part and Ray and Nate say their long-delayed goodbye.
In the aftermath of the major (and classic) drama, there are various smaller, personal dramas. Nate and Sara reflect on friendship and bro hugs. Mona and Mick talk about Rebecca Silver and family, as well as Mick’s odd preferences in Shakespeare. Charlie, Sara, and Constantine discuss the next step on the hunt for the Loom of Fate. Astra reports what she learned and plans are hatched in Hell. To close out the episode, the now-reduced team reunites for a late night toast to Ray and one more bathroom joke. Hell, if things are that bad, use the airlock and vent it to space.
What I liked: It was good to see Mona again. They frequently didn’t seem to know what to do with her, but she was used well here. I was damn impressed with Tala Ashe/Zari’s performance. The woman is skilled. It was interesting hearing John’s take on the Loom, after Charlie’s frequent warnings and protests about it. The scooter races were funny. Mick did well in several scenes.
What I didn’t: Ray’s departure was handled badly on every level. The writing wasn’t that good, and Brandon Routh, Ray himself, has said he wasn’t happy with how it was done. He pointed out, among other things, that Ray didn’t get to say goodbye to Mick, and that, in the comics, Ryan Choi carries on as the Atom, but Ray took his suit with him so that door seems closed, too. I’ll miss Nora less; her Fairy Godmother bit seemed more like comic relief/cheap plot device. The Nate/Ray drama was forced and felt wrong.
I’m disappointed to see Ray go, and at how they did it. I’m giving this one a 2.5 out of 5.