The episode opens with a drag race involving 4 teenagers in Oregon in the 1950s, 3 guys and a girl, taking place late at night. The race starts off well enough, with the guy and his lady easily besting the other car at first – at least until one of the their tires gets a flat, causing them to crash in the woods beside the road. Coincidentally enough, they happen to crash right next to a strange rock with blue linings glowing on it, very similar to the meteor rocks (not of the ‘Smallville’ variety) seen during the flashbacks to Kendra and Carter’s first “deaths” in ancient Egypt. As they investigate the rock, Vandal Savage appears, speaking of destiny, and looking genuinely threatening.
Cut to the Waverider arriving at the same small Oregon town, intent on finding Savage, but also very curious about the strange murders all over the town. In order to infiltrate and find the villain, they once again split into teams, though everyone (especially Jax) is quick to point out that Snart no longer has a teammate because of the cold way he put down Mick. So Snart gets paired with Rip instead, both deciding to go all ‘Supernatural’ and pretend to be FBI agents while investigating potentially supernatural deaths. Kendra and Ray, now apparently some kind of couple after their kiss, “purchase” a house in town and move in, pretending to be mixed-race married couple, which does not sit well for the backwards and racist white folk of the little town in 1958. Sara and Stein meanwhile get jobs at the local asylum, Sara as a nurse and Stein as a doctor, hoping to get to the bottom of the strange things going on in the town. And they decide Jax needs to pose as the new kid in town, even though everyone is aware of how racist the town is and how against Jax they are all going to be.
Stein and Sara infiltrate the Asylum easily enough though Sara is distracted by another nurse whom she realizes is also a lesbian, though she is very oppressed by the sexual norms of the 1950s. While Stein warns Sara from liberating this woman in the 1950s, Sara encourages her none-the-less, but is then taken aback when the woman kisses her, as it is apparently the first kiss Sara has had since coming back to life, and it made her uncomfortable to feel again. Stein and Sara learn that a doctor who looks strangely like Vandal Savage named Curtis Knox is working at the asylum, and has secret experiments he does in a remote wing of the hospital that no one has access to. Clearly, this is the end goal of the episode.
Ray and Kendra meanwhile, meet their new neighbors, who happen to be Savage and his wife (who disappears pretty quickly with no explanation). Savage does not think Kendra has been “awakened” yet and therefore does not recognize him, so he flirts with her, as apparently he cannot steal her powers until she grows into them (was this a rule established in an earlier episode? Who knows with this show. Another example of LoTL). He invites the couple to a party, where they are met with more prejudice for being a mixed couple, and Savage continues to flirt mercilessly with Kendra, until he is called away to the Asylum. Ray meanwhile has been snooping around Savage’s house, and has found a locked door, which he assumed is the man-cave where Savage kills people. Ray returns to the house the next day when no one is home, using his ATOM suit to shrink and slip inside under the door, where he discovers the knife capable of killing Savage in a trunk. He steals the knife and escapes right as Savage returns home, seemingly getting away without Savage knowing he was there.
Snart and Rip speak with the local police about the murders, but their investigation does not get much further than discussing the missing people and the strangeness of what is happening. Luckily, Jax has better luck as he has found the girl who was with the teenagers drag racing in the opening, as somehow her boyfriend and his friends have disappeared, and she was left behind. Jax befriends the girl, despite the fact that his friendship with her is pissing off the white folk around him, and eventually the pair go to the local make-out point, though whether Jax was really going to put the moves on her is unknown, as they are attacked by some mutated hawk-people, one of whom the girl recognizes as her boyfriend. She is wounded by the talons of the hawk-mutant, and Jax attempts to drive them to the ship so Gideon can treat her. Unfortunately, he is stopped by the police, who do not believe he is up to any good. The cop knocks Jax out, leaving the wounded girl in the car by the side of the road. (I mean, I get it, racism and everything. But does it make sense that a SHERIFF would really leave a wounded girl in a car to die?) Jax wakes up in Savage’s wing of the asylum, where Savage himself has the man strapped into a test chair. Savage is injecting locals with a serum created using the blue meteor rock, which turns them into the hawk-mutants, apparently trying to build an army of hawk-mutants who can take down Carter and Kendra (because he has not been able to deal with them one on one before? The whole plot this weeks REEKS of Saturday morning cartoon villainy). He injects Jax with the serum, and our hero is mutated into one of Savage’s warriors.
Snart and Rip track Jax’s car and find the wounded girl inside, and no sign of Jax. Stein is worried about his partner, as he can no longer feel his emotions, and the team decides to take action. While healing the girl, Gideon has found faint traces of the meteor mineral around her wounds, and Stein thinks he can use these to engineer an antidote to what is happening to these kids. (because…. yeah. I guess, Stein is a scientist and can easily make antidotes to strange genetic mutations?) With the knife in hand, Kendra proposes that she meet Savage at the asylum and kill the man, with the rest of the team waiting in the halls as backup. The plan goes relatively well, with Savage coming onto Kendra and kissing her, but when she goes to grab the knife from her purse, it is revealed that Savage has stolen back the dagger, already putting the pieces together about her once he realized the dagger was missing from his home. He unleashes his hawk-mutants on the building, and the team has to spring into action to put down the hawks and save the patients and staff. Ray however, already overly worried about Kendra and uncomfortable with the idea of her pretending to flirt with Savage, manages to burst into the room and save Kendra from being killed by Savage, knocking the villain out the window and allowing him to get away. (again)
While Sara takes down one of the hawks to save her new lady-friend, Stein and Snart confront Jax in his mutated form. Snart warns Jax to back off as he does not want to kill him, and then manages to knock out his teammate without permanently damaging him. Back at the Waverider, they give Jax the newly created antidote and he is restored to normal.
In the episode aftermath, Jax gives a new car to the girl because their date ended up wrecking her old one, and wishes her and her recently de-mutated boyfriend luck for the future. Sara says goodbye to her new lady friend, who thanks her for the sexual awakening. As Ray and Kendra pack up their belongings from their new house (did they really move all that stuff in? and do they really want to keep all of that? How big is the storage area on the Waverider?) Kendra thanks Ray for saving her, and admits she should not have faced Savage alone. Ray tells her he was being overprotective, and that they need to work together as partners. And back on the ship, Jax apologizes to Snart for judging him too harshly on how he dealt with Mick, an apology cut short by the arrival of Chronos and his attack on the ship. Gideon announces that Chronos has easily breached the hull, which Rip assumes is from new tech given to the man by the Time Masters (more on that later). As Jax, Snart, Stein and Rip attempt to retreat and make their way to the jump-ship to escape Chronos’ attack, Sara, Ray and Kendra approach the Waverider, and are dismayed to see it take off without them, and blast off into the time-0stream, leaving them behind.
– I still don’t believe that Mick (Heatwave) is actually gone. I think Snart has him stashed somewhere on the ship. To support this theory, Chronos easily managed to break through the bulkheads of the Waverider, and get onboard. I’m guessing Mick had something to do with the ease of the Bounty Hunter’s entrance onto the ship.
– I am thankful they finally explained the Hawk powers of Carter and Kendra, though it is still unclear why they got awesome Hawkpowers while these kids became mutated Hawk freaks.
– If Stein could so easily cure those kids and Jax of their Hawkishness, could he also not inject Kendra and Vandal Savage, taking away their meteor given powers?
– Why is there never a simple, intelligent plan to kill Savage on this show? I.e. – Hey, we have the knife now. Why don’t we all attack Savage, distracting him so Snart can sneak up and freeze the man in place using the cold gun, then Kendra can approach the villain with no fear of being killed, then end his life withe knife. Clean and simple.
I like the drama of splitting the team across time and space as the Waverider left 3 legends behind, but I hope they pay it off well, which so far this show has struggled to do. Also, it was really strange to have an episode sans Firestorm, and it felt very contrived for Rip to stop Jax and Stein from merging to confront Chronos. I don’t see any real reason why they could not battle Chronos as Firestorm aboard the ship, they could not possibly do more damage than the lasers being fired by both sides. Ah well, see you back here next week, as we try to make sense of what has happened so far.