Jumping right back in where the first half of the pilot left off, our heroes are now aboard the Waverider heading toward the probable location of Vandal Savage as provided to them by the deceased Boardman through his journal. Though the Hawkfolk ask whether they could go back and save their “son,” Rip Hunter explains that you cannot go back and change an event in which you already participated as a time-traveler (I think it is basically that you have one chance to change time, after that you cannot go back and try to alter is again without causing a universe destroying paradox). Anyways, Boardman’s diary postulates that Savage would be attending a meeting of terrorists and criminals in Norway in 1975, so that is where the team is going next. Seeing as how they are trying to infiltrate a group of criminals, naturally Captain Cold and Heatwave take the lead, though not without an arrogant Martin Stein along to loan some gravitas to their cover. With the rest of the team lying in wait in case they are needed, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Stein, and White Canary infiltrate the meeting, only to discover Savage is not only there, but is the master-mind behind it all, gathering the villains in order to sell a recently stolen nuclear warhead.
Despite a rough start where Stein’s bluster actually comes in handy, the team makes it inside, but Stein’s overconfidence get the best of him when he forces Heatwave to race his hand to bid on the nuclear weapon, the only one to do so, and wins the warhead. When Damien Darhk appears (ostensibly working for Savage) and demands payment, everything starts to go downhill. Stein blunders his way into a comment about the nuclear warhead in this “era” which intrigues Savage, making the villain start to connect the dots that these heroes are not from 1975. A full on fight breaks out, and the entire team engages, with the ATOM springing from Stein’s pocket to kick-ass even as Jackson races in to form Firestorm with Stein. As the team takes on the villains from 1975, Savage watches in awe, clearly inspired by the wondrous powers and technology he is witnessing. To escape, he sets off the warhead, its 2 minute counter quickly going to 30 seconds as the ATOM tries to fly inside to disarm it (apparently the device has a very sophisticated anti-tampering device within, which to me seems a bit much to believe from a 1975 nuclear bomb). Fortunately, Firestorm is able to fly the bomb to a remote forest in Norway, and absorb almost all of the blast before it ends up destroying the rest of the country.
Their mission a failure, the team returns to the Waverider to be berated by Hunter, who informs them that the ATOM suit lost a piece of itself during the fray, which was found by Savage and has altered the future, resulting in a crumbling Central City in 2016. Fortunately, Hunter says the future is like cement, and it has yet to set in permanently, granted that they manage to retrieve the missing device from Savage. Fortunately, the device gives off alpha particles, which just so happened to be the speciality of Martin Stein in 1975. Therefore, he Jax and Sara head off to meet his younger self and find a device to help them track down the alpha particles of the ATOM part. Meanwhile, the Hawkcouple learns of a dagger that belonged to them in ancient Egypt that had recently been bought by some wealthy Russian, and because they owned it during that age, they realize that it could be used to kill Savage. Therefore the team decides they need to steal it, a mission that Captain Cold and Heatwave gladly take on, as it is right in their wheelhouse. Not fully trusting the criminal duo, Ray decides to tag along with the pair as they head off to burgle a Russian millionaire. As for the Hawkcouple, they know they need to be able to recite the incantation on the knife (for some reason) in order for the blade to succeed in killing Savage, but unfortunately it is written in a language that only Kendra (in her past life) could read.
Carter attempts to work with Kendra to help her remember her past life, but all she can recall are her more amorous moments with the man, which he seems very entertained by, especially since she still will not give in to her feelings for him in the present. The almost-couple talks, and Carter tells Kendra that he has been unfair in assuming she would love him because of their past lives alone, and agrees to give her space and time to decide for herself whether he is still the man for her. They attempt once more to recall Kendra’s past life, and the memory returns (though to be fair, in the memory she recites the poem inscribed on the knife to past-life Carter, so I do not understand why he could not have looked back and remembered same as Kendra). Armed with the knowledge of the poem they need to recite while stabbing Savage, the couple settles in to wait for the rest of the team.
After a nifty costume update by the Waverider’s era-proper clothing machine (I wonder if there’s a machine that makes food as well, as it would fit with all the other future tech that seems to have come straight out of ‘The Jetsons’), Sara, Jax, and Stein head out to Ivy Town University (FYI, Ivy Town is where Felicity and Oliver retreat to in their happy hiatus between Seasons 3 and 4 of ‘Arrow!’) to find the younger Stein, aka Stein-light. They meet the overconfident pot-smoking Professor and Stein is immediately taken aback by his younger self, even as Sara starts flirting with the man to get him to invite them back to the lab. Stein and Stein-light talk science and alpha particles, Stein-light dreaming of the million dollars he can make by his alpha particle tracking device (I have a feeling that dream did not work out) as he smokes a joint (I enjoy how open the show is about the “drug” use in this episode, and the comment about how it is something Jax has indulged in himself in the present). Eventually, Sara decides to simply knock out Stein-light so they can abscond with the alpha particle tracker, but Stein is worried as he knows that his younger self-needs to be awake that night in order to go out and meet his future wife. He sets an alarm clock for Stein-light, and then the trio uses the tracker to find the missing piece of the ATOM suit, easily (too easily) infiltrating Savage’s science team, which apparently was so easy a stoned Sara could handle it herself (things like this seem a bit too easy/convenient in this show for my taste). They head back to the Waverider, and discover Stein-light has been tracking them using a tracking device he created to track his alpha particle tracker (once again, how convenient. What’s next, inventing the “fing longer?”) Stein-light boards the ship, even as Stein realizes his wedding ring has full-on vanished ‘Back to the Future’ style, as apparently his meddling with Stein-light prevented the younger man from meeting his wife. Despite the flagrant disruption to the time-line, Stein-light is escorted out peacefully, and encouraged to live a good life (problem…solved?)
A the Russian mansion, Ray’s eagerness to show off results in him prematurely sounding an alarm, calling in guards that Heat Wave and Captain Cold easily take down. Once they find the dagger inside the house, Captain Cold reveals that they plan on stealing more than just the dagger, and when Ray tries to stop him, they end up tripping another alarm that brings a massive metal cage down upon them. (So we are supposed to believe that the owner of this house had a massive metal cage dangling above his prized collection ready to trap thieves, and no one saw it? This feel like a Bugs Bunny cartoon). Cold and Ray are trapped in the cage, and when Heat Wave attempts to blow the fuse box to help release them, he instead runs into the owner of the house, who surprise surprise turns out to be Vandal Savage (anyone who did not see that coming clearly is giving the show more credit than I was). Savage demands that they call in the rest of the team, including the Hawkcouple, as Savage wants a rematch, and is clearly in need of a power-up, which he gets by killing the Hawkcouple.
The rest of the team hurries to the Savage mansion, where they engage his guards as Firestorm flies in to save Cold, Heatwave and Ray, and retrieve the dagger. The team assembles outside the mansion, with Hunter giving Ray his suit to put on, and Hawkman grabbing the dagger to end Savage. While the team holds off his goons, Hawkgirl and Hawkman go after Savage alone (which already spelled doom in my opinion, especially when they needed ALL of Team Arrow and Team Flash to stop the man last time). Carter does manage to stab the villain with knife and say the incantation, but Savage points out that the dagger belonged to Kendra, and she will need to be the one to end his life. Savage then takes the knife and stabs Carter, mortally wounding him. Then, instead of killing Kendra to make sure he is safe and also to absorb both of their life-essences, Savage allows Kendra to speak to the dying Carter and mourn him, standing quietly in the background while the couple has their final moments together (which makes NO sense to me). Once Carter is dead and his energies have been absorbed by Savage, then the villain takes the knife and stabs Kendra. Fortunately, she is saved by the arrival of the rest of the team, and they flee back to the Waverider for medical attention. Then with a wave of his magic wand, err, by telling Gideon to give Kendra medical attention, Kendra is saved by the wondrous powers of the ship, and the team must decide (again) whether to continue the mission or go home. As you may have figured out, they decide to continue to try to take down Savage, and the Waverider heads out for its next destination.
But before they go, Hunter simply waves his magical time wand again, and reveals that he convinced Stein-light to go out that night so he could meet his future wife, thus saving Stein’s future. The wedding ring appears on Stein’s finger, and he is overjoyed to know his wife will still be there when he gets back to 2016 (even though he had no trouble leaving her behind in the first place).
THEORIES FOR TOMORROW:
* Is this truly the end for Hawkman on ‘Legends of Tomorrow?’ They are time travelers after all, maybe they can jump to a point after he has been re-incarnated once again and has grown into a man once more, and then recruit him again for the team?
* Will we ever learn why the Hawkpeople have wings? Savage doesn’t have wings but his origins are very similar to the couple.
* I wonder if the show will ever explain the memory challenges that come with time-travel. I.e. why doesn’t the older Martin Stein remember meeting the legends in 1975? Why doesn’t Savage remember his dealings with the Hawkpeople in their “present” forms when they meet him during the ‘Arrow’ / ‘Flash’ crossover from earlier this season?
* Whatever happened to the Chronos Bounty Hunter? After managing to track them through 31 years of history (2016-1975) did he somehow lose them even though they remained in 1975 the whole episode?)
While I definitely felt this was a much stronger episode than the first, the show still has some consistency problems, and a lot of the logic is difficult for me to follow. I enjoy the action though, and the characters have a lot of potential for meaningful arcs and real drama, so the show is not completely off the mark. I just hope they manage to explain more of the time-travel logic as they progress, and start having consequences for characters doing whatever they want in each time-line, as it seems far too easy right now to not change anything despite huge mistakes made by the team. Regardless, we’ll see you back here next week!