The show is definitely starting to step up in quality though I suspect it might take a few more episodes before they actually find their groove.
The episode opens once more in Ancient Egypt, where we see Vandal Savage attacked by a hooded man wielding a knife, who we eventually discover is none other than Rip Hunter himself. We do not see how the fight ends, but we can guess that Rip is unsuccessful in killing Savage.
Anyways, after that the show picks up where last week left off, with Kendra healing in the sickbay, only we soon discover that she is not getting back to full strength as quickly as anticipated. In order to keep her safe, the Waverider cannot jump through time (she would not survive the time jump), so the team remains stuck in 1975. Fortunately, there’s still plenty for everyone to do.
Dr. Stein and Ray Palmer are watching over Kendra, and they are the ones who realize that fragments of the blade she was stabbed with are still in her bloodstream and are heading for her heart (#1, Way to steal a story from ‘Iron Man’, #2, that blade looked whole later in the episode when Savage used it. What “fragments” broke off?). Unfortunately, Gideon and all her future technology seem unable to help Kendra (which is odd to me, more on that in a minute), so instead Ray decides to shrink down into Kendra’s bloodstream and destroy the knife fragments himself. (If Ray’s technology is from the 21st century, at least a hundred years or so PRIOR to Rip Hunter and Gideon’s time, does it not make sense that future medical science would make use of his shrinking technology to help in cases like this? I’m just annoyed that 21st century tech is being shown as superior). Ray’s first attempt does not go well, as he destroys a fragment but the debris slams into his suit damaging it. He leaves Kendra’s body and proceeds to pout while he fixes the suit, venting his frustrations at Dr. Stein who still cannot remember having Ray as his student. Ray falls into a
Ray’s first attempt does not go well, as he destroys a fragment but the debris slams into his suit damaging it. He leaves Kendra’s body and proceeds to pout while he fixes the suit, venting his frustrations at Dr. Stein who still cannot remember having Ray as his student. Ray falls into a funk, and claims he cannot save Kendra, which forces Stein to give the man a pep talk. Stein claims that he does remember Ray, but has been pretending not to know him to take him down a notch (because you know, that’s what good teammates do). Ray opens up about his murdered wife and how he feels helpless when he fails to save someone, but Stein points out that Ray can still save Kendra. Ray dives back into the bloodstream and takes out the fragments, and in the process realize that Stein lied about having remembered him, which he calls out the professor for after he saves Kendra. Stein admits that he still does not remember Ray, but only because he has had so many exceptional students over the years, it would be impossible to remember them all.
Captain Cold meanwhile, after admitting that he’s been paying close attention to Rip and the rules of time-travel, decides he wants to go out in 1975 and get into some trouble. Fortunately, Jax has been working to repair the Waverider’s expeditionary scouting vehicle (thanks to a handy-dandy instruction manual) and it does not take much convincing from Cold and Heatwave to recruit Jax into being their getaway driver as they go to steal a massive emerald in Central City. The heist goes off relatively easily, but instead of returning to the Waverider, Snart has his teammates stop at the 1975 Snart household. It seems his plan all along was to steal the emerald and give it to his father, thus saving his father from 5 years in prison (the elder Snart apparently tries to steal the emerald 2 days later and is caught and sentenced to 5 years in jail, after which he was never the same). Snart enters the house and confronts his younger self, who he advises to always protect himself, and never get close enough to let anyone else hurt him. Cold is then confronted by his father, who holds him at gunpoint. They shoo the young “Leo” off to bed, and Cold speaks with his doomed father, giving him the emerald and explaining that he saved him from jail time, and warning him never to hurt his family. Mission accomplished, Snart returns to the scout ship, as Jax and Heatwave realize that Snart was attempting to save his family, definitely a bit of warmth for what is usually such a cold character. Unfortunately, they soon learn that the timeline does not change, as Snart’s father is still arrested two days later for trying to sell the emerald to an undercover cop, and the Snart family history basically remains the same. Still, Jax comforts Snart by telling him that it was good of him to try, as Jax realizes Cold may not be all bad after all.
In the main story of the night, impatient Rip Hunter and Sara Lance are still itching to strike at Savage, even if they are still stuck in 1975. Instead of waiting to travel to another time period where they might have the element of surprise, they instead decide to try to weaken Savage by going after his money, which is one of the pillars of Savage’s power in the future. They infiltrate the oldest bank in the world, who will only accept deposits of 10 million dollars or more (which is A LOT even nowadays, never mind in 1975), but Sara quickly realizes they have been made, as she spots tell-tale signs of assassins and guards positioned throughout the bank. While Rip scours a computer for Savage’s missing bank accounts (did they really have computers like that in 1975?) Sara spots attackers incoming, and then she and Rip go to work, Sara taking down most of the dangerous folk herself in a bloodlust fueled rage. Right before she kills the main Bank Manager though, Rip is finally able to get through to her, and she spares the man’s life so they can interrogate him.
Back at the Waverider Sara explains that she is a monster now thanks to the Lazarus Pit induced Blood Lust, though Rip explains he does not believe that. He thinks he is the monster because, before recruiting the team, he traveled back to Ancient Egypt and tried to kill Savage, and even though he had the chance, he hesitated and let the man live. Rip believes he is the monster because Savage would go on to kill his family. They learn from the bank manager that Savage is holding a ceremony that evening involving the body of Carter Hall, and Sara and Rip cannot stand the thought of whatever perversions Savage has in mind for their fallen comrade. They suit up in sexy 70’s spy/ ballroom attire, and crash the party, but not before stopping for a couple of drinks and a quick dance on the ballroom floor. They make their way into the back room and discover a Kubrick-esque scene, a red room with Carter’s body on display, surrounded by Savage and his sycophants. We learn that Savage shares his immortality with his followers by letting them drink the blood from Kendra and Carter’s deceased bodies, which gives longer lifespans to those who drink, similar to the Lazarus Pit (more on that later). Fortunately, the depravity of the situation with her lover opens up Kendra’s link to Carter’s body, and she warns Stein and Ray that Sara and Rip are with Carter’s body and in trouble. Stein then calls Jax, Cold and Heatwave, who use the scout ship to crash Savage’s party and begin (finally) the action scene of the episode. Savage and his goons however, do not go down easy, especially with Savage wielding the knife (sans the fragments in Kendra’s bloodstream apparently) which can now lay down a concussive blast to temporary knock down his enemies. Fortunately, the team is working together, and while Cold, Jax and Heatwave escape with Carter’s body, Sara takes down the bank manager who escaped and turned on them, while Rip goes after Savage. Rip finally is able to “kill” Savage (though it won’t stick because only Kendra can actually kill him now), but Rip takes great pleasure in at least hurting the man, though he does inadvertently let slip the name of his wife and son, with the name “Jonas” being repeated by Savage so he can remember it (more on that later). With Savage “dead,” Rip checks on Sara and her bloodlust, but discovers that although she has been stabbing fervently in the direction of the bank manager’s head, she was actually just hitting the floor, maintaining control over herself.
In the episode aftermath, the team has a memorial for Carter Hall and Professor Boardman, and we realize that life really sucks right now for Kendra, as she is burying her son and her lover. Rip has some nice words to eulogize the moment, reminding the team what Carter and Boardman died for. Back aboard the ship, they (yet again) talk about how they need to work as a team to take down Savage, and Snart replies that as long as Rip stops ditching them, they will not ditch him. With that in mind, the team heads for the next most likely place to find Savage, 1986, and as Ray ponders putting on a pair of parachute pants, Jax stops to wonder what exactly parachute pants are.
THEORIES FOR TOMORROW:
* So was this the explanation for the Lazarus Pit? Is the whole thing just a pool of the blood of past bodies of Kendra and Carter?
* Rip mentions seeing Men of Steel and Dark Knights fall… does this mean Superman and Batman already exist in the Arrowverse? And what is the crisis that kills them? Could it be the same one that claims the Flash (according to the future Newspaper we first saw in the ‘Flash’ pilot?)
* Can time be changed? So far on the show I’d say no, not without A LOT of effort, as even Rip seems unable to actually change things so far. Snart’s adventure today probably is the best example of how time travel is going to work. Even if you try to change things, the Timeline will still make the same events happen, just altering the details a little. Almost like a comic-book writer retconning history to suit their needs…
* On the same “time being changed” topic, in the Pilot, Savage was very intrigued and ready to kill the little boy named “Jonas,” and after tonight’s episode, we seem to finally know why. Savage knew it was Rip’s son, which could only be true if time DOES NOT change, and Rip was ALWAYS meant to go back in time after Savage.
* I think Rip and Sara make a pretty decent couple, even if they both come with significant baggage (and the whole point of the show is to stop Savage so Rip can have his wife and daughter back, which could complicate matters).
Definitely feel like the show is building up some momentum, as this was a much stronger outing that either of the pilot episodes. At this point it seems they’re finally starting to get a handle on the time-travel nonsense though I’m intrigued to see where it is all going. Check back here next week for another recap and more theories!