The Time Masters are boring. Sorry, but had to get that out there before we jumped head-first into this episode. Allison Keene guest-reviewed last week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow, going in-depth about the problem with Vandal Savage as both a character and as an antagonist for the team to clash with nearly every episode. But while Savage may not be a great or charismatic villain, at least he has an interesting backstory and relationship with numerous cast members to play on. The Time Masters simply exist, a large faceless organization with no personality or face to rally for or against. I’m reminded somewhat of the Empire from Star Wars, the difference being that even the grunts, the Stormtroopers, of the Empire had an interesting enough design to make them a delight to see on screen, to say nothing of the charisma of Darth Vader and the Emperor. The Time Masters are a collection of stuffed shirts who simply stand around aggravated at Rip and company’s latest exploits.
To be fair, at least the relationship between the Master and Savage was expanded upon in a somewhat compelling way, with the secret of why the group was backing the immortal caveman laid to bare. Wouldn’t you know it, the futuristic overlords decided to put their stock behind Savage in a bid to stop the alien race, the Thanagarians, from eventually taking over the world. United under Vandal, the world would be able to fight off the race of winged warriors who count Hawkman and Hawkgirl among their ranks. It’s an interesting concept, one that is woefully unexamined in order to leave more time for the debate about the Time Masters manipulating everything in the Legends’ lives up to that point. Do any of the team members have free will in their lives? Will the Legends be able to reclaim their destinies? Does the audience care enough to think these are compelling questions? I would say the latter question is a solid “probably not.”
Settling into the events of the latest installment, the team is currently under the tight grasp of the Time Masters, as Rip is shown a glimpse into the future and a scene of Ray meeting his end. Luckily, even though most of the team is going through emotional torture, Snart and Sara have managed to escape and are attempting to free their friends. Meanwhile, Jackson is currently stuck in the year 2016 as he attempts to use the Stein of that time to help the Stein of the future, who is currently dying. (The time travel logic is sometimes exceptionally difficult to follow in this show, that’s for sure, with numerous timelines and story arcs bombarding us). Heatwave has problems of his own, as he’s seemingly reverted back into Chronos, but is luckily playing possum and kills the Time Master responsible, helping to free the others. Snart and Sara even manage to take the fight to the Time Masters with the Waveride, blasting away at the TM HQ.
The debate goes back to the idea of the Legends wondering how much of their lives were their own, though at the least this does lead to a nice scene with Heatwave and Ray bonding. The team realizes that they need to destroy the “Oculus,” the big MacGuffin that the Time Masters use in order to navigate and change history. As they make their way to their desired location, they are unfortunately ambushed by the Time Masters once again. With a quick save from Jackson, back from the past, the team manages to reach the Oculus, and Rip foresees the same scene that winds up with Ray dying.
A surprisingly hilarious scenario of musical chairs takes place as Ray is pushed aside by Heatwave, who’s willing to sacrifice his life, only for Snart to hit the scene and knock Rory out of the way. As Sara gives Snart his first, and seemingly, last kiss from her, Captain Cold is apparently let loose from this mortal coil (Editor’s Note: Fuck this show). In dealing with a show about time travel, no one can ever truly be considered dead, and I’m really hoping that’s the case here. Leonard Snart has been far and away the best part of the series, even managing to elevate some of the weaker episodes of the season through his sheer charisma and scene-stealing dialogue. The team, having just lost a friend, resolves to tie up the final plotline: Vandal Savage. Savage meanwhile had already managed to kill Rip’s family for seemingly the upteenth time and now has a timeship under his command to change the past even more!
What happened to this show? I remember coming into it with such enthusiasm, the earlier episodes promising a colorful cast of characters with larger than life personalities in a limitless tapestry of backgrounds. Ultimately, the show buckled under its own weight and decided to fall back on traditional plotlines and throwing its own rules out the window, along with the focus on character interactions. Considering Season 2 will most likely have a different team and a different modus operandi, I would hope that the message can stay truer to the original first few episodes of the series rather than the latter.
Rating: ★★ Fair
Notes of Tomorrow
-It’s really too bad that Snart had to die in order to hold the Oculus’ switch in place. If only he had some sort of gun that could freeze things in place.
-Man does it stink to lose Snart. It’s entirely possible, and let’s face it probable, that he returns in the season finale. We need him for Flash Season 3! (I’m hoping for the Rogue War premise from the comics)
– Jackson: “Relax, you don’t die.”
Stein: “Horribly maimed?”
-Snart: “Even the best laid plans can go sideways.”
-Snart: “Somebody order up a rescue?”
-Heatwave: “Get me out of this stupid robot suit!”
-Jackson: “I’ll get over the roofie thing.”
-Sara: “Why would they want you die?”
Heatwave: “Have you ever heard the things that come out of his mouth?”
-Ray: “If I’m going to die, at least I don’t have to stay on my diet!”
-Stein: “Why aren’t any of you excited about this?”
-Rip: “Ray is in my pocket!”
-Snart: “There are no strings on me.” (This quote is really making the rounds of comic book properties between this and Avengers: Age of Ultron).