After a solid yet much-to-be-desired first two episodes, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has kicked into gear following last week’s episode and continuing this week with an episode that tested our group of Legends both as a team and against Vandal Savage.
Legends proved once again that the strength of this show lies not with the time travel of it all but the characters that populate this show. They continue to surprise me with their interactions with each other and the personal revelations we learn about them.
In “White Knights,” the team travels to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War in order to track down Savage and his next move. The first of a two-part event, this episode raised the stakes the highest that they’ve been since this series premiered as we saw these characters challenged personally and as a team.
Here’s the rundown…
Rip and the Time Masters
One of the things that’s been a concern since the team launched into this time-traveling-world-saving crusade has been the pursuit of a bounty hunter named Cronus, who was tasked with bringing an end to Rip Hunter’s crazy time-jumping plan to stop Vandal Savage. Cronus continued to track the team as they traveled to 1980s Soviet Union, and it appeared as if they were rid of him when a Soviet Union airplane shot him down.
Rip noticed something out of the ordinary and went to explore it by himself only to find his mentor from the Time Masters waiting for him. He knew that Rip couldn’t resist exploring the anomaly. His mentor gave Rip an offer to send his mission and he would be repented of all charges against him. As for his team, they’d be returned to 2016 and the timeline would eventually be corrected. His mentor gave him an hour — wow, way to give him sufficient time — to consider his offer.
Rip could have kept this to himself and elected to make this decision for all of them, but we’ve already seen hoe Rip has matured as a person as he shared this offer with Stein and Jax, who didn’t seem all that adamant about accepting it. The great thing was that Rip wasn’t the one to make this decision on his own, as we saw. He listened and acted upon the majority of his team’s wishes as he posed the question: Are you willing to carry out this dangerous mission to save mankind?
Ultimately the answer proved to be yes as Rip met his mentor and Rip learned the hard way that all was not forgiven. His mentor had played him. He wasn’t planning on ever granting him leniency; he had always intended to kill him. But luckily Rip had brought some friends with him. A massive fight broke out between Rip, Firestorm and Rory and this Cronus as Rip’s mentor scattered away like a coward. Eventually they were able to defeat Cronus, although not without Jax getting hurt in the process, which caused some personal problems for Jax and Stein.
The Soviet Union Problem
In pursuit of Vandal Savage’s next move, the group breaks into the Pentagon and discovers that Savage is actually in the Soviet Union planning his next move. So the group sets course for Soviet Union in the heart of the Cold War.
One of my favorite pairings on this show — Ray and Snart — once again was on display as these two handsome fellows teamed up to track down Valentina Vostok, a Soviet scientist working for Savage. But working on what was the question. That’s what these two white knights were tasked with finding out. While Ray attempts to use his boyish charms on Vostok, it’s actually Snart that she takes a liking to. Considering that their task was to learn about a project that she was working on for Savage, Ray was agitated to say the least when after following Snart and Vostok on what appeared to be a walking date — hey, any walk that ends with a kiss is a date — only to learn that Snart had not gotten that information about her project out of Vostok. But this is Snart. He’s cunning and gets the job done. He shows Ray her ID badge that he stole off of her that shows them the laboratory she works out so that they can break in and learn more about this project.
The more that Ray and Snart interact the more that they continue to be one of my favorite duos on this show. It’s because they’re so opposite and yet so damn good when they’re together. They complement each other. They’re not necessarily friends yet, but that’s something I can definitely see happening over time.
Ray, Snart, and Stein head to Vostok’s laboratory where Stein discovers that the project Vostok is working on for Savage is creating Firestorms, so to speak. Savage apparently had learned when he went up against our Legends in the past. Uh oh.
When all is said and done, Snart escapes with the core that is powering the project — although Snart is incredibly pissed at Rip for insisting he leave his partners behind — while Stein, Ray, and Rory are captured by Vostok and her people and thrown into a Russian gulog. While Snart may have gotten the core, Vostok tells her team they have something even better: they have Stein.
Sara and Kendra
Perhaps one of my favorite personal interactions this week came with Sara and Kendra, who both have their issues that they have to live with and work through every day. For Sara, she’s struggling with her bloodlust and wondering if she has any humanity left inside of her. For Kendra, she’s struggling to control the warrior within her. Together these two are the perfect match to work through their issues.
Following Kendra’s blow-up at the Pentagon where she clawed at a security guard, Rip went to Sara and asked her to train her to control that warrior within her. While Kendra is in no mood to train — she doesn’t want to be this demi goddess — Sara eventually coaxes her into it and the two spar. Only things turn south when Sara’s bloodlust gets the better of her and she nearly kills Kendra. Sara is overwhelmed with guilt and shame at the whole thing.
But when it comes down to it, Sara and Kendra are perfect to help each other work through their issues, which essentially are opposite in nature which makes them work. Kendra needs help embracing her warrior side and Sara needs help embracing her human side. Sara fears that her humanity — the person she used to be — might not exist anymore. But there’s only one way to find out. Sara and Kendra will work together to discover a side of themselves they feared didn’t exist.
Being as these two are the only women on the team, I’m loving how Legends is approaching their relationship. These are two incredibly strong and empowering women who are both struggling with a part of themselves. They’ll work together and get support from each other during the process. And in the process become friends.
Stein and Jax
This is a relationship that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy as much as I do. When it comes to Firestorm it’s easy to forget that Firestorm exists because of the people that make it — Stein and Jax. And those two couldn’t be any more different. In a way it’s sort of like a father-son relationship, which we saw Jax react badly to considering he lost his father at a young age.
The problem with Stein and Jax thus far — which came to a head in this episode — was that they both have opinions on how to best execute a task. And those conflicting opinions have caused arguments between them. Instead of working together as a team — talking through each other’s opinions respectively and deciding on a common measure — they just argue about why their choice is better. The idea of Firestorm is that two work as one. So when these two aren’t working as one, things tend to go wrong.
We’ve seen Stein be incredibly critical of how Jax throws himself into a situation — how he acts carelessly and puts them both in danger. But Jax quipped back at Stein as the constant criticism had finally proven to be too much. Ultimately Stein revealed to Ray that he is so hard on Jax because he is afraid of losing him like he did Ronnie Raymond, his first Firestorm half that died on The Flash. When you consider Stein’s point of view, you can truly see how much he cares for Jax. And you also see the parental instinct kick in to protect him suffering a horrendous fate.