Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the third episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You’ve been warned!
Are you ready to watch Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall? Of course… it just won’t be happening on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Rip Hunter’s (Arthur Darvill) line was the most overt reference to Superman and Batman that the Arrowverse has had to date. But outside of The Flash’s upcoming crossover with Supergirl, that side of the DCU isn’t coming out to play.
For the third episode of Legends of Tomorrow, the team was once again stuck in 1975. The episode came very close to overdoing that particular time period. Perhaps that’s why the actual opening sequence was so exciting. In ancient Egypt, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) was confronted by an assassin who turned out to be none other than Rip Hunter. However, Hunter quickly found himself outmatched.
In the present (or 1975, for the purposes of this episode), Hunter tried to rally his team. Privately, Hunter admitted to Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) that his speech was a facade and he didn’t actually have a plan. Instead of wallowing in despair, Sara came up with a reasonable course of action: cut Savage off from his money. That was a very solid idea, and “Blood Ties” turned out to have a good handle on Sara and her role in the series.
It helps that Caity Lotz and her stunt double were so much fun to watch in action while Sara decimated the bank that reportedly held Savage’s fortune. It was darkly amusing to see Hunter plead for the lives of the evil assassin bankers because he couldn’t get anything out the bankers’ primitive 1975 computer. This was Hunter’s first glimpse at Sara’s bloodlust, a direct continuation of her status quo from Arrow. The scene where Hunter confronted Sara about this was a little weak, but their overall dynamic together was fun.
The B-plot started when Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) convinced Jax (Franz Drameh) to take them to Central City for a jewel heist in one of Hunter’s spare shuttles. But the real reason behind Cold’s actions was fascinating. He attempted to change his abusive childhood by giving his father the emerald that would have gotten sent him to jail if he had tried to steal it. Because of the recap at the start of the episode, I had the slim hope that Michael Ironside was going to reprise his role as Cold’s father, Lester Snart. but instead it was Jason Beaudoin, a much younger actor.
Miller had a particularly great moment as Cold met his much younger self and tried to impart the advice that he wished he had been given the first time: “Don’t let anyone hurt you.” In theory, that could be the reason that Cold adopted his largely emotionless demeanor. If he followed his own advice, Cold could have been a very different man. But given the ending of the episode, it’s unlikely that Cold changed anything.
Cold’s unsubtle threats to his father were also entertaining, especially when the concept of time travel went right over the head of the young Lewis Snart. Cold’s father didn’t have the imagination for that concept, and time travel stories weren’t as common in the ‘70s. Getting back to Cold, another good moment came near the end of the episode when he realized that his efforts had been for nothing. Lewis Snart still went to jail (for trying to sell the stolen emerald, this time), ensuring that Cold’s past played out just as it always had.
The final subplot of the episode revolved around Ray Palmer, a.k.a. the Atom (Brandon Routh) and Martin Stein (Victor Garber) as they tried to save Kendra/Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée) from the shards of her sacred dagger inside her body. Routh and Garber are two of the most talented cast members on this show, which is why it was so surprising that this storyline felt forced. Ray’s crisis of conscience seemed to come out of nowhere and the interplay between Ray and Stein just wasn’t clicking. The writing in their scenes was particularly bad, and that was probably to blame for their lack of chemistry. Even Ray’s Fantastic Voyage riff inside of Hawkgirl’s body couldn’t save this pit stop.
One of the more interesting aspects of the episode dealt with the mythology that Savage created for himself and for Hunter. Savage revealed that he had set himself up as a god by building a cult of personality around him based on his ability to cheat death and because he can use Hawkman’s blood to pass on a limited version of his immortality. Savage even cast Hunter in the role of the devil within the minds of Savage’s minions.
For someone who is supposedly a time master, Hunter doesn’t seem to be very good at time travel. He and Sara were quickly captured and forced to watch Savage perform his blood ritual on Carter’s body. Hunter also gave up the names of his wife and son to Savage, as well as their pictures in a locket. That means Savage’s impending murder of Hunter’s family was far more personal than it initially appeared.
Thanks to some convenient visions from the reawakened Hawkgirl, Hunter’s team rode to the rescue and they were able to defeat Savage and his mercenaries. It was a solid action scene, and it led to Sara briefly overcoming her bloodlust. Hunter stabbed Savage, but he was physically unable to kill him. It’s not entirely clear why the team didn’t steal back Savage’s sacred dagger or use the opportunity to catch Savage and put him in confinement on the Waverunner. If they can’t kill Savage, couldn’t they at least dump him far enough in the past that no one would care?
Before moving on to 1986, Hunter and the team held a funeral for Carter and bonded. Although Hunter and his team said that they won’t ditch each other again, I don’t think the writers on this show really know what to do with the entire team as a working unit. By necessity, the three episodes so far have split the team up, and that probably won’t change anytime soon.
There was a strange lack of urgency in this episode, even when Hawkgirl’s life was said to be on the line. While the majority of the script came together, it just made the weaker elements stand out more. I’m still waiting for Legends of Tomorrow to drop a truly great episode, but that hasn’t happened yet. This one was only slightly better than “average.”
What did you think about the third episode of Legends of Tomorrow? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image Credit: DC Entertainment/The CW