Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the 15th episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You’ve been warned!
Before we get started, a word of advice to all TV executive producers: If your penultimate episode revolves around the “shock” death of one of your series regulars, it’s probably a bad idea to announce that he’s re-signed with the show on a recurring basis before the episode has even aired on the West Coast! Couldn’t that announcement have waited at least another day or so? The Legends of Tomorrow producers somehow managed to pull off a bungle worthy of the Waverider crew themselves by undercutting their own dramatic moment and spoiling it in the various entertainment news sites. Perhaps they were predestined to do so. Guess they better blow up the time stream to escape their “Destiny!”
Emotionally, the episode actually did a good job of showing Leonard Snart (a.k.a. Captain Cold) the door. Wentworth Miller nailed his beats in the episode as Snart essentially refused to let his best friend sacrifice himself for the team. Although the death itself was kind of stupid. I thought for sure that Snart would be the one smart enough to secure the failsafe without holding it down himself. But I can totally buy that Snart would rather die than let Dominic Purcell’s Heat Wave perish in his place. It’s like they’re brothers from another series!
Honestly, I expected Miller and Purcell to both leave the show, since they have another prison to break out of next season on Fox. So, it makes sense that the writers would try to go for the emotional gut punch of seemingly killing off Snart. The flirtations between Snart and Sara (Caity Lotz) were far more interesting than anything Kendra (Ciara Renée) and Ray (Brandon Routh) did all season. Snart and Sara even had their first and last kiss in this episode. But the real love story was the bromance between Snart and Heat Wave. And that was the one that resonated here.
Bizarrely, the episode pulled a Back to the Future III with Jefferson (Franz Drameh) arriving back in 2016 before he and the rest of team left with Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill). But the lack of originality can be forgiven because Drameh and Victor Garber have gotten very good at playing off of each other. Garber’s Martin Stein was also absolved for drugging Jefferson in the pilot episode because it was future Jefferson’s idea. I didn’t really buy that turn from Jefferson, but it seemed like the creative team’s way of making Stein look like less of a jerk for pulling that stunt.
Back in the Vanishing Point, the Time Masters explained to the captive Hunter that absolutely nothing they’ve done on the show was unforeseen. We already knew that Hunter and his team had screwed up on several occasions, and they helped Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) rise to power. Zaman (Martin Donovan) couldn’t resist showing Hunter the Oculus that the Time Masters used to manipulate the team and time itself. Hence the team’s need to blow it up later.
Legends of Tomorrow may have also given us a season 2 preview by revealing why the Time Masters backed Savage. The Thanagarians are going to invade the Earth in 2175, roughly a decade after Savage took over the world. And they needed Savage to repel the invasion in order to maintain their own timeline. That’s not a bad explanation, although the aliens would have been more intimidating if they were the Khunds or the Dominators, or any of the other warlike alien races from the DC Universe. For the non-comic book fans out there, the Thanagarians are a humanoid warrior race with hawk-like wings. Sound like anyone we know on the show?
Kendra and Carter (Falk Hentschel) were sidelined for the episode as captives on Savage’s timeship, and it was honestly the best use for them. I’m bored with Hawkgirl and Hawkman’s eternal romance, and even more so with Ray and Kendra’s relationship. But with the Thanagarians on the way, it’s doubtful that either Kendra or Carter are leaving the show anytime soon.
This episode also overestimated the impact of making the audience relive the murders of Hunter’s wife and child. If anything, their deaths were cheapened by the revelation that the Time Masters ordered Savage to kill them instead of murdering them because Hunter’s quest had revealed their existence to Savage centuries ago. There was a compelling idea that Hunter was responsible for his own misfortune, which was lost by the notion that the Time Masters planned everything.
Purcell had one of the better performances of the episode, as Heat Wave fought off his reconditioning and grudgingly admitted to Ray that he cared about the team. It was pretty funny when he threatened Ray’s prized possession (his hair) if he ever told anyone about that. But the really great moment came late in the story, as Heat Wave had no idea how to handle his grief for Snart other than deciding that he was more than willing to recommit to finding and killing Savage.
There was also one moment in this episode that was worthy of the Guardians of the Galaxy, as the sabotaged ships of the Time Masters began singing a classic rock song. I loved that joke. It was one of the rare moments on this series when it had a genuine sense of humor. This show could use more of that.
Despite some shortcomings, “Destiny” was one of the stronger episodes of the season, heading into next week’s finale. If Legends of Tomorrow can nail the landing, it might even make some this season’s weaker episodes worthwhile.
What did you think about the penultimate episode of Legends of Tomorrow season 1? Let us know in the comment section below!
Images: DC Entertainment/The CW