Warning: major spoilers below! You know the drill. Don’t read this recap until you’ve seen the ninth episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. You’ve been warned!
It feels like it’s been forever since the last episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, even though it’s only been a few weeks. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder, but this show has been pretty disappointing in the first half of the season. Despite a great premise, and a handful of really talented performers, Legends of Tomorrow fell far short of what it could have been. But “Left Behind” was a really pleasant surprise that managed to do something that previously seemed impossible.
The episode made Chronos the Uninteresting into a compelling character with a very clever twist. Turns out that Chronos was Heat Wave/Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) all along! Chronos badly needed a personality and a motivation to make him more than just an annoyance for the team, and that did it. It almost makes up for Chronos’ bland portrayal up to this point…almost.
Purcell played Chronos as an angrier version of Mick, who seemed smarter and more in control of himself. Recruiting Mick to their cause was the first thing the Time Masters have done all season that made them seem like a genuine threat to Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and the crew of the Waverider. After Mick seized control of the Waverider, he kidnapped his former partner, Captain Cold/Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and left half the team to die on the time ship while stranding three members in 1958. Mick was especially menacing when he promised Snart that he’d use his time ship to kill Snart’s sister Lisa over and over again.
Let’s be honest here: the most interesting relationship on this show is the bromance between Mick and Snart. That was one of the highlights of the first half of the season, and their schism felt very plausible. Redeeming Mick after he betrayed the team didn’t seem feasible, and bringing him back as the team’s enemy was this show’s first real masterstroke. This also led to Snart’s very drastic move to escape: he froze his own hand and shattered it to get out of his bonds. That’s hardcore, but it was total BS that Snart had a new flesh-and-bone hand 3-D printed out for him by the end of the episode. Losing the hand forever would have been a more tangible price for Snart to pay for turning his back on his old friend.
The bulk of the episode revolved around Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée), and Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) dealing with the fact that they were seemingly abandoned by their teammates. If the writers of this show had any patience, they would have held off on the Ray and Kendra romance until this episode. The two-year gap actually gave them the time to develop a relationship (mostly off screen), and they were subsequently more believable together.
Routh and Renée still don’t have the greatest chemistry with each other. But, you know, baby steps. The conflict between Ray and Kendra over their return to the Waverider was well played. After trying so hard to contact the Waverider, Ray resented being rescued because he wanted to spend his life with Kendra in the ‘60s. That’s why he was so upset about Kendra’s willingness to abandon their home and all of their possessions as if they didn’t matter to her. Those hurt feelings between them made Ray and Kendra show more emotion than any of their previous scenes together. If this show isn’t careful, it might actually make us care about Ray and Kendra as a couple.
Surprisingly, Sara didn’t try to reunite with Lindsay, her love interest from the previous episode. I thought that was the whole point of introducing Lindsay and stranding Sara in the past with Ray and Kendra. Instead, “Left Behind” sent Sara running back to the League of Assassins and once again into the service of Ra’s al Ghul, with Matt Nable reprising his role from Arrow. Despite their history with each other, this might have been the first time that Sara and Ra’s al Ghul were actually on screen together.
Of course, there was also the prerequisite Batman shout out with Talia al Ghul as a young girl, but this means that she’d be around 66 years old in the present day. Unless Talia has been using the Lazarus Pit too, it seems kind of unlikely that she’ll ever resurface on Arrow. While we’re on the subject, Ra’s seemed unusually warm towards Sara throughout the episode, which didn’t entirely track with his indifference about her death in the third season of Arrow.
But on reflection, it could work. Because Ra’s recognized Sara as a time traveler, he followed her instructions for the future and sent his other daughter Nyssa to save her in 2008. It’s only because Ra’s disapproved of Sara’s romance with Nyssa and Sara’s subsequent abandonment of the League that he turned against her. But in 1960, Ra’s affection towards Sara meant that she could leave his service without consequences.
There were some genuinely funny moments as Rip used his knowledge of the League of Assassins to arrange an audience with Ra’s and a trial by combat between Kendra and Sara. The show kind of rushed through Kendra’s rediscovery of her fighting skills, but it also gave us one of its best action sequences to date as the Waverider crew ganged up on Mick when he attacked them in Nanda Parbat. That was impressively choreographed and it gave everyone their moment to shine.
Since Purcell isn’t leaving the show as soon as we thought, the crew of the Waverider decided to try rehabilitating Mick instead of leaving him for dead again. Thankfully, the writers didn’t race towards Mick’s redemption by the end of the episode. If the creative team expects the audience to accept Mick’s potential change of heart then it really needs to be earned. This time, it did make sense for the crew to rethink abandoning Mick, and the writers even remembered to bring up the fact that Mick/Chronos killed Kendra’s son with Carter Hall all the way back in the pilot episode. That’s not the kind of thing that should be glossed over, and it’s refreshing that it wasn’t.
This was legitimately the best episode of Legends of Tomorrow yet. It wasn’t perfect, but it was very good. If the rest of the season can live up to this installment, then maybe Legends of Tomorrow can finally achieve its full potential.
What did you think about the ninth episode of Legends of Tomorrow? Let us know in the comment section below!
Image Credits: DC Entertainment/The CW