Spoilers ahead for “Leviathan,” the latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow!
The short version: Running out of time and options (there are just three episodes left!), the gang heads to 2166 to face off with Vandal Savage at the height of his power. Ironically enough, it goes better than just about every other encounter. Vandal Savage’s daughter also joins the team, in one of the quickest about-faces ever.
This episode was a ton of fun
Yes, Legends of Tomorrow is often a really dumb show, but this episode was a crazy romp in the best possible way. Ray Palmer finally got a chance to go giant-sized with his Atom suit and fought a gigantic killer robot to boot. It felt like a third-rate Pacific Rim knockoff at times (the TV budget was certainly showing through the cracks), but it was still insanely fun. Who didn’t fist-pump a bit when Palmer literally punched the head off that robot? Good stuff. The Waverider crash was also a tense ride to the ground.
The fight scenes were also on point, and arguably as big as any set pieces we’ve seen all season. Firestorm was certainly missed (maybe that robot fight ate up a bit too much of the effects budget?), but the fight between Hawkgirl and Savage really felt earned. That fight has been a long time coming, and Kendra really holds her own.
But, for such long odds, this mission was way too easy
All Rip has been saying is that they can’t go after Savage in the future, because he’s too powerful, until they finally do have to go after Savage in 2166 because they’re running out of time (since the Time Masters are still trying to take them out). But after all that buildup ... this was arguably one of the easiest missions yet for the team. Sure, that’s a credit to them finally learning to work together and execute a plan (even with Firestorm sidelined due to Dr. Stein’s injury), but this was seriously way too easy.
The episode pretty much opens with Rip, Snart, Rory and Sara slipping in with Savage’s army virtually undetected. For a guy with nigh-unbreakable security and a century and a half’s worth of future technology, the team manages to get close to him with relative ease. Then, a bit later in the episode, Snart and Rory break into Savage’s base of operations and kidnap his daughter ... how, exactly? They just kind of skip over that part. Again, yes, Snart and Rory are savvy criminals — but this is a few bridges too far to suspend disbelief.
Then, in just a few scenes, Snart manages to convince Savage’s daughter, Cassandra, to turn on her father and help them kill him. Snart certainly does a good job of convincing her, tapping into his own daddy issues, but the whole thing just happens so fast. You keep waiting for a twist, but nope, he really convinced her to kill her dad in the span of just a couple of hours. Go Snart, I guess?
Then the final battle against Savage goes better than any other fight all season — despite the fact that Savage literally commands an entire army now. Admittedly, Savage’s daughter did help them gain access for the final fight, but the dude is still the supreme leader. Should they really just be able to stroll in, beat the crap out of him and walk out with his unconscious body? We’re leading up to the climax of the show with just three episodes left, but this really felt rushed. Considering how many stories they strung out into two-parters along the way, this one could’ve really benefited from some breathing room.
The team finally does something smart
Viewers (myself included) have been screaming at the TV most of the season, because whenever the gang has Savage on the ropes, they end up leaving him to lick his wounds ... when they literally have a jail cell on a high-tech, time-traveling spaceship. Why not just yank him out of the time stream 100+ years ago and toss him in high security jail in the middle of nowhere in a forgotten time? Well, because then you wouldn’t have a show, but still. Once Kendra lays a whipping on Savage, they carry him back to the ship and take him prisoner. How did on one think to do this before? The show is dumb-fun, and we knew that coming in, but it’s just frustrating.
Kendra also comes up with a really good idea to create a weapon to battle Savage, by melting down her old bracelet and covering Carter’s mace with the gold. Since the only McGuffin that can kill Savage is something from the night they were killed the first time, it’s actually a very savvy move. Considering how few and far between those are, it’s worth pointing out.
Hawkgirl couldn’t pull the trigger
For once, everything goes according to plan, and just as Hawkgirl is getting ready to bash in Savage’s brains, he reveals that he has (somehow) brainwashed future-Carter to the point that he can never regain his memories again without Savage (again, huh?). This is obviously just a contrivance to keep Kendra from swinging that mace, but it shouldn’t feel so much like a blatant contrivance that you literally shake your head at it.
It makes sense Kendra would hesitate in this moment, but c’mon, you still have to take that shot. You’re in the future, Rip has connections — you can probably figure out a way to undo Savage’s brainwashing after you bash in his skull. Plus, you’re literally condemning the world to death (along with Rip’s family) by making this call. Weak sauce.
Random notes: Rip has already tried to save his family countless times, and failed. That’s tough. Considering all the research he’s done on Savage, how did Rip not already know Cassandra was Savage’s daughter? That’s a major lack of homework. The scene where the Leviathan tosses the Waverider was excellent, as was the robot head punch. So, Carter is officially back — and it looks like Hawkgirl immediately went to dump Palmer after bringing him back on the ship (though they did cut away before the conversation). Ouch. On Rory: So even after spending all those years with the Time Masters, Rory is apparently right back to his old self now? That is a weird arc, and it’s really starting to feel like it was done solely for that “Whoa!” moment when Chronos' identity was revealed. Sigh.
Line of the night: "Actually, they're compressed light beams." -Palmer
Up next: The gang has captured Savage, though in typical Legends fashion, things do not go as planned. Maybe Savage was pulling a Khan all along, and wanted to be captured?