It’s not uncommon for Legends of Tomorrow to borrow from the Arrow and Flash canon that has come before, and this week’s anachronism dropped in one of Barry Allen’s biggest rogues ever. Literally.
Spoilers ahead for “Welcome to the Jungle,” the latest episode of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, which aired Tuesday, November 22, 2017!
Sure, this episode was mostly an excuse to feature a gigantic, talking gorilla — but we actually got a truly poignant story for Mick wrapped up in all the wackiness, finally giving some stealth character development to one of the team’s quietest members. With the team a bit directionless while Sara recovers from her coma, Jax randomly picks out a mission and the Waverider heads for Vietnam circa 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War.
Turns out Grodd has been plucked from the time stream and dropped right in the middle of the jungle, where he’s set about establishing his own country with the help of brainwashed soldiers from both sides of the war. He has a grand plan to assassinate the president to spark World War III, hopefully causing enough losses to mankind that he can jump start his own Planet of the Apes-style revolution. The gang stumbles into his plot and manages to stop it, but not before Mick comes face to face with pretty much the only thing that can still spook him: His long-dead father.
We already knew that Mick had a dark past, having killed his family by burning down his house when he was a child (his father included). As Mick tells Nate, he only remembers his father as an angry drunk who sat in his recliner and smacked him around as a child. It obviously doesn’t excuse those actions, but Mick gets a chance to see his father in his element, in his prime. His father ever saves his life when a firefight begins, risking his life for the mysterious, monosyllabic stranger. Mick’s father was a green beret in Vietnam, and it turns out he eventually came home a haunted man, unable to forget some of the things he’d done during his time overseas. It causes a true crisis of faith for Mick, as he realizes his opinion of his father isn’t quite as cut and dry as the one he made as a child.
It wasn’t the reunion he wanted, obviously, but it seems to have done some good to allow Mick a chance to face his demons.
*Stein is still working to safely break up Firestorm, and has hilariously enlisted the help of pretty much every scientific genius throughout history. He’s putting up a front to Jax that he can get it figured out, but it turns out to be much harder than first anticipated. But, even if they don’t get it, Jax has proven himself a hero — superpowers or not. He showed his bravery by saving LBJ in the minefield (and was even rewarded with some classified pecan pie goodness). It’ll be interesting to see where this story goes through the rest of the season.
*Sara is one of the best characters on this show, but keeping her sidelined this episode was a good move to open up the screen time for Mick’s family history to be explored. It also provided some tangible fallout from the clash with Darhk last week, as it obviously does takes time to recover from near-death. Even if you are on the mend in a spaceship.
*Amaya is working through what she may have to do the next time she faces her evil granddaughter, and thanks to her interactions with Grodd, comes to the hope that maybe she can save her granddaughter from the path she’s on. It’s a noble thought, and gives Amaya a good arc moving forward.
*The line: “One nation under Grodd.”
*Though it seems like Grodd was falling off the board once and for all, Damian Darhk snatches him from sudden death and brings him back to the present day 2017. What is Darhk’s plan? Who knows, but we’ll almost certainly be seeing that monkey again.
Next week: The epic crossover begins. Heroes vs. alt-universe Nazis.