Spoilers ahead for "Left Behind," the latest episode The CW's Legends of Tomorrow!
The short(ish) version: Following Chronos’ attack on the Waverider, Palmer, Hawkgirl and Sara are stranded in 1958 for two years. Rip and the gang regain control of the ship and return, but Palmer is having some trouble adjusting. Sara spent the two years back with the League of Assassins, and it takes a while to break her free of the brainwashing. Oh, and the bounty hunter Chronos? Turns out he’s actually long-lost teammate Rory (who is very not dead), who was rescued by the Time Masters and is looking for vengeance on the Legends.
Finding a life in Pleasantville
After Palmer, Sara and Hawkgirl are left behind in the past, the writers pull a curveball and wind up stranding them in the late 1950s for two full years. Considering the relationship between Hawkgirl and Palmer has been a weak point, fast-forwarding them two years was a bold move. But, for the most part, it worked (though they still have about as much chemistry as two blocks of wood). They’re long past the middle school-y parts of the relationship, and the story also sets up a fresh dynamic as they attempt to readjust to life as a hero.
Palmer has always been a hopeless romantic, so it makes sense enough he could find happiness and accept his life in 1958 with Hawkgirl (though, for a guy driven to leave a mark on the world, you’d think he’d be a little bit happier to get back on the time ship). The callback to his fiancee was a nice touch, and you really do feel his pain as he watches Hawkgirl toss those two years aside like it was nothing. As for Hawkgirl, putting her in a place where she starts to lose touch with her millennia of rebirth and Hawk-ness was an interesting story to explore.
Moving forward, it seems Ray Palmer has finally found love with Hawkgirl. Which might be awkward, assuming Hawkman eventually reincarnates and comes looking for her (or if they run into a different version in the timeline). Pairing these two up seemed like a weird story (and it is a bit odd), but it is a nice F-U to destiny. So, there’s that.
Wait, Chronos is Rory?!
You have to admit, that was a pretty good twist. The team ditched Rory a few episodes back after he tried to sell them out to space pirates, and Snart heavily implied he was dead. Well, you knew he wasn’t dead (because they never showed the kill shot), but having him turn out to be the time-twisting assassin introduced in the first episode was a slick move. Gotta love that time travel stuff.
You could start to put the pieces together when he snatched up Snart, but the moment when he finally pulls off the helmet was perfect. The tension between Snart and Rory is palpable, and it took advantage of a character who was largely one-note for the first several episodes. An excellent twist, and a great way to reintroduce Rory back into the fold. Sure, it makes him even more of a loose canon, in a sense, but still a potentially interesting arc. Now, the gang will be working to deprogram Rory, and turn him back into the...uhh...great guy who sold them out to pirates? Eh, just don’t think too hard about it.
Ra’s al Ghul, we’ve missed you
Even with it being 50+ years in the past, the magic of the Lazarus Pit means we can still enjoy the intensely creepy Matt Nable as Ra’s al Ghul (first introduced during a lengthy arc back on Arrow). Somehow, they even actually managed to make him look younger. Having Sara fall back into the League of Assassins was an iffy development, and really seemed to undo a lot of the character development that largely defined the character dating back to her introduction on Arrow. Sure, she broke free of it eventually, but it was still a bit of an undersell for Sara’s strength and drive to do good.
Some nifty DC easter eggs
The other al Ghul daughter: This episode included a huge piece of Batman lore, introducing a young version of Talia al Ghul back in the 1960s. As Arrow fans are well aware, Ra’s other daughter, Nyssa, often shows up. But, this is the first time we’ve ever really seen much of Talia. A nice easter egg.
The Vanishing Point: While he’s telling Snart about what happened to him after being abandoned in the woods, Rory mentions where he spent most of his time being trained and programed by the Time Masters: The Vanishing Point. As comic fans know, the Vanishing Point was introduced in the early 1990s as part of Superman’s canon. The base exists in a metaphysical dimension that lies outside the normal space/time continuum. It’s also a base for the Linear Men, which is sorta the comic equivalent of Legends’ Time Masters.
Line of the night: Not many zingers this week, sadly, but Snart implying Palmer was one of the girls in the opening scene was chuckle-worthy.
What’s next? The team heads to the future, as the search for Vandal Savage continues. It turns out Rip has known of one year where they could find Savage — 100+ years in the future, just a few decades before his rise to power. It’s a dangerous time, apparently, but the team is running out of options (and episodes).