After getting captured by the Darhks last week, Ray Palmer was sent with Nora Darhk to retrieve an East German scientist who deciphered the formula for cold fusion in 1962, before said scientist is assassinated by a younger Damien Darhk. Meanwhile, Zari and Amaya underwent a vision quest to find the Spirit Totem and Ray, while Rip returned to the Waverider with Wally West in tow.
1. “I Hate Speedsters”
Despite the promotional emphasis on Wally joining the Legends, his addition to the team was dealt with in brief asides from the main story, and his final decision to stay with Sara’s crew rather than remain with Rip felt like a non-event. It’s only natural he got off on the wrong foot with Mick (though what was he going to do? Run back in time to return those glasses to Jerry Garcia?), but his bad start with Zari felt odd, as it was Amaya he inadvertently insulted. Way to reveal how you feel about Jesse Wells there Wally, I guess you and Nate are two misogynistic peas in a pod.
2. Meet the Parents
I said last week that I found Damien and Nora Darhk constantly showing up to harass the Legends quite repetitive, so the episode fixed that by doubling down on them and dedicating a whole episode to their presence. It’s funny how when you give Neal McDonough twice as much screentime, he demonstrates how funny, charming, and chilling the character can be.
The episode really humanized Damien, showing that he’s an annoying, overly protective dad, which makes his sadistic, creepy tendencies all the more monstrous. I absolutely devolved into a fit of laughter when I realized, like Ray, I was becoming involved with Darhk on a first name basis. And speaking of more Damien, yes, Neal McDonough did play the character’s younger self, complete with a goofy but appropriately ’60s wig. He did a great job conveying how different Darhk was as a slightly younger man: he’s a very talented and versatile chap you know.
3. The Direction
After watching the episode, I had to look up the director, Viet Nguyen. I could tell this was his first episode of the series, as he successfully made its depowered Cold War thriller episode feel fresh and unique. From the start I sensed there was much more use of handheld cameras, and then came the stylish splitscreen.
A couple of scenes stood as feeling like they came from other, higher-budgeted shows: the well-choreographed fight scene with Vogel (the scientist)’s bodyguards and the younger Darhk felt moody and gritty, like an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Then there was the tense stand-off at the checkpoint, which more closely resembled a scene from Timeless (another highly recommended time travel show), or The Man in the High Castle, than a typical Legends of Tomorrow scene.
The back half of the episode, particularly the rooftop fight scene, felt more ordinary, which was likely due to all the effects planning in that sequence, meaning they had less time to block out the dialogue in a more interesting manner. However, that made the death of Vogel – whom I’m still unclear as where he was shot exactly – stand out for not feeling more intense and emotional.
4. Ray and Nora, Sitting in a Tree
You can tell Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford are married from how they keep touching each other, otherwise the director may have asked them to take all the slapping and physical contact down a bit. I feel that we’ve seen their attraction coming, given how he imprinted himself on her younger self in the show’s return last month, but I have to say, just because you cast an actor’s spouse on the show, doesn’t mean they have to be their love interest. Star Wars Rebels (RIP) cast Sarah Michelle Gellar as an Inquisitor, but her character didn’t fall for Kanan Jarrus.
Still, Mallus is presumably angry about Ray’s heartfelt touch rubbing off on the Darhks, so bringing her over to the light is going to be tougher than it looks. And speaking of predictable romances…
5. Something About Ava
In my write-up about the mid-season finale, I speculated that there had to be more to Ava than just her becoming Sara’s new love interest. And I was right, with Rip all but telling the audience she had a big secret and that he recruited her to keep an eye on her. What could her secret be? Could she be… Rip’s ancestor?!Continued below
– Ray could’ve protested the assault on his old boss a bit more.
– Adrian Hough! (He was nominated for a BAFTA for Assassin’s Creed III, don’t you know.)
– Oh my God it’s Grodd!
Next week, it’s time to meet the King. Elvis, not Kong, if we’re still clarifying things with gorillas.