Legends of Tomorrow – Blood Ties
Great performances all around.
Another week, another Legends of Tomorrow episode. This one might actually be my most favourite one yet. Unlike with the past two instalments, this one was much tamer in terms of action, but it managed to give almost all actors and actresses involved a moment to show their acting chops and to shine.
**SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT**
This week our team finds itself still stuck in 1975, due to Kendra’s injury. It seems like not even superior futuristic technology can fix what’s broken, so for the moment staying put and hoping for the better is what Rip recommends. Except our Time Lo…Master, has concocted another plan to get back at Savage, hit him where it hurts, straight into his bank account.
This is Legends of Tomorrow though, where things never go as planned, so by the 5th minute mark I was already starting to anticipate everything that could go wrong for everyone. But that’s half of the fun with this show, isn’t it?
Rip and Sara make an unlikely team, joining their efforts in order to figure out where Savage keeps his fortune and making sure they take it off his hands. Arthur Darvill and Caty Lotz were brilliant, each bringing their A game to every scene they shared. The traumas that plague them both might be different, but they manages to connect them, without seeming contrived or too heavy handed. Of course, the fact that they left the expert thieves ”at home” while casing a bank seemed stupid to me, but what do I know?
Still, that allowed for the other half of our plot du jour to kick off. Left to his own devices, with a smaller ship at his convenience, Leonard Snart decided to take a trip down memory lane and do a little bit of temporal surgery on his own past. Alongside Mick Rory, his faithful companion and the young, impressionable Jax, he travelled to Central City to steal an emerald. To everyone else it seemed like a perfectly self-centered, Captain Cold thing to do, but it soon became apparent there was more to the situation than met the eye. The man accused earlier by Rip Hunter of being thick, our hot blooded Heatwave, figured it out first. (I am still going to pitch for an episode that gives us more backstory on these two, because they work so well together and also, I am a sucker for bromance.)
Leonard wants to change the past and give himself, his mother and sister a brighter future to look towards. Jax, the youngest of their group is the one to remind him that changing timelines is a bad idea, but he gets nothing but a rebuke for his efforts. Wentworth Miller has a particular approach to Cold, his mannerism, the way he speaks, it makes Leonard Snart memorable. You won’t ever be confused as to who this character, guaranteed. But in Blood Ties things changed, there were cracks in his usual persona, allowing us all to see a little more of the man underneath the icy mask, making him more than the one-dimensional villain he seems hell-bent on being thought as.
Mick Rory might have not said much this time around, but his actions showed more about his character than words ever could. The way he immediately agreed to give up the Maximilian Emerald, despite his self-centred nature actually said a lot of the relationship he and Snart have, while also shedding some light on his motivations for being there. Maybe we’ll see him try and alter history for his benefit as well, maybe not, but so far I can only hope that one way or another, he’ll be given something more to do. I still feel like Dominic Purcell is criminally underused so far.
Alternating with these two stories – that I will shamelessly consider more important – we get to see Kendra’s health slowly deteriorating, with Ray and Dr. Stein trying to figure out a solution. I was not a big fan of Atom, not sure I am right now, but he did grow on me a little, again, mostly because of the way Brandon Routh chose to play his scenes. Victor Garber and Routh managed to have more chemistry in the few minutes of screen time they shared in one episode than Atom had with anyone else so far in the two parter pilot. Could be because he was finally given something more to do than pick on the inferiority of the team’s criminal elements. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything.
Back to Rip and Sara, after a major debacle at the bank where all supervillains leave their fortunes to be properly guarded, they take the man in charge back to their ship to get out whatever information they can out of him. The scenes leading to this one showed once more why Sara Lance is one of the best characters on the show. Caity Lotz slowly reveals more and more layers of her character, making her more than just the brute of the group, the muscle that can take out a room full of people and still crave blood. Her admission that she still feels the need to kill after the pit showed a more vulnerable side that I feel the fans of the character forget it exists. The fact that Rip showed up his own vulnerable side, while also being supportive was the cherry on top. But, I do have a major pet peeve involving Rip Hunter. He already tried to kill Savage once in the past, why, WHY? didn’t he just kill the man with a gun, opting instead for a knife?
It was ironic, in a painful and bitter kind of a way, to realise that Rip is single handedly responsible for at least the death of his family, after carelessly revealing their names to Savage and that he might also be responsible for making the man so determined to become immortal and hunt down Rip, someone who attempted to murder him 4000 years ago. Talk about holding a grudge.
I think one of the points this episode drives homes, if we take each story separately, is that they all actually need each other. They all went off doing their own thing: trying to defeat Savage, trying to safeguard a better future for themselves, trying to save Kendra, but there was no communication between them. No one knew (or cared) where the others were. They are still not a team by the halfway mark of the episode, but the signs that they might head in that direction are there.
The ending actually paid off, when Rip and Sara discovered that Savage wanted to use Carter’s body to share some of the gift of immortality with his followers. They ended up in danger, only to trigger a chain reaction that brought the more action prone team members together in order to save the two and retrieve Carter’s body, to keep him from being further desecrated. It’s funny how Carter is still the one managing to keep the team together, from beyond the grave. I still feel like his absence didn’t change much. Perhaps his actor is amazing in general, but he fails to impress me as Carter Hall. I feel nothing when I think he is dead and he might not be coming back. Who am I kidding? Of course he’ll return.
At the risk of sounding cruel, I still think Ciara Renee is the weakest link in the cast. Given most of her interactions were with the equally wooden Falk Henschel, things might improve with him gone, but I will not hold my breath for that.
All in all, an amazing episode, with great character development, interactions between characters that shared little screen time before, a nice enough focus on showing instead of telling and a lot of pushing the story forward. At least we’re leaving the ’70s. Go parachute pants!