by Billie Doux
We seem to have a pattern forming.
The team breaks up into smaller groups to attack separate problems, or go hit a bar -- and there is at least one huge battle scene with many characters and various superpowers. This week, Rip and Sara went undercover looking for Vandal Savage's funding, Stein played psychological games with Ray while they saved Kendra's life, and Snart tried unsuccessfully to fix his own childhood.
Rip and Sara
Of course, Rip had tried to take out Vandal Savage before, and it made total sense that he'd go way back at the beginning. Unfortunately, all it did was (again) alert Savage to Rip's existence. And now Savage has Rip's pocket watch with a photo of his family, as well as their names. "This is for Miranda and Jonas!" Oops. Way to go, Rip. Did Rip attempting to save his wife and son ensure their deaths, somehow? Did Savage not kill them in the original timeline? Are they going for something temporally confusing and circular here?
At any rate, this was Sara's best episode yet as she and Rip dressed up like Sydney and Vaughn in Alias and went undercover trying to detach Savage from his money, sort of like getting Al Capone through his taxes. All they managed to do was discover that Savage has created a cult of deadly minions who drink the blood of the "vessel" (in this case, Carter) so that they can live an extra hundred years or so. Does that work with living Hawks' blood? Could any of our non-legendary heroes take a sip of Kendra's blood and live a lot longer? I'm into vampires, but that sounds a bit yucky to me.
At least Sara got to kick butt in a gorgeous green evening gown and temporarily satisfy her Lazarus Pit bloodlust. Sara thinks of herself as a monster when she clearly is not. That's sad.
Stein, Ray and Kendra
While Rip and Sara were kicking butt at more than one location, Ray was playing Fantastic Voyage and vaporizing very tiny dagger fragments in Kendra's blood vessels. Stein was all about saying anything to Ray that would give him the confidence to do it, while Ray took this particular occasion to brood about the death of his fiance Anna Loring, who died two years ago during the siege in Starling City. I assume that was referenced before on Arrow, although I'm blanking on when. (Feel free to let me know in the comments.)
Honestly, I love Victor Garber and Brandon Routh, but I thought this entire segment felt forced and artificial. Stein told Ray he had lied about remembering Ray as a student, and then Stein took it all back because it was a ploy to bolster Ray's confidence. Seriously, I really don't care. I just enjoyed Ray playing Asteroids in his Atom suit. I was also wondering if Ray's Anna-related misgivings about harming Kendra were supposed to imply that he was seeing Kendra as more than a friend. Hey, they're almost certainly going to start shipping some of these characters. It might be smarter to wait a bit and see where there is chemistry, though. Ray and Kendra do not have chemistry. Not yet, anyway.
Snart, Mick and Jax
Leonard Snart talked Mick and Jax into going with him to Central City in order to steal an emerald, but not to make a ton of money -- it was an unsuccessful attempt by Snart to save his younger self and his not-yet-born little sister from years of abuse at the hands of their father. (Snart was probably inspired by Stein meeting his younger self in the previous episode.)
I'm still floating emotionally above this show, not quite ready to commit, but Wentworth Miller is definitely making me care about Snart. (Or maybe I should start calling him Leo, which is what Snart called his younger self during their brief encounter.) Snart may not have succeeded in changing his own past or his sister's (for more, see "Family of Rogues," an episode of The Flash) but he did give his younger self some touching advice. Look after yourself. Don't let anyone hurt you. Aww.
Who won the episode?
For me, Sara and Rip stood out the most adventure-wise, while Snart's personal quest took the emotional trophy. Savage was actually a bit scarier this time, which is what you want in your supervillain. Jax had a good episode, too; he was intrigued enough that he volunteered to participate in the emerald heist, and he managed to fix their newly introduced jumpship by, duh, reading the owner's manual.
What Rip did in the bank-related segments of this episode reinforced what he said in the pilot that the timeline is very difficult to change. All our heroes have done so far is either break even, or make things worse. Not being able to fix things right away is definitely good for a more interesting and dramatic plot, even though it's a bit frustrating.
-- The heroes buried Carter with his son, Professor Boardman. I'm glad they're not going to keep the bodies on the ship.
-- The just-now introduced jumpship made me think, "Wow, they have a shuttlecraft."
-- The guy who played Snart Senior didn't look much like a young Michael Ironside, but he definitely sounded like him.
-- Jax asked about parachute pants. This isn't the first time he's shown an interest in clothing.
-- Sara mentioned Thea on Arrow also losing control of her Lazarus Pit-related bloodlust.
-- Kendra was somehow psychically connected with Carter's body, I assume?
-- The episode title "Blood Ties" sounded familiar to me, so I checked the Doux Reviews archives. Turns out that I have reviewed two other episodes entitled "Blood Ties": Buffy and Alias. Victor Garber again.
Everybody remember where we parked:
-- Leipzig, Germany and Central City, 1975. Was that emerald mentioned before in the Flarrowverse?
-- Yet another flashback to Ancient Egypt, 1700 BCE. Why did Savage call Rip "Gareeb?" Did I miss it?
-- For future reference, you take the knife out of the noisy scabbard before you enter a room, Rip.
Rip: "I've seen men of steel die and dark knights fall, and even then I accomplished my mission, no matter what."
Gee, do you think that was a little DC movie product placement?
Mick: "Thick. Does that mean stupid?"
Ray: "How does Jax put up with having you in his head?"
Stein: "I believe he finds my presence rather comforting."
Ray: "I doubt that very much."
Mick: (to Sara) "This is different. I didn't have you pegged as the Eyes Wide Shut type."
Not as strong as the pilot two-parter, but definitely watchable. Two out of four noisy scabbards,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.