by Billie Doux
Character bonding 101. Not that it wasn't cool.
This episode was all about our disparate "legends" working as a true team. When it began, Snart was only interested in rescuing Mick, Sara had a contingency order to kill Martin Stein, and Rip had decided to keep Jax and Kendra out of the fight completely -- not that he didn't have a good reason.
But the rescue mission came together when our time travelers began working in concert. Mick insisted on carrying Raymond out of the gulag. Sara couldn't bring herself to kill Stein. Snart couldn't leave without Sara. Jax literally pulled Stein out of the clutches of Valentina Firestorm, too.
I particularly loved how Prison Break meta it all was. If you're not familiar with the show, Wentworth Miller (Snart) played a man who deliberately got himself sent to prison so that he could break out his brother, played by Dominic Purcell (Mick). Miller's character had himself tattooed all over his body with disguised prison blueprints so that he could use them to break them both out. Loved the scene in the steam room where the Bratva guy said he couldn't trust Snart and Rip because they didn't have tattoos.
It's smart of the Legends powers that be to focus on Snart and Mick, because they are undoubtedly two of the strongest characters, if not the strongest. The best parts of this episode were Snart trying to convince Sara that she wasn't an assassin any more (does Snart have a soft spot for Sara?), and Mick refusing to leave Ray behind.
Ray got to be more than a square-jawed hero this time, too. He saved Mick from a beating during that Lethal Weapon torture scene, and did that when he'd already been badly hurt. Mick has been mostly comic relief until this point, but here he felt more like Lincoln Burrows, the good man he played on Prison Break. I'm sure that was not a coincidence.
Martin Stein came off well here, too. Brainwashed and tortured by Valentina Vostock and Vandal Savage, Stein didn't break when it was only himself in danger. He did break when they were torturing Ray and Mick, though. Jax isn't one of our stronger characters, and it was a little pat that the operation depended on his football skills. Why didn't they just have Kendra fly over and descend quickly to pull the breaker? But I did like the callback to Ronnie with the writing on Stein's arm, and the way Jax pulled Stein away from Valentina. Or out of Valentina. Whatever.
Unfortunately, Rip mostly ticked me off, even though he showed how brave he was in that fist fight with the Bratva guy in the steam room. He wouldn't let Jax and Kendra go on the rescue mission because he didn't want to risk their capture by Savage, and yet the two of them saved the day. Rip ordered Sara to kill Stein if it came to it, but morally and emotionally, that turned out to be the wrong decision.
The coda felt tacked on. (I prefer previews.) The Waverider got hit by Boba Fett while the "legends" were having a post-mission party in the Temporal Zone, and they wound up crashlanding in Star City, 2046. Who was that wearing the Green Arrow costume? Where is Oliver?
Everybody remember where we parked:
-- This week: the Soviet Union, 1986. Gulag go boom.
-- We got a brief visit from a fake Cisco, who subscribes to GQ.
-- Mick has burns all over his arms. Why is Mick so fascinated by fire? He spent a chunk of this episode staring into a lighter's flame. Was it to calm himself? To focus? Is there more of a backstory there?
-- Rip got his watch back. Too late, though.
-- Wentworth Miller looked great in that Soviet uniform, didn't he?
Rip: "Yuri the Bear sent me."
Raymond: "At least in America, you get a last meal. This communism really sucks."
Stein: "My country is by no means perfect, but at least we are free to criticize our government, vote in fair elections, and love whom we choose."
That felt personal to me. Victor Garber (Stein) just married his long time partner a couple of months ago.
Jax: "Listen. You're playing chess without all your pieces on the board."
Mick: "He took a beating for me."
Snart: "Raymond would take a beating for a total stranger."
Jax: "Barry Allen who?"
Ray: "Mick, this is a strange kind of hug."
Snart: (to Sara) "That's how a killer thinks. And that's not you anymore."
I liked this episode and I like most of the characters. But I'm wondering if maybe the show would be tighter if some of the less successful characters were written out? Is anyone missing Carter? I'm not missing Carter.
Three out of four strange hugs,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.