by Billie Doux
I've been mildly dissatisfied with the series until this point. The constant screwing around with the timeline when they're not supposed to screw with the timeline never made sense, and the characters, with some exceptions, have resisted coming together as a team. Both of these issues were just resolved in a very cool way.
The Time Masters are clearly evil, but they had a reason for what they did: the Thanagar attack on Earth in 2175 that would kill everyone. Savage as the Earth's dictator was their John Connor, important in unifying and leading the world's fight against these aliens. Really?
So the Time Masters concluded that they had to ally with Savage, despite the destruction and horror he inflicted when he took over the world in 2166. They ordered Savage to kill Rip's family so that Rip would go rogue and change the timeline. They were using Rip this entire time; he was only doing what they ultimately wanted him to do. That was sad, but it made total sense.
Since the Oculus at the far end of the Vanishing Point was the only method of shaping time, Ray Palmer came up with the obvious solution: destroy the Oculus and seize their destiny back, and that's what they did. This episode was anchored by what happened to Ray, whom Rip knew would die while destroying the Oculus, and the choices made by Mick Rory.
I love what they've done with Mick this season. Being changed into Chronos gave his original dumb criminal character smarts and dimension and gave him a terrific new backstory. Initially, Mick resisted the brainwashing that made him Chronos by focusing on revenge against the Legends team. This time while being brainwashed, Mick again focused on the team, but this time on how screwed they would be without him to save them. We could all guess that Ray would die for the team, but it was so lovely that Mick was ready to die to save Ray. Mick's connection to the entire team is now solid, and we believe it. Plus he's still a hoot.
I have a lot of praise for this episode, but I'm also completely pissed off and upset about how Leonard Snart chose to die in Mick's place. I'm a fan of Wentworth Miller's, and he was a big reason why I decided to review this series in the first place. He and Mick and Sara are by far my favorite characters. How could they do this to me?
At least the lead-up to the Ray, replaced by Mick, replaced by Snart death scene was terrific. Mick and Ray bonding over cupcakes in the galley. Snart and Sara hiding on the Waverider like Han and Chewy did in the Millennium Falcon. Snart's rather sweet reveal to Sara that he was thinking that the two of them could start a romantic relationship. Snart wearing a pinky ring from his first unsuccessful job with Mick as a reminder of how the best laid plans can still go wrong, and slipping the ring into Mick's pocket before he died. Sara kissing Snart goodbye in his final moments actually made me cry.
I can't handle the idea of this series continuing without Wentworth Miller. But Leonard Snart did die taking down a powerful time-manipulating object, so resurrecting him would make story sense. I can imagine them possibly snapping him back to 2016, much like Jax's aging body being repaired by the jumpship.
(And of course, the answer is out there on the internet. If you want to know what Wentworth Miller's future involvement will or will not be, see this article on Deadline. Note that the URL itself is misleading, and doesn't tell the whole story.)
How about Jax showing up in the jumpship and saving the day? Jax has grown up and changed so much during the five months of their mission; he's not just an auto mechanic and Firestorm sidekick any more. I loved that Jax returned to the rooftop in 2016, recruited Martin Stein before the start of their mission, and even pre-forgave him for the drugging thing. That was adorable.
Finally, I guess I must discuss Vandal Savage. He's out there now with a timeship of his own, and he has Kendra and Carter. A whole lot of plot real estate could be saved if that ship simply blew up and obliterated all three of them, but we know that won't happen.
Now that the Oculus has been destroyed, everyone is "sailing without a map" as far as changing the timeline is concerned. Will Rip ever find a way to save Miranda and Jonas, whom we saw die yet again in this episode? What about the aliens in 2175?
Everyone remember where we parked:
-- This week we visited the Vanishing Point, 2016 Star City and Central City, and 2166 London again.
-- The Vanishing Point decor felt a lot like original Doctor Who. The prison modules in cellblock 4587 were cool looking, but they didn't appear to include bathroom facilities. That always bothers me.
-- Note how we never saw Carter. He must have a different appearance contract than the other actors.
-- The scene where the computers sang "Love Will Keep Us Together" was very funny.
-- How long can Martin and Jax exist apart without exploding? It seems vague and plot-driven. I don't remember if the actual interval has ever been mentioned.
-- I like Sara as the Waverider pilot. And I'm starting to wonder if they could write out Rip Hunter. They could now, couldn't they?
Savage: "Those straps were forged by Tiberian steel."
I immediately thought of James Tiberius Kirk. Plus they brainwashed Mick in the neural neutralizer from the original Star Trek.
Mick: "Get me out of this stupid robot suit."
Ray: "...a future where I'm dead, apparently."
Sara: "And why would they want you dead?"
Mick: "Have you listened to what comes out of his mouth?"
Rip: "If I'm going to be someone's puppet, then I'm going to be the one who cuts his own bloody strings."
Mick: "And I like blowing stuff up."
Snart: "This is madness. I like it."
Mick: (to Ray) "If you tell the team I actually care, I'll shave your head."
Martin: "Based on Captain Hunter's description, the Oculus is a massive temporal computer most likely powered by a scaled down supernova contained at the bottom of the wellspring. Why aren't any of you more excited about this?"
Sara: "We're excited to blow it up."
Snart: "There are no strings on me."
As last words go, those were good ones.
Ray: "From here on out, it's tabula rasa."
Mick: "Pretend for a minute I don't speak Greek."
Four out of four strings, and I'm looking forward to next week's finale with no idea what to expect,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.