"This is what happens when Rip goes with Plan B."
I enjoy watching this show come of age; the plots are starting to slowly tighten, more characters are solidifying, and this episode in particular had a richer quality to the ensemble performance which had me rooting for a second season.
Although there were one or two decisions which seemed slightly out of character, for the most part, this episode was one of the best so far this season at establishing solid, developing character arcs. Almost all of the best moments had to do with our characters transcending themselves. From least liked to most liked, my top moments:
9. Ray's decision to go after Vandal Savage in his cage. It was dumb, it was impulsive, it wasn't what I expected from Ray. Sometimes the writers for this show write Ray in an emotionally young way which I think the character doesn't deserve. From losing his wife to the deal with Felicity to spending time as a tiny armored desk ornament, Ray's had a lot of time to grow.
8. Rip's admission about putting Jax in harm's way. This wasn't actually bad writing, it's just least liked because it was kind of painful. For the show, of course, this was a huge turning point. If Rip manages to move past his obsessive behavior and learn to put the team first, he could become the leader they all truly need.
7. The Jax-aging bit. Sucky makeup and physical acting. Hoping he comes back and gets with the rescuing.
6. What's Savage's long term plan? And why isn't there any discussion about how Rip himself is the one causing Savage to turn from a caveman into a time traveller? Had Rip listened to the Time Masters in the first place, Savage would never have gained the new level of power. I was sort of glad the Masters were already corrupted by Savage because otherwise that would feel like a huge loophole for me.
5. Snart and Mick being so ready to leave Rip. Loved it and hated it; loved it because right, Rip hasn't earned no trust, but also, I wanna see the team develop a little more unit. The road to building that trust is gonna be steep.
4. Rip coming more into his own as a leader with Sara as his conscience. These two work in relation to each other and have a weird sort of feel like May and Coulson, or Scully and Mulder. Sara becoming more of a pilot and navigator seemed to symbolize that move.
3. Hawkgirl kicking ass to save Carter and the team. Not too big on Carter himself; whether he has his memories or not, so far, his best moments are when he's shirtless eye-candy. I am, however, huge on Hawkgirl pushing past the whiny drama and making an identity instead of confusing the experiences life gives her with how she reacts to them. She was always both Kendra and Chay-ara, and when she reconciles herself to that she can make better decisions about her heart and future.
2. Villains gonna vill. The end of the episode was fantastic and pushed Vandal Savage into a slightly better villain position than before. He's been the moustache-twirler most of this season: now he's taking on a different cast, and seems more strategic and purposeful and far more scary.
1. Martin Stein's heroism in releasing Jax, making sure Jax lives even at the cost of his own life. Martin was a freaking hero tonight; he was the only member of the team who didn't seem to get manipulated by Vandal Savage, and he might be dead soon.
So now the team's locked up, except for Jax who's in another century, and Vandal is in control. Could things get worse? Probably.
Everybody remember where we parked
I think Rip has a superpower, and it has to do with his hair, which seems to sort of stay highly styled no matter what happens. I'm not sure my hair gel lasts that long.
What was the ridge Sara mentioned which Rip said she should hope she never visits? Those maps look cool, if they ever get made into posters I'm going total fanboy.
I liked the flashbacks tonight. I think they really helped ground the character arcs. You saw where they came from and see where they're going.
Snart: "As long as he's on board and breathing, Savage is a threat to everyone on this ship."
Sara: "So what, we just kill Savage and leave Carter a brainless drone?"
Snart: "Yes." (cocks finger)
Carter: "Let me go and I promise you I will show mercy. I will kill you without making you suffer first."
Jax: "I'm not leaving you or the team."
Martin: "Which is why I'm not giving you a choice."
Jax: "What did you do?"
Martin: "I've administered a mild sedative."
Jax: "You roofied me again?"
Savage: "Who are you to stand up against me, Vandal Savage, destroyer of empires?"
Snart: "Leonard Snart, robber of ATMs!"
In the end, lots of great parallel structuring this episode, from Jax and Rip's final screams, to Rip and Ray's impulsiveness. Dialogue seemed really well written tonight too. Only letdown, Carter has his memories back–and it seems this means Ray's shrinking solo again. Four out of four topless souvenir pen bribes.