Legends of Tomorrow: Moonshot

"What's done is done. All I can do now is look forward."

The Legends search for the remaining fragment of the Spear of Destiny while working through a few personal issues in what is, for the most part, a surprisingly fun romp.

Which is sort of the problem, actually...

I feel like there's a discussion to be had about inserting fictional time travelers into relatively recent events. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, but I am saying that I spent a lot of "Moonshot" uncomfortably aware that most of the people involved in the actual Apollo 13 incident are; A: Gorram Heroes, and B: Still alive.

To illustrate what I mean, Eobard Thawne is clearly substituting himself in as John L. (Jack) Swigert, the astronaut that, in the real world, was swapped in as a last minute replacement to the mission. Also in the real world, Jack Swigert is the only member of the Apollo 13 crew who isn't still alive, as he died of cancer in 1982.

Now, imagine if the show had gone so far to give Eobard a scene where he stands over Swigert's unconscious form and says something along the lines of, 'Now I shall take your place on the shuttle. Unfortunately this injection that I used to knock you unconscious will inevitably give you cancer. MWAHAHAHAH.'

I think we'd all agree that that would be in incredibly poor taste.

My question is, where exactly is that line drawn?

All that aside, the theme of the week is mourning the road not taken. Henry Heywood nee Commander Steel is regretting his noble decision to leave his wife and child to guard his fragment of the spear. Nate is slowly realizing that time travel might allow him to have had a functional father, and Rip is slowly realizing that the path he was on, that of the Captain, is no longer open to him.

As with all mourning, this manifests itself in a variety of predictable ways. Nate starts with bargaining, making a deal with the universe to return Henry to his family, timeline be damned. While it's hard not to sympathize with where Nate is coming from — a chance to fix three generations of broken father/son relationships would tempt anyone with his childhood background — he's been time traveling long enough by now that he really should know better.

Fortunately, he has someone who cares about him enough to step in where he can't and tell Henry the truth about the consequences of Nate's plan. Good for you Amaya, I've never liked you more.

Which brings Nate to his next stage of mourning, anger. Honestly, we've all known since Ray's info dump about it in "Land of the Lost" that Amaya was going to have to hear the news about her personal future, but to have it come from Nate, and with that level of brutality, was a real punch to the gut. Particularly coming from Nate, whose primary characteristics up until now have consistently been the chipperness and enthusiasm of a ten month old chocolate lab. Wounded dogs bite, Amaya.

Henry is pretty clearly in the 'Anger' phase of mourning his old life when Rip turns back up. (The punch kind of gives it away...) His anger comes hand in hand with another stock feature of mourning — blame. He blames Rip for convincing him to abandon his family...

...As does Rip, as it turns out. As Henry comes to acceptance, he and Rip finally have their 'clearing the air' talk (without punching) which in its turn helps Rip to accept his own situation...

...Which is, as has been abundantly clear all season, that Sara is a better captain than he is. Indeed, his authority has been undercut repeatedly over the episode. He walks in announcing he has an idea how to find Henry and they've already found him. When Sara uses the ship as a shield, he gets deservedly told off for time scattering the team against their will. The team no longer looks to him to lead. They look to Sara.

Rip deserves a lot of respect for being able to see that his time as captain is done and acknowledge it, telling Henry that he isn't the one who deserves the credit for the improvements in the team.

Rip: "We haven't got any time. Someone needs to make a decision. (with a nod) Miss Lance."

Good on you Rip. That there is character growth.

Everybody remember where we parked:

-This week the Waverider visited Manhattan, 1965 and Apollo Mission Control on April 13th, 1970. And, of course, the Moon.

-Ray, Sara, Rip, Nate, Amaya, and cannonfodder Henry get to go into space while Martin, Jax and Mick hang out at mission control — and what a pleasant surprise it was to see how well Jax can fake both rocket mechanics and a British accent simultaneously. That was a wonderful and unexpected character moment. As for Martin... well, more about that moment shortly.

So what have we learned today:

One of the ongoing issues with Legends in my opinion is that a lot of the rules of time travel are a little on the vague side. Sometimes time is always in flux, sometimes time wants to happen in one specific way. I thought it might be nice to have a place to note new information as it appears

No new information on time travel this week, per-se, but...

— I do wonder what exactly everyone else on Earth thought happened to Apollo 13. I guess the timeline was solidified because they landed in the middle of it so they couldn't just pop back and stop Eobard from getting on the shuttle, right?

We also learned...

— Speedsters don't have speed in zero gravity.

We didn't know that before, did we? Shouldn't he have had 1/6th his speed on the moon? I suppose this makes sense given the inter-relationship between speed and resistance, but honestly my physics isn't good enough to say if it all tracks. Anybody?

Quotes:

Jax: "We're headed to Houston in 1970."
Mick: "Yeah. Elvis. The Astrodome."
Nate: "And then we're going to rescue my grandfather."
Mick: "Then Elvis."

Oh Mick.  There was not enough of you in this episode, but the image of you in a shirt and tie with those glasses was the second best thing in the episode

Ray: "He's a little tied up at the moment."
Eobard: "Ugh.  Puns.  The lowest form of humor."

Sara: "Gideon's already shut down. Waverider is using gravitational inertia to float back to Earth.  (Looks around the room) What? I know science."

Amaya: "You know the consequences of returning him to the timeline."
Nate: "Yeah, my dad grows up with a father."

Ouch. However right you are, how do you argue against that?

Final bits:

— Ray's sheer unrepentant joy at bounding across the moon was just wonderful.  Nice usage of Thus Spake Zarathustra as well, even if it was a little on the nose. One question though — did he put the flag back? Last we saw he was holding it. That's gonna freak out astronauts in the future.

— How Gorgeous was Sara in her 1965 white coat and sunglasses?

— Hank Heywood may have been a crap father, but can we give him credit for breaking the alliteration pattern and naming his son Nate instead of Hector or Howard or something? Seriously, give him that much, at least.

— Nate's speech was ostensibly to his father but he was really talking to himself. And it was lovely.

— Did it seem unlikely to anyone else that Jax would be able to remain unnoticed at the fuse panel for that length of time in the middle of an emergency at NASA mission control?

— Can we please stop re-staging the end of Wrath of Khan for dramatic self sacrifice scenes? Please?

and finally

— Victor Garber singing Day-O... Holy crap. Victor Garber singing Day-O. In mission control. As everyone watches in stunned silence. Think about what happened there, exactly; Martin thought, 'My God, I have to create a distraction!' and his mind immediately responded with, 'Banana Boat Song. Now.'

There are no words. When he made Mick join in on the chorus I nearly wet myself. Seriously, I can't imagine how many takes they had to have on that scene due to laughing.

All in all a super fun episode with some solid character development.

Three and a half interfering British scientists.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, volunteer firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla.

9 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Welcome to the site, Mikey! and a terrific review to start you off.

I really loved this episode. It was one of their best, and it didn't even have Damien Darhk in it. I actually cared about Henry, even though we knew he would die, even though Nate should have already internalized the time travel stuff. I was also wondering about the actual Apollo 13, but I think that is one of the things about this series that will always drive me nuts.

The Beetlejuice Day-O scene in Mission Control made me laugh more than anything they've done before on this show, ever. Especially when Mick obediently joined in.

Franz Drameh, who plays Jax, is actually British, so I guess there's a reason he did the accent so well. :)

Mallena said...

What has happened in the LoT writer's room? I'll have what they're having. The show last season was so slow and serious, now it's a laugh riot. I rewound the scene of Martin singing at least 3 times. I loved Ray bounding on the moon and the sad story of Nate's grandfather, which reminded me of Sam and Dean's grandfather on Supernatural. He left his wife and young son, too, never to return to them. I'm glad that Rip is not in charge anymore, it just didn't suit Arthur Darvill. He should be the sweet comic relief, like he was on Doctor Who. That's not a put down, he was so great as Rory, but as Rip, he just seemed pompous.

Congrats on your first review here, Mikey.

yodudeyo100 said...

I really enjoyed the chemistry and just the all around moments between Ray and Thawne! It really worked! I also liked the callbacks to Thawne's time with Cisco and Caitlin. Okay, I really loved every scene with Thawne!

Patryk said...

I love how this show has clicked in season 2. They have good established villians who bring a lot of fun and menace at the same time. What I noticed though is that they never use Firestorm anymore. Jax and the Professor are either always apart or they are both stuck on the ship.

Anonymous said...

Why did you stop The Flash recaps?

Josie Kafka said...

Hi Anonymous,

We didn't stop. The Flash reviews are on pause as JRS catches up.

Patryk said...

Actaully Moonshot is the 14th episode, the previous one (Land of the Lost) is missing from the episode list. Just a head's up.

Billie Doux said...

Thanks, Patryk. That's my bad.

Josie Kafka said...

That's a good point about the astronauts, and one I hadn't considered. The line between "wacky history!" and "messing with real lives" is odd. But I think that tension is part and parcel of the show, at least this season: the show as a whole struggles to balance the wacky with the emotional.