Rogue Time Master Rip Hunter travels back in time to the early 21st century to recruit a team to help him prevent a dark future where Vandal Savage takes over the world. In order to save the world - and perhaps all of time and space - they will have to be more than heroes. They will have to be legends!
Their first stop? St. Roch, Louisiana, 1975 - the day before the death of the professor who was history's greatest expert on Vandal Savage's life.
Doctor Who (the basic idea of a group that monitors the time stream and one member of said group going rogue in order to explore time and help people, Rip Hunter's character acts as pompous and mysterious as The Doctor, Rip's hand-held multi-tool acts like the Sonic Screwdriver, the special effects used to show The Waverider traveling through space and time are reminiscent of the time-vortex, the concept of Time fighting being changed is like Fixed Points), Star Wars (the Time Masters practice a code, similar to The Jedi, that prohibits Time Masters from falling in love or having children), Superman: The Movie (Rip's speech to The Time Masters is reminsicent of Jor-El speaking to Krypton's high council) Men In Black (Rip's abducting his team looks with a hand-held device that flashes a light looks a bit like the neuralyzer going off), Action Comics #552-554 (a group of seemingly random heroes, including Rip Hunter, join forces to stop Vandal Savage from taking over the world), Armageddon 2001 (a lone hero goes back in time to recruit other heroes to help him prevent a dark future from occurring, Rip Hunter's ship is named after said hero, Waverider), the 2007 Booster Gold series (Geoff Johns' wrote this series about Rip Hunter and other heroes averting time-based disasters)
Honestly, there's not a bad performance in the episode. The ensemble cast is gelling instantly and the slow building of these characters in The Flash and Arrow over the past half year has paid off wonderfully.
Some random character notes.
Brandon Routh gets a chance to show some emotional depth here, recent events giving him the inferiority complex the Ray Palmer of the comics had despite his many accomplishments. The technological giant has been made to feel small.
There's no small irony that it is the rule breakers - the rebellious college girl turned assassin and the two career criminals - who encourage Ray to fight destiny and point out there's nothing to stop them from changing their own futures. It will be a tight contest to see who steals the most scenes between Caity Lotz, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell.
On that note, I love the brief flirtation between Caity Lotz and Wentworth Miller as Sara and Len in the bar scene and I am officially shipping Snara.
For all the jokes that have been made about Arthur Darvill playing The Doctor on this series, it was Victor Garber who reminded me the most of The Doctor in this episode. This is not a comment upon his age but his performance here reminds me of The Doctor as played by the great William Hartnell - the old professor who is not above lying or deploying trickery in the name of getting his way, all for the glory of science! He plays well with Franz Drameh, and it's fun to watch the unlikely friendship between a former football start and a bookish physicist developing.
Talking of odd couples, the chemistry between Carter and Kendra is far better developed here than it was during The Flash/Arrow two-part story in late 2015. Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renée are starting to show some chemistry despite the awkwardness of their concept and the potential creep factor inherent in Carter's rushing to return to the love he remembers that Kendra has forgotten.
Finally, Rip Hunter himself. You can't deny there's a bit of a Doctor Who influence on this show but that's not a bad thing. Arthur Darvill is an outstanding actor (I loved his work on Broadchurch) and if the worst thing you can say about his performance is that he reminds you of either Matt Smith or David Tennant (I personally put Rip's personality closer to Christopher Eccleston's take on The Doctor, but that's me), then it's really not a bad performance, is it?
The script is a work of wonder. It jumps into the action almost immediately but still takes time to establish the cast and introduce the characters on the off chance there's anyone jumping into this series who isn't already familiar with Arrow and The Flash. So long-time fans won't be bored and newbies won't be lost.
The special effects are all of cinematic quality.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
First appearing in 1959's Showcase #20, about the only consistent thing about Rip Hunter's history is is his status as a time-traveling good-guy. Originally existing in the modern day (i.e. Atomic Age USA), Rip Hunter was a scientist who invented a means of traveling through time in his ship, The Time Sphere. Hunter frequently traveled with his friend Jeffery Smith, girlfriend Bonnie Baxter and Bonnie's younger brother, Corky, having all manner of adventures in Earth's past and future.
Rip was one of several so-called Forgotten Heroes who joined forces to stop Vandal Savage from taking over the world in a three-part storyline in Action Comics #552-554. While Rip Hunter is the only one of The Forgotten Heroes to have a role in Legends of Tomorrow, the story -written by Marv Wolfman - still does seem to have been something of an inspiration for the series, with the concept of a group of misfits uniting against a world-conquering threat.
The Pre-Crisis Rip Hunter has the distinction of being one of the few to survive the destruction of the original DC Comics Universe, his continual travels having literally made him a man out of time. He began recklessly traveling through time, hoping to explore the many alternate universes he had seen during the Crisis On Infinite Earths - not knowing they had all collapsed into a single universe as a result of the crisis. His activities gained the attention of the futuristic time-traveling police group known as The Linear Men. They were impressed enough with Rip's talent that they allowed him to join them in policing the timestream. He remained with the group until their destruction during The Imperiex War storyline.
Meanwhile, in the new Post-Crisis DC Universe, a new Rip Hunter was born. However, this Rip Hunter was not really named Rip Hunter. Instead, he used the name as an alias to protect his real identity, so as to prevent his death at a young age at the hands of the countless future-villains who would have access to time-travel technology.
The Post-Crisis Rip Hunter was also the inventor of Time Travel technology on Earth. He saw a great future disaster in his travels, becoming obsessed with averting it. To this end, he formed a group called The Time Masters who would monitor the time stream and prevent the disasters that might be caused by evil or incompetent people manipulating history. Later, Rip was revealed to be the son of the time-traveling hero Booster Gold, whom he aided in policing the time-stream in Booster's 2007 solo series.
Rip Hunter's arrival was foreshadowed in episode 123 of The Flash. There, Eobard Thawne planned to make use of a ship called a Time Sphere to return to his original time. He identifies Rip Hunter as the inventor of the first Time Sphere and notes that he was an interesting man, though whether he knew him personally or just found him interesting as a historical figure was left unexplained.
In his speech to the Time Masters regarding why they need to stop Savage, Rip Hunter drops the names of several great dictators, including someone named Per Degaton along with Hitler and Ceaser. Per Degaton is a DC Comics supervillain and would-be world-conqueror with time-travel powers.
As in the comics, The Time Masters job is to preserve the sanctity of the timeline - not to save lives.
Rip Hunter's ship is run by an Artificial Intelligence named Gideon. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is also the name of the AI utilized by Eobard Thawne during the first season of The Flash, which was apparently designed by Barry Allen. It is unknown if this is precisely the same A.I. at a different point in time or if Gideon is the Siri of the future and becomes a brand name rather than one unique A.I.
Rip Hunter's ship is named The Waverider. This is a reference to a DC Comics hero called Waverider, who had the power to travel through time at will. His real name was Matthew Ryder and he gained super-powers after bonding with the time-stream after traveling back in time to try and prevent his dark future from occurring. This took place in the storyline Armageddon 2001.
The temporal bounty hunter tracking Rip Hunter and trying to destroy his ship is identified as Chronos. In the DC Universe, there are several figures with time-travel powers who have used the codename Chronos. One was a criminal named David Clinton who had an obsession with clocks and time, eventually mastering the science of time-travel and time-manipulation. He became the arch-enemy of the Ray Palmer Atom. The other Chronos was a man named Walker Gabriel, who used the first Chronos' technology and research to act as a hero and a villain, contesting with the time police squad known as The Linear Men and Rip Hunter.
Rip Hunter has a single hand-held device that is apparently capable of acting as a stun-gun, a short-range teleporter and a projector. He uses this to abduct the Legends and show them an image of the future he seeks to prevent. He also possess a laser pistol that is modeled on a revolver.
The Waverider is equipped with holographic indigenous camouflage projection technology that keeps it hidden.
Palmer speculates that The Waverider utilizes ionic propulsion. Stein says that's impossible since even advanced technology could not sustain an ionic reaction. Palmer disagrees, saying that it would be possible if you stabilized the quantum flux.
Ray Palmer wrote a paper on subspace field mechanics while he was a student of Martin Stein's.
Rip Hunter spent years studying the implications of chronological alteration.
The Temporal Zone is a time limbo.
(As the group wakes up after being stunned by Rip Hunter)
Len Snart: Stein? What the hell are you doing here?
Martin Stein: I am as ignorant as you, for once.
Rip Hunter: In the future, he will employ the evil he's perfected over his long life and the power he has amassed throughout history to finally conquer the world. I've been tasked with assembling an elite team to stop him.
Sara Lance: How?
Rip Hunter: To travel through time, to capture Savage before he grows into the monster he becomes.
Len Snart: You got the wrong guy. "Hero" ain't on my resume.
Mick Rory: Or mine.
Rip Hunter: I know it's difficult for you to fathom but where, when, I'm from - the year 2166 - you, and everyone on this roof aren't just considered heroes. You're legends.
Ray Palmer: I'm as trusting as you are cynical.
Oliver Queen: Well, I'm cynical and it's difficult for me to trust anyone, but that has kept me alive!
Ray Palmer: I died once. At least, the world thought I did. You know what happened? Nothing. All the money, all the buildings, all the inventions? The world didn't care. My life, ultimately, didn't matter. Rip is giving me the chance to help save the world. I have to take it.
Mick Rory: I can't believe you're thinking of hooking up with the Englishman. We're thieves! Crooks! Criminals! I have no desire to save the world. Especially 100 years after I'm dead.
Len Snart: He said across time, Mick. What about the years before? Before finger prints and surveillance cameras and DNA analysis. Why did we become criminals?
Mick Rory: Because we hate working and we love money.
Len Snart: We could steal the Mona Lisa straight off Da Vinci's easel! Snatch the Hope Diamond before it was discovered! This is everything we got into thieving for in the first place. More than everything.
Mick Rory: You want me in, I'm in. But I'm not going to be anyone's hero.
Martin Stein: I don't understand your decision! But I respect it.
(Stein moves to his liquor cabinet and begins preparing two drinks)
Martin Stein: Perhaps I can persuade Mr. Hunter that he needs my knowledge as a physicist and not my abilities as Firestorm? So I propose we have a toast, to my grand and solo adventure in saving the world.
Jefferson Jackson: Knock yourself out.
(Jefferson takes the drink and downs it)
Martin Stein: You took the words right out of my mouth.
(Jefferson's eyes roll into the back of his head and he collapses as whatever Stein spiked his drink with kicks in)
Rip Hunter: All your worlds are about to change.
Rip Hunter (To Sara, Len and Mick) Now, you three, feel free to make yourselves comfortable back here on the ship, while the rest of you are coming with me to find Professor Boardman.
Mick Rory: Woah, woah, woah, woah. You're benching us?
Sara Lance: I thought we were a team?
Rip Hunter: This mission doesn't require your particular skill sets. Yet.
Len Snart: Meaning you don't need anyone killed, maimed or robbed.
Rip Hunter: Precisely.
Ray Palmer:You sure it's a good idea to leave these two unsupervised on a time machine?
Mick Rory: Hey, haircut! Deafness wasn't one of the side effects!
(Sara is dancing when a big man taps her on the shoulder)
Sara Lance: Can I help you?
Man: How about you join me in the parking lot?
Sara Lance: Hmmm. Tempting. But you're not my type. (glancing at a woman at the bar) But your lady, on the other hand, well, she looks just my speed.
Man: Maybe you didn't understand my request... bitch!
(The man grabs Sara's hand. She grabs his lower arm and twists, apparently breaking it. He screams and reaches for a beer bottle, breaking it. Sara calmly turns and nods to Len Snart, who is holding her beer and his.)
Sara Lance: I've got this.
(Sara begins kicking the ass of every man who charges at her. Len just looks and Mick and smirks as if to say "I like this woman." The first wave of men start to pick themselves up and start to close around Sara on the dance floor.)
Sara Lance: Now I could stand a little help.
(Without a word, Len drops throws the beer bottles to the floor and moves in to start throwing punches. Mick grabs a stool and breaks it across the first person who gets in his way as a bar brawl ensues.)
Len Snart: We go out for one lousy drink and you guys somehow manage to pick a fight with Boba Fett?!
Martin Stein: A time limbo! Astonishing!
Rip Hunter: (sarcastically) Oh, there's something you people don't know about time travel?! That's surprising, isn't it? Considering none of you have ever time traveled before?!
(After Rip Hunter reveals he's been lying to them about being legends in the future and his mission to change the future being sanctioned by The Time Masters)
Mick Rory: Give me one good reason why we shouldn't kill you.
Martin Stein: Ditto the arsonist.
Ray Palmer:What's the point of us even giving this a a second thought? Rip has already seen the future. He knows what's in store for each of us. Might as well have stayed dead. Because the world doesn't need us. (to Sara) You're just a lost assassin. (to Len and Mick) You're just a pair of good-for-nothing criminals.
Mick Rory: I can live with that.
Ray Palmer: Well, I can't. Can;t live with somebody putting a cap on my destiny. Spent my whole life to become something greater... by becoming something smaller. Then some guy comes along and tells me that being The Atom is as insignificant as an actual atom.
Sara Lance: That's not what he said. Rip said that in HIS future, we're nobodies. But this mission is about changing the future. If we have the power to change the world, don't you think we have the power to change our own fate?
Len Snart: For better or worse.
Ray Palmer: That's a very good point.
Ray Palmer: Whether it wants to happen or not, we're going to change time, erase Savage's future and earn our rightful place in history.
Martin Stein: Dr. Palmer is correct. We may not be legends in your time, Captain, but we are going to decide our own fates.
Carter Hall: I don't give a damn about being a legend. As long as we end Savage once and for all.
Jefferson Jackson: I can get down with that.
Martin Stein: And our malcontents?
Mick Rory: I like killing people.
Len Snart; We're in. For now.
Vandal Savage: You know what this is? An instrument to make the world a better place. History teaches us that the cause of humanity is only advanced through strife.There's no Rennisance without The Dark Ages. And man had no interest in splitting the atom until World War II.
(Vandal Savage opens a create to reveal a nuclear warhead, which he strokes gently)
Vandal Savage: I'm just trying to make this world a better place... one war at a time.
The episode opens in London 2166, during The Second Blitz.
According to Rip Hunter, Vandal Savage can only be permanently killed if either Kendra or Carter strikes the death blow. Otherwise he can regenerate even from a single cell.
Leonard Snart is seen for the first time since F209.
Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders are seen for the first time since A408.
Ray Palmer is seen for the first time since A407.
Sara Lance is seen for the first time since A406.
Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson are seen for the first time since F204.
Mick Rory is seen for the first time since F201, though that was in a dream sequence. His last true appearance was in F116.
Vandal Savage killed Carter and Kendra 206 times in their past lives over 4000 years.
As in A408, Kendra still has sporadic recall of her past lives compared to the total recall Carter has.
Carter and Kendra settled disputes in their past lives with physical combat.
Cisco Ramon designs the new White Canary costume at Laurel Lance's request. It is Laurel who comes up with the name White Canary, suggesting Sara follow Oliver's example and fight in the light.
Ray Palmer was a student of Martin Stein's at some point, though Stein doesn't remember him.
Professor Aldus Boardman - history's greatest expert on Vandal Savage - appears for the first time since A408.
The physical side-effects of time travel include nausea, vertigo and temporary blindness lasting about one minute. In some rare instances, there may be bleeding from the eyeballs. The effects become more extreme the further you travel.
Professor Aldus Boardman was the son of Joe and Edith Boardman - a young couple who were one of Carter and Kendra's previous reincarnations. He was orphaned when he was ten.
Professor Boardman has pictures placing Vandal Savage at the Kennedy assassination as well as alongside Joseph Stalin and Idi Amin. He also claims that Savage was responsible for convincing Gavrilo Princip to kill the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, thus starting World War I.
Mick Rory's mom played a lot of Captain and Tennille songs when he was young.
Rip Hunter is a rogue Time Master who stole The Waverider in order to change the past in defiance of the Time Master's edict. He also chose each of the eight to help him because their lives had minimal effect on his timeline.
The Time Masters discourage romance, marriage and procreation.
Rip Hunter had a son named Jonas. Jonas' mother is not named, but Rip Hunter fell in love with her and had children despite Time Master protocol.
Professor Broadman gives Kendra his mother's ring before he dies. She remembers it She tells Carter it is okay if he calls her Chay-ara from now on.
Time has a way of ensuring that events happen a certain way. In this case, Professor Broadman is killed by Chronos' laser instead of dying in his office.
The episode ends with Vandal Savage stealing a nuclear warhead in Norway 1975.
London - 2166
Star City - January 2016
Tibet - January 2016
Pittsburg - January 2016
St. Roch - January 2016
Central City - January 2016
St. Roch - October 17, 1975
Norway - October 1975
The Bottom Line
Flawless. This pilot hits all the right notes - script, acting, special effects. This series does not just redefine superhero TV shows. Legends of Tomorrow redefines what it is possible for a television series to accomplish. Rip Hunter says it best - "All your worlds are about to change."