Thursday, February 4, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 3 - Blood Ties

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


The team remains trapped in 1975 as Kendra recovers from her injuries. When her condition worsens, Ray Palmer with have to push his ATOM suit to its limits as Professor Stein helps him to perform surgery on Kendra... from inside her body!  At the same time, Rip and Sara devise a plan to delay Vandal Savage's rise by attacking his financial holdings. And Snart and Rory steal The Waverider's jump ship to take a trip to Central City and steal a valuable emerald. But are Snart's motives simple greed?


The Fantastic Voyage and countless classic Atom stories where Ray Palmer helped to perform surgery on a person from inside their body (these stories predate The Fantastic Voyage, but it's probably the most famous use of the trope), Doctor Who (Rip's reaction to Sara's carrying weapons is reminiscent of The Fourth Doctor and his dealings with barbarian companion Leela, Rip's guilt complex over the lives he's indirectly responsible for destroying mirror that of The Doctor in his post-Time War adventures), the One Year Later storyline (Vandal Savage as a cult leader), Marv Wolfman's Teen Titans comics (Savage's cult and their rituals seem to be inspired by the comics version of Brother Blood) and the movie Eyes Wide Shut (the imagery of Savage's party guests, with hooded robes and masks, Rory even name-drops the movie as he's untying Sara).


Ignoring the causality problems caused by killing a man in the past before he does the things that inspire you to go back and kill him (we'll just assume The Time Masters have a way around that), why would Rip Hunter go back in time and try to kill Vandal Savage AFTER he'd gained his immortality? Even granting that Rip didn't learn about the conditions needed to kill Savage later, you'd think it would have been easier to go back before that point and try to kill him then.


Caity Lotz and Arthur Darvill do a fine job of playing off of one another. After getting short-shifted on Arrow, it's gratifying to see Lotz finally be given a chance to explore some of the conflict of Sara's character and the problems she's been having since being resurrected in depth.  Her scenes with Rip make for an interesting parallel - the woman consumed by the deaths she's caused as a trained killer and the man consumed by all the deaths he caused through his own inability to kill.

Victor Garber and Brandon Routh have a similar double-act here, as the two academics who have the most in common out of most of the teammates and yet seem to have the hardest time getting along. On any other show, the sudden change in tune might ring false - with the gung-ho hero anxious to show off his new toy suddenly losing faith in himself and the old scholar who prefers theorizing to bold actions suddenly insisting they try anything in order to save Ksndra's life.  In this case, however, it works and the changes in heart ring true for both characters given Ray's confidence issues and Stein's natural heroic instincts kicking in once his scientific interest is aroused.

Wentworth Miller's scene giving advice to himself as a child manages to be touching... despite said advice being to be a self-serving bastard.


The music during the sequences where Ray shrinks and enters Kendra's body is a nice variation on "The Atom" theme. And the CGI in these sequences is top-notch.

The fight scene in the bank with Sara and Rip fighting the banker/assassins is brilliantly directed and the music matches the scene perfectly. Great stunt work on the part of Caity Lotz and Arthur Darvill, too.

The scene in which Snart confronts his abusive father is well-directed, with the swinging lamp being a particularly effective piece of imagery.

The whole sequence where Snart, Rory and Jackson become the cavalry and Rip faces off against Savage while Sara takes on Mr, Blake is perfect. Music. Fight Choreography. Everything.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

Rip Hunter makes a reference to Superman and Batman, saying that in the course of his duties he has seen men of steel die and dark knights fall.

This may also be a reference to the storylines The Death of Superman and Batman: Knightfall, where Superman died and Batman had his back broken.

While Ray revealed that his fiance's name was Anna on Arrow, he never mentioned her last name. In this episode, he gives her full name as Anna Loring. In the comics, Raymond's long-time love interest and eventual wife was a lawyer named Jean Loring. However, this name was unavailable for use on Arrow due to the name being used as an in-joke for Moira Queen's lawyer during Season 2 of Arrow.

Savage's cult seems to be partly inspired by the comic book version of Brother Blood. A cult leader who frequently contested with The Teen Titans, there were two men who went by the name of Brother Blood.  The first aged at a slower rate than normal humans and drew power from the faith of his followers. The second was a vampire who drew strength from the blood he consumed and could replicate the powers of any metahuman whose blood he sampled. Both enjoyed the benefits of a large number of fanatical followers.


The Jump Ship is a small vessel located in the belly of The Waverider, used for small expeditionary trips.  It is capable of going Mach 3.

Sara determines that the staff of the Brumberg Bank are trained killers based on a variety of factors. Among them are the receptionist having a silenced Beretta under her desk, a burn scar on the backs of the necks of two men indicating they are South African mercenaries and the banker they speak to has callouses on his hand consistent with someone who been trained as a Kuroda swordsman.

Stein says that Ray was, as one of his students, able to solve the Ehrenfest Theorum in under an hour.  Ray later realizes he never did this until two years after he took Stein's class.

Savage determined that he could use the blood of Khufu and Chay-ara's bodies to give 100 years of extended life to his followers through a ritual.

Dialogue Triumphs

Jefferson: Can't we just time-jump into the future where they've got the stuff to fix her?
Rip: This ship is that very same future and has thus far been unsuccessful in saving her!
Snart: Kendra wouldn't survive the time-jump anyway.
(Rip spins around and glares at Snart as if to say "How do you know that?")
Snart: I pay attention.

Rip: I've seen darker days. I've seen men of steel die and dark knights fall and even then I accomplished my mission no matter what.

(After Rip puts Jackson to work on fixing the jump ship.)
Rory: What about the rest of us? Do we all just sit?
Rip: Capital idea, Mr. Rory. You're not nearly as thick as most people say.
(Rip leaves the room in a huff.)
Rory: Thick?  Does that mean stupid?

Sara: Take away Savage's fortune and he's just a regular guy with a really long lifespan.

Ray: The ATOM Suit. I can shrink down, slip into her blood stream and use the photon canons to vaporize the knife fragments.
Stein: You'd be pushing the suit's limits. We should run some tests - make sure this is the best plan of action.
Ray: This isn't the ivory tower, Professor. We don't have time.
Stein: Listen to me, Raymond-
Ray: I'm not your student anymore.
Stein: You were never my student!
Ray: Just because you don't remember me -
Stein: If you HAD been my student, I would have taught you the principles of scientific analysis. Not this... bravado!
Ray: There isn't time.  I'm going in.

(As Ray is searching for the first fragment in Kendra's blood)
Stein: It's the size of an iceberg. It seems highly unlikely that you could miss it.
Ray: Heh. That's probably what they said on the Titanic.

(After Sara throws a knife into the throat of the receptionist, killing her instantly.)
Rip: I thought I specifically said no weapons!
Sara: You can thank me later.
(Sara draws another knife from somewhere and stabs another guard in the neck. She then lifts her skirt, to grab a throwing dagger from a sheath on her thigh.)
Rip: Exactly how many knives do you have?!

Rip: What the hell happened back there?
Sara: You know I'm a killer. That's why you put me in your little group.
Rip: I didn't just witness a killer at work, Sara. What I saw was an animal!
Sara: You are the last person on this ship to judge anyone!
Rip: This is not judgement, Sara. It is concern.
Sara: I thought you knew how I was resurrected? And what it did to me?
Rip: I know you were restored by something called The Lazarus Pit.
Sara: Well, apparently there's a downside to being brought back to life. My friend Thea calls it "a bloodust". And I think that's being too generous. And so is calling me an animal.... I'm a monster.

Jackson: Wow. Carter is dead. Kendra is this close to joining him. And Vandal Savage is still alive and out there doing God knows what! And all you can think about is stealing some diamond?
Snart: It's an emerald.
Jackson: (scoffs) Is there anything you think about other than yourself?
Snart: Yes. Money.
Jackson: Nah. I'm not helping you guys steal anything. So if you want to shoot me, then shoot me.
Rory: (drawing his flame gun) Can I shoot him?
Snart: You've got a pair on you, kid. I respect that.
Rory: So no shooting?

Stein: Raymond, you mustn't be discouraged.  We're scientists! We learn from failure and we keep going!
Ray: Kendra isn't a lab experiment. She's a person.
Stein: I know. You need to have confidence this will work.
Ray: Well... I don't. I can't save her.
Stein: Based on what evidence? Are we not empirical thinkers, Dr. Palmer?  Exactly how many people have you lost?
Ray: (quietly) One.
Stein: Who did you lose?  Someone close to you? (quieter) Who was she, Raymond?
Ray: For someone who doesn't remember me, you sure have a lot of personal observations to offer.
Stein: Fine. Don't talk to me. (firmly) But fix the suit. It's the only chance that poor girl has.

(After Rip tells her the story of how he failed to kill Savage in the year 1700 BC.)
Sara: Killing is never easy. Especially for a good man.
Rip: The man killed my wife and son. And God knows how many other wives and sons. And yet I couldn't... (sighs) Killing people doesn't make you a monster, Sara. But having the chance to avenge your family and not taking it?  That does.

Rory: Now that's what I call a clean heist!
Snart: And thanks for not setting the museum on fire, partner! And you - thanks for being our get-away driver.
Jackson: Speaking of, let's get the hell back to the ship.
Snart: Oh! One more stop!
Rory: What are you talking about, boss?
Snart: 1629 Handley Avenue.
Jackson: What's on Handley Avenue?
Rory: It's where we grew up. That's why you wanted to steal the Maximillian Emerald?
Snart: Mick! Enough!
Rory: You wanted to give it to your old man, so he wouldn't go to jail trying to steal it for himself.
Jackson: Your father was a thief, too?
Snart: And unfortunately not a very good one.
Rory: Didn't Rip say something about not messing with the timeline?
Jackson: You could accidentally blink yourself out of existence. You're screwing with history here, man.
Snart: Yeah, well history screwed with me first.

Snart: Don't ever let anyone hurt you. Ever. (touching his forehead) Here. (reaching out to touch his younger self's heart) And especially not here.No matter what, you always have to look out for yourself. Okay? Understand?

Savage: (looking at the picture of Rip's family) I don't remember killing them... yet. It seems like I have a lot to look forward to.

Rory: (as he's untying Sara) Well, this is different. I didn't have you pegged as the "Eyes Wide Shut" type.


Sara refers to her training under Ra's Al Ghul.

Sara has been trained as a Kuroda sword-fighter.

Jackson is a good enough mechanic that he can figure out how to repair 22nd century vehicles provided he has a copy of the owner's manual.

Raymond refers to the death of his fiancee, first revealed in A309.  Her full name is given this time as Anna Loring.

The Gareeb is a legendary figure spoken of by the followers of Vandal Savage, whom tried to kill Savage shortly after he gained the gift of immortal life. Rip Hunter was The Gareeb, and he tried to kill Savage just after he became immortal.

The Maximilian Emerald which Snart steals was originally stolen by his father in 1975. He was caught, however, and sent to prison.

Snart's address as a kid was 1629 Handley Avenue.

Stein claims that he did remember Ray from his Quantum Mechanics class in 2002 - he just enjoyed taking him down a peg pretending he didn't. He further states that Ray was one only student he'd ever had who made him feel inadequate. It is later revealed that he was lying to boost Ray's confidence so that he could save Kendra's life.

Snart's reason for going after The Maximilian Emerald was to prevent his father from becoming abusive towards his family - a trait he developed after being in prison for five years following his attempt to steal The Maximilian Emerald.

Kendra is able to sense Sara and Rip are in danger due to their proximity to Carter's body, through the bond between her soul and his.

Miranda was the name of Rip's wife. He accidentally lets that information slip to Vandal Savage.

Professor Broadman and Carter are buried together.

Snart's efforts to save his family amounted to nothing, as his father was still arrested- this time for trying to fence the stolen gem two days later. He got the same sentence and his threats to do hurt his father if he ever raised a hand to his family apparently didn't change Snart's past.


Ancient Egypt - 1700 BC
Leipzig, Germay - 1975
Central City, 1975

The Bottom Line

Greatness. Pure greatness. There's a lot going on in this episode and all of it is balanced flawlessly. The switching of the usual pairings (Rip teamed with Sara, Stein steamed with Ray and The Rogues working with Jax) works effectively and allows the ensemble a chance to play with their characters in some different ways.  This has officially become my favorite of the many DC Comics TV shows in production right now.

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