Thursday, February 18, 2016

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1, Episode 5 - Fail-Safe

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


With Atom, Heatwave and Professor Stein in the clutches of the Russians, Vandal Savage's plans to create his own Firestorm are alarming close to becoming a reality. Snart will lead the rest of the team to rescue them but Rip Hunter gives Canary a secret mission - kill Stein if it looks like he can't be rescued!


John Ostrander's Suicide Squad (the general theme of intrigue and espionage, villains turned into reluctant heroes as well as the 1980's Cold War setting), Gail Simone's Birds of Prey (the theme of Canary grappling with her humanity and the temptation to use the lethal skills she has learned),  the TV series Prison Break (character played by Wentworth Miller trying to break a character played by Dominic Purcell out of prison) and Rocky IV (Rory refers to this movie when threatening the Russian soldiers)


Again, the show shakes up the pairings to allow the ensemble cast a chance to play off different members of the cast.  Rory and Ray, Kendra and Jax, Snart and Sara. The chemistry is brilliant throughout and there isn't a weak link among them nor one note hit false.

That being said, once again Wentworth Miller and Caity Lotz steal the show.  Their interaction as Snart and Canary is amazing and it's interesting to watch these two characters - both outsiders and criminals with a code - play off of one another because of everything they have in common and - in the case of this episode - everything they don't. It's interesting that both are on the same journey to become something better, though they are approaching it from different ends, with Canary trying to regain the humanity she fears she's lost and Snart aspiring to the nobility he's never truly been able to claim unconditionally as a gentleman thief.


The fight scene in which Canary takes on six men at once in the locker room as Rip Hunter fights a man who outweighs him by a fair amount is another brilliant fight-scene for Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill and the fight coordinators and director.

The special effects for the dogfight in space-time in the final section of the show are phenomenal for a television show.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

Carlos Valdez, who plays Cisco Ramon on The Flash, has a quick cameo in Professor Stein's hallucination as the eager student asking him for more details of how The Firestorm Matrix works. He appears to be dressed in 1980's fashions, with a sport coat over a bright T-shirt with pink jeans and slicked-back hair in a pony tail.

"Menia Ispravcit Rasstrel" means "Execution Will Reform Me" in Russian.

Snart notes that this is not his first prison break. This is a nod to Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell having starred in the TV series Prison Break. 

Dr. Vostok's form when she becomes Firestorm and is about to meltdown resembles that of the heroine Firehawk, who has the same powers as Firestorm and blue-fire hair.

In 1986, the drinking age in Russia was 12.


The Firestorm Matrix is naturally unstable, with the thermocore reacting exponentially to the rate of fission in the host body.  The quantum splicer was created to address that problem.

Jax tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the STAR Labs particle accelerator explosion.

The quantum splicer decelerates the rate of fission and decreases the core body temperature of Firestorm.

Dialogue Triumphs

Stein: I'm so happy to see that you're taking an interest in my work.
"Cisco": Well, what can I say, sir? Nuclear physics are my passion.
Stein: (pausing thoughtfully) Sir? The Cisco I know never dwelled on formality. What's more, your hair is different - your wardrobe neat... your comportment gentlemanly.
"Cisco": (laughing) Oh yeah. You like? I just subscribed to GQ.
Stein: Huh. A snide attempt at humor. Almost Cisco-like. (shaking his head) Almost.

Sara: I just took out six men. You guys couldn't handle one?

Russian Gangster: Koshmar is not a hotel for petty criminals. If your friends are there, they must be insane, ruthless animals.
(Cut to Ray and Rory being escorted into a cell block.)
Ray: (smiling at the prisoners, who give him the death glare in response) Hey! Howdy!  How you doing?

Snart: This isn't my first prison break.

(Snart walks in on Canary, retrieving various weapons from her luggage.)
Snart: Impressive how many weapons you can fit into that outfit.
(Wordlessly, Canary tosses him a small case. Snart opens it and sees the shrunk Atom suit.)
Snart: And how much stupidity Raymond can squeeze into this one.
Canary:  The plan is to save him too. Not just Stein and your partner.
Snart:  Oh, I'm going to save Raymond, all right... so I can beat some sense into him. And what about you?
Canary: And what about me?
Snart: Clearly I'm not the only one with a side mission. What did Rip keep you after class to talk about?
Canary: He wanted to go over a few details of the plan.
Snart: He wants you to take out the old man, doesn't he? It's the obvious play. It's also heartless.
The plan is to save Stein. And if, for whatever reason, we can't, Rip showed me what will happen to my home in 2016. To our families. If Stein breaks, the damage is irreversible.
Snart: Been on a lot of heists. And even when things got rough, I never took out one of my own.
Canary: Well, this isn't a bank heist.
Snart: First, he left my partner twisting in the wind. Now he's going to have you ice Old Silvertop. We're all just pawns, Sara.  C'mon. I'm the crook. You're the assassin...
Canary: He's not just asking me to kill! He's asking me to save the future! And if, for whatever reason, we can't save Stein, then I'm going to do what needs to be done.

Canary: Remember, we get Stein first.
Snart: And if the plan fails, you'll kill him. You want my advice?
Canary: No.
Snart: Don't use your gun. Do it with your hands. Do it while you're looking right into Stein's eyes.
Canary: You're talking about a member of our team!
Snart: I just don't want YOU to forget who we're talking about.

Colonel: So... are you still planning - what did you threaten before? To go Rocky IV on my ass?
Rory: (laughs) I changed my mind.
(The Colonel turns on the elcticity, shocking Rory and Ray)
Rory: Ivan Drogo lives at the end of the movie.

Savage: If 4,000 years of life have taught me one thing, it is patience.

(Ray has just interupted The Colonel's torturing Rory.)
Rory: What are you doing, Boy Scout?
Colonel: Yes, Boy Scout - what are you doing?
Ray: Nothing compared to what I did to your mother last night.
Colonel: You have quite a mouth on you.
Ray: So did she.

Canary: All right. This duct should take us to solitary. We get to Stein-
Snart: Yeah, I'm not going.
Canary: That's the plan.
Snart: That's Rip's plan. My priority is Mick.
Canary: Fine. Forget it. So much for your code... crook.
Snart: Any time, assassin.

Rory: Of all the dumb things I've seen in my life, you getting that guy to beat on you takes the cake.
Ray: You're welcome.
Rory: You think you proved something back there?
Ray: I proved I wasn't scared.
Rory: You proved you make a great pinata. He could have beaten you to death.
Ray: Well, some things are more important than survival. Like standing up for what you believe in. Your principles. Your team. Must be something you're willing to die for.
Rory: The perfect score.
Ray: Well... only difference between us is how we define "score".

Stein: My country is, by no means perfect. But at least we are free to criticize our government, vote in free elections and love who we choose.  I hate to break this to you Dr. Vostok. You are on the wrong side of history.
Vostok: For now. But you will help us change history.

Jax: (having just run 120 yards in 12 seconds, despite popping his knee) Barry Allen who?

(Canary is lining up her shot on Stein. Her finger is just about to squeeze the trigger when Snart speaks over the radio.)
Snart: Sara, don't do it.
Canary: I don't have a choice. It's the only way to save Star City. The future...
Snart: That's how a killer thinks. And that's not you anymore.

(Kendra is planting explosives in one of the Russian labs when Savage enters the room.)
Savage: Rip Hunter must be a fool to send you into my arms. Come with me, Chay-ara and I will find a way to prolong your life.  We will live together in eternity.
Kendra: No.
Savage; (smirking) No?
(Rip Hunter comes up behind Savage, leveling his laser revolver against his head.)
Kendra: My answer will always be 'no'.
(Rip Hunter nods to the exit.)
Rip: Go.
(Kendra nods and leaves.)
Savage: You want to kill me again? Doesn't this game ever get too old for you, Gareeb?
Rip Hunter: It's Captain Hunter if you don't mind.
Savage: Oh.
Rip Hunter: I'm here to make sure you never build a Firestorm... And my watch, actually. You stole it from me in a pagan blood ritual back in 1975? Ring any bells?
(Savage begins to reach for his pocket.)
Rip Hunter: Ah-ah... slowly.
(Savage places the watch on the counter. Rip Hunter takes it.)
Savage: I have no desire to kill you. I want you alive. I want you to see the world burn. I have looked so often at your wife and son these last 11 years. Miranda and Jonas. Their faces etched into my mind. And when I finally get to meet them, I will let them know that you and your friends are responsible for their suffering.
Rip: Not if I see you first.
(Rip turns around and exits the lab... slowly pulling the detonator for the explosives from his pocket and setting if off.  Savage is caught in the ensuing fireball.)

Jax: (To the Soviet Firestorm) I know you're in there, Grey!
Dr. Vostok: And he's begging for you to save yourself.
Jax: I'm not talking to you! I was talking to Professor Stein!
(Vostok laughs)
Jax: Your mind is stronger than her's, Grey! I get it! I know why you've been so hard on me! You don't want to lose me like you lost Ronnie! And that's why I know you're not gonna let her kill me.
(Vostok tries to throw a fireball at Jax... but it isn't working.  Somehow.)
Jax: Cause I've had you inside my head. And I know what a tough, old son-of-a-bitch you can be! So you've got to fight her. Because you and me? We're Firestorm, Grey! You and me!
(Stein suddenly erupts out of The Soviet Firestorm/)

(Rory is passing shots of vodka to everyone else.)
Courtesy of Yuri The Bear.
Canary: How did you even have time to steal this?
Snart: There's always time to steal.

Stein: A toast - to the first time we haven't completely ruined the timeline.

Snart: To Rip. To things not going according to his plan.

Canary: Stein doesn't know, does he? That I almost killed him?
Rip: That I advised you to kill him.
Canary: It's funny. When I was in the League of Assassins, failure to follow through on a hit was unforgivable. A thousand times worse than death. (sighs) Maybe I'm losing my edge?
Rip: Or gaining a new one. The fact that you didn't pull the trigger speaks volumes. You know, the safe move would have been to kill Martin with The Cold War hanging in the balance. I would like to think it was your... humanity that stayed your hand.
Canary: I'd like to think that too.  But I had some help.
(Canary looks thoughtfully at Snart, who is sitting across the room.)


Vandal Savage refers to the events of 102, when Stein attempted to buy a nuclear warhead from him.

Savage knew Joseph Stalin and cites him as one of the most skilled interrogators in history. He notes that Stalin's preferred target area were the bridge of nose, shoulder blades and right underneath the chin. He still has a small hand-ax, which was given to him by Stalin as a gift.

Sara suggests contacting The Bratva (The Russian Mafia) in order to get information on how to break into Labor Camp 54. Both Oliver Queen and Sara Lance had connections with the Bratva on Arrow.

Not surprisingly, Snart hates saunas.

Jax refers to a story Professor Stein told him about Ronnie Raymond sending him a message by cutting into his own arm.  This occurred in F114.

In the alternate future where the Soviets gain access to Firestorm technology in 1986, Star City becomes the seat of the American resistance. It falls in 2003.

Stein claims to have been obsessed with Russian culture in his youth and that he regretted not seeing it before it collapsed.

Rip Hunter reclaims the watch that Vandal Savage stole from him in 103.

Chronos attacks the team in The Temporal Zone, forcing them to crash-land in Star City in the year 2046.

The Palmer Technologies building in 2046 Star City now bears a logo for Smoak Technologies, suggesting Felicity Smoak finally took over the company in everything including the name at some point.

The team is confronted by a Green Arrow who is not Oliver Queen.


Soviet Union - Moscow, Koshmar, Labor Camp 54 - 1986
Temporal Zone
Star City - 2046

The Bottom Line

A perfect follow up to last week's episode and darn near perfect in every other respect.

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