The crew travel to the future of the nation of Kasnia, to assassinate one of Vandal Savage's most powerful allies before he can become a threat. There's just one problem - said ally is a 14 year old boy! As the team is split upon the morality of the mission, Sara talks to both Snart and Rory about their relationship together and Ray and Kendra learn something that may change their prospects for a future together.
The main plot of the episode is based around a classic moral conundrum, commonly referred to as The Baby Hitler Problem - i.e. is it ethical to kill a tyrant before they become a tyrant in order to prevent future suffering? Ray Palmer even refers to the issue by this name and the concept has been used as the basis for countless science-fiction and time-travel stories, including a few episodes of Doctor Who. The episode also draws heavenly off the JSA comics of Geoff Johns, which made use of the villain Per Degaton, only with his forces attempting to kill various heroes before they became a threat to him. This seems to be a plot point in the episode to come.
It seems odd that Snart would have no trouble with killing a potential tyrant in this episode, given Snart's actions to prevent Sara from killing back in 105 and his own inability to kill Heatwave under equally desperate circumstances.
For that matter, Sara's blase early attitude toward killing a potential tyrant seems to fly in the face of her characterization in last week's episode, where she was allowed to leave The League of Assassins because she was conflicted about the nature of their work (i.e. killing evil people before they did great harm.). And then she sudden;y changes her mind and is all rah-rah-redemption at the episode's halfway point.
The existence of The Hunters begs the question of why The Time Masters don't employ said Hunters to deal with Vandal Savage, who seems to be a bigger threat to humanity than Rip Hunter and his crew. Particularly given how ineffectual The Legends are in this episode when it comes to changing the time-stream and accomplishing their goals.
The interplay between Caity Lotz and Franz Drameh at the start of the episode, when they riff on Professor Stein, is rather nice. We haven't seen much interaction between the two of them and it's nice that they get that little moment together.
A much stronger scene is the one between Caity Lotz and Dominic Purcell, where Sara - still seeking signs that anyone can be redeemed given her own desire to find peace with her dark past - unloads on the one person on the ship more in need of redemption that herself.
The best moment in the episode, however, may be the interplay between Caity Lotz and Wentworth Miller as Sara tells Snart he should try talking to Rory so the damage between them might be healed... if there's a chance of healing at all.
Arthur Darvill gives a great performance - verbal and physical - as we see him ponder killing Per Degaton and then ultimately decide on the path of mercy.
The action sequence in the fifth segment, where the team fights the armies of Tor Degaton is incredibly effective and a nice balance of CGI, fight choreography and practical effects.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The nation of Kasnia (or Kazina) first appeared in the DC Animated Universe. It was located somewhere in the Balkans or Eastern Europe and its history was loosely based upon the nation of Yugoslavia, suffering from a number of civil wars through its long history.
One Justice League episode - Maid of Honor - focused upon the nation of Kasnia and involved Vandal Savage and his attempts to take control of the country (and then the world!) through an arranged marriage to the country's princess.
This is not the first time Kasnia has appeared in the reality of the DCTVU. It was also the setting of the third-season Arrow episode Suicidal Tendencies.
In the original DC Comics, Per Degaton was a time-traveling Nazi who attempted to use various time-manipulating technologies to win World War II for the Axis Powers. He was repeatedly thwarted by the Justice Society of America, whom he then focused on destroying.
Per Degaton's powers included the power to time-travel at will, intangibility (due to being out of phase with the time stream), a limited precognitive sense that allowed him to see the immediate future, the ability to create "chronal duplicates" (i.e. clones) and time disc weapons that allowed him to speed up or slow down the flow of time around those who made contact with a disc.
The DCTVU version of Per Degaton appears to be an ordinary tyrant with no special powers.
In this episode, it is revealed that Ray Palmer has a brother named Sidney. In the comics, Ray Palmer did have a brother, but his name was Danny.
By 2147, Ray Palmer's design for the ATOM suit has been altered into autonomous units - i.e. robot policemen.
Rip Hunter makes use of a pair of special contacts that allow him to fool the rental scanners used to identify stockholders in the Kasnia Conglomerate.
Snart uses a pair of smart glasses that give him a variety of information at the objects he looks at.
Ghosting is a 21st century slang term for pretending to be dead and not responding to another person's texts or instant messages.
Gideon has the ability to monitor the dreams of anyone who sleeps upon The Waverider.
The Waverider's jump-ship has a range of 8,000 miles.
The Hunters are a group of mercenaries, entirely mechanical, employed by The Time Masters to eliminate those who they consider to be a threat to the established timeline.
(Regarding Rip ordering Snart to "deal with" Rory.)
Rip: Your quarrel should be with me and not with him.
Chronos: Ha! Well, if it makes you feel any better, I want to kill both of you.
(Rip explains that Savage set Per Degaton up as a dictator, only to kill him and take his place.)
Kendra: Okay. So we don't have what we need to take out Savage. But maybe we can figure out a way to stop his rise to power.
Rip: By depriving him of his springboard, Per Degaton.
Sara: Okay. How do we do that?
Rip: It's quite simple really...
Snart: (sighing) We kill the little bastard ourselves.
Ray: Great. We've gone from infanticide to child abduction. Progress.
Ray: I can't believe it! I'm like the Werner Von Braun of robots!
Jax: The who?
Stein: The Nazi scientist who invented the V-2 rocket. He built it using slave labor and then used it to level London.
Ray: Except my robots will be used to one day level the entire world!
Jax: Ray, dude. Do you not think you're focusing on the wrong thing here? I mean, you have a kid you didn't even know about.
Stein: Had a kid. In this particular time period, his offspring would be long since dead.
Ray: Thank you. As if I wasn't already feeling bad enough...
Chronos: (as Sara enters the cell block) Ah. Finally. Someone who's willing to do a man's job.
Sara: Not why I'm here.
Chronos: It's almost funny. How you guys keep parading in here like it's some kind of confessional or something.
Sara: That's also not why I'm here.
Chronos: Okay. I'll bite.
Sara: Everybody's out there arguing over whether or not we should kill this kid because nobody thinks he can change. Which made me think of you. (sits) You know no one thinks that you can change.?That's why you're in here.
Chronos: The reason I'm in here is if I get out, I'm gonna give Snart some payback he's not walking away from.
Sara: He saved your life.
Chronos: He wussed out on killing me. Not the same thing. He marooned me!
Sara: It's not like he had many choices. You know, while you were busy selling us out to a homicidal time pirate, Leonard and I almost died. He was thinking about you. He told me about your partnership. Your friendship.
Chronos: Did it make you weepy? You think it's gonna make me weepy?
Sara: He's your friend. A loyal one. You should know that.
Chronos: (sarcastically) Thank you. I'll work it out with him, soon as I can.
(Sara stands and starts to move away.)
Chronos: Oh. Killing a kid? Not very hero-like.
(Snart's sitting in the cargo hold, throwing a blue ball against the wall and catching it repeatedly as Sara enters)
Snart: No luck finding our homicidal captain?
Sara: Gideon's still searching, but I have a feeling Rip's not gonna be found if he doesn't want to be.
Snart: So what are you doing down here?
Sara: Don't you think you at least owe him a conversation?
Snart: We had our conversation while he was Chronos. And he made his feelings about me very clear.
Sara: And what about your feelings?
Snart: About you?
Sara: (smirking sarcastically) About Mick.
Snart: I don't have any feelings about Mick.
Sara: (sighing and sitting down) Look, it didn't seem that way when we were dying in the engine room of hypothermia.
Snart: Look, if you want to ease your guilty conscience, that's your business. But he's still the same son of a bitch he was when you all wanted me to put him down.
Sara: I wasn't the one who mentioned marooning Rory. You did. It's obviously still weighing on your conscience. So stop being an ass and go deal with it.
(Sara gets up and leaves the room. Snart throws the ball across the room but doesn't bother trying to catch it this time.)
Rip: I've said to myself time and time again that there is nothing I wouldn't do to save my wife and son. But now I know that there is! My reticence to kill you, Per Degaton, is not weakness. It is goodness! And if there is a shred of goodness inside of me, then I have to believe that there is a shred of goodness inside of you! Be the man that your feather wants you to be! Not the man Savage wants you to be.
Chronos: What do you want?
Snart: People seem to think we should have a heart-to-heart.
Chronos: We don't have hearts. Where does that leave us?
Snart: I've got a dozen reasons for killing you. You've got a dozen and one for killing me, so...
Chronos: All the talk in the world's not gonna change a thing.
Snart: Exactly. Here's my proposal. I open this cell. We let our fists do the talking.
(Chronos stands up and moves closer to the cell door.)
Chronos: When I kill you?
Snart: You take the jump ship and make your escape. Live out the rest of your life anywhere you like.
Chronos: Hmmm. And if you kill me... well, it's better than being locked up in this place like some kind of circus freak.
Snart: I take that as a yes?
Chronos: Sound the bell.
Rip: Did I do the right thing, Gideon?
Gideon: Not committing murder is generally considered "the right thing" Captain.
Rip: In this instance... I wonder.
(Both Snart and Chronos are collapsed on the cell floor.)
Snart: We had a deal, Mick. Kill me and you walk. It's what you want, isn't it? To get off the team?
Chronos: I don't know what I want anymore. Truth is, it doesn't matter.
Snart: What are you talking about?
Chronos: Whether I stay or leave, I'm dead. We're all dead.
Kasnia was first seen in the DCTVU in A317, as the site of a mission for the Suicide Squad.
The Kasnian Conglomerate rules over most of Eastern Europe, between Italy and Turkey, in 2147.
2147 is considered the zenith of humanity's advancement.
Wool is still worn 150 years in the future, at least in The Kasnian Conglomerate.
Jax hates wool clothing.
In 2080, many world governments collapsed, giving way to corporations taking control of whole land masses.
Kasnia is the point from which Savage launched his rise to power in 2167.
Theft is refereed to as a violation of Ordinance 12 in the Kasnian Conglomerate.
In 2147, Vandal Savage is employed by Tor Degaton - leader of The Kasnian Conglomerate - as a tutor for his son, Per Degaton.
In 2152, Per Degaton killed most of the population of the Kasnian Conglomerate after releasing The Armageddon Virus. He was later killed by Vandal Savage, who used his power base as a springboard to taking over the world.
The STAR Labs corporation took over Central City. Since then, The Kasnian Conglomerate doesn't get many visitors from Central City.
The descendants of Ray Palmer's brother Sidney Palmer founded the company which eventually became the centerpiece of The Kasnian Conglomerate.
Joseph and Edith Broadman were the alias Carter and Kendra's 1920's incarnations adopted in an effort to get away from Vandal Savage.
Sara is apparently having erotic dreams about the nurse she briefly romanced in 108
Sara refers to her chat with Snart regarding his friendship with Heatwave in 107.
The Legends actions in this episode do nothing to stop Savage's rise to power. Indeed, their actions accelerate the time-table with Per Degaton killing his father five years before he died of natural causes and Savage acting as his proxy on the Board of Directors until he reaches the age of maturity. This causes the release of The Armageddon Virus to happen five years earlier as well.
Chronos elects to help The Legends, reasoning he's dead already since he failed to stop them.
Kasnian Conglomerate - 2147
Kendra has several flashbacks to her life somewhere in the United States in 1920
Rip tells the rest of the crew of how Per Degaton grows in the 22nd century's version of Hitler, before his empire was usurped by Vandal Savage.
The Fridge Factor
Sara is somehow taken-hostage by Vandal Savage off-camera, who then attempts to trade her life for Rip Hunter's.
The Crisis Factor
Honestly, the whole episode is a shaggy-dog story. Our heroes are completely ineffectual. In fact, their efforts to fix things only make things worse.
The Bottom Line
Easily the worst episode of the series to date. If it weren't for the great character scenes anchored by Caity Lotz, this episode would be a complete mess. As it is, the whole affair is as bleak and depressing as Batman v. Superman. Half the cast is written out of character and apart from Rory/Chronos seemingly reforming, not a blessed thing changes as a result of the episode's events apart from Vandal Savage taking power even faster than before.