The Time Masters control of the time-stream has been shattered but Vandal Savage is still at large and he still holds Carter and Kendra hostage. Still, in the wake of Leonard Snart's sacrifice, Rip Hunter is unwilling to further risk the lives of his crew now that their destinies are their own. To that end, Rip returns them all to May 2016.
But the team aren't ready to admit defeat just yet, though Sara finds her resolve tested when she learns of her sister's death. And when a clue from Kendra sent back through time gives them a lead on where to find Savage, the team will have one more chance to prove themselves legendary.
Doctor Who (the general themes of predestination, time being rewritten and a complex story involving time-travel trickery to defeat a great evil), the Back To The Future movies (Rip's riding his ship upward after seemingly falling to his death is a nod to a similar scene from Back To The Future II, the general plot of using time travel to prevent a corrupt timeline), the movie Men In Black (Rip's knock-out device seems similar to memory-erasing machine used by the MiB) and the JSA comics of Geoff Johns, David Goyer and James Robinson (complex time travel plot, the connection between Thanagarian technology and Ancient Egypt, the surprise cameo at the end.)
Kendra just happening to run into the soldier whose helmet wound up in Rip's collection of historical memorabilia is completely unbelievable.
Why are The Thanagarians blasting their technology into space, hidden inside meteorites? That doesn't seem like the action of the war-like race from the comics, whom the DCTVU version of The Thanigarians seem to resemble based on what little we've heard.
In previous episodes, it was too dangerous for Stein and Jax to become Firestorm on The Waverider due to the energy released when they merge. For some reason, this isn't an issue when they merge in the loading bay in this episode to practice transmuting other objects.
There's a lot of questions that are left unanswered, particularly regarding Jax's subplot. Did he manage to save his father? What did he tell his mom about his being gone for five months?
Again, Caity Lotz is the episode MVP. The scenes where Sara copes with the news of her sister's death - both in mourning with her father and in her violent reaction to Rip's refusal to take her back to stop it from happening - are the emotional high points of the episode.
The direction, fight choreography and editing combine to make the final battle with Savage the best sequence in the show's history.
The scene in which Rip sees his wife and son and seems to make peace with them is well-shot and well-scored.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
Instead of the usual opening with Rip Hunter's voice-over, this episode opens with Gideon speaking and a quick visual recap of the first season.
Mick returns to robbery, giving Snart's cold gun to his new partner. He then kills said partner, when he proves to be even more hot-headed than Mick, killing a helpless security guard. This is something of a nod to the code of conduct utilized by The Rogues in the original The Flash comics.
In addition to rules against drug use, endangering the innocent and the use of lethal force except in self-defense, The Rogues have rules regarding their membership, weapons and one criminal making use of another's gear and gimmick. No one can take up a Rogue's identity while the original Rogue still lives. Also, simply possessing the Rogue's weapons or costume is not enough to assume their identity, even if the original Rogue is dead. This is why the second Mirror Master and Trickster had to prove themselves worthy of a place among The Rogues before being accepted.
Firestorm is able to break the bonds holding Carter and Kendra with their bare hands. In the comics, Firestorm also possesses super-strength.
In the fight with the Nazis, Firestorm accidentally transforms a German rifle into dust. Stein identifies this power as transmutation - changing the molecular properties of an object. In the comics, this is one of Firestorm's primary abilities and perhaps the greatest power they have.
In the original comics, Firestorm's transmutation ability was originally limited to their merged physical form and inorganic material. Firestorm could, for instance, change lead into an equal amount of gold but could not reduse a human being into the basic elements making up their body. Firestorm also has to have a basic understanding of the elements involved in order to manipulate them. In the comics, this prevented Ronnie Raymond (a poor student) from being able to alter objects during the period he was able to become Firestorm without Martin Stein's scientific know-how guiding him.
This episode establishes a link between Carter and Kendra's powers and the alien race known as The Thangarians. This link was originally created in the comics by writers Geoff Johns, David Goyer and James Robinson in their JSA series as a means of tidying up the rather messy history of the Hawkman franchise at that time. To make a long story short, it was established that the Nth Metal which Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara (later Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders) used to fly was taken from a Thangarian ship that crashed in Ancient Egypt.
This episode marks the first time Ray is able to use his ATOM suit to shrink another object. In the comics, Ray Palmer was occasionally able to shrink other objects, but he had to restore them to their original size within a matter of minutes or they would explode. Given that he was shrinking an object that was already about to explode, it is unclear if Ray's tech in the DCTVU has the same limitation.
The mystery man in the final scene identifies himself as Rex Tyler. In the comics, Rex Tyler was the first superhero to use the alias Hourman.
The costume Rex Tyler wears appears to be based on the design of the second Hourman, Rick Tyler (Rex's son), with a primarily black color scheme and red-trimmed bracers.
Rex Tyler also identifies himself as a member of The Justice Society of America. Historically, the JSA were the world's first superhero team. In the DC Comics Universe, they were either the first superhero team on pre-Crisis Earth Two or the first superhero team in the post-Crisis DC Universe.
The Waverider has sophisticated hologram projectors. Rip uses this to create the illusion that he walked of the ship with the rest of the team when he first drops them off in Star City, May 2016.
When taking off, The Waverider left behind a quantum signature. Ray builds a radio beacon. Stein builds a quantum entangler. Both devices should be capable of signaling The Waverider, by broadcasting on its quantum signature.
Subspace interference and improper adjustment of temporal polarity can affect the ability of a signal to travel through time.
Rip has a hand-held device that can knock a person unconscious by flashing a bright light in their eyes. He uses this to subdue an enraged Sara, when she's demanding he take her back to save her sister from Damien Darhk.
Chronometric Repositioning is a phenomena where temporal changes can reverberate through the timeline, physically moving an object from one place to another. In this case, Kendra's putting a note inside the helmet she recognized from Rip's room caused it to move several feet across the room in the future.
The blood of Carter Hall and Kendra Saunders is the key to unlocking the Thanigarian technology contained within the Nth Metal meteorites. Vandal Savage contrives a way to use their blood with the three meteorites to erase time, travel back to the year 1700 B.C., restarting his immortal life as a virtual god.
Transmutation is the process by which one changes the molecular properties of an object, like changing a gun into dust or a meteor into water. It's also how Firestorm materializes their uniform when Jax and Stein merge. Stein further describes it as a literal function of mind over matter.
Stein calculates that Savage means to create a temporal paradox by destroying the Earth three times at three different points in time, during a celestial alignment between Earth and Thanagar. This action will generate a time quake that would return the Earth to the point of the first chrono-thermic reaction in Earth's history (i.e. Ancient Egypt in 1700 BC, when Savage was first empowered). The alignment points Savage muse utilize are 1958, 1975 and 2021.
It was previously said that only Kendra or Carter could kill Savage using items exposed, as they were, to the meteor's radiation. Stein postulates that the same radiation that grants Savage his immortality also makes him vulnerable while he is directly exposed to a source of the same radiation. This means that they can kill Savage without the need for a fancy Nth Metal weapon or Carter and Kendra's presence, but they have to attack while he's being bathed in the radiation of a Thangarian meteor.
Firstorm is unable to transmute the final meteor because the radiation build-up is too progressive.
Approaching the sun, the solar array on The Waverider is operating an efficiency of 12,000%. This gives them enough power to make one emergency jump back to just after they left Earth to fly into the sun.
(After Rip abandons them in May 2016)
Mick: I never liked that guy.
Rip: Despite my wishes to pursue Savage alone, it seems that you're all intent on seeing this thing through to the bitter-
(Sara suddenly punches Rip and puts a knife to his throat.)
Mick: Oh! Speaking of bitter...
Sara: You knew! You dropped us off five months later because you knew!
Jax; Knew what?
Sara: You knew that Laurel was going to die! And now you're going to take me back. And I'm going to save my sister!
Rip: I'm afraid -
Sara: You should be afraid!
(There is a pause as everyone watches Sara, unsure what to do next.)
Rip: I can't allow -
Sara: (punching the wall next to Rip's head with her free hand) I don't care about the timeline! You're taking me back... NOW!
Ray: Look, Sara - I'm sure there's a valid reason why Rip-
Sara; (turning to Ray) Stay out of this!
(While she is distracted, Rip is able to slip a device from his sleeve that flashes a light and kocks Sara out. Mick moves forward and catches her before she hits the ground.)
Jax: What the hell, Rip?!
(Rip enters into Sara's room. Sara is sitting on her bed.)
Rip: Please try very hard not to kill me.
Sara: (with forced calmness) Rip. Please take me back. I need your help. I need to save my sister.
Rip: And you know that I would do this for you, Sara, but I just can't.
Sara: (up and moving across the room) I have never asked you for anything! And you of all people should understand! You have tried everything. We - WE - have tried everything to save your family-
Rip: And I would not wish the pain of that failure on anyone.
Sara: I would rather live with that pain than this!
Rip: And that's just the thing, Sara. Look, if you were able to try and save Laurel, then you wouldn't be alive at all.
Sara: Then fine. I don't care!
Rip: When we left... when I recruited you... we altered the timeline. Now, had it remained the same, then Damien Darhk, would have... (sighs) he would have killed not only you and your sister... but your father as well.
Sara: But Rip, if- if we go back, and we take the team-
Rip: - the outcome will be exactly the same.
Sara: You don't know that!
Rip: I'm afraid that I do.
Sara: No! There has to be a way! Rip, I have to be able to do something!
Rip: I'm so sorry.
Sara: (sitting down, sobbing) I can't... I can't do this without my sister! I can't!
Rip: Oh, yes you can. You are one of the strongest people I have ever met, Sara. Laurel...Laurel may be beyond your saving. But Kendra and Carter? They might not be...
Mick: (on seeing the electrocuted Savage) Dammit! I wanted to be the one to kill him! Again, I mean!
(A second Waverider crashes in front of the team. A man in a black and red uniform with a hooded cape emerges and approaches them.)
Man: Is this 2016?! Is this May 2016?!
Man: You're exactly where you said you'd be. (gesturing at The Waverider) Do not get on that ship. If you do, you're all dead.
Mick: Says who?
Man: Says you, Mr. Rory. You sent me.
Rip: I'm sorry. Who exactly are you?
Man: (pulling back his hood to reveal short-cut hair) My name is Rex Tyler. I'm a member of the Justice Society of America.
Rip plans to return to The Refuge from 112, to return the teams' past selves to where they should have been.
Rip drops everyone off in May 2016 rather than January 2016. It is later revealed that he did this because if Sara had been present when Damien Darhk killed Laurel Lance in April 2016, Sara would have been killed, along with Quentin Lance.
Sara learns of Laurel's death, which occurred in A418, from her father. She later visits Laurel's grave with him.
Sara's visit to Quentin in The Bunker (aka Team Arrow's current hideout) seems to take place during A422, when Quentin was watching the base while Green Arrow and Spartan were rescuing Speedy from HIVE as Overwatch was off-site trying to avert a launch of every nuclear missile on Earth.
Mick returns to robbing. He recruits a new partner, whom he gives Snart's cold gun. When the new partner, proves to be even more hot-headed than Mick, Mick sets him on fire and takes the gun back.
H.G. Wells' childhood nickname was Bertie - a fact Martin Stein knows while playing Trivial Pursuit, because of his experiences in 111.
Martin Stein was never a history buff before his time on The Waverider.
Both Martin Stein and Ray Palmer build devices to try and signal The Waverider.
Rip refers to several of the team's previous misadventures including a bar fight in 1975 (101), a bar fight in the Old West (111), putting dwarf-star technology in the hands of terrorists (102) and being turned into a scary bird monster (108).
Vandal Savage speaks German.
Firestorm is strong enough to break the bonds holding Kendra and Carter with their bare hands.
Firestorm is able to transmute a German rifle into dust by touching it. This is the first time they've used the transmutation power that is one of Firestorm's main abilities in the comics.
The Waverider is capable of traveling through time and outer-space.
The future Carter has no memory of being on The Waverider, but he does remember that his name once was Carter Hall.
Jax identifies the Meteor that Savage was stealing in 1944 as similar to the one he saw in Harmony Falls, Oregon in 1958, during 108.
Firestorm breaks Ray and Kendra's lucky vase from 109 trying to transmute it.
Savage's ultimate goal in 108 was to seize the meteor that landed in Harmony Falls. Ray and Mick move to stop him here.
Savage's ultimate goal in 102 was to buy the second meteor with the money he made from the sale of a nuclear weapon. Sara and Firestorm move to stop him here.
Savage takes the third meteor that he stole from the Nazis in 1944 to St. Roch in 2021. Rip and Carter move to stop him here.
Savage is killed by fire in 1958, having his neck snapped in 1975 and being stabbed in the heart with an Nth Metal dagger before being thrown into an electrical generator in 2021.
Ray disables the first meteor in 1958 by shrinking it. This is the first time he is able to use his technology to shrink an object besides himself.
Firestorm disables the second meteor in 1975 by transmuting it into water.
Rip disables the third meteor in 2021 by flying it into the sun.
Rip elects to continue policing the time-stream because somebody has to in the wake of the Time Masters' depowering.
Sara decides to join Rip after a talk with her father at Laurel Lance's grave.
Stein decides to join Rip after his wife (who talked with Jax) says she thinks it would be good for him.
Rip takes Mick Rory back to Central City in 2013 so he can say his goodbyes to a completely confused Len Snart.
Mick Rory and Ray Palmer also elect to join with Rip.
Kendra and Carter decline the offer to stay on The Waverider, saying they want to see what life holds for them now that Savage is gone.
Star City - May 2016
Central City - May 2016
Saint-Lo, France - 1944
Harmony Falls, Oregon - 1958
Norway - 1975
St. Roch - 2021.
Central City - 2013
We don't see just how Kendra was able to escape from Savage in 1944.
The Bottom Line
An action-packed hour that still somehow seems like it isn't doing enough. Good as it is to see Sara and Mick get closure, Jax and Ray kinda get shafted on their respective homecomings. I wish I could say I'm sad to see Kendra and Carter go but they were always the weakest link on the team and there's really no reason for them to stick around with Savage gone. The final two minutes, however, have be chomping at the bit for this fall. I'm not sure how The JSA is getting brought into this mix but I can't wait to find out!
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