Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2, Episode 9 - Raiders Of The Lost Art

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


When Merlyn, Darhk and Thawne move to abduct a time-drifted Rip Hunter - who currently believes himself to be a film student in 1967- it creates an Aberration big enough to attract the attention of The Legends... and disrupt Ray and Nathan's lives. As the rest of the team move to rescue Rip and recover The Spear of Destiny that somehow wound up in his hands, Mick Rory asks Professor Stein for a private favor.


The films of George Lucas, particularly Raiders Of The Lost Ark (the title, name-dropped by Nate, Sara says the story of Longinus sounds like it came from an Indiana Jones movie.) and Star Wars (Ray says he'll channel his inner Han Solo to pilot The Waverider, the team's escape on The Waverider while Darkh and Merlyn shoot at them with laser pistols, the team being dropped into a garbage disposal death-trap)


Given Sara was resurrected by something called The Lazarus Pit, you'd expect her to be the least skeptical person when it comes to a story involving mystic artifacts with magical healing properties!

Ray and Nate's memory loss based on the effects of the aberration caused by George Lucas quitting film-making occur far faster than any previous changes to the time-line in any other episode. Stein erasing his marriage from history, for instance, did not cause him to instantly lose all his memories of his marriage!

The only thing faster than Ray and Nate's being changed by George Lucas quitting film-making is how quickly they're returned to normal after George Lucas voices his desire to direct out-loud.


Arthur Darvill turns in a great performance here as Phil Gasner, seemingly like an entirely different actor - never mind another character!

It's understated, but there's quite a few good bonding scenes here between Sara and Jax - more than in any previous episode - and Caity Lotz and Franz Drameh play them beautifully.


There are some subtle visual tributes to the direction of George Lucas throughout the episode. One of the better ones is Darhk and Merlyn standing on the elevator, mirroring Han and Luke in Star Wars.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title is a nod to the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The plot is also similar, involving the hunt for a holy artifact (The Spear of Destiny vs. The Ark of the Covenant).

The opening narration is done by Profesor Stein.

Nate refers to Merlyn, Darhk and Thawne collectively as The Legion of Doom. He says the name came from an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon. This is a nod to Challenge of The Super-Friends, where the villainous team led by Lex Luthor was The Legion of Doom.

Longinus is the name of the Centurion said to have been responsible for piercing the side of Jesus Christ with his spear during The Crucifixion. Not mentioned in the Biblical Gospels, the first record of his story and name are found in several books of The Apocrypha.

Also referred to as The Holy Lance, Holy Spear, Lance Of Longinus and Spear of Longinus, The Spear of Destiny is the spear that was used to pierce the side of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion. Many holy sites claim to have the Spear of Destiny in the real world and a number of legends - comparable to those regarding The Holy Grail - have sprung up around the spear and it's mystic powers. One of the more popular legends is that Adolf Hitler was obsessed with the spear and started World War II in an effort to reclaim it.

In the DC Comics Universe, this was literally true and Hitler's possession of the spear prevented the Allies-aligned superheroes from being able to take action against him, due to the spear's power giving Hitler the ability to control the mind of anyone who stood against him.

Ray and Nate, despite their love of George Lucas movies, both object to watching Howard The Duck. Not only is this a jab at George Lucas' most infamous bomb but it's also a nod to the fact that the movie was based on a Marvel Comic series. (Nate and Ray are loyal company men, after all.)


Nate carbon-dated the amulet Sara took from Darhk in 1987. Gideon put its date of origin at around 30 AD.

The amulet contained high concentrations of copper, manganese and zinc - all the ingredients of bronze.

Roman Centurions used bronze for most of their metalwork circa 30 AD.

The Longinus Medallion acts as a compass to The Spear of Destiny.

There is a difference between altering time and altering reality, according to Nate. Changes to reality are permanent whereas changes to the time can be altered and reset. This makes The Spear of Destiny far more dangerous than even a rogue speedster time-traveling.

Cal DeVito was suppose to event a new carburetor for shovel-head motorcycles, before he was killed by Darkh and Merlyn.

DeVito and his friend were killed by sezuki strikes to the xiphoid processes - a close-quarters killing technique used by The League of Assassins.

Jax says it wouldn't have been possible for Rip to use The Waverider's emergency protocols to randomly teleport himself after using them to send the rest of the team away.

Rip Hunter's neural architecture was completely restructured, his limbic system reprogrammed with a new identity.  This is a different phenomena than time drift, requiring technology that doesn't exist.

Ray suggests that Rip's brain could have been altered by impulses coming from the ship's time drive. This "temporal electrocution" as Stein calls it, would be near suicidal as a method of time-travel.

Stein detects a receiver that is sensitive to gravitation-wave transmissions implanted inside of Rory's head. In short, there's an antenna in his head.

Stein theorizes that when Snart was killed by a blast of temporal energy, he might have bonded with the blast and the version of him that Rory is seeing is effectively a "time ghost".

A McGuffin is the generic term for the thing in a movie that everyone is trying to get.

Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Dialogue Triumphs

Merlyn: When we're done here, we need to go to the 1600 block of Vine Street.
Darhk: Why, pray tell?
Merlyn: It's where Frank Sinatra's star is on the Walk of Fame. I have always wanted to see it.
Darhk: I'm not sure if that's part of our little trinket's itinerary.
Merlyn: I said "when we're done". As far as magical artifacts go, this one is frustratingly unspecific.
Darhk: Actually, like most magical artifacts, its ways are nuanced.
Merlyn: That's just a fancy word for vague.

Sara: They must be getting closer to The Holy Lance.
Nate: I'm leaning toward Spear of Destiny.
Sara: I prefer Holy Lance.
Nate: Can't imagine why.

(Gideon has just explained what effect the loss of George Lucas' movies had on Ray and Nate.)
Wait - so you're telling me that because some film geek drops out of school, my inventor and my historian are now essential useless?
Nate: Yes.
Ray: Hey!

(Sara and Jax turn the corner into the med bay. They find Stein, scalpel in hand, standing over an unconscious Rory.)
Sara: What do you think you're doing?
Stein: Brain surgery. What does it look like?
(Sara and Jax just turn around and walk out of the med bay.)

(The Reverse Flash arrives and knocks down all The Legends, pulling Merlyn and Darkh from the middle of the rapidly turning fight.)
Merlyn: About time you showed.
Darhk: Where were you?
Thawne: Always busy, gentlemen, and yet never late. So... who do we kill first?

Jax: Look. Sara... you can't beat yourself up about this.
Sara: It was my responsibility as Captain to make sure that everyone gets back on this ship. Everyone. And I failed...
Jax: You call getting a piece of the Spear of Destiny and the medallion a failure? The Legion have nothing!
Sara: They have Rip! We lost him, Jax. Again!
Jax: But they won't have him for long. If I know one thing about you, it's that you don't give up. When you really want something, you are unstoppable, and God help anybody that tries to get in your way. We are going to find him. And we are going to bring him home.
Sara: Is that a promise?
Jax: That's a prophecy.

Dialogue Disasters

Sara: Hey, hold on - this all sounds like an Indiana Jones movie.

George Lucas: What I really want... is to direct!


"Shogun Ballistic" is the shutdown code for Gideon's primary systems.

Stein learns about Rory's hallucinations of Snart, which began in 208.

Nate listens to rap music to help himself concentrate.

Together, the two amulets Thawne sought form one artifact called The Longinus Medallion.

Jax regularly attended Sunday School and knows the story of Longinus from memory - how his sight was restored by the blood of Christ and his medallion and spear were empowered.

Nate became a historian because of the movie Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

The film Rip is working on in 1967 is called Legends, stars a hero called Rip Hunter and has a villain clearly modeled on Vandal Savage.

Ray refers to Time Drift - the psychological condition where a time-traveler spends too long in an alien time-period, losing all sense of self and memory of who they were - first encountered in 109. He suggests that might explain for Rip's apparent amnesia.

Rip's alias in 1967 is Phillip Gasmer.  George Lucas is the prop master on his film school thesis project.

In the altered timeline, the attack on Phil Gasmer's set causes George Lucas to quit film school. This indirectly causes Ray and Nate to lose all their professional training, as Lucas' films inspired them to their respective careers. Instead, Nate becomes a yoga instructor and Ray becomes a heart surgeon.

Rory remembers having an implant put in his brain by The Time Masters during his time as Chronos.

Phil's movie script tells the story of The Legends. Jax is a character named Max and Sara is a woman named Sandra. It also talks about The Spear of Destiny.

It turns out that what Rip had was a fragment of The Spear of Destiny.

Thawne abducts Rip Hunter before The Legends can get away with him.

Sara recovers the piece of The Spear of Destiny and The Longinus Medallion.

Stein is able to remove the transmitter from Rory's brain but discovers it wasn't working.


New York - Six Months Ago (relative time)
Los Angeles - 1967

The Crisis Factor

The episode seems to break the series' rules regarding the effects of changes to the time line for the sake of comedic effect.

The Bottom Line

A weak script based around a weak idea that is saved only by the strength of the ensemble's performances. Merlyn and Darhk are reduced to the role of laser gun-totting thugs and the rules of how quickly aberrations affect people are tossed out the window for the sake of some cheap jokes. It's telling that the best bits are the dialogues between two characters independent of the central plot.

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