After retrieving the other half of The Spear of Destiny from The Legion of Doom's hideout in what remains of The Vanishing Point, The Legends travel to WWI. It is here that they team with a young soldier named John Tolkien to find the means to destroy The Spear. The power of The Spear speaks to them all, however, and they must contend with The Legion's latest recruit... Leonard Snart!
The Lord of The Rings (plot involving heroes seeking to destroy a magic artifact that risks corrupting them, secret writing is revealed when the artifact is exposed to fire, and numerous other nods to the original books by Tolkien and the Peter Jackson films based upon them), Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (the scene of the team searching an old church for clues to locate a holy relic) and The DaVinci Code (idea of ancient conspiracy built around Jesus Christ and The Crusades).
The show uses an establishing shot of The Amiens Catherdal to identify the church where Gawain was buried. In the show, Tolkien says it was built in the 1600s. The real world Amiens Cathedral dates back to the 13th Century and is the oldest Gothic cathedral in France. (Then again, the building is also identified as The Amenis Church so it could be an entirely different one..)
Dominic Purcell gets a fantastic turn here. After being the comic relief for so many episodes, he gets a chance to display some genuine pathos here as we see his fear at not being quite right in the head after he starts seeing Snart again. Then there's his internal conflict that Snart is right about how his teammates will never view him as anything but a dog to be kept on a leash.
The battle sequences do a good job of capturing the horrors of trench warfare.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
Rather than the usual opening narration, this episode opens immediately with a "Previously on Legends of Tomorrow" announcement before showing clips from previous episodes.
The book which Nate refers to - The Burden Of The Purest Heart - Sir Gawain's Secret Treasure by J. R. R. Tolkien - is not a real one. Tolkien did produce what many consider the definitive translation of Sir Gawain and The Green Knight.
As depicted in this episode, Tolkien did serve as a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers during The Battle Of The Somme.
Nate describes The Battle of Somme as one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history. It was definitely the largest battle on the Western Front of World War I, with over one million men wounded or killed on both sides of the conflict.
As depicted in this episode, Tolkien suffered repeated health problems while enlisted and was frequently removed from the front lines. Eventually he was declared unfit for fighting. Despite this, he maintained his rank after being demobilized in 1920.
As depicted in this episode, Tolkien did not enjoy military life. Even ignoring his continual ill health in the trenches, he preferred the life of an academic and it's quite likely he would have avoided joining the army had the social stigma for young men avoiding volunteering been so great at the time. Indeed, he delayed volunteering until after he had earned his degree - presumably in the hopes that the war would be over before his graduation date.
The Spear of Destiny is said to glow in the presence of Jesus' blood. This is similar to how, in The Lord of The Rings, some Elven blades would glow blue when orcs and goblins were nearby.
The Spear of Destiny urges people around it to use it. This is similar to how The One Ring in The Lord of The Rings attempted to tempt people around it.
The Spear of Destiny can only be destroyed by The Blood of Jesus Christ - the same substance that empowered it. This is similar to how, in The Lord of The Rings, only the fires of Mount Doom - which were used to forge The One Ring - could destroy The One Ring.
A secret message is revealed when The Spear of Destiny is set on fire. The One Ring from Lord of The Rings also presents a secret message when tossed into the fire.
At one point, Stein says one does not simply walk into the middle of a war zone - a nod to a complaint about simply entering Mordor in The Lord of The Rings.
Amaya's argument that they can use The Spear wisely against their enemies rather than destroying it mirrors that of Boromir in The Lord of The Rings.
Rip's speech about the courage of men not failing this day is a nod to Aragorn's speech in The Return of The King.
Stein theorizes that The Spear of Destiny is made of some magnetized compound which acts as its own sealant.
The British army broadcast on a frequency of 3 mHz.
(The Legends look over the two pieces of The Spear of Destiny that they have.)
Rip: It's hard to imagine that when joined with their siblings, they're as powerful as God.
Jax: But right now, that's just a useless piece of wood.
(Sara picks up the wooden piece of The Spear.)
Sara: It's not useless. I know ten different ways to kill somebody with this.
Mick: Not to mention it's great for scratching those hard to reach places.
Ray: Please don't tell me you used The Spear of Destiny as a back-scratcher!
Mick: Who said anything about my back?
(Sara drops the piece of wood.)
Stein: Well, as Mister Rory has demonstrated, in the wrong hands, this divine artifact can be put to truly horrific use.
(Sara comes up behind Mick, who is staring at the place where Snart died.)
Sara: Mick? Mick! Are you okay?
Mick: Am I okay? Why wouldn't I be okay?
Sara: ... I miss him too.
Mick: He blew himself up. For what?
Sara: So the rest of us could live.
Sara: Mick, we've got to go. (harder) Look, this is a heist. We have to steal the other pieces of The Spear and get out of here. (pauses) You think this is what Snart wants?! You waiting around so that you can get caught?!
Mick: ... probably not.
(Wordlessly, Mick turns around and walks past Sara. She looks back to the point herself before following after.)
(Rip tries - and fails - to shoot his way into the obelisk holding The Legion's pieces of The Spear of Destiny.)
Rip: Your try, Mr. Jackson.
Firestorm: Oh. (pauses as he looks at the obelisk) What's your favorite candy?
Rip: Jellybeans. Why?
(Firestorm slaps Rip on the shoulder and walks over to the obelisk. He touches it and it begins to flash yellow and red. Within a few seconds, the material collapses into a pile of jellybeans along with two pieces of wood. He smiles and gestures like a magician having just accomplished a great trick.)
Firestorm: A little transmutation trick me and Grey have been working on.
(Rip slaps Firestorm on the shoulder and kneels down. He takes one of the jellybeans and looks at it carefully before putting it in his mouth. He clearly enjoys the taste and savors it a moment before grabbing the pieces of wood.)
Rip: Both delicious and impressive, Mr. Jackson.
Thawne: This can't be happening. They're not smart enough for this to be happening...
Snart: My, my my - how the mighty have fallen.
Mick: You said that the last time you appeared. Huh. You picked a hell of a time to show up. I'm kind of in the middle of something.
Snart: Yeah. In the middle of being a good little doggie to those insufferable wannabees.
(Mick closes his eyes and clutches his forehead.)
Mick: Stay on mission, now. Gotta find this Hobbit guy.
Snart: J.R.R. Tolkien? Why? Hoping for an autograph?
Mick: I don't even know who the guy is! All I know is I gotta find this Hobbit guy who knows the guy that's buried with Jesus' blood. Then we can destroy The Spear of Destiny!
Snart: Mick, Mick, Mick - when have we ever destroyed anything we've ever stolen, let alone the most valuable score in the universe? What have they done to you?
(Snart is trying to convince Mick to use The Spear of Destiny to save his life.)
Mick: You're in my head. You're an... illumination.
Snart: A hallucination?
Mick: That's it.
(Snart punches Mick, bruising his face almost instantly.)
Snart: Now, did that feel like a hallucination?
(Snart leaves, leaving Mick to rub his face in confusion.)
Rip: This darkness will pass.
Tolkien: You speak as someone who has seen the future.
Nate: Haven't all students of history? Those who suffer, heal. Everything destroyed gets rebuilt and our towers grow a little taller every time.
Tolkien: I should like to believe you. Tell me - why do you seek The Grave of Gawain?
Rip: Ehhh... It's a long story.
Tolkien: Well, I enjoy long stories.
Nate: Yeah. He does.
(Mick grabs Stein, gesturing to the bruise on his face.)
Mick: Snart did this!
Stein: I believe you!.
Mick: You do?!
Stein: Of course not! I just don't want you to hurt me!
Snart: Pretty pathetic if you ask me.
(Snart emerges from behind the team, cold gun in hand. Mick looks at him in disbelief. Everyone else is stunned.)
Rip: Mr. Snart?
Mick: Wait... you can see him?
Ray: You're supposed to be dead!
Snart: Yeah, they told me all about how I get soft and die for you losers. I didn't believe them:
Mick: Believe who?
Darhk: (entering from behind Snart) Well, if that's not an entrance line, I don't know what is.
Tolkien: What is going on here?
Rip: The Legion must have traveled back in time and picked up Mr. Snart before he joined The Legends.
Darhk: He told us all about your plan of how you were going to destroy The Spear.
Snart: (mock-cheerful) Thanks for the tip, Mick!
(The rest of the team turn and look at an embarrassed Mick.)
Mick: ... I didn't think he was real!
Darhk: No-no-no! No need to defend yourself. (pauses) Actually, there is. Angriff!
(German soldiers swarm the church and begin firing on The Legends.)
Rip: Attention all combatants! May I have your attention, please? There are casualties on the battlefield. Brave men on both sides who are in urgent need of medical attention. I know that the divisions between us run deep. That they may very well be insurmountable. But I implore both of our armies, for this one moment, to come together as allies and honor a ceasefire so that the injured may be removed from the field of battle. There may come a day when our courage fails us. When we forsake our friendship sand break the bonds of fellowship. But today is not that day! And perhaps in showing our humanity, we might just save it.
(As The Waverider flies away)
Rip reveals that The Legion of Doom have been operating out of The Vanishing Point.
The pieces of The Spear of Destiny are attracted to each other and can be used to track one another.
Mick flashes back to the events of 115 and Snart's death.
Firestorm has refined his transmutation powers to the point that he can transform the laser-resistant pillar holding The Legion's spear fragments into jellybeans.
"Natum de sanguine, perditus a sanguine" is written on The Spear of Destiny in letters of fire, which are revealed when the spear is burned. The phrase means "Born of blood, undone by blood."
Nate knows Latin.
Nate spent a year in Oxford while working on his Masters Degree. During that year, he dated a woman named Wendy.
Nate theorizes that only The Blood of Christ can destroy the Spear of Destiny.
According to Rip, there are several points in time which a time-traveler cannot risk interfering with. The birth, life and death of Jesus is one of these points.
Nate remembers a paper he read where a young scholar suggested that Sir Gawain did not find The Holy Grail, as legend claimed, but instead had a vial of Jesus Christ's blood.
Darhk says he and Merlyn were sent to locate The Kalabros Maniscript when The Legends raided their base and took their pieces of The Spear.
Mick refers to the hallucinations of Snart he had up until 209.
Nate cannot do a convincing British accent.
Nate played Bert in his middle-school production of Mary Poppins.
Amaya tells Sara that she saw the future of her village, her daughter and her granddaughter.
Laurel Lance told Sara about Amaya's grand-daughter - the modern-era Vixen.
Gawain's burial place is in a cathedral in Amiens.
Darkh reveals that The Legion of Doom took Leonard Snart from a point in time from before he joined The Legends.
Amaya claims to hear the voice of her mother when she is near The Spear. The voice urges her to save their people and their legacy.
Mick claims to hear the voice of his parents around The Spear, only they're begging him not to play with fire.
The location of the blood of Jesus is revealed to be smack dab in the middle of No Man's Land.
The Spear of Destiny glows in the presence of Jesus' blood.
Mick betrays The Legends to join The Legion of Doom. He offers Amaya a chance to go with him but she declines.
The vial holding Jesus Christ's blood is destroyed.
Merlyn locates The Kalabros Maniscript - The Word of God and an owner's manual of sorts for The Spear of Destiny.
The episode ends with The Legion of Doom using The Spear of Destiny.
A battlefield near the Somme River in North-Central Framce - 1916
The Vanishing Point
The Church of Amiens in Amiens, France - 1916.
We don't see how The Legion of Doom persuaded Snart to join with them.
We also don't see the "not easy" adventure Malcolm Merlyn had to go on to retrieve The Kalabros Maniscript.
The Bottom Line
A great episode with one hell of a cliff-hanger and Dominic Purcell's best turn yet as Mick Rory.