Sara Lance is still in a coma, but The Legends are still committed to fixing anachronisms while their Captain recovers. Traveling back to the time of The Vietnam War to investigate reports of a monster killing both American and Viet-Cong soldiers, Nate and Rory run into a familiar face from Rory's past.
Various Vietnam War movie tropes, particularly Apocalypse Now.
Dominic Purcell delivers a great performance here, as Mick Rory is forced to understand the abusive father he hated and what made him into the man he knew.
There's a great shot of Rory staring at a bonfire that is a nice visual nod to Apocalypse Now.
There's some great moments in the script, with Rory confronting his daddy issues and Zari getting a touching scene with a female VC villager working with Grodd who lost her parents and brother in the war and is desperate for an end to the fighting.
The CGI for Grodd is impressive for broadcast TV.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The episode title comes from a 1987 Guns N' Roses song.
Much of the plot and imagery of this episode is inspired by the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, which detailed an American Army Captain being sent into Vietnam at the height of the war to kill a rogue Colonel who had set himself up as a god among the survivors of a local tribe. Nate directly name-drops the film at one point.
Nate gives Rory the alias Officer Schwarzenegger. This is a nod to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous for playing gun-totting soldiers in many films. Nate later mentions the movie Predator, which - while not set during The Vietnam War - was filmed as an allegory for it and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The three figures Stein recruits to help him solve the problem with The Firestorm Matrix are Sir Issac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Marie Curie. All three are prominent physicists who were also masters of other disciplines. Newton was a mathematician, Galileo an astronomer and Curie a chemist.
Stein attempts to find a salient stimulus - a noise or sound that provokes an emotional connection - to bring Sara out of her coma. In this case, he attempts to beat on a training dummy with Sara's escrima sticks.
Stein says that there must be a theorem that supports the deceleration of the subject's rate of fission to individually power the thermacore. Madame Curie says there is only one way to safely split the thermacore but it would leave both Stein and Jax powerless.
Grodd creates a communications jammer which blocks all comms around his village.
By freezing a mine trip-line, a person who pulled the wire should be able to step away from it.
When Sir Issac Newton knocks out Sara, he says this proved his Laws of Motion. Indeed, knocking a person unconscious does prove all three of Newton's Laws of Motion. The first law states that an object will stay in motion until another force affects it (i.e. Newton knocking Sara out). The second law states that Force equals mass times acceleration (i.e. when you hit someone, the faster and bigger you are, the more it will hurt). The third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (i.e. Sara was going to hit Martin, Newton hit her first.)
Ray rebuilds the Molecular Hyper Compressor. (i.e. shrink ray)
(The team discusses what to do while Sara is in a coma.)
Rory: How about you drop me off on an island full of beautiful women like Zari did with that Helen chick?
(Everyone stares at Zari.)
Zari: Rory, you weren't supposed to say anything.
Amaya: Wait, you didn't take Helen back to Troy where she belongs?
Zari: That's what The Time Bureau does. We - we - do something different.
Nate: No, we do it different... ly.
Ray: Yeah. More messy.
Rory: You know why I've never seen a shrink?
Rory: I don't regret killing my old man.
Nate (shocked) What?!
Rory: That's right, Pretty. You heard me. I let my old man burn to death. How's that for tough love?
(Rory walks off, leaving a stunned Nate behind.)
Ray: Look, I'm sure it's not easy learning that your granddaughter is in league with Damien Darhk. If you ever want to talk about it-
Amaya: What happened to men? When did you all start talking about your feelings?
Ray: Uh... early 90s?
Jax: I've never told anyone this before but... I'm scared.
(Jax turns to look at Sara, still in her coma.)
Jax: I don't know who I am if I'm not a part of Firestorm. But then you've never had any super-powers and that's never stopped you from being the most kick-ass person I've ever met.
(There is a long silence as Jax just watches Sara, as if waiting for a response.)
Jax: Well, good talk, Captain.
(Jax take's Sara's hand and pats it gently before turning around and leaving the room.)
Zari: Where are we taking Grodd when we return him to where belongs?
Ray: Well, last I heard he was in an ARGUS prison.
Zari: Wait... he's just another persecuted meta?
Ray: Okay, I know you're not a fan of ARGUS, but Grodd is a psychopath. And... well, a giant gorilla!
Rory: My whole life I saw him as a monster. Blamed him for all the sick things that I've done. But now I see... I'm worse than him. Should have been me that burned in that house.
Zari: I know what it's like to lose the people you love in a senseless war. It makes you desperate. But if you really want peace, it starts with you.
Stein: I swear to you, if I die today because of a telepathic gorilla, I'm going to be very upset!
(Rory is in a stand-off with his own father.)
Rory: I've got nothing to lose. But you do. You get to go home. But if you kill these people, you'll hear their screams forever. Then one day... when you have a family... you won't be able to look them in the eye. Because this day - this act you're about to commit - will be burned in your memory forever.
(Sgt. Rory lowers his gun. Rory sucker-punches him, knocking him out.)
Nate: Why did you do that?!
Rory: I always wanted to!
(Jax examines the minefield between where he and President Johnson are and safety.)
Jax: Follow my lead. And, uh, if I don't blow up, path's clear.
President Johnson: And if you blow up?!
Jax: Then you're on your own, Sir.
Stein: Where is Captain Lance when I need her?
(Sara steps onto the bridge. Her movements are slow and forced.)
Stein: Sara! Were you just waiting for the right moment to make a dramatic entrance?!
(Sara continues her slow steps. Stein notices something is odd about her behavior.)
Stein: Are you all right?
Sara: There is no Sara.
Sara: (pulls her escrima sticks) Only Grodd.
(Sara takes a swing at Stein as he nervously backs away.)
Gideon: It appears that The Captain is under some kind of telepathic control.
Stein: (sarcastically) Really, Gideon? Do you think so?!
Sara: I claim this ship for The New God! Kneel before Grod-
(Sara is cut off suddenly as Sir Issac Newton sneaks up on her and hits her across the back of the head with a frying pan.)
Sir Issac Newton: Oh, how I do love proving my laws of motion!
Stein: (tiredly) Please save that lecture for another day.
"One Nation Under Grodd!"
As the episode opens, Sara is still in a medically-induced coma, though she has just been taken off of sedatives.
Zari told Rory the truth about where she dropped off Helen of Troy in 306 - a secret Rory lets slip to the rest of the team.
Zari shows the team that there is no anachronism in Troy, despite Helen's absence.
The anachronism in 1967 Vietnam is a Level 8. Gideon reports that both American and Viet-Cong soldiers were disappearing amid reports of a monster in the jungle.
Ryan Sanders was the sole survivor of the group of soldiers attacked in the opening scene.
Mick Rory hates jungles.
Mick Rory's dad, Sgt. Dick Rory, fought in the Vietnam War. He was a Green Beret.
Mick tells Nate about how he killed his own father - a fact we first found out in 112, where it was also suggested that Mick's father was abusive.
Jax's favorite desert is his mom's pecan pie.
Professor Stein has formed an advisory board made up of Sir Issac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Marie Curie to help him ponder how to give Jax all of The Firestorm Matrix. They are unable to find a solution that will not depower both Stein and Jax.
Nate refers to the events of 202 and how he got to meet his own grandfather thanks to time travel.
Ong Troi Moi - The New God uniting Viet-Cong and American soldiers - is revealed to be Gorilla Grodd, last seen in F314.
Grodd's plan to assassinate President Lyndon Johnson while he is in Vietnam will bring about the start of World War III. This escalates the anachronism level to 10.
For saving President Johnson's life, Jax is rewarded with Ladybird Johnson's secret pecan pie recipe.
Jax still thinks his mom's pie is the best.
Damien Darhk rescues Grodd from falling to his death, teleporting him through time to Central City 2017 with his rune stone.
3 Klicks East of Khe Sanh, Vietnam - December 1967
Central City - 2017
The Bottom Line
A shockingly good episode considering Caity Lotz - usually the glue that holds the show together - is absent for 95% of it. In fact, this may be one of the best episodes ever. The script gives most of the cast some honestly good dramatic moments and nobody is forced to act like an idiot to make the plot or jokes work. Dominic Purcell steals the show, however, and the effects work on Grodd is fantastic.