Ray and Nora prepare to say goodbye to the Waverider, but their friends won't let them go without one final mission or an appropriate post-wedding celebration. Unfortunately, when the male Legends and Charlie throw Ray a belated bachelor party after finding the first piece of the Loom of Fate in Elizabethan England, they accidentally get into a bar brawl where they show off their powers and set William Shakespeare to writing superhero stories instead of the classic plays he was meant to produce. Now the Legends have to put on a show to fix the timeline!
The complete works of William Shakespare (particularly Romeo and Juliet), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the exspiravit ritual resembles Harry and Dumbledore using the Pensieve) and big-budget superhero movies.
The general premise of this episode and the tone don't work. Everyone acts like they'll never see Ray and Nora again after this, when there's no logical reason why they can't come back to visit. (Hell, Mona comes back for a visit this episode, so why can't Nora keep popping in for book club?) This is particularly erroneous since Ray refers to the Legends as his family.
The subplot with Ray not being able to tell Nate how he's leaving is particularly idiotic since he and Ray went through this exact same business last year when Nate left the Legends to get a desk job with the Time Bureau so he could impress his dad.
The most foolish thing of all, however, is that Ray and Nora were written out of the show because the writers said their story was over, but neither Courtney Ford nor Brandon Routh wanted to leave the series. Both actors are fantastic and love the show and if they were worried about Nora being too big a deus ex machina to remain (a legit concern given her power) then they could depower her. Or cast Routh and Ford in other roles, like how Ford was cast as Marie Antoinette earlier this season! There's no good reason for getting rid of two actors who are beloved by the cast and clearly love being a part of this series.
John and Zari kiss at the end of the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. This kiss is not in the script of the original play. (The again, Zari said she was going to do the role her way and John certainly wouldn't say no to a snog.)
It must be said the cast do a good job with acting broadly in a Shakespearean manner, but the best performance has to be Matt Ryan as John Constantine as Romeo, who adds pelvic rolling to Romeo's line "O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?" that is truly in the spirit of Shakespeare's innuendo-laden lines and almost certainly how it was intended to be said. (Seriously. Shakespeare is dirty stuff.)
Whatever dissatisfaction Brandon Routh felt with the script for this episode and whatever anger he felt about being forced off the show (he was vocal about both points immediately before and after the episode aired.) you'd never tell from his performance. Routh is a consummate professional to the end and I dare anyone to have a dry eye when the Time Bros part ways... even if there's no damned good reason for it. Routh even sells the "insult to injury" speech he's given, where the writers preemptively try to cut off all fan complains about his departure by calling them childish and not wanting the characters to grow. (See Dialogue Disasters)
The costume design and sets truly capture the feel of the era.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The title of the episode is a play on the movie Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice.
This episode depicts William Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet in 1594. The first published edition of the play came out in 1597, but is to believed to have been performed at some earlier point in time. Unfortunately, there is no record of when the first performance took place. Shakespearean experts place the date of the first performance anywhere between 1593 to 1597, though some believe he continued to rewrite the play (as also seen in this episode) and may have drafted new versions of it up until 1599.
The plot of the episode has William Shakespeare indebted to theater producer Philip Henslowe. While Henslow was a prolific figure in London theatre at the time, there is no historical evidence of Shakespeare having been commissioned to write plays for him in 1594. Indeed, Henslowe kept a detailed diary of his business dealings and Shakespeare is not mentioned once in it. However, Henslow didn't note author names in relations to the plays he was producing until 1597. Additionally, Henslow's troupe - The Admiral's Men - did briefly join forces with Shakespeare's troupe - The Lord Chamberlain's Men - in the summer of 1594, during which time the theaters of London were closed due to the plague. So there is a minute chance this episode might have some basis in reality.
It should be noted, however, that the real life Henslow did have a reputation for ruthlessness as a landlord, even by the standards of Elizabethan London and his threatening to cut the hands off a writer who missed a deadline (as he does here) would be in character with reports of his behavior.
One detail the episode does get right: Shakespearean actors would perform in taverns and inns when the theaters were closed.
Another detail the episode gets right is that boys and young men played the female characters in London theater at the time, due to bans on women on stage. Nate's playing Juliet is thus true to form and not just a cheap joke.
Nate gets rid of the actors playing the first production of Romeo and Juliet, telling them they've been replaced by Riverdale. This is likely a reference to how Legends of Tomorrow was bumped from its original Thursday night time-slot by Riverdale.
Ray and Nate's tears when they have their final bro-hug were unscripted, as was their telling each other they loved each other. The lines were improvised by Nick Zano and Brandon Routh and the tears are genuine.
Charlie disguised the pieces of the Loom of Fate as rings.
An exspiravit ritual allows a demon to view events occurring on Earth as if they were a ghost. This requires an external focus, like some sort of bowl or cauldron with a liquid that can be gazed into.
John can banish Hell-bound spirits that are spying on him remotely with a single word (Fuge!)
Code X-94 is the emergency verbal command to make the ATOM suit shrink.
A tachyon scrubber is part of the Waverider's engine.
Charlie says that one piece of the Loom of Fate can be used to locate the others.
(Ray and Nora have been trying to announce their moving out of the Waverider, but keep getting interrupted. Finally, with most of the team present, Ray tries to spit it out.)
Ray: Okay, well, uh, this is the perfect time, now that we're all here, to let you know that Nora and I-
Mick: You're moving out.
(Everyone looks at Mick in confusion.)
Nora: How did you know that?
Mick: Well, you're married. Next logical step in a relationship. And by the way? I heard you two going at it like jackrabbits last night.
(The rest of the team hmms as Nora squeezes her eyes shut in embarrassment.)
(Ray has asked Sara to give one of her period-specific send-off lines, to cover for him.)
Sara: (in a truly awful British accent) Enjoy the jolly old London, you blokes!
(John gives Sara a truly withering glare. Charlie tries to avoid looking at her.)
Nate: That was... that was bad.
John: And frankly offensive.
Ray: Well, according to the iron monger at the bar, for 20 shillings I can get a bottle of wine and a strumpet. Also, Henslow and his goons just arrived (whispering as he points in their direction) and they're right over there.
Charlie: Yeah. I can see the ring on his hand. I doubt he's going to give it up so easy.
Mick: Bah! It's simple. You distract the goons and I'll punch the producer in the face.
(Mick spies a serving wench making eyes at him. She smiles coyly and waves.)
Mick: Anybody got 20 shillings?
(The lady Legends are noticing the effects of the boy Legends' trip to the past.)
Mona: Shakespeare is writing superhero plays?!
(The fireman pokes his head up from between Sara and Ava.)
Stripper: Oh, that's going to be a problem.
(Sara and Ava just turn to look at him in disbelief.)
(Sara has just finished dressing down the team for being irresponsible.)
Sara: (grabbing the Romeo and Juliet book from Nate) This is the least of our worries! We need to get out there and fix hiss-ory!
Nate: What's that?
Sara: (slurring her S's) His-story! Hiztory! (pauses) Time! We've gotta fix time!
Charlie: Une question, le Capitaine?
Charlie: (grinning) Are you sloshed?
(Sara laughs nevously.)
Nate: Follow up question: why is there glitter on your face?
(There is a loud clang as the fire-fighter stripper enters the room, carrying what turns out to be a real fire axe. He walks up to Sara.)
Stripper: Uh, looks like your tachyon scrubber needs to be replaced. Whatever that means.
(Sara looks at her teammates. She slowly realizes there is no way she can get out of this and save face but it takes her a few seconds to reassert her authority and start giving orders.)
Sara: It's uh- just see this fine gentleman out, thank you.
Actor 1: Behold! What worthy hero faces me?
Actor 2: My face is silver! Fists like thunderstrikes!
Actor 3: We must collect the gems to save the world!
Actor 2: While learning how to work more as a team!
Actor 1: (breaking character) Come hither. We have much to discuss.
Ray: Wow! And its still in iambic pentameter!
(Mona walks into Mick's room. He's reading King Lear.)
Mona: On a Shakespeare kick?
Mick: Didn't care much for those Italian kids. But this guy? He's a hero.
Mona: You know King Lear is a tragic figure, whose stubbornness and fear of the future leads to his own misery?
Mick: Sounds like someone I can get behind.
Shakespeare: I have always known how to finish their story. If I let them go, I'm unsure what happens next.
Ray: I understand, but... endings are necessary for growth. No matter how painful they may be.
The mementos on Ray's bunk shelves include two VHS copies of Singin' In The Rain (a fact revealed in 403), a copy of Rock n' Roll Rag magazine with a cover story on The Smell (again, a nod to 403) and a framed picture of Nate and Ray.
Ray says he thinks he and Nora need to get off the Waverider and start building their life together somewhere else. Nora says she wants to be where Ray is but he says she can't do her job on a time ship and he can't be with her if he literally has one foot in the past.
Ray set up a schedule for using the one bathroom in the Waverider in the morning. Mick burned it recently in frustration after Zari's Korean sheet mask day.
One of the team rules is that nobody discusses team business until after Sara has had her coffee.
Ray and Nora tell everyone on the team they are moving out except for Nate, who was the one person not in line for the bathroom.
Mona returns to the Waverider for the meeting of the team book club meeting.
The jars of Rasputin are now empty and Marie Antoinette has disappeared from the lab. Sara suspects, based on what Damien Darhk said about eternal torture awaiting him in Hell if he violated his parole in 507, that they were brought back to Hell by Astra
Ray refers to his trip to the moon in 214.
The only piece of the Loom of Fate Charlie is certain as to the location is London in 1594, where she left it with an old friend called Will The Quill.
Will the Quill is revealed to be William Shakespeare.
Will says he sold the ring to his producer in exchange for more time to finish his new play, Romeo and Juliet.
The lady Legends' book club is more an excuse for them to drink and hang out. They rarely get around to discussing the book in question. Their book this month is Romeo and Juliet.
Charlie slips the ring off of Philip Henslowe's hand while the rest of the Legends are discussing their plan of action.
Mick tells the rest of the men on the team about his daughter Lita.
Nate decides to throw Ray an impromptu bachelor party at the Elizabethan pub after Ray lies and says he's going to Bermuda on his honeymoon with Nora.
Zari is invited to join the book club, but rather than discuss her issues, she distracts everyone by suggesting they throw Nora an impromptu bachelorette party.
Nate calls into Sara and lies, saying that the queen's dog stole the ring. This occurs as the ladies are in the middle of planning Nora's party.
Astra is confirmed to have brought the Encores back to Hell as part of her bargain with John, not letting them roam free while he's recovering the Loom of Fate.
The Coin-Maker is revealed to be the demon who raised Astra after she wound up in Hell.
Nora's party winds up involving scooter races around the Waverider, a petting zoo (with pony) and hiring a fire-fighter themed male stripper. (This would seemingly confirm that Ava is bisexual, like Sara, as she appears to be enjoying his performance as much as everyone else.)
Nate makes reference to finding the Spear of Destiny (the MacGuffin of Season 2) and meeting Elvis. (314)
Astra learns that John is looking for the Loom of Fate while spying on John.
A bar fight breaks out when John bumps into a man while looking for Astra's presence spying on him. Over the course of the fight, Nate changes into his Steel form, Ray pulls out his ATOM suit only for it to grow to regular size and fly around on its own, Behrad knocks some people over with a wind blast and Mick pulls out his flame-thrower.
Nate drunkenly tries to erase the minds of Will Shakespeare and the crowd, but has the mind-erasing device turned around. He winds up erasing the memories of all the Legends as to what they just did.
The covers of the women's copies of Romeo and Juliet change so that Mick with his flame thrower is now prominently featured on the cover, with Ray as The Atom flying in the background.
The new version of Romeo and Juliet is called Romeo V. Juliet: Dawn of Justness. In it, Mercutio has the power to turn to steel, but he is still killed by Tybalt.
Sara and Ray say their goodbyes in the Waverider study.
Ray convinces Will Shakespeare to go back to his original plan for Romeo and Juliet after speaking to him about how endings are necessary to bring about growth. Nate overhears this speech and finally learns about Ray's plan.
In the new timeline, Shakespeare never publishes Romeo and Juliet at all. This leads the team to to back one more time to stage the play themselves, after Henslow pulls the funding for the show thinking that Will stole the ring back for himself. This caused Shakespeare to stop writing for good.
Nate tells Ray off for not having the courage to tell him he was moving out.
Ray leaves the picture of himself and Ray in his room as he finishes packing and gets ready to leave.
Ray says goodbye to Gideon, saying that he hopes he sees her again someday.
Mick reads the Prologue's speech. He also plays the First Citizen.
Charlie sits with Shakespeare during the play to keep him calm while the play is being staged.
Ava plays Lord Capulet and Sara plays Lady Capulet.
Behrad plays Lord Montague and Mona plays Lady Montague.
John plays Romeo and Nate, in drag, is Juliet. He is later replaced by Zari, as he runs off to say goodbye to Ray.
Zari is a classically trained actor and she knows Romeo and Juliet by heart.
Sara offers to give Nate a bro-hug whenever he needs it in the future.
Mick starts reading the works of Shakespeare. He doesn't care for Romeo and Juliet, but he admires King Lear - both the play and the character.
Mona learned about Lita and encourages Mick to go and become a part of her life, saying she's better off because Mick was in her life. Mick insists, however, that he's protecting Lita by not getting involved in her life.
Sara says that she'll be keeping a hold of the pieces of the Loom of Fate.
Astra tells the Coin Maker that John is looking for the Loom of Fate.
The Coin Maker knows of the Loom of Fate.
All the team except John get together and toast Ray with his green juice. The taste of it leaves everyone except Zari running for the bathroom.
London, UK - 1594
We have no idea where or when Ray and Nora depart the Waverider and where they are going.
The Fridge Factor
Granting that Ray has been part of the team since the very beginning, it's still odd that this final episode basically has Nora off-stage for most of it when her leaving the only home she's ever known apart from the cultists who raised her should be an even bigger deal for her than Ray.
The Bottom Line
A bittersweet episode, anyway you slice it. The central premise is forced,and at times idiotic, but the cast give it their all and it's probably the best departure we could hope for Ray and Nora to receive. At least the door is left open for their return someday, but we're still left wondering why it had to happen at all. Whatever the reason, this show will be much poorer for Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford's absence.