Something “Legends of Tomorrow” is doing well is splitting the team up and allowing for different pairings and groupings – and that continues in the Thursday, Feb. 4 episode, “Blood Ties.” But just because they’re all on board the mission to stop Vandal Savage in the past to save the future doesn’t mean that villains are going to change their spots (or listen to warnings about changing the timeline). And, as one of the team learns, Rip still hasn’t told them everything.
“Legends of Tomorrow” once again goes back to Ancient Egypt to catch up with Vandal Savage as the episode opens, but this time, there’s another (surprising) familiar face there as well: Rip. See, this mission of his isn’t the first time he’s traveled back to kill the man responsible for his family’s deaths, but when it came down to it, he hesitated and guards intervened. This does, however, come into play later in the episode when Rip and Savage cross paths again.
Meanwhile, the team is still in 1975, as Kendra’s condition worsens – she wouldn’t survive the time jump, as Snart remembers Rip telling them – and, as the team splits off to do their own things, it falls on Stein and Ray to figure out a way to save her. That way turns out to be by having Ray shrink down, enter her system and vaporize the knife fragments still in her. At first, it seems to be going well, until it’s not and Ray begins doubting himself.
Stein can tell that he lost someone close to him, but it’s not until Stein tells him he does remember him as his student (and had said he didn’t to take him down a peg) that Ray tells him what happened to his fiancée and why he built his suit in the first place. Ray succeeds in destroying all the fragments in her, and once he’s back to human size, he lets Stein know that he knows that he doesn’t really remember him. (He had solved a theorem Stein said he did two years after taking his class.) However, Stein may not remember him as his student, but he does agree that he was exceptional in saving Kendra.
Meanwhile, after Rip assigns Jax to auto-repair on the jump ship, Snart, with a sleight of hand to get Rip’s access key, and Rory talk him into taking them to Central City so Captain Cold can steal an emerald – the emerald that his father was arrested for stealing. Snart’s plan is to bring it to his father so he doesn’t go to jail for stealing it. “History screwed with me first,” Snart says as he shrugs off messing with the timeline. However, when he breaks into his house to drop off the emerald, he runs into younger versions of himself – “Don’t ever let anyone hurt you. Ever. Not here [his head] and especially not here [his heart]. No matter what, you always have to look out for yourself,” he advises “Leo” – and his father, with whom he does a half-assed job of concealing he’s from the future as he reveals he knows his plans for the theft and the reason he’s giving him a pass is so his sister is born. But when Snart is back on the Waverider and has Gideon check the timeline, nothing changed. His father still went to prison, only this time, for trying to sell the emerald to an undercover cop.
As for the rest of the team, after a conversation with Sara, Rip decides to go after Savage’s finances in an attempt to weaken him, and Sara refuses to let him go alone. It’s a good thing too, because when they try to sneak into his bank as new clients, Sara notices the receptionist’s weapon, the guards’ scars indicating they’re mercenaries and the bank manager’s callouses, indicating he’s a swordsman. She also happens to be strapped with knives (despite Rip telling her no weapons for this mission), while Rip is stuck using a coat rack in the fight. He stops her from killing the bank manager, Blake, in order to get information out of him, but it’s an eye-opening experience for him, namely in that, when he brings up what he saw in her, she tells him about the bloodlust that results from being brought back via the Lazarus Pit. When he says he saw an animal, she corrects him. She’s a monster.
But it turns out that Blake knows all about Rip and his previous run-in with Vandal, and Rip expresses his regret to Sara for not being able to avenge his family. In fact, Blake gives up information a bit too easily, from what the “Vessel” is – Carter’s body – to where Savage is holding a gathering that night. The mission then becomes to retrieve Carter’s body so that Kendra can give him a proper farewell, and after Blake gets them into the garage, they leave him unconscious in the trunk of the car.
Once inside, the two do some recon via a dance – and Rip uses the opportunity to tell Sara that he sees someone tortured by an appetite she cannot control, not a monster. He managed to find a way to go on after his family was killed, and she will find that same drive. But for now, they have to focus on their plan, which includes pretending to be drunk to get close enough to guards to knock them out. Once they get past them, they find Carter’s body – but Vandal’s men, including Blake, find them, and bring them to him.
Wealth is not his power, they learn. Belief is. He has a room full of loyal followers, in part because, as he shows them, he shares a taste of Carter’s blood with them that will help them live longer. And Kendra may be out of the fight for the time being, but she still somehow knows where they are and that they need the others’ help. Before the others arrive on scene, however, Savage realizes that it’s personal for Rip and finds the photo of his family in his watch – and, later, when the team fights Savage and his men, the immortal learns their names when Rip “kills” him for them. It gives him something to “look forward to,” according to Vandal – which begs the question. Does Vandal kill Rip’s family in the future because Rip went back in time to stop him so he wouldn’t, or were their death certificates signed anyway because of the villain’s rise to power?
The timeline remains unchanged after everything, and Kendra’s on her way back to rejoining the fight, with the others there to help her get ready. But first, they take a moment to bury their fallen, Carter and Aldus Boardman, before setting course for the next place Vandal is likely to be: 1986.
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 3 “Blood Ties”?