Time travel makes things tricky – and weird – in the Thursday, Jan. 28 episode of “Legends of Tomorrow,” the second half of the pilot. A familiar face from “Arrow” shows up in 1975, someone leaves behind something they shouldn’t, someone else attracts the attention of a person they shouldn’t and a fight ends tragically for one of the team.
Following Rip Hunter revealing that they’re not in fact legends in the future in the first part of the “Legends of Tomorrow” pilot, it’s understandable that the team is less willing to trust him when it comes to the next mission: infiltrating a weapons auction where Vandal Savage should be in Norway (still in 1975). Since it’s right in Snart’s wheelhouse, he takes point – with Stein surprisingly stepping in when stealing someone’s credentials doesn’t seem like it will be enough. Among the potential buyers of the nuclear warhead Vandal is selling is none other than Damien Darhk, and when the team ends up buying the weapon, it attracts his attention – especially since he doesn’t recognize them or their organization.
Then, of course, there’s the matter of payment, and Stein makes the mistake of using the phrase “this era” when discussing validating the warhead is operational. A fight breaks out, with Ray joining in after he flies out of Stein’s pocket in his suit. The Hawks go after Vandal, of course, but they have a more pressing matter at hand: the warhead is armed and set to go off in two minutes. Furthermore, when Ray flies into it, the timer ticks down to 30 seconds, a fail-safe. This is where Firestorm comes in, carrying the nuclear warhead to a safe distance and absorbing the massive release of energy when it goes off. It works, but they have a new problem: a piece of Ray’s suit falls off in the middle of the fight.
Upon returning to the Waverider, Rip is there to scold them, not only for revealing their powers to Vandal, but because their enemy found part of Ray’s suit (which probably deserves more than a “Whoops” from Ray). Armed with that future tech, Vandal’s engineers develop a weapon more destructive than anything else from 1975, leading to the destruction of Central City in 2016 – if they don’t get it back ASAP so it doesn’t happen. Also on the table to be dealt with immediately: finding the dagger Vandal used to kill Kendra and Carter in their first lives to kill him. That means the team has to split up: Stein, Sara and Jax to see 25-year-old Stein about a device he created that could help them find Ray’s tech, Snart, Rory and Ray to get the dagger and Kendra and Carter working on her remembering the inscription on the dagger.
Stein has his two younger teammates be a buffer with his younger self, which backfires a bit, since Sara catches “Marty’s” attention. (Stein’s reaction to that is hilarious, especially once Sara starts teasing him.) It’s the ’70s, so there’s weed (which leads to Stein suggesting Marty take it easy – and lay off the saturated fats), but the purpose of this is to turn the conversation to detecting alpha particles. Unfortunately, when Stein goes to find his device while Marty’s out of the room, Jax is a horrible lookout, and his younger self comes back at the worst possible time. They try to cover, but Sara ends up knocking him out. Because he doesn’t want to change his past – there’s a faculty mixer that night, where he meets his future wife – Stein sets an alarm to make sure he doesn’t miss it.
They track down Ray’s tech, and though Sara may be stoned, she’s still a badass (and is totally right that she could take out Vandal’s rent-a-thugs from 1975 unconscious). However, upon returning to the ship, they run into a problem: Stein’s wedding ring disappears, and Marty follows them on board. See, he had built something to track his own device. Jax has to pull Stein away from himself, and Stein admits that he had hoped he had become more mature over the years, only to see that the opposite is the case. He saw the same arrogance at the weapons auction that he sees in his younger self. Jax reminds him that he wants to make the world a better place and is willing to risk everything. But they do still have to deal with Marty, which means getting him off the ship before he learns/sees too much.
Meanwhile, Carter works with Kendra to help her remember the dagger in their first lives because only the clergy can read the inscription (in hieroglyphics). She has flashes of them together, but when he reminds her that it’s their destiny, she pulls back. She later admits that the more he says they’re destined to be together, the more she wants to prove him wrong. Still, the fact that they have fallen in love over and over again does make them a “probability,” she is willing to give him. When she tries to remember again, she does. He gave her the dagger, and the inscription read, “And though my soul departs the Earth, I count my days til my rebirth, I will wait across eternity for my love to come back to me.”
But then comes the latest problem. Snart, Ray and Rory went to steal the dagger, and after a brief hiccup where Ray thought he disabled the security system, only to alert two guards the villains took care of, they found the dagger inside. Ray and Snart got into it over stealing more than they came for (which, to be honest, can’t be a surprise to anyone), and that led to them knocking over an artifact and triggering an alarm, bringing a cage down around them. While waiting for Rory, who was out of the room looking for the safe, to trigger the system default, Snart and Ray actually bond a bit over electrical engineering. Ray even admits that he gets why Rip brought Snart along. Of course, then everything goes to hell when they find out that Vandal owns the house.
Savage realizes that they’re targeting him for something he has yet to do, that they’ve traveled there from the future, and he has them contact the rest of the team. There are two in particular he’s looking forward to seeing again, after all. Firestorm shows up and blasts Vandal back, which only momentarily takes him out of the fight, but gives the others enough time to suit up/arm themselves. The rest of the team deals with Vandal’s thugs, while the Hawks face the immortal himself.
Though Carter stabs him with the dagger, it does nothing. That’s because, as Savage reveals as he stabs Hawkman, since it was Kendra’s blade, she has to be the one to wield it. Carter dies in Kendra’s arms, and though Vandal manages to stab Kendra, the others get there in time to save her and bring her back to the Waverider, still alive. Before Rip has Gideon sedate her, she laments to the former Time Master that she remembered how she felt about Carter but didn’t get to tell him. It’s actually sort of a nice emotional moment from Rip as he tries to calm her.
Since they can’t time jump due to Kendra’s injuries, Rip takes a moment to bring Stein back to his former university and show him his younger self with his future wife. It didn’t seem fair for Stein to sacrifice his wife to save Rip’s, and so Rip encouraged Marty to attend the faculty mixer.
They may have gotten Ray’s tech back, but they lost Carter and Vandal still rises to power in 2166 and Rip’s family still dies. So where does this leave them? Well, they could return home to 2016 and live out their insignificant lives … or as Ray puts it, they could make a play at becoming legends, ending Savage and saving the world. Everyone’s on board with that plan. Savage got Rory’s attention. Snart may not have known Carter but he was part of his crew. Stein gives Jax the choice he didn’t before, and Jax is on board. “For Carter,” they agree. And off they go.
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 2 “Pilot, Part 2”?