Episodes 201 “Out of Time”
Teleplay by Marc Guggenheim & Phil Klemmer
Story by Greg Berlanti & Chris Fedak
Directed by Dermott Downs
In 1979, Disney released Unidentified Flying Oddball, a new take on Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Dennis Dugan, who’s now enjoying a very prolific career as a director, starred as astronaut Tom Trimble in a silly little romp that had said astronaut in Camelot after his ship went too fast and blasted through time.
Dugan, incidentally, also played “Captain Freedom” on Hill Street Blues, so he’s not unfamiliar with capes…
I mention this because at the moment when the Cardinal Richelieu’s Bad Guys started shooting laser pistols in 1637 France, I knew were in for goofballery of the Nth-Metal Kind…
Legends of Tomorrow is the most comic-book-y series from Berlanti and Company, bar none. Even with the addition of Supergirl on the CW, nothing feels more goofballery than LOT. And I mean that in a good way. Mostly. With the time travel shenanigans and the use of technology when they shouldn’t because “they started it” and the upcoming over-the-top villainy we’re about to get from the Legion of Doom… yeah, it’s going to be a fun ride if they execute properly.
We start the whole thing off by introducing Dr. Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), who’s doesn’t have the same back story as in the comics, although he’s got some pretty good football star moves getting through security to see Mayor Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) to get his help saving Sara (Caity Lotz), Ray (Brandon Routh), and the others. Claiming to be a “deductive historical reproductions” specialist (read that “time detective”), Heywood is able to detect the quantum fluctuations that indicate when history has been altered by tampering. He’s figured out that the Waverider went down in the water off the coast of New York, 1942 where it met an atomic bomb.
And who’s the quantum physicist friend of Heywood’s?
So Oliver and Nate take a submersible down to the wreckage, where they find an injured Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) in stasis. Once revived, he tells the rest of the story in a Flashback Episode™ that starts with the team staving off a high-tech attack on King Louis XIII of France.
At least, most of the team. Look, if the show’s going to get gratuitous with Sara’s sexual orientation, it’s going to get very old very quickly. She’s an assassin. Not a wench. Not the sexpot. Let’s not get into the habit of throwing the bisexual woman into seductions because it would be titillating and ratings!
Anyway, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) might be irritated at the methods, but they foil Richelieu’s plot to kill the King, even though… the Cardinal’s men are still in 1637 France with laser guns? And the team just leaves? How does that work? I didn’t see them take any tech. No interrogations to see where the tech came from.
See what I mean? Goofballery comic-book-y. This is straight out of the 60s, man.
The rest of the hour deals with the team figuring out that in 1942, the Nazis blow up New York City with an atomic bomb. Going through the newspaper records, Professor Stein (Victor Garber) finds that Albert Einstein was abducted shortly before the event, leading them to assume that the Nazis are making Einstein work up the bomb a full three years before it’s supposed to happen.
More goofballery ensues as the “Legends” proceed to kidnap Albert Einstein. This is where it hits me that I’ve seen this guy before, and then I recognize him: John Rubenstein has been in so many shows as a guest or recurring guest, and he’s done his time on genre shows — Enterprise, Wizards of Waverly Place, Angel — I first saw him as Jeff Maitland in Family waaaayyy back in the day. So to see him playing Einstein… for me, somehow it doesn’t fit. It looked like someone put a wig on John Rubenstein and said “pretend to be German” or something. Rubenstein is a talented actor, but I couldn’t buy him as Einstein. Just something about the hair and make-up…
But as it turns out, Einstein wasn’t the target of the Nazis. Instead, they went after his ex-wife, Mileva Maric (Christina Jastrzembska), who also is a physicist and the secret ingredient behind Einstein’s brilliant theoretical work.
And it’s not just the Nazis involved in the plot. The whole thing is being run by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), whom Sara was tracking in a side story about revenge. She went off on her own, ostensibly to run down a lead, only for Ray to find her in a warehouse about to attack Darhk. Payback. Killing him now keeps him from killing Laurel.
That’s when they figure out it’s all connected, and that Darhk is working with the Nazis.
The attempt to retrieve the bomb at the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey goes sideways quickly. Sara goes off-mission and attacks Darhk, venting her personal feelings and recklessly putting the beat-down on the villain (or trying to). Ray tries to disable the bomb, but his suit gets compromised because it’s not as radiation-proof as he thought. They rescue Mileva, but the bomb gets away.
They trace the bomb to New York, where the Nazi submarine is about to launch it on a torpedo. But first, a little World War II underwater battle sequence. And the only way to stop the a-bomb torpedo is to put the Waverider in the path of the bomb and send everyone on the team in a “Timescatter” — sending everyone but Mick to random places in time.
Hunter has also been teaching Jefferson (Franz Drameh) how to fix the ship, anticipating a moment when he’ll no longer be part of the team. Jefferson assumes this to mean Hunter might eventually quit, but the good captain is figuring he’ll die. He’s gone when Heywood and Ollie wake Mick, who takes Heywood in tow to retrieve the rest of the team:
- Ray in the Jurassic era being chased by a T-Rex
- Stein and Jax in England 821 AD about to get their heads cut off
- Sara in Salem about to be burned as a witch
- and no trace of Rip
Hunter leaves behind a “final message” for the team, apologizing for stranding them and giving us the impression that he’s dead. But the ship is relatively intact and there wasn’t a body, so… now what?
They figure they have to keep going to stop the “Time Nemesis” — a rogue time traveler who’s going back and forth through time. The next twist reveal is that Darhk is working with Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher).
And the next next twist reveal is the Legends being captured in 1942 by the Justice Society of America!
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.