Legends of Tomorrow left off last episode with Rip (Arthur Darvill) being rescued by Sara (Caity Lotz) and the team before they went off in search of the last missing piece of the Spear of Destiny, which is in the hands of Nate’s (Nick Zano) grandfather. This week, they’re having trouble locating Commander Steel (guest star Matthew MacCaull), meaning the Legion of Doom could very easily get to him first. Their plans are interrupted when Rip forcibly overrides Gideon’s commands and take control of the ship, leading to Jax (Franz Drameh) having to reboot the entire ship in order to rebuild Gideon.
And that is how the Legends wind up crash-landing in the middle of the Cretaceous Period with no time delineator in sight to fly them back out. Nate takes Ray (Brandon Routh) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) out into the dinosaur world to recover it, while the rest of the team tries to figure out how to restore Rip’s mind through cognitive intrusion.
Jax gets a chance to prove why he’s the best second in command when he insists on going into Rip’s mind with Sara, regardless of the dangers. He also recalls the mentoring Rip gave him early on, showcasing why it’s so important to develop connections between all the characters in an ensemble no matter how remote. The physical representation of Rip’s mindscape is also very believable, giving us a fight between two Saras and two Jaxes that doesn’t feel at all hokey or forced.
There’s also some interesting psychology to note: Rip truly believes the rest of the Legends are evil, if his mind’s visions are anything to go by. Of course there is the fact that the Legion of Doom messed with Rip’s memories to achieve this heartbreaking result, but we can’t forget that even a villain thinks they are doing the right thing. If Sara and her team are in opposition to him, then they must be evil in his eyes. Not sure what it says about Rip that he fashioned Gideon into a flesh and blood woman, but that’s another story.
Nate and Amaya pick up their flirtation from a few episodes back, and their chemistry feels more natural than ever. Their relationship still feels a little rushed, but the lighthearted dynamic between them makes up for it. Ray’s interjections only heighten the comedic element of the situation, as Legends of Tomorrow finds several clever workarounds to avoid showing too much of the expensive CGI dinosaurs. To be honest, I’m still shocked that Ray ate one of Dinosaur Gertrude’s eggs. For shame, Ray!
He takes a turn for the serious when he confronts Nate about the romance with Amaya. While it’s very sweet of him to worry about Mari generations from now, it falls into the time travel trap of assuming the current events didn’t already happen in the future. Just because Nate wants to date Amaya now doesn’t mean he is altering the course of her destiny, otherwise the Legends shouldn’t have her on the ship at all.
Mick (Dominic Purcell) is another character who gets unexpectedly serious, this time with Stein (Victor Garber). Up to now, Stein’s somewhat condescending treatment of Jax felt like a somewhat comical diversion from the plot. But now Mick makes it clear that Stein must let Jax make his own decisions, because soon he won’t have a partner to fall back on. It’s a pleasantly surprising scene, yet one that doesn’t feel at all out of character.
Amaya using her Vixen powers to empathize with and therefore calm the T-Rex was one of the highlights of the episode, but Rip finally controlling his powers in the Mindscape is a close second. These moments would be nothing without the ensemble work that goes into each episode of Legends of Tomorrow, and both the writers and actors are to be commended for that.
Both the escape from the Cretaceous period and the escape from Rip’s mind might appear a little too easy at first, but that didn’t make either storyline less enjoyable. The reunion between all the team members feels appropriately epic, and it occurs just in time to remember what a threat Eobard Thawne (guest star Matt Lescher) and the rest of the Legion pose to the universe. In a surprising turn of events, this is starting to feel like the happiest of all four DCTV shows… At least for now.