Legends Of Tomorrow, S2E11 – Turncoat

Legends of Tomorrow delivered another strong episode with “Turncoat,” this time relying on the strength of its ensemble rather than admittedly delightful villains. A newly restored-but-slightly-evil Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) purposely wreaks havoc in 1776 by murdering George Washington (guest star Randall Batinkoff) and handing the British some machine guns, all in order to create a large enough aberration to lure his former team out. This well-executed trap leads to Sara (Caity Lotz) facing her mortality once again, Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) growing much closer, and Mick (Dominic Purcell) getting a chance to shine and teach General Washington a thing or two about being an American.

While it’s unfortunate that the plot of this Legends of Tomorrow episode put Sara out of commission almost immediately, the Christmas Eve party sequence and ensuing fight were pure gold. Washington joined a long list of historical men shocked and awed by a modern woman like Sara Lance, and Nate protected Amaya with an impressive combination of dance skills and steel skin. Rip stayed one step ahead of the Legends, however, taking out all their tech and the Waverider in one go.

More importantly, Rip shot Sara nearly fatally. It’s a brutal move that nevertheless paves the way for Jax (Franz Drameh) to get some much-needed focus. Despite not being able to merge into Firestorm, he stepped up to command in Sara’s place. He partakes in the climactic confrontation that shows just how far gone Rip is – and forces us to watch yet another Canary die in yet another horrifically violent way – and has to be talked out of going too far himself by a deus ex machina in the form of a resurrected Sara. While the outcome of the fight is ultimately disappointing, seeing as Rip escapes with the fragment of the Spear of Destiny that Jax gave up in order to try to save Sara, it was an excellent showcase of Jax’s Waverider knowledge.

Hypothermia: the next big come-on.

A much more lighthearted plot was Legends of Tomorrow‘s latest attempt at romance, starring Nate and Amaya. The two of them have an easy banter and decent chemistry, which makes me wonder why the writers didn’t decide to build up their relationship slowly. Instead, they go from blatant flirting in their first scene of the week to a one-night stand in the middle of a rescue mission to a “just friends” declaration that leaves Nate clearly wanting more. It was a little jarring to see so much development in a single episode, especially in the middle of the Revolutionary War and while Sara was dying back on the ship. But it’s also been a while since love has been in the air on the Waverider, so I’m certainly willing to give this relationship time to blossom or wither in turn.

What does it mean to be American? Ask Mick.

The crux of the episode may have lay with Rip and Sara back on the Waverider, but Mick stole the show with the tentative friendship he struck up with George Washington. At first, the would-be president was unsurprisingly put off by Mick’s aggressive demeanor and wildcard method of dealing with rules. However, by the end of the hour, he’s inspired by the fire raging in Mick to keep fighting a little longer. Instead of surrendering in accordance with the supposed rules of war, he takes Mick’s advice and the two men battle their way out of a potential hanging in time to be rescued by a (somewhat late) Nate and Amaya. Mick telling Washington that being an American means never giving up felt incredibly apropos given the current political climate, although I’m not sure it felt specific to his character. Dominic Purcell pulled it off with aplomb, however. And Washington handing him not a goodbye note for his wife Martha, but rather secret battle plans for her to pass on to the troops was perhaps the best gag of the night.

Legends of Tomorrow seems to be delivering more so-called “filler” episodes this season than mythology-based ones that further the plot, but that is in no way a bad thing. Every week helps flesh out the main cast more, and the crumbs each episode drops regarding the Spear of Destiny are tantalizing enough to come back for more. Plus, after such an exposition-heavy episode last week, it makes sense to take a breather with a fun adventure this time around. Hopefully the writers pace themselves properly, so that the last few episodes don’t feel rushed when it comes to saving Rip from himself and ultimately wrestling the Spear of Destiny out of the Legion of Doom’s hands… If that’s in fact that the show intends to do.