Their sworn enemy Vandal Savage has been captured. This really ought to be great news for the ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ team. You know they’re going to screw it up somehow, though, right?
In a flashback to ancient Egypt, we discover that Rip got locked in a dungeon that time he went back to the distant past and failed to kill Savage. Despite torture and starvation, Rip refuses to break or reveal who he is. (His hair still looks pretty good, so it couldn’t really be that bad.) He vows, “I will always rise up against you.”
In the present (or, well, whenever they are in the time stream), the tables have turned. Savage is Rip’s prisoner on the Waverider. Kendra continues to fret over Carter being brainwashed. It takes Mick, of all people, to point out the obvious – that Carter will reincarnate in a new life if he dies, so what’s the big deal about this one being wasted?
When Rip learns that the big stupid robot they fought last week contained futuristic technology advanced beyond what was possible even in 2166, he realizes that Savage has somehow also been meddling with time travel. This is great news. If he can present this evidence to the Time Masters’ Council, he’ll be vindicated and the Council will have no choice but to undo all the damage Savage did to the time stream. That means Vandal Savage will never take over the world and Rip’s family won’t be murdered. Hooray! Rip sets a direct course for the Vanishing Point.
Rips stops by Savage’s cell to gloat and asks how he managed to obtain time travel technology. Savage tells Rip that it’s all his own damn fault. When Rip and the Legends team attacked him in 1975, Savage immediately recognized that they must be from the future. Realizing then that time travel was possible, he set the best scientists he could collect to the task of figuring out how to do it. He then just had to patiently wait a couple centuries until his minions cracked it. “You might be a Time Master, but I’m a master of time,” he declares.
Kendra tries to get Carter to remember their past together, but he believes she’s his enemy and will say anything to trick him.
Ignoring warnings from the Gideon computer, Rip pushes the Waverider to its very limits to get to Vanishing Point as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he pushes too hard. The time drive explodes and the ship comes to a halt. Jax gets to work fixing it (because a time-traveling spaceship works on basically the same principal as a Honda Accord, right?). When the others worry about being stranded somewhere in the middle of time, Rip assures them that the jump ship is equipped with its own one-time-use time drive that could take them back to 2016 if all else fails. I’m sure they’ll never need to use that…
For the rest of the episode, Vandal Savage plays a game of ‘Silence of the Lambs’, toying with the crew from his cell and manipulating them to turn against each other. He tells Sara that Rip only cares about his family and considers the rest of them expendable. He convinces Ray that Kendra will drop him like a hot potato if she gets Carter back. Even though they know he’s playing them, Savage’s words have the sting of truth.
Jax fixes the time drive, but in doing so is exposed to “temporal radiation” that causes him to age at an accelerated rate. (For some reason, the old-age makeup makes him look an awfully lot like Cuba Gooding, Jr.) Gideon does not have a cure for this. Sara blames Rip for recklessly endangering Jax.
Ray and Kendra fight over Carter and break up. “Loving you is like a curse,” he moans.
Mick and Snart want to kill Savage, but Rip insists that they must take him to Vanishing Point. He tells the two of them that they’re free to take the jump ship back to 2016 if they’re not happy with his decision.
Remembering that Savage had a way of sharing the benefits of his immortality with his followers, Stein asks him to do this for Jax. Savage, who has no vested interest in saving anyone, tells him that the ritual will only work if he takes Carter’s life, so Stein will have to convince Carter to sacrifice himself. Stein doesn’t want to make that bargain, but something Savage says gives him another idea. He believes that the jump ship traveling backwards through time will reverse Jax’s aging. (Don’t ask me to explain the logic of this.) When Jax refuses to get in the ship (because he believes Stein will die without him), Stein roofies him (again!) and sends him off in the ship, presumably sacrificing himself.
Snart and Mick are pissed when they discover that Stein stole their ride.
Furious that Savage caused his relationship to fall apart, Ray stupidly opens his cell in order to beat him up. Of course, Savage overpowers him and escapes. This was an idiotic thing to do.
Savage frees Carter from captivity and shuts down Gideon. This forces Rip to manually pilot the ship. He asks Sara to be his navigator and Stein his engineer.
That leaves Snart, Mick, Ray and Kendra to recapture Savage. They have a shootout with him in a hallway. Kendra is forced to fight Carter. Savage single-handedly beats the other three. When he realizes what’s happening, Rip leaves Sara to pilot the ship while he goes to help in the fight.
Savage grabs Kendra, but Carter suddenly recovers a bunch of his memories and fights his master. Savage stabs him (but doesn’t kill him). Kendra knocks Savage out and locks him back up in the cell. Carter will recover.
As the ship arrives at Vanishing Point, it gets caught in a tractor beam. Rip expected this. He demands an immediate meeting with the Time Masters’ Council. On their way off the ship, Savage asks Rip how he escaped from the dungeon in ancient Egypt, because he was never able to figure that out. Rip tells him it was simple bribery. He gave one of the guards a gag pen from the 1950s, the kind that reveals a naked lady when you turn it upside down.
Kendra and Ray apologize to each other for their tiff. They agree that, even if their relationship is over, they can still be friends. Right…
At the Council, Rip presents his evidence that Vandal Savage has messed with the timeline, confident (even cocky) that he has won the day. What he doesn’t realize is that, if that were true, we wouldn’t have a TV show to watch anymore. Time Master Druce announces that Savage will be returned to 2166 forthwith. No corrections to the timeline will be made. As he’s taken into custody, the realization finally hits Rip that this is how Vandal Savage obtained time travel technology. He corrupted the Time Masters’ Council and is working in league with them.
Time Master stormtroopers sweep onto the ship to arrest the rest of the team. Snart has the presence of mind to hide.
The tables have turned back the other way around again. The episode ends as it began, with Rip locked in a cell. Vandal Savage taunts him about murdering his family, and produces the naked-lady pen Rip talked about. He had it the whole time, and has known all along how Rip escaped from Egypt.
After several disappointing entries, this is the best episode the show has had in quite a while. However, I’m still bothered by how dense Rip must be to have never suspected Vandal Savage of working with the Time Masters. That seems like an obvious revelation he should have seen coming. For that matter, the big plot twist at the end is really the only plot development of consequence in the episode, with everything else prior to that just filling time. The outcome of the episode would have been the same if the ship had gotten straight to Vanishing Point without breaking down or any of the drama about Savage trying to escape.
Ray and Kendra’s relationship issues also seem terribly contrived. I feel like the show wasted a lot of time building them up as a couple for no reason at all. And I just can’t believe Ray would be such a moron to open Savage’s cell. That’s really out of character for him.