Remember that rule in the first season of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ about how travelling really far back in time has negative side effects for anyone on the ship? Funny how the show has completely forgotten about that.
The whole point of that rule was to explain why the team didn’t just go back to ancient Egypt and kill Vandal Savage before he became immortal. Now that Savage is out of the picture, I guess the writers figure that the audience won’t care anymore. Episode ‘Shogun’ takes the team back to 17th Century Japan, and nobody – not even a stowaway who’d never time-traveled before – so much as gets a queasy stomach.
Having finally left 1942, the Waverider ship flies through the time nexus. Nate Heywood is still unconscious, but his condition has stabilized since Ray gave him the super serum. Before the team can decide where to go next, the JSA member named Vixen (the one with animal powers) comes out of hiding and knocks out Stein, Ray, Sara and Jax. She believes that Mick killed her boyfriend Rex Tyler and she wants revenge. (It was really the Reverse-Flash, but Rex’s last words were “time traveler” and she made a rash assumption.) As she goes after Mick, a man made of solid metal blocks her and knocks her out. It’s Nate. He woke up to discover that he suddenly has a very weird super power.
Sara locks Vixen in the ship’s brig, but lets her out after talking her down and explaining that Mick couldn’t have killed Rex because he never left the ship. She also says that they’ve been tracking another rogue time traveler, who is probably the culprit. (Why should Vixen believe her? She doesn’t know any of these people.)
Nate is a little freaked out by his new condition, especially when he learns that Ray injected him with Nazi serum. However, he’s also pretty stoked about it. He always wanted to be a superhero. “This is gonna be so much fun!” he declares.
Ray attempts to test the limits of Nate’s new power by shooting at him and wrestling him with the A.T.O.M. suit. This does not seem like a good idea. Although Nate isn’t harmed, they accidentally breach the ship’s hull. Nate is sucked out into the nexus, and Ray flies out after him.
Nate crashes to Earth and reverts to his normal human form. He looks around, spots a Japanese temple in the distance, and immediately pegs the exact location and time period. Because that’s just how good a historian he is. He then passes out. Ray lands nearby and encounters some samurai. He remembers that neat universal translator chip gizmo that will let him speak any language just by swallowing it, and asks if anybody saw his friend fall from the sky. One of the samurai sneaks up behind and knocks him out.
A pretty peasant girl finds Nate in the field, brings him to her home and nurses him back to health. She says that her name is Masako and that she is unfortunately engaged to the local shogun, who’s a real evil sonofabitch. Nate knows exactly the shogun she’s talking about, because he knows every detail about everything that’s ever happened in all of history.
That same shogun steals Ray’s A.T.O.M. suit, thinking it to be fancy samurai armor.
On board the Waverider, Mick and Vixen squabble like petulant children. (They’re totally going to hook up later, aren’t they?) Jax fixes the hull breach, but in doing so discovers that the ship has a secret locked compartment not on the schematics. Dr. Stein becomes obsessed with finding out what’s in it and why Rip never told them about it. Jax calls it a “hatch” and makes a ‘Lost’ joke, because that show is still so culturally relevant in 2016.
When a group of samurai come to fetch Masako and bring her to the shogun, Nate tries to play hero and fight them off. Sadly, he can’t get his metal powers to activate again. They kick his butt and stab him in the gut, then tell Masako they’ll come back for her tomorrow. Fortunately, even though he can’t turn to metal again, Nate heals quickly and is no longer a hemophiliac.
The Waverider follows Ray and Nate’s trail to 1641. Mick is obsessed with ninjas but Vixen thinks they’re a myth. Sara fights some samurai and Ray escapes captivity, but the shogun is wearing the A.T.O.M. suit and has figured out how to make it shoot lasers. When they find Nate, he warns that leaving the suit with the shogun will seriously mess up history. (Ya think?!) He also says he won’t leave Masako. Sara decides that their best course of action is to defend the village, ‘Seven Samurai’ style.
Ray tries to help Nate reactivate his metal powers. They don’t have much luck. Ray also teaches him how to blow up the suit, which he believes is their only option. Ray is rather upset about this, because it means that he won’t have powers of his own anymore.
Still on the ship, Stein and Jax break into the secret room and discover that it’s an armory. They don’t know why Rip would hide that from them, until they also find a recorded message from Barry Allen. His voice sounds older and gruffer, and the recording says that it comes from the year 2056. He mentions something about a big secret but we don’t get to hear what it is.
The shogun and his army march on the village to kill all the gaijin (foreigners) and kidnap Masako. Nate still has no powers and gets blasted by the A.T.O.M. suit. Mick, Sara and Vixen get tied up fighting all the other samurai (and some ninjas, much to Mick’s excitement), which leaves Ray to face off against the shogun. Wearing samurai armor given to him by Masako’s father (Sab Shimono, who I was pretty excited to recognize from ‘Suture‘ even though I’m sure nobody else has heard of that movie or knows what I’m talking about), Ray proves that he doesn’t need his super suit to be a hero. He outwits the shogun and holds him off long enough until Nate revives, regains his metal powers, and blows up the suit.
Now a battle-tested superhero, Nate gets to kiss the girl, but sadly has to leave her. After returning to the ship, Mick is a little depressed that he got to fight ninjas but has no proof he did it, until Vixen tosses him a throwing star she stole from one. (Yup, they’re totally gonna bang soon.) When asked how repairs on the ship went, Stein and Jax stay mum about the secret room and message they found, because “Some things you just can’t unsee,” whatever that means.
The episode ends with the team resolving to find Rip Hunter and track down Rex Tyler’s killer.
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The episode is kind of fun, but also rather jokey and dumb. The entire plot could have been avoided if Ray and Nate hadn’t behaved like jackasses and blown out their ship’s hull. That’s a really flimsy excuse for an inciting action.
I’m also bothered by the complete disregard the entire cast of characters have lately for the consequences of changing history. They freely reveal their super powers to people left and right, not to mention how many people they kill. Imagine if the shogun had been the great-great-great-great-great-etc.-grandfather of Akira Kurosawa, and as a result of his death we never get ‘Seven Samurai’. That would be unacceptable!