The views of a new CW/DC Comic TV show viewer. Spoilers will follow.
With a short recap for Pilot Part 1 we are reminded that the characters are still in the year 1975. We see the Waverider land in Norway, where Rip Hunter assumes they will find Savage. There’s now a division between the captain and his crew after Mr. Hunter revealed his own personal vendetta against Savage. The real reason as to why they were brought on this ‘mission’. With a bit of mistrust and defiance, the crew takes it upon themselves to infiltrate a terrorist organization black market weapons auction, without the help of Mr. Hunter.
In the scene where the crew infiltrates the weapon auction we see Dr. Stein take charge of the situation. He uses his knowledge of the terrorist groups to overwhelm the bouncer at the door. Mick Rorey (Heat Wave) encourages Dr. Stein’s dark side to come out, “You’re a special kind of crazy. I like it.” But we see that in the very next scene, Dr. Stein takes goes too far, during a confrontation with Damien Darhk (Arrow) and Vandal Savage himself. Apparently both men know everyone accept this new crew, who appear to be not ‘from this era’. A really exciting sequence breaks out, as words got them into the auction, but there unique skill-sets are the only way out.
There was so much going on in this fight scene I had to go back and watch it again. With each character gets a chance to shine in midst of the chaos. Considering, how short the scene is I felt that everything was unnecessarily crammed into such a small moment. Still I was stunned to watch Firestorm (Jefferson and Dr. Stein) absorb the nuclear bomb blast, so no one gets hurt. I was a bit skeptical, it’s a bit of a stretch for even a superhero, but also pretty cool.
Coming back to the ship, the team begins to realize that they do need RIP Hunter’s expertise. They all work on different parts of the plan; to retrieve both the dagger, the alpha particle tracker, and the part of Ray’s suits that breaks off during the fight. Sara, Jefferson, and Dr. Stein essentially have to find the 25 year old version of Dr. Stein, yep the first of many past/future selves encounters. Meanwhile Carter tries to help Kendra remember the ancient language from their shared past. Throughout the episode we see individual characters connecting with each other and their past selves. Kendra admits to Carter her resistance to them being “destined.” Carter then asks her “What part of destiny do you not understand?” she responds with, “The part where I have to stop thinking for myself.” When Kendra says this she is telling the audience about her negative feeling that by accepting destiny, that she’ll be giving up her free will. The writers are clearly starting to flesh out her stubborn persona, “The more you keep repeating we are destined to be together, the more I want to prove you wrong.” Carter accepts her views, but not without explaining his own first. He remembers their shared history and accepts their fate, “…expecting you to fall in love with me because that’s what you’ve done the last 206 lifetimes, but you’re right. It does not make us destiny.” Here we are exposed to an internal, relationship struggle with destiny and fate; between two characters. In the end fight scene, Carter helps Kendra remember, but it’s unclear if she accepts them as being soul mates.
Jefferson and Sara go with Dr. Stein to retrieve the alpha particle tracker from his younger self. In meeting his younger self, Dr. Stein is filled with wonder and remorse about his apparent arrogance. With success, and the piece of Ray’s suit in hand they head back to the ship. Only to discover that young Dr. Stein has followed them and possibly missed meeting his future wife at a mixer. Dr. Stein’s wedding band disappears and he gets in a yelling match with essentially himself. Jefferson pulls Dr. Stein aside, allowing him to express his feelings about the whole situation; a bonding moment for the seemingly eldest and youngest characters.
“It’s a rude awakening when one realizes that despite decades of what one thought was maturation and experience, you haven’t really changed at all. That same arrogance I derided in my younger self was on full display at the weapons bazaar. Over 60 years on this planet, and I have learned nothing.” – Dr. Stein
Dr. Stein may have spent a lifetime studying time and is a genius, but even he’s shown struggling with it’s temporal nature. At the end of the episode Rip Hunter emphasizes this notion, after encouraging young Dr. Stein to attend the function and repairs the time line, “One thing that time travel teaches you is that time changes, people don’t.” This statement, demonstrates the concrete reason that the team has to kill Savage in order to save the future. They cannot change, or save him from this villainous path, but they can change time.
Ray, Snart, and Rorey go together to steal the ancient knife. A blade that has the ability to end Savage’s life. Entering is easy enough, but getting out is the hard part. Ray and Snart get stuck in the trap, and begrudgingly bond with one another. They both come from very different backgrounds, but have helpful skills. Shockingly, Rorey discovers that their rogue crew broke into Vandal Savage’s home. He is then held at gun point by Vandal Savage; interesting because Rorey is the last character I thought would find himself in this situation. I wonder if the writers will flesh out Snart and Rorey’s shared criminal history; how did they meet?
Carter and Kendra have a final face off with Savage; he kills Carter, while Kendra barely makes it out alive. Vandel’s statement during this sequence was eye opening, “I am a servant of fate. I enable destiny.” I wonder if Savage has ever fought his own fate/destiny to kill Carter and Kendra. I understand that he’s only able to remain immortal is to kill them, but it’s this endless “…Cirlce of death…” is that really living? Savage is immortal, selfish, and ruthless killer, so of course he wants to conquer the world. But after a while what’s the point? Does this only prove Kendra’s point about sacrificing her free will by embracing destiny? Savage embraces his role as their hunter, destroyer, thus almost forcing Kendra and Carter to find, protect, and love one another.
The whole team returns to the ship and and recognizes that they have to complete this mission together, even with Rip Hunter’s leadership. On the surface they are doing it to fulfill an unknown potential destiny, as legends. These characters also have other motivating factors, such as redemption, knowledge, and adventure. As a team, they will fight to avenge their fallen comrade, “For Carter.” I believe they have a new respect for both the time line and Rip Hunter’s warnings about affecting the timeline too much.
Overall, I felt this episode was a bit overwhelming for me. The episode was jammed pack full of new information about the characters, bonding moments, team strengthening, and lessons on time travel. Although, these story arcs did raise some thought provoking questions about both destiny and free will. I’m excited to see both next week’s episode and future Flash/Arrow crossovers. Stay tuned.
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