This week, we go to the moon with Ray and the Reverse Flash! We lose another member of the Justice Society of America. And Rip figures out what the rest of us have known for a long time: Sara Lance is a much better captain than he is. I spent most of season 1 yelling at Sara and Snart to stage a mutiny. Also, a duet by Victor Garber and Dominic Purcell, which is the kind of thing that makes this show must see TV.
We start with original Rip dropping Henry Heywood/Commander Steel off in Manhattan in 1965, where he will be responsible for protecting the last piece of the Spear of Destiny. Moments later, new Rip, Nate, Amaya and Sara arrive to find them and retrieve the Spear fragment. We all know it won’t be that simple, though, or there won’t be an episode.
Back to the ship to regroup. The Legends go through a some quick logical reasoning, look through some photos, and find Henry at NASA during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. Just then, Rip comes out of his parlor with an idea for how they might start their search. He moves on to a long-winded idea for making contact. Sara interrupts to say they have to infiltrate NASA. The League of Assassins taught strategy and quick thinking. The Time Masters thought they had all the time in the world, and no serious enemies. Getting the team of misfits to cooperate is just Sara’s gift.
Rip and Ray find Henry at a NASA press conference. When Rip approaches, Henry punches him in the face, then has him locked up. The rest of the team arrives. They explain that they’re there for the Spear fragment, and it would be great if Henry would release Rip. Henry can’t give it to them, because he was extra sneaky with it, and hid it in the flagpole that Neil Armstrong planted on the moon. Ray asks about the Apollo 13 rescue mission, and Henry is confused. Nothing has gone wrong, which means history has been changed.
The Reverse Flash has taken the place of Jack Swigert, one of the Apollo 13 astronauts. He drugs Lovell and Haise just as the capsule moves behind the moon, and loses contact with mission control. The Legion of Doom must know where the Spear fragment is.
Sara leaves Mick, Jax, and Martin in Mission Control to monitor operations, while everyone else goes to the Waverider to stop the Reverse Flash. Henry introduces the three time travelers as British scientists. We get to hear Franz Drameh use his real accent for a moment. I was hoping Dominic Purcell would, too, but no luck. Mick is busy stealing cigars. Once Henry’s done with the introductions, he takes off for the Waverider. He’s going to outer space to protect the Spear.
Henry’s been rude to Rip since the punch. Nate corners Henry to ask why he resents Rip. Henry regrets leaving his family behind in 1956. He thinks it was unfair for Rip to ask Henry to give up his wife and son, when Rip has a wife and son of his own. Nate tells Henry that Rip’s wife and son are dead. Nate’s dad/Henry’s son, Hank Heywood, grew up to be cold and bitter because his father abandoned him. Henry decides to go home to 1956 as soon as the Legends have the Spear fragment, so that he can help raise his son.
Amaya lets them know that they’ve found Apollo 13. It’s in the wrong position. Ray flies over to the command module to find out what’s going on. He finds Eobard in the lunar module. Eobard spots him, and they fight. Eobard’s super speed doesn’t work in zero G. The LEM is separated from the command module during the fight. Ray gets to say the famous line, “Houston, we have a problem.” Then Mick gets to say, “Wait, Haircut’s on the moon?” which is also a great line.
Apollo 13 is almost back in radio signal range. Jax has gone to the basement to cut the feed to the radio signal, so the world won’t hear time traveler bungling that it shouldn’t.
Martin needs to stall for time, and cover the noises from Ray’s fight that are coming over the radio, so he jumps up in the middle of NASA Mission Control and sings Harry Belafonte’s Day O at the top of his lungs, with Mick dutifully joining in on harmony. It’s one of the greatest things this show has ever done, and a tease for next week’s musical episode of The Flash.
Meanwhile, NASA notices that the command module has drifted off course. Ray manages to land the LEM on the moon, but there isn’t enough fuel left to fly back to the command module. His suit was damaged in the fight with Eobard, so he’s stuck until the Waverider can pick him up. Eobard is tied up in the LEM. Ray gets to go on a moonwalk to retrieve the Spear fragment from the flagpole. This is, of course, a boyhood dream of Ray’s.
Sara goes after the command module, which is drifting into a meteor field. Rip feels that her maneuvers are too risky, and decides to argue with her about it as she’s in the middle of the difficult and risky rescue maneuvers. She saves the command module anyway.
The Waverider is heavily damaged, possibly so badly that it will never fly again. OMG, I’m so scared. Ray is the only one who knows he’s in a TV show, and acts appropriately, as he immediately starts pretending he’s Matt Damon in The Martian. Eobard is truly a villain, and won’t play along. Instead, he negotiates with Ray to untie him so that they can repair the LEM together, using the power source from Ray’s suit. Eobard, in case we forgot, is a scientist from the future. But he was Tom Cavanagh when he was a scientist from the future, and he was so much more fun then. That guy would totally have played Martian colonist for a little while. He loved to play games.
Amaya overhears Nate and Henry talking about Henry returning to 1956. She warns them that their plan would alter history too much, and Nate might not even be born. Henry realizes that he can’t go back. The mission comes first. Nate really wanted Henry to go back, so that Nate’s father could grow up with his own father. He’s so angry with Amaya that he tells her too much about her own future, and implies that something terrible happens to her people. This is why Ray shouldn’t have given him any details about Amaya. Nate tends to be impulsive and vindictive.
Henry apologizes to Rip for misjudging him. He says that he regrets taking the mission to protect the Spear, but what’s done is done. Then he congratulates Rip for whipping the team into shape, since they were an argumentative mess when he saw them in 1942. Rip says that he isn’t the one who deserves the credit for that. No, he isn’t, and the JSA made the mistake of automatically assuming that the captain was a man in 1942, as well.
Eobard talks about how weird it is to work without his super speed, but how nice it is to work with a colleague. He mentions how much he enjoyed working with Caitlin and Cisco. And Hartley, Eobard, your original surrogate son. They have a little tiff over the gray areas in the good and evil continuum, and who gets to be what. Eobard calls Ray on his own selfishness, which needs to be done occasionally, or he’ll get lost in his dreams of heroic glory. Indulging your boyhood fantasies isn’t always the most efficient way of helping people, Ray. Eobard acts all pathetic and says that he just wants the Spear of Destiny because he wants to live. Okay. And what will be the second thing that the Legion of Doom will do with the Spear? Wish for world peace?
Ray and Eobard get the LEM in flight, and the Waverider intercepts it. They let it dock with the command module, then put Apollo 13 back on course and restore its radio feed to NASA. There is much rejoicing at Mission Control. But Martin is sad, because he has never watched his own show before, and believes that he and the Waverider are never ever getting back together.
Now we go through a mini Apollo 13 style crisis with the Waverider, as they need to figure out which essential systems to turn off during reentry so that the heat shields have enough power, and have Thawne be their supercomputer to figure out the proper reentry angle. The Waverider needs an angle adjustment midway through reentry, which requires someone to sacrifice themselves by opening an outside door to change the cabin pressure. Henry gets to the door before anyone else realizes what he’s doing. Henry tells Nate that he’s completed his mission. It makes sense for him to be the one. Nate is devastated. He’s lost the person who feels like his real father. Henry couldn’t bear to live any longer as a man out of time and separated from the people who mattered to him.
The Legends put Eobard in the brig when the LEM docked with the Waverider, but he’s able to escape once they’re back in Earth’s gravity. Ray is waiting for him with an anti-speedster weapon. They have a stand-off, as Eobard claims it won’t work on him. Ray reminds us that Eobard is on the run from the Black Flash because he’s a time remnant who should have died when Eddie Thawne did. Just then, Eobard’s timer goes off, and he has to run, without finding the Spear fragment.
Apollo 13 returns to Earth successfully. Henry had arranged for his son to win an essay contest, with a visit to NASA as the prize. Nate goes to meet him instead. Nate tries to share some encouraging words with Hank.
Sara finds Rip drinking and brooding, two of his favorite hobbies. He’s also regained his sarcastic sense of humor, thank God. No one else would really snark with Sara while he was gone. They discuss the change in captaincy. He’s fine with the change, and can see that she’s a much better captain than he was. But he doesn’t know what his place is if he’s not the team’s captain. Sara says he’s an outcast, a misfit… a Legend. They clink their glasses together. The chemistry is real, kids. Now that he understands who’s in charge, maybe it can go somewhere, even if it’s just intense friendship. Just in time for Lenny to join the Legion and bring that season 1 flirtation back around.
Nate and Amaya apologize for interfering with each other’s families, futures, and pasts. Amaya asks Gideon to show her the history of her village.
There was a lot of reviewing of the past in this episode. We got history lessons on Amaya, Nate, Rip, Ray, Eobard, and the JSA. We’ve also been reminded about Mick and Len, and Martin and Jax recently. Is this all in preparation for the change in reality when the Legion inevitably acquires the Spear? If they weren’t going to get it, the Legends would be smart enough to destroy each piece as they find it. Since they’re waiting, it’s going to be used. Chekhov’s Spear/MacGuffin.
Are StarGirl and Amaya the only members of the that are JSA still living? I can’t remember if Obsidian’s still alive.
Maybe Henry’s regret about leaving his wife and son and not being able to go back, and Martin’s certainty that the Waverider wouldn’t be repaired, stranding them in the 70s, are more foreshadowing leading up to him deciding that he needs to give up being a Legend.
Henry’s story arc over the course of the episode was like watching someone lose their reasons and will to live. It felt like he was putting his affairs in order when he talked to Rip, and the door was a convenient way to die without technically taking his own life.
Was sending Jax to the NASA basement for most of the episode a Hidden Figures nod? Shouldn’t it have been Amaya?
I’m tired of Nate’s repetitive family drama. I know the Berlantiverse is obsessed with father-son issues, but it seems like they’ve distilled it down to its boring essence with Nate. He gets too much focus, while other characters go for months without a storyline.
How will Eobard use the Spear? Will he bring Eddie Thawne back to life? Destroy the Black Flash? Change something further back in his own timeline?