Warning: This is a recap and contains spoilers, so do not read this until you have watched the episode. For information on how to watch it, click here.
After presumably blowing the budget on extravagant costumes and sets for two episodes, Legends of Tomorrow keeps it simple (and cheap) in Episode 13 by having the majority of the action take place either on the Waverider itself (or a version of it, anyway) or in some generic-looking forest that’s meant to represent prehistoric Earth. Despite the absence of the Legion of Doom, though, Land of the Lost ends up being one of the best episodes of the second season, thanks to some familiar sci-fi show fun, strong character development and an ensemble cast that’s firing on all cylinders.
After experimenting with a few different pairings earlier on in the season, the writers seem to have hit upon three separate character combinations that work perfectly, and the episode duly splits the team into three: Sara and Jax (and Rip); Mick and Stein; and Ray, Nate and Amaya.
The episode begins where the previous cliffhanger left off, with Dark Rip imprisoned aboard the Waverider, but still in control of Gideon. While the team are busy trying to figure out how to cure Rip and find out the location of the final part of the Spear of Destiny (which is somewhere in time with JSA member Commander Steel – pay attention at the back there), Dark Rip gets Gideon to let him out of the brig and proceeds to wreak havoc throughout the Waverider.
Mick manages to knock Rip out, but not before he has a. destroyed the medallion thingy that was supposed to help them locate the Spear, and b. caused the Waverider to crash-land in the Cretaceous period. It turns out that a crucial bit of the Waverider fell off during the crash and is needed for time travelling purposes (was it, perhaps, the flux capacitor? Oh, no, apparently it’s the primary temporary delineator – as you were), so Ray, Nate and Amaya are sent out into what amounts to a budget version of Jurassic Park to get it back.
Meanwhile, Mick remembers something called “cognitive intrusion” that the Time Masters would use for invasive interrogations, so Sara and Jax volunteer to go into Rip’s subconscious mind (the technology comes as standard on all time-ships, you see) and try and uncover Commander Steel’s location.
If you’ve ever watched the original series of Star Trek, then you’ll know that the episodes where Kirk fights Evil Kirk (or Spock fights Evil Spock) are almost always the best episodes. Joyfully, Legends of Tomorrow taps straight into that trope, by having Jax and Sara fight evil versions of themselves and their teammates inside Rip’s subconscious – which, of course, looks exactly like the Waverider, only done over in green and purple. (That teammate fight also brings about the best line of the show. Jax: “Evil Ray, Evil Stein…” Sara: “Evil Mick… I guess that’s just regular Mick, but still…”)
It’s a lot of fun to see Sara and Evil Sara going at it (we were going to retract that euphemism, but actually, knowing Sara, it’s a surprise they don’t end up kissing), and the choreographer-slash-effects team do a good job of not making the stunt double or CGI work too obvious. (The eye-lines don’t really line up in their first face-off scene, but let’s not quibble.)
Sara is overpowered and winds up in the Green Waverider’s brig, where she’s surprised to encounter a terrified Rip, who’s been trapped inside that part of his own subconscious since Eobard Thawne reprogrammed him. When he accidentally unleashes the equivalent of a psycho-kinetic blast on Sara, she realises he has the power to do anything he wants in his own mind and tries to restore his confidence so he can get them out.
It’s at this point that the episode takes a rather delightful and unexpected turn, when Jax runs into the personification of Gideon (Amy Pemberton, who has voiced the character throughout both seasons), who tells him that she’s not evil because Thawne never thought to corrupt her. She’s able to immediately spring Sara and Rip from the brig (Sara’s reaction: she didn’t realise Gideon would be so hot), and also comes up with the idea of using Rip’s parlour (where all his artefacts are kept) to jog his memory of the Spear’s whereabouts.
Naturally, all the other Evil Legends are waiting for them when they get there, so we get an enjoyable scrap (it’s always great to see Sara punching her fellow teammates), which ends with Gideon finally convincing Rip that Sara and Jax are real and he has to save them, at which point he destroys the Evil Legends with the power of his miiiiind. With Jax and Sara now safely out of Rip’s head, Gideon and Rip share a tender kiss, which is super-weird, but actually works, partly because there’s chemistry between the two actors and partly because the show has done such a good job of establishing the connection between Rip and Gideon. (Gideon then makes it even weirder, by apparently remembering the kiss – and commenting on how much she enjoyed it – once Rip is back in the real world.)
So, Dark Rip is just plain old Rip once again, which is a shame for Arthur Darvill, as he was so much more fun as the various other versions of Rip, but there are only four episodes left of the season after this, so things have to be chivvied along. There remains the awkward issue of where Rip is going to fit into the new team, given that Sara is such an effective Captain, but that’s a storyline for next time.
Martin gets the short end of the narrative stick this week and is given next to nothing to do (Mick at least gets to have fun as Evil – sorry, Regular – Mick in Rip’s mind), although he does share a sweet scene with Mick, in which the latter tells him to start treating Jax less like a kid and more like a partner. Mick’s really just a big softie at heart, innit?
Meanwhile, back in the Cretaceous period, it turns out the Waverider has crash-landed exactly where Rip left Ray when he time-scattered him at the beginning of the season. Ray excitedly shows Nate and Amaya all his old haunts, and relays some of the tricks of the trade to avoid being eaten by dinosaurs, such as covering your lair in T-Rex urine. (So…many…questions).
It transpires that the flux capacitor – sorry, time delineator – has landed smack in the middle of a nest belonging to Gertrude (Gertie for short), a T-Rex that Ray angered when he stole one of her eggs and used it to make a dozen omelettes in order to survive. Ray’s basically in full-on comedy mode for this episode and the silliness stands in effective counterpoint to the events unfolding in Rip’s mind.
Ray’s not totally oblivious, though. He spots that Nate and Amaya are into each other and warns Nate about getting involved with his teammate, pointing out that, unlike the rest of them, Amaya wasn’t recruited to the team and has her own destiny that involves the eventual birth of her grand-daughter, Mari McCabe, who’s fated to inherit her animal totem and go on to become the 21st century version of Vixen. There’s also a whole bunch of stuff about Amaya’s village getting destroyed that will no doubt be Important For Later.
For her part, Amaya has had a bit of a rethink about her No Fraternisation rule after talking to Courtney / Stargirl last episode, and she’s decided she wants to make a go of it with Nate after all. Nate is conflicted. He knows Ray’s right and that he should break it off with Amaya, but she’s made it clear she’s super-interested and basically invites him into her cabin for the night, so he figures he’ll call it off tomorrow. (That actually paints a much worse picture of Nate than the writers were probably intending, but let’s gloss over that for now.)
Anyway, when Gertie looks like she’s about to attack Ray, Amaya uses her animal totem to channel the spirit of a T-Rex (let’s hope she busts that one out again sometime, as it’s totally awesome) and calmly defuses the situation, basically telling Gertie whatever’s T-Rex for “Leave ‘im – ‘e ain’t wurf it!” Incidentally, if there’s a scripted reason why Ray can’t just suit up, fly over to the nest and shoo Gertie away with a few energy bolts, then we must have missed it.
All in all, this is a fun episode that advances the ongoing plot by restoring Rip to normal and gives Rip, Stein, Nate and Amaya (and Gideon – something tells us we’ll be seeing Amy Pemberton again very soon) some solid character development, as well as delivering the usual combination of great action and laugh-out-loud humour. Tune in next time, when Eobard Thawne targets the Apollo 13 mission!
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– Rip kissing Gideon feels like a cheeky nod towards the subsection of the internet that thinks Doctor Who’s OTP (One True Pairing) is with the TARDIS. The weirdos.
– Ray gets pretty lonely when he was stranded in Jurassic Park and fashions tiny rock versions of his teammates to keep him company. This might be the most adorable thing the show has ever done.
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