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.
The cliffhanger to last episode saw the Legion of Doom successfully rewriting reality after getting their hands on the Spear of Destiny. That raised a lot of expectation for this week’s episode, as a Legion-controlled alternate reality has enormous potential as an idea. As far as fulfilling that potential goes, it’s fair to say that the writers fall a little short, but they certainly make up for it when it comes to delivering sheer entertainment.
The episode begins in Star City 2017, with Sara and Amaya chasing a masked figure through the streets. After a fight, they capture her and it turns out to be none other than Arrow’s own Felicity Smoak (a briefly guest-starring Emily Bett Rickards), in full superhero get-up. Sara and Amaya bring Felicity to Damien Darhk, who’s now the Mayor of Star City. Felicity tells Darhk she’ll never stop fighting for Star City, but Damien orders Sara to kill her, which she does without hesitation, snapping her neck. Damien then adds Felicity’s mask to a cabinet containing the masks of other heroes he’s killed, which, according to the Internet, includes Arrow, Flash, Black Canary, Wild Dog, Vigilante and Spartan, but oddly, not Mr. Terrific’s distinctive T-shaped mask. So it’s safe to say that whatever this new reality is, it’s a pretty dark place, yeah?
After that, we check in with the other members of the Legion of Doom and find that Eobard Thawne has set himself up in StarLabs and is happily solving the universe’s problems, something that the episode doesn’t make nearly enough of – which is a shame, as it’s in-keeping with what we learned about Thawne in the Apollo 13 episode. Malcolm shows up and we learn that he’s now enjoying life with his no-longer-dead wife, son (meaning Tommy is alive, although we don’t see him) and daughter (and no, we don’t see Thea, either). However, he doesn’t trust Eobard with the Spear and also makes it clear he thinks Eobard should have killed all the Legends, instead of keeping them around as his pets. Eobard disagrees, saying it pleases him for the Legends to have to live in a universe that he created, even if they don’t appear to be aware of it.
So, we know that Sara and Amaya are working as Damien’s thugs. What about the other Legends? Well, rather boringly, it turns out that Stein is a brilliant-but-timid scientist working in Thawne’s lab and Jax is his not-very-nice boss, who reports directly to Thawne. Really? That’s the best they could come up with for Jax and Stein? Yeah, that’s a bit lame. Ray doesn’t fare much better – he’s a dude-bro janitor, who also works at StarLabs and basically has to clean up after Jax every time he breaks something in anger.
Meanwhile, Mick, whose betrayal of the Legends last week caused this whole altered reality in the first place, after he gave the Spear to Thawne, has gone back to happily robbing banks in Central City with his erstwhile partner-in-crime Leonard. Except that this new reality means that whenever the cops arrive, they just let them go, once they see it’s Leonard, so all the fun has already gone out of it for Mick. In fact, Mick doesn’t seem to like this new (or rather old) version of Leonard very much and he complains that they’re basically still Thawne’s lapdogs. Leonard tries to appease Mick saying he could organise a nice prison break (see what he did there?) or a chase, just like the old days, but Mick’s not having any of it.
Back at Doom HQ, just as we’re wondering what Nate’s up to, he bursts into Thawne’s office, saying that reality isn’t quite right, and that, as a world-renowned genius scientist, Thawne’s the only man who knows how to change it. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about what changes the writers (and, by extension, Thawne) have made to the alternate reality version of Nate, he’s… wait for it… a badly-dressed nerd with a terrible haircut who lives in his mother’s basement and doesn’t have his superpowers. Again, really? The best they could do? Honestly, the Spear of Destiny is wasted on some people.
Anyway, Thawne orders Leonard and Mick to take Nate out and kill him and that’s where the action for the episode really kicks off. Nate realises that if Thawne wants him dead, then his theory is correct and Mick decides he doesn’t want to kill his former friend and knocks Leonard out, taking Nate to meet up with the other Legends and filling him in along the way. There’s a fun bit where Nate says “Who even names something ‘The Legion of Doom’?” and Mick replies that he did. He also claims he’s no longer a member of the Legion and that he made “a terrible mistake”. That’s actually a bit of a problem for this episode, in that Mick’s change of heart is generally handled rather poorly, with no sense of what he really feels about the Legends, or how being reunited with Leonard has disappointed him.
Mick and Nate track down Ray, who just happens to have subconsciously built a memory-restoring gun that he calls a Transreality Multiplexer, but we’ll call a memory zapper. There’s a terrific running gag where everybody who gets their memory back immediately punches Mick, who mostly takes it in his stride, because he knows he has it coming, plus it proves that the zapper works. First Nate punches Mick (after Mick tests the zapper on him), then Ray punches Mick and then, after Sara and Amaya show up to attack them on Damien’s orders, Sara gets zapped and she punches Mick too. Amaya gets away, though.
Now that the Legion know they are fighting back, Nate takes the team to hide out in his mother’s basement, which sets up another great running gag where it turns out Nate’s mum (who we don’t see) makes really, really good cookies. Sara heads over to Doom HQ and pretends to still be evil, but Damien realises something’s different and taunts her into attacking him, by talking about killing Laurel. Luckily, Sara manages to shoot Amaya with the memory zapper and then finds Jax and zaps him too. Not Stein, though. Stein, in general, is very poorly served by this episode, so perhaps they shot most of it while he was guest-starring on The Flash? Because obviously, that’s how TV works.
There’s a brief moment where everyone wonders what happened to Rip, and then we cut to Rip and it turns out he’s given up on saving the world, seeing as the Legion have the Spear, and he’s happily baking cakes on board the Waverider, with Gideon for company. From the looks of things, Rip and Nate’s mum should totally have a bake off.
Anyway, the Legends’ new plan is to get the Spear from Thawne before he destroys it and makes their new reality permanent. Everybody shows up at Doom HQ, including Leonard, Malcolm and Damien, who, by this time, have all decided that Thawne shouldn’t have control of the Spear anymore. This sets up what is perhaps the season’s best fight scene so far, with heroes and villains all fighting each other and the Spear quickly passing from one character to the next. Highlights include Nate thwacking Thawne across the room with the Spear (and Damien nearly high-fiving him for it) and Sara facing off against Malcolm.
The fight comes to an end when Mick gets his hands on the Spear, placing him in the same position as last week. Leonard doesn’t know Mick is back with the Legends (and we’re not certain either, since they made it clear they still don’t trust him in Nate’s mum’s basement), so he tries to persuade him to hand it over. Amaya tells Mick that no matter what anyone else thinks, she still believes in him, and Mick gives her the Spear, telling Leonard that he’s nobody’s dog. (Again, it’s hard not to feel a little short-changed by this, as it’s the sort of thing he was bristling about back in his days on The Flash and he’s supposed to be a very different character now). Anyway, he tells Amaya to “undo this mess” and she starts the incantation, only for Leonard to zap her with the freeze ray and then shatter her into tiny pieces. He even adds a Bond villain-worthy quip (“Sorry about your friend, Mick – I know you loved her to pieces”), just so we know how evil he is.
Eobard then puts the finishing touches to the Legends’ defeat, by destroying the Spear in the really, really hot incinerator thingy he’s been working on. Once again, he decides not to kill them all, because he thinks it’s a fitting punishment for them to live in his reality without weapons or powers, and he delivers a proper super-villain monologue, taunting them for making everything worse and pointing out how close they came to being Legends. Thawne also warns Malcolm, Damien and Leonard that he could kill any of them in the blink of an eye, so everyone slopes off with their tails between their legs, although Sara does get in a “you bastard!”, which seems like quite strong language for this show.
Back at Legends HQ (aka Nate’s mum’s basement), the scale of their defeat leads to Mick smashing furniture. Sara suggests that the only way out of their situation is to go back in time to 1916 and stop the Legion from getting their hands on the Spear in the first place, even though Time Travel Rules say they’re not allowed to interfere with their own actions in the past. Jax points out that they don’t even have the Waverider, and Sara says they just have to find Rip. That leads to a glorious cliffhanger, where it turns out that the Waverider has been shrunk down to ornament size and is sitting on Thawne’s desk at Doom HQ, with Mini-Rip apparently oblivious to that fact.
All in all, this episode may lack imagination when it comes to the creation of Doomworld, but it delivers handsomely in terms of action, emotion and humour. Tune in next time, as the Legends head back to WWI for the Season 2 finale.
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– We’re not overly familiar with the Hanna-Barbera Super-Friends cartoon, but the Internet says that Doom HQ resembles the Legion of Doom’s headquarters from the cartoon. That is some hardcore fan-pleasing right there.
– One rather brilliant touch: Thawne takes a call from the President and mentions both golf and hotels before signing off with “Best to Mel”. Little bit of politics, etc. Obviously, it makes perfect sense that Trump would be President in the worst possible timeli… oh.
– Judging by the fact that Thawne has Black Flash locked up in some sort of chamber thingy, it looks like the Speed Force is apparently unaffected by the Spear of Destiny and that Thawne has been unable to undo his own death. Interesting.
– Line of the episode goes to Damien Darhk: “That’s the thing about Sara Lance – she never stays dead for very long…”
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