UK TV recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, Episode 7 (Marooned)
Leonard vs Mick9.5
Matthew Turner | On 15, Apr 2016
Warning: This contains spoilers.
After travelling into the future last week, the latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow demonstrates that the sky really is the limit when it comes to the show’s potential, as the crew of the Waverider get stranded in space and encounter some pirates. It’s thrilling to see the showrunners properly embracing Legends’ more outlandish possibilities and the result is easily the show’s best episode to date, serving up space-based superhero action, character development, powerful emotion and an exciting (potentially long-term) plot development that indicates the show has more on its mind than whatever Vandal Savage is up to in any given week.
In fact, Savage is entirely absent again and, quite frankly, the show is all the better for it. Indeed, Savage’s absence is what drives the plot in the first place, as Rip confesses that Gideon’s databases have been exiled from the Time Masters’ network (apparently that’s a thing) and he consequently has no idea where to find Savage next. (It also turns out that the crew have been twiddling their thumbs for a week, with Mick spending that time brooding over how Leonard knocked him out and brought him onto the ship last week – this will be Important For Later).
When the Waverider receives a distress call from another time ship, called the Acheron, Rip decides to go to their aid (despite everyone who’s ever seen an episode of Star Trek warning him that it’s probably a trap), figuring that he can use the Acheron’s time drivers (or something) to update Gideon’s database. Given the likely danger of their situation, it’s a bit odd that Rip chooses a clearly volatile Mick, plus Jax and Stein to board the shuttle rather than heavy-hitters like Sara or a suited-up Ray, but perhaps he’s not thinking all that clearly, as we’ve also seen him wallowing in misery while watching holo-videos of his dead wife and child.
Rip’s second stupid decision is to ask Stein to stay behind in the shuttle, thus taking Firestorm off the table if they run into trouble. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happens – Rip, Jax and Mick all get captured by Space Pirates (led by Battlestar Galactica’s Callum Keith Rennie as Valor) and thrown into the brig, along with the Acheron’s Captain Eve Baxter, who is aware of Rip’s rogue status and treats him contemptuously as a result.
Given that he’s already on edge about the Gideon situation (exacerbated by his holo-video wallowing), Rip is pushed over the edge by both Baxter and a surly, resentful Mick and he lashes out at the latter, telling him that he only took him along in the first place because he was part of a package deal with Leonard. Man, that’s cold, and you can see it hits Mick particularly hard (Dominic Purcell is flat-out terrific in this episode and this is just the beginning of it). It also means that Rip is largely responsible for what happens next.
Boiling with rage, Mick tells the guards that he wants to cut a deal with Valor and immediately sells out his team-mates, promising the Space Pirates access to the Waverider, if they’ll just drop him back in 2016. The show plays some clever games with standard TV show expectations here – you fully expect Mick to be pulling a double-cross on Valor and begrudgingly rescue his team, but no, he really is ready to abandon the lot of them to the mercy of the Space Pirates.
As for Rip, we get a lot more of his backstory, in the form of some Arrow-style flashbacks, where he thinks back to when he fell in love with his wife, Miranda Coburn (Alex Duncan). It turns out they were both trainees at the Time Master academy and Miranda was the gifted one, coming up with an ingenious solution to an attack simulation that will, once again, be Important For Later. However, when it’s revealed that Time Masters are forbidden from falling in love (because reasons), Miranda nobly steps aside, giving up the possibility of becoming a Time Master, so that Rip can fulfil his dream and leaving him with a large case of the guilts as a result. (It’s not actually clear why Rip is allowed to stay a Time Master, given that he’s still in love with Miranda, even after she drops out, but perhaps I missed a more detailed explanation of the rules.)
At any rate, the flashbacks serve two important purposes this week (producers of Arrow, please take note): they give some much needed emotional depth and motivation to Rip’s character (humanising him significantly in the process) and they provide a clever solution to the Space Pirate problem, as Rip eventually remembers Miranda’s winning training manoeuvre and gets them all sucked out of an airlock.
However, before that happens, there’s the small matter of their escape to contend with. Stuck aboard to shuttle craft, Stein finally realises his friends are in trouble and decides this is the perfect time to enact his Space Ranger fantasies from a TV show he used to watch as a child. He then indulges in some Die Hard-style creeping around the ship, taking out bad guys and kicking ass – he even nabs himself a nifty little beret in the process. Victor Garber is clearly enjoying himself in these scenes, so it’s a shame there are so few of them, but basically, Stein saves the day and rescues the team in time for the climactic face-off, which we’ll get to in a few moments.
Meanwhile, back aboard the Waverider, the remaining crew members are split into two groups, with Star Trek-obsessed Ray taking over as Captain in Rip’s absence (“Make sure Picard here doesn’t get us all killed.” “Actually, I’m more like Sulu right now.”) When Rip and the Acheron team get captured, Rip manages to give Gideon voice-activated cloaking and defence commands, but not before the Space Pirates blow a hole in the side of the Waverider. This results in Leonard and Sara getting trapped in a sealed room that’s slowly leaking both oxygen and heat, while Ray dons his Atom suit to try and fix the hull of the ship from the outside.
Of all the show’s various pairings, Sara and Leonard have by far the most interesting chemistry, so their time in the sealed room gives them a welcome chance to bond and the result is a stand-out sequence in an already terrific episode. Sara opens up to Leonard about her death (describing it as “lonely”) and Mick, in turn, describes his first meeting with Mick and how his partner looked after him when they were in juvie together. It’s strongly to the show’s credit that this bonding sequence occurs without any hint of a developing romance, which is more than can be said for what happens with Ray and Kendra.
That said, at least Kendra finally gets some proper screentime this week and if her character is going to be romantically linked to Ray’s after all (despite seemingly ruling that out last week), at least that’s better than doing nothing or reminding everyone that she’s just a barista week after week. Similarly, Ray and Kendra’s sub-plot has some actual excitement this week, with the pair of them getting to play out their own little version of Gravity, as he loses oxygen in the suit, just as he finishes mending the hull and almost drifts into space. By the time he gets back aboard the ship, Kendra has to thump his heart back to life, which leads to the two of them smooching, presumably green-lighting a Ray-Kendra romance from here on in.
At any rate, Kendra revives Ray just in time for the pair of them to take part in the show’s best fight to date, a beautifully edited three-way scrap that cuts between Rip fighting Valor, Sara fighting Mick and the rest of the crew fighting various Space Pirates, with some of the fight moves seemingly flowing together – e.g. Mick flings Sara onto a counter, which cuts to Rip also being flung onto a counter by Valor. The fight ends when Rip deliver an almighty smackdown to Valor (that hero-punch jump move you see a lot) and then pulls the aforementioned airlock move. At the same time, Leonard interrupts the Sara / Mick fight by shooting Mick with his cold gun.
The crew are then faced with a dilemma: Mick is clearly out of control and off the team, but they can’t take him back to 2016, because Leonard says he’ll go after all their families. Instead, Leonard takes him to an unknown point in time and tries to reason with him. When Mick doesn’t listen, Leonard apparently kills him, which serves as the cliff-hanger for the episode. Of course, although Leonard fires, we don’t actually see the fatal shot land and the rules of television dictate that if you don’t see the corpse, they’re not actually dead (and sometimes not even then), so it’s a safe bet that Leonard hasn’t really killed him. He has definitely stranded him somewhere in time, though, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Mick when the show inevitably picks him up again.
All in all, this is a genuinely thrilling episode that broadens the scope of the show and delivers both powerful emotion and significant character development by pushing last week’s Leonard and Mick feud to breaking point. It also indicates that Legends has specific plans for these characters and I’m excited to see what happens next. Speaking of which, tune in next week as the Legends track Savage to Smalltown America (Harmony Falls, Oregon, to be precise) in 1958.
– One of the remote commands Rip uses to kick-start Gideon’s protection protocols is named after a space villain from the comics, Kanjar Ro. The other, the Imperiex Onslaught, is also derived from two different space-based comic tales.
– Appropriately for an episode set in space, there are lots of references to both Star Trek and Star Wars. I particularly enjoyed Ray and Kendra having the Kirk vs Picard conversation, a nice nerdy moment that felt organic rather than forced, given the circumstances.
– It wouldn’t be fair to end this recap without highlighting once again just how wonderful the performances are on this week’s show. In particular, Wentworth Miller really sells his anguish over the loss of his partnership with Mick and Caity Lotz is terrific in both the quiet bonding-while-freezing-to-death scenes and her fight with Mick.
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Photo: © 2016 DC Comics. © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.