UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 12 (Camelot/3000)
Fun with Camelot8
Matthew Turner | On 25, Feb 2017
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 one thing that emerges from this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow is that the show finally seems to have found a consistent tone. Admittedly, that tone is very much on the silly side, but hey, at least it works.
As indicated by the title, the episode starts off in the year 3000, where Dark Rip murders JSA member Doctor Mid-Nite and steals a fragment of the Spear of Destiny that – ew – he had stashed away inside himself. (Okay, so the tone is silly, but with the occasional moment of surprisingly shocking violence.) Anyway, while he’s there, Rip also steals some mind control technology that Doctor Mid-Nite had been working on.
The Legends arrive shortly afterwards, as Gideon has a trace on the Spear fragments, thanks to the doo-hickey that Stein’s daughter whipped up. Doctor Mid-Nite handily wrote “RIP” on the floor in his own blood after Dark Rip murdered him, so they know they’re on the right track. Gideon then points them in the direction of the next Spear fragment and so it’s off to Camelot!
Ray is, of course, a massive Camelot nerd (is there any period in history that Ray hasn’t been a massive nerd about so far?), so he’s super-excited about getting to dress up in armour, put on an accent and maybe do a joust. There’s a nice running joke with buzzkill historian Nate, who insists that Camelot never really existed and it was all a legend and the costumes aren’t accurate and jousting wasn’t even invented until centuries later… and then they all run into an armour-clad, battle-ready Queen Guinevere (Elyse Levesque), who takes them back to the court of King Arthur. Sara is instantly smitten with Guinevere and the lustful look she gives her pretty much makes the episode worthwhile on its own.
Once the Legends are face to face with King Arthur, he introduces his fabled magician, and suddenly, everything clicks into place, as Merlin is revealed to be JSA member Stargirl (Sarah Grey). Remember that mystery, established a few episodes ago, when Obsidian revealed that the JSA had all mysteriously disappeared in 1958? Well, it turns out that Rip (back when he was still good, although let’s not think about whereabouts in the timeline this is supposed to have taken place) decided that the Spear needed to be placed in safe hands, so he split it into four pieces and scattered them throughout history, charging each remaining member of the JSA with looking after their fragment in a different time period. That all seems very selfless of them, under the circumstances, and you can’t help but feel that Stargirl drew the shortest straw to end up in Arthurian times, but there you go.
Anyway, Stargirl reveals that she fashioned the court according to the Arthurian legends, making her an even bigger Camelot nerd than Ray, although the script doesn’t bother having them acknowledge this. This also informs a valuable lesson learned by Nate throughout the episode, which is that sometimes history and legend overlap and maybe you have to let that happen every so often.
Meanwhile, Jax, Stein and Mick have been deemed surplus to requirements on this mission, so they’re still on board the Waverider, where Martin reveals he stole the same piece of mind control tech from Doctor Mid-Nite that Dark Rip did. No doubt this will come in handy for later. For the moment, it makes for a nice bonding moment with Mick, who’s suitably amused by Stein’s criminal activity.
Back at court, Arthur and the Legends are suddenly attacked by Dark Rip and the Black Knight, who turns out to be, um, Damien Darhk in a suit of armour. There is literally no reason for this whatsoever and it doesn’t seem at all like something Darhk would enjoy doing (with his magical powers, he doesn’t need armour), but here we are. No sign of Malcolm, or Eobard Thawne this episode, either. As predicted, Dark Rip has tinkered about with Doctor Mid-Nite’s mind-control tech, so he puts Arthur and a large number of Knights under his control and gives the Legends an ultimatum – produce the Spear fragment in 24 hours or face the wrath of the entire army. Oh, and he makes Arthur kill his best friend Galahad, just to prove he means business and that the mind-control tech is bad news.
Stargirl is reluctant to give up the Spear’s location, as she doesn’t entirely trust former teammate Amaya, feeling that she abandoned the JSA by mysteriously disappearing back in the 1940s. However, Amaya figures out where the fragment is anyway, correctly surmising that it’s hidden inside Excalibur, which she removes from the stone (Stargirl really did her decorative homework on Camelot, as the sword-in-the-stone is sitting right there as a centrepiece) using a combination of various animal powers. Sara: impressed.
With the fragment retrieved, there’s really no reason to stick around, except Guinevere has given a rousing, ripped-off-from-300 speech to her troops (“We! Are! Camelot!”, etc.), which fires up Ray’s hero complex, to the point where he decides to fight alongside her, even though he doesn’t need to. In fact, the rest of the Legends are all set to leave him behind (which seems insane, given that Sara of all people knows what he went through the last time he was left behind), but Mick refuses to leave “Haircut” behind, and so they all decide to join the battle.
To be fair, the battle sequence is really nicely handled, with everyone getting a cool sword-wielding moment, especially Ray, who has wired up his sword to his ATOM suit, so that it lights up like a light sabre (which occasions some good jokes about copyright issues). Ray also pulls off an impressive-looking slow-motion leap, where he takes out a Knight (or possibly Rip) on horseback, and there’s some fun action for Sara, Amaya and Nate too.
Meanwhile, after Stein’s failed attempt at getting the mind control tech to work on Mick, Jax speculates that maybe it’s not the size of the brain that matters but the intensity of the thought. Sure enough, Mick has a go at the mind-controlling and it works, so they use Mick’s brain-waves to short-circuit the device Rip is using on Arthur and his Knights and the fight is over. (Exactly why Firestorm and Heat Wave are left behind on the Waverider is never made clear, especially as both of them would be pretty handy in an actual battle. Also, Mick misses out on the medieval feast, which seems like a massively wasted comic opportunity.)
With Dark Rip lying injured in the mud, Damien declares that he doesn’t do rescues and promptly leaves him to his fate. Rip expects Sara to kill him, given that he murdered her twice last week, but she captures him and takes him back to the Waverider.
Meanwhile, a rather foolhardy Ray, still high on his battlefield prowess, goes after Damien Darhk and engages him in a one-on-one swordfight. Incredibly, neither of them manages to get in a Monty Python reference at this point, which is yet another missed chance, especially considering the amount of pop culture references this show throws out on a regular basis. Even more incredibly, Ray actually defeats Damien (maybe that suit of armour was a mistake after all), but Damien cheats and escapes, shooting Ray as he’s lying on the ground. Fortunately, Ray’s got the ATOM suit on under his armour (he’s wearing armour… under his armour), so he survives, although he gives Nate a nasty shock for a couple of seconds.
With the mission now over, various bits of business unfold back at Arthur’s court. Firstly, Amaya and Stargirl resolve their differences, bonding over the fact that they’ve both found new families to replace the JSA in their lives. Stargirl also decides to stay behind, as she’s fallen in love with King Arthur. All of this would have a lot more impact if a) we’d spent any significant amount of time with Stargirl before now, and b) Sarah Grey wasn’t such a wooden actress. It doesn’t help that Nils Hognestad’s Arthur is far from an enticing prospect himself – these are parts that really required chemistry and charisma and Grey and Hognestad are decidedly lacking in both.
Compare that to the ever-smoking Caity Lotz, who once again proves that she can generate chemistry with anyone in her scenes with Levesque’s Guinevere. That chemistry is taken to its logical conclusion during their fun farewell, when Sara steals a kiss, after Ray blunders in on their tender moment, then realises his mistake and encourages her to go for it. Again, the slightly smug look on Sara’s face afterwards is priceless. There’s even a terrible, but still funny Sara-contributes-to-history joke, when Guinevere says “I enjoyed meeting you Sara Lance… a lot”. See what they did there?
Back on board the Waverider, Mick is winding Stein up by boasting that his massive brain won the day, and Jax visits Dark Rip in his holding cell to warn him not to mess with the team. However, the cliffhanger for the episode has Rip addressing Gideon, and Gideon referring to him as “Captain”, suggesting he won’t be in that cell for long. It’s a nicely handled moment, which again showcases how much fun Arthur Darvill is having at the moment. Hopefully, he’ll stay evil until at least the end of the series (a mere five episodes away). Tune in next time for “Land of the Lost”!
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– You may be wondering why the episode is called “Camelot/3000”, rather than “3000/Camelot”, given the chronological progression of the episode. The title is actually a nod to a DC Comics mini-series called Camelot 3000, even though no elements from the comic actually appear in the episode.
– One element that doesn’t really work is Nate’s reference to the history books (or in this case, the paintings in the books) to keep tabs on what happened to Ray – at first, seeing a picture of him dead on the battlefield and later seeing a picture of him being crowned King. (Huh?) Firstly, the joke is introduced too late to land properly, and secondly, it never really connects with what’s actually happening with Ray.
– I appreciate the way the show addresses Nate and Amaya’s tryst from last week. They spend most of the episode bickering, and not in a cute meant-to-be-together-really way, but more in a forced-to-still-hang-out-with-that-guy-you-hooked-up-with sort of way. At any rate, it’s nicely understated and makes a change from the usual will-they-won’t-they clichés.
– One more thing: How exactly are Dark Rip and Damien travelling through time at this point? Because I thought they were still relying on Eobard Thawne, in which case Damien leaving Rip behind doesn’t really make sense. Unless there’s a previously agreed rendezvous point? Either way, he seems like a pretty important asset to the Legion at this point. Of course, it’s entirely possible that it was all part of a plan for Rip to get captured, so we guess we’ll see next episode.
Legends of Tomorrow is available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can catch up on-demand through NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 7-day free trial is available for new subscribers.