UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow, Season 2, Episode 17 (Aruba)
Sara and Sara9
Matthew Turner | On 15, Apr 2017Reading time: 13 mins
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.
Wow. Take note, please, Arrow: this is how you do a season finale. Any lingering worries that this generally much-improved season of Legends of Tomorrow wasn’t going to stick the landing are well and truly vanquished with Aruba, which delivers everything fans could possibly hope for and more. Well, okay, maybe some of us were hoping to see Giant Ray again, but never mind that, this is flat-out awesome from beginning to end.
The episode picks up immediately where last episode’s cliffhanger left off, with Amaya dead and the defeated Legends deciding that they have to ignore Rip’s Big Book of Time Travel Rules (which says you can’t interfere in your own timeline without causing a massive timequake) and go back to 1916, to stop the Legion of Doom getting their hands on the Spear of Destiny in the first place.
Thankfully, Mini-Rip (who’s on board the Mini-Waverider, which has been reduced to the size of a desk ornament in Thawne’s office) chooses that moment to get back in the game (“Gideon, set a course for the nearest open window!”) and rejoins the rest of the Legends, allowing for an amusing moment where Mick plucks the ship out of the air and shakes it. After stealing back Ray’s suit from Eobard (Ray’s so happy to see his suit he kisses it, which is a little bit weird, even for Ray), which involves the first of several entertaining fights, the Waverider is returned to its normal size and the Legends head to 1916. There’s only one problem: the whole temporal paradox don’t-meet-your-past-selves thing.
Rip tells the team that they have to change reality before it “sets” (like a sort of giant time jelly) and that they must be very careful not to meet their past selves. However, disaster strikes almost immediately, when Thawne ambushes Ray on the battlefield and straight-up rips his heart out. Ray: dead. Sara: “Nooooooo!” Eobard: “Ha ha! Suck it, Legends!”
Regrouping on the Waverider, the Legends come to two sobering conclusions: first, they are going to have to steal the Spear from their past selves and risk Temporal Doom in the process. And second, if they succeed, their current selves (let’s call them the Doomworld Legends, because everything is about to get rather complicated, as Future Rimmer used to say on Red Dwarf) will cease to exist, because the Doomworld timeline will never have happened.
With everyone up to speed, Doomworld Sara dispatches Doomworld Mick, Doomworld Nate and Doomworld Rip to the Past Waverider to try and steal the Spear, because their counterparts in the past are currently still back at the church. They run into Past Sara, then Past Amaya, which really throws Doomworld Nate, who hasn’t recovered from Doomworld Amaya’s death. He gives her a really big hug. Awww.
Back on the battlefield, Past Mick, Past Nate and Past Rip are all returning from the church (along with Past, Not-Dead Ray), so Doomworld Sara and Doomworld Jax intercept them, hoping to head them off by saying there’s a radiation leak. Just in case anyone is thinking the stakes aren’t that high, Doomworld Sara helpfully re-iterates that if they meet their past selves they could Wreck Time Itself.
Anyway, the whole thing quickly descends into chaos when Past Ray hears Past Sara and Past Jax on the intercom, as he’s staring right at Doomworld Sara and Doomworld Jax. A fight breaks out (Past Sara: “If Fake Me is anything like Real Me, Ray’s going to need some help…”), which ends when Past Nate (who still has his powers) steels up and knocks out Doomworld Jax and Sara. However, Past Rip realises that the Doomworld duo are not imposters, and that something very serious must have happened if they’re breaking Rule Number One in his Big Book of Time Travel Rules.
Back aboard the Waverider, we finally get the scene we’ve all been waiting for, when the Doomworld Legends explain to the Past Legends what the hell is going on. First, we get lots of great comedy moments where the two versions both say the same thing at the same time (e.g., both Rips saying “Bollocks!”, and both Saras trying to give orders), then they start arguing with each other – Past Sara: “And whose bright idea was it to do the one thing that could jeopardise All of Time?” Doomworld Sara: “Yours.” – and then Ray and Amaya finally notice that not everybody has a Doomworld version. Doomworld Mick, helpful as ever, cheerfully fills them in: “Dead, dead, as good as dead (pointing at Stein).”
With everybody finally aware of just how high the stakes are, there’s time for a few moments of meaningful reflection. Past Sara asks Doomworld Sara if she regrets not using the Spear when she had the chance and Doomworld Sara tells her that they’re not ready, because the Spear draws on their darkness and they’re not strong enough to wield it. This will, of course, be Important For Later.
In the Waverider library, Doomworld Nate confronts Past Nate and tells him to have a word with himself (literally), show some steel and tell Amaya that he loves her. Doomworld Nate says that he already watched Amaya die and that he wants Past Nate to do the things he wishes he had done before it was too late.
Meanwhile, Doomworld Eobard has come back to 1916 to warn the Past Legion that the Doomworld Legends are there. He tells Malcolm, Damien and Leonard to attack both sets of Legends, while he speeds off to get “back-up”. Whatever could he mean?
Back aboard the Waverider, the Legends (all of them) decide to do a time-jump, but they’re attacked by the Legion and then hit by a time-storm, which causes the Waverider to crash-land. They realise they have to make a run for the other Waverider, which means facing the Legion on the battlefield. This is where things get properly emotional, as one by one, all the Doomworld Legends (except Doomworld Sara) are killed in action, sacrificing themselves so that their past versions can make it to safety. So, Doomworld Jax gets taken down by an arrow from Malcolm (who was aiming at Stein), Doomworld Nate gets stabbed in the chest by Damien, and poor old Doomworld Mick gets an icicle through the chest from Leonard. It’s not all bad, though – Past Jax rescues Stein after Doomworld Jax dies, Past Mick saves Ray after Ray watches Doomworld Mick die (“If you hug me, I’ll kill you”), and Doomworld Sara and Past Sara knock out Damien.
However, just as it looks like the Legends have escaped with the Spear, Eobard speeds in with his afore-mentioned back-up, which turns out to be dozens of Eobards, plucked from different points in the timeline. Ruh-roh! As the speeding Eobards start taking out the Legends (although, rather lamely, they only knock them over and none of them go for the Spear), Amaya urges Sara to use the artefact. Sara hesitates, fearing her own darkness, but Rip tells her that he trusts her and she’s stronger than she knows, so she starts the incantation.
The next thing Sara knows, she’s at movie night with Laurel (a guest-starring Katie Cassidy) and there’s a weird moment where you think that this is going to be one of those Evil Laurels like they had in Arrow and The Flash those times, who’s going to try and tempt Sara into giving into her desires, but that’s not the case. Sara realises that the Spear is offering her the chance to rewrite everything and bring Laurel back, but Laurel tells her that the Spear needs someone strong enough to do the right thing. “Even if the right thing means never having you back?” Sara says, and, well, you’ll have to excuse us because we got something in our eye at that point. “I’m never too far away,” Laurel says, and she’s not wrong, because there are loads of Laurels all over the shop these days. Also, Katie Cassidy is confirmed for multiple appearances across all the CW superhero shows next season, so this is by no means goodbye Laurel.
Anyway, they hug and Sara returns to the battlefield, where Eobard steals the Spear from her. He says he’s not going to make the mistake he made the last time and begins the incantation, intending to erase the Legends from reality. But Sara has out-foxed him, and she tells him: “I may have made one small change to reality…” Eobard realises that she has de-powered the Spear, which instantly erases Doomworld. And things just keep getting worse for Eobard, as Black Flash appears at that moment and finally kills him, capped by a great effects moment that has a horrified Eobard watching himself slowly disintegrate, with his eyes and face the last to go. All in all, a fitting end for a terrific villain.
Of course, with Doomworld destroyed, Doomworld Sara has to disappear too, but she does it with a smile on her face, telling Past Sara: “Remember, Legends never die.” Nate points out the reference to The Goonies (Amaya: “What’s a Goonie?”), but come on, does Sara look like someone who’s watched The Goonies? That aside, it’s a cool moment.
Back on board the Waverider, Sara informs an imprisoned Damien and Leonard that she’s dropped Malcolm off “at his crappy apartment” in 2017, another fitting punishment. Leonard points out that he and Damien are both dead in 2017, and Sara replies that’s not where she’s taking them. Cut to Mick dropping off Leonard (and wiping his memory) in 2014, at the exact point where Eobard picked him up to join the Legion, i.e. before he joined the Legends. This is a lovely bit of emotional closure for Mick, who’s been wrestling with his feelings about his dead partner and his place on the team all season. He also gets one of the best lines of the episode, as he tells his erstwhile partner. “You know what your punishment is, Leonard? You end up being a better man. And so do I.” See that right there? That’s proper character development, that is. And Dominic Purcell sells the hell out of it.
That’s swiftly followed by more closure, more character development and another great exchange, as Sara drops Damien in 1987 Miami, again just before he met Eobard. Damien tries to taunt Sara one last time by pointing out that she’s setting him on a path to kill Laurel in the future, and Sara smiles and says that she knows and she’s fine with it. And so is Laurel. Boom. Once again, it’s a great moment for Sara and it finally puts to rest her quest for vengeance for her sister’s death, while clearly demonstrating how responsible she has become as a result of her position as leader of the Legends. In particular, Sara realises that killing Damien at this point would cause the mother of all time-quakes – it would instantly erase the whole of Season 4 of Arrow for a start. Although, come to think of it, would that be such a bad thing?
Sara’s role as leader is cemented still further when Rip tells her that he’s decided to leave the team in order to pursue his own destiny. Maybe he was more freaked out by that kiss with Gideon’s human form than he let on? At any rate, it’s a sweet moment, with Rip telling Sara that she’s a better Captain than he ever was, and asking her for permission to leave. Sorry, you’ll have to excuse us, we’ve got something in our eye again.
That just leaves will-they-won’t-they-oh-they-did lovebirds Nate and Amaya, who are trying to decide what to do about Amaya’s destiny. Having just watched Doomworld Nate die, Amaya doesn’t want to return to 1942 and decides to stay with Nate. For his part, Nate offers to come with her to 1942, saying he refuses to lose her again. Amaya replies that she wants them both to stay with the team, figuring that any destiny she has in 1942 will still be there waiting for her when she’s ready for it. They kiss, at which point you suddenly realise how well they handled the romantic subplot this season compared to the disastrous way they did all the Ray / Hawkgirl stuff last season.
So, all’s well that ends well, right? Eobard is dead, the rest of the Legion have been returned to their places in the timeline, Nate and Amaya are together and nobody died (much). The Legends figure they’ve earned a vacation and set a course for Aruba (the title of the episode, since Mick apparently has a thing about the place), but – wouldn’t you know it? – they run into a pesky time-storm that ejects them out of the temporal zone, or something. Anyway, they crash-land right into the cliffhanger for the season, which is an odd-looking version of 2017 L.A. (including a weird twisty building) that is… wait for it… overrun with dinosaurs. Sara: “Guys? I think we broke time…”
That’s a pretty neat set-up for Season 3, which will presumably see the Legends having to put right a whole series of time anomalies, with time periods bleeding into each other, so to speak. That said, given how little we actually got of Rex Tyler after Hourman showed up in the Season 1 finale, it’s probably not safe to make any assumptions at this point.
All in all, this is a hugely entertaining episode that stands as not only one of the best episodes of the season, but also one of the best season finales that any of the Arrowverse shows have done so far, right up there with the Season 1 Flash finale and the Season 2 Arrow conclusion. It provides satisfying closure for all the main character arcs of the season, while delivering thrilling action sequences and plenty of humour. In short, a fitting send-off for what has been a generally superb season, give or take a wobble or two. Tune in next season for… well, more dinosaurs, for starters. After that, who knows?
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– If there’s a complaint about this episode at all, it’s only that Amaya’s reaction to Doomworld Nate’s death on the battlefield is weirdly underplayed. In fact, given that most of the Legends watch their Doomworld selves die, it’s a little odd that no-one seems all that affected by the whole thing.
– Okay, maybe there are two complaints, the second being that, once again, Stein gets almost nothing to do, other than the moment where he thinks Jax has been killed. He doesn’t even get to pull his usual moaning face.
– Speaking of Stein, it’s interesting to note that Lily Stein didn’t make a reappearance, given the amount of fuss her existence generated in the early part of the season. No doubt she’ll be back for Season 3.
– With Leonard sacrificing himself to save the team last season and all the Doomworlders basically doing the same thing in this year’s finale, you have to wonder how they’re planning to top that.
– Best throwaway moment? Probably Mick threatening himself: “I was just wondering what you’d look like without teeth…”
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