TV Recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, ‘River of Time’

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‘RIVER OF TIME’ PLOT SUMMARY:

While Kendra (Ciara Renée) struggles to undue the brainwashing Savage (Casper Crump) subjected Carter (Falk Hentschel) to, the team argues about whether to kill Savage or deliver him to the Time Masters.

If this season of Legends of Tomorrow has proven anything, it’s that Vandal Savage is the ultimate escape artist. Not only has his ability to resurrect himself prevented him from staying dead, he’s quite good at slipping from Rip’s (Arthur Darvill) grasp. And as we saw last week, he’s also adept at talking his way out of things. Kendra could not bring herself to kill him knowing that it would doom the 2166 version of Carter. Do I agree with her decision? No, absolutely not. But I understand why she made it in the moment.

The frustrating part is that everybody else goes along with it. Now, to be fair, there are other reasons for the gang not executing Savage then and there, namely that Rip discovers that Savage has been utilizing time travel as well, a crime that would justify his crusade against the immortal in the eyes of the Time Masters. Ergo, Rip resolves to deliver the tyrant to them. However, this doesn’t sit well with most of the team, or me.

The objective of the mission has always been to save the world, but also, by extension, Rip’s family. He makes this abundantly clear throughout the episode, even checking on whether or not their endeavors have changed their fate more than once. But given Vandal’s proclivity for escape, the safest thing to do is to take Kendra’s golden mace and bash the dude’s face in with it. Rip’s trying to rebuild bridges with the Time Masters, but as the old adage goes, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” As for Carter, it might sound heartless, but he’ll reincarnate.

So, how does Savage escape? Well, remember the drama between Kendra and Ray (Brandon Routh)? How could you not? Turns out that it was leading up to something all this time. Savage explains to Ray that in one lifetime he and Kendra actually became a couple, but things fell apart when Carter essentially stole Kendra’s love away from him. Savage obviously isn’t the most trustworthy source, which Ray understands, but I can actually sympathize here. Outside a few flashbacks, Carter has been largely absent, plus he’s always been the less interesting part of the Hawk-duo; we’ve known Ray since he showed up on Arrow last season.

After breaking up with Kendra, Ray assaults Vandal. Savage, however, gets the upper hand and vacates the cell. But believe or not, he is recaptured and Carter has his awakening when he sees Kendra in danger. Carter is downright hostile towards Kendra earlier, but I guess seeing Savage attack her is specific enough for him to remember. It feels pretty lazy and too easy, but at least that’s out of the way now. And so the Legends survive their trip to the Vanishing Point relatively unscathed, minus one crew member. Jax (Franz Drameh) has to be sent back through the time after completing a suicide mission to fix the Waverider time drive, which Rip selfishly elects to send him on, even though he could’ve done it. The problem is that the whole solution doesn’t make sense. How does sending Jax through the time stream help him when he’s aging prematurely due to radiation (depicted through mediocre make-up)? I guess you just have to accept it. I just wonder if we’ll see Jax again this season. There’s still time since there’s one final twist.

When Rip triumphantly hands Vandal Savage over at the Vanishing Point, Time Masters reveal that have been supporting the villain the whole time (which is probably the explanation for his time travel). This development could have been avoided, of course, if they killed Savage instead of taking him hostage and setting him up in the Waverider like Hannibal Lecter. Imagine how awkward it would have been if they showed up with the evidence against Savage having already rubbed him out. I guess the Time Masters could go back and save him, but would it be worth the trouble?

We might find out the answer next week. The Time Masters might have been the architects of Savage’s rise to power, not just accomplices. Regardless, the whole twist feels a bit unnecessary, though I guess it would have been a weird ending if Savage didn’t stir up trouble one last time. He’s been a bland antagonist though. The Time Masters could have taken his place entirely for the last two episodes.

Man, now I really wish that were the case. Way to miss a good opportunity, Legends.

Rating: 6 out of 10 (Average)

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky