‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1, Episode 15: ‘Destiny’
The CW’s latest super-show, Legends of Tomorrow, follows Rip Hunter on his adventures through time, with a team of misfits that includes Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, both halves of Firestorm, Hawkwoman, and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave. Arrow and Flash recappers Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd are on hand to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends.
This week's episode, Destiny, includes the reveal of the Time Masters' grand plan, a noble sacrifice, a some major setup for a massive fight in the finale. The episode was directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi, with a story by Marc Guggenheim and teleplay by Phil Klemmer and Chris Fedak.
Dylan: After last week’s snoozefest of an episode, it’s nice to see the Legends back at it with things, you know, actually happening. We got some time travel junk, a confrontation with the Time Masters, some relationship stuff among the group, and a definite set-up for next week’s finale. What did you think of the episode, Matt?
Matt: It was great. A massive bummer at the end, but an actual suspenseful, clever, entertaining episode of television. It’s nice to be reminded of how good this show can be when things are happening beyond spinning wheels to keep the season going. With the finale coming, it seems like they could finally quit stalling.
Dylan: So this week’s episode starts off… in the pilot, with Jax coming back to talk to 2016 Stein about stopping the TIme Masters in the future. It was really interesting to see the scenes from the pilot replayed, because wow, a lot of these characters have changed, huh?
Matt: I really want to know what happened to Sara’s amazing jacket. That was a heck of a great jacket.
Dylan: A chewbacca died for that jacket, Matt. Cruelty is not a fashion statement.
Matt: I’ll check my privilege.
But yeah, I think we’re particularly supposed to notice the character arcs of Stein, Jax, Heat Wave and Captain Cold. Namely in that we are told, quite repeatedly, that they’re better people than they were when this whole thing started. I mean, Jax isn’t so much better now that he won’t tell an actual professor of science about “something called time travel” like he’s the first person to ever think of it, but, you know, he’s matured.
Dylan: Oh, that line was a doozy. I’m wondering if it was supposed to come across as more sarcastic than Franz Drameh delivered it. Either way, it’s a doozy.
Matt: It was so earnest the way he read it. Like, a serious “I need you to know about this.”
Dylan: “It’s this thing… called ‘time travel.’ It’s like regular travel, only instead of driving in a car to Disneyland and eating a frozen banana, you fly in a time-ship to the '70s and watch yourself smoke dope.”
Meanwhile, at the Vanishing Point, the Legends are being held captive. Hawkwoman gets sent off with Savage to 2166, Heat Wave gets taken to the brainwash room to get Chronos-ed out again, and Rip gets a taste of the Time Master’s deep, dark secret: the Oculus. Now as far as I can tell, the Oculus is sort of their Game Genie for time itself, right? Like, they can influence past events and see future events as they will happen, not as predictions, but as facts, right?
Matt: That’s basically it. There’s a big scene where Time Master Druce shows Rip the Oculus for the first time and gives him the whole “we were playing you all along” speech like so much Liquid Snake. I didn’t quite get how the Oculus enabled the Time Masters to manipulate the team --- if the future is fixed and free will doesn’t exist, how can it be changed? --- but your cheat code analogy is as good an explanation of that as any.
And hey, it makes the team constantly failing an actual plot point instead of them just being terrible at their jobs, so I’ll take it.
Dylan: Yeah, I actually said out loud, to nobody, “Oh so Rip Hunter is supposed to be bad at his job!” I did find the inclusion of the line about free will being an illusion “everywhere but [the Vanishing Point]” to be a little goofy. Like seriously, they make up and discard time travel rules so willy-nilly on this show.
Matt: It’s fine in the context of this episode, but it does make me wonder how they can do a season two on this show. If trying to change history doesn’t matter, then why bother?
Dylan: Except now it does because the Oculus was destroyed? Right? The Time Masters can’t interfere any more.
Matt: I guess? I think I’m going to stop trying to figure it out. It’s confusing, but not episode-breaking.
Dylan: I agree. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it definitely could have been spelled out a little more for those of us who are not so bright.
This episode is really Dominic Purcell/Mick Rory’s to walk off with. From him turning on his Time Master handler to being willing to give his life up for the team, to actually admitting he liked this group of complete screw-ups, he sort of topped off all the development we’ve seen from the character over the season. Oh, and he totally eats donuts with leather gloves on, so there’s that. A lot of this is misdirection to make us think he’s going to die this episode instead of his partner, but Matt, did you ever think Heat Wave was going to be the best character from this group this season?
Matt: That scene where he and Ray just sit around and eat sweets is amazing. Heat Wave’s constant asides about how good the donuts or cupcakes or whatever are cracked me up.
But to answer your question, no. I did not expect the most nuanced and complex character to be the guy who is basically Captain Cold’s sidekick. And by virtue of that, dumb old Chronos is the most interesting character on the show! How wild is that?
Dylan: Truly it is the End Times. For reals though, that Chronos reversal was so telegraphed though it should have come delivery via Western Union, and yet, I loved it.
Matt: Just remember, Dylan. If a super-powerful organization that can literally manipulate time itself tries to brainwash you, just think about your relationship with “the team.” (I mean me.)
Dylan: There is neither an “I” in “Team” or in “Heat Wave.” Somebody make a motivational poster out of that.
Matt: Heat Wave all dangling on a clothesline. “Hang in there, Rory!”
Dylan: Something else that doesn’t have an “I” in it is “huge character death.” So, I guess Captain Cold is dead? I’m pretty much in denial on this one, because let’s face it: Wentworth Miller is the best thing to happen to these CW shows and if he is really, truly dead, I am gonna be so mad at Greg Berlanti. Freegin turd. What do you think, Matt, is he dead? Or are they gonna pull a fast one and loophole him out somehow?
Matt: Well, Dylan, I had to cheat. I was so distraught over the idea of losing Captain Cold that I had to go look for TV news to see if he’s coming back. And apparently Wentworth Miller is no longer a series regular on LoT. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he’s signed on to be a Warner Brothers TV workhorse and spread himself among all the different Berlanti shows. So this is not the last of Snart.
I think that frees us up to talk about his death scene without too many tears, right? First off, how hilarious was it that three different team members demanded that they be the ones to hold down the failsafe and die? More like Legends of To Martyr, am I right? I thought for sure Sara was going to knock Leonard out and take his place, and then Jax would take her place, and so on until everyone had a turn.
And then there was that kiss. Did you buy that kiss?
Dylan: I did not buy that kiss even for a second, for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s a friendship kiss or something. Is that a thing? Because I don’t see those two romantically involved ever in a million years. For one thing, Captain Cold is obviously not straight, right? That’s my headcanon at least.
Matt: I guess until it’s explicitly stated he’s whatever he wants to be (and given his personality, I think he leans more toward a- or pan-) but the thing that gets me is how much I was enjoying Sara and Leonard as pals. Like, increasingly close friends. They’re the clever ones who realized they could go in the Waverider basement. Nobody else did.
Dylan: Yeah, I’m more put off by them trying to force a romantic angle here than I am about Snart’s noble sacrifice. Also, did you think, “Oh, so this is where Ray and Mick and Rip all die,” when they went to blow up EPCOT Centre?
Matt: Oh man, you beat me to the EPCOT joke. Why in the land of budgetary restrictions did this space headquarters at the end of time look like the Land of Tomorrow?
Dylan: It makes a certain sort of literal sense when you put it like that.
Matt: Fair enough. I figured they wouldn’t kill all of them off, but I could have believed Ray, Mick or Snart biting the dust. Somehow they’ve done a pretty good job of fostering a feeling that nobody is safe. I guess this team is sort of the Time Suicide Squad, in a way.
Dylan: Suicide Pact Squad. But yeah, Cold is the last person I expected to not walk out of Buckminster Fuller’s Terrordome. So, good job tricking me, Legends of Tomorrow writers! I hope you’re proud of yourselves.
Matt: So by the end of the episode, everyone is gunning for Savage, who has been revealed as more or less the puppet of the now-decimated Time Masters. I guess that makes him more of a wild card, but do you think it takes something away from him, too?
Dylan: Sort of, yeah. I do like the idea that the Time Masters propped him up because he’s the only way Earth survives an invasion by the Thanagarians, but now that the Oculus has been destroyed and Savage has a Timeship, what’s his plan from here? He mentions that he doesn’t need to rule the world, just time, which means… what? And if/when they defeat him, who will be the warlord with the stones to defeat the Thanagarians?
Matt: The Thanagarian thing was... a real curveball. For one, the Time Masters chose a murderous dictator to head off an Earth-killing alien invasion, which is kind of like choosing to stab yourself in the ear instead of the eye. Was that really the only option?
And it can’t be a coincidence that the invaders are comics Hawkpeople, right? Do you expect some Hawk Revelations in the finale?
Dylan: It’ll probably be the Hawkpersons who are fated to defeat the Thanagarians and rule together peacefully in the far future, but also Hawkman makes me barf.
Personally, I’m hoping Mick Rory gets to realize his dream of being a Future Warlord With A Great Cape. I would be down with that.
Matt: While we’re fantasy writing the finale, let’s have Sara steal the Waverider for herself and Rip... well, he doesn’t have to die. I guess he just goes back to the Old West forever.
Dylan: No, we can handwave some way for him to live happily ever after with his wife who is so much better than him in every way and his son, Ol’ Spitty McGee. But I definitely feel like Sara being the leader of the team is the way to go for season two. It’s been set up enough that I’d be mad if it didn’t happen.
Matt: Agreed. As for Firestorm and Ray, I guess they can hang out. They don’t have all that much else going on. Jax is all happy he got drugged against his will now, so I guess he’s committed.
Dylan: I was not cool with that scene, by the way, where he thanks Stein for drugging him and essentially kidnapping him. Just please stop reminding us of this very bad thing.
Matt: “It’s the best decision I never made.” Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.
Dylan: I echo that “ugh,” and add a few more to the chorus. But yeah, I’m wondering if Firestorm is coming back. It definitely felt like the writers had no idea what to do with Stein and Jax when they didn’t have the budget for pyrotechnics, but Drameh and Garber seem to be having fun, and the shorter season means they have time to fit in other roles, so maybe. I’m definitely hoping next season keeps the cast to a more manageable count. There’s just too many people, and making sure they all do something every episode has led to some hilarious reasons to sideline characters.
Matt: At the very least, don’t pull a Hawkwoman and make it necessary to keep her out of the action all the time.
But yeah, I suspect Firestorm will be back. Before we make further predictions, though, we’ve got to see if the team survives their big final showdown with Vandal Savage next week in what looks like the exotic time and place of Vancouver 2016! Their time is now, Dylan! John Cena!
Dylan: Spoilers: they all die. Next season is just Casper Crump’s Vandal Savage unintelligibly gloating for 16 episodes.
Matt: Recapping those with you will be a delight.