Saturday, March 11, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 13: Land Of The Lost

This week on Legends of Tomorrow, the team pays another visit to the prehistoric era, Canary and Jackson meet their evil doppelganers, Gideon becomes a real boy, er, I mean girl and Vixen's end-of-season departure is set up. 

Oh, and Evil Rip finally stops being bad this week and returns to normal. Well THAT was certainly easy! I was expecting his conversion therapy to last until the season finale at least. Apparently all it took to restore him to his factory setting was for Canary to talk him out of being evil.

If I remember right, the exact same thing happened last season in Progeny, when Heat Wave was captured by the Time Lords, er, I mean Masters, and turned into the evil bounty hunter Chronos (who tried to kill the Legends). Due to time travel shenanigans, he supposedly lived "several lifetimes" as Chronos, but all that mental conditioning was undone in one episode after Canary and Captain Cold gave him a stern talking-to!

I'm actually going to miss Evil Rip. Sure, he was a no-good, murderous asshole, but he was a hundred times more interesting than the bland and incompetent Normal Rip. I bet he was a lot more fun for actor Arthur Darvill to play as well!

I fully expected Rip to immediately shove White Canary out of the way and resume his role as Captain at the end of this episode. I'm impressed that that didn't happen (yet). Canary's a more competent Captain that Rip ever was, so it would be awful if they returned him to his former position.

I hate to say it, but the show actually improved quite a bit during Rip's prolonged absence. I'm curious to see what role he's going to play on the show from here on out. He doesn't have any superpowers, and his only gimmick is his laser six shooter, so he really doesn't have much to offer the team if he's not going to be in charge. I'm hoping the writers find something interesting for him to do, because I have a horrible feeling they're going to end up putting him back in the captain's seat in the season finale. Let's hope I'm wrong.


The Plot:
On board the Waverider, the Legends are trying to locate Commander Steel, former leader of the Justice Society and guardian of the final piece of the Spear Of Destiny. Citizen Steel, his grandson, says he could be hiding at any point in history. White Canary and Jackson discuss what to do with Evil Rip.

Speaking of Evil Rip, he's locked in the Waverider's brig. He calls to Gideon, who tells him she's forbidden to respond to him. He recites a series of code words, overriding her programming and causing her to release him from the brig, as well as lock down the ship. He then goes to the armory and grabs a blaster.

Canary discovers she's locked out of the Waverider's navigational system. Jackson says he can restore control of the ship if he reboots the system. Evil Rip takes the Longinus Medallion from his old office and heads for the jump ship. He's stopped by Steel, Vixen and Heat Wave, who attempt to recapture him. He disintegrates the Medallion and initiates the Spectrum Protocol, causing the ship to go into self-destruct mode. Heat Wave punches Evil Rip, knocking him right out.

The Waverider spirals out of control inside the time stream, as the self-destruct timer counts down. Jackson reboots the system, which shuts down all power for several seconds. This cancels the self-destruct, but Canary still can't control the ship. It drops out of the time stream and crash lands in the Cretaceous Period.

The Legends discover they're in the year 
69,997,983 B.C., which, for reasons, is the exact same year Atom was stranded in for several months back in Out Of Time. Gideon, who's now back under Legend control, says the Time Delineator was torn off the ship when it crashed, and they can't jump back to the present without it. Atom volunteers to go find the Delineator. For some reason Canary tells Steel and Vixen to go with him.

Meanwhile, Canary and Professor Stein discuss how to restore Evil Rip. Heat Wave says they could do a "cognitive invasion," something the Time Lords, er, I mean Time Masters did to him when he was Chronos. It's a procedure in which one person's mind invades another and manipulates them. Gideon says it's dangerous for both parties, but Canary says they have no other options.

Atom leads the search for the Delineator, while Steel and Vixen flirt with one another, because god forbid they should focus on a mission when there's f*cking to be done. Steel's surprised by her aggressive display, since a few episodes back she said it wasn't a good idea to fraternize with teammates. Vixen tells him that something Stargirl said in Camelot/3000 changed her mind. They start to kiss, but are interrupted by Atom, who says they need to be careful, as they're in Gertrude's territory— Gertrude being a grumpy, female T-Rex he encountered when he was stranded here.

Stein hooks up Canary, Jackson and Evil Rip to a cognitive invasion device. He tells them it's dangerous to spend more than an hour in Evil Rip's mind, and gives them shock bracelets so they can wake themselves up before then. They enter Evil Rip's mind, which looks like a Mirror Universe version of the interior of the Waverider, complete with sickly green lighting and lots and lots of dry ice fog. They spot various character's from Rip's memories, including several squads of Vandal Savage's troops from Season 1, as The CW costume department cleans out its closet.

Canary and Jackson head for the armory, grab some laser blasters, and for some reason decide to split up. Canary encounters an evil version of herself, dressed in her White Canary costume that's actually grey. Canary and Evil Canary then have an impressive knock-down, drag-out fight. Canary eventually defeats her evil self.

In the jungle, Atom and the others find the shelter he built when he was stuck in the past. As night falls, Atom goes out to find some food. While he's gone, Steel and Vixen just can't help themselves and start to go at it again. They're interrupted when Atom returns. 

Vixen goes out looking for firewood. Atom cautions Steel not to get too close to Vixen, aka Amaya Jiwe— not because he's jealous, but because of her future. He says Rip picked the original Legends because they didn't matter to the time stream. But if Amaya doesn't return to her village of Zambesi (?), her granddaughter Mari McCabe will never be born and become the modern day Vixen. Atom warns Steel not to mention any of this to Vixen.

Back in Evil Rip's mind, Canary and Jackson run into evil versions of Atom and Heat Wave. Hilariously, Evil Heat Wave seems identical to the regular one. Canary fights them while Jackson runs off to find Rip. Atom grabs Canary's shock bracelet and crushes it, trapping her in Rip's mind. Atom then knocks her out.

Meanwhile, Jackson runs across a mysterious woman in the corridors, who turns out to be Gideon in human form (!). Gideon tells him that when Eobard Thawne corrupted Rip and turned him evil, he also made him believe his former teammates were all trying to kill him. Hence the evil twin versions of everyone.

Canary wakes up in the brig, and sees Rip cowering in the corner. He thinks she's the Evil Canary and shrinks away from her. She tries to assure him she's Plain Old Regular White Canary, and that he's Captain Rip Hunter. He lashes out at her with an energy blast from his hands, knocking her into the wall. She realizes that Rip can do anything he wants inside his mind, and tells him to try and blast open the brig door. He tries to blast it, but fails. Just then Jackson and Gideon come to their rescue and free them.

They decide to take Rip to his old office, hoping that the sight of all his old artifacts will jog his memory and make him remember his true self. Unfortunately they're confronted by Evil Canary and Evil Firestorm (man, when's the last time we saw ANY version of Firestorm on this show?). Canary and Jackson take on their evil doppelgangers, killing them.

In the jungle, Atom retrieves the Delineator. Suddenly Gertrude the Angry T-Rex appears, blocking their escape. Vixen channels the power of a T-Rex (which is pretty darned cool) and calms the beast, and they all go on their way.

Canary, Jackson, Rip and Gideon run through the ship. They're trapped by Evil Heat Wave, Evil Atom and a resurrected Evil Firestorm. Canary tells Rip that this is all in his mind, and only he can stop it. He struggles and finally accesses his memories of working with the Legends. The Mirror Waverider begins disintegrating around them.

Jackson pushes his shock bracelet and wakes up. He grabs a defib unit and shocks Canary, since she lost her bracelet, waking her up as well. Back in Rip's mind, he says an emotional goodbye to Gideon, and even kisses her (!), which proves he's in love with his ship. Rip wakes up in the real world, fully restored. That was easy!

The Legends repair the ship and prepare to take off. Rip changes into his old Captain outfit, and tells Canary he remembers every evil thing he did, including shooting her in the gut back in Turncoat. She tells him it wasn't his fault and forgives him. Just then Gideon pages the "captain," and both Canary and Rip reply. Canary chuckles, gives Rip a "Don't Even Think About It" look and sashays out of the room.

Rip walks onto the bridge, where the entire cast gathers to welcome him back. Canary asks if he knows where the last piece of the Spear is. He pauses dramatically and says he does.

Smash cut to NASA in 1970, where "Doctor" Eobard Thawne (!) is examining astronaut Jack Swigert (of the Apollo 13 mission), who's actually Commander Steel in disguise (!!).

UPDATE: Um... welp, it turns out I was wrong there. Astronaut Jack Swigert was NOT actually Commander Steel in disguise. He was the real Jack Swigert. I guess it'd been a while since I'd seen Commander Steel on the show, so I thought that was him. Whoops! Ah well. It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally I'm wrong.

• Canary does the opening narration this week.

• At the end of the previous episode, Evil Rip was locked up tight in the Waverider's brig. He then called to Gideon, who replied, "I'm here, Captain." I noted that it was too bad the Legends were apparently so dumb that they didn't think to prohibit Evil Rip from accessing the A.I. that runs his freakin' timeship.

Welp, it turns out they weren't so dumb after all! This week's episode retcons the previous one, as Evil Rip calls to Gideon a couple of times before she finally says, "I've been prohibited from responding to your instructions, Mr. Hunter." He then recites three code words (spaniel, broad, tricycle) that override her and cause her to free him.

OK, so it was smart of the Legends to tell Gideon not to respond to Evil Rip. It would have been even smarter if they'd told her not to even listen to anything he said. Why are prisoners in the brig allowed to talk with the ship's A.I.? Why are there even microphones in there in the first place?

• Gideon informs the crew that they can't return to the present because the Time Delineator broke off when the Waverider crash landed. Atom volunteers to go find it, and Canary sends Steel and Vixen with him.

Oddly enough, Atom dresses up like Captain Spaulding, the African Exporer and mounts an expedition into the prehistoric jungle to find the Delineator. I guess it never occurred to him to just put on his Atom suit and fly over to where the thing landed and carry it back.

Obviously this whole "Hunt For The Time Delineator" subplot was a way to pad out the runtime and give Steel and Vixen something to do.

• Funny how the inside of Evil Rip's mind looks exactly like the Waverider, but with more green under-lighting and fog. I'm assuming that was a cost-cutting measure so they didn't have to build any new sets. Gotta keep the show under budget!

• Stein warns Canary and Jackson not to spend more than an hour inside Evil Rip's mind, or they'll be stuck there forever. To prevent this, he gives them both shock bracelets so they can activate them and wake themselves up. Or he could have, you know, just watched the clock and unhooked them when they reached the hour mark. But no, shock bracelets are fine too.

• For the most part, the Evil Twin effects in this episode were pretty well done. Well, except for this one. It's fine until the very end, when it appears that Evil Canary (the one on the right) is staring at an empty point in space somewhere to the right of Regular Canary's shoulder.

• A few things about Evil Firestorm: 

While it was fun seeing a Mirror Universe version of him, something about his looked... off somehow. I think maybe the red flames just don't look right against all the green lighting. Or maybe it's the black smoke. Whatever it is, his flaming powers look pasted on somehow.

Umm... in this scene it sure looks like Evil Firestorm straight up engulfs Jackson in a wall of flame (that's him barely visible in the huge conflagration at lower left). Funny thing is, Jackson doesn't seem the least bit affected by this. Is Jackson immune to flame because he's half of Regular Firestorm? If so, that'd be kind of cool. Or did he realize that everything happening inside Rip's mind is an illusion, so Evil Firestorm's flames can't harm him? If that's the case, then why fight back against his evil doppelganger at all?

One last thing: When Jackson opens the airlock, Evil Firestorm's sucked out into space. It was a nice touch when his flaming head and hands were quickly extinguished in the vacuum of space. Well done, effects guys!

• So the inside of Rip's corrupted mind looks like an evil version of the Waverider, and it's populated with twisted versions of his friends and teammates. Um... shouldn't Rip be seeing his late wife and son somewhere in there? After all, he spent all last season mourning their deaths and pining away for his family. I guess must have finally got over them!

• Inside Rip's mind, he meets a humanoid version of Gideon, the Waverider's A.I. She's played of course by Amy Pemberton, who regularly provides the voice of Gideon on the show. 

This anthropomorphized Gideon is beautiful, and presumably his image of the ideal woman. This humanoid Gideon is completely devoted to him and protects him while he's trapped inside the corrupted Waverider in his mind. At the end of the episode he just can't help himself and actually makes out with Human Gideon!

This is VERY similar to the 2011 Doctor Who episode The Doctor's Wife, in which the soul of the TARDIS (the Doctor's time/space machine) possesses a woman named Idris. This allows the Doctor to converse and interact with his beloved TARDIS for the first time in his life. They even end up sharing a kiss, just like Rip and Gideon do in this episode. Wait, did I say it was similar? 

Oddly enough, The Doctor's Wife also starred Arthur Darvill, who played the Doctor's traveling companion Rory Williams.

In the Andromeda TV series, the hero's ship was run by a "female" A.I. similar to Gideon, called "Rommie." It inhabited a beautiful android avatar that could move freely about the interior of the ship. I wonder if that's what the Legends Of Tomorrow writers have in mind here? We've seen that the Waverider contains a Star Trek replicator. Rip could easily use it to replicate a robot body for Gideon, so she could become a physical regular on the show.

• A couple weeks ago in Turncoat, I went on a lengthy rant about Steel and Vixen, and how they 
ignored their responsibilities to the team and decided to f*ck in the middle of a mission. I noted their actions didn't seem particularly valiant, as they acted more like horny teens than superheroes

Welp, they're at it again this week! The Legends are stranded in the Cretaceous Period, and they have to recover the Time Delineator in order to return to the present. Steel, Vixen and Atom trek out to find it. Once again, Steel and Vixen decide it'd be more fun to start f*cking halfway through the mission. Eh, that's OK guys. You're just marooned six million years in the past. Who cares if the rest of your team gets home, or you keep the Spear Of Destiny out of the Legion Of Doom's hands when they're raw, sweaty sex to be had?

Don't get me wrong here, I have nothing against them fraternizing— as long as it's on their own time. Doing it during a mission is downright intolerable. It was wrong of them to do it the first time, but to repeat it...
It's caused me to hate these two characters, and I dearly hope they both leave the show at the end of the season (which, as of this episode, is looking highly likely).

After a rocky start, (in which she stowed away onboard the Waverider and tried to kill the Legends), Vixen seems to have integrated nicely into the team. Suddenly in this episode, Atom reveals she has a grand destiny to fulfill, and can't stay with the team (involving her granddaughter) for much longer.

Um... why is her destiny suddenly a thing? If Atom knew about this all along, why is he just now saying something to Steel about it? And why was he all flirty with her himself a few episodes back? 

Did the writers suddenly realize there're only three more episodes left in the season, and figured they'd better hurry and start setting up her departure?

I guess they forgot that Vixen never planned to permanently stay with the Legends in the first place. Back in Shogun, she said she was only sticking around until she got revenge on Eobard Thawne for killing Hourman (who the series seems to have completely forgotten about).

• By the way, this granddaughter of Vixen (aka Amaya Jiwe) that Atom talks about is Mari McCabe. She's the modern day Vixen, and has the exact same powers as her grandmother. I have no idea why Legends Of Tomorrow didn't just use this version of the character instead of making up a completely different version from the 1940s. Maybe the original actress wasn't available or something?

The Mari McCabe Vixen first appeared in her own animated web series, which consisted of two seasons of six episodes each. She also appeared in the flesh once on Arrow, in the episode Taken.

Note that according to Atom, the modern day Vixen fights crime in Detroit (well, that's definitely the place to do it!).  She was a member of the Justice League of America, in what most fans consider to be the absolute, all-time worst lineup of the team in comic history. 

This "Detroit Era League" consisted of Gypsy, Vibe, Commander Steel, Vixen, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna and Elongated Man. Aquaman was briefly the leader of this new team before coming to his senses and leaving (ignore Firestorm and Cosmic Boy in that image above— they were just guest stars in the comic that particular panel came from).

Oddly enough, a whopping FIVE members of the Detroit Team (Gypsy, Vibe, Vixen, Steel and Martian Manhunter) have appeared in the various Arrowverse shows. The only ones who've not yet appeared in live action are Zatanna and Elongated man. Somebody on the creative staff must really have a soft spot for this team!

• Apparently CGI dinosaurs are expensive, so we only hear Gertrude for most of the episode, until she finally appears for a few brief seconds at the end. Gotta watch that budget!

• Obviously the title of this week's episode is a shoutout to 1970s Saturday morning kids' show Land Of The Lost. It shares more than just the title of that series though. Land Of The Lost was about the Marshall family, who were stranded in a strange prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs, aliens and a race of lizard people. 

The Marshalls set up a home inside a cave, and were constantly being chased by a T-rex they nicknamed "Grumpy." Much the way Atom sets up a home and has to avoid a hungry T-rex he nicknames "Gertrude."

• When Gertrude attacks, Vixen channels the power of a T-Rex, and calms the rampaging beast. 

I have to admit, that was pretty darned cool. Batsh*t insane stuff like this is one of the reasons I love this show so much. That said... Vixen can now channel the power of EXTINCT animals? Since when? Could she always do that? If so, why the hell doesn't she channel a T-rex EVERY time, instead of screwing around with elephant and gorilla powers?

• Once everything's sorted out, we get our first ever look at the Waverider's hangar (which I admit I didn't even know it had). This spacious and roomy hangar (complete with a jumpship inside it) appears to take up a good third of the ship, if not more. 

So far this relatively small ship contains a bridge, a medbay, Rip's office, Rip's study, which is a completely different set, a galley, the brig, an engine room, a cargo deck, an armory, crew quarters for everyone (!), the just-revealed hangar deck and various roomy corridors connecting everything.

I am now more convinced than ever that the Waverider is like the Doctor's TARDIS, and is bigger on the inside than the outside. It's the only possible explanation as to how all the various interior sets we've seen over the past two seasons could possibly fit inside the ship.

• Next week's episode is set at NASA in the early 1970s. What are the odds that at some point in the episode, the Legends run into Katherine Johnson?

• At the end of the episode, we see Eobard Thawne posing as a NASA doctor in 1970 as he examines astronaut Jack Swigert.

Thawne comments on how Swigert was bumped up to the crew of Apollo 13. Swigert replies, "Yeah, man, sucks for Ken, but I am over the moon." Did people really use the word "sucks" that way in the 1970s? I don't think they did. I started hearing it a lot in the 1980s. I suppose it's possible it was in use back then, but it sounds out of place to my ears.

A few seconds later Swigert says, "Run all the tests you like. I just wanna be on that shuttle." Wha...? What shuttle? Apollo 13 wasn't a shuttle. The Space Shuttle wasn't rolled out until 1976. Did the Legion Of Doom create a time aberration and cause the shuttle to be invented several years early?

• This week's best lines:
Jackson: "Hey, yo, got an idea."
Canary: "If it's try to get Evil Rip to tell us where and when Commander Steel is, I already tried."
Jackson: "And he didn't tell you nothing?"
Canary: "No, he told me a lot of things. All different variations of "go to hell."
(Jackson really needs to work on his grammar)

Atom: (after finding out the Time Delineator is somewhere in the Cretaceous Period, where he was marooned earlier) "I'll go and get it. My old neighborhood, after all."

Heat Wave: (discussing how to restore Rip) "Why don't we just get inside his head?"
Stein: "Well, if only that were possible."
Heat Wave: "It is. The Time Masters did it to me all the time."
Stein: "Did what?"
Heat Wave: "Coggy-something."
Gideon: "Cognitive Intrusion."
Heat Wave: "That's it."

Canary: "God, I'm a bitch in Rip's mind!"

Canary: (inside Rip's mind) "If that's right, then Then there's more than just Bizarro me on this ship."
Jackson: "Like Evil Ray, Evil Stein..."
Canary: "Evil Mick. I guess that's just regular Mick, but still."
(Odd that Jackson says "Stein" here instead of "Grey," which is what he usually calls him)

Atom: "Ah, we made it."
Vixen: "Someone lives here?"

Atom: "Used to. It's where I survived for six months."
Vixen: "What's that smell?"
Atom: "Male T-rex urine.The only way I figured to keep Gertrude away was to douse the place with it.
Vixen: "And where did you find male T-rex urine?"
Atom:"Well, actually..."
Vixen: (interrupting) "I don't wanna know."

Human Gideon:
"Hello, Captain Lance."
Canary: "But you're like I mean, you're really..."

Human Gideon: "Human?"
Canary: "I was gonna say 'hot,' but yeah, that too."

Jackson: (confronting evil versions of himself and Canary) "Hey, what are you planning on doing?"
Canary: "Guess we're gonna have to kick our own asses."

Canary: (seeing Rip put on his old duster) "Nice to see it all still fits."
Rip: "It really is rather difficult to put weight on when you're a film student."

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