Legends of Tomorrow may well be the geekiest of the CW Arrowverse universe – no small feat for a show that is part of a comic-book universe. The characters are outcasts and nerds (history, engineering, inventors, professors…) and the show delights in its inside jokes, Easter Eggs, and historical references. They’re bringing us a Doomworld with a reference to the Legion of Doom’s headquarters in Super Friends, they’ve visited some of the most nerd-friendly moments in history (the Moonshot, for example), and they are never afraid to get a little tongue-in-cheek and have some fun. They’ve even featured dinosaurs and Camelot. They’re also happy to get into geek culture, with one of the earlier episodes this season being all about Star Wars – and now this week, the Legends took a shot at another famously geeky franchise – The Lord Of The Rings.
The Fellowship Of The Spear
This season has revolved around the Spear of Destiny, a magical artifact that has the power to re-write reality. The Spear was broken into four parts and hidden throughout history, leaving the Legends to race against time (and the Legion of Doom) in order to find all four parts and reunite them into the single spear. This week, on ‘The Fellowship Of The Spear’, the Legends started off in a good place, with the spear re-formed and in their possession. However, with no way to destroy it, they were still in danger.
After discovering that the Spear could be destroyed by the same blood that was used to make it, the Legends had a new quest – to find the Blood of Christ, via Gawain of the Round Table, and with the help of famed author J R R Tolkien. The episode brought us everything that fans love about Legends of Tomorrow; a new time period, a famous face from history, magic, legends, action, good vs evil, personal struggle… and lots and lots of Easter Eggs.
So Many Easter Eggs
- The Fellowship We can start with the most obvious Easter Egg: the title of the episode. ‘The Fellowship of the Spear’ is a direct nod to the title of Tolkien’s first volume in The Lord Of The Rings: ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’. Nate even calls them a ‘Fellowship’ in front of Tolkien in the episode – intentionally, of course!
- A Dark Temptation After the team gathers the pieces of the spear, it re-forms into a single weapon.. one which will draw on the darkest desires and weaknesses of the team members in order to try and manipulate them into using it. Just like the One Ring.
- A Firey Message On learning this, Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) does what Mick does best – burn things. He attempts to incinerate the spear, but instead of obliterating it, this only makes some words appear along the spear’s shaft. Once again, the Spear is the Legend’s version of the One Ring, which also had an inscription upon it, revealed by fire. The inscription is even in another language, Latin, in this case.
- Born Of Blood, Undone By Blood Thanks to the inscription, Nate (Nick Zano) translates the inscription to reveal that the Spear can only be destroyed by the same thing that made it powerful – the blood of Christ. Just as the One Ring can only be destroyed where it was forged – in the fires of Mount Doom.
- Gawain And Tolkien The paper and book (‘The Burden of the Purest Heart’) referenced in this episode are not real. However, Tolkien did have some connection to this Knight of the Round Table – he produced the definitive translation of ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’.
- Tolkien And The Great War J R R Tolkien did serve in the First World War, and did have health problems that routinely took him off active duty. Most of the details about Tolkien’s life here are accurate, right down to his rank, company, and the battle he was in.
- Maps and Middle Earth A few maps appear in this episode, on the console of the Waverider, as well as the map that the Legends use to find the Blood of Christ. Although they are not identical reproductions, eagle-eyed fans may notice a similarity to the maps of Middle Earth published in the books.
- Amaya/Boromir In this episode, Amaya’s (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) story parallels that of Boromir in The Lord of the Rings, with the desire to use the powerful magical object (Spear and Ring) for ‘good’.
- Mick/Gollum Mick’s closest comparison in this episode is to Gollum/Smeagol. Like Smeagol, Mick is attempting to help his friends, but deals with hallucinations of his dark side, represented by Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller). At least, he thinks that they are hallucinations! Both characters also betray their party in the final moments of the quest, giving in to the dark side and the power of the Ring/Spear. Professor Stein (Victor Garber) acts as a sort of Sam in this dynamic, constantly putting Mick down and shouting at him not to touch the Spear.
- Fool of A… In the trenches, when the team first finds Tolkien, his commanding officer is yelling at him to get up and fight and calls him a ‘fool of a Tolkien’. This is a direct reference to Gandalf calling Pippin ‘a fool of a Took’.
- Long Stories When Tolkien is brought aboard the ship, he asks why the Legends seek the grave of Gawain, and when they say it’s a long story, he replies ‘I enjoy long stories’, an obvious reference to the length of his epic fantasy novels. Rip (Arthur Darvill) then essentially wraps up the plot of Lord Of The Rings for Tolkien, by describing what they are doing.
- Hidden Clues In the Church of Amniens, the Legends discover an inscription in a language (that looks quite similar to Elvish, but is referenced as proto-Celtic) that says “Follow the outlier, and then push further still”. It is a clue to how to find Gawain’s body – and remarkably similar to the inscription at the Doors of Durin, where an inscription reads ‘Speak friend and enter’, and reveals how to pass through the doorway.
- Glowing Blades The Legends are able to find the Blood of Christ because the Spear glows in the presence of the blood, acting as a divining rod. Just as Sting, the blade carried by both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, glowed blue in the presence of Orcs.
- One Does Not Simply… Another line lifted nearly verbatim from the live-action adaptation of Lord Of The Rings comes when the Legends realize that they will have to cross into No Man’s Land to find the blood. Stein says “One cannot simply walk into the middle of a war zone” – a variation on the famous line “One does not simply walk into Mordor”. This is followed by a moment where everyone declares their intent to try – the same way that the Fellowship was formed.
- Not This Day When Rip declares a ceasefire, he uses a variation of Aragorn’s famous speech about the courage of men at the Black Gate. He even ends it with a rousing “But today is not that day”.
Now that this phenomenally reference-heavy episode is over, what’s next for the (now broken) Fellowship of the Spear? Sara (Caity Lotz) is having her leadership questioned, Mick has joined the Legion of Doom, the Legion themselves know how to use the Spear to re-write reality, and we’re going to find out exactly what world they create in next week’s ‘Doomworld’.
Legends of Tomorrow continues Tuesday, March 28 with ‘Doomworld’ at 9pm on The CW.