Warning: Spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow ahead
Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) may have brought the Legends of Tomorrow together, but he’s spent the second season out of the Captain’s chair – and out of the plot entirely for many episodes. When the show first returned, Rip was missing, and when he eventually reappeared he had forgotten about all of his previous adventures and taken up a new identity as Phil, a movie director. Things got worse after that when he was brainwashed and turned evil by the Legion of Doom. Now, finally, Rip is back on the Waverider and in his right mind, but a lot has changed since he left his beloved ship.
The crew struggled through the start of this season without him, trying to find a leader from within their ranks. Various Legends took command, with varying degrees of success, before Sara Lance proved herself a capable Captain and became the official team leader. Now that Rip’s back, however, she might not stay in that position for long – even if we think that she should. With only two episodes left of Legends season 2, we take a look at why Sara should remain team leader, even though Hunter is back on board.
The Better Leader
Rip’s return led to some poignant moments in last week’s episode, including one where Henry Heywood (Matthew MacCaull) congratulated Rip on how much his team had improved since they last met. As an outsider, he mentioned how much more cohesive they are, how the internal bickering has died down and they really feel like a team. Rip, of course, knows that this happened without him, and even tells Henry that he doesn’t deserve the credit. Later, in the final scene, Sara (Caity Lotz) tells him that it must be hard, coming back to find someone else in charge – and he replies that the hard part is seeing someone who is better at it.
He’s not wrong. Rip’s tenure as Captain was hardly flawless. He lied to his team repeatedly, made decisions without consulting them, and manipulated them into helping him with a mission that was to save his family, not the world. He’s been callous with their lives, and his recent run as evil-Rip isn’t the only time that he has hurt the Legends, either. Although they are willing to forgive his recent actions, there’s still a lot of trust to be re-built. Sara, on the other hand, may not be perfect – but she’s capable, has earned the team’s trust, and manages to balance out their missions and their personalities. She has no agenda, and she’s open about her motives and issues. She’s simply better for the team.
Better Development For Rip
Keeping Sara in the Captain’s chair isn’t just good for the team, it’s good for Rip, too. So far, we’ve seen him as an emotionally damaged, duplicitous leader – and now we have a chance to see him as a Legend. That means far more development as he learns how to be part of the team, and how to be part of a team where he isn’t the leader. We’ve already seen Ray (Brandon Routh) start to discover his worth without his suit, seen Martin (Victor Garber) beginning to learn how to treat his partner as an equal, not a student, and even seen Mick (Dominic Purcell) learn how to function outside of Leonard Snart’s (Wentworth Miller) shadow – though that was somewhat backpedaled in ‘Fellowship of the Ring‘. Legends of Tomorrow is all about personal growth for the characters, and Rip has so much more scope for growth as a Legend, not a leader.
We’ve also already seen a little bit of conflict as Rip struggles to let Sara take command (and some phenomenal instances of Sara showing empathy while still refusing to give ground), but there is so much left to see. We’d love some more exploration of his backstory, as well as his struggles to see teammates like Mick as equals, not inferiors. In addition, with a team dynamic that has settled so nicely, we want to see Rip finding his new place in that group. Mr. Hunter has such potential as a character, and he needs a new place in the team to explore that fully.
We’re also happy to see a female-led team in the Arrowverse, which brings the four shows on The CW to a nice balance. Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) lead two shows, while Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) and Sara Lance lead another two. This superhero universe certainly isn’t afraid of putting female characters in the spotlight, and it’s one of the things that we love about it – keeping Sara in charge is a great way to keep that balance, especially when the Legends team as a whole is predominantly male. Seeing Sara rise to the position, despite her flaws and the damage that she sees in herself – it’s a story arc that has a huge impact on so many viewers, and she shouldn’t step down from her hard-won position without a very good reason.
Closer Connections To The Arrowverse
Although the four shows within the Arrowverse can be watched entirely separately, they delight in crossover episodes, and we can’t wait to see more of them. Since The Flash first joined Arrow on-screen, the writers for this world have been carefully weaving these shows together with huge multi-part crossovers as well as minor character cameos. If we want to keep this kind of connection between the time travelers and the other heroes, keeping Sara in charge is the way to do it. Rip, unlike the rest of the team, has no connection to the Arrowverse, and so would be far less likely to drop everything to come to their aid.
Of course, he would still get involved when there is a world to be saved, and we know that he’s been communicating with a future version of Barry Allen, but it’s just not the same. Sara is such a huge part of the Arrow mythology that keeping her in the Captain’s chair is a much better way of keeping the show connected to the ones that started the universe.
What’s Next For Sara And Rip?
With only two episodes left of this season, it’s unlikely that we would see a big shakeup in leadership right now – especially when it looks like Rip is happy for Sara to stay in charge. The team is going to be far more concerned with reclaiming the Spear of Destiny from the Legion of Doom (and destroying it) than with re-arranging the Waverider org chart.
In season 3, however, we might get to see a little tension as Rip tries to integrate into the team (especially before they meet the big bad for that season), and it’s sure to be an interesting new dynamic to watch – even if we want Sara to stay on top!
Legends of Tomorrow continues Tuesday, March 28 with ‘Doomworld’ at 9pm on The CW.