[This is a review of Legends of Tomorrow season 2, episode 12. There will be SPOILERS.]
In Legends of Tomorrow season 1, Rip Hunter's team of misfit heroes and morally questionable criminals went up against the likes of a single, albeit powerful, villain in Vandal Savage. However in season 2, Legends of Tomorrow traded the typical big bad for a team of villains - the Legion of Doom, so far made up of Arrow's Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and The Flash's Eobard Thawne aka Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher). While the Legion was slowly assembling in the first run of season 2 episodes, it wasn't until recently that their endgame was revealed: They're seeking the Spear of Destiny in order to rewrite their own timelines without creating time aberrations.
In the midseason premiere, the Legion of Doom captured Rip Hunter but quickly learned that the former Time Master was essentially useless to them without his memories. Although the Legion replaced Rip's memories, they did so with some alterations, creating a version of the former Legends leader who has no attachment to his team - but he is a ruthless advantage for the Legion. Now, the Legends are racing to obtain the shards of the Spear of Destiny before Rip and the Legion can find them.
In this week's episode, 'Camelot/3000' -- written by Anderson Mackenzie and directed by Antonio Negret - the team travels across time and space looking for the Spear of Destiny pieces that are being protected by members of the Justice Society of America. Their journey brings them to King Arthur's Camelot where Stargirl (Sarah Grey) is protecting her shard of the Spear, but they're forced to team up with the Knights of the Roundtable to keep it out of Rip's hands.
The JSA Returns - Sort Of
After tangling with the JSA earlier in the season, and even adding one of its members to the Waverider crew, Legends of Tomorrow sees the return of a few of the team's members in 'Camelot/3000' - sort of. Rip gets to Doctor Mid-Nite in the future before the Legends are able to, and they find him dead with some of his technology and shard of the Spear missing. Then, thanks to Lily Stein's algorithm that she plugged into the Waverider, they're able to track down another piece of the Spear - in King Arthur's Camelot being watched over by Stargirl, who has inserted herself into the legend as the wizard Merlin.
Between Doctor Mid-Nite being killed by Rip early on in the episode - though the JSA member does manage to spell out the name of his killer in his own blood, which is an especially striking image in his sterile-looking lab - and Stargirl's spending much of the episode at odds with Amaya, the JSA isn't quite the team of heroes it was earlier in the season. Certainly, Obsidian told Amaya when she reunited with him in the '80s that the JSA wasn't the same after Rex Tyler was murdered and she abandoned the team to pursue his killer. Now, that is apparent again in 'Camelot/3000'.
Of course, since the Legends are the main team in the series, the JSA never could quite fit in as another superhero team, even with a Legion of Doom with which to contend. As a result, incorporating one or two JSA members into a single episode of Legends of Tomorrow is plenty since the show already has a rather large ensemble cast. 'Camelot/3000' pulls this off for the most part, with Stargirl briefly rejoining the series to help the Legends before deciding to remain in Camelot.
As with many episodes in Legends of Tomorrow season 2, 'Camelot/3000' fully immerses itself into the time period to which the team travels. In the case of this week's adventure, that's King Arthur's court where they learn the legends are true, in a sense. Ray Palmer, for his part, becomes a little too involved in the Arthurian legend in which he has found himself, causing more trouble for the team when her refuses to abandon the kingdom despite the fact that they've rescued Stargirl's piece of the Spear.
Of course, Ray's - and the show's - enthusiasm for the time travel aspect of Legends of Tomorrow has been a strength of the series in season 2. 'Camelot/3000' is no different as Legends of Tomorrow provides another sci-fi/fantasy adventure full of plenty of sword fighting and familiar names from legends about King Arthur's Knights of the Roundtable. Sir Galahad makes an appearance, while it's revealed that Guinevere is one of Arthur's knights in addition to being his queen - a fun tweaking of the classic tale that positions her more easily alongside the Legends, especially Sara.
Still, Legends of Tomorrow is a sci-fi series and, as such, puts a new twist on the Arthurian legend - beyond even the reveal that Stargirl is Merlin in this telling. The technology Rip stole from Doctor Mid-Nite allows him to control not only Arthur but a whole army he attempts to use as leverage against Camelot and the Legends in order to obtain the Spear shard. However, it all goes wrong and in a particularly callous move on Damien Darhk's part, Rip is left in the custody of the Legends, who helped to defeat his army of mindless medieval soldiers.
Rip is The Legends' Prisoner - Or is He?
Although fans following casting reports about Legends of Tomorrow season 2 likely already know Captain Cold is expected to return and join the Legion of Doom, the newly evil version of Rip Hunter has been operating as the villainous team's unofficial fourth member in recent episodes. Rip's alliance with the Legion seems to fall apart, however, when he's left behind by Darhk and captured by the Legends who imprison him on the Waverider. But, as it's revealed in the final moments of 'Camelot/3000', the time ship's computer, Gideon, is still loyal to Rip - whether or not it's programmed to be.
This revelation promises trouble for the Legends team in next week's episode, but it additionally heightens the tension going into 'Land of the Lost'. Arthur Darvill worked well as the captain of the Waverider, and his turn as the goofy film student named Phil was entertaining, but he's been most compelling as the evil Rip Hunter. Now, with Rip seemingly set to be the main antagonist in next week's episode, Legends of Tomorrow is playing to its strengths once again.
On the whole, 'Camelot/3000' manages to propel the story of season 2 forward somewhat, though it operates more so as an entertaining pitstop in the Middle Ages. At the end of this week's episode, three of the Spear of Destiny shards have been found; with one left, the Legends and the Legion will both need to race to locate it before the others. With the stakes high, the trouble caused by Rip aboard the Waverider will no doubt be even worse for the team when Legends of Tomorrow returns next week.
Legends of Tomorrow continues Tuesday, March 7 with 'Land of the Lost' at 9pm on The CW.