[This is a review of Legends of Tomorrow season 2, episode 13. There will be SPOILERS.]
In the early episodes of Legends of Tomorrow season 2, the team of heroes underwent a number of changes, losing Captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) in time and gaining the likes of Nate Heywood aka Citizen Steel and Amaya Jiwe aka Vixen. All the while, the Legends faced off against the burgeoning Legion of Doom, a villainous group comprised -- as of now -- of Eobard Thawne aka Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher), Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), though Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), is expected to join their ranks.
After Legends of Tomorrow returned from its midseason hiatus this year, the Waverider team found themselves pitted against another villain: an evil version of their former captain. Evil Rip Hunter has proved to be a compelling foe for the Legends, forcing them to battle a former teammate. However, it seemed they had gotten the upper hand in 'Camelot/3000' when they captured Rip -- but, in a surprising turn of events, it was revealed the ship's AI Gideon is still loyal to the Waverider's previous captain.
In this week's episode, 'Land of the Lost' -- written by Keto Shimizu and Ray Utarnaachitt and directed by Ralph Hemecker - the team finds themselves trapped 70 million years in the past after Rip wreaks havoc on the Waverider. While Nate, Amaya, and Ray venture into the environment looking for a piece of the ship, Sara and Jax must enter Rip's mind and battle evil versions of themselves in order to restore their Captain to his former self.
Inside Rip's Mind
As teased in the previous episode of Legends of Tomorrow, 'Land of the Lost' opens with Evil Rip forcing Gideon to allow him control of the Waverider using a series of code words. As he escapes, he attempts to steal the medallion with which the Legends plan on finding Commander Steel - and the final piece of the Spear of Destiny - before the Legion of Doom. However, while the Legends are able to stop him from escaping, they're unable to prevent him from wreaking all kinds of havoc on the Waverider - narrowly avoiding self-destruction and landing the team in the Cretaceous period, not too far from where Ray lived after Rip scattered the Legends across time in the season 2 premiere.
While Rip is unconscious and the Waverider is stranded, Sara and Jax head inside their former captain's mind by way of Cognitive Intrusion - a practice created by the Time Masters and apparently used on Mick Rory while he was Chronos. Inside Rip's mind, they find themselves aboard a dark version of the Waverider supposedly filled with all manner of villains, though mainly guarded by evil versions of the Legends. Essentially, Sara and Jax must find Rip and remind him of who he once was, battling their evil twins along the way, which makes for some exciting action sequences - especially between Sara and evil White Canary.
The action of this particular storyline in 'Land of the Lost' is fun - and gives Legends of Tomorrow a reason to not only bring Firestorm in for the first time in a number of episodes, but allows the actors themselves to flex a bit outside their comfort zones. However, it additionally includes a surprising, and altogether uncomfortable, appearance from an anthropomorphized Gideon, for which Rip apparently has feelings - and they kiss. Their scene is reminiscent of Doctor Who's 'The Doctor's Wife', but much less well developed and more shoehorned in. It's a strange capstone moment to the episode arc, especially since it's unclear if it was meant as a one-off scene or the setup to something more.
Legendary Jurassic Park
While Sara and Jax venture inside Rip's mind, and Mick and Stein keep watch over them, Ray, Amaya, and Nate head out into the wilderness to search for the missing piece of the Waverider. However, they run into the problem of Gertrude, a Tyrannosaurus Rex that Ray wronged when he was previously stranded in the Cretaceous period. Additionally, though Nate and Amaya have largely kept their relationship - casual as it may be - a secret from their fellow teammates, Ray learns of it and warns Nate about the damage they could do to the timeline.
Unlike the Legends themselves, who were recruited by Rip in season 1 because they didn't have much impact on the timeline, Amaya has a destiny that leads to Mari McCabe (Megalyn Echikunwoke) being born and becoming the modern day hero of Vixen in the Arrowverse. As Ray reasons, Nate shouldn't get too attached since Amaya will need to return to her home eventually to fulfill her destiny - otherwise all the people saved by Mari are put in danger. It's a compelling storyline that is largely only set up in 'Land of the Lost', likely to be developed and explored later on in season 2 - especially as the season draws to a close and the Legends come closer to retrieving the Spear of Destiny.
As for Gertrude, the conflict between her and the Legends is drawn out then resolved quickly by Amaya's ability to communicate with animals. She communes with Gertie and they have a chat that leads to the Legends being able to recover the missing part of the Waverider safely. However, the simple resolution posits the question of why Ray didn't simply have Amaya communicate with Gertrude in the first place.
The Legends Take On Apollo 13
As has become customary of The CW's DC Comics series, the final scene of 'Land of the Lost' sets up the next episode of Legends of Tomorrow. After saving Rip from the mental prison constructed by Reverse-Flash when he restored the Time Master's memories, the captain reveals he knows where Commander Steel is hiding with the final shared of the Spear. However, when the episode cuts to NASA Flight Operations in 1970, Eobard is revealed to be impersonating a doctor running tests on a potential member of the Apollo 13 flight crew.
Of course, that doesn't quite clue viewers in on where Commander Steel may be hiding the final piece of the Spear of Destiny, but it does set up a space-bound adventure in next week's episode. For the most part, 'Land of the Lost' slowed down the pace of season 2, acting as a pause in the overarching storyline while the series set up certain key character arcs, like Amaya's destiny, and concluding others, namely Rip Hunter's disappearance then return as an enemy. 'Moonshot', however, will see the team return to their fight against the Legion of Doom as Legends of Tomorrow gets closer to its second season finale.
Legends of Tomorrow continues Tuesday, March 14 with ‘Moonshot’ at 9pm on The CW.