Welcome back! While we seem to have gotten Carter back, we also dropped off Vandal Savage to the Time Masters, who we have discovered are aligned in Savage’s plan for world domination! Also, the team has been detained by the Time Masters, minus a missing Snart and Sara. Rip is also locked away, and Savage lets his adversary know he has to go to a long awaited appointment to kill Rip’s family! So yeah, everyone’s boned…except Jax, who got sent back to 2016 to cure his time rapid aging problem. Where did he end up, anyway?
Chain of Events. We look back to five months ago, just after Rip has made his pitch to the team. Snart and Rory are disinterested, and Stein is trying to convince Jax to join up, but he’s not interested. Which is why its weird that when Jax leaves, he comes back to see Stein…in different clothes. It’s the Jax that Stein of five months later sent back through the timestream, back to his normal self, and he needs this Stein’s help.
Back at the Vanishing Point, we join Rip, Kendra, Ray, Rory, and Stein as they are locked up. Stein’s not too hot because he can’t bond with Jax, Rory knows the Time Masters will try reconditioning him to become Chronos again, and Kendra ends up being taken to Vandal Savage. Savage has a timeship with Carter in stasis, and wants Kendra close by to see a special event he has to attend. And what about Sara and Snart? They pop out of their hiding place on the Waverider and Snart wants to leave while Sara realizes they won’t get far without disabling the hangar of other timeships, and also, she wants to save her teammates. Snart tries to pull his freeze gun on her, but she calls his bluff. Then there’s a ring from a phone in Rip’s study, and answering is Gideon. Gideon managed to hide in the ship’s systems, and has a way to get the ship out without worrying about pursuit.
Puppeteers. Rip is taken to see Druce, who wants to know where Sara and Snart are. And Druce feels its best to explain why the Time Masters would align themselves with Vandal Savage. In 2175, the Earth is invaded by an alien race known as the Thanagarians, and without someone like Savage in control of the Earth, humanity is wiped out. This seems like insanity to Rip, but then Druce takes him to see something. It’s a funnel of energy known as the Oculus, where the Time Masters see how all time flows, and can manipulate time to their will. You want an example? Here’s one: they manipulated the team since they formed to put Savage on his way to world domination. And Rip gets a glimpse of all of that, along with a vision of Ray dying, which is horrifying enough until Druce drops the clencher to all of this. In order to get Rip to form the team that unknowingly helped Savage succeed in 2166, they told Savage to murder Rip’s family!
Speaking of gut wrenching stuff, some Time Master named Declan is supervising the shock therapy stuff that will turn Rory back into Chronos. Without that need for revenge against the team that kept the conditioning from holding, what can help Rory now?
Escape From The Vanishing Point. Rip gets sent back to his cell, and gets to hand out the nasty news that the Time Masters have been manipulating them all. And also, Rory seems to have taken back into being Chronos again, so more bummer news. In the hangar bay, Snart and Sara are sneaking around, putting little devices on all the other timeships. While waiting for Gideon to put things in motion, we hear about Snart’s pinky ring, which is a reminder of how jobs can go wrong, and not a foretelling of Snart’s demise at all. The Waverider is ready to take off, and when it does, it activates those little devices, which screw up the timeships’ computers so they can’t pursue. Also, they all sing Captain and Tennile, so that’s a fun plus.
Druce orders the prisoners to be executed, but is interrupted by the Waverider blasting up the Time Masters holding area. Snart arrives, as does Chronos and Declan, ready to kill the team’s rescuer. Chronos, I mean, Rory flips the script and shoots Declan, then stomps down on his head. I’m sure no one minds that. The team gets back to the ship, and gets caught in a tractor beam. But thanks to that fancy Chronos tech, the Waverider and the team gets away.
Oculus. Back in 2016, Stein helps Jax fix the jump ship so Jax can get to the Vanishing Point and his friends (yeah, he hasn’t got the memo yet…). Before he leaves, Jax says he understands why Stein drugged him to take him on the mission before, but understands why he did. Um, did you accidentally give Stein the idea to drug yourself in the past, Jax? Just saying, I think you caused a paradox there.
While Stein is still ill, the team has to sit with the news of the Time Masters’ manipulation. This brings a big problem into view: how can they continue with any task, be it saving Kendra and Carter, or killing Savage, and not be sure that’s what the Time Masters want? The solution is to wipe out the Oculus itself, cutting off the Time Masters’ manipulation of things. Translation: make a big thing go boom.
Cut The Strings. While a still under the weather Stein and gang plan things, Ray asks Rory how he fought that reconditioning without all that hate, and he says it was with the need to protect the team. Sara and Snart have a little cute conversation that it no way suggests a tragic end coming up. And Savage arrives in 2166, ready to go to his big family killing appointment, despite Kendra’s pleas not to.
The Waverider arrives at the Oculus Wellspring, and the whole team, sick Stein and all, make their way there, but get surrounded by Druce and his forces. Good that Jax arrives in the jump ship and takes out those soldiers. Jax and Stein fuse together again, and we’re off to see the Oculus!
A Hero’s End. At the Oculus device, Ray starts working on the device and Rip realizes he saw this in the Oculus, being how Ray dies. And as Druce’s forces start attacking, Ray discovers a fail-safe in the Oculus that has to be held by someone if its to be destroyed. Ray volunteers, but Rory goes, “I take your offer, and raise you me punching you out!”, and takes Ray’s place at the fail-safe. After Rip shrinks Ray and gets him out, he tells the rest of the team that Rory’s not coming.
Snart and Sara rush back into the chamber and when reasoning won’t get Rory to leave, Snart knocks his friend out and takes the fail-safe. Sara finally gives Snart a kiss and takes off with Rory back to the Waverider. Druce and his men surround Snart as the Oculus is about to go critical. He’s told to get away from the Oculus, but Snart goes, “Nah, I’m Leonard Snart, robber of ATMs, punk!”, and signs off by blowing up the Oculus, himself, Druce, and it looks like most of the Time Masters’ HQ with it. RIP Leonard Snart: you died a hero and like a boss.
Tabula Rasa. Even as they now can write their own fates without the manipulation of the Time Masters, things are not so jovial for our heroes. The team is clearly bummed to lose the best member of the team like that, but there’s even more bad news. Rip just found out the timeline is now unchanged because Savage did kill his family after all. While Rory mulls celebrating the loss of his partner with killing some baddies, he’s reminded he can always kill Savage when they find him. And on that subject, Savage returns to his timeship to tell Kendra he’s covered his 8:35 family killing appointment and learn the Time Masters can no longer help him manipulate time. But Savage is like, “Dude, I got a timeship, I already can take over the world!”, and the ship takes off to…well, we’ll see in the season finale!
–Comic book connections: We will talk more about the Thanagarians maybe next episode when (or if) we meet them, but let’s talk about the time bubble we see in STAR Labs, which in the DCU was a vehicle used by…Rip Hunter.
–Fun callback to the Captain and Tennile reference from the pilot with that mass sabotage.
–Oh yeah, Snart’s pinky ring ends up in Rory’s pocket, along with Snart’s freeze gun.
–Love Rory’s threat to shave Ray bald if he ever tells the team that he cares for them.
–“On a scale of 1 to 10, its a googolplex.”
–“It’s actually the best decision I never made.” Never the thing anyone says about being drugged.
–“That’s why I don’t think.”
–“There are no strings on me.”
That’s it for now, but comment below and come back next time for the season finale, “Legendary”…