Warning: Complete spoilers ahead!
“Blood Ties” picked up from where we left off in the second half of the pilot: Carter’s dead, Vandal Savage is angrier than ever, and the Waverider cannot travel through time because Kendra is fatally injured and a time jump could kill her. This left our heroes stuck in 1975 trying to figure out how they’ll take down Savage. Before getting right into the episode itself, it’s important to remember that the title of this episode really does reflect its content. All of it.
A big factor in this week’s episode was the fact that we learned that Rip Hunter had lied to the team. Again. This time, he hadn’t told them that this wasn’t his first quest to try and kill Vandal Savage. In fact, Hunter had already traveled to the past and had his knife at the villain’s throat, but didn’t kill him because he’s not a killer. Of course he regrets that, but it’s nice to see that Hunter is just as flawed as the rest of the gang. Before the show began, I assumed that Hunter was going to be the only clean one, but thankfully that is not the case.
Hunter spent most of his scenes with Sara, which was a real treat. Both characters really bounced off each other well, whether it was them arguing about whether or not Sara should come to the bank or during their more emotional scenes when Sara talks about being a “monster.” With that being said, I welcomed Sara talking about her blood lust again. Knowing that she’s still affected by the Lazarus Pit means that she’ll be unpredictable for the rest of the season. As long as she keeps up her high-level fight scenes, I’ll be more than happy with that. Seriously, I truly believe that Sara has been putting on the best fight scenes out of all the CW characters over this past year. Sorry, Anarky.
Another portion of the episode that I truly enjoyed was the interaction between Professor Stein and Ray Palmer. Over the last couple of episodes, Stein’s been annoying Ray by saying that he never remembered teaching him in school, despite Ray’s persistence. While Ray normally seems like a somewhat confident (yet naive) guy, he lost all belief in himself for a decent part of this episode. After being given the task to shrink in his Atom suit so that he can go into Kendra’s blood stream and destroy lingering pieces of Vandal Savage’s dagger, Ray is hit by a piece and panics. Stein doesn’t understand why this rattled Ray so hard until it’s revealed that his wife was killed during the raid of (what was then) Starling City in Season 2 of Arrow. In order to help Ray, Stein lies to him and says that he really does remember him and that he was one of his smartest students. This allowed Ray to regain his confidence, shrink down in size, and get inside Kendra to save her. What was great about this interaction is that we’re used to Stein encouraging Jax to try harder, but instead it was the much more established (in life) Ray who needed the boost in confidence. It’s always the surprising interactions and relationships between characters that make a show truly blossom and if all of the characters on Legends can do this with each other, we’re in for a treat.
However, the best part of the show was most likely the Captain Cold subplot. Wentworth Miller has easily become a fan favourite as Captain Cold/Leonard Snart, now that he can truly shine with The Flash stealing the spotlight. In this episode, Cold and Heat Wave pressure Jax into stealing a vessel from the Waverider in order to go steal an emerald. At first, it seems as if the ex-villains are becoming villains again, but it turns out Snart had other plans. It turns out he stole the emerald that his father was planning on stealing, but ended up getting caught which led to the beating of Snart’s sister once he got out of jail. In order to prevent the arrest, Snart brought the jewel to his childhood home to give to his father. As usual, nothing goes smoothly with time travel as Snart ran into the child version of himself as well as his father. The whole confrontation made for must-watch television as Miller’s performance was off the charts. Seriously, go watch it. I don’t usually cry during these shows, but man were my eyes ever wet during this part. Unfortunately for Snart, his father got arrested trying to sell the jewel, thus changing nothing.
Last week, I said the weak points of the show involved Hawkman/Hawkwoman and Vandal Savage himself. I was thrilled to see these points were improved upon. For the Hawks, it was rather annoying to hear every episode about how many times they have been reincarnated or about how long they have been in love for. Instead, Carter’s corpse was actually used to help make Vandal Savage into a more intimidating being. Savage has lacked the fear factor that would make him a top villain, but that changed this week when we got a glimpse into his following. Turns out Savage has many followers due to his immortal abilities and they have meetings in an Eyes Wide Shut type of setting (something that Heat Wave hilariously refers to). While the setting is creepy enough, we see Savage slit Carter’s throat open, fill a chalice with his blood, and share it as a drink with his followers. You read that right. Allegedly it allows his followers to live another hundred years or so. Overall, it’s that kind of creepiness that sets Savage apart from the other CW big bads, but also allows him to be as intimidating as him (although I think he has much more potential).
The ceremony gets interrupted by the rest of the team, sans bedridden Kendra and dead Carter. As always, the battle was fought, but what was even more amazing was Rip Hunter gutting Savage with a knife even though he knew it wouldn’t kill him. I guess this was a way to get around his thirst to kill Savage without making him a killer. This gave the heroes enough time to leave and get ready to find Savage in the year 1986: the land of parachute pants.
Overall this was probably the best episode of Legends of Tomorrow yet. Yes, we’re only three episodes in, but they’re heading in the right direction. It’s funny, but we still see our heroes’ flaws, we’re seeing their relationships building, Savage is becoming more of a legitimate (and creepy) threat, and all these reasons are why it’s a different entity from Arrow and The Flash.
+ Fun relationship between Ray and Stein
+ Sara’s fight scenes (now with blood lust) continue to steal the show
+ Captain Cold visiting his 1975 childhood home
+ Vandal Savage’s Eyes Wide Shut-like gathering and the legitimization of him as a dangerous villain
– Even though the lack of Hawks was good, they still need interesting material to work with when they are present