Legends of Tomorrow: 2.14 Moonshot
This episode has a great opening scene, with past Rip leaving Henry in the past to protect his piece of the magic stick. Just as they finish their conversation and exit the frame, Present-Rip and the Legends walk into shot. After this nice little visual trick the episode launches into pure, 100% Legends of Tomorrow bullshit. Just how I like it.
Nate's grandfather was dropped off in the late 1950's and told to blend in, so naturally he became an astronaut. It's brilliant how Team Legs just work out he will have become an astronaut because they figure it was just the most obvious thing for him to do?!?! But sure enough, Henry has joined NASA. In fairness, his reasoning behind doing so - so he can hide his part of the spear inside the US flag planted on the moon by Neil Armstrong and his moon buddies, in order to make sure his piece is as far away as possible, kind of makes sense.
This is a wonderfully goofy episode with some great moments and silly ideas; Henry put his piece of spear on the moon. Thawne sabotages Apollo 13 to get to the moon, Ray has to go to the moon to stop him. Simple stuff. It's played well with two emotional subplots. The first and most prominent being Nate coming to terms with his father’s short comings and the role his grandfather's absence had in that.
There is a particular moment when, after Amaya challenges him on his desire to change his grandfather’s past/his future, when he deliberately blurts out about her dark future. He does this out of cruelty and spite and it's actually really effective. Nate is still bland and Amaya is still a smug teen but they both work well this week, with Amaya getting a couple of good mini-speeches to Nate and Henry about not changing history.
So, after Ray gets spotted by Thawne they have a - surprisingly fun, if cheesy - zero G fight in the spec module, before getting stranded on moon. Ray, who over powers Thawne (he can't super speed in space, obviously?) then messes about on the moon pretending to be Matt Damon. The scene where he is recording his Matt Damon style video diary and Thawne asks what he's doing is particularly fun. A nice Thawne moment, which I didn't expected, was him reminiscing about the good times he spent with Cisco and Caitlin.
The rescue of Apollo 13 and Ray is hampered by the fact the Waverider gets scuttled, thanks to a bad decision by Sara. This whole episode has a nicely underplayed power struggle between Rip and Sara and while Rip does seem to have jumped back into things a little quickly, it was good to see this play out. Especially when Rip realises what we all already knew: he was a crappy captain! Poor old Rip also has to deal with Henry being pissed at him and blaming him for the fact he'll never see his son (which, was kind of Rip's fault in a way?). Matthew MacCaull, playing Henry, is amazing, I really like his look. He actually feels and looks like someone from the 30's and in this ep the 60's, in a way, unfortunately, Amaya never does.
Ray of course gets the final piece of magic spear but needs Thawne's help to fix the ship, the Waverider - damaged because of Sara's earlier decision - has just one chance to rescue Apollo 13. Once they do (of course they do) they realise they have an infinitesimals chance of surviving re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere! Oh no what if they don't survive? They survive.
The ships survival comes at a cost and poor old Henry takes one for the team. I had straight up expected Henry not to survive to the end of the episode but I was surprised at how well it was done and genuinely a pretty emotional moment.
I really enjoyed this episode a lot, it was exactly what I've come to expect from Legends of Tomorrow. It was hokey and daft and treads the usual fine line between homage and rip off but dammit, that's what I love about this show. The whole team was well integrated this week too, I especially liked Mick, Stein and Jax masquerading as British scientists to monitor things with NASA, allowing Franz Drameh to do an English accent for a change!
Other great moments this week; Caity Lotz gets to wear a funky 60's outfit then a funky 70's outfit before the titles have even finished! I think I'm developing a full on crush on Caity Lotz based entirely on the fact she's such a clothes horse and it's always cool to see what she'll be wearing!
Thawne being able I do advanced astrophysics calculations simply because he's from the future (it was taught in school when he was a kid, obviously) is nice and the handling of the Rip/Sara power struggle is good. Is he now her Number One? Is Rip Riker? Rip's good/bad/good arc wasn’t exactly Angel but it has been pretty entertaining.
Since this is a show with aliens I would've loved to see some aliens on the moon. No reason. Just for shits and giggles. Also, the legends do kill quite a lot of people, I'm amazed they haven't just killed Thawne's this is perhaps the show biggest, genuine, flaw at the moment, the very sloppy, plot relevant killing rule.
This episode did give us perhaps the best, most Legends of Tomorrow scene so far; Stein, when required to cause a brief distraction at NASA, spontaneously bursting into a rendition of The Banana Boat Song (Day-O). It's not only very funny but the way it's used over the top of the shuttle landing and the Waverider maneuvering through space is fun, funny and creatively dynamic. Plus, gives Garber another chance to sing!