History Notes: Legends of Tomorrow Episode 211, "Turncoat"

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Legends of Tomorrow, Turncoat

The introduction to this episode is delivered by Mick Rory (DOMINIC PURCELL), and it's the most brilliant thing ever! If anything sets the tone for this series, this did it. "Who writes this crap, anyway?" That's just genius.

Rip Hunter (ARTHUR DARVILL) has returned -- only he's not Rip Hunter any more. No, he's not "Phil" the hippy movie director either. The Legion of Doom have restored his memories from a backup, but not without having made some alterations to his personality. He's now no longer the hero he used to be -- he's with the Legion of Doom, and to attract the attention of the Legends team, so that he can retrieve the portion of the Spear of Destiny from them, he decides to make a big change to history. He assassinates General George Washington on Christmas Day, 1776. And he arms the British soldiers with automatic weapons. The United States now will never exist.

This episode is a good mixture of the self-deprecating humor we've come to expect, but also ramped up some of the tensions. When the Waverider does indeed land (on Christmas Eve in New Jersey), Captain Sara Lance (CAITY LOTZ) goes in with the team to force General Washington to come with them. Nate and Amaya (NICK ZANO, MAISIE RICHARDSON-SELLERS) are cast as newlyweds attending Washington's party -- which raises eyebrows, but not much more than that. Mick is a private in the Continental Army, and Ray (BRANDON ROUTH) is snuck in in his A.T.O.M. suit to perform reconnaissance.

And that's when Rip shows up, and sets off an electromagnetic pulse device. This won't be felt anywhere in 1776, as there's no electricity -- except for the power that runs the Waverider, which goes into full blackout, and Ray's suit, trapping him at a tiny size without any of his flight or strength capabilities.

When the British burst in on the party, Sara and Mick force Washington to leave with them, at musket-point. But when Rip confronts them, they are taken by surprise. He gut-shoots Sara and leaves her for dead, while the British soldiers force George Washington and Mick to follow them back to their camp.

Aboard the Waverider, Martin Stein (VICTOR GARBER) and Jefferson Jackson (FRANZ DRAMEH) work furiously to save Sara's life. But without Gideon's assistance, Stein is working from medical texts. "Damn it, I'm a physicist, not a doctor," he tells Jax, who has been left in command of the ship.

Nate and Amaya are on the trail of Washington and Mick, and get close to each other along the way. Like, really close. Amaya is used to courting as it was done in the 30s, and Nate educates her on the sexual revolution of the 60s. Meanwhile, Washington is prepared to make a prisoner trade with Cornwallis, since he is an officer and expects to be treated as such. There are rules even in war, he tells Mick. That's when Mick tells him what it really means to be an American, and gives Washington the keys it takes to fight off the British -- sneak attacks, dirty tricks, etc.

As Jax and Ray try to restore power to the Waverider, Rip and the British force their way into the ship. Jax takes it on himself to lead Rip away from Stein and Sara, but ultimately is forced to choose between giving up the piece of the Spear or letting Rip kill Sara with his bare hands. It's no choice at all, really, and Rip's reactions show just how thoroughly the Legion of Doom have reprogrammed his brain.

Lots of action, lots of humor, blended well into a...Christmas episode? Yes, it's that, too. But they're time travelers, so I guess they can have Christmas whenever they want. The Legion of Doom may have won a battle here, but the war will continue.

And the most important lesson to take away from this episode?

"Hitler ruins everything."

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0