LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Review: “Moonshot”

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It’s official ya’ll, I’ve joined the Ray Palmer fan club. I don’t how it happened, but this week of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, “Moonshot”, solidified a feeling that had already been growing in me. Yeah, he’s a goody-two-shoes, but maybe I judged him too harshly. Curse Ray and his adorable curiosity and nerdiness.

The Legends begin their search for Commander Steel, who they realize has taken a new identity with NASA, working on mission control to save Apollo 13. The team decides to head to 1970 in order to infiltrate NASA, save Commander Steel, and find out where he’s hidden the last piece of the Spear of Destiny.

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They’re met with a less than warm reception from the Commander, who punches out Rip and locks him in a holding cell until he gets answers about Rip and the Legends’ sudden reappearance. While the Legends explain to the Commander that they need him to give them his fragment of the Spear, Commander lets them know that he hid the Spear the American flagpole on the moon. The Legends, always a step behind, learn that Apollo 13 has gone off without a hitch, which means someone has already beat them at their own game and changed history in order to get to the moon.

I’m sure ya’ll can guess where it goes from here. Remember last episode when Thawn was seen with one of the astronauts from Apollo 13? Well, he’d already figured out that the Spear fragment was on the moon and infiltrated Apollo 13 in order to get to the Spear before the Legends even figured out where Commander Steel was. Why oh, why are the Legends always perpetually behind?

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So the Legends come up with a new plan – intercept Apollo 13 before it can land on the moon. Jax, Stein, and Mick decide to help out from mission control, while the other half of the team hop on the Waverider to stop Apollo 13 from space. Ray uses his Antsuit to break into the Apollo and is caught by Thawn, which, as we know, is never good news for our heroes. As he struggles with Thawn, a button is accidentally pressed that separates the capsule where they’re fighting, from the rest of the ship, which happens to be the control center where the real astronauts float unconsciously.

As the fight continues, the Legends struggle against time; they have to stop Apollo 13 before it connects back to mission control and before the video feed is broadcast across the world. It’d be a bit of a shock for the world (and the timeline) to watch Apollo 13 crash land into the moon because of the Legends’ interference. With time running out, it’s up to Stein to create a distraction until Jax can figure out how to stop the feed. Stein’s plan? Sing. Not sure if “The Banana Boat Song” should’ve been enough to distract professionals from watching the landing of Apollo 13, but Stein sang his little heart out and caused a distraction long enough to keep Mission Control from seeing the rigmarole in space.

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After crash landing the capsule, Ray retrieves the last fragment of the Spear of Destiny from the American flagpole. The bad news is the Waverider, which should’ve been on it’s way to pick up Ray, gets hit in a meteor shower and sustains critical damage. With the ship in disrepair, the Legends are no longer able to pick him up. It’s now up to Palmer to figure out how to get the capsule back up and running, otherwise he and Thawn are stuck on the moon.

Thawn, who’s Ray’s prisoner, proposes an alliance between the two of them. Double the brain power, double the chance of getting off of the moon. As they both work on fixing the capsule, Thawn uses the opportunity to whisper sweet nothings into Ray’s ear, claiming that he and Ray have more in common than Ray thinks, starting with the fact that they’re both scientists obsessed with knowledge. When Ray points out that Thawn is a monster, Thawn claps back and reminds Ray that instead of using the Dwarf Star to power cities, Ray uses it selfishly to power his suit. He also admits that he doesn’t want the Spear to take over the world, but to live.

Meanwhile, the Waverider is able to get the astronauts back on their original course to the moon, while Ray and Thawn are able to make their way back to the Waverider. However, the danger isn’t over, with Stein pointing out that it’s unlikely that the Waveridder will be able to make it back to earth with the amount of damage it’s sustained. Ray looks to Thawn for help in figuring out the correct way to get them back to earth. In a heroic display of selflessness, Commander Steel sacrifices his life to save the ship. RIP Commander Steel.

Ray allows Thawn to escape, who’s still being chased by the “most terrible monster in history.” The good news is that means the Legends still have the Spear.

While all of this is going down, Rip struggles to find his place as the leader of the team once more, with all of the decisions being made without him. Sara aint’ about to slow down for Rip, who seems way out of his element. Once the team makes it back to safety, Rip acknowledges that Sara is much more fit to be the captain, and admits he struggles with where he’ll fit in on the team.

Nate dealt with some serious family trauma this week. Commander Steel tells Nathan that he plans on demanding to be returned to his family in 1956, where Rip had him abandon them. Amaya tells Nate that he can’t allow that, but Nate insists that if his grandfather is around, his own father wouldn’t be abusive. Amaya confronts Steel, and lets him know that if he returns to 1956, he could create an aberration, which would completely change who Nate ends up to be. This ticks Nate off, who reveals to Amaya her own future, something that he had swore to Ray he would keep a secret. Petty Nathan strikes again. After the Commander sacrifices his life, a devastated Nate returns to 1970, where the Commander’s son (his father) arrives at NASA because of a competition Steel had rigged him to win. Nate and Amaya make up… sort of. We end the episode with Amaya deciding to dig into what her future will become, meaning that Nate screweddddd up.

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So I dug this episode’s focus on character’s emotional arcs, which no doubt are all set ups to effect the story arc in the remaining few episodes. Let’s start with Ray (once again, my bad for ever hating on you): Ray’s officially found somewhat of an ally in Thawn – someone who’s brave enough to point out that behind all of Ray’s proclaimed righteousness for good, he’s also selfish. Now I’m not saying that this will definitely influence Ray to join the Legion of Doom (obviously), but I’m sure his team will beg the question as to why he let Thawn get away so easily. Also, what about Thawn’s psychoanalysis of Ray will screw with him? When someone calls you out for being a low-key selfish ass scientist, that usually sticks with you.

I’m glad the insufferable Amaya/Nate storyline has paid off in such a potentially devastating way. First off, Nate reached Megatron level petty in revealing to Amaya her future, and now that we’ve left Amaya at the end of this episode researching what her future will be like and that will undoubtedly be a huge storyline in the next few episodes that will not only effect the story’s arc, but Nathan’s arc. Also, Nate should be kicked off the team for that kind of emotional stupidity. I’m just saying. Bye Nate.

While Rip’s struggle to find himself within the group has probably resolved itself this episode, his weariness of being a leader and his now apparent uselessness will likely come back later in some way.

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Speaking of uselessness, can we talk about how my guy Jax is being treated again? Like, they built up this whole thing during the evil Rip days where Jax was hell bent on protecting the squad against him. Jax continued to show distrustfulness towards Rip, even when he showed himself to be a good guy, and it almost seemed that the writers were hinting at something happening in Jax’s storyline between him and Rip. This episode, we’re back to Jax being thrown behind the scenes to press some buttons. Why is there such an aversion to giving him something to do? I get he’s an engineer first, but besides that ONE episode about slavery, Jax’s story has gotten no play whatsoever this season. Sure he’s the kid of the group but come on, Nate ain’t that interesting and I feel like every other episode centers on him. It’s almost laughable at how Jax’s character is constantly being thrown away each episode. Come on ya’ll, you’ve only given him the slavery episode so far…. THE SLAVERY EPISODE. Not feeling it ya’ll, not feeling it.

I have to give mad props to Dr. Stein though. In an otherwise serious and character driven episode, his rendition of “The Banana Boat Song” was the real MVP. Never in my life have I seen an old man sing so hard, and it was a moment I had to rewind and watch a second time. I don’t have anything profound to say about it – it just gave me life and it was a great comedic relief moment in an otherwise serious episode.

So we end this week with the Legends FINALLY getting a win, and securing the last fragment of the Spear. Of course, the Legion of Doom does have one fragment, so all is not completely well. On top of that, we still got the monster chasing down Thawn to deal with, Amaya about to lose her damn mind, Nate being a petty diva, Palmer second guessing everything he’s believed in, and no one is any closer to actually winning this battle. We’ve got a lot of work to do ya’ll, and not that much time to do it. We’ve got a lot to wrap up, and it would be great if we could see progression on those storylines before adding anything new. We’ll see though.

TB-TV-Grade-B

Season 2, Episode 14 (S02E14)
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 8PM on The CW

Read all of our reviews of Legends of Tomorrow here.
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Writer based in LA. Just trying to write good stuff while deep conditioning my hair.
Keep up with all of Vanessa’s reviews here.

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