LEGENDS OF TOMORROW Review 2.17 “Aruba”

Past Nate will not be a douche, future Nate.

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Hooo, boy! Things get a little tricky on tonight’s finale of Legends of Tomorrow. Doppelgangers are so much easier to deal with than multiple selves, and infinite Earths are a lot more palatable than infinite timelines. All the same, the Legends have a job to do, time aberrations be damned. Last week left the team one down and with no other choice but to change history to stop Doomworld from happening. Unfortunately, they have no time ship to facilitate that little mission.

Thankfully, that problem gets resolved within the first five minutes. The Legends may not be able to sort out how to contact Rip, but he managed to find them with Giddeon’s assistance. That is, he manages to find them with Giddeon’s assistance after sitting on his ass and wallowing for a whole episode. Classic Rip. Either way, he finds the team, and they set about finding Ray’s Atom suit so they can unshrink the Waverider. That portion of the mission goes off relatively well. There’s a brief and comical run-in with Damien, but aside from that the Legends make it out unscathed.

Back to WWI they go to get the blood of Christ to destroy the spear to fix the future and erase the aberrations (themselves) to fix the timeline. You followed that, right? Buckle in, it gets weirder. Ray finds the blood of Christ, easy-peasy. Of course, he has to say that, and everything goes to shit. Eobard meets him on the battlefield, and it turns out there’s no love between space bros. Ol’ Eobard destroys the blood of Christ and rips Ray’s heart right out. That’s two Legends down and onto plan Z: steal the Spear from their past selves.

Their last-ditch effort is filled with pitfalls, but their biggest issue is that if their past selves see them, they will literally rip time apart. Naturally, this takes all of three minutes to happen, and when it does “Aruba” gets even more all over the place. Future and past selves are having heart to hearts, rules go out the window, caution’s thrown to the wind, dogs and cats living together, the whole shebang. It all results in a minor time storm, but that’s the least of their worries considering that the Legion has since caught up with them.

Damien, Malcolm, and Snart all seek to ground the Waverider for good. It looks like our heroes might make an escape, but another time storm won’t allow that. Legends of both past and present crash, and it’s time to find yet another plan. The decision is that the past (present?) Legends will head for the future Legends’ Waverider and get out of Dodge with the Spear. Does this go as plan? No, it does not!

At the beginning of the battle it’s future Ray and Amaya dead. By the end it’s them and future Nate and Jax. Their deaths don’t serve much of a purpose, nor do they hold any real emotional weight, but there are moments in the battle that shine. Stein’s face when he has to watch future Jax die after sacrificing himself, Mick and Snart’s face off over Ray, and so on. The strongest moment of the battle is Sara vs. Damien. It’s a main event that we’ve been waiting for all season, and her choice not to kill him was exactly what this Captain Sara should be capable of.

After defeating the rest of the Legion, it’s boss battle time! Except the boss at the end of the game has gone back in time and brought back hundreds of his past selves to help. Eobard’s taking the “if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself” mantra just a hair too far, but I’ll allow it. Thawne monologues more while Amaya tells Sara to use the Spear. Sara is scared, but finally finishes the incantation after watching every other member of her team get taken down. It’s Laurel time, boys and girls!

Thankfully, this Laurel harkens back to the woman we all loved back in season one of Arrow, so there’s not one breath of “it’s not fair” around the conversation that the Lance sisters have. Sara’s still scared that she won’t do the right thing, and that she has too much darkness in her. Laurel assures her that the Spear has no interest in the darkness of her past, only her convictions now. And just like that, Laurel’s gone.

Back in reality, Eobard has taken the Spear from Sara and is about to use it for his own means. There’s a line or two about how she had the power of God literally in her grasp, yada, yada, bad guy speak, yada. Then Thawne tries to use it himself, but, whoops! Sara changed the incantation. Double whoops! Sara let a certain Black Flash out of his cage. Deaths don’t often stick in DCTV, but ol’ Eobard’s gonna have a hard time coming back from his second erasure from history.

With Thawne dead, the Legends go about dealing with the rest of the Legion in the most poetic ways possible. Malcolm doesn’t get prison; he gets his dingy apartment in Star City. Damien also gets no such reprieve, as Sara returns him to his nuke deal in the seventies. And Snart? Mick puts him back on the path he was on prior to the Legion snatching him from time. He will join the Legends, and he will die a hero he was meant to be.

Back on the ship, Amaya packs to go back to her time and fulfill her destiny. Nate (after promising his future self that he would not be a douche) tells him he loves her. She admits that she doesn’t want to go back and hopes that if it really is her destiny that it will wait for her. To Nate’s delight, Amaya will be remaining with the Legends, but a certain former Captain will not. Rip has nothing left to offer the team, so he’ll be going his own way. Ok.

The Legends finally return to their rightful places on the bridge of the Waverider. Sara’s in such good spirits that she lets Mick choose the destination, and to Aruba they go! Only they don’t, because they broke time, and that’s where we’ll start with our Legends next year in season three.

There were laughs, there were tears, there were the awesome fight sequences that we’ve come to expect from DCTV, and yet “Aruba” didn’t quite live up to “Doomworld”. It wasn’t bad by any means; the penultimate episode simply left a high bar that they weren’t quite able to vault over. A lot has to go down in a finale; you’ve got a ton of loose ends to tie up, story to set for the following season if you’re lucky enough to be renewed, and all has to be done in a way that makes the viewer wanting more. That’s a tall order, and throwing in two versions of nearly every character you have makes it highly difficult to achieve.

They did manage to check every necessary box for a good finale, and the doubles were fun. But, so much was going on in the middle of the episode, it was difficult to get invested. Three major characters died in “Aruba” but there was no time to emotionally feel any of it. We do see that made up for in the end.

I’ve made it no secret that I find Snart fascinating. His over-the-top villainy mixed in with his reluctant heroics delight me, and I’m not typically an anti-hero kind of girl. While I’m disappointed we haven’t gotten a fix-all for the death that he wasn’t destined for, the ending we got between him and Mick was tremendous. Both characters have come so far in the most interesting of ways, and to see them switch roles over season one and two has been a great ride. Who knows, maybe this broken time situation will give me back my favorite Legend.

Rip’s departure is complicated. On the one hand, yes, get gone. You’re completely useless and you add literally nothing to this team. On the other, seeing them just write him off is frustrating. We see characters evolve all the time, and Rip could still be a contributing member of the team. As king of the mopers, seeing him come back as a functional and useful Legend would have been as interesting as any other character driven story that they’ve brought forward. Perhaps this isn’t the last we’ll see of the retired Time Master, but, if it is, it’s a disappointing ending to a substandard character arc.

Sara, on the other hand, was great. The Lance family has had a rough go of things from the start, and all of them are dummies in their own right. Sara has always been the best of them, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a lot of room to grow. Earlier this season we watched her tell Jax that he couldn’t stop slavery because it would be a time aberration while planning to kill Damien for killing Laurel at the very same time. In “Aruba” we get to see her both let him live, and come to peace with her sister’s death. The Lance family doesn’t come to peace with anything, so, that’s pretty big stuff.

Legends of Tomorrow’s finale may not have packed the type of emotional punch or excitement level that a finale should, but it still left me ready to see more. Next year the Legends will have a whole new set of problems to deal with. Hopefully it won’t be too long until the Legion of Doom’s triumphant return, but, in the meantime, the Legends have some dinosaurs to deal with.