Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Legends of Tomorrow reviews here.
I wasn’t able to review the last two episodes of Legends of Tomorrow, but in short, “Leviathan” was a great apocalyptic and action-heavy episode with the giant ATOM vs giant robot battle representing the epitome of the kind of raucous good time this show should aspire to. “River of Time” on the other hand was a more subdued affair, a decent episode with a predictable but welcome twist, but it was far too full of boneheaded decisions by characters who should know better, and the hundredth iteration of the never-ending Ray/Kendra/Carter drama. Basically, they were a nice representation of the very up-and-down nature of Legends of Tomorrow.
Fortunately, “Destiny” is one of the show’s ups, and a very high one at that, standing as the best episode of the season.
Legends of Tomorrow‘s time travel rules are always messy and incomprehensible—for a great example, look no further than Jax’s subplot this week, which was strong story arc that still raised several questions about time travel and potential parallel timelines. A good measure of an episode’s success is how well it makes me forget all of the confusing “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff”, because that’s what an engrossing story and strong character work should do. “Destiny” is a prime example of that.
Like a lot of elements on Legends of Tomorrow, the idea that the Time Masters have been manipulating the events of the season doesn’t hold up too well under scrutiny, but it’s how well “Destiny” uses that twist as a source for compelling drama that makes it all work. Whether it’s to completely shatter Rip Hunter’s confidence or to keep the viewers on edge about the possibility of Ray’s death, “Destiny” took great advantage of its central theme—namely, determinism versus free will.
The Time Masters are much more interesting villains than Savage was. A large and powerful organization manipulating the events throughout time, with an added connection to Rip Hunter, made for a more compelling conflict. And the revelation that Savage was working with them retroactively made him better villain. Legends wanted us to believe Savage was a calculating evil mastermind, but his portrayal hasn’t truly reflected that. That’s why it’s actually more believable that he’s had help.
Any episode that teams up Sara Lance and Leonard Snart is bound to be a good one. They’re the show’s two best characters, they possess the most charisma, and they have excellent chemistry with anyone they’re paired up with, especially each other. And their subtle romantic tension throughout the season paid off at the end of “Destiny”.
Meanwhile, the show’s weakest pair of characters (as a couple, not necessarily individually) were mercifully separated this week. We were spared yet another round of the tired and repetitive Ray/Kendra/Carter drama, and it allowed Ray to stand out in a major way. This is especially true given that he was facing the prospect of his impending death.
Mick Rory’s arc also continued to evolve in “Destiny”, as the threat of him potentially becoming Chronos again was undone by his (insistently unspoken) affection for the team.
All of this led to a great final sequence, as the Legends took their destiny into their own hands and aimed to take out the Time Masters’ ability to manipulate the time stream. It was a great action sequence, but the highlight was the triple self-sacrifice scene, as Ray, Mick, and finally Snart displayed their heroic nature (which is notable for the latter two especially) and their strong bonds with their teammates. Snart’s death hit hard not just because he was a great character, but also because of his evolution into a reluctant hero. Though it’s not the last we’ll see of Captain Cold, thankfully. Say what you will about death being a revolving door, but he’s too great a character to waste.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
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