Legends Of Tomorrow often feels like it’s squandering its full potential as a show about time travel, but “Moonshot” shows how effective the series can be when it finds a way to tie its central conceit to meaningful character development and genuinely tense plotting. This week’s episode sends the team to 1970 to retrieve the final piece of the Spear of Destiny from Hank Heywood, who is now working for NASA and has hidden the fragment in the American flag Neil Armstrong planted on the moon a year earlier. This sends the Legends into space, and forces them to team up with this season’s big bad, Eobard Thawne, in order to get back home safely. Sacrifices are made, hearts are broken, and Victor Garber sings “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” over the course of this delightful hour, and the episode successfully balances humor, spectacle, and drama to show what the series is capable of at its best.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Episode 14
Let’s start with the return of Captain Hunter. As much as it pains Rip to see how the team has thrived without him, he has to accept the fact that Sara’s a better captain, and she’s done wonders as the leader of a team that used to bicker constantly instead of focusing on keeping history intact. The hour emphasized this by starting with Rip’s previous actions: It opened on Rip telling Henry Heywood to start a new life away from his family, right before the current Rip, Sara, Nate, and Amaya arrive to find him.
Under Rip, the Legends would have been dismayed at losing their target; under Sara, they get moving right away, even if 1965 Vancouver-dressed-as-Manhattan turned out to be a bust. Jax points out that Henry wouldn’t have simply disappeared; as a former fighter pilot and JSA member, he would have wanted to continue serving his country and going on adventures, which means he probably headed for a gig at NASA. Before Rip knows it, Sara’s team has already figured out where to find him: in 1970, at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center. And before Rip gets a chance to pitch his idea on how to get to Henry, Sara steps in and informs the group they’ll have to infiltrate NASA. This isn’t rocket science, Rip! Keep up.
Episodes like this are why the lesser hours during season 2 have been so frustrating. Tonight we got some quality moments for multiple members of the team, great characterization from the regulars, adventure, humor and even a dramatic moment from a guest star. Heck, it even humanized Reverse-Flash just a bit.
This gives me some hope that Legends is coming strong down the stretch. This season has had a hard time maintaining momentum from week to week (or a large audience, though it’s already been renewed for next fall), so let’s cross our fingers and hope that the best is still to come.