Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 Recap And Review – Episode 14: ‘Moonshot’
This week, the Legends of tomorrow head to outer space to retrieve the final piece of the Spear of Destiny. “Moonshot” lands our heroes right in the middle of the Apollo 13 mission. During the episode Ray play’s at being an astronaut (complete with Thus Spoke Zarathustra playing in the background), Professor Stein in a one man performance of The Banana Boat song and the rest of the Legends trying to save the stranded astronauts in the Apollo 13 module. Quite simply, it was delightful.
If you’ve been following my reviews of the Flash over the last few weeks, you may have noticed that I’ve been decrying the writers on Positive Destruction and Manipulative Melodrama. These are tricks used in a story to make up for organic moments. It can work, if used sparingly. On the other hand, if a writing team sits down and creates a story that grows organically, you can create insanely entertaining moments that are sad, funny, and unpredictable. If you need a perfect example of this, look no further than “Moonshot“.
In a nutshell, the Legends head to 1970 to meet up with Commander Steel in order to retrieve his piece of the Spear of Destiny. Unfortunately he doesn’t have it. It’s on the moon. Why? Cause Steel is awesome and he want’s you to remember that. After that bombshell they find out they arrived during Apollo 13 and the mission to the moon is going by the numbers. This clues the Legends in that something is gravely wrong. As it turns out the Reverse Flash has infiltrated the Apollo 13 mission, replacing Jack Swigert as the third man in the module. I found this incredibly amusing as Swigert only joined the ill fated 13 mission after his predecessor had possibly contracted the measles. Call it funny symmetry, but replacing the replacement made me laugh.
And the humor was on high alert this week as the Legends completely stumbled into the Apollo 13 mission, trying to get it back on track. This split the party (as usual) into three groups. Jax, Stein and Rory are at mission control trying to be British observers, Ray tracking down Thawne on the lunar module and the rest of the team protecting the Apollo 13 Command Module as it was flung of course towards a meteor shower.
This led to one of the most entertaining moments of the night: the alliance of Ray Palmer and Eobard Thawne. Ray inadvertently crashed the lunar module into the moon, stranding the duo. In a hilarious Martian homage, Palmer starts recording a mission log for posterity. After a few moments of bickering Thawne convinces Palmer to release him so they can get home. Thawne’s 23rd century science and Ray’s brilliance make short work of any pesky 1960s technology, but also created a really great dynamic between the two as they worked together to avoid a nasty death in space.
It also gave Ray a chance to pull a great detective moment. During his battle with Thawne, it was clear that the evil speedster wasn’t using his powers. After they had arrived safely back on the Waverider, Ray was able to piece together Thawne’s story. As soon as Thawne tried to use his powers, the wave of entropy (aka Black Flash) that was trying to remove him from history would locate him. With such a serious hamstring, Ray final understood what this time traveling baddie is trying to accomplish. It isn’t world domination, or even revenge against The Flash. He literally wants to exist. Pretty compelling stuff that will definitely color these last few episodes.
Meanwhile, back at mission control Steain Jax and Mick are running interference via sabotage and the aforementioned performance of the “Banana Boat Song“. It is possibly the most subversive and divine moment in the history of the DCW. Quite simply, all musical numbers will have to compete with Victor Garber at mission control and I don’t know if they’ll defeat this king of sing. I’m looking at you Flash/Supergirl musical crossover, the gauntlet’s been thrown down!
Even with all of these moments of plot and scenes of hilarity, it was amazing how much drama was infused this week. At the fore of this week’s drama was Sara vs Rip. Both characters have had their hand at being the Captain of the Waverider and much to Rip’s chagrin, the team has evolved into a competent unit under Sara’s control. That left Rip floundering for a purpose but in a fun twist also gave him a perfect place amongst this group of misfit heroes. Also, it’s really gratifying to see him accept Sara’s evolution so readily. I was half prepared for him to demand his old seat back and the writers went in a completely different direction that made total sense. All hail Captain Lance!
In the end though, no one could beat the dynamic between Nate and Henry. Unlike other characters in the JSA, Henry (aka Commander Steel) was given some really juicy material this week as he came face to face with Rip years after he decided to sacrifice his time with his family to save the world. His anger and guilt, beautiful displaced onto Rip was pitch perfect. It really gave Henry a profound sense of loss. It also provided Nate a chance to bound with his grandfather in a way that played out rather unexpectedly.
In a twist, Henry had rigged an essay contest so Nate’s father could come to NASA mission control for the Apollo 13 mission. After the Waverider was critically damaged saving the command module, one of the crew had to sacrifice themselves in order to save the rest of the team. It should be no surprise that Henry jumped up and gave a fantastic performance as he said one last goodbye to Nate. It was a brutal loss as Commander Steel was lost but also felt completely earned. There were no tricks here, there was a simple narrative that took a few twists and turns before landing at a satisfying conclusion that didn’t feel too dark, nor did it take itself too seriously (Banana Boat, people. Banana Boat).
In the end, “Moonshot” delivered a solid episode crammed full of humor, drama and plot. Moving into the final two episodes, we have some serious questions. Will Amaya change her own future? Will Captain Cold actually show up? Will the Reverse Flash find a way to beat his own non existence? I really don’t know. This show is too unpredictable, but that’s not a bad thing, not in the least.