The following contains spoilers for this week's episode of Legends of Tomorrow, "Necromancing the Stone."
Since he first showed up on The Flash four years ago, Mick Rory has been defined by fire. His gun that shoots fire gave Cisco the inspiration to call him "Heat Wave," and throughout his time on Legends of Tomorrow, Mick's love of the flame has been revealed to be an integral part of his personal backstory. It only makes sense, then, that fire has also furthered his evolution into a hero.
In this week's episode, the Legends are in disarray after Sara Lance becomes possessed by the time demon Mallus via the Death Totem that they acquired from Elvis last week. (Yes, seriously.) Since Amaya lost her Spirit Totem a few episodes ago, and Sara has already beaten down Zari, who possesses the Air Totem, the only other ways to defeat her lie with the Fire and Earth Totems.
While Sara spends her time beating Nate into a bloody pulp, Amaya and Mick grab the Fire Totem from Ray's lab. (Though it had been broken, the scientist made it whole again using cold fusion earlier in the episode.) But instead of donning it like she planned, Amaya offers it to Mick; after all, he's literally obsessed with fire so it just makes sense for him to wear it. Despite his protests that he isn't a hero, the Totem works for him, and Mick finds himself with fire powers that he quickly uses to dispatch Sara and help the Death Totem be removed from her. And in changing Mick, the show quietly acknowledges some of his fairly recent character history.
When DC reset its universe via the New 52 back in 2011, both Mick and his partner Captain Cold showed up in the Flash's solo comic early on in its run. Many changes came with the reboot, one of which being that both men were rewritten as metahumans who had respective control over fire and ice instead of just being average dudes who happened to possess elemental themed guns. While Cold signed on for experiments that would later give him cryokinetic powers, Mick went for the most comic book origin story ever -- his DNA was fused with a flamethrower (again, seriously), allowing him to shoot flames from his chest.
As one might expect, this origin story didn't last too long for Mick. With the arrival of DC's current Rebirth era, he's been seen in the Flash comic as using his flamethrowers again, and recent issues have indicated that the reactor in his chest is gone, though it's not entirely clear if his powers are gone as well.
The decision to make Mick one of the six Totem wearers who can defeat Mallus makes a certain degree of sense. Mick hasn't had much to do in the season beyond be comic relief. This is a bit disappointing, considering how the last season spent time peeling away his layers once Cold died. Our Legends may all be outcasts, sure, but his episodic plots have largely made him feel like the biggest outcast of them all.
Despite his recently stalled character development, Mick has genuinely grown into a hero over the course of the series rather than a tagalong Rip Hunter had to let come aboard the Waverider to please Captain Cold. Both Ray and Amaya have pointed out his growth in recent episodes, and the fact that he's been given a Totem is proof of that--whether he wants to admit it or not. Legends doesn't go so far as to give Mick the power to shoot fire from his chest, but there's still three episodes left in the season, so it could still happen as he learns to control his new powers.
Airing Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow stars Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory/Heat Wave, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom, Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Amaya Jiwe/Vixen, Nick Zano as Nate Heywood/Steel and Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West/Kid Flash.