Dominic Purcell's Mick Rory hasn't always been the most reliable of the Legends -- and it's not just because he's a dodgy son-of-a-gun. The show has seemed, at times, to be at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the surly once-and-former thief and baddie, using him sometimes (and often successfully) as comic relief and other times as a man haunted by his past, his nature, and even at times his partner.
That changes with "Fellowship of the Spear," a "Legends of Tomorrow" installment that digs into some rough stuff: betrayal, grief, anger, the desire to belong, suspicion, self-loathing and even PTSD. That's not to say that "Fellowship" totally eschews the "let's do whatever sounds most fun" atmosphere that's defined the show's sophomore season -- they do abscond with J.R.R. Tolkien, after all -- but this is certainly a darker and more melancholy episode than we've seen from "Legends" recently. That may not be all that surprising, but that such a chapter centers on Mick, and it really works? That's a horse of a different color.
The episode kicks off with Sara, Amaya and Nate in a trench with a fully-constructed Spear of Destiny. They're having an urgent chat about needing to run out into a battle in order to get a vial of Jesus's blood. We then jump back 72 hours (or time-travel back, if you will) to the Legends, minus a still-grieving Nate, discussing what to do with the two fragments of the Spear they've tracked down. The plan: find the Legion and steal the third piece. As luck would have it, Rip knows the location of their villainous hidey-hole. With that, it's off to the Vanishing Point once more, which handily houses both the final portion of the Spear and a whole lot of Mick's emotional baggage.
It also now houses jelly beans. When Rip's unable to blast the pretty sculpture holding the Legion's fragment of the spear into smithereens, Firestorm steps up and turns it into Rip's favorite candy. (See note about "let's do whatever sounds most fun" above.) Thawne's too late to stop the Legends from absconding with the spear, Mick now toting whatever heavy feelings were stirred by revisiting the site of Snart's death. He's able to vent off some of that pesky emotional stuff by shooting flames at the supposedly indestructible spear, which remains a destruction-free zone. All that fire wasn't wasted, however: the flames reveal a message in Latin, which resident historian and sometimes metal person Nate is able to translate. The gist is that since the spear was created by the blood of Christ, it can be destroyed by the blood of Christ. No problem!
Problem, actually. Rip points out that the Crucifixion is an event in time that can't be tampered with (I believe they're called "fixed points in time" on that other time travel show, the one with Rory Pond on it) and that as a result they can't suddenly turn up. Nate suggests instead that they track down a scholar who theorized that Sir Gawain was buried with a vial of Jesus's blood. That scholar just happens to be named J.R.R. Tolkien. Whee! Gear up for a super fun conversation about how the One Spear is a lot like the One Ring, a parallel so well-executed in this episode that it's hard to imagine it wasn't planned well in advance.
For reasons that aren't totally made clear (except that it makes for some truly impressive battle scenes), the Legends need to find Lieutenant Tolkien. While that's happening, Mick sees another Snart hallucination. A Snart hallucination that punches him in the face. A punch that leaves a bruise. Mick tells Stein, who tells him he's imagining things. This is because, to the Legends, Mick is a stupid criminal whom no one likes. This is not new information, but it is the first time it really matters, so let's not ignore the fact.
The almost immediate reappearance of Snart with Damien Darhk in tow shuts Stein's mouth, however, and the trouble for Mick (and, really, for the Legends) begins pretty much right away. Instead of acknowledging that it's completely understandable that Mick thought he was speaking to a hallucination of his dead friend, rather than his mysteriously alive-not-dead friend, nearly all the Legends become instantly suspicious of Mick. Are they right to be? Maybe, maybe not. But it can't be denied that their hostility, sometimes passed of as humor and others outright, makes it very easy for Snart to manipulate Mick into turning his back on his team.
The rest of the episode plays out about how one would expect, what with the Tolkien parallel firmly in place. There are several skirmishes as the Legends attempt to find the vial's location, including a cool one where Tolkien risks death in order to get a copy of the engraving on a shield, and in each of them, Snart tells Mick that his "friends" think he's garbage. They don't work hard to deny it, for reasons that defy logic.
Amaya's tempted by the Spear, both by the hope of using it to save her future family and by the ease of using it to destroy the Legion once and for all, but she ultimately recognizes she's outvoted. After knocking out a high-ranking military officer to talk the Germans and the Brits into a temporary ceasefire, Sara, Mick, Amaya and company race out into no-man's-land -- because for some reason they couldn't get the vial of Christ's blood out of the ground when there wasn't an infamously bloody battle raging directly where it was buried -- only to be confronted by Snart and company, and Mick actually walks away. It's a credit to the acting and writing of this scene that his desertion was genuinely surprising, and it wouldn't be a huge shock to this writer, at least, if Mick either had a change of heart or was later revealed to have been planning to turn on on the Legion at a later time.
Still, it's more likely that this band of misfits so ostracized one of their own that he could easily be persuaded to abandon them. Sara tells Mick he's better than this, but the Legends so rarely treated Mick as though he was better than much of anything. He tells her there are things about himself he wants to change, and presumably allowing himself to be sneered at by people who are supposedly his friends are at the top of the list. The damage is done, the Legion has the spear, and the Legends -- some angry, some remorseful -- have to confront their new reality.
Next week: an actual new reality!
Airing Tuesdays at 9 pm ET/PT on The CW, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” stars Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, Brandon Routh as the Atom, Victor Garber and Franz Drameh as Firestorm, Caity Lotz as White Canary, Maisie Richardson-Seller as Vixen, Dominic Purcell as Heatwave and Nick Zano as Citizen Steel.