Rip Hunter and the Legends of Tomorrow gain an unlikely ally in a final assault against Vandal Savage

Legends of Tomorrow continues to up the ante week after week, as the team zeroes in on Vandal Savage and the first season draws to a close. In this week’s episode, “Leviathan,” the team heads to 2166, only three days before Savage murders Rip Hunter’s wife and son.

As soon as the Waverider arrives in London 2166, they are overwhelmed by enemy gunfire. Eventually Gideon finds a safe spot to land and the team immediately head out to attack Savage. They find him giving a classic Nazi-style speech to his troops and, disguised as soldiers, manage to get close to their target. Rory and Snart decide on a bizarre tactic, in which they trip Rip and use the distraction to attack the guards. It doesn’t work so well.

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Sara, meanwhile, finds herself in close combat with one of Savage’s top lieutenants. Kendra, watching the live footage from the Waverider, recognizes the woman’s bracelet and tells Sara to retrieve it, but she’s unsuccessful.

Upon their return to the ship, Kendra explains to the rest of the team that she was wearing the bracelet the night of her original death 4,000 years ago — which means it can be used to kill Vandal Savage. No one is quite sure how to kill someone with a bracelet, but Rip decides they figure that part out later.

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In the meantime, the ship is approached by a group of resistance fighters and Rip, Ray, Stein, and Jax all go to meet them. Once they’ve gained their trust, they’re shown just how dire the situation has become. When Rip makes an off-the-cuff remark about his family, Ray asks him to explain why he isn’t trying to save them. Rip says that he tried several times and they were always killed in the process; apparently time wants them to die.

Rory and Snart sneak into Savage’s compound and confront the bracelet-wearing lieutenant. But when the alarm sounds, they have to move quickly and end up bringing her back to the Waverider, bracelet and all. That’s when she reveals that she is no mere lieutenant  — she is Vandal Savage’s daughter, Cassandra.

Upon digging through some personal effects, Kendra finds Carter’s mace and has a flashback to her prior incarnation in 1941. She realizes the mace is the key to killing Savage and has Rory melt it down so she can coat the mace in the metal.

Meanwhile, Ray and Professor Stein come to the conclusion that the superweapon Savage deployed to destroy another resistance camp is no mere bomb. After analyzing satellite photos of the aftermath, they realize it’s something else altogether.

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Soon, the weapon — known as Leviathan by Savage and his army — is upon the Waverider. Professor Stein sets about rounding up all the refugees into the ship to protect them. When Leviathan arrives, the team sees that it’s actually a giant robot. It literally picks the Waverider up like a frisbee and tosses it miles away, causing massive damage and injuring Professor Stein.

Ray and Jax work to make modifications to the Atom suit while Snart works to turn Cassandra to their side. Snart shows her the suffering refugees and has Gideon play the footage of Vandal Savage ordering the release of the Armageddon Virus, something he told her was actually ordered by Per Degaton.

After successfully altering his suit, Ray grows as large as Leviathan and engages the robot in hand-to-hand combat. After a lengthy battle that almost ends in death for Ray, he manages to rip Leviathan’s head off and defeat it. Back at his base, Savage is enraged by this news until an officer gives him another message — his daughter has returned.

Savage is pleased to see Cassandra, but almost immediately he realizes her bracelet is missing and she has betrayed him. Rip and the team move in and Savage calls in his troops. While the rest of the Legends of Tomorrow team battle Savage’s army, Kendra swoops in and carries Savage to an isolated area. After a brief struggle, Kendra lands several successful blows with the mace. As she moves in to bash in Savage’s skull and kill him once and for all, one last soldier interrupts. Kendra knocks him off cold, but when his helmet flies across the room it’s revealed that the soldier is Carter.

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Savage taunts Kendra, telling her he’s “hidden” away Carter’s mind and he no longer knows who he is. She moves in to make the killing blow once again, but Savage tells her he’s the only one that can restore Carter’s memory. Rip enters the room and implores Kendra to kill Savage, but she cannot.

Back on the Waverider, a sorrowful Kendra tells Ray that “we need to talk” (never a good sign). Rip heads to the brig to confront Vandal Savage, who is now their prisoner. He taunts Rip for failing to kill him once again and says that “time will tell” what will happen to Rip’s family.

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This was a pretty epic episode of Legends of Tomorrow, but it seems the writers may have bitten off more than they could chew. The CGI for the Atom/Leviathan battle was clunky and barely passable (although for a television show and not a blockbuster movie, it’s still pretty impressive), and Kendra’s refusal to kill Savage seems pretty selfish and illogical. Vandal is a tyrant, responsible for millions of deaths, including Rip’s family. With all of time and space at their disposal, it seems likely the team could find a way to free Carter’s mind. And, if not, he will reincarnate once he dies anyway — after all, this isn’t even the Carter from Kendra’s own timeline.

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Still, despite the criticisms, there were a lot of stand-out moments in “Leviathan,” and Legends of Tomorrow never fails to be a ton of fun to watch, no matter how outlandish its plots can get.