Rip Hunter has instantly become 100 percent more interesting within this third episode, between his hinting of seeing the rise and fall of Superman and Batman, to a cold open in which he appears in ancient Egypt to assassinate Savage as early as he possible can. Obviously, this plan failed.
Of course, this is a role in history that he doesn’t wish to divulge with the rest of his crew, but ultimately makes his relationship with Vandal Savage much more interesting and complex to watch, almost akin to that between Barry Allen and the Reverse Flash. By the end of this episode, the task of defeating Vandal Savage is more unclear than before the series even began, but we see repercussions of Hunter’s own warning of changing the timeline, and in tandem with Captain Cold’s plot of the week, find that some things might just always be meant to happen.
Captain Cold’s Family Problems
After Hunter tasks Jax with playing mechanic on the ship while he and Sara go and complete the week’s recon mission, he is commandeered by the brothers Snart to take a quick joint to Central City circa 1975. The reasons for which Snart keeps close to the chest, even with his own brother, but his ultimate plan is to snag a prized emerald that his father tried to steal in his childhood, resulting in Snart’s dad going to jail for five years, making the rest of his youth a bad time. When he makes one final stop to his home, Wentworth Miller shows the potential emotional range of the Captain Cold character beyond the goofy villain accent. As mentioned before, despite the fact that he warns his younger father of what he would try to do in the least discreet warning possible, he only finds that his father’s destiny would be fulfilled no matter the change in the timeline.
Tagging along with Hunter’s primary plot this week is Sara Lance, aka the White Canary. After his rousing opening speech, she gives the Time Master a bright idea to strike at Vandal Savage indirectly by taking control of his wealth before he can do true harm to any future. In this side plot, Sara gets to share her skills learned from the League of Shadows more than on any episode of Arrow showed, but also depicts her bloodlust raging back in full force for the first time since her soul was made whole by John Constantine (Arrow 4×05 “Haunted”). In context of Thea’s own bloodlust as a result of Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit, Sara is no doubt handling it with more mental strain than Thea Queen ever has, even so far as to believe that she is a monster for the drive to kill that she feels. While it’s unclear, it seems she regains some control of these urges by the episode’s end, but within this episode it at least made for some thrilling knife fighting.
Carter’s Dead, Kendra’s Dying
As Kendra’s memories come back to her, she was struck ill by shard’s of Savage’s knife in the last episode. “Blood Ties” tertiary plot involves Ray Palmer and Professor Stein attempting to save her by means of Ray using the Atom suit to shrink, enter her bloodstream and dissolve the 20 blade shards with his photon weapon of some kind. More than saving Kendra, however, this plot is about Ray’s insecurities, primarily in the painful reminder that he wasn’t strong enough to rescue his fiance from being murdered by Deathstroke (Arrow season two) and the fact that Stein won’t admit to remembering having him as a student. As it turns out, the professor did remember, but had his own insecurities about sharing the room with the one former student he’d ever felt inferior to. It’s all one big pity party for a few minutes until Stein shares whimsical words of inspiration enough for Ray to get back to the task at hand.