Part two of the 1986 story line hit our screens last week. Previously our team discovered that Vandal Savage was attempting to create his own Firestorm with the help of some Soviet Scientists. Their mission to stop them didn’t go too well as Martin Stein, Ray Palmer and Mick (Heatwave) were all captured and sent to a Soviet Gulag. How will the team recover from this failure?
Here’s our recap and review!
I initially thought i had started watching the wrong show as the episode opens with Professor Stein in S.T.A.R. Labs talking to Cisco about the Firestorm matrix. Things aren’t as they seem however, Cisco is far too polite and well dressed.
Stein quickly realises that he is still in the Gulag and Valentina Vostok is trying to get him to complete the formula that will stabilise the Firestorm matrix for the Soviets.
Stein remains defiant and refuses to give them anything, but with the arrival of Vandal Savage himself who claims that Joseph Stalin taught him many ways to make a man break, he doesn’t look so sure.
The members of the team that weren’t captured are back on the Waverider. Jackson can sense through his bond with Stein that the old man is scared. He blames himself for Stein’s capture and is determined to get him back.
There is more friction with the team as they try and work out a way to get into the supposedly impenetrable Gulag. Sara suggests contacting the Bratva, basically the Russian Mafia, previously seen in Arrow!
This leads to a bit of a weird meeting as Snart and Rip contact a Bratva officer in a sauna. They try to convince the guy to give them a contact or some information that will allow them entry into the Gulag but he refuses.
As he calls his men from another room, Sara bursts in and takes all 6 of them down.
Rip does some fighting of his own for once and almost gets beaten down by the Bratva officer. On learning that his men have been taken down, he gives them a way in to the prison.
Back on the Waverider, the team formulate a plan. Rip pulls Sara aside and gives her another mission. He shows her an image of the future if Stein breaks, lots of Firestorm like men flying around laying waste to Central City.
They cannot let this happen. If they cannot rescue him, she must take him out.
Snart comes to Sara later, he has worked out Sara’s other objective and tells her that there is another way.
They are all Rip’s pawns and shouldn’t follow what his says to the letter.Sara says she will do what she must to protect the future.
Vosotck is still trying to convince Stein to talk and shows him she has another Thermacore so all they need is the formula he can provide. He warns her of a global nuclear destruction if they continue but she shrugs this off.
Jackson can feel Stein losing hope and with Kendra’s help, they send him a message ‘We’re Coming’ but cutting Jackson’s arm.
The message appears on Stein’s arm. He just has to hold out a little longer.
Ray and Mick are living their days as prisoners inside the Gulag. Mick warns Ray about the dangers of prison but Mr Palmer ignores him and tries to talk to other inmates. This gets him severely beaten by a rather large prisoner! Mick just stands there and stares at the flame of a lighter he just nicked off some guy (without repercussions!).
Now we enter the darker part of the episode. Vandal Savage has lined Ray and Mick up to be tortured in front of Stein in an attempt to break him.
Ray taunts the Gulag officer and takes a beating for Mick.
At first Stein resists but it isn’t long before he relents.
Sara, Snart and Rip have made their way into the prison, including having Snart dressed as a Gulag officer with Sara under a sheet on a trolley pretending to be a victim of one of the failed Firestorm experiments.
Snart catches sight of Mick being sent back to his cell and decides to go after him while Sara hunts for Stein. With little time to go Sara locates the professor surrounded by guards and attacks!
She manages to take them down but can’t stop Vostok taking Stein into the lab. She now knows that she has to kill him to save them all.
Now we get several parts of the team trying to achieve their own objectives. Jackson and Kendra want to help and convince Rip (who I thought was inside the prison but is magically back on the Waverider). Snart finds Mick and goes to escape but Mick won’t leave without Ray. Awww it’s almost romantic!
Sara has retreated to a safe distance and is readying her rifle to take the shot! In the meantime Kendra flies in and drops Jackson in the Gulag courtyard. He makes a mad dash between the searchlights at the same time as Rip stands Sara down to see if they can rescue him with the additional help.
Jackson shut down the alarm system and inadvertently opens all the prisoners cells! This isn’t good for the guards, or anyone disguised as guards, like Snart!
While all this is going on, Vostock has worked out that Stein is one half of Firestorm and decides that she doesn’t need to complete the formula, she is going to merge with him directly.
A lot happens very quickly from this point! Vandal Savage senses that Kendra is nearby and goes hunting for her. Jacks sees Stein inside the lab and Sara is just about to take the shot!
Snart has made it out of the prison and finds Sara, he tells her she isn’t a killer at heart and she stands down. Is there a relationship blossoming here?
Vostok has absorbed the energy from the Thermacore (because normal people can do that right?!) and then merges with Stein. He warns that without a Splicer to stabilise the connection they will go into meltdown.
Kendra has made herself busy by planting bombs around the Soviet lab and that is where Savage finds her. Before he can even take a step towards her, Rip surprises him with a gun to the head.
Rip demands his pocket watch back and Savage tells him he has memorised the faces of his wife and child. He wants Rip to watch the world burn! Rip is taking none of his threats and walks out of the room and activates the explosives, presumably killing Savage for the second time this season!
The new Vostock/Stein Firestorm is stretching it’s legs in the Gulag Courtyard and taking pot shots at the prisoners and guards.
Jackson goes to try and get Stein back as Sara and Snart watch his back. He manages to get through to Stein and the professor resists from inside. Eventually Stein manages to break the link with Vostock and is released.
Without a partner, Vostock quickly becomes unstable and goes into meltdown.
She explodes and destroys the entire Gulag as our team escape on the jump ship.
The team enjoy a brief celebration drinking down some booze that Snart stole from the Gulag! The future predictions appear to have realigned, Savage doesn’t crack the Firestorm Matrix.
Rip and Sara discuss the events at the prison and they decide that Sara may be regaining some of her humanity, she had the chance to take the shot but she didn’t.
Things are always too good to be true and the Waverider is stuck!
Chronos is back and knocked them our of the timeline! They crash and are trapped in space and time, They find themselves in the year 2046 in Star City (of course) and are immediately confronted by the Arrow!
Sara tries to talk to Oliver and Ray tells him that they joined the team of Legends. The Archer is not Oliver Queen and while drawing back an arrow he simply says “I’ve never heard of any Legends!” He let’s an arrow fly!
As always, here’s a few things that jumped out at me;
- Snart says the line ‘This isn’t my first prison break’ – A reference to the show that made Wentworth Miller a household name!
- Ray calls Heatwave ‘Pyro’ at one point, probably not but this could be an X-men reference
- Gideon gives a future prediction and says that Central City would be the centre of the resistance. It is always a city that has been featured in one of the CW shows isn’t it!
- Vandal Savage keeps mentioning how long he has been around for. Everyone knows you’ve been alive for 4000 years! Shut up!
- Stein doesn’t care about upsetting the timeline when his life is at risk. He tells Vostock about the fall of the Soviet Union!
- How is Vostock able to absorb the power of the Thermacore?
- When Jackson makes his successful run, he says “Barry Allen who?”
- When celebrating, Stein hesitates to give Jackson a drink as he isn’t 21 yet!
- The Palmer Industries building has had it’s name replaced by SMOAK – Has Felicity taken complete control of the company?
The episode was a good end to the 1986 arc. There was plenty of action and character development on all sides but it still suffered from the same issues.
Vandal Savage was killed again, but it doesn’t change anything. Kendra was next to useless and Rip was letting the team do their own thing.
Heatwave and Snart got a lot of screen time again. I am liking them more and more and it would appear that they are forming the core of the team with everyone else relying on them. Sara is starting to deal with her returned blood lust and may have made a breakthrough by not killing Stein.
Stein and Jackson have made up after their falling out in the previous episode. Stein trusts Jackson that he can make the right call when the time comes.
Who is the masked archer in the future? What happened to Oliver Queen? And what has happened to Star city in the 30 years since they left it? Lots of questions remain and I’m really looking forward to the team being in the future rather than always stuck in the past!
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments below.