Spoiler Warning for ‘Night of the Hawk’
An immortal psychopath and racists. I’m beginning to like this quaint town less and less.
That line from Ray Palmer might be the best description of episode 8. This week the Legends have gone back in time to 1958, to the small town of Harmony Falls, Oregon. Something I have been wondering is why they don’t try to find Vandal Savage as early in his timeline as possible? It its possible that Rip Hunter believes that would mess up the time stream too much, but I would think that Savage would be more powerful the farther he gets in his timeline, so that it would make sense to go as far back as you can to attack him.
When the episode opens some teenagers are drag racing, and after one of the cars is in an accident, they end up in a ditch right next to a meteorite which is glowing blue. Also finding the meteorite is Savage, talking to the teens about destiny. I was happy to see the last two episodes, and their diversion from Savage and the main mission, but it was nice to have the team getting back on track.
Gideon informs Rip and the others of a series of murders happening in Harmony Falls, which the team thinks is most likely the work of Savage. The team splits up to investigate the various victims.
- Ray and Kendra pose as a married couple who move into the former house of one of the victims.
- Stein and Sara pose as a newly hired doctor and nurse to fill a vacancy left by another victim.
- Jax goes to get information from Betty, one of the teens that was in the drag race at the beginning, and the only one who hasn’t disappeared.
- Rip and Leonard pretend to be FBI agents in an attempt to get information from the local police.
The episode did not shy away from the racial tensions of the time. A realtor tried to convince Ray and Kendra that they should move to a different, more “forward thinking” town. Jax experienced problems with some of the local high school boys who didn’t like that he was spending time with Betty. And Sara had her own prejudices to deal with, as she befriended another nurse at the hospital and the two slowly developed romantic feelings towards each other. I really appreciated the way the characters were shown to struggle with these issues, but at the same time never lose sight of their ultimate goal.
While at their new house, Ray and Kendra were invited to their new neighbor’s house for a party, and shockingly their neighbor turned out to be Vandal Savage (going by the name, Dr. Curtis Knox). Savage hasn’t realized that Kendra has emerged in this time period, and uses the party to get close to her. He’s always wanted to be with her, and views this as an opportunity to try and seduce her. While Savage is at the party, Stein and Sara are searching the hospital for clues, after Sara realizes that, as Curtis Knox, Savage is performing experiments on patients in a restricted area of the hospital. They were not able to find anything though. Savage, who got a call to come to the hospital, goes to check on his patients and it’s here that we discover the true killers in the series of murders: The missing teens have been mutated into “Hawk-men”. The similarities to Hawkman stop at having wings, however. The teens have talons on their hands and feet, teeth that to me almost looked beak-like, and eyes that are completely black. They are definitely not in control of their actions at this point. With Savage gone, Ray found locked room at Savage’s house. He went back the next day, as the Atom, and was able to break into the room to discover that Savage had the dagger that they needed for Kendra to kill him.
Despite the difficulties presented by race, Jax was still able to get a date with Betty. While on that date, they were first attacked by the local high school boys whom hassled him earlier, but then were attacked by the hawk-men. They managed to escape, but Jax was pulled over by the local Sheriff, who knocked Jax unconscious and took him to Savage. It was never made clear why the Sheriff was working with Savage, as he clearly knew what was going on. Savage took a sample from the meteorite and used it on Jax, turning him into one of the hawks. Rip and Leonard found Betty, who mentions the meteor. Its at this point that Stein realizes it was Nth metal, and works on finding a cure for the hawks.
With Stein working on the cure, it was great to see the rest of the team come up with a plan to stop Savage, and work together from the start. Kendra was going to get close to Savage, in an attempt to kill him with the knife, while the rest of the team posed as various people around the hospital to back her up. Savage had discovered the missing knife however, and realized that Kendra had already emerged. He released the hawks, including Jax, but they were able to hold them off long enough to subdue them. Kendra failed at stopping Savage, and was nearly killed herself, before being saved by Ray. He only had on one of his gauntlets but that’s better than the last couple episodes where he left his suit behind entirely.
Stein was able to reverse Jax’s, and the others’ transformation. Sara went to say her goodbyes to the nurse, and Ray and Kendra were went to pack up their house (how much stuff did they really bring with them?) While they were off the ship, Chronos attacked the Waverider. He was able to get on board and the next thing we know Ray, Kendra, and Sara had just gotten back to the ship in time to see it take off. While not completely clear, I have to assume Chronos has control of the Waverider. I kind of hope that’s the case and that he takes them to the Vanishing Point. It would be nice to see more of that.
With so many different subplots, it would have been easy for this episode to have fell disjointed, but they did a great job staying focused. Each time they switched among the various plot points it never felt like they lost their focus, and each one managed to keep my interest.
- When Chronos attacked, Jax wanted to create Firestorm, but Stein refused saying doing so could destroy the ship. Finally they give an in-story reason for them not to merge when doing so seems like the obvious move.
- Leaonard was struggling with having killed Mick, and I was glad to see the rest of the team wasn’t okay with it, though they accepted it, Jax had the hardest time, but by the end told Leonard he understood that killing Mick protected the rest of the team. Leonard had been responsible for subduing Jax, and notably, did so without killing him.
- Vandal Savage using the alias Curtis Knox is a nice Easter Egg for ‘Smallville’ fans. On that show, Dean Cain (who played Superman in the 90’s) was an immortal whom originally was meant to be Savage, but later the show creators were told by DC to change the name. Credit to comicbook.com for catching this one, which brought it to my attention.