Legends of Tomorrow's Rip Hunter Is Shockingly Bad at Time Travel

Illustration for article titled Legends of Tomorrow's Rip Hunter Is Shockingly Bad at Time Travel

Legends of Tomorrow is a TV show about time travel. And is true with all time-abusing pop culture, the rules are often fuzzy at best. Can you be erased from existence in this universe once you alter the past, or do you become part of an alternative timeline? Although we don’t know all the rules of LoT’s universe yet, one thing is pretty certain—Rip Hunter is terrible at time travel.


[Some spoilery stuff below]

We know this for certain because a.) a scary Boba Fett-looking time hunter is after him because he went renegade on his Time Master bros, and b.) he’s fighting Vandal Savage, an immortal that has slowly amassed power over 4,000 years. Yet Rip seems obsessed with battling Savage when he’s relatively at the height of his powers in the ‘70s. In last night’s episode “Blood Lines,” we at least see Hunter try to take down his fearsome foe back in ancient Egypt, and he almost succeeds. Now that you have your time-traveling posse, go back en masse and mess him up! But for some reason, 1975 is the place he thinks he needs to be.

Even after they realize that the 1970s is a bust, they decide to then go to the ‘80s. C’moooon. Go to like... the middle ages or something when Vandal Savage hasn’t murdered Shiara and Khufu a couple hundred times and absorbed their life force, and when he doesn’t have a shit-ton of money. Also, if you want to meddle with the past and not have your family be murdered, maybe don’t tell the immortal madman their names. I mean, I’m not an alum of Time Master University or anything, but that seems obvious to me

The last thing is when you do rip people out of their time period, you should probably make sure that they understand the whole “don’t mess with the timeline thing,” because after 3 episodes, your compatriots clearly still don’t get it. In “Blood Ties,” when Captain Cold steals a giant chunk of expensive rock to spare his father from prison, he’s upset when he gets caught anyway selling said rock to an undercover cop. Really, he should have been overwhelming relieved that he was spared the bloody nose convulsions Cisco endured in The Flash last week when the timeline got messed with. That would have been as many team member deaths as episodes, Hunter. Get it together.

But I won’t knock the guy too much—after all he still seems to be suffering from serious PTSD from what happened (or will have happened?) to his family. He needs to do some growing of his own, too—but calling him a Time Master seems a bit of an overstatement at this point.


Maybe Time Novice is more appropriate.

Contact the author at darren.orf@gizmodo.com.



Ravenous Sophovore

I really want to love this show.

I do love the characters, for the most part. Other than Kendra, they are fun characters and relatively well written. Sara Lance and Leonard Snart in particular are an endless source of joy.

The effects are pretty universally great, too.

But good god, everything else. Plot holes, idiot balls, inconsistent time travel rules...

But the biggest complaint: if you have an immortal villain at your mercy, don’t freaking leave him to rise again and hunt you and your family down. Throw him into a black hole. The sun. Deep space. Problem solved. If they could pack one body out, they could pack out a second.

Don’t use the idiot ball to artificially extend this conflict. The changing rules for who could kill Savage and with what was bad enough last episode.