“Moonshot” or Houston, We Have A Problem
Previously, on Legends of Tomorrow: our three super-villains (Malcolm Merlyn, Damian Darhk, and Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne) have joined forces, calling themselves the Legion of Doom. They are in search of the mystical Spear of Destiny that allegedly has mystic powers which they want to use for their own, selfish desires. Rip Hunter, former leader of the Legends, had the spear broken up into four pieces and scattered throughout time, guarded by Justice Society members, in order to protect it. Between the Legends and Legion, three of the pieces have been recovered and the last was entrusted to Commander Steele, current Legend Nathaniel Hawthorne’s grandfather. Now, the Legends have to find Steele to protect the last remaining piece.
Our show opens in 1965 Manhattan, New York where we see past Rip dropping off Steele with the instruction to disappear from the grid in order to protect his piece of the spear. In order to fulfill this mission, Steele left his wife and infant son (Nate’s father) behind.
Immediately after past Rip and Steele walk into the bustling crowd of Manhattan, present-day Rip and the rest of the Legends appear looking for the two. Seeing nothing, they return to the Waverider to try to find Commander Steele in the time stream. They learn that Commander Steele, a former military pilot, began working at NASA in the 60s and worked his way up the hierarchy to become Mission Control Commander in 1970.
The Legends arrive at NASA ground control as Apollo 13 (made famous by the Ron Howard directed flick of the same name, starring Tom Hanks) is on its trajectory towards the moon. They’ve somehow acquired press credentials and are going to attend a press conference about the space mission. Rip approaches his friend Commander Steele who promptly decks him in a roomful of people, which isn’t the way you normally treat an old friend.
After getting Steele alone, the team is surprised to learn that the accident involving the heat shield has not occurred and everything is within mission parameters. They ask him where his piece of the spear is located and Steele confirms that it would not have been safe on Earth, so he had it smuggled aboard the space flight that saw man first walk on the moon. His piece was embedded in the flag pole Neil Armstrong planted on the moon’s surface, where it rested peacefully at that time.
Unbeknownst to the Legends, the Legion also knew where the spear was and Eobard, using his abilities of mimicry, was able to replace one of the Apollo 13 astronauts and hitch a ride to the moon to recover the last piece. While in space, Eobard rendered the other two astronauts unconscious with a hypodermic needle and prepared to make land fall on the moon.
In order to effectuate their mission, the Legends broke up into two teams: Rory, Stein, and Jefferson remained behind in Mission Control pretending to be visiting British scientists while the rest went on the Waverunner to intercept Apollo 13. (Fun Fact: actor Fanz Drameh who plays Jefferson Jackson, half of Firestorm, is in actuality from England, so he got the chance to speak in his native accent).
Once in space, the Legends easily catch up with Apollo 13 and Ray, using his power as the Atom, flies over to the primitive capsule only to find the two knocked-out astronauts and Eobard, with his regular appearance, about to take the landing module down to the surface of the moon.
In his shrunken form, Ray figured he’d be safe from being seen by Eobard but no such luck and a fight between the two ensues. With no gravity, Reverse Flash is unable to use his speed powers so it’s effectively a fair fight that Ray ends up winning. Ray pilots the module down to the moon leaving Eobard trussed up. Ray then takes one small step for the Legends and recovers the Spear from the flag pole.
While this was going on in the Waverider and the surface of the moon, the actual Apollo space craft was drifting aimlessly through space with the two unconscious men aboard towards an asteroid field. Sarah uses the Waverider to shield the capsule from the asteroids which causes significant damage and knocks Gideon (the ship’s artificial intelligence) offline.
In Mission Control, NASA was scheduled to communicate with Apollo 13 so Jefferson has to figure out how to disable the communication array. With time closing in and still not able to disconnect the comms, Jefferson asked Stein to come up with a diversion, and he was happy to oblige. How do you distract a room full of NASA scientist and engineers? Why you sing the “Banana Boat Song” (also known as the “Day O” song) made popular in the 60s by Harry Belafonte, of course. And it worked! Jefferson disabled the comms, and the rest of the team was able to work without interference.
Now we have two disabled space crafts: the Waverider and the lunar module that was damaged during the fight between Ray and Eobard. Realizing his predicament, Eobard suggests a truce in order to help Ray figure out how to power up the lander to put it back in space. The two scientists work out what needs to be done and make their way back to the Waverider, which has its own problems.
With Gideon offline, the team doesn’t know the angle of descent they need to take to make it back to Earth safely, so Ray asks Eobard who gives him the answer they need. Elsewhere, in order to maneuver the ship to the appropriate angle, they have to blow a hatch manually which of course will kill the person who does. Commander Steele, realizing his primary mission has been concluded, bravely agrees to sacrifice himself. He and Nate share some parting words before Commander Steele is blown out into space, thus saving the ship. The Apollo astronauts also make it back safely to Earth, minus one member of course.
Now that all four pieces of the Spear of Destiny have been recovered, what happens next? Tune in next week to find out. Also, be sure to follow @ATLCW and me @ATLBlerd on Twitter, so we can live tweet the show.