Rip is finally Rip again… but he’s bad! Oh no!
We kick things off with Bad-Rip (Brip? Rad?) having been re-programmed by The Legion of Doom, he’s got all his memories back but is evil! Just like when Buffy had sex with Angel. Rip has killed George Washington but had no actual interest in killing Washington, it was just a trap to get Team Legs to bring him the other part of the Magic Stick. Team Legs realise what has happened and know it’s a trap but obviously have to go and save Washington.
This episode is a fun romp with some a great performances, in particular from Arthur Darvill and Franz Drameh (this show has a pretty healthy contingent of Brit actors now with Maisie Richardson-Sellers having joined the team). Jax, in particular, has grown massively over the second season and he really gets good stuff, especially towards the end of the episode, this week.
After infiltrating a party to try and protect Washington on Christmas Eve, Team Legs gets scattered after Bad-Rip sets off an EMP which fries the ship, deactivates Stein and Jax’s quantum splicer and leaves Ray shrunk down in tiny size. In the panic, Bad-Rip kidnaps Washington and Mick and shoots Sara, point blank, in the gut. This sets up for a stressed out team splitting off to try and save America and their friends.
The weakest side story is Generic Nate and Amya, after an obvious scene of him explaining the sexual revolution to her, he ends up getting knocked in a river and they have to snuggle, naked for warmth. One thing leads to another and they get jiggy in a tent. All while they should be out saving George Washington, Mick and… well, America. It does lead to some nice awkwardness later when Nate thinks things are more serious than they are and Amya was just having fun.
Mick spends most of the episode with Washington, explaining what it truly means to be an American (lying, cheating, shooting first all that fun stuff). The British-Australian delivering the big what it is to be American speech is actually probably pretty fitting.
Stein gets one of his best lines this week; “I’m a physicist not a doctor”. he spends much of the episode trying to save Sara, while tiny Ray runs through the air ducts to try and turn the engine back on and Jax sets Home Alone style traps for Bad-Rip and his men. When Bad-Rip does finally get on board and confronts Jax, there is some great tensions and the scene plays out really well, especially with Bad-Rip snapping Sara’s neck as she lies recovering. This is where the show lets itself down. They really go all out to show just how bad Bad-Rip is. He really is evil now. He’s gone Full Angel. So he kills Sara. Twice! He shoots her and as she recovers he snaps her neck claiming she means nothing to him, then he takes the spear fragment and waltzes off. This is cold and horrible and terrifying but… in a world of Lazarus Pits and time ships that can heal practically anything (unless the plot demands otherwise) it’s hard to get worked up about Sara’s death. Sure enough, after a fun chase with a – to him – giant rat in the air vents, Ray turns Gideon back on and she immediately brings Sara back to life. In Spock’s day it took almost a movie and a half to come back properly but Sara quickly pops after Bad-Rip and Jax to stop the latter shooting the former. This is a great scene, well acted and executed and the Jax character work this week is the best it’s been but Sara’s death lacked conviction. Sure, kill her and bring her back, but take a couple of episodes before she’s back maybe?
So with Washington freed, thanks to Mick and a just in time Amya and Nate and everyone alive and back on the ship, the team celebrate Christmas. I loved this scene! I like the idea of them trying to re-take a little control of their lives wandering timelessly through the temporal corridors by deciding its Christmas. The scene also showed how well the characters have formed into a family unit. On a side note to this scene, I was surprised to see them pulling crackers, which I thought was still fairly unusual in most of the US? Maybe this was down to British director, Alice Troughton, who did an excellent job this week. The show's visuals are rich and lovely and the fight on the cliff by the raging river was especially well executed, as was Bad-Rip chasing down Jax on the Waverider.
This was another really fun story form Team Legs. Bad-Rip is really, really bad even if his badness is undercut by Sara’s resurrection. The episode is also in the odd position of having to represent George Washington. He was, of course, one of the most important figures in American history and is a historical hero of a nation… he was also a prolific slave owner. While I get the show presenting the hero Washington, it jars ever so slightly that this side of the man is brushed over after they’ve done such good work at addressing and tackling race and racism through history. Though I’m not gonna dig too deeply in a show where restarting an EMP crippled futuristic time and space ship simply involves flicking a light switch.
Rip is finally Rip again… but he’s bad! Oh no!