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Recap / Legends of Tomorrow S1E4 "White Knights"

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The team travels to 1986, the next time Savage re-emerges, and steals a Pentagon file connecting him to Soviet scientist Valentina Vostok. In a confrontation with Chronos and Rip's former mentor after they arrive in the USSR, Jax is injured. Kendra loses control to the warrior-priestess spirit inside her, so Hunter assigns Sara to train her to try and control her other self, while he hopes to Kendra will help Sara control her bloodlust. Infiltrating a secret research lab, Stein discovers Savage is attempting to create his own version of Firestorm, and a mission to steal the thermal core which would allow it goes wrong, forcing Snart to abandon Stein, Ray, and Rory while he escapes with the core. The three are locked in a gulag where Vostok plans to use Stein himself to create Svarog, the Soviet Firestorm.

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Tropes:

  • The '80s: The episode is set in 1986.
  • Absentee Actor: Savage does not appear this episode.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In only a few minutes of smooth talking, the evil Vostok drops her caution for Snart and even offers to take him back to her apartment to drop her pants for him too.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Valentina Vostok doesn't let her guard down easy on Ray.
  • Always Save the Girl: Ray becomes enamored with a beautiful Russian and, despite all evidence to the contrary, believes her to be innocent to Savage's plans.
  • The Berserker: Both Kendra and Sara have the problem of losing control in battle and turning into bloodthirsty maniacs.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Valetina appears to be a beautiful and cultured woman but turns out to be just as sadistic as Savage.
  • Book-Ends: The episode begins with The Team doing an infiltration mission to reclaim something, Firestorm absorbing a high-level energy and them being busted. The episode ends with more or less the same scenario but switch Stein to Jax.
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  • Bromantic Foil: Snart to Ray, and the episode highlights it a lot.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ray is humiliated by Vostok and ends up spending his time freezing in the cold, following Vostok and Snart from their date at the ballet to their walk to her apartment.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Ray tries to put the moves on Vostok to get information, but she initially thinks he must be some student of hers. He then tries to appeal to her conscience and drops a bit of insider information about Project Svarog. This backfires as she's evil and his knowledge makes her think he's a spy.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Snart casually comments on Ray making a Top Gun Shout-Out. He doesn't seem to be bothered that Michael Ironside, who played the old-aged incarnation of his father on The Flash (2014), is in the movie.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with Prof. Stein, Ray, and Mick captured and The Team planning their rescue.
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  • Deadly Dodging: When Hunter causes the Soviet fighter's missiles to miss the Waverider, he does so in a way allowing them to acquire a lock on Chronos's ship instead.
  • Dirty Communists: Russians during the Cold War working for Vandal Savage? Of course they're going to be portrayed this way.
  • Distressed Dudes: Ray, Mick, and Prof. Stein are all captured at the end of the episode.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Ray was so smitten at Vostok that he's willing to risk The Team's mission for it.
  • Evil All Along: Valentina Vostok willingly works for Savage.
  • Flawed Prototype: The Soviet thermonuclear core that is being used to create the Firestorm matrix only results in dead test subjects. The fear for the team is that eventually Vostok and Savage will get their breakthrough and be able to create an army of nuclear men.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's episode 4 of a 16 episode series, so it's pretty obvious Rip isn't going to accept the offer to give up and come back to the time masters quietly, though it does show that Rip is regretting his decision to include the team in his revenge plot, especially after Carter died.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. Stein admits to Ray that he's still hung up over Ronnie's death and he doesn't want Jax to meet the same fate.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: The team ends up in the USSR in 1986, the climax of the Cold War. They spend some time in Moscow and it is, of course, cold, dreary, and gray.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Ray makes the mistake of assuming the beautiful and intelligent Valentina is a pawn of Savage. It takes her pulling a gun on Snart for him to realize she's fully aware of what she's doing and, what's more, she likes it.
  • Good-Looking Privates: Sara and Kendra disguise themselves as these during the Pentagon infiltration.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: A number of security personnel at the Pentagon abandon their posts so they can place bets on arm wrestling in the cafeteria.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: When the Soviet fighter launches a quartet of missiles at the Waverider, Hunter cuts the power to the engines causing it to abruptly drop out of their path, which leads to a Deadly Dodging as they acquire Chronos's ship and force it down.
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Vostok takes Snart hostage at gunpoint to make Ray stand down AND force Martin to return the the thermonuclear core. Turns out the core isn't the only Macguffin, taking Martin is an even bigger bonus as the core is flawed.
  • Idiot Ball: Ray lets his shallow crush on Vostok interfere with the mission, which understandably irritates Snart to no end.
  • Insult Backfire: Snart calls Ray a boy scout, and Ray counters that he was actually an Eagle Scout.
  • Ironic Echo: Kendra quoted Sara's earlier "A warrior trains everyday" speech near the end of the episode to cheer her up, complete with carrying the Telescoping Staff.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Snart is ready to kill Hunter for forcing him to abandon teammembers, Hunter challenges him to consider what he would have done had Snart been the one making the strategic decision. Snart admits that he would have used the same cold-blooded calculus.
  • Jerkass Façade: The reason why Stein is so hard on Jax is because he doesn't want to lose him like he did Ronnie.
  • Lady in Red: Vostok first appeared wearing a stunning red dress.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title of the episode is a subtle nod to one of Valentina Vostok's comic book aliases. Who do White Knights serve? A White Queen, of course.
    • The color scheme of Sara's jumpsuit matches that of Black Canary's infamous 80s costume.
    • Snart calls Ray a boy scout. Of course, he was one.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Averted. Snart is forced to abandon Rory, Ray, and Stein in order to escape the lab with the core. He is pissed at Hunter for making him do that.
  • Oh, Crap!: The expression on everyone's face when they see the building they're supposed to infiltrate is the Pentagon.
  • Only Sane Man: Both Rory and Snart are absolutely right about everything they warn about in the episode (Hunter being set up to be murdered by his mentor, Ray should not have allowed his puppydog crush on Vostok to interfere with the mission).
  • Perspective Flip: Stein realizes how annoying it must be for Jax to have him yammering constantly when they're merged when he's trying to retrieve the core and Jax is talking to him over their comlink.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hunter has Sara and Kendra team up to train on the principle that they have the same problem due to opposite reasons. Sara is a warrior who needs to find her humanity to have control over her bloodlust, while Kendra needs to accept her inner warrior in order to control hers. He hopes they'll both be able to find the balance they need.
  • Running Gag: Snart flirts with a beautiful woman so he can steal her security badge... and her wallet.
  • Shout-Out: Note that all of them are from pretty much the same time as the episode is set.
    • Upon seeing a Russian fighter jet wiz by the time ship, Ray quotes Top Gun, released 1986.
    • The Mikhail Baryshnikov/Gregory Hines movie "White Nights," released 1985, includes such plot points as a forced landing of an aircraft and the Bolshoi Ballet, in addition to (nearly) providing the episode title.
    • Rory threatens a Soviet Officer that he'll go Rocky IV on him. Released 1985.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!: Vostok eventually gets Snart at gunpoint in order to get Ray to turn back on the radiation. In a reverse of this trope, Snart is actually pissed that Ray did this, because he's savvy enough to know that Vostok will probably just kill him anyway.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Stein's ability to withstand radiation levels that would kill a normal human being even when not melded as Firestorm had never been mentioned or brought up previously.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: Kendra seems to have one, complete with Red Eyes, Take Warning.
  • Survivor's Guilt: Stein admits that one of the reasons he's so hard on Jax is because of the guilt he feels over the death of Ronnie Raymond and he doesn't want to go through that again.
  • Title Drop: Done by Snart twice. Both times with a conversation with Vostok.
  • We Need a Distraction: Rory distracts the security guards in the Pentagon by arm wrestling soldiers in the cafeteria.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Rip's mentor and old friend from the Time Masters offers an amnesty to Rip and his team if they cease their vendetta against Vandal Savage. This is nothing more than a ploy to have them assassinated by a surviving Chronos (who in turn appears to be another ex-friend of Rip's).
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Snart calls out Ray on his naivety numerous times throughout this episode. He then calls Rip out on forcing him to abandon his comrades.
    • Jax calls Stein out on his bossy attitude.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Raymond thinks that Vostok is being a prisoner against her will, being used by Savage to create nuclear weapons. He's dead wrong.

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