DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow S01E05 “Fail-Safe” REVIEW

Legends Of Tomorrow S01E05 “Fail-Safe” REVIEW


stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on: Sky1, Thursdays, 8pm
Writers: Beth Schwartz, Grainne Godfree
Director: Dermott Downs


Essential Plot Points:

  • Valentina tries to trick Dr Stein into revealing the formula for Firestorm by generating a vision of Cisco Ramon but Stein sees through the false illusion due to Cisco’s behaviour and clothes not matching the real thing.
  • Vandal Savage reveals himself and threatens Stein with torture (a craft he’s honed under Stalin) but Stein resists.
  • Jax is also effected by the torture and blames himself for Stein’s capture.
  • The Legends enlist the help of the Russian mafia to break into the gulag in which Stein, Ra  and Mick are imprisoned.
  • On their way, Rip lets Sara know privately that if they can’t rescue Stein, she must kill him in order to keep the world from eventually being destroyed by a Soviet-army of Firestorms.
  • Leonard is quick to guess Sara’s side-mission and tries to convince her not to be one of Rip’s pawns.
  • Ray gets into a fight with one of the thugs in the gulag and Mick does nothing to intervene, instead fixating on the flame of a lighter he stole from another inmate.
  • Savage orders Ray and Mick to be tortured in front of Stein to try to make him talk but it is unsuccessful.
  • Once she obtains the formula, Valentina determines that Stein is one half of Firestorm and she forces him to enter a reactor with her so they can absorb energy from another thermal core.
  • The Legends break into the gulag but not soon enough to stop Valentina from merging with Stein to create a Soviet Firestorm.
  • Jax pleads with Stein’s trapped consciousness and is able to get them to separate.
  • Valentina can’t control the nuclear reaction within her since she doesn’t have Stein or a quantum splicer so she is killed.
  • The Legends are able to escape the ensuing blast by flying away on Rip’s ship.
  • When the team enters the time stream they are attacked by Chronos and the ship is forced to crash land in Star City in the year 2046.
  • After emerging from the ship, they are attacked by a green-hooded archer that is not Oliver Queen.



Though this episode doesn’t pack quite as many emotional punches as last week’s, it still holds steady in regards to plot and character development. In the imprisonment of Ray and Mick, two of the least-explored characters of all the Legends, the writers finally take the opportunity to start digging into their emotional make-up and journeys. Sara also experiences some character bonding with Leonard, from which we could see more growth for both characters. Valentina feels like she was a little wasted by the writers but should she make a return (death is never the end in comic book shows) it would be great to see her explored a little further.


The Good:

  •  The writers do some serious teasing with the character of Mick Rory. Not only is his fixation on fire brought into greater focus, they also reveal some serious burns on his torso when he’s topless and being tortured alongside Ray in the gulag. This screams “oncoming back story”!
  • For Ray to find a bit more of a bond or at least some mutual respect with Mick is quite interesting. Roy has often been painted as a golden boy of sorts, while Mick is the hot-headed criminal with an affinity for arson. They’re on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum so there’s a lot for the writers to work with. Ray baiting the Russian guard to beat him up instead of Mick, and in turn Mick’s refusal to leave Mick behind proved quite compelling.
  • Sara’s interactions with Leonard were a nice way to build on the rapport that was introduced in the show’s pilot. As Sara is a character who’s had the most morally grey character journey, it made sense that she could more easily connect with Leonard and Mick. But now, we see her and Leonard interact in a deeper manner that allowed for viewers to also get a better understanding of both characters.


The Bad:

  • Vandal Savage is still coming across as more of an archaic trope than a well-developed villain. Relentlessly pursuing a woman who’s not interested and wanting to murder Rip’s family just because Rip had tried to kill him does not make for a villain with much dimension. After hundreds of years of getting rejected, is his male ego that fragile that he can’t just give it a rest? What is the point?


The Random:

  • That Prison Break reference was so seamless but brilliant fan service nonetheless. Those not familiar with the show or the fact that both Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s were in it would be none the wiser when Snart said, “This isn’t my first prison break,” but those who did couldn’t help but grin. Fantastic!

Reviewed by Jenevia Kagawa Darcy


Read our other DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow reviews



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