The episode opens on Rip recruiting the team in Star City five months ago. Immediately, Snart and Rory reject the offer, an idea Ray supports. However, Sara also shows some doubts, and Jax takes off without discussion. Stein catches up to Jax and tries to convince him to change his mind, but Jax refuses to let Stein tell him what to do. Stein offers to talk to him about it later, but, moments later, Jax returns with different clothes. This Jax, sent back from the previous episode, requires Stein’s help to return to the Waverider.
At the Vanishing Point, most of the team remains trapped in prison. Ray wonders what they will do to the team as Stein suffers from his break from Jax. Rory assures them that whatever they do to him in induction will be far worse than the prisoners. He recalls that the only thing that prevented him from being completely turned into Chronos was his desire to kill the team. Guards then arrive to take Kendra. She tries to fight back, but she is knocked out and taken anyway.
Rip speaks with one of the members of the High Council. The High Council member states that the only reason Rip is kept alive is to track the remaining members of the team: Sara and Snart. Rip refuses to work with the council, but the member reveals the truth. In the far-off future, the planet faces the threat of an attack from an alien race known as the Thanagarians. Only from unity under Vandal Savage do the Time Masters believe the world can be protected. Rip insults their faith in Savage. The High Council member then decides to show Rip the truth.
Snart and Sara make their way back to the Waverider. With the Time Masters hunting them down, Snart suggests that they escape, but Sara wants to help the team. Under the threat of being re-captured, Snart holds his cold gun to Sara, threatening to shoot if they can’t leave. Sara believes he doesn’t have the nerve to shoot her until they are interrupted by a phone ringing. Sara finds an old phone and listens to Gideon on the other end. Since Gideon survived, they have hope of not only escaping but rescuing the team.
Snart: Even the best laid plans can go sideways.
On a separate time ship, Vandal Savage takes Kendra strapped to a seat and Carter under stasis in cargo. He reveals that he is traveling to 2166 to fulfill his plan of killing Rip’s wife and child. Meanwhile, Rory undergoes a new induction treatment to return him to Chronos.
The High Council member then introduces Rip to the Oculus Wellspring, an invention controlled by the Time Masters. Inside is all of the knowledge of time past, present, and future. The member states that through this invention they have been able to not only witness events but manipulate them. He also reveals that every choice the team has made starting from Rip’s gathering of the group has been predetermine by the Masters. They planned for Rip and his team to change events in their favor for Savage and even murdered Rip’s family to guarantee his motivation. With a quick look inside the Oculus, Rip also witnesses Ray’s future death. They return Rip to the prison where he reveals to the others about their lost free will. He also warns Ray about his upcoming death.
In Central City 2016, Jax works with Stein to fix the quantum navigator. Despite Stein’s pestering, Jax refuses to answer Stein’s questions about the future, using Stein’s own warnings. Jax remarks that Stein was a better person in the future. Although Stein wonders about Jax’s mentioning of his future self in that way, he continues to help Jax without question. In the future, however, the Time Masters succeed in reverting Rory back into Chronos and order him to bring back Snart and Sara who are busy tampering with the other time ships.
In the prison, the team mores the fact that they were manipulated. Ray, however, refuses to give up hope for them as long as Snart and Sara escaped. On the Waverider, Sara plans for she and Snart to take off, despite Snart’s insistence of something going wrong. He reveals that the ring on his finger was from his first heist with Rory, a well-planned crime that ended poorly, and always reminds him that anything could go wrong. Nevertheless, Gideon reboots the system, allowing the ship captained by Sara to timejump. The Time Masters track this take-off but are unable to follow the Waverider do to the two’s tampering of the systems to instead sing “Love Will Keep Us Together.” However, the Time Masters do find the destination of the ship: the present.
Snart: Somebody order up a rescue?
The Waverider attacks the prison, leading Snart to arrive and free the remaining members. However, they are then stopped by Chronos and the other Time Masters. They order Chronos to kill Snart, but he instead switches sides and defends his friend. Rory then takes his revenge on the Time Master who inducted him and kills the man. The group return to the ship but are quickly caught by a tractor beam. Using Sara’s navigation, Ray’s expertise, and Rory’s Chronos technology, the group is able to escape the Vanishing Point.
Back in 2016, Jax and Stein repair the navigator, allowing Jax to return to his escape ship. Despite not knowing the future, Stein is reassured through Jax’s presence that he must have at least done something right. Jax then reveals that despite his misgivings over being tricked into the mission, he ultimately forgives Stein for making the decision for him.
On the Waverider, the team try to decide what to do next, despite believing they have no choice in their future. Instead of trying to find Kendra or find Savage which they suspected will be predicted, they then decide to travel back to the Oculus Wellspring to destroy the system. Through that, they can reclaim their free will in time.
Meanwhile, on the ship, the team in groups question their destinies. Ray discusses his destiny to die with Rory who reveals that it was his loyalty to the team that prevented him from being brainwashed this time. However, he warns Ray not to tell anyone with the threat of shaving his head. On another part of the ship, Snart has another conversation with Sara. Sara remarks that despite the disillusion of free will she still feels guilt over the things in her past. Snart, however, reveals that the situation has had him think more about his own future, namely with her. Sara remarks that he needs to be a much better thief to steal a kiss from her. Stein then talks with Rip and admits that the thought of them without free will is slightly relieving, but Rip still plans to change that.
The team then arrive at the Wellspring with the plan to blow up the machine. Unfortunately, they are caught by the Time Masters who reveal that this spot was part of their plan. Just as they are about to be taken in, however, Jax arrives with the pod to take out a portion of the guards. He reunites with Stein to become Firestorm, and the plan proceeds. Ray and Rip work to rig the rift while Rory, Snart, Sara, and Firestorm guard the outside.
In the midst of the plan, Savage, despite Kendra’s pleadings, continues his mission to kill Rip’s wife and child in London 2166.
After working with the machine, Ray discovers that there is a fail-safe in the device, preventing people like them from destroying it. However, Ray figures that if he keeps his hand on the switch, he can ultimately rig the device to explode at the cost of his own life, just as Rip saw. Ray accepts the consequences as a way to save the world, but Rory then knocks him out. As a way to get back at the Time Masters, Rory plans to sacrifice himself. Rip shirnks Ray down to take him aboard the Waverider. He informs the rest to evacuate to the ship, staying that Rory elected to stay behind. Snart then returns to his friend. In his final moments, Snart knocks out Rory and takes his place in the machine. Sara arrives to see this act. Knowing she can’t convince him otherwise, she kisses Snart and helps carry Rory out before the Wellspring explodes.
On the Waverider, the team mourns the loss of Snart who ultimately proved to be a hero. In addition, with the lack of the Oculus Wellspring, Gideon can no longer track the motions of time. Unfortunately, Gideon does reveal through new accounts that Rip’s family has still perished. Now with the Time Masters gone, all they can do is search aimlessly for Savage and Kendra.
On Savage’s ship, he also suffers from the lack of time motion tracking. Kendra mocks him for his lack of plan now, but Savage remarks that he still has a timeship, ensuring his new plan to change the past even further.
Notes of Tomorrow
- According to the Time Masters, the Earth will be invaded by an alien species known as the Thanagarians. DC Fans should recognize this as the alien race as the original race of Hawkgirl and Hawkman!
- Also, apparently alien species do exist in the Arrowverse. Could this influence Supergirl's recent move to the station?
- Looks like Sara is the new captain of the Waverider!