(WARNING: The following post contains spoilers from DC's Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.)
An evil #RipHunter is arguably the best thing to happened to #LegendsofTomorrow. Compared to the standoffish, self-centered rogue leader in Season 1, the new, broodingly cold-hearted Rip in Season 2 has been a breath of fresh air.
It is therefore a bit worrying that in the most recent episode, "Land of the Lost," Sara and Jax managed to bring back the "good" old Rip by restoring his memories and wiping out the evilness in his consciousness. This could be a pity, as the time-traveling #superheroes series has been so much more intriguing to watch with Rip as a villain. Does Legends really need a "good-again" Rip back? Here's what we think:
Without Old Rip, Legends Did Just Fine
He was supposedly the Legends' leader, but seriously, the Rip Hunter in Season 1 was the weakest link. He was the least interesting of the Legends and his exploits in getting the superheroes to time travel ultimately seem to be just a selfish quest to serve his own purposes.
When Rip went missing in the early part of Season 2, we thought that the producers had finally come to their senses and removed the dead wood from the cast (which includes Hawkman and Hawkgirl). Almost every episode was now much more enjoyable, with the remaining Legends having more opportunities to have their character's story arc further developed. Most of all, #SaraLance was more than a capable replacement as the newly appointed leader of the Legends and captain of the Waverider. She leads well and the team respects her. Good old Rip was seriously not missed.
Even Goofy Rip Was More Fun Than Old Rip
When Rip returned in Season 2, Episode 9, "Raiders of the Lost Art," it was as a movie director in 1967 Los Angeles with no memory of his past life with the Legends whatsoever. Nonetheless, it was quite a pleasant change from the old Rip that we knew. The cockiness and flippant attitude was intact, but there was also a certain goofiness to this Rip that makes him fun to watch (That, plus the fact that he knew "pre-famous" George Lucas!).
Arthur Darvill's portrayal as the original Rip was alright but nothing spectacular. As Rip the movie director though, the actor displayed some rather fine comic timing, especially in the following episode, "The Legion of Doom," where a frustrated Rip spent most of his time trying to reason and escape the clutches of the dastardly Legion trio. Though he may not be of not much use to the Legends, goofy Rip could have provided more comic relief to the show than the old Rip.
Arthur Darvill Does A Mean Evil Rip
The turning point of the series came when goofy Rip was brainwashed by the Legion and turned into a heartless killer, as seen in Episode 11, "Turncoat." Set in 1776 Washington, the Rip here has his memories and abilities back, but lacks morality or respect for the Legends he created. This stone-cold Rip has no qualms about shooting anyone in the back — innocent or otherwise — and that includes any Legend who winds him up the wrong way. In fact, he actually killed Sara with his bare hands, the swine!
When imprisoned by the Legends on board the Waverider at the end of Episode 12, "Camelot/3000," his smooth, calculated instructions to A.I. Gideon — "who" is programmed to obey his commands at all time — is nothing short of chilling. Evil Rip is absolutely Darvill's best performance to date, and showcases a nastier villain than any of the bad guys on the series thus far.
So, Is A 'Good-Again' Rip Good For The Show?
Thanks to Sara and Jax in the last episode, we now have the old "good-again" Rip back — the one who probably will still be self-absorbed, as "exciting" as paint drying, and who adores Gideon in both voice and form (at least, in his mind). Will things be back to normal?
For starters, Sara is now the captain of both ship and crew and we doubt she will give up the seat that easily, considering all missions have gone relatively swell when Rip wasn't around. It is expected that there is going to be friction and some uneasiness between them in this week's episode, "Moonshot," which revolves about the 1970 Apollo 13 mission. Just hope that that any quibble between them won't be too petty and derail the show's enjoyment in any way.
Then again, "good-again" Rip may not be the "good" old Rip we know. What if Sara and Jax were not really successful in cleaning up the evil bits of Rip's consciousness? What if there are remnants left in his mind? What if "semi-evil" Rip is just waiting for his moment to retrieve the final piece of the Spear of Destiny in order to stamp his own destiny?
If evil Rip is to appear again — and we hope he does, if only for one or two episodes more — it will only enhance the show's entertainment value and not diminish it. If it's old Rip, hopefully he won't be too much of a stumbling block, though it will be certain that he won't be half as mesmerizing as his evil counterpart.
Only time will tell (four more episodes to be exact) to see if good Rip will lead the Legends once again in fending off the Legion once and for all. Or, will evil Rip springs a last-minute surprise and instead blast the Legends to kingdom come?
The next episode of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 airs on Tuesday, March 21 at 9/8c on The CW.
Which Rip Hunter do you prefer to see in the remaining 'Legends of Tomorrow' episodes?