We all love the grumpy, quippy, yet terribly reliable Mick Rory of the Legends of Tomorrow team. However, there is not a lot that we know about the villain turned hero known as Heat Wave. In episode seven, the fans get more backstory about Mick Rory than we could ever ask for, while also answering the question: Why does Rory talk like he has a throat full of gravel?

Let’s get into the episode.

Sarah is still out cold from their last mission and the Professor is working to wake her. Jax stumbles upon him as the man is trying to awaken her with familiar sounds from her life. He is carrying nunchucks. It doesn’t work. Meanwhile, Jax takes the helm of the Waverider and guides the team to their next anomaly in the jungles of Vietnam in 1967.

They arrive and suddenly Rory does not want to leave the ship. A man who loves guns, war, and soldiers don’t want to get anywhere near this one. Nate coaxes him out and follows Rory, trying to figure out what the problem is. It doesn’t take long to figure things out. Rory knew that in 1967, somewhere in the Vietnam jungles, his father was leading a platoon of Green Berets and fighting for the US. Nate comes to this conclusion just as a gravel-throated voice of another tone tells the two Legends to stop. They are suddenly surrounded by Green Berets led by the elder Rory.

The shorter, blonder and older version of Mick Rory is soon manipulated into thinking that the two Legends are Special Agents. Mick and Nate join the troop as they search for another missing squad of soldiers. Along the way, Mick tries and fails to put distance between himself and his father. The older man is drawn to the son he has yet to sire. He finds Mick easy to confide in, which only gives Mick flashbacks to the man his father was during his childhood — a veteran suffering from PTSD who took his illness out on his family. Mick starts to see that his dad was actually a cool guy before the ravages of war ruined him. The man actually shows Mick a picture of his “girl” who is Mick’s mom. They want kids. The soldier can’t wait to have a son. Mick understands that his dad wanted him, but the PTSD prevented any relationship from happening.

Later, when Mick stops his dad from giving a command to kill a village full of innocent people — a command that came from rage and heartbreak over finding his lost squad was killed or brainwashed to work for what he believes is the enemy. Maybe this will help alleviate some of that PTSD later.

These interactions throughout the episode, coupled with the flashbacks finally work to develop the one character on the team that seemed flat, despite his personality and antics. Mick was abused as a child, the son of an abused woman and war vet with PTSD. It shows why he has a special place in his heart for kids, and sometimes a special relationship with them. It also explains his brooding manner and the mumbling, gravely tone of his voice (which he obviously inherited from his father). Having Nate play the friend to help Mick work through his feeling in this episode was perfect. Nate took over the comedic role, while Mick’s character was free to make some important and serious strides. The damage from his childhood rises to the surface and threatens to undo him throughout the episode. However, they do not and we see that the scars that formed his identity and even the flame have a much deeper meaning that is set somewhere in young Mick’s life after his father was damaged by war. Seeing his father before that damage was done is somehow therapeutic for Mick and does more for his character than his talks with Gideon ever could.

This episode also includes a renewed approach to the “Water Witch” Kuasa as Maya works to try and help her granddaughter. She later confides in Nate that something terrible must have happened to change the girl and Maya wants to find out what that was. She and Nate have a little flirtatious moment that makes me hope for a reunion. But, the writers and showrunners continue to play with my emotions when it comes to the couple, and nothing happens. Boooo!

Maya is integral to the main story of the episode, which is a takeover of the Vietnamese people by Grodd, the giant, magical talking ape. Maya is connected to him through her totem and almost seems to talk some sense into the creature but is interrupted by white guys with big guns who don’t have time to listen to a WOC who is already in control of the situation. No surprise there.

The question arises about the nature of the anomalies. It seems like the Legends’ pasts are being targeted — first Adam, then Rory. No word on what it means. I think Damien Darhk is trying to wipe them out before they can thwart his plans.

Who knows. We’ll see what happens next episode.

Jonita Davis loves, reads, studies, and writes about comics, books, TV, culture, and more. You can usually find her in a corner somewhere, dragging a pen across paper in an effort to make sense of the world. 

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