Waverider arrives above Washington, DC in 1986, and Gideon immediately cloaks the ship. The AI explains that it has a new lead on Vandal's location, thanks to an intercepted telefax. It's heavily redacted so the team has come to 1986 to steal the original file. They fly to the Pentagon and Rip has the ship's Fabricator create the necessary disguises and credentials.
Roy and Len go in posing as janitors, and Rip directs Sara and Kendra--posing as military officers--to the secure records room where the file is stored. Len deliberately trips an officer and catches her, and secretly steals her magnetic key card. When Sara and Kendra pass, Len slips the key card to Sara. Since the records room is under routine surveillance, Mick--posing as a Marine--arm-wrestles with another Marine. While the surveillance techs check out the match, Sara and Kendra enter the secure room.
Since all departing personnel are searched before leaving, Firestorm goes to the main generator and diverts the power with an electromagnetic pulse. However, Jax accidentally reroutes the power despite Martin's advice and gets blasted back before his teammates can get out. When the guard stops them, Kendra goes berserk and attacks them, sprouting her wings, and Sara joins in. The alarms go off and Mick draws his fire gun, ordering the Marines to stay there as he leaves. Kendra gets outside and attacks a guard, and Rip tells Firestorm to get her back to Waverider.
The team reassembles back on Waverider and blame each other for the mission failure until Rip stops them. Gideon has used an EMP to wipe the security footage, checks the original file, and discovers that Vandal has defected to Russia. They figure that he's going to use Soviet resources to develop weapons for his future conquest of Earth, and set course for the USSR. Chronos picks them up and prepares to fire despite their cloak, and Rip takes the ship down. The Soviet air force detects them and fires heat-seeking missiles at Waverider. Rip cuts the engines and the missiles lock onto Chronos' timeship and hit it. Gideon brings Waverider down safely in a crash-landing and cloaks the timeship.
Martin goes over the Pentagon file and finds information on Operation Svarog. The Russian scientist in charge is Valentina Vostok, and Len is more than willing to kill her. Ray points out how that could change history and suggests that he approach her as a fellow scientist. Rip provides ingestible translators and Ray confirms that he can now speak Russian. They confirm that Valentina likes the ballet and Ray and Len prepare to go to the Bolshoi where they anticipate the scientist will be attending that night. As Rip leaves, Sara approaches him and points out that Kendra's priestess memories are taking over. The Time Master wants Sara to teach Kendra how to control her warrior side.
That night at the Bolshoi, Valentina goes out for a cigarette during intermission and Len spots her. Ray approaches her and introduces himself as a scientist at the University of Moscow. He wants to take Valentina out for dinner and talk shop, but she refuses and walks away, much to Len's amusement.
On Waverider, Sara tosses Kendra a battle staff and tells her that she needs to train in how to control her warrior self. Kendra refuses to let the "monster" inside of her out again, but Sara warns that it won't get away and attacks her.
Gideon informs Rip that it has detected a temporal anomaly. Chronos' timeship went down outside of Moscow, and Rip assumes that the bounty hunter is still alive. He invites Mick to come with him and they leave.
Ray approaches Valentina again and claims that he's an investor interested in her research. He mentions Project Svarog, and Len comes over when he realizes his teammate is pushing too hard. The intermission ends and Valentina invites Len to walk her home.
Rip and Heat Wave go to the crash site and a man steps out. He reminds Rip that they're old friends, and Rip realizes that it's his Time Masters mentor, Zaman Druce. He asks Heat Wave to give them a moment, and the criminal reluctantly steps away. Druce explains that Chronos was explained in the crash and he was sent to scuttle the timeship. He left a temporal anomaly to lure Rip there, and reminds him that their job is to protect time. Rip insists that he is trying to save the world from destruction, but Druce points out that Rip's team is keeping him from making the tough choices. The Time Master says that the Council authorized him to make a deal: if Rip returns to Vanishing Point then he'll be acquitted of all charges. As for the team, they'll be returned to their own timelines. Druce asks Rip to consider his offer, and Rip says that he'll consult with his comrades. The elder Time Master gives Rip an hour to consider and warns that if he refuses, there's nothing he can do for him.
Once Druce leaves, Rip finds Heat Wave and the criminal admits that he was eavesdropping. He warns that Druce plans to kill Rip, and only spared him in the hopes that Rip would bring the others there. Mick refuses to come back in an hour and leaves.
Kendra and Sara continue fighting, and Sara finally knocks her down. She starts punching Kendra, telling her that she has to accept that her power is part of her. Kendra sprouts her wings and attacks, then gets control of herself and apologizes. Sara loses control and starts choking her, and gets control of herself just in time. Shocked, she runs off.
Len accompanies Valentina to her apartment but turns down her suggestion to join her inside. She kisses him and goes in, and Ray emerges from the shadows. Len reveals that he pickpocketed Valentina's security badge for Luskavic Labs... and her wallet.
Rip summons Jax and Martin to his quarters and explains Druce's offer. Rip assures them that they will be returned to the original lives at the moment that they left. He admits that the Council won't stop Vandal because they consider him a natural part of history. Rip also worries that he'll get more of his teammates killed. Martin points out that Carter knew the risks, and Rip tells them that they have to decide if the future is worth fighting for.
Later, Rip returns to the crash site. Druce is waiting, and Rip tells him that he's accepting the Council's offer. Chronos comes up behind Rip, and Druce admits that the Council can't risk keeping Rip alive. He wonders where the team is, and Firestorm and Heat Wave attack the two men. Druce escapes thanks to a portable cloaking device, and Jax and Martin argue strategy inside of the Firestorm body. Jax insists on going out and Chronos hits him with a grenade just as Firestorm blasts him. Chronos runs off and Jax and Martin separate. They find the injured Jax and take him to Waverider.
When the group gets back to the timeship, Len and Ray are waiting. When Martin complains that Jax didn't listen to him, Jax snaps back at him and Martin figures that their partnership has become untenable. The younger man reminds Martin that he had a life and a widowed mother in 2016, and worries that his mother will never know what happens to him if he dies. Martin insists that they have to stop Vandal no matter the cost, and tells Jax that if his father were alive then he'd say the same thing. He yells at Jax to grow up and consider the billions of people who will die.
Jax goes to the medbay, and Martin admits to Ray that he was cruel. He doesn't know any other way to get through to Jax, and doesn't want to go through losing another partner after Ronnie died. If Jax dies than Martin is the one who has to go back to 2016 and tell Jax's mother that her son is dead.
Rip finds Kendra in the hallway, bruised from her sparring with Sara. She complains that Sara is a lunatic, and Rip says that he hoped that Kendra might help Sara regain the humanity that she lost in the Lazarus Pit. She finds Sara and toss her a battle staff. Sara isn't interested, saying that she's not a warrior, and Kendra says that Sara's problem is the opposite of hers. She needs to embrace her hawk goddess side, while Sara needs to embrace her human side. Sara worries that it doesn't exist, and Kendra says that there's only one way to find out. She asks Sara if she's scared, and Sara attacks her.
Waverider flies to Luskavic Labs and Rip explains that they'll use Valentina's stolen credentials to enter the building and find out what she's working on. Martin insists that it's his kind of job and swallows a translator, and then leaves.
Posing as a Russian general, Martin goes to the gate and flashes the credentials. He tells the guards that he's there to inspect the facility, and they let him in. Martin goes to the lab using the stolen key card, finds dozens of charred corpse, and examines the project files. The professor discovers that Project Svarog is Vandal's attempt to recreate Firestorm. They have already built a thermal core emitting high levels of cosmic radiation, and Martin insists on taking it with him. He warns Rip that nobody else can withstand the radiation, and says that he needs someone to take the core off-line.
Len and Ray break into the power office and Len knocks out the guards. Ray takes the core off-line and starts shutting it down. However, he spots Valentina heading to the core containment unit and tells Len that if she opens the door then she'll die. Len points out that their mission is to stop Vandal, but Ray wants to save the woman. He says that he'll enter the core and tells Len to rescue Valentina, and Len says that he'll get Valentina and tells Ray to shut down the core.
In the hallway, Len stops Valentina from entering the containment room. She realizes that he stole his keys and assumes that he's an American agent. Meanwhile, Martin grabs the core and Ray warns Len to keep Valentina out. He tells her that Vandal is trying to create a nuclear monster, and she draws a gun and says that she knows. Len isn't impressed, but Valentina figures that Ray will be and orders him over the intercom to turn the core back on. When Ray hesitates, Len tells him not to do it because Valentina will kill him no matter what. She invites Ray to take the gamble, and Len tells him not to do it. After a moment, Ray powers the core back up.
Martin prepares to remove the core anyway, hoping that he can absorb the excess power. Before Ray can warn him, a guard knocks him out. Meanwhile, Jax calls Martin on the radio and warns him that he can't handle the energy output by himself. Martin admits that Jax is right, but figures that he's risked Jax's life enough times... and now it's his turn. He grabs the core and winces in agony, but manages to pull it free and put it in the shielded case. Weakened, Martin staggers out... and a half-dozen guards surround him. Valentina tells Martin that they have much to discuss.
As the guards take Martin away, Len tells Valentina to shoot him. As Valentina explains that Vandal wants to meet Len and the others, Heat Wave arrives and opens fire. Valentina runs away and Heat Wave kicks Len his cold gun. They fire on the guards, who shoot back and wound Heat Wave in the shoulder. As the Russians overwhelm Heat Wave, he yells at Len to get out. Rip tells Len not to let Valentina leave with the core, and Len slides down a chain to grab the case. The Time Master admits that they can't send reinforcements, and Len has no choice but to run for it.
The soldiers take Ray and Mick out. When the Russian officer in charge, Mikhail Arkadin, beats Mick, he promises to remember him. As they load the prisoners on a truck, Valentina says that they have something better as the soldiers load Martin on the truck.
Len returns to Waverider and prepares to kill Rip for not sending backup. Rip points out that if he had sent the others then they'd all have been captured. He asks what Len would have done, and Len says that even criminals have a code that they don't leave their own behind. Rip promises that he'll get them back, and meets with the others. He figures that Valentina will keep Martin alive to build a new core, and Vandal will keep Ray and Mick alive as well as leverage. Jax is sure that Martin will hold out, and Rip warns the team that their friends are being held in an impenetrable Russian gulag.
At the gulag, the soldiers throw Martin into a cell. When he demands to see his friends, Arkadin says that he and Valentina have much work to do. As for Martin's friends, whether they live or not is up to Martin.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 11, 2016