The team travels to 1988 in order to find Vandal Savage, Rip shows a side to himself that Snart likes, Sara and Kendra train each other, and we find out that Ronnie's death is still affecting Stein.
Rip Hunter certainly knows how to take the long view, doesn't he? Temporarily sacrificing half of the team in order to stop Savage from creating his own Firestorm was certainly a calculated gamble. To make that sort of gamble, he has to be almost certain that the rest of the team can get Stein, Ray, and Rory back. While I have no doubt that Sara and Snart will be more than able to hold up their own end, Kendra and Jax are seriously untested. Can Jax fight? Sure, but he's never gone up against trained soldiers like the ones the team is certain to encounter in the Soviet gulag. And Kendra is too out of control to be relied on right now. When she had Carter with her, she was able to control everything well enough, but without him, she seems to have a lot more trouble containing the warrior priestess within.
As for how the gang will react to Rip's gamble, it is obvious that Snart is perfectly willing to go along because it is the sort of thing he would do. I suspect that Sara will go along once Rip explains his reasoning, but I am not sure about Jax. I really don't think he gets the idea that it is sometimes ok to temporarily sacrifice a few pieces in order to get to a larger goal. Note that I say temporarily. I don't think that Rip is willing to lose any member permanently unless he was absolutely certain that that move would end Savage. Until that point, he will look at the big picture and think strategically rather than obsess over the small speed bumps along the way. That is similar to the way that Oliver thinks, only Rip has a much more complete picture of what the whole board looks like, given that he is from 150 years in the future. I have very little doubt that Stein will appreciate Rip's plans and Rory will probably accept them (if grudgingly). Ray is the unknown quantity here. He is a business man, which means that he is used to thinking about the big picture, but I don't know if he can be as calculating as Rip is.
Having Sara train Kendra in an effort to get both of them to deal with their inner issues was a smart move on Rip's part. Sara knows how to control the warrior within so she can help Kendra. Kendra, on the other hand, is empathetic enough to be able to help Sara get in touch with her humanity so she can control the bloodlust. Unleashing either of them without control is a bad, bad idea. While they would both be incredibly hard to deal with, the problem is that when they lose control, they aren't able to focus on the enemy enough to be helpful in a fight. And they both showed how dangerous they can be. Kendra came damn close to completely taking apart that soldier and Sara came within inches of killing Kendra. Control is most definitely needed for both of them.
And we find out why exactly Stein has been so hard on Jax. He doesn't want Jax to die the way Ronnie did. What he needs to learn to do is try and talk with Jax about what is going on. Jax is a good guy, albeit very headstrong. I think that Stein really needs to make sure Jax understands where he is coming from and then listen to Jax. Stein is right that his knowledge and intelligence are needed to even out the Jax's inexperience and youthful rashness, but Jax is also right that it is his body that is at risk and he needs to be trusted. Neither of them is nearly as good alone as they are when they work together. Actually, that statement is true of the entire team. While each of them is particularly skilled in their own area, when they work together, they are so much more than the sum of the individual parts.
Why am I not surprised that Snart is a skilled pickpocket? I did love the way he was able to get the keycards so smoothly and of course he stole the wallets too. Is it the heroic thing? No, but Snart isn't exactly a hero. He is a criminal and that is part of the reason he and Rory are along. They can do things that the others can't or won't do, and that is a good thing.
I also find it interesting that the show appears to be breaking the season into mini-arcs set within a given time period rather than jumping to a new time period for each episode. I think that is a really smart idea. Create a series of 3-4 part episodes, each set fitting within the overall arc of stopping Savage. It's very different from the way Arrow or The Flash operate and that is a good thing.
My only criticism of the show at this point is that the cast is so big that servicing all of the characters well is virtually impossible. Right now the best characters are those who were on one of the parent shows for several episodes. The weakest characters are Jax, Rip, and Kendra, each of whom were only on their parent show for a couple of episodes. They definitely need to be fleshed out more to make them characters we can really care about.
Until next week!