Given the Legends of Tomorrow’s tendency to time-travel to history’s greatest hits, it’s somewhat surprising that the crew of the Waverider hasn’t traveled to the Titanic before. There’s a reason for that — one of the heroes has been there before. The team didn’t take a cruise on the second episode of the third season, but it’s about as close as we’re going to get.
Tuesday’s episode, “Freakshow,” was primarily about bringing Amaya back into the Legends’ fold and revealing where she’d run off to (she fled from 2017 to prevent time from harming her granddaughter, and then stayed secluded when she found she was losing control of her animal powers), but the real draw was the mini-Titanic reunion, even though Martin Stein was adamant the team not visit the ill-fated ship.
“I refuse to set foot on the Titanic,” Stein declared. “Whowever built that ship should be shot.”
It’s hardly a subtle reference. Victor Garber, the actor who has played on half of the hero Firestorm for two seasons now on Legends of Tomorrow, also famously played Thomas Andrews in James Cameron’s 1998 blockbuster Titanic. Andrews, a real-life historical figure who designed the supposedly unsinkable ship, perished after it struck an iceberg in 1912.
It’s not the first time Legends has referenced Garber’s more-famous role. In the fourth episode of Season 2, Jax jokes that he has the Titanic soundtrack, assuming that Stein likes Celine Dion.
Stein’s announcement that he wanted, uh, himself shot for designing the Titanic wasn’t the only time the 1998 movie popped up in the episode. The marginal villain of the hour, circus legend P. T. Barnum was played by Billy Zane, who played Rose’s dirtbag fiancé Cal.
It was a pretty big episode for the Titanic, though if the Legends are every going to actually visit the ship, they ought to do it soon. Garber will be leaving the show at some point this season to take a role in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, meaning that Stein will be largely written out of the show. Maybe they’ll all have a nice little cruise to send him off.
New episodes of Legends of Tomorrow air on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern on the CW.