In “Phone Home”, the Legends investigate an anachronism that may put Ray’s life in danger.
It’s 1988 in Ivy Town and things do not look good for the young Ray Palmer as he appears to be escaping some sort of federal facility. He tries to steal the keys from one of the agents — the one who had a main role in last years “Invasion!” crossover — but is apparently shot dead by another. Back in the Waverider, the grown-up Ray Palmer is trying to get the team to bond through methods he himself invented so that Zari can become more in sync with everyone else. Ray tries “2 Truths, 1 Lie” (oy vey), but it is when he is supposed to hold Mick’s trust fall that things get awkward when Ray disappears into thin air.
Through Gideon handy research, they find out Ray died during on October 1st. They travel to the day before the event causing Ray to rematerialize, thankfully, as time hasn’t solidified just yet. Zari is having a hard time with Ray’s constant positive attitude even towards a case where his death is involved.
The team goes out to oversee what is going on, finding young Ray leaving school and thanking his teacher for a pop quiz (Oh. My. God. Wow.). Mick sees the kid shoplifting a bunch of candy bars which is surprising for Ray who has no memory of this whatsoever. Also, apparently Ray didn’t realize his bullies were indeed bullying him, preferring to see the mean kids as his friends. As the adult is worried his child self will die because of the candy, he spies on the kid and sees that he is feeding the creature he introduced himself to last week: a baby Dominator.
Gideon explains the severity of the situation: much like with snakes, baby Dominators have all the strength and mind control skills of an adult, but not a lot of control and subtlety. Zari inquires how it is possible that Ray doesn’t remember befriending a Dominator and they explain that the occurrence is an anachronism as the alien has been misplaced in time.
The next day, Ray takes Zari to pick up the Dominator while the kid is at school and his mom is at work. Sadly, the former isn’t true as young Ray had decided to skip school in order to watch Singing In The Rain with his best pal Gumball (yup, that’s his name) while Zari hides under the bed and Ray, using the ATOM suit, disguises himself as a toy. To make matters worse, Ray’s mom arrives home to interrupt Ray and Gumball nodding their heads to “Good Morning” which, personal disclaimer, I had no idea was from a musical (but I did recognize the tune from an episode of Santa Clarita Diet).
Nonetheless, Ray’s mom is obviously stressed with the situation which ends up getting the Dominator angry. Ray calls in for help and Nate volunteers as tribute given his crush on the mom. Nate and Amaya pose as Animal Control, but could have been as therapists, because his mom ends up telling them her feelings on having a different son which are not the best ones. Having heard all that, young Ray decides to run away with Gumball and the alien’s favorite toy which is, as you guessed, mini-Ray/ATOM.
As they try to talk about their feelings for each other and how they should act now that they are no longer an item, Nate and Amaya spot two of the suited agents from the first scene, as they too are tracking down the Dominator and plan on taking the kid along with them. After Gideon alerted Sara to another time ship surrounding the area, she went to investigate the situation, expecting to meet someone from the Time Bureau. Fortunately, no one from the agency was around, but sadly, she does end up meeting an adult Dominator who knocks her unconscious.
Zari finds Ray in a tent signed “Camelot” which actually solidifies continuation given we have already seen Ray is a big Arthurian nerd last season. As per Ray’s advice, Zari is obliged to partake in the play, using knight-esque terms to play along. However, the agents end up capturing and taking all of them to their laboratory. There, Agent Smith/Glasses talks about his previous encounter with the Dominators and why they should not be taken in vain, even as babies and thus, uses a device to dampen Gumball’s powers.
We find Sara tied up in a Dominator cocoon, being interrogated by the alien who not only is Gumball’s mother, but also the Queen. She reads Sara’s mind which ends up projecting Ray’s house as the last known location of Gumball.
The episode goes back to the first scene as kid Ray steal Glasses’s keys, but instead of being shot to death, The Atom interferes, blasting the agents away. Despite Ray’s wise words to his younger self, Zari decides to tend to Kid Ray’s wishes and save Gumball before they leave.
As they are alerted by Sara to the presence of the Mominator at Ray’s house, Nate goes in to check on Ray’s mom. Long story short: they end up making out before Amaya realizes the real Mrs. Palmer had been kidnapped and Nate was now mouth-to-mouth with an alien. Amaya takes the lead, charging the Dominator while Nate attacks her with Billy Joel’s pieces of vinyl (it’s not super effective).
Kid Palmer turns the dampening device off, allowing Gumball to control the agents. To the contrary of what Ray was expecting, Gumball makes the agents do a live performance of “Good Morning” which was surprisingly really funny. (Or maybe it was the head nodding again… yeah, it was the head nodding. The casting director of the show deserves a hand of applause for finding a child actor that does a believable Ray Palmer, especially side-by-side with Brandon Routh.)
Zari and Kid Ray steal two bikes in order to go meet with the Mominator that is following Nate and Amaya to where Sara is… If you know Legends of Tomorrow by now, you probably guessed as soon as we saw them riding bikes that we would get a reenacting of the classic scene from ET, which we did, thanks to Zari using her totem’s powers.
Finally, all of them arrive and Kid Ray says goodbye to Gumball which leaves one or two of the Legends teary-eyed. With the Dominator situation resolved, the Legends decide to take Kid Ray trick or treating so he doesn’t have to deal with bullies which is nice. Plus, we get a first glance at Zari’s potential superhero costume!
While all of that was going on, Jax and Mick were back at the Waverider investigating why Martin had been acting weird. Initially, they thought Martin was working with the Time Bureau, trying to reach a compromise so he could leave the team. However, they soon discover that while Martin was working on secret items, it was because he wanted to keep in touch with his daughter, Lily, who is pregnant. As Lily started to go into labor, the trio swiped the Waverider to take Martin to the birth of his first grandson. When they are back, though, Jax feels like Martin should be with his real family and asks Ray’s help to break up Firestorm.