Tonight's episode of Legends of Tomorrow took the heroes into the jungles of Vietnam in 1967 to face Gorilla Grodd, and in addition to the return of the fan-favorite antagonist the show was chock full of Easter eggs and things you may have missed.
Spoilers for the Legends of Tomorrow episode, "Welcome to the Jungle," below.
Tonight's episode saw the team set off to handle an anachronism without Sara (Caity Lotz) there to guide them. The captain was still in a coma after her battle with Damien Darhk in last week's "Helen Hunt." The team splits up, some posing as journalists and others posing as military, to track down Grodd, and like all Legends missions, things don't quite go as planned. However, even with their trademark chaos, the Legends managed to get their man, er, gorilla and had some interesting moments along the way.
Read on for the Easter eggs and other things you may have missed in tonight's episode.
When Zari (Tala Ashe), Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), and Ray (Brandon Routh) are being led through the jungle by a Vietnamese local, Zari makes the off-hand remark about the "monster" that has been attacking soldiers. Their guide stops cold and tells them that her leader is not a monster, but is, instead, "The New God."
While Grodd is most definitely not a "New God", the New Gods do exist in DC Comics. Created by Jack Kirby, the New Gods are a fictional race, natives of the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips, and they use a special form of transportation -- boom tubes. If all of that sounds a little familiar to you, there's a good reason. Boom tubes are a prominent part of the DC Extended Universe film Justice League, currently in theaters.
An episode set in Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War wouldn't be complete without a reference to one of the best-known war films made about the conflict, Apocalypse Now. When the military captures Grodd's little village stronghold, the army rounds everyone up in one spot, including Nate and Amaya. As Mick walks buy, he doesn’t acknowledge anyone's presence. Nick tells Amaya that Mick has "gone full Kurtz" in the situation.
It's a reference to Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) in the 1979 film. In the film, Kurtz had gone rogue, causing the film's protagonist, Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen), to be sent on a secret mission to assassinate him. While Mick doesn't assassinate anyone in tonight's episode, he does manage to talk his father, Dick Rory, out of murdering innocent people.
There were some lighter movie references in tonight's episode as well and the both happened in short succession when Grodd managed to get on -- literally on top of -- the Waverider.
Grodd gets the idea that if he had the Waverider, he could use it as a tool to eliminate human beings entirely, so he attempts to take the ship. He telepathically takes control of Sara, who confronts Martin (Victor Garber). A confused Martin tries to sort out what is going on, and Sara responds with "there is no Sara, only Grodd." The line is a reference to 1884's Ghostbusters, in which the demon, Zuul, possesses Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who utters the iconic, "there is no Dana, only Zuul," line.
As for the Superman II reference, that comes just a moment later when Grodd-controlled Sara moves on Martin and starts to tell him to "kneel before Grodd" before being hit in the head and knocked out by Sir Issac Newton. It's a reference to the "kneel before Zod" moment in the 1980 movie.
This tidbit isn't so much a movie Easter egg as it is a historical one. In the episode, Jax saves President Lyndon B. Johnson from being blown up by a land mine. However, instead of a medal, he gives Jax a piece of paper that he says contains "top secret" information. It turns out the paper contains the recipe for Lady Bird Johnson's famous pecan pie. Nate explains to Amaya that the pie was a well-guarded secret.
However, that's not exactly the case. The recipe for "White House Pecan Pie" was published by The Free Lance-Star newspaper from Fredericksburg, Virginia in their Wednesday, February 19, 1964 edition. The First Lady provided the recipe, which actually belonged to the Johnson's longtime family cook Zephr Wright, to the Associated Press as her favorite desert. With "Welcome to the Jungle" having taken place in 1967, the pie recipe wouldn't have been "top secret" at that point. The story and recipe were reprinted in many newspapers across the country three years prior.
That doesn't mean the recipe wasn't a fitting reward, though. Earlier in the episode, Jax was upset that someone had stolen his slice of his mom's pecan pie, so having a stellar recipe for one on the Waverider was a sweet end to the mission.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.