So, it is Rip Hunter Appreciation Week!
The topic is relationships - either romantic or platonic.
And that’s so hard to decide, because Rip really does have a fairly substantial, and interesting, relationship with the vast majority of his crew, except sadly for Nate and Amaya. And in terms of a romance, I ship pretty much anything. (My ideal resolution is probably a giant team orgy. :-P)
So I think the relationship that I want to showcase is Rip’s (godwilling) platonic relationship with Zaman Druce.
I’ve always been vaguely fascinated by Druce. He’s introduced in such an interesting way. As the first Time Master that we meet who actually gets a name (besides Rip himself), Druce basically acts as symbolic representation of the Time Masters themselves.
He’s clearly VERY high ranking in the organization. He’s the one issuing orders to the Pilgrim. Declan (who brainwashes Mick) seems to follow his orders. He’s the one who speaks in the Council scene in River of Time, presents the Oculus, and leads the defense of it.
It really does seem like if there is a single head honcho of the Time Masters, then Druce is it.
And that makes the fact that we first see him in Russia, personally making a piece offering (ambush) really interesting.
There are a lot of interesting aspects to Rip and Druce’s dynamic.
First, Rip actually seems to trust Druce. Enough that he is actually willing to entertain the idea of surrendering to him as long as it means his team gets returned home. And this is after he knows the Time Masters sent Chronos after him. In River of Time, he seems to genuinely believe that Druce will choose his side once presented with evidence. The full reveal of Druce’s betrayal in Destiny is what almost breaks him.
That takes on a new layer after season 2, because we’ve seen how hard it is for Rip to trust anyone. It’s very possible, also, that Rip’s trust was in Druce specifically rather than the Time Masters in general. Doctor Mid-Nite did say that Rip had indicated that the Time Masters couldn’t be trusted with the Spear, after all.
Did Rip tell Druce about the pieces of the Spear?
Second, even more interestingly, Rip’s regard to Druce seems to be at least somewhat reciprocated. Druce greets Rip with apparent warmness in White Knights, though admittedly, that’s part of the ambush. But it might be worth noticing that for the most part, the assassins don’t seem to have orders to directly target Rip himself. Chronos had a chance to possibly destroy the Waverider entirely earlier in the episode, which would have removed the need for an ambush entirely. The Pilgrim is sent after the team, not Rip himself. There are other explanations of course: it’s been implied that Mick did have some control over himself as Chronos, and it’s possible that he didn’t want to kill the team at that time, and as Rip dying through Omega Protocol would negate the Savage thing entirely. It is interesting though.
The most interesting part though is the Oculus scene because, as I’ve mentioned before, Druce didn’t HAVE to show that to Rip at all. Rip was captured, subdued, imprisoned. Druce could have just left him there to rot. Or he could have just had him executed. Instead he gives him an explanation and a speech, he shows him the superweapon, emphasizes how powerless Rip is to stop them.
The only way that approach makes sense is if Druce was trying to convince Rip to come back into the fold. (And it is rather interesting that these scenes were juxtaposed with Declan trying to re-brainwash Mick. In a way, both Time Masters may have been trying the same approach.)
And I still wonder why it was necessary to kill Miranda and Jonas anyway. To make Rip go back in time to try to kill Savage? Why not just send a messenger? It’s not like Savage is an idiot, he’ll see the advantage of Time Traveling allies pretty quickly. I still kind of suspect that Miranda and Jonas may have died for other reasons.
It’s such a fascinating dynamic. And a disturbing one. Going by what we know about Rip’s backstory, and what we don’t, Druce may well be the closest thing he has to a father.
Like most fans, I do hope they find a way for Leonard to survive the Oculus, but unlike most fans, I hope that Druce survives as well. I feel like there’s more to explore here!