Warning: spoilers for last night's Legends of Tomorrow episode are ahead!
As the title "Shogun" suggests, a lot of the action in last night's Legends of Tomorrow episode was samurai-related. Most of the main characters had to deal with insanity in feudal Japan, including Ray Palmer losing his A.T.O.M. suit (although this could eventually lead to him becoming more like his comic book counterpart). However, not every major moment on the show has to happen in the midst of heavy action. Sometimes it's the quieter moments that have the bigger implications. Martin Stein and Jefferson "Jax" Jackson learned that much when they discovered a message from their old friend, Barry Allen, a.k.a. The Flash. And when I say old friend, I literally mean he's much older than the last time they saw him.
While repairing the damage done to the Waverider thanks to Ray Palmer and Nate Heywood's shenanigans, Stein and Jax discovered that the ship has 36 hatches, even though Jax had been told by Rip Hunter there were 35. Upon discovering the secret hatch and somehow figuring out the code to get in (I hope it wasn't 1234), the Firestorm duo discovered a room filled with heavy-duty weapons. More importantly, there was also an audio message from Barry Allen in the year 2056, placing the Scarlet Speedster at approximately 67 years old. We the viewers only heard the first part of the message, with Barry telling Rip Hunter that he couldn't put any more lives in danger, but asked the captain that he not share this information with the rest of the team. Stein and Jax listened to the whole message, but like Rip, they opted not to tell their teammates and keep his words to themselves.
So what's going on with Barry Allen's message? What's happened 40 years in the future that he found it necessary to contact Rip Hunter while he was traveling through time? Originally I suspected it might have something to do with the upcoming CW DC crossover involving the Dominators, but it seems like a big reveal from one of this universe's greatest heroes wouldn't be spent on a storyline that's only lasting one week. It would be saved for something that will only impact Legends of Tomorrow.
The next option that comes to mind is that older Barry has crucial information on the main villains of this season, the Legion of Doom. Remember, Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash, is one of the group's members, someone that Barry is unfortunately all too familiar with. Plus, Leonard Snart, a.k.a. Captain Cold, will also be unveiled as a member in the Legends of Tomorrow mid-season finale. That's two Flash villains in the Legion of Doom, so it's possible that sometime in 2056 or before, Barry encountered the group of supervillains, either in his superhero guise or in another capacity. Judging by the "lives in danger" line, we could presume that the Legion is responsible for mass causalities, and the only way Barry knew how to rectify the situation was to contact Rip. If that's the case, though, why would Rip, Stein and Jax choose to not tell the others, let alone immediately travel to 2056? If the Legion is tampering with time, it's not like their exploits are fixed points (to borrow a Doctor Who phrase).
Another possibility is that whatever message Barry left Rip Hunter is what caused the latter to disappear in the Season 2 premiere. There's no trace of where he went, to the point that even Gideon can't track him down. Rip could be anywhere within the timeline, but whatever Barry told him may be why he can't be traced down. He decided to go into hiding, either to keep the team safe or solve this weird problem. If that's the case, the Flash may hold the key to tracking down the Legends' former leader, whether it's due to his connection to the Speed Force or something else. That also means there's a good chance we could see Grant Gustin in old man makeup, just like Stephen Amell did last season for the episode "Star City 2046."
It may be a while until this particular mystery is solved, but feel free to let us know in the comments below what you think of the above speculation or if you have your own theories on what older Barry Allen said in that message. New episodes of Legends of Tomorrow air Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST/PST on The CW. In the meantime, make sure to check out our fall premiere guide to keep track of all your favorite shows.