Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Matt Ryan, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Caity Lotz
Matt Ryan, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Caity Lotz
Photo: Michael Courtney (The CW)
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It is impossible for this writer to be anything other than grateful for the return of Legends Of Tomorrow. When the world is just a normal amount of screwed up, it’s one of the shows I look forward to most; I pine for it in the off-season and during each hiatus. But right now? Give me those glorious doofs in whatever form thou wouldst. I am currently (via Netflix Party) rewatching the second season with friends, one of whom has never seen it, and it’s like falling in love all over again. This is an imperfect episode of Legends Of Tomorrow, but it is a wildly entertaining one, and frankly, the fact that it exists is all I really care about. Just have everyone stand in line to use the Waverider’s lone bathroom for 42 minutes and I’ll keel over from joy. Any Legends is great Legends. That’s it, review over, thanks for reading.

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But if I were, hypothetically, to continue on from there, I’d say that the Supernatural thing didn’t really work, did it?

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Well, I have to continue, this is my job, them’s the breaks—and there’s plenty to say about “Zari, Not Zari,” both in terms of its many successes and the odd stumble. Before we get into the latter, I should say that Supernatural is my great CW blindspot—I could never get over the fact that Dean from Gilmore Girls is one of the leads, but he does not play Dean on this show, he plays the brother of Dean, and that’s about where I threw in the towel. In my defense, all of Rory’s boyfriends suck unless they’re asking why she dropped out of Yale, and even then it’s only for that moment, so I had baggage in advance. I will get there eventually, I promise. I do know the car is called Baby, and I know they are the Winchesters and they hunt demons, and my dear friend and fellow A.V. Club contributor Kate Kulzick informs me that there’s a character on the show (Castiel?) who was at first costumed to look like John Constantine. Oh, and I know they do lots of crossovers. But that’s all I’ve got, so I am not the target for these shenanigans.

On the other hand, I’m also exactly the target for such shenanigans. Meta Legends is my favorite Legends. The moments in which this show’s great writers say “what the hell” and do something bonkers and clever are to be cherished, and there are a great many such moments. The groundwork is laid here for there to be plenty more: After one of Charlie’s Fate sisters, Atropos (Joanna Vanderham), murders the remaining members of Charlie’s punk band The Smell, Sara puts the brakes on Operation MacGuffin. Atropos is dangerous—a god, basically—and Charlie is grieving and they’re down one Ray Palmer; now is not the time. But Constantine being Constantine, he barges ahead anyway, and inconveniently for them all, it turns out Charlie’s other sister Lachesis is Astra’s creepy coin mentor from Hell and can track John. (Shoutout to everyone who called that in the comments.) So Charlie and Sara go after John, and then Atropos is after them all, and everything goes to shit.

And it all happens on a shooting location for Supernatural—which, of course, is likely to also be a shooting location for Legends Of Tomorrow, given the abundance of television shows that film in the Vancouver area. That is delightful. We learn Dean is Sara’s Hall Pass. Perfect. And then the wheels come off the wagon a bit. The piece of the loom is hidden in a random moldy stump in the woods that just happens to be a shooting location, and the car is... just there, and the crew have all been killed and turned into zombies, and the props are real? There’s a sense of the next piece not falling into place, and it’s all pretty straightforward. It just happens to take place at a Supernatural filming location. And while the zombie wielding a blow-dryer is funny, it’s not as clever or inventive as Legends usually manages to be.

It’s a prominent quibble, both because it’s a notable thing to do and because it’s the kind of premise Legends would typically knock out of the park—but all in all, it’s still a minor one, because the episode is about much, much more than Supernatural. Like Supernatural (or so I’m told), this is an episode centered on powerful, sometimes messy familial connections, primarily those between siblings. There’s Charlie and her terrifying sisters, and an encounter with one prompts her to realize (with help from Sara) that the Legends are her family. There’s Zari 2.0 and Behrad, the latter helping the former to seek the advice of her ancestors—though she winds up talking to Zari 1.0 over a nice doughnut, a scene so well-handled by the writers, editor, director, and actor that it was downright Orphan Black-ian in its ability to make one forget that both characters are played by one actor just talking to a stand-in. And there’s Mick and Ava, the latter convincing the former to reconstruct a childhood for his daughter in which he played an active role. (Dominic Purcell smiling at a baby is a marvelous thing to see.)

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All of those things are great. The performances are great, the storytelling is great, the set-up for Sara Lance to have some kind of wild thing happening to her because she survived a god-stare is great, and that last fight scene (“Fate’s a bitch, innit?”) is among the show’s best. The fact that Zari 2.0 is now in a similar state to where Zari 1.0 was when she first boarded the Waverider is an absolutely fascinating jumping-off point for this back half of the season. Behrad’s death is shocking and tragic (even if it’s likely to be temporary), and the scenes that follow are beautifully handled. All of that outweighs the mildly disappointing Supernatural stuff by many, many tons.

And even if it didn’t, Legends Of Tomorrow is back. Grab your flask and celebrate.

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Stray observations

  • I hope you loved it, SPNFamily. If they’d shown up on the set of The West Wing I’d have lost my mind, even if it didn’t make a ton of sense.
  • A brief note on episode numbering: Technically, the finale of Crisis On Infinite Earths was listed as the eighth episode of Legends’ fifth season. That is bonkers for our purposes, so it’s listed here as episode 0. That hasn’t mattered until now, so just a heads up that our 8 is the show’s 9, if you see it listed anywhere else.
  • Would love to know how many people said “And Sara Lance is my Hall Pass” after Sara said hers is Dean.
  • Episode MVP: Oh god, tough to pick. Dominic Purcell was so fun, but it was also a great showcase for Maisie Richardson-Sellers. But Tala Ashe, to use a technical term, fuuuuuuuuucking killed it.
  • Moments of sob: I mean, the ending.
  • Why the fuck not?: It might not have totally worked but “the Legends wander onto the set of Supernatural” is peak WTFN.
  • Line-reading of the week: “That’s the fun of drugs. You can’t un-take them.”
  • Gideon, what’s the most meta moment?: Again, the Legends wander onto the set of Supernatural.
  • Season five episode title ranking: 8. Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me 7. Meet The Legends. 6. A Head Of Her Time. 5. Zari, Not Zari 4. Mr. Parker’s Cul-De-Sac. 3 and 2 (tie). Slay Anything and Mortal Khanbat. 1. Romeo V. Juliet: Dawn Of Justness.
  • This week’s Legends in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song form. Honestly, quite a few good choices this week, but since Heather meets Heather in this one...

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.

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