Legends of Tomorrow: Meet the Legends

"Do people really wear matching pajama sets?"
"Yes."

Well, that was just an incredible amount of fun. Welcome back, Legends. How I've missed you.

Legends of Tomorrow had a difficult challenge to deal with in the season opener. Last season our series regulars were split between two different camps, The Legends and The Time Bureau. Which characters belonged to which group was always a little vague. The season finale involved the Legends rewriting time, and one of the Legends being overwritten out of the team and replaced by an entirely new character that we'd never met before, who we spent five seconds with before the season ended. Between then and now, all of the parallel realities were destroyed and then recreated as one mashed up supergroup of a reality where everything was sort of the same, but different.

Who's even on the team at this point? Is Mona? Is J'onn J'onzz? Am I?

Two complete rewrites of reality later, we have no idea what we actually know about the Legends anymore.

That being the case, setting this episode up as a documentary about the Legends was a really good decision. Anything that's currently unclear about the status quo of the team can just be said directly to camera. So right off the bat we learn that the Bureau is no more and so Ava's on the ship full time. This also allows them to throw in the fig leaf justification for why in God's name they would ever allow a film crew to make a documentary on the ship. Ava made a deal with congress to keep their funding in return for 'more transparency.' I still get irritated at the recurring plot point that the Legends don't own their own damn ship and can do whatever they want, thank you very much, but fine. It's a reasonable enough handwave to allow me to buy that the film crew is there, and that's all it needs to be.

Other things that we're just straight up told right off the bat; Mona is Mick's literary agent now. That's a little odd, given her work experience as a cryptozoological dietician, but she does have experience controlling mindless, savage, ravenous animals, so maybe the publishing world is the right fit for her.

Also, Gary is now Constantine's apprentice, which allows them to decouple him and Nora, who is currently MIA doing some intensive fairy godmothering overseas. Good. Nora being beholden to Gary was an icky plot point and I'm glad they quietly axed it. Also, Gary as Constantine's assistant proves here to work well and be a lot of fun, along with probably being the least toxic thing they could do with Gary.

The interview format also allows them to quickly write Charlie out for the moment without wasting a lot of valuable screentime. I look forward to finding out where she's gone to in an episode or two.

Mixed in with the introductory interviews we have some quality time with Behrad, Zari's brother and sort-of-team-replacement. Honestly, I kind of like him, and I was determined not to get emotionally invested. He's particularly good with Sara, which is yet another good choice by the production team. Having the one Legend who's giving Sara the support she needs be the one we don't actually know yet is a nice conceit for avoiding the appearance that the show is playing favorites with the existing characters.

I was really expecting them to sit on the 'missing Zari' plotline for at least a few episodes, so I was pleasantly surprised at the way they dug right into it here. Rasputin was a good choice for the first 'Encore,' as his skill set allowed them to also put Nate on the track of his mysterious lost love. And while we're talking about good decisions, taking the opportunity to gracefully write out both Mona and Mick's literary career as 'Rebecca Silver' was one of the best things they did. I think I liked Mona more than most did last season, but they needed to streamline the team while they established who was actually still in it, and Mona was the right choice to go. As for Rebecca Silver, it was a great running joke that had run its course. Bless them for not dragging it out past its welcome.

But the best decision they made was to make the heart of this episode Sara's grief over Oliver's death. I adore how maturely she's handling her mourning, wanting to reach out and talk through things with her friends. And I have nothing but respect for the show demonstrating one of the real hurdles that people face in their grieving process; that the people who care about them try to 'spare' them from ever hearing the name of the loved one they lost, which effectively keeps them from being allowed to grieve. That's a real thing that happens with the best of intentions all the time.

And I can't overstate how much I enjoyed how Ray took Rasputin out of commission. That was a very clever way around the 'they can't die while their chit is still in Hell' rule. Also, gross.



Everybody remember where we parked:

This week the Waverider went to January 4th, 1917 in St. Petersburg, Russia. This would be about two months before the revolution. Well.. one of the revolutions. Look, Russian history is complicated. In our history, Rasputin died five days before that.

John and Gary, meanwhile, were taking kids to bars in New York City, 2020.



Bits and Pieces:

-- The gag that they got the exterior shot of the ship taking off by forgetting a cameraman behind was pretty funny.

-- The numbered jars full of Rasputin were hysterical.

-- It was sweet that the Legends threw away their stardom for Sara. That was a nice way to not have to deal with them being famous anymore.

-- Sara and Ava continue to be the best couple ever.

-- I really liked the 'Atom Cam.'

-- Constantine and Gary were separated from the team for plot convenience. He could have told them what was happening right off the bat.

-- Who doesn't know that teacakes are those little cookies?

-- Rasputin really does need to work on his evil laugh.

-- Ava's fear of saying the wrong thing is causing her to not be there for Sara. Happens. All. The. Time.

-- Anastasia being a fake was a slightly funny history joke. If you're into that kind of thing.

-- So, at the moment the lineup of the Legends is: Sara, Mick, Ray, Ava, Nate, Charlie, Behrad, and (probably) John Constantine. I... wouldn't get attached to that list...

-- Behrad left the room right before seeing Zari on the recording. I assume he would have recognized her, right?



Quotes:

Ava: "My condolence card wasn't awkward. 'Dear Sara, I'm sorry the vigilante you slept with when he was already dating your sister died. Some say it's better to have loved and lost, but I hope you never loved him at all.'"

Ava: "I'm going to kill Rasputin. You in?"
Mick: "Yup."

Rasputin: "Your aura is quite strong."
Nate: "I get that a lot. I rotate hair products."

Gary: "What about Edgar?"
Constantine: "Oh... you know... Give him the usual."
Gary: "One taxi and a lollipop, coming up."

Sara: "Gideon's got a bug and we're trying to get buzzed. What's up?"

Sara: "So you guys decided to go off on your own and face Rasputin."
Nate: "I thought I could calm him down."
Mona: "I thought I could make him fall in love."
Ava: "And I thought I could... you know... assassinate him."

Ray: "Size... MATTERS!"

A fun season opener that made lots of good choices, streamlined the team, and set up the villain situation for the season. Plus they found time to make a powerful point about grief that made me tear up at least twice. Oh, how I've missed this show.

Four out of four revised timelines.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, volunteer firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla.

9 comments:

CoramDeo said...

How in the world did the CW show that tends to pit Tickle-Me Elmo against a demon become the one that deals with emotions the most maturely and realistically?

Mikey Heinrich said...

A question that I ask myself on a weekly basis.

Robin said...

So glad to have the Legends (and all of the accompanying podcasts, reactions, and reviews [including yours, Mikey]) back! Insightful, as always.

Caity Lotz really turned in a masterful performance this episode. Apparently, this episode was shot BEFORE they shot Crisis, which makes the consistency of Sara's emotional throughline all the more impressive.

I think the Arrow stunt team could learn a thing or two from Sara vs. the Russian soldiers.

Fun trivia bits:
* The opening expository montage contains clips from real Legends of Tomorrow reactors Free Bicycle Tours, Blind Wave, Abnormally Adam, and Married2TheReal (clockwise from top left). Apparently, they were contacted by the Legends production staff back in August for permission to use their footage and have been sitting on that secret ever since.

* Similarly, the little drawing that Behrad gives to Sara was commissioned from illustrator Lord Mesa, who's done a great deal of Arrowverse fanart. Not the first time that fanart has made it onto the show; the box art for "Cards to Save the Timeline" was also drawn by a fan.

* Ava fainting after Sara's BigDamnKiss was apparently ad libbed! I thought that combined with Sara's thumbs-up was incredibly cute and charming.

Josie Kafka said...

I'm so excited the Legends are back!

Like you, I sorta liked Behrad, too! I'm curious to see how this problem resolves: can he and Zari be sibling superheroes together?

That thumbs-up was so adorable.

If you were in the Legends, what would your superpower be?

Mikey Heinrich said...

Josie, I would have the power to vibrate things. (I have a benign tremor, and pretty shaky hands. I've always kind of wanted to adapt that into a super-power)

More pragmatically, I would have the power to follow Sarah Lance around adoringly, and spend a lot of time trying to catch Nate in the shower.

That last one might not count as a superpower...

Billie Doux said...

I have always wanted to fly, but I hate the idea of being confined in that atom suit. I've also always wanted to be invisible, but that's not a Legends superpower so it doesn't count.

Definitely a fun episode. I sort of like Behrad too. And the condiment jars of Rasputin actually made me laugh and gag at the same time, especially when Constantine drank one. OMG.

Terrific review, Mikey. :)

Mikey Heinrich said...

I'm super curious what everybody else's legends super power would be. Anybody?

CoramDeo said...

I would definitely be able to fly. I think if I were a Legends character, the joke about me would be I'm the blandest person alive, as evidenced by my having the most generic superpower ever. Other than that, people have often speculated that I have the ability to teleport, so that might work too.

Anonymous said...

Billie, that definitely counts!

Especially because invisibility would be my choice, too.

~Josie