Legends of Tomorrow: Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me

"You don't have to go the Hell, but you can't stay here."

Legends of Tomorrow serves up an average episode. Which points out how high a bar their 'average' has become.

I kid, a little bit, in that opening line, but it's true. My main takeaway after watching this episode a couple of times was, 'Huh. That's was a pretty average episode.' But then I got to thinking about it a little more deeply, as I occasionally try to do before sitting down to write something vaguely informed and/or insightful. And on reflection I started noticing all of the things I really enjoyed about it, and all of the little detail items that it did well, and I realized something.

I didn't notice them, because I just expect Legends to do all of those things well. I am in serious danger of taking this show for granted.

So, what we got this week was a bit of a split fork, both tines of which were skewered into something tasty. Note to self, abandon this metaphor before it gets super uncomfortable.

Ahem. What we got this week was two largely unconnected plotlines, both of which had a lot to commend them. In the A Plot we have Sara, John and Ray heading to Los Angeles 1947 to play hard boiled detectives, with Ava and Mick quarterbacking from the Waverider. In this we had a lot of great dialogue, some really nice character work with Ava struggling to come to terms with life after being in charge of the Time Bureau, and Matt Ryan doing his American accent which will never not be sexy and enjoyable.

The hard boiled detective tropes were all present and correct here, with corrupt cops, dangerous dames who hire private detectives, clues left written conveniently on matchbooks, and a few last minute betrayals. They nailed the genre completely, and seemed to be having a ball while they did it. And as a side note, if they ever want to do a spinoff of Sara and John Constantine retiring to 1940s LA to open a detective agency, I would watch the crap out of that. Bugsy Siegel has come back from Hell with a taste for blackmail, and his long suffering ladyfriend is looking to turn the tables on him. Unfortunately, Bugsy is now immortal and has a glowy green soul destroying six-shooter, which is admittedly less in keeping with the genre, but ridiculous contrasts are this show's bread and butter and they make it work.

In the B Plot, Nate goes with Behrad to his father's birthday party in what is the most ridiculously contrived way ever imagined to get Nate and Zari in the same room, but nobody cares because we're so happy to see her. Along the way we learn that Behrad didn't inherit his family's totem so much as steal it without telling any of them (although Zari appears to be aware that he has it, which begs a lot of interesting questions.) Apparently Behrad was also nearly burned as a witch in Salem, since the air totem we see in the painting is clearly the necklace version, and he is just as clearly using the mystical fitbit upgrade currently.

This plotline is really all about establishing who exactly Zari is in this reality and how different she's turned out. It was a lovely idea for them to play with that it was the video she and Nate took of young Zari with the dragon that made her famous and turned her into the influencer she currently is. Currently in 2044, that is to say. Also, thank you, show, for not taking the easy parody route and making her completely vapid as an 'influencer.' As much as we hate to admit it, people in her position need to not be stupid, or they wouldn't have made it to that level. Sadly, the Kardashians are probably smarter than I want to give them credit for, and yes, it nearly killed me to type that.

The best choice they made in both of these plotlines is the same. They zipped right through the exposition at damn near the speed of light and got on to the interesting stuff. John confirmed the season long plot with Astra, and then came back and immediately shared the information with the team. Boom, we're all up to speed and spared a drawn out 'the Legends figure out what's going on' cycle. Similarly, over the course of an episode Nate has identified Zari as his mystery woman, the two of them are in contact, and we've already got Zari on the ship to interact with the team. I didn't expect us to get there until episode eight or so, and I've never been so happy to be wrong.

So, we've got Zari on the ship and eliminated two of our Encores. I can't imagine how they're going to manage to continue finding different ways to eliminate the Encores after exploding Rasputin and shooting Bugsy with the glowy green gun of plot convenience. But I look forward to seeing how they try.

They took a genre and recreate it effortlessly while twisting the conventions, adding a lot of good jokes, furthering the season long plot and some unrelated character development, and reminded the world of the existence of Bel Biv Devoe. All things they do this well on a regular basis, which technically makes this an average episode.

Let's all promise to make an effort not to take this show for granted. Please?

Honestly, I'm not sure about that collar

Everybody remember where we parked:

This week the Waverider took most of the team to Los Angeles, 1947. Nate and Behrad skipped the mission to go to 2044 in what I can only assume is DC? Did we get a confirmation of what city we were in there?

Let me know if I just missed it.


Bits and Pieces:

-- Constantine's spell used the universal symbol of software booting up or audiobooks downloading. A blue circle slowly filling itself in. I don't know why, but I really loved that. Particularly since that's exactly how it worked.

-- I wasn't expecting to see Masher the demon again after last week. That was a nice bit of continuity.

-- Ava and Mick are no longer remotely threatened by one another. And Ava, at least, is willing to be vulnerable enough with Mick to talk about her feelings and be hurt when he's callous with her.

-- What was with the weird Rave graphics opening credits?

-- Another week with no sign of Nora or Charlie. I know Nora's getting written out, which explains her absence sort of, but is Maisie Richardson-Sellers filming something else, or doing family stuff, or what?

-- Constantine's flub of 'on holiday... er... vacation.' was a cute bit.

-- Ray seemed genuinely hurt by being betrayed by Sullivan the cop. Bless Ray.

-- There's a little wonkiness to the timeline here. Bugsy says he started doing blackmail after he came back from Hell. He died June 20th, 1947 and it's still 1947. He and Jeannie Hill have gotten an impressive amount of photography done in a very short time.

-- It was well staged how they made us believe that Ava was actually singing well with a full backup of band and singers before showing us the truth.

-- Did John as the Chauffeur make anyone else think of Tom Branson?

-- I'm a little concerned by the cut from Ava singing 'that girl is poison' to Zari screaming. I really hope that wasn't foreshadowing.

-- I really liked that John isn't giving up on Astra. Also that he lied to his team about it and none of them were at all fooled by him.



Quotes:

Astra: "What do you want?"
John: "Whiskey neat and a steak well done."
Only one of those things is acceptable.

Ava: "No post mission debrief?"
Sara: "It's part of his process."

Ray: "We're gonna need a bigger pantry."

Bugsy: "I couldn't help but notice you and I gotta tell you, I like the way you walk."
Sara: "I learned to do it all by myself... Mr. Siegel."

Ray: "Feels weird to be foiled by the good guys."

Ray: "A new directive just came down from Deputy Chief... Wiggum…"

Bugsy: "You bring me all the way down here just so I can watch some no name dame humiliate herself on stage?"
Sara: "First of all, she is not a no name, that is my girlfriend, and second, she is not humiliating herself."
Mick: "Yes she is."

A fun episode that did all of the thing that Legends always does well, well. But that doesn't make it less of an achievement and I'll try to remember that in future.

Four out of five anachronistic 90s pop hits.

*Yes, I know it was a cover.

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.

5 comments:

percysowner said...

They did say that Behrad did all the adventures that Zari did, so having the totem be a fitbit works. I am curious how the Bollywood episode would have looked with the Love God preparing to marry Behrad.

I have become fond of Beharad and I will be sad is he is written out so we can get Zari back. I hope they find a way to keep them both.

I have no clue where Charlie is and I do miss Nora. I'm hoping they will show up again soon.

CoramDeo said...

I can see them sowing the seeds of Ray's departure, in the only way I could ever possibly accept it.

Also, I was far more excited about Zari than I anticipated. When I did I start loving this show? I used to hate it back in Season One.

Robin said...

Now that Arrow has ended, all the Arrowverse shows have been freed up to revamp their title sequences, so this one is the new standard for Legends. I admit, I will miss the orchestral theme and the logo jokes.

And Maisie Richardson-Sellers was apparently shooting a film in South Africa, or so I heard, hence her temporary absence.

Theory: John wants a steak well-done so that it will work better as a weapon if he needs it.

Mikey Heinrich said...

Percysowner - I really want them to redo the bollywood episode with Behrad now. That sounds delightful. I think I saw somewhere that we're going to catch up with Charlie soon.

CoramDeo - Are you thinking he'll head off into the sunset with Nora? I don't think I could handle them killing Ray. It would be too sad.

Robin - Interesting. I'd never considered that they kept the title sequences similar for branding. I'm a little behind on my Tivo - did the other shows change theirs as well? Thanks for the info on MR-S, that makes sense and reassures me that she's ok :)

Also, that's the only acceptable reason to have a steak well done.

CoramDeo said...

Mikey, I think Ray will decide that being a superhero is too violent and doesn't line up with what he's about, and leave because of it. Also, The Flash at least has a similarly new title sequence.