Legends of Tomorrow: Slay Anything

"We’re final girls!"

I only have myself to blame for this, and I'm very sorry.

Last week I went on at tedious length about how I was in danger of taking Legends for granted, due to its consistently high level of quality. And as what I can only assume is a direct result, we got this episode.

Mea Culpa, people. Mea freaking Culpa.

Look, I don't want to be too harsh here, because the characters are still great, there were some fun jokes, and I'm intrigued by wherever the Constantine storyline is going. So, I offer the following in the spirit of a palate cleanser, after which we'll pick this back up in a more positive tone;

The Promnight Slasher, as presented here, would technically be a spree killer and not a serial killer.  Unless they also took out another prom or two later on. Ava, as enough of an enthusiast to run an informative podcast, would absolutely understand and respect the distinction.

OK, palate cleansed. Let's move forward in a spirit of positivity.

I should have loved this episode. I graduated from high school in 1990. I'm a huge fan of late 80s cheesy slasher film. I once wrote a paper on the precise implications of referring to the Evil Dead as 'evil' based on different philosophical models of what constitutes 'good.'  All the ingredients of this episode were aimed directly at my pleasure centers. So why does the final project feel insubstantial and unsatisfying?

Ultimately, the problem is down to splitting the action between the prom night and the class reunion. Jumping between the two left both of them feeling unfocused and under-served. And it's easy to see how they got to that decision. The Promnight Slasher was set up as one of the Encores, who were released from hell to reappear shortly if not immediately after they had died. Freddy Meyers was executed for the aforementioned slashing in 2004, therefore the slasher couldn't come back prior to that point without giving away the twist that the killer wasn't him.

Similarly, they couldn't take the obvious solution of having the slasher killed by the cops or something on the night of the prom, thus allowing them to just return directly to the prom, since that would also prevent them from using the twist about who the killer really was. Add to the mix that they've kind of painted themselves into a corner of figuring out a new way to destroy an unkillable enemy of the week every single week, and you can see how the dual timezone solution seems to be a solution to all of these problems. They're going to destroy this Encore by going back in time before he became evil, thus preventing him from ever being an Encore in the first place. Broadly speaking, this feels a little like cheating, but it's a creative and different solution, and what the Hell, they can't have Ray explode the bad guy every week.

Where it becomes a problem is that the genre they're going for relies entirely on creating a sense of confinement and claustrophobia, and jumping between separate time zones kills any sense of that.

Look, I'm probably being too critical of this one, since I love all the ingredients and had pretty high hopes for it. John and Charlie spending some quality bonding time while John brings everybody who might not have read the comics or watched his solo series up to speed vis-a-vis the whole Newcastle gang was great stuff. I'm super interested in whoever or whatever is behind that door. The nods to classic 80s slasher films were enjoyable. Although naming your suspected killer 'Freddy Meyers' was possibly a little too on the nose.

Oh, and the final twist of who the killer really was will allow a whole new generation to smugly announce that they remember how the original Friday the 13th ended, so that will be nice for them.



Everybody remember where we parked:

We start with an execution in Iron Heights, 2004, although none of our crew are in attendance. We then went to Central City High in 2004, which one would assume is in Central City. Another part of the team then goes back to Central City High 1989.

Interestingly, the high school hasn't changed or had any additions put on, which says some interesting things about Central City's population trends and demographics, but this probably isn't the time or place for that.

John, Gary and Charlie meanwhile hang out in Northumberland, 2020.



Bits and Pieces:

-- I'm not sure that the timeline we're presented here for Mick's attending School/going to juvie/planning to break out for prom entirely gels with what we've been told in the past, but who cares when he and Ali were so freakin' adorable together. You just know she was the goth girl who wore Doc Martins and a 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me' T-shirt. She probably introduced him to Siouxsie and the Banshees. I may be simultaneously dating myself and identifying who my people were in high school.

-- I've decided I don't like the new titles. I really tried to.

-- Ava and Zari are both, in their own way, desperately trying to find their place in the world now that their old place is gone. I really hope they underscore that parallel at some point.

-- I suppose shape-shifters would probably be intrinsically bisexual, wouldn't they? Or am I stereotyping?  I apologize to any strictly het shape-shifters reading.

-- Really nice job tying Nora's fairy godmother role into the possible serial killing. Her pony frustration was pretty funny.

-- Was it a coincidence too far that Mick had gone to this school district? It didn't really affect the plot resolution, so I suppose it didn't bug me too much.

-- I thought Zari already knew Behrad had the air totem last week. Why was she surprised by it now?

-- The subplot of Nora coming to realize that her Godmothering is actually helping kids was nicely understated but there. Also, it made a nice good parent/bad parent thing with Freddy's mother.

-- Does John own that house, or what?

Note to self: Attend one of Charlie's parties.

Quotes:


Ray:  "Did someone say ‘Encore’?"
Constantine:  "I also said no musical numbers."

Sarah:  "You went to school here? Mick, this is why you need to come to team meetings!"

Freddy:  "Now I gotta show up in style.  I want a pony."
Nora:  "Uggh, seriously kid?"

Nate:  "Just went from John Hughes to John Carpenter."

Ray:  "Uh… how concerned should we be."
Nate:  "I’m gonna say medium.  Medium concerned."

Behrad:  "Apparently Freddy is a really solid dancer.  And he’s not going to go on a killing spree at prom."

Ava:  "I don’t believe I got to get an exclusive for Stabcast, and I got to be the final girl!"
Sarah:  "Well, technically I never died, so…"
Ava:  "Technically you’ve died more than three times so just give me this one babe."



Lots of good stuff. If they'd stuck with one timezone, I probably would have loved it. But I get what structural problems they were trying to get around by doing it like they did. Sigh. I just wanted more.

Two out of four final girls.

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...

Zari knew Behrad had the Air Totem last week, BUT I don't think she, or anyone else in her family knew that it actually DID anything. It was simply an heirloom passed down through the generations. The surprise was that he was using it for good, not just taking it because he was a jerk.

CoramDeo said...

I also don't think she was surprised. I think it was more of an 'Aha! You can't deny that you took it now!'

Mikey Heinrich said...

Fair enough. This would not be the first time I misread something :)

Anonymous said...

Mikey, it wasn't just you: this episode didn't click for me. I think you're quite right about why, too--jumping from one timezone to the next took all the wind out of the plot's sails.

I did wonder, though, if this was supposed to be a Halloween episode (when Legends was going to start airing in the fall) that somehow became a perfect Valentine's Day episode instead. Only on this show would that work out!

~Josie

CoramDeo said...

If it's any consolation, Mikey, this is a much better Valentine's Day episode than the utter crap The Flash whacked me upside the head with this week.