Legends of Tomorrow: Mr. Parker's Cul-De-Sac

Pippa: "Do you need to change your shoes?"
Ray: "I think I do."

Ah, the traditional mid-season 'this should be three separate episodes, but we don't have that long a season' episode. It came early this year.

The comedy of errors farce that is 'Guess what evil wizard is coming to dinner' wraps up at the forty minute mark, including commercials.

I say this at least twice every season, but if they had a full 22 episode season order, that would have been the entire episode.

Instead, we have three and a bit episodes welded together here, at least two of which should have been entire hours on their own. But we're not here to review what should have been, we're here to review what we actually got, so let's talk about that.

The first forty minutes focus on Ray wanting to propose to Nora, only to get sidelined by Nora's (evil) father showing up and bringing with him a carnival of misunderstandings. Everything about this plotline was hysterical and perfect. The layers of misunderstanding were built up expertly, and all resolved at exactly the right time relative to one another. Sara and Ava's argument about Sara's job offer was ridiculously gratuitous and in any other context would have been stupid beyond excuse, but it worked here because it was clearly nothing more than an additional complication for the big fight scene. And as such it was genuinely funny, even if we never really took it seriously for a moment.

This segues awkwardly into the Mister Rogers pastiche, which was funny for what it was, but was only allowed ten minutes of screentime, and so never got to be as good as it could have been. It accomplished the message of 'it's good to cooperate,' and more or less justified Charlie and John finding common ground regarding the loom of fate and therefore allowing that plotline to move forward. But it also underlined how shallow the Sara and Ava argument was by having it resolved in twenty seconds by puppets, and that's a flaw.

So, serviceable, but nothing more than that. At least, from minute forty one to minute fifty. That's disappointing, even if it's not un-entertaining to watch.

It's frustrating, because those first forty minutes are probably the best time that I've had watching television in years. So funny. So clever. So satisfying how they side-stepped the conflict between Sara and Nora by having Nora just talk to her and say 'can you just give me this night to try?' This show consistently rewards by having the characters behave as adults, and that was a well appreciated example.

The final third was the Ray/Nora wedding sequence, which would never have sustained an entire episode itself, but I loved every second of it. Maybe I'm just an old softy.

The only other section to address is Mick and Zari with his daughter. I liked the way they made Mick's problem with an internet troll a thing that this new Zari could help with. I hated the way Mick violated his daughter and Ali to get out of the situation. I have hope that he'll be redeemed from that decision later. Please.



Everybody remember where we parked:

Everybody hung out in 2020, except for the version of Gary from the end of season three who was in 2018. That was kind of fun.



Bits and Pieces:

-- I really wonder what the casual viewer could possibly have made of this.

-- I get why they used it, but I really hoped we were done with the Rebecca Silver plotline.

-- I look forward to more of Lita. She and Mick had a good spark.

-- Having Damien Darhk as an Encore was brilliant. What a great way to bring him back and resolve his relationship with Nora. Great usage of the season-long plot concept.

-- The message that love for your child can save you is not a terrible one to embrace.

-- I didn't hate the way they used Pippa as a plot device.



Quotes:

Sara: "Astra has made her choices, John. It is not up to you to undo them."

Nate: "Defiling the library I see."
John: "Yeah, well, you know, I quit smoking, so I need a new habit."

Gary: "Did I just fritz out of existence?"

Nora: "Oh, yeah... yeah.. this is just a place where I hang my hat... and do my dark rituals."

Zari: (Quoting the internet) "Rebecca Silver knows as much about love as a teenage boy's sock drawer."

Mick: "Do you know who I am?"
Lita: "Yeah, what are you doing here, Becky?"

Ali: "This is Lita. She's your daughter."
(Mick faints.)
Zari: "Twist. Oh, he's fine."

Damien: "I love it. You can just smell the dark forces at work in here."

Ava: "Are you seriously invoking book club right now?"
Nora: "Yeah?"
Ava: "You get one of those. You get one."

Sara: "How many courses did Ray have planned?"
Ava: "By my count, five. Six if you include cocktails."


A really great episode, followed by two pretty good episodes, all awkwardly welded together. God, I love this show. Please never stop giving more show than we can see.

Four out of five chocolate mousses. I'd watch this all year long.

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.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

It was actually nice to see Damien again. Who knew?

Sara and Ava as puppets was my favorite part of the episode.

Robin said...

I love that of all the characters to be the classic "Dad's preferred son-in-law," it ended up being Constantine. Of COURSE Damien would respect a fellow magic-user, even when that magic-user just blasted him with a fireball. "Now THAT guy is marriage material!"

I also love Nate and Behrad picking up the Mr. Parker binge deep into its run when Mr. Parker "could sure use a cold one."

In my heart, I want Mick to use time travel to have popped into Lita's childhood periodically to offer guidance, financial support, and underage beers. I'm looking forward to seeing where they end up going with it.

Mikey Heinrich said...

The puppets were super funny, and I did enjoy them. I'm just worried that the puppets and rebecca silver are both jokes that they're going to keep retelling until we're all sick of them, if that makes sense. They're not there yet, but I can see it on the horizon.

I loved how I was just asking myself, 'Did Damien and Constantine ever meet? I don't remember.' when the show had Damien clarify it for me.

Yes please on Mick retroactively being part of Lita's life. Lita would have been my best friend in high school. I want good things for her.

Josie Kafka said...

I loved Dominic Purcell's faint. I may have re-watched those 15 seconds a few times. :-)

I also loved that the first glimpse we get of Mick's daughter is her burning something. Ah, genetics.

If you'd asked me whether or not I ever wanted Damien Darhk to come back, I would have said no. And I would have been wrong.