Warning: This contains spoilers. For how to watch Legends of Tomorrow, click here.
Prior to going on hiatus, Legends of Tomorrow ended with Matt Ryan’s John Constantine showing up on the Waverider and mumbling something about needing Sara’s help with an exorcism because a demon knows her name. That’s a solid, if not especially exciting, cliffhanger and so the latest episode jumps straight into the action, pausing only for a brief prologue flashback that shows Constantine meeting the possessed girl and the demon mentioning Sara.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Sara and Constantine know each other, he had his own TV show on NBC that got cancelled, and then made a guest appearance on Arrow, in which he brought Sara back from the dead, after her spell in the Lazarus Pit. So it’s safe to say they know each other quite well.
Anyway, Sara and Snart (sorry, Leo, as that’s what the Alternate Earth version calls himself) accompany Constantine to Sumner Asylum in present-day Star City, where they discover that the possessed teenager is none other than Damien Darhk’s daughter, Nora (Madeleine Arthur). The demon possessing her is, of course, Mallus (the season’s Big Bad), and no one seems unduly worried that he has effectively lured Sara into this meeting after her brief excursion into his world during the previous episode (Beebo, the God of War).
That said, if there’s a Mallus masterplan at work here, it’s not very clear. Instead, the demon displays more strength and resistance than Constantine was expecting during the attempted exorcism and manages to send Constantine, Leo and Sara back to 1969 by drawing a rune on the ground and making it glow. That leaves the trio stuck in the past with no way of communicating with the Waverider, which, as pre-commercial break hooks go, is not half bad.
Ever the demon expert, Constantine determines that if they’re going to get back to 2017, Sara needs to open herself up to Mallus, allow him to possess her (this really doesn’t sound like a good plan at all, but carry on) and then resist him enough to draw the same rune and cast the time travel spell. In the meantime, as a contingency plan, Leo heads off to find a painting that they saw in the 2017 asylum, intending to write a message on the back of it for the other Legends, but he gets captured and nearly lobotomised by evil Doctor Moore (Annabel Marshall-Roth), a younger version of a character we met in 2017 (Marilyn Norry), which allows for Sara’s amusing throwaway line, “We’re also from the future and spoiler alert, you don’t age well.” (It’s true, she doesn’t.)
While Leo is getting captured, Constantine and Sara get closer, both emotionally and physically, as they open up to each other about their pasts and end up having sex in what one assumes is an asylum store cupboard. There’s plenty of chemistry between the pair (as has been well established in this series, Caity Lotz could generate chemistry with a cardboard box), but no CW-style romance, and their encounter is treated as exactly what it is: two mutually messed up people having sex. For the CW, that’s actually rather refreshing. It also leads to the best line of the episode, when they rescue Leo from the lobotomy table and he peevishly exclaims, “I hope no one was seducing anyone while I was about to be lobotomised!”
Meanwhile, Mallus has been psychically stalking Sara this whole time and tormenting her with briefly glimpsed flash-frame visions, so it proves relatively easy for Constantine to summon himm, as he’s sort of hanging about anyway. Sure enough, Sara gets possessed by Mallus and her consciousness goes back to the misty, blue-lit place we saw in the Beebo episode. She gets halfway through drawing the rune (which looks like a little horned man) and then gets distracted because she hears teenage Nora crying and figures out that Mallus must have possessed her again in 2017. Thinking about it, the blue swirly place functions a lot like the waiting room in Quantum Leap. (It even has the same lighting. Weird.)
Anyway, Sara manages to get through to Nora, which has an impact on the present-day storyline that we’ll get to in a moment. She completes the rune, and the three of them are transported back to 2017. Sara even gets to play the “You should see your face” trick on Constantine when he tries to bring her round after the exorcism and briefly thinks he’s killed her. The cheeky scamp.
Meanwhile, back in 2017, Ray and Zari realise that Sara and co have disappeared, so they head to the asylum to investigate and find teenaged Nora in the asylum cafeteria. They figure that, given Future Nora is responsible for bringing Damien Darhk back in the first place, being nice to teenage Nora might not be a bad idea. So they take her to CC Jitters (the coffee shop from The Flash) for a game of Heads Up. Presumably it’s not meant to be the exact same CC Jitters, since the asylum is in Star City and CC Jitters is in Central City, which seems quite far for an asylum day release trip, but if it is, indeed, meant to be a different CC Jitters, then it is exactly the same as the one in Central City, and they don’t even bother moving the set decoration around a bit.
Anyway, Mallus susses what they’re up to and possesses Nora, smashing her head repeatedly into the table and scaring all the customers. A fight ensues, during which they really trash the hell out of the CC Jitters set, which must have been very satisfying. During the fight, Zari learns that Mallus is afraid of her air totem (he says “You’re one of the six”), which is obviously going to be Important For Later. This whole section is cut together with Sara talking to Nora in the demon realm, so she gets through to her just as Mallus is about to do some serious damage to Ray and Zari, and Nora returns to normal. However, it’s all for nothing, as Damien Darhk shows up (with Nora previously having thought he was dead, murdered by Green Arrow) and asks Nora to join him, and she’s so happy to see him alive that she agrees. It also turns out that sinister Doctor Moore is a member of the Order and that they will spend the next few years brain-washing her into eventually bringing Daddy Darhk back to life. Still, it will be interesting to see if adult Nora retains any memories of the kindness shown to her by Ray and Zari when we see her next.
In the other main subplot, Kuasa (Amaya’s water totem-toting granddaughter) shows up at the asylum, having apparently been tasked with safe-guarding the day that “she becomes his”, which, in retrospect could refer to either Mallus or Damien. She gets frozen by Nate (who’s borrowed Leo’s cold gun) and taken back to the Waverider by Amaya, who eventually decides to defrost her for a chat. Amaya realises that Kuasa has been damaged by witnessing her grandmother’s death (i.e. old lady Amaya’s death) as a child and Damien has promised her that, in return for helping him, he’ll allow her to go back to Zambesi in 1992 and save both her village and her grandmother.
Up to now, Amaya has been trying to avoid altering her family’s timeline, so has shied away from hearing details of her future, but her chat with Kuasa appears to give her pause. Afterwards, Kuasa stages an escape by holding Nate to ransom (by grabbing his head and sticking watery fingers up his nose, which is actually really traumatic and horrible) and Amaya agrees to… well, it’s not exactly clear what she agrees to do. Not get in her way when the time comes? She lets her go, anyway.
That leaves this week’s comedy subplot (or “C-story”, in TV script parlance), which has Mick watching a live football game for the first time in three years. The fact that the writers manage to milk this idea for both high comedy and pathos is actually really impressive. Anyway, the funniest moment comes when the team realise that Sara and Leo have disappeared and Mick barks very efficient, take-charge orders at everyone, just so he can go back to watching the game. (Ray: “You know, Mick, you’re really showing some management potential.” Mick: “Get out.”)
The aforementioned pathos comes at the end of the episode, when Leo sadly takes his leave of the Legends, announcing that he’s going to return to his Alternate Earth and marry “his” Ray (the one from Crisis on Earth-X crossover, played by Russell Tovey). Mick manages to say a meaningful goodbye, while still keeping his eye on the football game. It’s all very touching. This is reportedly Wentworth Miller’s final appearance in the Arrowverse, but the door has been very much left open, so here’s hoping he’ll eventually be back for a guest appearance or two. A gay superhero wedding, perhaps?
As for the end of the episode, there are two mini-cliffhangers. The first is that Constantine warns Ray that Mallus may well take possession of Sara again (shouldn’t have he warned Sara about this?) and that he should probably keep working on that anti-magic nanite gun he’s been tinkering with, as he’s going to need it. And the second is that Ava Sharpe sends Sara a holo-message and tells her that Rip Hunter has escaped from Time Bureau custody. We presumably won’t be seeing him for a couple of weeks though, because next up is a Groundhog Day-style time-loop episode. Can. Not. Wait.
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– The show’s commitment to presentations of fluid sexuality continues to impress. In addition to Sara having sex with John and flirting with Ava in this episode, we also have John hitting on Leo the moment he arrives on the Waverider and Leo trying to encourage a Sara / Ava hook-up by telling her how hot she is (Miller’s delivery of the line “gay, not blind” sells this beautifully).
– Another great Mick moment – Mick not being able to tell his Englishmen apart. Mick: “I thought we gave the Englishman to the Time Pigs?” Sara: “That was Rip. This is John Constantine.” Mick: “Skinny Brit in a trench coat. Same thing.”
– Speaking of Constantine, they gave him the full complement of English swears, or at least all the ones you can get away with saying on American TV.
– Gideon has gotten increasingly cheeky of late, teasing Sara relentlessly about her flirtation with Ava. It wouldn’t be beyond this show to be planning a Gideon-goes-crazy-with-jealousy episode when Ava and Sara finally get together.
– Aside from all the exorcism movie references, there’s also a reference to The Shining (Room 237) in this episode, if you like that sort of thing.
– The gag with Ray and Zari shouting to Mick and Nate for help via the communicator while they’re watching the game doesn’t quite land, but that’s the only complaint in an otherwise very entertaining episode.
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