After last week’s crossover, the midseason finale of Legends of Tomorrow could’ve slowed down, but instead delivered a jam-packed Yuletide episode with the crew fighting Vikings over a Furby rip-off and more emotional changes to the roster.
1. Ghosts of Future Past
Stein’s departure weighed heavily over the episode, but it refused to be overly sentimental about it. First we pick up with the young Martin Stein in 1992, having waited until Christmas Eve to buy a Beebo for his daughter. After a terrific Rube Goldberg spot of archery, he nabs the last one, only to find himself transported to America a thousand years ago, and confronted by roaring Vikings. We then cut to Leo Snart trying to be a therapist for the mourning crew, by producing a huge puppet of Stein for them to talk to, which leads to the spectacularly wrong and hilarious image of Mick punching the damn thing.
The writers knew they couldn’t have Jax just fixing Stein’s death Back to the Future style, and there is a sense of struggle with real life brushing against the show’s internal logic. At the same time, you grow to admire Stein more for recognizing everyone has their time and place, and that it’s not about how much time you have, but the way you spend it. At the very least, time travel can fulfil the fantasy of a less fraught goodbye: it was wonderful to see Stein and Jax clasp hands one last time in front of a fireplace.
I was hoping Jax’s speculation about why Stein of all people became an anachronism would pay off, with it being revealed the Darhks brought him to the year 1000 to mess with the grieving Legends. That didn’t happen, their entrance in the episode was apparently entirely coincidental. Why not just have Darhk pretend to be Odin to remake America in his image from the beginning? It would’ve been quite creepy if Darhk or Mallus had found a way to speak from Beebo as well, although it may have rendered the latter too comical.
Sara’s visit to Mallus’s realm was very creepy by the way, particularly with the extreme close-ups of her eye giving way to a reflection of his hand. The locale was strongly reminiscent of Maveth in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which compounded the dawning sense of horror.
3. Vikings in America
To digress for a moment, just bringing up Vikings in America puts me to sleep now. Historian Dan Snow did a documentary on it for the BBC fairly recently, and it honestly felt like I’d wasted an hour of my life. They came, they saw, the end, basically. This episode was fun, but between this and American Gods‘s opening, please no more. There are thousands of years of indigenous history for writers to tap into, let’s have some of that now.
I must add the Vikings here were very stupid as they failed to notice Odin had both eyes. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had the exact same problem: why do superhero shows keep forgetting the eyepatch?
4. Leo the therapist
It was fascinating to see Snart play a fussy, respectable caretaker to the Legends. I know the Waverider has a fabricator but it was easy to imagine him sowing the Stein puppet together. However, his playing nanny to Mick got pretty tiresome, he came across as obnoxious for altering his drinks when he ought to be able to mourn Stein in his own way, and the rant at him looking for alcohol in the library wasn’t particularly funny. I’m glad they got the drama out of the way in this episode so we can see the gentler, kinder Snart interact more with the others in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, he won’t get interact with Jax, who’s rightfully decided to take a leave of absence. I’m glad the Legends were supportive, instead of trying to melodramatically convince him to stay on board. I hope to see him again soon, and that he’ll find a way to get his powers back, as otherwise the departure of the only other black member of the team would be a shame.
5. Sharpe Lance
It’s great to see Sara and Sharpe’s relationship after the backtracking which immediately occurred when there was a sign of progress earlier in the season. Sharpe’s literally let her hair down, and it was curious how Sara let her voice quaver slightly on receiving her condolences over Stein’s death. At the same time, I’m not sure I ship these two, because it feels obvious, and I’m hoping there’s more to Sharpe than a stuffy agent who needs to lose herself in a relationship. I mean, how did she pull Sara out of Mallus’s dimension.Continued below
The Beebo’s Day and Odin’s Day gag was awesome as well, it was great to see how everyday people are affected by changes to the timeline.
– Apparently a beebo is actually a shoulder strap for baby bottles?
– The heist planning was another solid moment of direction.
– If it’s Yule why’s there no snow?
– Nora Darhk’s costume was really tacky. I get the Darhks are kitschy but it was distracting.
And that’s it from the Waverider crew until February. Hi John Constantine!