Legends of Tomorrow is a show that limits the amount of episodes each season to afford the diverse settings we see each week, so the prospect of a bottle episode – the first since season one – left me with some trepidation. Despite an overly familiar storyline, I’m happy to report it was a fine break from the usual weekly shenanigans, with many strong character-fueled moments.
So for those who missed this week’s episode, after tensions between her and Sara reached fever pitch, Zari found herself stuck in a time loop on an exploding Waverider (or so it seemed). As usual, Nate and Amaya were preoccupied by their own thing, as they considered the possibility of erasing any memories of their romance, while Ray grappled with Constantine’s warning that they may have to kill Sara if Mallus possessed her again.
1. Don’t tease me like that
Before all that begins, when Zari is busy maintaining and tinkering with the ship, the other Legends are out retrieving Napoleon, who’s become an anachronism in 1975, while Mick stands-in for the Little Corporal at the Battle of Waterloo – or so I surmised from all the dialogue in this episode. Napoleon happens to be my favorite historical villain (his personality was more familiar than some would care to admit), so the tease felt rather mean, but hopefully it doesn’t rule out an actual appearance in future. I guess the whole incident does sound too reminiscent of Bill & Ted, but it’s a shame we were denied the Legends’ disco number. Fortunately Caity Lotz was on Instagram to provide a peek of what we missed out on, even if it is set to the Bee Gees instead of ABBA:
On second thought, maybe it was best leaving it out since Brandon Routh is seemingly unable to dance.
2. Hedgehog Day
The other thing that made me unsure about this episode was we’d already seen this storyline play out quite recently in Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.” As Ray points out, this wasn’t even the first time a time loop featured on Star Trek, namedropping The Next Generation episode “Cause and Effect.” (Nate compares it to Groundhog Day, to the befuddlement of Zari, who never had time to learn about Dutch superstitions. Given when she’s from, he should’ve brought up Doctor Strange, another Groundhog Day movie, instead.)
Fortunately the episode ratchets up the tension when Gary (no don’t groan) shows up explaining he’s behind the loop, and that there’s a bomb on board, only for everyone to wind up doomed when Mick impulsively destroys his loop generator. It brought to mind how the stakes instantly rose in Edge of Tomorrow, when (spoiler for those of you haven’t seen it, come on though) Tom Cruise’s character realizes he is unable to go back the previous day. Then finally there was the twist involving Gideon, which resembled It’s a Wonderful Life, a decidedly different time travel classic.
3. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
Zari learns Nate and Amaya are considering erasing their memories of their relationship so as to completely move on from each other. It strongly brought to mind how the Doctor lost his memories of Clara Oswald at the end of Doctor Who series 9, as that was the only way he could ever get over her (how romantic). I’m calling it now: despite their declaration otherwise, either Nate or Amaya will erase their memories of each other in the season finale, so that history can continue unabated and Mari McCabe’s existence will be preserved. You may think they won’t do that after Stein’s death earlier in the season, but then what is death is not the loss of memories?Continued below
4. New pairings
What was great in centering this episode around Zari is that she gets to interact a lot more with Sara, Nate and Mick, as she tends to pair up with Ray and Amaya. Nate, who’s been very annoying this season, almost got redeemed himself this week with their buddy act, while Sara, the lead who always gets caught up elsewhere, finally had time to address Zari’s reckless behavior. I can’t help but wonder if their clash of personalities isn’t quite done yet, especially as Sara’s given her permission to kill her should Mallus possess her again. That said, some of Zari’s comments about Ray left me wondering about their relationship in future. Afterall, love is not the opposite of hate, that’s apathy, she probably has feelings for him deep down.
5. No actual ABBA
Despite the fact the show couldn’t afford ABBA, I really enjoyed this week’s music. The synthesized score, particularly during Sara and Ava’s bit, was a cool touch that foreshadowed the end twist, and further made the entire episode feel a bit different. The ending with Zari playing the violin was a genuinely beautiful way to conclude the episode, further demonstrating how engaging all these characters are even when nothing’s actually happening.
Next week: look who Rip’s recruited, it’s Wally everyone! He has a top knot now, yay I guess.