DCs Legends of Tomorrow 5x09
Legends of Tomorrow -- "Zari Not Zari" -- Image Number: LGN509b_0500b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Matt Ryan as Constantine, Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Charlie and Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary -- Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is theoretically a show about time travelers trying to save the world and keep time intact. But it’s also a show about characters actively trying to grow, characters trying to cope with their pasts, and forge new futures. It’s a silly show, too, where the characters can find the set of the CW show Supernatural, and fight a greek fate to the death there. And I’m impressed every week at how well this worksSpoilers follow for DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Season 6, Episode 9, “Zari, not Zari.”

“Zari, not Zari”

DC's Legends of Tomorrow 5x09

Charlie, as we’ve learned, is no simple shapeshifter. Instead, she’s a Fate–from the patheon of Greek gods and monsters–turned mortal. Zari, meanwhile, is coming to grips with the idea that there was, at one point, another very different Zari living on the Waverider. This week, their pasts are catching up with both of them.

Things start out bad and get worse for both of them. Charlie’s sister, Atropos, tracks down her old punk rock band to assassinate her, but ends up killing the band when she doesn’t find her quarry. Zari wakes up in Nate’s bed.

Two Zaris

Zari sleepwalked into Nate’s bed, and wakes up to see his scooter, Scoots McGoots and his Beebo doll, slowly realizing where she is. The shot itself is really funny, and we find out that Gideon, the ship’s computer, had tried to wake her up. Sleepwalking Zari was so determined to snuggle with her guy that she messed with Gideon’s wiring to put her into snooze mode.

Zari’s storyline throughout the episode has her having a strange experience and then trying to work through it. She plays Mortal Kombat like a pro despite having never touched the game because the other Zari was a True Gamer. She blows wind out of her hand when she gets near the totem. Nate and Behrad explain the timeline divergence to her, making her worry that there was this cooler version of her out there. That leads her to go on what Behrad calls a totem quest. Basically, she gets high and puts on the totem and goes into the totem to talk to her ancestors.

Supernatural: The Weirdest Crossover Ever

DC's Legends of Tomorrow 5x09

Meanwhile, Sara and Charlie follow John to Earth where they’re looking for the next piece of the Loom of Fate. As they walk through the woods, they stumble across the set for the show Supernatural. You know, the CW show? Sara explains the plot, and how one of the guys from the show is her “hall pass” with Ava. Sara is a Supernatural fangirl. Awesome.

If you’re hoping for an appearance of either one of the Winchester brothers or their actors, I’ll disappoint you now. This is a props-only cameo. When John stumbles across the Winchester car, complete with its trunk pentagram and a zombie prop inside, the Supernatural theme plays. At least, I assume it’s the Supernatural theme. I’ve never watched the show.

That’ll leave a mark

Atropos tracks the trio to that area, though, and blows up the Waverider’s jumpship. It seems like a minor plot detail, but that’s going to give the writers a lot of headaches when it comes to writing sidestories. I’m looking forward to that.

Atropos gets Charlie alone and lays it out for her. The three Fates–Clotho, Atropos, and Lachesis–wrote the birth, life, and death of every living being. Charlie didn’t want to do that anymore, and sees her desertion as a favor to the human race. Atropos, on the other hand, sees Charlie’s action as being directly responsible for the concept of genocide (and any other bad part of modern history you could imagine). This shakes Charlie to her core, almost enough to get her to give in.

Near-Death Experiences

DC's Legends of Tomorrow 5x09

As the trio fights Atropos, both John and Sara have near-death experiences, driving home how dangerous Atropos is. First she drops John and takes his form. There’s a small touch here as John walks behind the women. We get a few shots of Atropos walking in her cool, intimidating way a few times, and when she’s in John’s form, actor Matt Ryan keeps that walk up.

Later, Atropos shows Sara her true form, which should be enough to kill her. It knocks Sara on her ass, but ultimately doesn’t kill her, raising questions about Sara and the other Legends. Is Sara powerful enough to resist a god because of her experience in the Lazarus Pit on Arrow? Or has her time on the Waverider so completely disconnected her from time and fate that a literal Greek god has to jumpkick her to get her point across, instead of just roasting her?

It’s not until Charlie is pinned by Atropos’ daggers that she’s able to say aloud that she’s a Legend, not just their itinerant British drunk.

Zari’s Totem Quest

Meanwhile, Zari ends up on her Totem Quest, where she talks to… herself. Hence the title. Inside the totem, Zari encounters the Zari from the other timeline. Tala Ashe her flexibility here as she films a believable scene of her talking to herself and also shows how different the two Zaris are. Their voices, mannerisms, and looks are very different. Even the way they hold their mouths differs. The two have a heart to heart that lets Zari find out that her existence has done some good things–it means that Zari’s parents and brother live instead of die. It means that the Legends changed the future…history for the better. Zari gets to know herself while she gets to know herself.

Atropos makes her way onto the Waverider where the two plotlines come together. Behrad tries to protect his sister and the Loom piece from Atropos, and her reward for him is to pull the string of fate from his chest and sever it as she tells him that he doesn’t belong in his timeline. Sara and Charlie fight off Atropos Charlie separates her hand long enough to kick her off the ship, leaving them with two Loom pieces.

Man Down

Zari wakes from her quest to find her brother dead on the ground. There’s a beautiful shot here where Zari cries on the floor of the Waverider and people disappear around her, suggesting either that she cries for a long time or that she’s in a very personal, isolated place. Again, Ashe is so good here. There are so many times when a character cries in a show and they cut it off to keep it from looking unrealistic. But the camera just sits and watches Zari cry and she never breaks. This moment, like Charlie’s near-death experience, galvanizes her. This is the moment she goes from being their ride-along Kardashian to being a Legend. This is where we’ll see Zari start to acknowledge that she’s a strong person and step into her role.

Time Dad

DC's Legends of Tomorrow 5x09

While all this is going on, Mick is still tangling with his surprise daughter and Ava helps him hop through time to appear in her various memories through a fun punk-rock montage that features him dressing his daughter up as his dead friend Captain Cold for Halloween. That seems messed up, Mick.

Mick eventually has to sit down and actually talk to his daughter, though. To acknowledge that she’s a person and that he’s not able to be present like a normal dad should be. This is meant to be a silly sidestory, but even here we get this character making a real effort to grow as a person. Mick might be the most-improved of the Legends. He went from a petty criminal and major arsonist to a father, an accomplished novelist, and a still-reluctant hero (all without losing his surly attitude toward life).

I love the way Legends of Tomorrow manages to tie together silliness and earnestness while also giving its actors chances to really invest in their characters instead of just chasing after MacGuffins and doing stunts. The Flash gets all the attention on the CW, but DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is the real shining gem.

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