Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you plan them. If you’re a Legend, they almost never do, except when you turn into a giant Beebo monster to fight a time demon. Last week, the Legends drank from the chalice of Dionysus, imbuing them with the power of gods for one day. Just enough time to use the Loom of Fate and get their dead loved ones back. Uh oh. Spoilers follow for Legends of Tomorrow, Season 5, Episode 13, “I am Legends.”
“I am Legends”
Sometimes a TV episode is a destination unto itself. Other times, though, it’s an episode between episodes, the one you watch to get to the one after. Legends episodes are rarely the latter, but this week’s definitely feels like it.
Lachesis absconds with Astra, and it’s hard to tell whether the latter is a willing accomplice or not. The two strand the Legends in John Constantine’s mansion, separating them from the Waverider. Lachesis, Astra, and Atropos board the Waverider to take back the loom, leaving Gary to face Astra and two very angry Fates with only his new rabbit to protect him.
Legends of No Tomorrow
On the Legends side of this episode, we get a zombie movie. Atropos turns the island of Great Britain into a zombie apocalypse nightmare, forcing the Legends to slog from Constantine’s rural estate to London where they might have hope of finding a way back to the Waverider. Before they set out, Sara grabs Ava’s arm and has a vision that she responds to by making Ava her co-captain and declaring that they’re co-captains for life, “always.”
There are a lot of great moments in the episode, like the moment when John sits and tries to smoke in front of a giant anti-smoking poster. Remember, this is network TV, so they can’t ever show the character smoking. Another has John and Zari arguing about how if he were the last man on Earth, she wouldn’t…and so of course they do, making good on the chemistry they’ve been building throughout the season.
The episode ends with the Legends trapped inside a pub. The whole episode is a build-up to this. They share a drink while they wait for their portal device to charge, and it’s exactly the kind of sweet, relaxing moment that always precedes a devastating scene. The zombies break through the door and only Charlie escapes through the portal while the zombies overwhelm the crew. Sara knew the crew was doomed from the beginning but knew they couldn’t do nothing, and throughout the episode we see little hints like the camera lingering on Sara’s empty chair to let us know that things aren’t going to go well.
Gary Plays Hero
Meanwhile, on the Waverider, Gary tries to do what he can to keep the Fates from getting the rings. He tries to restore Gideon first, and at least for a short moment, it seems like maybe he has. The show seems to be calling back to the time when Rip Hunter kissed Gideon when they met inside his mind. But this time it’s not some sort of psychic link but rather just Gary hallucinating someone to help him, like that 1984 Dabney Coleman vehicle Cloak & Dagger. Kids, ask your parents. He also manages to effectively hide the rings with a magical obfuscation spell.
The high point of this part of the story comes when Astra has Gary tied up for torture. Lachesis has convinced her that, because her mother would eventually just die again, it’s not worth trying to bring her back. Gary rightly points out just because you lose someone doesn’t mean you should have never met them, and persuades Astra to consider the positive memories she has of her mother–along with the potential for more good memories if she works with the Legends.
Gary is often depicted as a big doofus, but he’s gone through a lot in the last few years and grown quite a bit, too. He’s empathetic in a way that no one else on the Waverider is, and his tutelage under John Constantine has apparently worked, as he’s shown aptitude a few times this season. I love that even he gets a chance to be somewhat of a hero, even if he still bumbles his way through it.
The episode ends with all of the Legends dead except for Charlie. Too bad, it was a good show. Oh wait, there’s an episode next week? While I’m all in favor of using deaths that we as viewers know are reversible–I liked it fine in Infinity War & Endgame–having a preview for the next episode show all the characters alive takes some of the punch out of the otherwise devastating scene.
Partly as a result of that but also of the pacing, this episode feels largely inconsequential. There are logically inconsequential episodes of Legends, such as when Zari was stuck in a timeloop a couple seasons back. But the show managed to use that to develop characters in ways that still affect them today. It technically “didn’t happen” but it still matters to the arc of the show. Meanwhile, not only will the actions of this episode be mostly unmade, but I don’t feel like we got any significant character development out of it. Most of it was stuff we already knew. I feel like I could read the wiki on the episode and glean everything I need to from it.
I still enjoyed the episode because I love these characters, but if someone forgot to add it to the Netflix lineup, I’m not sure if I’d realize it was missing.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs on The CW and on the CW app/website.