The Legends are great at finding time for fun even in the most dire of circumstances, but sometimes you have to do a little cramming to get caught up. Spoilers follow for Legends of Tomorrow Season 6, Episode 6, “Bishop’s Gambit.”
Legends of Tomorrow episodes are generally not terribly plot-heavy. They’re high-concept send-ups of genres, or they’re intimate character stories. This episode–it’s plot-heavy.
Recounting everything that goes on this week would take five or six hundred words all on its own. The short version is that the disparate Legends–Rory and the alien Kayla, Sara and Gary Greene (also an alien), and the Legends sleeping over at Constantine’s House of Mystery–all make huge strides toward converging. Though with the Legends, it’s never a straight line.
Even though this episode is workmanlike in how much it does to move the story forward, there are still lots of moments worth enjoying.
Mick trusts (almost) no one
We haven’t seen Mick in a couple of weeks and he’s hardly the star of this episode, but he still manages to land a line that resonates. Mick and Kayla seem to be a near-perfect match despite being from different planets and, probably, galaxies. They both love booze–it’s Kayla’s eight tentacles that give her the edge in a drinking contest, not willpower or tolerance–and later when they get chased into a containment pod, the decision to get it on is very much mutual. Similarly, they both hold humanity in low regard. But while they agree that humanity is weak, flighty, and betrays easily, Mick says Sara’s the exception, and that makes saving her his priority.
Gary, meanwhile, gets two memorable moments. The first comes when he slithers, one tentacle at a time, out of the toilet in Sara’s cell. this happens off-screen, but between Caity Lotz’ reaction and the shot of Gary drenched and halfway out of the toilet, it’s one of the better visual gags in a while.
Good boy, Gary!
The other comes after Bishop, the Silicon Valley CEO-like villain, takes down the barrier he’s using to slowly terraform the atmosphere of the planet he’s holding Sara captive on. Gary rescues one of the Ava clones that Bishop is using to execute his plan and brings her to the other Ava clones. The clones are thoroughly brainwashed, but they’ve never met the sycophantic Gary, who regales them with tales of his Ava–Ava the Leader–and how strong and intelligent she is. Gary isn’t effective on purpose. He’s like a misguided but enthusiastic dog whose tail happens to hit the right lever. And that makes him a perfect addition to the Legends, even if they’ve never fully accepted him.
I can hear you
Spooner, too, is finally getting some development. The crew follows up on an anomaly that leads them to finding Amelia Earhart. She stole the Waverider and landed in mid-century America, getting herself put in an insane asylum. The Legends collect her and the Waverider, and take all kinds of measures to get info about Sara out of her. It’s when Earhart starts to change over into the alien creature living in the same body that things get interesting. She’d previously been little more than an Alien Detector with the same fashion sense and penchant for alcohol as Mick. But when the alien creature breaks out of holding, Spooner hisses at it in its own language.
The newcomer is spooked by this, as her whole life before the Legends was about hiding from and resisting whatever is happening in her head that lets her hear those thoughts. Now she’s having to figure out whether to run away from or embrace who or what she really is.
No Past, No Future
There’s also this quick conversation she has with Behrad. Behrad who I initially discounted and who has become one of my favorite characters (they’re all my favorite characters). Behrad tells Spooner that if you’re going to live on the Waverider, you have to ignore the past and future and live in the now. It’s somewhat practical advice, since they live on a literal time machine, but it also speaks to the place the Waverider holds for most of these characters. It’s a halfway house that they live in while they’re figuring out who they are. Ray Palmer had to figure out what came after being a CEO and a superhero. Rory is slowly learning that there’s life beyond theft and arson thanks in big part to his daughter, Lita. Zari is an accomplished social media mogul, but it’s not what she wants from life.
None of these characters are meant to end up on the Waverider. It’s a sad thing to think, and it reframes the lives of every one of the characters, making me wonder where they’re going–what is each character’s endgame?
Who is Sara Lance?
While all of this is going on, Sara is convincing Bishop she’s on his side right up until she finds out he ‘killed’ Rory, at which point she cripples him. She already knows that if she kills him, a healthy clone will simply appear, so she starts dragging the seemingly paralyzed man around his own base, looking for clues. She finds his cloning room and then finds one of the biggest twists to the show in a long while. He didn’t heal Sara, he cloned her.
Sara–like Bishop–has died and come back. For her, it was a harrowing process that involved losing her soul. That was, in fact, how Constantine first joined the Arrowverse, for what was meant to be a guest appearance.
But now she’s in a new body, one that hasn’t been killed and revived, one that hasn’t been tormented by the League of Assassins. This seems like it could be a huge moment for Sara, and maybe even the first steps of an exit from the Waverider for her.
This episode got a lot done, and I feel like I didn’t even cover half of it. But these moments show how the writers manage to fit all these great lines and interactions in while also getting tons of work done in the story at the same time.