While Legends of Tomorrow stands out for its revolving cast door, it also has a track record for finding new jobs for actors whose characters don’t make sense. Alternate realities, timelines, and shapeshifters make it easy to meet a doppelganger along the way. Amaya became Charlie, Flannel Zari became Fancy Zari, and now John Constantine becomes Gwyn Davies. Spoilers follow for Legends of Tomorrow Season 7, Episode 5, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist.”
“It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist”
A LITTLE LUCK — After Sara (Caity Lotz), Ava (Jes Macallan), Behrad (Shayan Sobhian) and Gary (Adam Tsekham) arrive in New York City, they track down Dr. Gwyn Davies (Matt Ryan), who isn’t the scientist they expected. Astra (Olivia Swann), Spooner (Lisseth Chavez), and Gideon (Amy Pemberton) are still trying to stop the Legends from using the time machine, but they run into some more setbacks along the way. Meanwhile, in the pocket dimension Nate (Nick Zano) and Zari (Tala Ashe) work together on the Hoover situation as well how to make their future together work.
Legends of Tomorrow is a show that is truly about time travel, but so often the characters are narrowly avoiding affecting the timeline. With the crew stuck in the past, though, having some major effects is becoming unavoidable. The show tangles with that to find fun ways to spice up the show, thanks in part to the absence of the Waverider.
One of the hallmarks of a Legends episode is a clever plan that goes sideways, forcing the team to come together to figure it out. Here, though, two things are different. The team is separated into two, sometimes three parts, and they can’t escape when their plans go wrong. So what we get is one instance after another of plans going wrong.
The team needs Gwyn Davies’ time-travel blueprints to go back to the future (oh, just like the movies!). Over and over, Sara lies to the nervous, skittish Davies as he becomes increasingly worried. Her lies, coupled with Gary’s ineffectual lies put Davies in a mental hospital.
Meanwhile, Zari and Nate guide a reprogrammed J. Edgar Hoover-bot to get Davies’ plans back from Thomas Edison, only for Edison to ask too many questions of the bot. When it explodes, the aging inventor has a heart attack and dies.
The Legends have to learn, in real-time, that the usual clever Legends-style plan won’t work when you don’t have a time-traveling spaceship at your disposal. It brings a new dimension to each of these characters that we haven’t seen before.
Enter: Dr. Gwyn Davies
One of the major components of this episode is the introduction of Gwyn Davies, the new character played by Matt Ryan. Aside from the accent, this character couldn’t be more different from John Constantine. He’s nervous, scattered, worrying. He’s a walking panic attack. Even more so than Tala Ashe’s two Zaris or Maisie Richardson-Sellers’ Amaya and Charlie, Ryan’s Gwyn Davies looks like a totally different person.
The show does a fun bit that plays with our expectations as each character recognizes him but links to a different crew member, never connecting that he looks like Constantine.
He’ll definitely bring a very different energy to the crew from Constantine, though it’s clear already that he has his share of issues that will certainly come out as the crew spends time with him. Matt Ryan himself has said that it felt like it was time to set John Constantine aside, so I’m excited to see what he can do with such a different character.
The crew manages to travel through time in the episode’s last moments, which brings the whole crew together again. Of course, it doesn’t go as planned. So now, how will the actions the Legends have taken so far, all the minor and major ways they’ve disrupted history, come back to bite them? It’s truly impressive to me how this show manages to keep finding new things to do with its premise of time travel and its rotating cast of characters.