This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 Episode 11
It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why the seventh season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is so much better than the rest. The cast and crew are mostly the same core that have been on the show for the last couple of seasons. This season isn’t substantially shorter than the rest, so it’s not like there’s a lot of fat being trimmed. And the stories are every bit as ridiculous as this show has ever had. But there’s something about “Rage Against the Machines” that I think is very telling.
Everyone on this show is having a damn blast.
Granted, there are a lot fewer people at the end of this week’s episode than at the beginning. By my count, we’re down everyone in the Fixed Point, Thawne, and six of the seven robo-Legends, so roughly 30 people dead. Timequakes aside, this has to be the bloodiest episode of Legends ever, right? Robot Behrad would be proud of me for keeping track.
“Rage Against the Machines” is the third to last episode of the season. Typically, this episode is where the plot starts screaming towards its climax – usually a kind of rote plot mover, instead of the absurdist deep character studies where this show tends to thrive. And that’s kind of what this one is too: by the end of it, the gang is back in control of the Waverider, the robo Legends are deactivated (or trapped in a time loop protecting Archduke Franz Ferdinand), and our Gideon v Gideon: Dawn of Something Clever I’m Sure is all teed up for the next episode. But unlike your typical Legends plot mover, the journey there is packed with genuine hilarity and a few lovely character studies that make this week feel like less of a structural obligation and more a continuation of the incredible work this show has been doing.
First, the mushy stuff: Olivia Swann’s Astra has in a lot of ways been the axis of this show. Her friendship with Lisseth Chavez’s Spooner at the beginning of the season was fun and meaningful for both characters, and her romance with Shayan Sobhian’s Behrad has electrified the second half, and culminates in a very nice action movie kiss after a shaky Waverider landing. This week we also get a closer look at her relationship with Amy Louise Pemberton’s Gideon (who is so good that she retroactively makes the show look bad for keeping her to voice over). Gary chides Astra for being overprotective of Gideon before he figures out that Astra feels maternal towards her, on account of Astra conjuring her out of the wreckage of the old Waverider. Gideon and Astra share a nice moment later on that grows out of this revelation, and makes the last minutes hurt a little more.
As for the rest of the episode, I feel like there’s a “screw it” attitude that the writers have when they plot that the actors have truly embraced. For example: after robot Sara kills Thawne, nothing the Legends are trying will cause enough of of a time problem to draw the robots out. So their big plan to try and draw the robots’ attention is to go out into the streets of 1914 Sarajevo with a Billy Big Mouth Bass playing Bobby McFerrin and an Oculus, and spray paint Star Wars spoilers on the side of a sheet.
This plan is wild.
And it works! Both as a plot device and as a way to inject levity and character into an otherwise plot driver episode. And this week is full of stuff like that – the Zari mirror slapfight, robot Steel’s Arnold Schwarzenegger accent coming and going, the fact that all of the robot Legends are really stupid. They’re all hilarious, and every one of them helps contribute to this episode being the best of its kind that Legends has done.
There are still more than a few open questions heading into the last two episodes. None of the problems Thawne’s return implied are addressed by his death (or in its aftermath). We still don’t know what the Time Wraiths are up to. We do have a robot version of Nate trapped in a loop protecting the start of World War I, with potential surveillance opportunities available to the Legends, but nothing has been reported back yet, and these don’t feel like questions that will be answered by the end of the season. Rather, they feel like questions that will be shouted at us in the closing moments of the season finale.
And we still don’t know what the deal with Gwyn and Alon is. I’m not sure if the show has been hinting that there’s more to their story than what we know, or if I’m just conditioned to expect more from their story, but I feel like there’s a better than even money chance that we hear something more about him before these last two episodes are up.
The only thing I’m certain we’re getting before this season is out is our Gideon showdown. What comes after that, I’m excited to see. If it’s on par with what we’ve been getting the rest of this season, it should be outstanding.