How Legends of Tomorrow Season 6 Reinvents Sara Lance (Again)

Legends of Tomorrow finally brings Sara back to the Waverider, but she's not exactly the same woman she was when she left.

Photo: The CW

This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 6 Episode 7

Legends of Tomorrow has always been the weirdest member of The CW’s Arrowverse line-up, a largely fearless series that’s unafraid to engage in downright bizarre and occasionally wacky storytelling even as it explores deeper and more difficult emotional truths.

After all, few shows are brave enough to sideline one of their leading characters when they don’t have to –Supergirl’s decision to leave Kara Zor-El in the Phantom Zone for half its final season is a glaring example of the many ways such a move can go wrong even with the best of intentions – but Legends just goes for it, stranding team captain Sara Lance on an alien spaceship hundreds of light years away from her friends even as it uses her absence to explore larger truths about both who she is and who she’s becoming.

The search for Sara has been the driving force behind Season 6 thus far, introducing new characters (Spooner, Gary’s alien ex Kayla), allowing new team dynamics to flourish (Hellstar forever!), and giving Ava Sharpe the chance to step forward as a leader in her own right. “Back to the Finale: Part II” is a wildly entertaining homage to the Back to the Future franchise that illustrates the utter ridiculousness of time travel as a narrative trope, even as it provides fun meta commentary on Sara’s disappearance and allows us to see her lovely, heartfelt proposal to Ava unfold in something close to the way it was supposed to have gone down the first time. (Had she not, you know, been abducted by aliens.)

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But Sara’s long-awaited return to the Waverider also serves as yet another origin story for a woman who’s faced death and resurrection at least half a dozen times over the course of her run in this universe. That she’s now a half-alien hybrid clone that may or may not be functionally immortal at this point is just the icing on the cake.

After all, Legends of Tomorrow has always been a show about identity, and the things that make us who we are. Zari Tomas and Zari Tarazi may be two very aesthetically different versions of the same person, but they share the same basic soul and many of the same traits and desires. Ava may be one of hundreds – possibly thousands – of a group of clones that look just like she does, but she’s still managed to claim her own individual identity. And Mick Rory may be a former criminal who thinks humanity, in general, is garbage, but thanks to Sara, he still found something bigger than himself to believe in anyway.

These are the sort of complex philosophical questions humankind has struggled to answer since the dawn of time: What makes us human? Are we defined by our natures or our external circumstances? And to what extent can we choose the people we become?

Is it Sara’s love for Ava that makes her human? Is it her capacity for sacrifice or her love for her friends that defines her? How much of what is technically “Sara” – her body, the very specifics of her DNA – can be taken away before she becomes someone or something else? These are the questions that Season 6 is now uniquely set up to explore, in ways that the Arrowverse hasn’t truly tried to wrestle with before.

Comic book history is full of clones – after all, they’re easy ways to have your cake and eat it too, narratively speaking. Kill off a major character and mine all the drama of that death, without losing their presence in the world of the story. And thanks to Bishop’s handy dandy upload of Sara’s consciousness into what is essentially the alien cloud, it’s very possible that the White Canary could, at this point, actually live forever. But that doesn’t mean she’s the same woman she was when this story began.

Sara Lance’s journey has been one of the most complex and satisfying of any character’s in the Arrowverse to date. It’s hard to believe that the shallow girl who once ran off with her sister’s rich boyfriend is now the badass commander of a squad of time traveling misfit heroes, let alone once roamed the streets of Star City as a vigilante, headed the League of Assassins, or was named the Paragon of Destiny. Sara’s been through it and her evolution into a confident, capable leader has been a joy to watch even as it’s hit more than its fair share of snags and setbacks

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Perhaps we should have known that Sara had become too comfortable, too stable in her identity and sense of self for Legends to resist shaking the status quo up for long. The revelation that Sara Lance, as we knew her, died in Bishop’s lab is certainly shocking, but is it any more surprising than her quiet conversation with Spooner that reveals she fears that her time as a hero – and of happiness with Ava – is just another phase in a life that’s been full of more than her share of reinventions and reversals?

But the heart of Legends of Tomorrow has always been the story of Sara Lance, and the revelation that she’s dead, cloned, and now spliced with alien DNA is just another (admittedly incredibly weird) step in her journey. After all, alien clone Sara wants to marry Ava just as desperately as her 100% human self ever did, and her decision to try and stop Bishop came at the cost of her own alien DNA-free future. Because making hard choices is what heroes do, and no matter what form her body may take, Sara Lance has the heart and soul of a hero. Where her journey takes her next – and how her new alien hybrid status affects that story – is anyone’s guess. But for the first time in a long time when it comes to this character, I am really looking forward to finding out.