Inside the Most Devastating Legends of Tomorrow Twist

Maisie Richardson-Sellers opens up about that devastating Legends of Tomorrow episode.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Charlie on Legends of Tomorrow
Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW

This article contains MAJOR Legends of Tomorrow spoilers.

The Legends are back! After a month-long break the beloved CW heroes have returned for an episode that will likely break a few hearts. Last time we saw the crew they were embarking on an emotional goodbye to Ray Palmer as well as exploring Shakespeare’s London to locate a piece of the missing Loom of Fate. With the Loom piece secured in the shape of a ring, the Legends would seem to be in good stead. But when Charlie’s omnipotent sisters finally show up it can only mean terrible things for the hero and her found family. I spoke with Maisie Richardson-Sellers over the phone about Charlie’s journey, those brutal deaths, and why this was the episode that truly made her loner punk a Legend. 

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“Zari, Not Zari” begins and ends with death. As the episode opens we see one of Charlie’s bandmates brutally murdered by an all-powerful blonde who just happens to be her sister. The scene showcases the violence and power wielded by the women who Charlie runs from, with Atropos–the goddess of Death–seeming to enjoy nothing more than decimating the living. It’s also a calling card so that Charlie will know she’s the reason that her friend is dead. “Her bandmates were the only other people she’s been on a team with, except the Legends, since she lost her sisters,” Richardson-Sellers explains. “They were the only people that she felt at home with. She created this sweet world for herself even though it wasn’t true because she was never honest about who she was with them. To lose that and to think that it’s her fault is absolutely crushing.” 

It’s an action that sparks Charlie’s journey throughout the rest of the episode and the season, but as Richardson-Sellers reveals it also causes her to begin to think about an immense internal conflict. “It definitely propels her into the episode with a lot of fear and anger and resentment, whilst she’s also questioning who she is at her core. Is she a Fate or she is a Legend? And how is she going to react when she finally has the inevitable face to face with her sisters?” 

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That question was answered in a definitive way during this episode, but it’s not a choice that comes easy to Charlie, especially when it comes to her delicate new relationship with the Legends. “I think her biggest problem right now is allowing herself to trust them. They keep telling her again and again that ‘we’re by your side, we’ve got this, together we can do this.’ And she’s just trying so hard to find excuses to not believe that, but again and again they’re showing her they’re still here.” 

For Richardson-Sellers her time with Sara (Caity Lotz) was vital to Charlie’s eventual decision. “I think it’s great that she was able to go off with Sarah for this episode because out of all of them, you know, she’s had huge problems with her family [and] lost so much,” she says. “I think she’s the one who best understands Charlie at her core. She doesn’t at all try and lecture her or berate her, she just gives her the space to talk. So Charlie’s able to open up about the emotional side of what’s happening and that really sort of brings them closer, which helps propel them into the inevitable encounter as well. When she goes in, she knows that Sara’s by her side. That changes everything and it gives her that final burst of confidence to actually stand up to her sisters.” 

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Speaking of those sisters, viewers recently discovered the truth about Charlie, that she’s one of the Moirai better known as the Sisters of Fate. The trio are Ancient Greek gods who controlled the life and death of every being on Earth using the mythical object known as the Loom of Fate. But Charlie’s been on the run from her siblings for millennia since she smashed the Loom in order to give humans free will. That history comes crashing into light today when it’s revealed that Lachesis is actually Astra’s mentor in Hell who we’ve seen controlling John Constantine’s fate in previous episodes. That connection allows the sisters to find Charlie, leading to the horrific events of the third act. 

“It definitely brings it home and I think it puts Constantine in a really interesting place because he’s there in his head trying to sort of help and save Astra and rewrite her path. Meanwhile, Astra is helping the sisters hunt them down, so it’s inevitable that they’re all going to collide at some point,” Richardson-Sellers tells me. “But Aster as well, she’s been through so much and dealt with so much loss. So she’s also going to be forced to confront who she is at her core. Is she going to stick by the sort of angry, bitter, twisted person that she has become? Or is she going to try and move past that and try and find the good that was in her before all of the tragedy happened?” 

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The arrival of Charlie’s sisters on the Waverider leads to the death of a fan favorite character, Behrad, which is another monumental loss for Charlie and introduces a huge conflict for the remainder of the season. “It’s huge because in this new reality that we’re living in since the end of last season, Behrad was her best friend. Now she’s lost her best friend as well as her bandmates. It really reminds her just why she’s doing what she’s doing and just how dangerous her sisters are. I think it cements a mental determination to beat them and find a way forward where they don’t win. So it’s tragic, but it’s also necessary as a huge piece of her journey to staying true to who she is rather than being in any way tempted by the illusions that her sisters try and brainwash her with.” 

With Behrad dead, his sister Zari only has one goal: to bring her brother back, and luckily for her the Loom of Fate has that power. So as the episode comes to a close we see her strike a bargain with Constantine to find and repair the mythological artifact that will surely cause chaos going forward. “It’s interesting because Constantine and Charlie, in many ways, are so similar because they are troubled lone soldiers, and they really bonded over that,” she says. “But now that’s truly being put to the test because Constantine has his own determination of what he thinks is right and he’s gonna do that no matter what. And with Zari now asking him for help it only intensifies his determination to just find the Loom and change what he wants. That really sort of rubs Charlie the wrong way because she wants to make sure they’re going about it the right way, that they’re minimizing the number of casualties that happen on the side.” 

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As Richard-Sellers hints, Behrad’s death lights a fire in Charlie, one that will change her destiny forever as she kills her sister and cements her place as a Legend. “That final move of being able to look her in the eye and to end it, I think it’s huge for her because she never knew she had the strength in her to actually do that. You know, instead of doing that early on, she ran. She’s always been running, she’s not been very good at standing still and actually confronting it. So for her to realize that actually she does have the strength to stand up to the people that she’s the most terrified of in the whole world–who are also the people who mean the most to her as well because they’re her family–it’s a huge realization and I think for her that really cements her identity as being a Legend. She realizes, ‘I’m not a Fate, I’m a Legend. And all that matters is my chosen family, not my real family.'”

So what does all of this mean for Charlie going forward? “You know, as we go towards the season finale, the worlds sort of begin to collide more and more,” she says. “There’s a really interesting dynamic that also develops as Astra comes closer to appearing among the Legends. That brings a lot of challenges to Charlie, who just wants this to end and just wants to do what’s right. Yet she’s got Constantine and Astra and all these different people who have ulterior motives to get the Loom for their own personal gain, which blurs things for Charlie and adds to her confusion. So there’s a really interesting journey towards the end of the season of finding out who she is and how she’s going to do what’s best for everyone.”

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The Legends of Tomorrow star also had a hopeful message for all of the show’s fans who are currently in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 crisis. “What I love about the show is it’s just such a beautiful break from reality, you know. It’s funny, it’s fantastical, it’s heartbreaking, it’s heartwarming. It’s such a beautiful way of marrying together real life problems with crazy supernatural occurrences. I think we all need a bit of a break from reality right now, so I really hope it gives people pleasure and enjoyment, and that they can identify with the sort of the bold bizarreness of what we do and find comfort in it as well.”

Legends of Tomorrow airs each Tuesday at 9PM or you can catch up on The CW app.  Keep up with all our Legends of Tomorrow season 5 news and reviews right here.