This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 6 Episode 13
I think I’ve been a little hard on this season of Legends of Tomorrow. I’ve been fairly vocal about how Constantine was starting to fall apart for me, but both from my own perspective and from what the show is trying to do, that turned around with “Silence of the Sonograms.” All it took was John getting the absolute piss beat out of him.
Every season of Legends of Tomorrow has an episode where the various plots start to knit together and the show starts barreling towards that season’s endgame. Normally, it’s a plot-heavy episode where things happen, with little space or time for character development. This week was that episode, only they did a little bit better with the character work than the show normally does with the endgame episodes.
The Return of Bishop
We’ve had three plots working recently: Sara dealing with her newfound alien-ness; Mick’s pregnancy; and John’s magical addiction. All three converged with the return of Bishop, who was reprinted by Kayla on the Waverider and did the classic “I actually meant to be captured” bit, manipulating the entire crew to get what he wants.
But he also pushed Ava into some really nice self-reflection. Bishop helps her work through her anxiety about the wedding, her existence as a clone, and her worries about Sara. Sure he’s doing it to manipulate everyone – we find out at the end of the episode that he induced Mick’s labor so he could steal Mick’s earpiece. But it’s several nice moments set to a very good Lou Reed song, maybe the least obnoxious he’s been all season.
We also find out that he’s 6% Sara. He was reprinted using her DNA, to fill in the gaps from the failed backup when she blew up his computer escaping from his planet. He uses that 6% to take control of the Waverider, because apparently DNA memory includes passwords now? I’ll admit, I actually spoke to the television at that one (“That’s…not how DNA works?”), but that’s part of how I came to terms with the Constantine story.
John Constantine vs. Dark Constantine
John gets caught using by Zari, Spooner and Astra. Spooner figures out that she has a hole in her memory, so Astra helps her fill it in, and Zari lifts the flask of blood from John’s pocket. They have an inadvertent intervention when he walks in on them discussing what to do, and he decides to toss the flask and try and quit so he can stay with Zari.
Only that’s not quite how it goes down. Dark John, the one who escaped during the board game gone awry last week, decides he’s not going to let Constantine walk away. He uses his magic to brutalize John in one of the most graphic and effective action sequences this show has ever done. And then Dark John decides to take Bishop’s call about getting his magic back.
This episode is where John’s story (and really the whole season) clicked into place for me for two reasons: the first is my own acknowledgement that the John Constantine on Legends of Tomorrow is not and cannot be the Constantine I like from the comics. Hell, the Constantine on an HBO show will probably never be the Constantine I like from the comics. And that’s okay.
If I can zoom right past “all the passwords on the Waverider are GATTACA now,” then I can chill out and enjoy some excellent acting from Matt Ryan, even if he’s not a perfect adaptation. It’s not really fair of me to demand that of Constantine and not of Commander Steel or Isis or Heat Wave.
The other reason this worked for me is because bloody, sputtering John is the moment when I realized someone on this show who’s calling story shots has dealt with addiction before, and this is how they’re sharing some of that story. As an ex-smoker, I have definitely felt like I’ve been scrabbling through broken glass before. This was an extremely real portrayal of sitting in a dark room, extremely hung over, staring at a ¾ gone pack of Parliaments and hacking up a fist of phlegm, and Ryan sells the hell out of both sides of that internal argument.
With two episodes left, Legends of Tomorrow is starting to wrap this season up, and “Silence of the Sonograms” is one of the best starts to the endgame this show has had.