Legends of Tomorrow Delivers the Ultimate John Constantine Story
John Constantine and Spooner take center stage in one of the best episodes of Legends of Tomorrow ever.
This article contains Legends of Tomorrow spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 6 Episode 14
As a longtime comics reader, one of they rules that gets ingrained early is “Unless you see a body, they’re not dead.” Superheroes in comics have been dying and coming back since the dawn of superheroes, but when there’s a corpse seen on screen, it’s much harder to undo.
So…uh…what about when someone goes from “breathing” to “truffle powder” on screen? He’s dead, right?
There’s certainly time (one episode) and ample opportunity (maybe he’s a mushroom now? Nobody knows how mushrooms work) to undo the events of tonight’s episode, but for the moment, John Constantine looks really super dead. And it happened on one of Legends of Tomorrow’s best episodes. Honestly, if I was going to ding “There Will Be Brood” for anything, it would be for packing too much in, but every bit was of impeccable quality, and just added to the whole.
One of the underrated things that Legends of Tomorrow does really well is pace out a season. “There Will Be Brood” is the second to last episode of the season, and it knits together all of the big arcs they’ve been working on beautifully. Mick and Kayla’s relationship ties in with Constantine’s struggles and Astra’s personal growth, while also solving a mystery we didn’t realize existed in Spooner’s mom.
We should start with her. Spooner’s mom, Gloria, played by Alexandra Castillo, is probably my favorite guest character in the history of the show. We find out that Spooner wasn’t abducted by aliens and separated from her mom, but that her mom was murdered by greedy oilmen in 1925 Odessa, and she was saved by the Fountain of Imperium, a mushroom alien she had living in the ground in her backyard. Spooner and Astra, chasing John and Bishop on their hunt for the Fountain, meet Spooner’s mom, and after they figure out who she is, Spoons loops Gloria in on the secret.
This scene is set up the same as five other scenes in the history of this show. It’s almost inevitable that every new crew member on the Waverider tries to change the past. They’re usually successful, causing some breach in history that they have to repair the next episode. So another thing “There Will Be Brood” does well is it subverts expectations. Castillo’s Gloria is so warm and kind and incredibly brave, and she talks Spooner out of changing history in a string of extremely touching scenes. The fact that the episode subverts expectations again in finding a workaround for the paradox was just icing on the cake.
Olivia Swann is also magnificent this week. Astra’s been slowly letting her guard down on the ship, but the person she connects most with is Spooner. Swann is great at maintaining Astra’s essence of hyper-competent bitchiness while also showing some real tenderness and kindness towards Spooner. This Astra couldn’t have existed 10 episodes ago, but the fact that this growth lands so well is a testament to the work Swann and the rest of the crew have been putting in.
The lightest moments in the episode probably belonged to the egg crew. Everyone who wasn’t in Odessa was back at Constantine’s house, using alien Facebook (an A-tier Legends joke, by the way) to try and trick Kayla into giving them a ride to the past. When she shows up demanding her eggs, Mick confessed his love for her. This is another shift that wouldn’t have landed, but they’ve been gently softening Mick’s character this season, especially in scenes with him and Spooner, so when it hit, it ended up just funny and earnest. And it was a good setup for Mick getting caught in Bishop’s bomb on the Waverider. His fate remains unclear.
And that brings us to John Constantine.
Constantine spends this episode being quintessentially Constantine, validating some of what I’ve been saying about him all season: here, in perhaps his most comics-accurate portrayal in the history of Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine is clearly and unquestionably the villain of the episode. He’s got scams on scams on scams, trying to con Spooner with the truth; to con Bishop by lifting a fancy potion from his pocket; to con the Fountain of Imperium itself by swiping Spooner’s blood.
But his luck finally runs out when Bishop secretly slips some poison into the serum John stole that would give him access to the Fountain, and after some choking and gagging, we get a touching moment with him and Astra, and he gets eaten by mushrooms. It’s a great death scene, one that honored Matt Ryan’s work on the character. If (HUGE If) this is the last we’ve seen of John, it’s an excellent way to send him off: in one of the best episodes of Legends of Tomorrow ever.