Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 4 Review: Phone Home

The Legends of Tomorrow gang does ET and the show gets back on track with a laugh out loud funny episode.

This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 4

Forget everything I said last week.

In a quest to try and explain away a couple of weak episodes followed by an objectively terrible one, I tried to dig too far into the mechanics of the show to find a reason why the first part of the season was so rough. The answer was really simple. When the team is the butt of the joke, the show undercuts its reason for existence.

Really, this season is the Booster Gold of the Arrowverse. Booster for those of you who don’t know him, is a jock from the 25th century who peaked in college, then stole a time machine and a super suit and came back to the present day to become famous so he’d be known back when he grew up. He was an integral member of the Bwa-ha-ha era Justice League – he and his best friend, Ted Kord Blue Beetle, were the source of a lot of great jokes, and his self-absorption was played for great humor in both Justice League Unlimitedand Justice League Action. But in the best stories, his heroism outshone his misfit nature: he’s the guy who took a shot to the face from Doomsday before anybody knew what it was, the one who kept trying to save Barbara Gordon from being shot by the Joker; the one who poses as an anonymous, masked hero to save the multiverse. 

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The Legends are the same team that can have one of them make a cougar joke about one of their characters’ mom’s, and still manage to tell a story that’s full of earnest heart and true heroism about returning a baby Dominator to his mom.

A big part of the change is Tala Ashe’s Zari. The episode starts with her lampshading the entire current group dynamic. Ray is desperately trying to get the team to build chemistry, and right when he gets Mick to do trust falls with him, Ray disappears. He apparently died in 1988, so the team heads back there to save him (and he reappears once they arrive). 

When they get there, they discover that Ray’s childhood was actually kinda shitty, but that his perpetual optimism put a pleasant shine on the bullying and loneliness. They also discover that he found a baby Dominator and is basically doing ETwith him – I could go into greater detail about this, but I don’t really need to. It’s exactly what I’m saying it is.

The fact that it’s been done doesn’t make it any less charming when you slot the Legends in, though. Lil Ray is a good kid, and it’s easy to draw a line from kind, smart young Ray to generous, team glue adult Ray. They eventually do save Ray, who convinces them to save the baby Dominator too, and when they make it back to the ship, Ray and Zari share a nice moment.

The background stories don’t get a ton of time, but Jax, Stein and Mick do steal the Waverider so Stein can get back to 2017 to see his granddaughter be born. That was nice, and judging by the end of the episode, it’s what starts us downt he path to Victor Garber’s eventual departure.

All in all, this was a really nice episode and a return to form for an excellent show. 

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– Your Booster Gold references: he got hit in the face by Doomsday in 1992’s Justice League of America#69 (nice); tried to stop The Killing Jokefrom happening in 2005’s Booster Gold#5; and was Supernova in a time loop in 2006-07’s 52.

– First one of you who says “oh this was a Stranger Thingsripoff” gets smacked. Based on Amaya and Sara’s outfits, it was clearly a Kids Incorporatedriff.

– Seriously though you’ve all seen ET, right?

– Nate’s “Is there a cougar on the premises” is the hardest i’ve laughed at this show.

– We haven’t actually been to Ivy Town since the pilot. It’s the canonical comics home to the Atom and the location of a large, important, prestigious university. It’s supposed to be an analogue for New Haven, CT, where Yale is. So you can go ahead and ignore this map, which places it approximately where Hartford is; and Roger Stern’s ’80s Power of the Atomseries which clearly confuses Ivy Town for Ithaca, NY (Cornell).

– The headline on the Ivy Town Times that Stein is reading is actually real and time appropriate. The episode starts on October 30th, 1988. A story from the October 27th New York Times reads “Reagan Backs Replacing Moscow Embassy.” Not really a DC Comics easter egg, but definitely praiseworthy effort by the writers to pay attention to small details.

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– ARGUS Agent “Smith” returns from the Invasion crossover episodes, and I’m really glad he didn’t turn out to be King Faraday like I thought. Comics King Faraday would never put a hit out on a kid.

– Mominator has NEEDS guys. The whole Mominator subplot is basically Alien[s] (right down to Amaya’s “Get away from her you BITCH!”) with a dash of Speciesthrown in.

– “Awesome costume” awesome costume yourself, lil Prince.

-Zari’s costume is basically the character’s costume from the old TV show (The Secrets of Isis) filtered through Arrow‘s sensibility.

-Next week! I got $5 on an I, Vampirecameo.

Read the full Den of Geek NYCC Special Edition Magazine right here!

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4.5 out of 5