This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers. Like, right at the beginning. Don’t read on if you don’t want to know.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Episode 10
I know why they had to do it, but it still stings a little that Legends of Tomorrow whacked Hank Heywood right after spending an episode making him so damn likeable.
“The Getaway” is a little bit of a companion episode to “Luchas de Apuestas” in that this week’s episode finishes setting the table for the rest of the season. This episode works in tandem with last week’s, warts and all, to tell a fun story that’s surprisingly moving and crystallizes the rest of season four’s conflict.
The setup has the team heading back to 1973. Richard Nixon has been possessed by Mahat, the Egyptian god of lies, and can only tell the truth. It’s a catastrophic timestream collapse that leads to disruption and war, and Heat Wave’s most terrifying outcome: Robert Redford’s career never getting off the ground and independent cinema failing. So the team goes back in time, kidnaps Nixon and tries to pull the demon out of him long enough for him to give his “I’m not a crook” speech to a conference of Associated Press editors.
We’re also dealing with the fallout from last episode. Nate and Zari are back at the Time Bureau, pretending to be a thing while roping Gary into their plan to hack Nate’s dad’s phone and email to figure out where the extraordinarily rendered magical creatures are going. Sara is a wreck over her breakup with Ava. Mona ends up with the away team when the bureau finds and captures the Waverider, but she’s a wreck because of the death of her were-boyfriend and her developing lycanthropy.
Hank is leading the team attacking the Legends from the Time Bureau, and after discovering the Waverider abandoned, he takes the opportunity to track them down the old fashioned way: by dressing up like ’70s Florida staties and running a statewide dragnet.
This gives Nate a chance to spend some time with his father, and his social engineering job with Zari and Gary (roped into their job to break into Hank’s email to find out where the rendered magical creatures are going) gives him the opportunity to learn more about his old man. Those interactions form the emotional core of the episode. Hank goes from dictatorial blowhard to a three dimensional guy who fought through some terrible stuff to become the man he is.
His feelings for his family and dedication to his job are admirable as hell, and like Nate, we stop seeing him as a detached jerk because of it. Hank also starts to see Nate in a different light, and that takes their inevitable conflict when Hank finds out about them breaking into his email in a totally different and welcome direction. Rather than be pissed at them, he decides to follow his son’s lead and cut the Legends loose after he captures them.
The crew in the RV spends most of the episode sitting around recapturing Mahat the Truth Cockroach. Mahat feeds off of lies, so every time someone on the RV lies he gets agitated and breaks out of his jar. When he flies into someone’s mouth they’re incapable of telling anything but the truth. It’s a really easy way of getting into each character’s head, and the show uses it that way.
It plays Ray, Mick and Constantine for laughs, while the real conflict on the bus is between Mona and Sara. Mona keeps trying to talk about becoming a werewolf, but Sara is too wrapped up in her own crap to hear it. Eventually, Mona ditches the RV and gets into a conflict at a diner while Sara works through her stuff and apologizes to her. It’s a nice moment, but overshadowed by how consequential the Nate/Hank stuff ends up being.
Hank, newly connected to Nate and the Legends because of his emotional honesty, heads back to the office to end his relationship with Neron. Neron, of course, isn’t buying it and drains his soul. Nora Dahrk, who had been let out by Gary to help with the email hacking, senses Neron’s presence and breaks out of her cell to try and help, but she gets there too late and is discovered over Hank’s dead body, leading everyone to think she killed him as she escapes the Bureau.
Hanks’ death hurt. Nate has been pretty unhappy for a while now, but his new relationship with his father was something to grow from and that got taken almost immediately. Tom Wilson was wonderful over the last several episodes turning Hank from a domineering father stereotype into something more fleshed out and three dimensional. His death came quick, but it ended up being considered and meaningful. This is going to absolutely color the rest of the season. Neron is probably in for some shit soon.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
-Props to the effects department: Neron’s face when he’s draining Hank’s soul is gross. The moving holes where a head should be is disgusting, but well rendered on screen.
-Vancouver strikes again: nobody’s wearing those state trooper jackets in Orlando. I know it’s November, and I know the Time Bureau offices are in DC and it is thus staffed by NoVa and Maryland residents who would think a wintry mix is when it’s 45 and raining, but those jackets are much more “We shoot in Vancouver” and less “this is what people looked like in the ’70s.”
-The Legends leaving Charlie behind in the hospital gives us Sara and Ray doing a couple of Home Alone gags, and I loved it.
-Mick’s unexpected fondness for the arts continues to be a joy. This week it was independent cinema and his secret desire to grow his hair out like Fabio.
-The Nixon stuff was terrific. They had a few good Nixon jokes and a BUNCH of good Dick jokes. Among the best: Constantine’s “Looks like Nixon is winning the war on drugs” when Nixon is waking up from his first darting, and “Let’s put Dick in a box” when he redarts Nixon and puts him back in the closet.
-The historical context for this episode is legit, by the way. Nixon really did make his “I’m not a crook” speech at the Contemporary Resort in Disneyworld. I can’t believe they didn’t make a Slow Burn joke, though. Ray 100% subscibes to Slate Plus.
-Next week! Nonsense and Insensibility.