This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Episode 13: Egg MacGuffin
I’m not sure exactly where it happened, but at some point in the last season and a half of Legends of Tomorrow, it mostly gave up on being a superhero show and instead became a workplace/dorm sitcom. On balance, that’s been a wonderful decision for the show. It’s really funny and packed full of gifted comic actors. But every once in a while that decision has negative consequences, and in tonight’s episode, titled “Egg MacGuffin,” the show paid a small price for choosing the comedy route.
We pick up pretty much where we left off last week. Neron has possessed Ray and left Nora in a coma with Constantine looking for a way to cure her. Zari and Nate are heavy flirting. Ava and Sara are back in their collective asskicker version of domestic bliss, and Charlie, Mick and Mona are setting up another C-plot.
This is actually another interesting structural foible that the show has developed: it feels less like the show is priorizing plot lines and more like every episode is three or four C-plots pieced around the season’s arc. This week, Ray tries to fight off Neron’s possession with limited effectiveness and also Gary; Sara, Ava and Mona have book club at Nora’s bedside; Charlie poses as Mick’s romance novelist alter ego to score $20,000 from a romance book convention in Seattle; and Zari and Nate develop their relationship pretending to be Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood at a club for adventurers in 1933. The reason “it’s just a bunch of C-plots” isn’t a criticism is because the actors are collectively so charming and fun to watch, and the writing has consistently historically elevated the B- and C-plots to be as important to the characters as the A-plot is to the story arc.
Every one of these character groupings is joyously entertaining.
Last week’s episode was low key intense for Ava and Sara, so the writers’ decision to give them a break and be the team’s parents was a welcome one. Jess Macallan and Caity Lotz are so casually fun together that it’s great to see their characters have an excuse to just hang out, and that’s what they got here with their typical sitcom trope of “pretending to be into each other’s interests.”
Charlie and Mick’s week is utterly absurd, but in that peculiar way that they often are on Legends that’s way more charming than irritating. There is absolutely no reason for either of them to want to pull a “heist” to get this money. Mick is legally entitled to it as the pseudonymous eroticist Rebecca Silver, and also THEY LIVE ON A TIME MACHINE AND WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT. There’s no way they’re not individually wealthy from a combination of their day jobs and smart investing (taking your time machine to 1803 and putting it in a moderate-yield savings account). But we get real insight into Mick, as does Charlie as their friendship grows. And Mona discovers that Mick is Rebecca Silver after she outs him at Romanticon, so she’s being brought deeper into the team dynamic.
Nate and Zari’s chemistry continues to grow. We finally get a kiss out of them, but it comes after a lot of Indana Jones roleplay: they head to the Adventurer’s Club in 1933 New York posing as Indy and Marion to capture the magical anomaly and find a golden egg discovered in the Arctic. Naturally, they are accosted by Nazis who also want the egg, and we actually get a little superpowers out of the two of them as they fight off Jerry. And eventually they kiss.
That kiss comes after Nate gets the snot beat out of him by Ray’s possessed arm, and this is where my quibble with the episode comes in. Brandon Routh is just too funny to make this as horrifying as it could have been. Neron slowly taking over his body could have been scary, but it was just amusing, which I’m sure was the intention for most of the episode. But the scene with him ground pounding an unconscious Nate should have been darker for it to land better, and it wasn’t because Routh is too likeable.
This is a minor complaint, sure, but with this show being pretty close to unassailable, I like to be on the lookout for stuff before it turns into an actual problem. I’ve got no problem with TV’s hottest sitcom, and honestly, this show has been so consisently good for so long I’m not especially worried about them developing a problem now.
DC UNIVERSE TIME BUBBLES
-In countless appearances throughout DC history, one character has routinely been portrayed as an egg: Plastic Man. Making the egg a dragon egg is an enormous missed opportunity that probably would have been equally as expensive to animate as a dragon but been a thousand times more awesome. (Seriously, Plastic Man has been an egg in everything from Dark Knights: Metal to Dark Knight Strikes Again and I hope you appreciate me because I went back to DKSA to check and it’s worse than you remember).
-One of Mick’s books is called “Heat Waves,” which is his superhero name when they want to do superhero stuff. I admit I laughed as I was rewinding the show to make sure I caught it right.
-Tonight’s line of the night: Nate’s “In the words of Ray and Mike Tyson, ‘I think we’ve found our mythtery man.'” I laughed pretty hard.
-There were so many objectively bad lines that I think were entirely intentional. The book club book that Sara listens to on the treamill is almost entirely garbage, with “A killer was amongst me” and “There’s something I’ve been meaning to kill you.” The tagline for Heat Waves is “In space, no one can hear you moan,” which I’m certain has been used before. And the Nazis who attack Nate and Zari for the egg drop a beaut: “He vill kill you until you tell me where ze real egg is.”
-This is a ridiculous thing for the show to reference, but when Nate was trying to slink around the tripwires and steal the egg from the Adventurer’s Club, he was moving like Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment.
-It’s not new this episode, but have we talked about the Superfriends noise that Zari’s amulet makes when she uses her power? It’s pretty on the nose as sound effects go, but it’s also pretty correct.
-Mick’s schtick is basically Mr. Torgue’s.
–Next week on Legends: They’ve got a dragon egg, so of course Neron and Constantine are going to head to a glacier.