This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Episode 2
Legends of Tomorrow, while still a delightful romp, is tackling more serious issues this season and I can get behind that. With the world we live in (that seemingly gets worse every day) it’d be a waste if the series didn’t use its platform for some amount of good.
While the discussion of “should we change the timeline for the better” is fairly standard in Legends of Tomorrow by now, the series smartly adds a new dimension to it. It isn’t just for personal gain; it’s about how the lack of action reflects our real world issues today.
Zari isn’t about to change the timeline to save her mom, but she wants to root out anything that reminds her of it. When she sees Jane being condemned as a witch it’s all too familiar. It builds and builds throughout the episode until she directly confronts the people who are persecuting Jane. She lashes out and attacks. It’s a powerful moment, one Tala Ashe totally nails.
She can’t change what happened to her mom but she can at least take out her frustration. But is it that right? Just because someone hurt her does that give her the right to hurt them back? She stops and this is where the episode could be setting up an incredible emotional arc for the season.
What do we do in the face of evil? How can we combat it? Do we lash out, like Zari did at first? Or do we take the moral high ground, even if that means we can’t save the ones we love? On the surface Legends of Tomorrow seems to have its cake and eat it to. Zari is able to save Jane, her daughter, and make sure no one else is killed. It seems like a cop out of the moral dilemma the episode set up but there’s something deeper going on.
“We can’t let it turn us into monsters to,” Zaro says, but will that always work? Can you keep being the better person in the face of growing and more powerful evil? Depending on how Legends of Tomorrow runs with this Zari could be in for an amazing character arc that could tackle some tough moral issues in the age of Trump’s presidency.
Here it seems “being better” is enough, but what happens when your enemies don’t play by the rules? What happens when they push you to the brink and you don’t have any other options? Can civility keep back the forces of hostility and fear?
I hope Legends of Tomorrow has something more nuanced planned than the seemingly simple resolution to Zari’s plot here. “Being better than them” is an easy answer to a much more complex problem. I have faith the series is playing the long game here though. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes.
All of this was perfectly mirrored in the Fairy Godmother justifying her actions with how badly humans had misused her before. She wasn’t right to do it of course, and it was for much pettier reasons, but it made a good mirror for Zari to see herself in.
Also, I just wrote the words “Fairy Godmother” and followed up with a totally serious observation about her inclusion in the plot and emotional arc of a character. This is the power of Legends of Tomorrow, people. She sang! She turned Ray and Mick into pigs! She even got some great banter with Constantine. This show is beautiful.
Nate’s B plot was a nice little story, although I was more interested in the way it built out the series’ universe. It’s most importantly building relationships for Ava that don’t include Sara. Before now she was basically a love interest, which was okay, but with this she’s slowly integrating into the wider cast.
We’re also learning more about the Time Bureau and where it gets its funding, a question we didn’t need the answer to but is interesting all the same. More background like this helps the universe feel richer, plus it helped tie Nate’s dad into the whole thing. Thomas Wilson is always a delight and he brings a wonderfully rough edge to Nate’s dad.
And let’s end this review on perhaps the greatest single moment of the episode. Sara’s flawless pun.
“Let’s get our puritan, purit-ON.”
I love this show.
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