This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Episode 9
After hitting a hot streak that covered just about the entire first half of the season, Legends of Tomorrowhad its first miss with the midseason finale. Now the show has dropped its first outright turd of the year with the first episode back. And to screw up a Lucha Libre episode…I’m not angry, just very disappointed.
“Luchas de Apuestas” is essentially a Mona episode. It starts by picking up on strands left from the first half of the season – the team is led to believe that Mona broke Konane out of monster jail and the time bureau has to get him back. Gary is sent to fire Mona, but she swipes his Men in Black mind eraser, zaps Gary, and helps Konane escape to Mexico City, 1961 where he becomes an unbeatable luchador on the Lucha Libre circuit.
Mona gets picked up by the Legends, who agree to help her look into her problem quietly. The team pulls Konane and Mona out of the ’60s, only to discover that removing El Lobo from that moment led to anti-government protests from the Mexican people who assume that the government was silencing the voice of one of their most popular wrestlers.
Zari discovers that Nate’s dad altered security footage, and they go to a gala his mom throws that evening to lift Hank’s phone and view the original footage. Meanwhile, Ava is begging Sara to stop looking into it and gets furious with the Legends for doing their own Legends thing with Konane and Mona. Even after being confronted with the evidence that Hank is rendering mythical creatures, Ava stays mad and breaks up with Sara.
Here’s the crux of my problem: Ava’s a rigid rule follower, sure, but that makes her double the type to not let something like what Hank is doing slide. Hank is having people in her custody kidnapped and then covering it up, and we’re supposed to believe that not only is she going to reluctantly passively support it, but that she’s going to end her long term relationship over it? That makes no sense.
The show tries to justify this decision by making it about funding the Time Bureau – that rocking the boat with Hank would jeopardize the billions in funding that the Bureau receives through him. But without even jumping to Legends logic, I can solve the problem for you in three words (extratemporal asset forfeiture). If we loop in Legends logic, I can rattle off five more (invent currency; compound interest; murder Steve Jobs and replace him with Ray Palmer; delay the US departure from the gold standard by a decade and buy up all the gold while time resets and hardens around you; do Boiler Room,only with Gideon as Vin Diesel) without batting an eye. All that is a way to demonstrate that this show has already stretched logic to its breaking point and relies entirely on confident, consistent character growth. They threw some of that character consistency out at the expense of the plot, and the episode suffered for it.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when Zari was first introduced, we figured out that this show was balanced on a razor’s edge – if you blow a hole through the core of the show, all the other things wrong with it that don’t matter suddenly become a bigger deal. That very much happens here. In another episode, it wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow that the announcer at a 1961 wrestling match in Mexico City would be speaking Spanglish. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith tango at the gala would have still felt derivative, but it would have been more fun too. I wouldn’t have been rewinding when Mick and Mona show back up for the finale in Mexico City without us ever seeing them go there – they just appear, and I don’t know where they came from.
“Luchas de Apuestas” is still a fun episode, but only because it’s impossible not to pull a little enjoyment out of these actors having a blast on camera. When measured against other episodes, against Legends of Tomorrow‘s usual quality, it’s just not very good.
DC Universe Time Bubbles
– Also, while we’re close to the tango scene, I would like to know what Jes Macallan does on arm day and how I can incorporate that into my workout. She’s pretty cut, man. P.S. My arm workout is “lifting coffee to my lips 150-200 times a day.” Please advise.
– Mindwiped Gary screaming, “WHERE’S MY NIPPLE” is maybe the best line of the entire series.
– Dominick Purcell’s “What kind of gun is this?” after hitting Mona with a tranquilizer dart is also up there.
– I don’t know how fair this is, but it feels like a missed opportunity that nobody got thrown through the announcer’s table in the climax.
– So Mona’s a werewolf now. I can’t actually find anybody she might be an analog of, in part because there’s no big name werewolf in the DC Universe. There’s Timber Wolf, the member of the Legion of Super-Heroes who turns into a wolf because of mad science gone wrong. And there’s Warren Griffith, the Creature Commando who serves in S.H.A.D.E. with Frankenstein and Father Time. And that’s about it.
– Next week! It’s the National Lampoon’s Vacation/Frost/Nixon mashup you never knew you wanted.