This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 10
Usually when Legends of Tomorrow does a plot episode, they’re somewhere between subpar and crap. This is a show that’s strength is its characters, both in how confident and comfortable the writers and actors are in developing them, and in how utterly and totally silly they can get without ever breaking the show’s schtick.
“The Great British Fake Off” is a plot episode that bucks that trend, though. Even though this week was all about moving the plot along (and boy did they ever), we still got some terrific character moments out of it, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, a love triangle that makes sense.
At the end of last week, the Legends were closing in on the last piece of the Loom of Fate, Sara was getting zapped by Atropos (who returns this week, giving off a HEAVY Bloodrayne-played-by-Dwight-Schrute vibe, and that’s…a compliment? I think? What a weird show), and Behrad was getting killed, setting Zari off with Constantine for the rest of the Loom so she could bring her brother back.
This week picks up with Charlie telling the story of how she got rid of the last piece: in ancient Egypt, she gave it to the Enchantress (Yes! That one! And thankfully not Cara Delevingne) to hide for her. That doesn’t amount to anything, so John gets everyone in a circle to help him track down the loom piece. But Sara, feeling the ill effects of Atropos’s zap, collapses and breaks the circle. John and Zari reach for it, fall into a hole, and get taken to John’s house, but at an indeterminate point in time that’s some time before 1950.
The rest of the gang, minus a comatose Sara, tries to track them down on the Waverider when they notice a horde of encores converging on a single point before the prognosticator zonks out, so rather than try and figure out when all these historical bad guys are going, Ava grabs Gary and Mick and takes them to Hell to force Astra to call them off.
The two plot threads are catalysts for both the overarching story of the season – the hunt for the loom and Constantine’s attempt at redemption – and for character work for Ava and Zari. Zari and John flirt hard, first pretending to be affianced to get around the morals of the time, then trying to bullshit their way through a house full of some of the greatest murderers in history; Brutus, Black Caesar, Bonnie and Clyde, Jack the Ripper, and Henry the Eighth. Their flirting is straight out of the love/hate romcom playbook, too. There’s a pat on the back from John that’s just dripping with condescension, and it’s such a nice moment.
We continue to see what a fabulous character InstaZari is. She gives us some looks into her updated backstory, how everyone treated her like a joke because she is an influencer and what that did to her psyche. But then she runs a con as Cleopatra and is legitimately brilliant, quoting Shakespeare and power moving her way into talking this group of killers into working together. By the time she and John actually find the piece of the Loom, they’ve genuinely earned a near-kiss, setting up a love triangle with Nate that actually works really well and doesn’t leave me groaning because one leg doesn’t make sense.
The other character who gets to hand some of her shine off is Ava. We don’t necessarily get development of her per se. We don’t find anything out about her that we didn’t already know. But we do see her story reflected back by Astra, and how she responds to that is terrific. Astra doesn’t know that Lachesis is a Fate, or that Lachesis is running encores without her knowledge. So when Ava shows up in her club in Hell, she’s pissed and checks it out. There, she gets an offer to become their third sister and fakes acceptance, then lets the Legends tied up in her office loose and joins them back on the Waverider.
She does this because Ava pointed out to her that they’d both been manipulated through their development; Ava by Rip and his implanted memories and fake family, and Astra by Lachesis’ scheming guidance once she got to Hell. Ava tells her the only way she can push through that is to take control of her own story, and she does. Even though she’s playing both sides against each other to find the Loom, she’s still taken the reins. It’s really good to see.
My biggest complaint about this episode is that despite its title, it had very little in the way of British cooking contests contained in it. It did have a delightful bit with Mick storming back onto the Waverider to join the team, telling Charlie that he’s not spending time with Lita because “…she told me to go to hell. Where are we going?” and stepping into the team’s summoning circle.
We end the episode with the team in possession of the full Loom of Fate, John and Zari stealing glances at each other, and Sara unconscious in the med bay. We’re a lot closer to the end of the season now, and Legends of Tomorrow nailed this plot propeller of an episode.