Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 9 Review: Zari Not Zari

Legends of Tomorrow returns from a break with a surprise ass kicker of an episode.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 9: Zari, Not Zari
Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW

This Legends of Tomorrow review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 9

Legends of Tomorrow does a lot of things really well, but one thing it hasn’t done in a long time is make me pump my fist and shout “HELL YEAH” at the TV. That changed with the last three minutes of “Zari, Not Zari,” and that brief flash came at the end of a really good episode otherwise. 

Tala Ashe is outstanding. She’s been amazing as Influencer Zari all season, changing everything about how she presented Zari’s character, but occasionally showing flashes of her old self. Tonight, we got both Influencer Zari and resistance hacker Zari on the screen at once, as she goes into her brother’s totem to find out the truth of her shift. The totem contains some shreds of the consciousnesses of all the past holders, so when Behrad gets her a little high, she gets to go in and reveal to herself that her plan with Heyworld, to change the past and save her family, worked. Her relief and contentedness with that decision are so good, but it’s especially striking to see how much her body and face conveyed the change between the two characters right next to each other. And then we get to see more stellar work from her in showing grief, as when she comes down from her meditative trip, she discovers that her brother was killed by Charlie’s muse sister, the very Bloodrayne-ey Atropos.

This show has managed to develop a really neat habit of masking its main plot. The episode starts with three storylines. In one, Ava talks Mick into going back in time to be there for parts of his daughter’s life, to try and change history and be involved with her. This plotline is the only reason this isn’t a perfect episode: it’s hilarious, but it also doesn’t make sense if you really start thinking about the rules this show has established for time travel, and it doesn’t resolve so much as it just goes away. It also kind of fundamentally breaks Mick’s character even further – he does one Halloween with Lita and they’re dressed as Heat Wave and Captain Cold. It’s absolutely delightful, but I paused the episode for a couple of minutes to think about how he could continue to exist as Heat Wave after this, what with all the enjoyable, earnest, genuine character growth he’s had over the last few seasons. But this one I’m okay with. 

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The “main” storyline, on its face, is just an old Scooby-Doo crossover episode. The hunt for pieces of the Loom of Fate is on hold, with Ray and Nora’s departure last episode, but Constantine won’t wait, so he heads to where piece two is: the Vancouver set of the latest season of Supernatural. Constantine is being chased by Atropos, who has linked up with Lachesis, the woman stoking Astra’s rage in hell. Charlie and Sara chase him down, but when Atropos catches up to them,  Constantine tries to hold her off and fails – she shapeshifts into John’s face, steals the second piece from Charlie, then jumps the Waverider to get the first piece back. The only way this part of the episode could have been any better is if Padalecki and Ackles actually showed up, but the only real crossover between the two shows is their car.

Zari is inside the totem when Atropos arrives, so Behrad hands over the loom piece to keep her safe. But when Atropos’ back is turned, he grabs a sword and takes a swing, and she decides to pull his strand out of the tapestry, literally pulling a glowing thread from his chest and severing it, leaving him dead on the ground.

From there, the show drops one of its best non-Beebo setpieces on us. Atropos is leaving, but Sara gets the Waverider off the ground and into the space outside time before she can get away. They fight in an airlock, Sara gets Gideon to open the door, and Charlie cuts her hand off, throwing Atropos out of time and leaving the pieces of the loom on the floor of the Waverider. And Zari, all cried out for Behrad, accosts a recovering Constantine in the med bay with all of old Zari’s determination and tells him she’s in to hunt down the rest of the loom.

For 95% of this episode, it was typical great Legends of Tomorrow fare: absurdly funny, full of great character work and at least one moment that made me shout DC theory at the screen (this week: “Wait, are they doing Hypertime?”). They did another really funny “everybody snarks in the hallway in the morning” scene. Mick, despite being part of the weakest plot thread, gets some of the best lines, reading one of his own Rebecca Silver books to Lita and snarling out “Hahaha, dumb bastard” in front of a 3 year old. But they use all of these traditional Legends trappings to skillfully build to a climax that hit harder than the show usually does, and I loved it.

Rating:

4.5 out of 5