Legends of Tomorrow: 4.03 Dancing Queen
The Legends rock up in London 1977 to tackle some mischievous punk rockers after the Queen flashes her bum to the press in a mosh-pit causing the destabilisation of the British monarchy and Nate fights a magic plant to avoid doing the quarterly reports... that’s right, its Legends of Tomorrow and we’re literally three episodes in!
This is a great fun episode which doesn’t do too bad a job of showing 70’s punk London. The punk club the Legends visit has the right feeling of busy griminess and the squat where the band live has the right dirty feel to it.
After being teased by the others for not being punk enough for a punk rock mission Ray, of course, ends up accidentally joining the punk band, winning their trust and sealing one of the Queens corgis. The episode guest starts Anjli Mohindra, who gives a great performance as a magical shape-shifting creature simply trying to rile against the injustices of conformity by forming a punk band in late 70’s London. Classic story.
The episode has some pretty solid British accents going on, a couple of the band mates are a little off but they get away with it, especially when the Irish member is shown to be faking his accent anyway. The one cast member who really lets the side down is some vet who briefly appears on the TV after the return of Ray’s snatched corgi. This one awful accent really jolts you out of the moment and is a bit of shame.
While the A team are whizzing about trying to save the Royal Family, Nate has been charged with updating files with magical information for the Time Bureau. This is a boring task that he quickly gets distracted from by Gary (still, too much Gary guys, please, retire him). This leads to them fronting down a saber tooth tiger in the Pleistocene period while having a heart to heart about their various dumpings (Gary by Constantine and Nate by Amaya). Its another great Legends of Tomorrow bit of self reference, with Gary questioning is Nate has any defining character qualities outside of being Amaya’s arm candy.
After they return and see that the particular anomaly they went to investigate has disappeared they decide its job well done and Gary presents Nate with a pant from the trip as a memento. I know these guys are playing comic relief but really, Gary, really? Gary is dangerously inept and incompetent and I can’t believe that any organization like the Time Bureau would have hired him in the first place, let alone keep him on. Oh well, they fight a magic carnivores plant and it’s funny.
A lot of this episode is about Ray trying to reassert himself within the group as not just being a goody-goody. After realizing the magic-punk is just another lost misfit, like The Legends, he decides to help and protect her from the rest of the team. This is actually a bit of a trend for ray, he’s always protecting misunderstood villains and going against the team. His actions today, lead to him confessing to Sara that he let Nora go at the end of last season. Sara ain’t fussed. She just grumbles and says he hopes Nora is good now. I love how “Whatever” everyone is in this show.
During the finale Anjli Mohindra-imp changes into various members of Team Legs to try and shame them into letting her live, settling on Amaya (complete with disco outfit, having seen a picture of her in disco gear earlier it’s the only visual frame of reference she has) in this form Zari doesn’t have the heart to send her to hell and Constantine ends up putting a spell on her to inhibit her ability to shape shift.
This is a bit of a shame because I would have quite happily seen Anjli Mohindra join the team - as it is, we now have Maisie Richardson-Sellers back on board, only his time with her own accent and a far more interesting personality. Last season I enjoyed Maisie but found the character of Amaya near unbearable. She was most fun when playing a pirate, so if this new character is more like Maisie playing a pirate I’ll be happy. It’s also a fun, very Legends of Tomorrow way of closing out one character arc without losing a cast member.
I especially liked this week, Constantine sodding off after getting bored with the mission. Zari is sent to find him. He turns up in a bar in 70’s Liverpool chatting with a barmaid. The barmaid is of course his mum (not exactly an unexpected twist). I was impressed with the authenticity of the pub setting and casting of a British actress, who delivered a good Liverpool accent. Legends of Tomorrow actually seems quite good at these little touches when sometimes other shows might not bother.
The following scene, of Constantine trying repeatedly to kick his father so hard in the bollocks that he’ll never be born, is silly fun; causality paradox means every time he tries he phases from existence for a split moment, with Zari explaining if he kicked his father so hard that he’d never been born he couldn’t come back to kick his father and never be born… the usual paradox stuff. But what isn’t immediately addressed here is the fact that Constantine actually wanted to prevent his own birth, suicide by time travel. This is a very dark moment which maybe gets a bit lost in the funnies.
I always love a Ray centric episode and they always make me wish Routh was still playing Superman. This was a fun, silly, very Legends of Tomorrow episode. We’re still gently positioning characters and don’t even really know who the big bad is yet, which is quite nice in this landscape of long-form, series arcs and masked villains. A bit of episodic fun never hurt anyone.