Legends of Tomorrow: 3.04 Phone Home
Well this is what The Legends does best – a crazy rip off…. I mean homage! Its probably hard to tell from the title because its so subtle but Phone Home is an ET homage and quite a good one.
After last week's slightly boring and cheap looking episode, this week kicks up the fun and the FX while giving us more insight into Ray’s past and fleshing Zari out a little more. The episode opens with a nice scene of a Little Ray 8 year-old being chased by FBI types with giant radios, so you know this episode is going to wear its influences on its sleeve.
After he disappears during a team building exercise, Team Legs discovered that Ray died when he was 8 years old. As soon as the team decided to intervene, Ray returns because time hasn’t solidified because time travel because of course. Turns out Little Ray has found a baby Dominator and befriended it, naming him Bubblegum. As soon as the team realise there’s a baby Dominator around, they assume that’s what kills Little Ray – we know from the opening scene it was the FBI types with giant radios.
Everyone is quite mean to Ray in this episode, especially Zari who doesn’t like his genuine optimism. The main character work is done with these two, both bonding a little and opening up Zari’s personality a bit more. She’s still a bit off-the-peg but obviously there hasn’t been much development yet. We get to see Little Ray and the fact that he had quite a lonely childhood. A scene where he and the team see him being bullied and Big Ray insists they were his friends, cements the idea of a lonely childhood spent with books, toys and games and adds padding to his optimistic-to-the-point-of-delusional, personality - as well as his desire to be a hero.
I like Ray a lot so any episode that gets to focus on him and expand his character, I’m all for. There is a nice side element of Nate thinking Ray’s mum is hot and the scene where he tries to be cool and impress her while disguised as an animal exterminator is good fun – as well as its follow up scene where a disguised Dominator reciprocates his advances. They seem to be leaning into Nate as good looking idiot, which makes his character far more tolerable and his actions less malignant. Amaya, unfortunately, is up to her usually Grumpy Girlfriend routine. She must have eyestrain from the amount of eye-rolling she does.
While Ray and Zari chase after Little Ray and Nate and Amaya walk around a forest a bit – they seem to walk around forests a lot – Sara tries tracking down the baby Dominator's mother, who is naturally pissed that her kid is lost. While all this is gong on Jax and Rory discover Stein has been sneaking back in time to visit and communicate with his daughter. With her about to give birth, they borrow the Waverider to nip back/forward so Stein can be there. I’d expected a bit more form the inevitable giving birth episode but it did serve the wider story this week, taking the Waverider out of action at a pivotal moment.
Of course the team save the Baby Dominator, restore Ray’s flagging faith in his own optimism and even manage a Singin' in the Rain inspired song and dance routine before returning the baby Dominator to his worried mother. The only thing missing from this Spielberg homaging episode was a sequence where they fly past the moon on bicycles… On no, wait, they totally did that. In Legends of Tomorrow’s trademark yeah, whatever balls to the wall attitude, Zari uses her totem to make her and Little Ray’s bikes fly away from the FBI types with giant radios, in what was, I have to say, one of the better realsied ET spoofs/homages/rip-offs I’ve seen. You have to give this show credit, they don’t do things by halves and in true Legends fashion, they hang a lampshade on it when Nate literally says “Oh, just like ET” (and they squeeze in one last extra joke with Amaya not knowing what ET is). I also kind of hope and assume that an adult Bubblegum will come back into the show at some future point.
This was a fun, exciting and heart string-tugging episode of Legends of Tomorrow, after last wee'ks slightly boring episode this has brought us quickly back to what I like and expect from the show. We got plenty of cheesy laughs, fun action and emotional beats; turns out Rory loves musicals and there was even a DeLorean as well as the gang joining Little Ray, in their costumes, to go trick or treating at the end! More of this please!