Legends of Tomorrow: 4.04 Wet Hot American Bummer

Legends of Tomorrow has always been strong in the witty, pun failed title department (Helen Hunt will stay a classic forever) and Wet Hot American Bummer is a prime example.

The episode starts with Sara and Ava watching Swamp Thaaaang. The A.V. Club have been making plenty of noise about the fact Legends of Tomorrow riffs on a bad review they gave them 4 years ago in this scene. Calm down The AV Club, we get it, you’re famous now.

So Team Legs get wind of a swamp thing (no, unfortunately not that Swamp Thing. He does get a shout out from Constantine, though) and head to an 80’s summer camp to find out what’s lurking in the woods. Legends of Tomorrow isn’t exactly subtle at the best of times and the hidden monster is pretty easy to spot right off the bat but the episode is less about the monster and more about the characters developing.

There is a darkness to proceedings this week, simply because those being attacked by the supernatural foe are kids at summer camp. This is Legends of Tomorrow, not Doctor Who, so you know the kids aren’t gonna die; even so, there hits a point kid way through the show when the rest of the Legends are being pretty goofy about everything but Constantine has had enough of kids being taken by demons.

In this setting Constantine inevitably leans towards the goofy side of things but the writers allow Matt Ryan just enough moments of fierce, righteousness to keep him relevant. This week, with the monster being less whimsical than the past few weeks, Constantine gets angry and dark and does some good old magic, including using his own life force to save one of the children. Matt Ryan has developed a whole language of magical hand movements and eye rolls that he brandishes with a confidences that really sells the idea that Constantine flicks magic around with ease and mastery. I also like the slightly Doctor Strange on a budget CGI sparkly runes they put over the top.

A big factor in this week’s story is the realisation that Ava never had a childhood. Ava joins the team for some reason this week but while Sara is liked by the girls at the summer camp, Ava is overly militant and domineering with her approach to being a councilor - culminating in the girls prancing her and pushing her in the lake. The reality of this slightly obvious set up of cool-councilor, upright councilor is that Ava has never been a child so genuinely has no concept of what it is to be a child or how they behave.

To be honest, this concept is a bit of a stretch as she was implanted with the memories and experiences of being a child and until finding out she was a clone last season didn’t even know she hadn’t really been a child. Ava’s mementoes may not be real but she still has them so surely she still fake-remembers what it was like to be a child? Still, this grumble aside (Legends of Tomorrow never was one for logic) it allows for some very touching movements between Sara and Ava, especially when Constantine gives them a potion allowing them to transform into children, so as to better infiltrate the camp kids.

The young girls do a great job of playing the juvenile versions of Sarah and Ava and it culminated in a cool pre-teen/demon fight sequence that would make Buffy proud. They also shared a (literally) magical kiss as they transformed back into their older selves. I really enjoy the Sara/Ava relationship, it’s sweet and honest and it’s always nice to see a stable relationship in a genre drama. Too often there is some conflict or dark secret at play. I really hope that these characters get to stay together, with no break up of death. More stable romantic couple on TV, please!

Charlie (Amaya2) gets a soft intro this week, trapped on the Waverider having a heart to heart with Rory she eventually ends up giving some valuable advice to the team, before being let out so she can have a rock chick makeover. It’s good to see Maisie Richardson-Sellers playing a less irritating character then Amaya, though she’s maybe laying her stoic Cockney accent on a bit thick.

This a was another fun, Legendsy episode, leaving us with an injured Constantine leaving us on a cliffhanger tat involves bringing in Nora. Ray will be happy…

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