Legends of Tomorrow: 5.05 A Head of Her Time
This week the Legends visit Marie Antoinette because of course they do.
The episode starts off with Sara having to take a trip to Star City without the rest of the Legends, so she puts Ava in charge. It’s a bit odd that we just lose Sara for the whole episode but it works well despite her absence, with the key developments focused on Constantine, Ava and Zari. Ava is nervous about taking charge, especially when Sara reassures her no one likes the captain. Zari overhears their conversation and we’re still not clear what her deal is; we know who she used to be the but the Legends don’t, so I’m not sure why they’d keep her around?
There are some good ongoing character beats for everyone this week. Early on we get to see Ray accidentally say I love you for the first time to Nora over video chat – which is actually very cute. Nora was so boring when first introduced as an adversary, but the development of her turning good and Ray falling for her has been a nice, relatively slow (if inevitable) burn. Mick is also love sick this week, after hooking up with his ex at the school reunion last week. While the show may have settled into his character over the past season or so without much major change, Mick has had one of the most dramatic arcs – you almost forget that he was actually an antagonist in the first season. Its fun to see how he’s changed and I’m glad they’re pushing him a bit more because he has got a bit too settled recently.
As acting captain, Ava tries to give the team some Time Bureau style training, which of course they are not really interested in. Feeling like she’s not doing a good job of commanding, she gets Gideon to search out some anomaly to deal with and finds a good one. So it’s off to 1793 Versailles to save the French revolution and that means… BIG COSTUMES! After a little back and fourth, it's decided that Zari can go with them as well, which is a little weird as she’s (in the current context) just a passengeron the Waverider. Still, she goes and helps them bluff their way into the court party. There the team encounter Marie Antoinette who is, for some reason, played by Courtney Ford? I’m not sure why. It doesn’t really come up as a major plot point or anything; she just does.
All the Versailles stuff is really good fun. Courtney Ford is great as Marie Antoinette with a ridiculously silly French accent but she also plays the character with an Alice in Wonderland kind of madness. Ava realises that Marie Antoinette in the Encore and has the power of charm and is basically causing people to party to death - because of course she is. With the men under her power, it's up to Ava and Zari to take down Marie. There is a lot of good, fun stuff here and it really integrates new Zari into the team. I’m also enjoying Ava in charge, even if Sara left in a pretty casual way.
Constantine is stuck in his mansion house with Charlie and Gary… and some creepy ghosts. Unfortunately, I am done with the Charlie character now. Maisie Richardson-Sellers is just not very good. Amaya was a terrible character and I hoped the shift to Charlie might open things up. But her performance as this character is even worse. It doesn’t help that Charlie really feels like an excess character. The ideas of the same actor playing a new character was great, but it feels like they’ve already managed the same concept better with Zari.
Constantine gives us a lot of back story on Astra and her mum and why he did what he did. We get some good stuff for his character and a fairly solid reinterpretation of some of his comic book roots. While his own show was, on the surface, much darker, I do think Legends of Tomorrow allows a lot of fun exploration of his character and I forgive the watering down in this context.
Back on the Waverider, Marie Antoinette and Zari have a heart to heart about people's perceptions of them, Marie isn’t a villain in the same way the others were (to such an extent it doesn’t make much sense why Astra chose to send her back). Zari decides to check her own legacy, worried she’ll be seen as a spoilt rich kid like Marie and discovers her brand flops after her perfume destroys peoples sense of smell. So she steals Marie Antoinette’s perfume, which she now realises was how she controlled people, to use instead of her own perfume and heads off to her launch because this is Legends of Tomorrow and that’s just how episodes go. Ava realises she and Zari were immune to Marie Antoinette’s perfume because they had Zari’s gross perfume in their noses and the team rush off to stop Zari at her launch.
At the launch, a convoluted chain of events leads to Zari being covered in Marie Antoinette’s perfume and the crowds falling in love with her and chasing her like love struck zombies. Ava and the team obviously turn up and save the day and Zari learns her lesson. The whole sequence is great fun and results in Zari’s brand being ruined, leaving her open to joining the Legends full time. While all this is going on, Marie Antoinette’s headless body chases Mick and Ray around the ship, because obviously it does. I’d be disappointed if it didn’t.
Before the episode is done, Zari has a donut-induced flashback to her other self. I feel a little conflicted, as I really want old Zari back but I also don’t like the idea of this Zari ‘dying’. It seems harsh to get rid of her, especially after spending time getting to know her and developing her, so I’m interested to see how they resolve this plot thread.
The episode ends with Constantine having got some closure with Astra’s mum, now determined to find the Loom of Fate after Charlie confesses to being an ancient being who scattered parts of the magical device that can re-write reality (seriously, how many reality re-writing items are there in this multiverse?) In Hell, Astra has been getting more and more annoyed at Constantine and so manipulates his soul coin to bring him to the point of death. On Earth, Constantine suddenly gets a lifetime’s worth of cancer all at once, dropping to the floor vomiting blood. I really like that they’re playing with ideas from the comics, just gently twisting them into the show's framework. Sure, Constantine will get better in a few episodes I’m sure but I’m glad they’ve never made him too fun and goofy.
This was a great episode; it was odd that Sara just left for a bit and I don’t quite get why Courtney Ford played Marie Antoinette but hey, since when does Legends of Tomorrow have to make sense?