Legends of Tomorrow: 5.09 Zari, Not Zari
Zari gets an idea of who she was and with it some closure. And also some zombies as well, because this is Legends of Tomorrow after all.
There is an early moment of Zari waking up in Nate’s bed which is fun, Gideon assures everyone that Zari just slept walked there but it all adds to Nate’s hopes that they will end up together. I have a feeling he’s going to be disappointed eventually. This incident throws up more questions about who Zari was and what residual memory she might have of her former existence; a chat with her brother along with some hidden video game skills and unexpected manifestation of her powers (plus a nice shout out to the Wonder Twins) leads to Behrad suggesting a spirit walk.
Zari spends most of the episode in the spirit realm, talking with old version Zari. Its really nice to see the older version again. It really highlights how much Tala Ashe shines in the duel roles because she really feels like two different people, not just her earlier version in a different outfit. The idea that old version Zari is gone but still exists in the spirit world is sort of nice, but a little sad. This episode feels like its putting a lid on the idea of old Zari returning. She basically gives her blessing to new Zari’s existence and reassures her that having her brother and parents back in the world is worth it.
We start with a quick flashback to Charlie’s 80’s punk rock band The Smell, just after she left them. One of The Fates, Atropos, turns up, played by a great Joanna Vanderham and kills a load of people. She’s gonna be trouble. Charlie is trying to avoid looking for the loom after hearing her band bates have been killed by her sister, but Constantine keeps pushing to find it. Eventually he, Charlie and Sara head to Vancouver where they think another piece of the loom might be. This is where we get the much touted (sort of) Supernatural crossover. All this actually seems to consist of is a weirdly unattended prop car and zombies in crew jackets.
I don’t watch Supernatural, I’m sure for a die hard fan of the show this is a big deal and I know Supernatural is the crossover show but I would have liked to see this gag expanded a little. It seems that Team Legs have stumbled across the filming location for the latest season of Supernatural, hence the prop car and crew but I felt like the concept needed more. A scene with the main actors at the lunch table discussing the fact they can't shoot their scenes because the crew keep disappearing or even Sara sneaking on set to steal prop weapons while a stressed 3rd AD complains that the stars won’t come out of their trailers would have added a lot to the idea of the crossover, as well as cement the safety of the talent. As it is, even with the crew turning into zombies, I wasn’t sure why a prop vehicle would be left unguarded and unlocked in a forest clearing during shooting?
Charlie is front and centre this week, with her struggle against what she feels is safe - hiding the loom - and what she feels is right - helping Constantine and keeping the loom from her sisters. It’s nice to see Constantine being a little self serving. Yes, he’s a little cuddlier in Legends of Tomorrow than the comics but they have just enough episodes and moments to remind us deep down he’s selfish, self serving and manipulative, even when trying to do the right thing. He’s actually not unlike Rip Hunter in a lot of ways, though Rip had a stronger sense of nobility and Constantine doesn’t want to shag Gideon.
Its Rory and Ava who actually get one of the most interesting and fun plot strands this week. Rory can’t figure out why his kid hates him so much. I feel like some of the resentment is a little misplaced as Rory didn’t know he had a kid until he met her a few weeks ago, already a teenager. Though I’m not sure if, in the adjusted timeline, he was told but doesn’t remember because he hasn’t lived it? Time travel is weird. The key issue is, Rory was never there for his daughter Lita growing up. So, Ava comes up with the idea of travelling back through time and visiting her at all her major life events, birthdays, holidays, prom etc etc.
This is great fun, a very interesting timey wimey idea to deal with the problem and massively, morally questionable. Surely inserting yourself into her life when you hadn’t already been part of it is going to massively change who she is as a person, the relationships she had growing up, her experiences etc? You are practically killing the Lita that exists to replace her with one that better suits you? This isn’t really addressed because hay, Legends of Tomrrow! But while we get a great montage of Rory turning up and spending time with his daughter (Ava posing as his parole officer) it ultimately doesn’t quite work; his daughter, as a teenager, still hates him. Not because he wasn’t there, now because he kept skipping out, turning up only for key holidays before leaving, which has damaged her just as much. So, I think her personality and existence are basically in tact and morally we can let this one slide. You got lucky there, Mick!
Charlie has a lot of two and fro with her sisters, before we all end up back on the Waverider. I wish I could like Charlie more but the focus on her this week just highlights how bad she is. They’ve woven her into the story far more this season but she’s still just tedious. There is a genuinely tense and kind of horrific moment when Behrad confronts Atropos and she tells him he doesn’t belong there, before pulling a thread of fate from his chest and cutting it, killing him instantly. It's amazing how attached I’ve become to his character after just nine episodes.
During their earlier fight, Sara looked directly into the eyes of Atropos and survived, which is a big deal (but Sara is a bad ass). On the ship, with Charlie’s help, Sara manages to lob Atropos' hand off and blow her out into the time stream, Alien style. When Zari come out of her trance and finds her brother dead she’s distraught but it gives her a good motivation to find and use the loom as well as allowing some quick growing up for her usually vain character. I guess sometimes a little bit of fridging can work for progressing characters quickly; Behrad’s death was a mini-fridging, like one of those desktop can fridges - coupled with her dream walk its allowed Zari to take a big jump forward in her capabilities.
The episode really pushed the whole plot forward in a pretty heafty way; we also see this week that Astra’s mentor in Hell, Lachesis, is in fact the third fate and everything shifts much closer to the big plot finale. Behrad’s death is the biggest, disruptive plot motivator but it still feels pretty organic and earned. The episode perhaps could have been a bit more fun; being he first post-Ray episode, I needed some goofiness. I didn’t really notice Ray wasn’t there though; I think because the show so often has characters stepping back or holding off from an episode, its not that unusual for someone to be out of the loop in any one week. Give it a couple of episodes, though and I’m sure I’ll feel the pain…