Legends of Tomorrow: 5.12 Freaks and Greeks
Freaks and Geeks is a great episode that doesn’t quite live up to its Legends of Tomorrow potential. In order to use the Loom of Fate, Team Legs realise they need to be immortals. Luckily, Charlie knows of an ancient Greek cup of the gods, The Chalice of Dinoysis, that bestows a day of immortality on those who drink from it. Nate recognises the cup from his collage days (cue fun flashback scene of early OOs collage Nate) so the team know where to find it. Easy.
The collage itself also happens to be where Rory’s daughter Lita, wants go so he brings her along for the ride. The whole team head to the collage and they see Dion – who Charlie recognises as Dinoysis – that, being a Greek God in hiding hasn’t aged since Nate saw him umteen years ago. At first he’s fairly easy going about letting them use the cup, as he’s a fan of Charlie for giving humanity free will but Astra gets impatient and pisses him off and… look, basically the team have to join a sorority and beat a Greek God at a drinking game to win 24 hours of immortality. That’s the set up this week. This is Legends of Tomorrow after all.
I like that the men kind of take a back seat this week; its really nice to have an episode properly focused on the women of the team and Nate doing a college bro story, without Ray or even Behrad to reign him in, would have been tiring. I really am missing Ray this week. This is exactly the kind of story and setting that would suit him well and there is a Brandon Routh shaped whole in the show. After a disastrous attempt to join a sorority, Sara, Ava, Charlie, Zari and Astra decide to set up their own. This is all very goofy but it’s a great way for the characters to bond, specifically Astra. She’s resistant to their stupid plan and wants to grab and snatch and steal what they need. This story gives her a good opportunity to find a little sisterhood and mellow to the team.
Meanwhile, on their tour, Rory and Lita (well, Rory really) keep clashing with a snooty rich family. Eventually, when Nate pops up to see how they’re doing, Rory pretends that Nate is Lita’s father to try and impress the snooty folks and runs off. After the tour, Nate shows Lita around a little more, including the street of sorority houses. I love Nate being ga-ga for the collage experience, of course he is! Nate was an immensely forgettable character when he first joined the show. So vanilla. But with his powers, Grandfather and then father storylines, plus his various complicated romances, he’s actually not only melded into a fun and entertaining character but he’s had some of the best arcs and development.
But… he is a character who needs a partner, either Ray or Zari, to make his charmingness work. He’s funny this week for sure, but he gets a little lost in the dude-science-bro identity. Eventually he leaves Lita to go have a quick snoop around the frat houses. After Dion gives him some enchanted beer, Nate becomes one of Dion’s frat boy followers and lets slip about the plan with the Loom. Dion isn't happy about the Loom being reassembled, because he’s worried about humanity losing free will again. I like that Dion is less of a baddy and more simply an antagonist; he’s against the Legends but for valid, almost noble reasons.
At the sorority house, Zari has used a time corridor to make it look like Constantine’s home is the interior of a beat up old house they rented (the production is really getting its moneys worth from that Constantine set!). The sorority stuff is fun and we get some montage stuff and everyone bonds a little - with one of the misfit pledges who joined them taking Astra to one side and thanking her for believing in her. Ahhh, Astra’s hard exterior is starting to melt…
...Until Dion bans them form the chug challenge that would win them the cup and Astra decides to go and kill everyone. Nate has to talk her out of burning down Dion’s frat house and instead, they concoct a plan to throw a bigger party so Dion loses his followers because that’s how he gets his powers because Greek Gods because Legends of Tomorrow. I love just how silly this show is and I love a big stupid, complicated plan like this. I also like the contrast to these plans; Constantine, when he first joined the team, was always reluctant to join in the goofy schemes and heists that Team Legs come up with; before him Zari was the resistant newbie - now its Astra. It's good having someone on the team being frustrated by their zany techniques.
Rory, meanwhile, has travelled back in time and donated money to the University in the past so they’d name a huge building after him, in a bid to help get his daughter into the Uni. I love this kind of reckless but oddly practical approach to using time travel to fix little things. I feel like the show has become far more lucid with its time travel rules since it started – even if Gideon can’t bring people back from the dead anymore?
Eventually, after some serious sabotage from the Legends, Dion’s party moves to the sorority house and the plan seems to be working – Dion and his few remaining loyal buds turn up and Sara (still blind, remember) challenges him to beer pong. Of course she wins - she’s Sara - and Rory is able to lift the chalice and bring it to the Legends. Dion, who seems a pretty good guy actually, admits defeat and allows the Legends to drink from the cup and gain a day of immortality. Lita decides not to attend this University and the misfit sorority decide to stay together after the Legends have gone. Happy endings all round. Everyone drinks from the cup except Zari, because it’s against her religion… but I’m sure she got drunk with Constantine before? Just before the Legends leave, Astra is confronted by Lachesis outside and told its time to pay her debt! Oh no, just as she was becoming a bit of a goodie…
This is a fun episode and I’m glad it plays around with the sorority rather than a fraternity idea, as that would be a bit draining with the current line up of Legends. But I also think the episode didn’t quite have an identity. Not every episode has to be a genre parody but there are lots of 80s collage movie tropes that might have been fun to play with here that never quite get tapped into. It also has the modern day money saving episode feel to it. The development of Astra is working nicely and I’m fully expecting her to be a signed up member of the crew by the end of the season. Oh, the team are now immortal – for a while – so thats nice!