Legends of Tomorrow: 5.15 Swan Thong
Here we are, the Legends of Tomorrow season finale! And its… solid. A lot of shows deliver a great penultimate episode and a sloppy season finale; while this is far from a sloppy finale, last week's TV jumping episode was an excellent episode that was hard to beat.
So before the opening titles have even run their course, Team Legs have hatched a plan to destroy the Loom and recover the Waverider. Half the team go to a dump of forbidden things; I don’t know why, if you can re-write reality, the Fates didn’t just write those forbidden things out of existence? Unless maybe humanity had to reject the items in order to truly give in to the Fates? Its not really explored that deeply though, I think its just some good visuals and fun, convenient storytelling. The rest of the team, headed by Sara obviously, go to destroy the Loom.
This sequence in particular is great. It’s fun, exciting and the visuals of the Loom and Atropos’ death at Sara’s hands within the Loom look great. They’re evocative and just a little disturbing… not very, just enough to give the moment bite. I’ve been a big fan of Joanna Vanderham’s performance and its almost a shame not to have her around to terrorise the Legends anymore. With the Waverider found, a quick and funky rescue and all the team are back together (sans Charlie), an emergency jump sends them back to the dump a little way into the future.
If I’m honest, I think this is where perhaps the episode starts to lose cohesion a little. The open scene is a very strong continuation of the last episode but with the pace slowing down, the stakes seem to fall a bit lower and the episode never quite regains the momentum of this opening scene. The team discover that things have sort of gone back to normal-ish: they realise they successfully destroyed the Loom and Sara’s eyesight is back and her powers are gone. In fact, with the Loom gone, the remaining Fates have lost their powers as well, so no longer control the universe through their magic.
However, they have developed an app… because all good supernatural villains developed an app. Mona explains to Team Legs that when things fell, people were lost and needed guidance and the App filled the hole left by the fates. Now everyone check their smart watch to see what they should do, feel and think. I often think this show is similar to Doctor Who in much of what it does and there are echos of several Doctor Who storylines here. When the team found a museum of history, showing the Fate’s preferred version of events, I was especially reminded of Doctor Who episode The Big Bang.
When Team Legs discover that the operating system for the Fate’s app in is fact a stolen Gideon, the Legends hatch a plan to get their tech back and stop the Fates for good. This involves rescuing Charlie from the museum where she is the live attraction as the worlds number on villain (number two are remarkably life like waxworks of the Legends themselves). I’ve never been a big fan of Maisie Richardson-Sellers in this show. She’s had moments and flashes of performance where I’ve relented a little but over all I just don’t enjoy, or especially highly, rate her performance. This week though – especially with this being her goodbye episode – she does a lot of the emotional and narrative heavy lifting and credits where its due, she delivers a strong performance. Yes, her annunciation and tone is weirdly breathy and disinterested sounding at times but she does actually sell her moments really well, especially when she confronts and forgives her fallen Sister.
The nature of the episode means that actually, the bad-guys are vanquished and order is restored relatively early in the episode. This is achieved through a song and dance fight sequence featuring a wax work of Sisqo brought to life singing The Thong Song. He was in the museum for crimes against humanity. Fair dues.
Once the day has been saved, the remaining episode time is spent on goodbyes and round ups - perhaps more than Legends of Tomorrow usually provide? I’m still reeling from the band-aid rip of last season’s finale moments. Here though, we get to say goodbye properly to Zari 1.0. Its great having two Zari’s this episode and almost immediately you feel that this is the new dynamic the show needs. Tala Ashe is so good playing both characters that you do start to forget that it’s the same actor and not just twins. Once Zari 1.0 realises that her existence is causing Behrad to die, she realises she needs to go back to the totem. She gets a really sad goodbye scene with Nate and while they’ve left things open for her to pop back anytime or even appear in an almost Gideon fashion (she could be Zari 2.0’s totem continence) it’s a really sad loss to lose her. Legends of Tomorrow isn’t Star Trek, so while I would have been down for examining the moral dilemma of choosing which Zari to keep, it wouldn’t really fit with the show. So we get a bitter sweet goodbye as the Zaris do the right thing.
We also see more of the Zari 2.0 and Constantine romance this week. I quite like this little hook up, I think it works very well with the contrasting characters but fits as they’re both pretty sexually confident. Whether it becomes a llove ffair storyline we’ll have to see and I’m less convinced about how that would work, but for now it works well, go team Cari… Zonstantine? Zari & Constantine! Astra also, for the time being at least, seems to be part of the gang? I’ve really enjoyed Olivia Swann on the show so would be happy to see her take up residency, though while there was some really good stuff last week, I’m not convinced she’s fully redeemed or forgiven Constantine, though that could add to the drama nicely if she sticks around.
I’m a little confused by episode end about what state the world is in. The Arrowverse has – at least as far as the characters all know – merged and now all the CW shows take place on Earth Prime. The adventure with the Fates has left a huge scar on the world. Things have been fundamentally changed but, unless I genuinely missed something in the general excitement of the episode, they didn’t reset anything? Doctor Who, for example, reset the world back to how it was on several occasions, after The Master, after the Pandorica, so that no one knew what had happened. Here it feels like the events have happened and history is changed? I feel like I must have missed a beat or perhaps its going to be addressed in the next season? But will Barry and Kara now have experienced a period when their lives where controlled by the Fates and they ate Blue Mush? (everyone likes the Blue Mush).
The episode ends proper with Charlie deciding to stay with her band, who died but now aren’t dead but it fine now (maybe this is where they addressed the world resetting?). Her decision to stay feels a little low key, especially after being in the show so long but it fits with the character of Charlie to say goodbye and go back to her own version of a simple life. In the closing moments of the show, as everyone walks half drunk back to the Waverider, a beam of light shines down on Sara and she gets literally beamed up and kidnapped! And that’s our cliffhanger, anyone who has read the season six synopsis knows a little of where this is going but, like much of this episode, it does feel a little unfocused in the last moments.
So… I do just have to mention Ray. It is so weird not having him in the finale, made weirder by the fact Courtney Ford pops back up as waxwork Marie Antoinette and Mona and Gary are able to help the Legends in the Orwellian hellscape. It feels almost, almost, plot holey that he isn’t involved in some way and I do feel like there is a hole in the show that will be hard to fill. Sara and Rory are now the only surviving, original Legends and while the show runners claimed the team would be shaking up each season, actually, it hasn’t been shaken up that much over it's five seasons. Losing Ray, losing Brandon Routh, as a huge loss to the show. I guess if the rumours of him suiting up again in the red and blue turn out to be true, it’ll be worth it but for now… I miss Superman... I mean, The Atom.
This was a great season, moving forward with all the confidence this show has been building over the years and it had a great finale arc. I’m looking forward to next season as always and really, really hope the team get to wear more hats!