It’s the Custodians of Chronology / Sirens of Space Time / The Puppets of Tomorrow! Robert Turnbull reviews the Legends of Tomorrow mid-season finale.
Legends gave us a great cliffhanger last week and it doesn’t disappoint with the resolution. Honestly, about 10 minutes in I started wondering what the hell was going on but in the best tradition of Custodians of… sorry, Legends of Tomorrow.
*Deep breath* After Constantine travelled back in time to break up with his boyfriend Desmond to save Desmond from the demon chasing his soul, time was re-written resulting in a timeline where Sara was killed by the unicorn and Ray, Rory and Nate travel around killing all magical creatures and Zari is a cat and Constantine is in jail and remembers both timelines and Ava is a goth and oh my god I just love this show!
Charlie and Cat-Zari are the only people who know that time has changed because they were protected in the time-stream, while their memories are in tact they’re not free from the effects of the time changes, hence Zari is a cat and Charlie can shape shift again. There is a lot in this episode that doesn’t quite make sense on close inspection but it doesn’t really matter, the speed and enthusiasm with which the show belts along is infectious and hilarious.
After this first time reset, in which the unicorn killed Sara, the remaining (male) Legends have re-branded as the Custodians of the Chronology complete with cheesy, A-Team style title sequence. This whole timeline is hilarious but gets better when, after Charlie and Constantine go back and kill the unicorn in an attempt to fix the timeline, re-set things meaning different Legends died thanks to different magical encounters and Sara, Ava and corporeal Gideon (never explained why she’s solid in this timeline) are a grind-house, Charlie’s Angelsesque team The Sirens of Space-Time. After another reset they’re all puppets and do singing.
Trying to break down just what goes on in this episode is pointless, because everything goes on in this episode. As Ava put it, this much timey wimey makes her head hurt (yes, they manage a casual throw away Doctor Who reference in thre mix, why not). Constantine keeps resetting the timeline resulting in weirder and more unacceptable versions of reality (including one where Gary is dead so, not all terrible) but eventually he is faced with the reality that the only way to reset time as it should be, is to go back and allow Desmond to be dragged to Hell. This is heartbreaking and also Legends of Tomorrow’s greatest strength; in the midst of all this batshit crazy, self referential, comic book, pop culture mayhem, the story still comes back to basic, real human drama – and it does so without things jarring.
Constantine Back to the Future Part IIs around in the scene he already went back to. After watching recent past him wait for older past him to leave and break up with Desmond, he nips in and un-breaks up with him. Matt Ryan manages to bring a lovely, bitter-sweet darkness to Constantine in this PG, network television version of the character and the kiss that resets time is a cool and touching moment for his wisecracking, magic hard man.
Once time is reset everything seems back to normal, a great gag about the Legends missing calls from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen and Kara Danvers is met with Ray commenting “Huh, probably the annual crossover” which feels less like a wink to camera and more like a staring contest with the audience. Those cheeky Legends. It’s never quite explained what happened to Mona after last week (she was left badly wounded) but everything else from before Constantine broke time is resolved.
It’s a shame that Legends of Tomorrow wasn’t part of the big cross over event this year but they’ve more than made up for it by having their own, mini Elseworlds style adventure, which, in just 43 minutes, manages to top the combined efforts of its three sister shows with effortless charm. Keep up the wacky work Legends of Tomorrow, TV needs more shows like you.
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