The latest episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow may have centered around a killer doll voiced by Paul Reubens, but it also took a deeper look at the tragic history of John Constantine. Now we know what led him to join the Legends on their magical quest, and we’ve learned who’s been hunting him this entire time. Surprise! He’s a pretty evil dude.
“Hell No, Dolly!” kind of feels like two different episodes smushed together. On one hand, you have the Sara, Ava, Ray, and Mick — who go by the name the “A Team” because why not—trying to find a murderer in 19th century New Orleans. Turns out, it’s a doll possessed by the ghost of a serial killer (and voiced by a delightful Reubens). The doll is destroyed and brought to the Waverider, only for the ghost to escape and possess the therapy puppet that looks like Martin Stein. I don’t get it and neither do you, and the show doesn’t bother explaining it. This is Legends of Tomorrow, it’s too cool to make sense.
Then, you’ve got the B Team with its own, much darker storyline. Zari and Charlie are supposed to be helping search for the murderer, but that whole plan goes up in smoke after Constantine is captured by the famed Voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau. She recognises John’s necklace, as she’s wearing the same one. It’s a family heirloom that provides protection, and the last in her line to wear it was Constantine’s boyfriend.
What results is a flashback to a true rarity: A happy moment in Constantine’s life. Six months before joining the Waverider, he met a young restaurant worker named Desmond and fell in love, setting down in New Orleans so they could move in together. But of course, that all ended in tragedy. So, John spends the entire episode trying to change the past — something we all know doesn’t work unless your name is Amaya — because Desmond was dragged to hell by the very demon who’s been pursuing Constantine since the season premiere.
His name...is Neron.
That name should strike fear into every Legend’s heart, because Neron is a force to be reckoned with. The demon-lord is a major DC Comics villain, a trickster known for making Faustian bargains. He was first introduced in 1995 with Underworld Unleashed, and was John’s main foe in the more recent Constantine: The Hellblazer. In that series, Neron was a lower-level broker demon who rose through the ranks to become ruler of hell using scrupulous means. He was presented as a clear analogy of Donald Trump, going so far as to say he was going to “Make Hell Great Again.” It’s...not subtle.
In Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine reveals that Neron wanted his help in usurping the Triumvirate, which is also from DC comics. The Satanic Triumverate is a trio of demonic leaders of hell, and there have been a couple of versions over the years. The big one consists of the First, Second, and Third of the Fallen, while another featured Lucifer, Beelzebub, and a third demon (it rotated depending on the series).
It’s unclear which version they’re going with here, but I’d guess it involves the Fallen, since DC’s Lucifer is its own show.
Anyway, Constantine refused to help Neron, even though he holds the deed to Constantine’s soul. Since Neron had been collecting souls in New Orleans — possibly as part of his usurpation attempt, and souls are like currency for demons — Constantine banished him back to hell. Unfortunately, this means Desmond got dragged to the demonic wasteland too, since he’d sold his soul to Neron in exchange for John’s safety.
If we thought Mallus was a nasty dude, oh boy, we might need an army of Giant Beebos for this bloke. Neron is a demon, like from hell and stuff. He’s immortal, basically indestructible, and can create anything and everything out of thin air. And he knows the Art of the Deal (don’t blame me, it’s the name of a Hellblazer issue). Luckily, Hellblazer also showed Constantine teaming up with a group of friends to defeat Neron. Does this mean the Legends are going to step in to save John’s immortal soul? Well, not anytime soon.
As we saw in the cliffhanger ending...the Legends are frozen in time! Guess we found out why they’re not in the Elseworlds crossover.
Did anyone have Neron in the Legends villain pool? I thought it was going to be the First of the Fallen, so I’m out.
There were plenty of directions I thought Legends could take Manic Pixie Dream Mona. Werewolf lover was, um, not among them.
I like how the show finally addressed how Charlie didn’t enjoy being stuck in one slowly decaying body, after spending an eternity as an immortal shapeshifter. But it felt less about her struggle and more like a plot device for Constantine because he needed someone who would be willing to help him. I’m glad she got her powers back, but if next week’s midseason finale ends with her losing them again...I’m going to flip.
Hearing Paul Reubens scream “WRONG DOLL, YOU DICK!” was the highlight of my week.