If there’s any show that benefits from a little bit of chaos, it’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. But the midseason premiere proved we can get too much of a good thing, as it was packed to the teeth with plots and subplots, betrayals and breakups. Even though the episode felt stuffed, it does hint at a big story to come — one that is willing to take more dramatic, heart-wrenching risks than we’ve seen in the past.
“Lucha De Apuestas” dumps us right back into the series just before the events of “Legends of To-Meow-Meow,” the episode that time forgot (because it actually exists outside of space and time). The Legends are tasked by Ava and Hank with retrieving Monster Whisperer™ Mona, who fled the Time Bureau after helping Konane, a Kaupe (or cannibalistic dog-man), escape.
While she did assist the creature, the situation is complicated. Mona tells the Legends about the “Men in Black” who tried to kidnap Konane, saying she helped him escape to save his life — by sending him to Mexico circa 1961 where he became a luchador. This is Legends of Tomorrow after all.
Normally, it feels like the Legends would’ve instantly taken Mona’s side. But these aren’t normal times. The ties between the Legends and the Time Bureau—as exemplified by Ava and Sara’s strained relationship—are more precarious than ever. Much of the first half of this season was about them trying to trust each other. The two teams have never seen eye-to-eye but lately, they’ve been coming together for what they thought was the greater good.
Therefore it takes the Legends most of the episode to see Mona’s point of view. When they do, everything falls apart. Lines are drawn, sides are chosen. The Legends and the Time Bureau may never ever ever get back together.
The two Legends most impacted by this are Nate and Sara, as they both have loved ones who seem to be working against them. Nate and Zara (through some sexy undercover work that hinted at romantic sparks) discover that Hank was responsible for the Men in Black and helped cover it up. It’s hard seeing Nate realise that the father he’s been working so hard to rebuild his relationship with is betraying him. But the bigger betrayal—and problem — lies with Ava.
Ava is upset Sara wouldn’t support her in the decision to recapture the Konane, since she’s so often supported Sara in her rule-bending escapades. Sara explains herself by saying the Legends were investigating rumours that Hank was kidnapping and torturing magical creatures, but Ava refuses to listen in fear of losing her job. This leads to a major fight with major repercussions.
While Ava makes a solid point that the Legends aren’t ones to talk about “doing the right thing” because they’ve been sending supposedly innocent magical creatures to Hell — something I hope they’ll rectify in the future — she jumps the shark a bit by telling Sara that she’s actually totally fine if Hank and his team are experimenting on magical creatures. This moment felt out of place, and also out of character for Ava — especially considering she’s a clone, whose sistren were experimented on as well. The actresses performed the scene well, but it didn’t deserve them. It seemed like a cheap ploy to get Ava and Sara broken up, which they totally are now.
The final thing I want to talk about here is Mona, who is clearly being teased as a new Legend or Legend-adjacent. I didn’t care for her much at first, since she came off like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. But it seems like the writers reassessed Mona as a character during their break. This new version feels more organic and less cutesy-weird, while still keeping her spirit and heart. I especially loved seeing her and Rory interact, given their shared love for a certain sci-fi erotica author. The whole Konane thing felt a little too “Beauty and the Beast” for me, but their relationship is sweet.
The episode ends in even more romantic tragedy — for Mona and the audience. In a moment of self-sacrifice, Mona chooses not to follow Konane to his homeland, right before Konane is shot and killed by a Time Bureau agent. In the heat of her pain and rage, Mona transforms into a Kaupe herself, likely due to the scratch she got from Konane, and butchers the man responsible for her true love’s death. The whole situation takes more inspiration from the werewolf myth than anything from Hawaiian folklore, but it’s interesting to see this new side of Mona. One that could give her a new place among the Legends.
There’s a lot I didn’t cover from the midseason premiere of Legends of Tomorrow — hell, I didn’t even go into the actual luchador thing — because too much happened in it. It made the episode a little tough to take, but it did open the door for a very exciting back half of the season. A new threat is rising; one that’s tearing families, relationships, and human bodies apart. I’m excited to see where the series goes from here, even if the jump back into the pool was crowded. Adult swim time will come eventually, and the Legends will need to get on track.
I didn’t think Nate and Zari would work — hell, I didn’t even see it as a possibility before. But I’m totally seeing it now.
I chuckled at Constantine’s rallying cry for the luchador during the big fight: “There’s nothing people like more than a good comeback.” Might as well have come with a smile and nod to the audience. Get it? Cause Constantine had a comeback too! Wink wink, nudge nudge.
I’m happy any time the series pokes fun at its own misguided first season, this time in the form of a Cards Against Humanity-style game that interim captain Ray Palmer invented to help the newbies learn about past missions. Charlie looks at a card and instantly goes “Vandal Savage? What the hell kind of name is that?” We’ve all had that thought, Charlie, and there is no good answer.
Gary is forever doomed to forget and remember that he lost a nipple.