Legends Of Tomorrow Returns With Fame, Glory, And Heartbreaking Earnestness

Legends Of Tomorrow Returns With Fame, Glory, And Heartbreaking Earnestness

Crisis on Infinite Earths changed the status quo for the entire Arrowverse. This includes Legends of Tomorrow, as one of its Legends became a Paragon and witnessed the death of a dear friend. The season five premiere tackles the complexity of that situation and other major character shifts in a way only Legends can: as a reality show.

“Meet the Legends” is the kind of episode that no other show in the Arrowverse could handle—not only because of the format, which is presented like a documentary in progress, but because of how well it walks the line between comedy and tragedy. As the Legends find themselves the subjects of a film about their own success, they grapple with serious changes in their lives in between striking poses for the camera. It’s ridiculous at times and poignant at others.

Following the events of the season four finale, “Hey, World!,” the Legends have become superstars, gracing everything from award ceremony stages to Japanese soft drink commercials. But their rising popularity has raised the ire of the U.S. government, which is still pissed about the now-defunct Time Bureau and wants the Legends to be grounded for good. To raise some good publicity and keep them from getting shut down, Ava Sharpe (now an interim member of the Legends) agrees to let a documentary crew film the Legends’ exploits.

Everyone is dealing with their newfound fame in their own ways; Ava is capitalising on it to keep the Waverider afloat while presenting an image of a strong, unified team (yeah good luck with that), Mick has become a bestselling romance novelist as Rebecca Silver, with Mona serving as his publicist, Ray is trying to improve his tarnished, “possessed by a demon” reputation by testing out catchphrases and adding a GoPro to his super suit, Charlie ditches the team to go galavanting around somewhere. But Nate has become a bit of an egomaniac, keen on telling everyone all the details about his near-death experience—possibly to distract from the fact that “something doesn’t feel right,” something he says directly to the camera just as the credit for Tala Ashe (Zari) pops up on the screen in a clever moment.

Then, there’s Behrad. He’s the latest addition to the Legends, except that he’s not. When the Legends changed history at Heyworld they also changed Zari’s fate. She’s no longer the traumatized young woman from a dystopian future who’s mourning the death of her brother, instead, it’s her brother who’s on the Waverider. I feel like Legends of Tomorrow has done a pretty good job at making Behrad feel like someone who’s been on the show for years.

There are one or two instances where we get characters clumsily discussing details of Behrad’s life they’d already know well by now—like when Sara mentions how Behrad is lying about being in business school—but overall it felt like he was part of the team. And I like Behrad, the stoner who makes fan art to raise people’s spirits. It makes me excited for a possible super-sibling team-up in the future, though who knows where the creators are taking this plotline.

Ava at the exact moment she realised she kinda fucked up. (Photo: Colin Bentley, The CW)

Sara’s the only one not on board with the new status quo. This is a woman who watched entire universes get destroyed, was stuck at the Vanishing Point for six months, and then had to fight an all-powerful being at the dawn of time in order to restore life itself. That’s not even getting into the death of her longtime friend, Oliver Queen.

The events of Crisis on Infinite Earths changed Sara and all she wants is to talk about what happened with her friends. But everyone is so preoccupied with presenting these ideal versions of themselves in front of the camera—in addition to ignoring their own problems—no one is willing to let their guard down long enough to share a real moment of vulnerability. The moment Sara shares her heartbreak, and disappointment with her friends, was the highlight of the episode, and Caity Lotz acts the hell out of it.

Instead, the Legends think the best solution is to dive into the latest problem and figure out a way to solve it. Constantine’s former charge Astra has resurrected some of history’s greatest villains to wreak havoc on Earth, starting with Rasputin. The man who was nearly impossible to kill has become literally impossible to kill, and his goal is to finish the work he started.

The problem is that the Legends are not working as a team. Each of them has their own solution to the problem and chooses to enact it on their own terms; Mona thinks the perfect love letter will soften Rasputin’s heart and make for a steamy Rebecca Silver story, Ava just wants to shoot him, and Ray and Nate think a chat will do just the trick, taking the camera crew to do a fake interview. The Ozzy Osborne-esque actor who played Rasputin was delightful, mugging for the camera in an episode that was all about mugging for the camera.

Of course, all the plans fail because when four people are doing three different things it’s probably not going to work. What’s more, they leave the documentary’s director behind! Sara gets pissed and decides to take matters into her own hands, not fully realising that she’s making the exact same mistake as the others. She and Behrad end up in a messy situation themselves, and it’s up to the other Legends to come back into the picture and save the day, this time as a team. Sara and Ava finally have the right conversation, in between some punches and kicks, and together we finally get the answer to whether the Atom could explode someone from the inside (he can).

As the Legends raise a glass to their fame and success, the documentary ends with roaring applause at a theatrical screening. The director says this is just the beginning and he has big plans for the Legends, but they’re not really interested in being those kinds of heroes anymore. They’re the underdogs, not the A-listers! During a Q&A panel (which felt so much like every Q&A panel I’ve ever been to), Ava claims it was all staged—Heyworld, the documentary, everything.

They bring up some of the classic time travel nitpicks, like how Rasputin shouldn’t be able to speak English or that their germs would immediately wipe out half the world. It made me chuckle, partly because I’ve probably said all of them at least once in my life. That said, I find it pretty hard to believe that people would just accept that given what many of them saw with their own eyes, but I dunno. Commentary on fake news or whatever.

Get ready to say goodbye to Mona (Ramona Young). (Photo: Jeff Weddell, The CW)

Random Musings:

  • Gideon spends much of the episode malfunctioning because there’s some phantom timestream data in her memory bank. It’s Zari, who left a message in the event of her disappearance asking Nate to find her. As of now, it’s unclear where Zari ended up or who she’s become in this new timeline. But there is a chyron that talks about the “Dragon Girl” trending on social media. Given how young Zari wowed the world with her dragon in the season four finale, stands to reason she’s who it was mentioning.

  • Also spotted in the chyron: Ryan Reynolds to star in Detective Beebo live-action film. Yes please.

  • I didn’t even have time to get into Constantine’s thing! God, it always feels like he’s a different show than everyone else. He spends the episode chatting with his demon buddy Masher, possessing a young boy, to get information on Astra’s plans before heading to hell to pay her a visit. Also, Gary is his assistant because wishes do come true.

  • There was one moment of the episode I didn’t like, and that’s Mona deciding to leave the Waverider. After reading her love letter for Rasputin, Mick suggests that Mona take over as Rebecca Silver. She adores the idea and it makes sense, given her love of Jane Austen. But she immediately was like “Peace!” and practically bolts from the show, barely stopping to say goodbye to Mick. I’m sure there are other issues at play (the actress is on another upcoming show), but it felt like too quick an exit for the character. I didn’t care for it.

  • That said, I don’t think Charlie was done dirty in the same way. She’ll definitely be back. She has the jump ship.