Monday, May 27, 2024

A Trip to Hellish-IKEA is the Remedy for Relationship Troubles

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With a title like ‘The Eggplant, The Witch and The Wardrobe” one might not know entirely what to expect. For an episode of Legends, winding up in Narnia is easily within the realm of possibility. But our heroes don’t end up in a magical land of talking animals. Instead, they go somewhere much worse: off-brand IKEA.

After their fight a few weeks prior Sara goes to Ava’s apartment, begging for the chance to talk. When she lets herself in, however, she finds the apartment ransacked with no Ava in sight. On the ship, Constantine runs into Ray and Nora and compare notes on what they know about Hank’s death. The news about Ava fits perfectly with Neron’s plans to use the magical creatures. With Hank out of the way, Ava is his next likely target if he wants to take over the Time Bureau.

Taking Nora and Constantine as magical backup, Sara returns to the apartment to search for clues. Nora taps into Neron’s lingering presence, sensing that Ava’s at a motel. They find her covered in demonic marks and non-responsive. Constantine deduces Neron has plans to possess Ava and was preparing her as a vessel. Her soul is now trapped in purgatory with no way back.

Sara Lance, who’s faced death and demons multiple times over, doesn’t know the concept of ‘no way back’. She makes Constantine send her in after Ava, to the personal purgatory Ava’s mind created. That purgatory is a Megastore (IKEA but not because of trademarks and copyright) with seemly no way to escape.

In the real world, Nate is processing that his father wanted to build a theme park with embezzled funds and real mythical creatures. Ray shows up at the Time Bureau to tell him about the demon who killed Hank. Getting a call from Hank’s contractor, the duo goes to the theme park’s construction site. Nate has trouble processing Hank did all of this for him and asks for the site to be torn down.

Back in IKEA purgatory,Sara and Ava seemly have to put together a wardrobe to escape. Sara, being Sara, doesn’t read the instructions and it all falls apart when she thinks she’s done. The task is just a reflection of Ava’s fears about their relationship. After their last fight, Ava’s worried Sara isn’t going to support her through the hard times. Her backing Hank torturing the magical creatures wasn’t her supporting the abuse of innocent begins, it was her backing into a corner when Sara went against her. Their fight scared her and she threw up her walls. Sara takes the time to assure Ava she’ll always be in her corner, even when they disagree. Then, like a true WLW trope, they build the wardrobe together.

This is almost too relatable.

But, the closet just takes them to their next trial: mattress shopping, which is code for, ‘Let’s talk about long term commitment’. It’s something Sara’s never thought about, mostly because the last ten years of her life haven’t allowed her the luxury of thinking about tomorrow. The idea of planning for 3 years down the road is foreign to her, let alone planning for fifty. She worries she’s not the kind person someone needs for the long haul. Ava scoffs at the word ‘need’. Neither of them ‘need’ anyone, but Sara is the one Ava wants.

Nora, Constantine, and Charlie meanwhile set a trap for Neron. Shifting into Ava, Charlie fools Neron while Nora and Constantine get the magical drop on him. They restrain him in the Time Bureau, but Neron’s powers spark the tensions already rising between Nora and Constantine. Nora has succumbed to a demon before and Constantine abandoned Nora when she was just a child, so that doesn’t provide the best foundation for trust between the two.

Nate returning to the Bureau only makes tensions go higher when he sees the demon that killed his dad. He confronts Neron, despite the others’ protests. Ray stops him before he can inadvertently break Constantine’s sealing circle.  Neron does let it slip that he doesn’t want Ava for himself, but for someone called Tabitha to possess.

From her time with Mallus, Nora knows demons can’t survive long without a host. Neron calls out to her mentally, drawing her back into the cell. Tempting her with power, he strikes a deal for Nora to become his new host. Seeming to agree, Nora offers herself to him. But it’s a ruse by her and Constantine to lure Neron from Desmond’s body. Once out the duo restrains him in his demon form.

Nora and John, Demon Busters.

Unfortunately, Ray saw the cell was opened and rushed to Nora’s rescue. His presence breaks their concentration enough for Neron to attack, tossing them all around the room. Neron fades away. Ray and Constantine are okay, but Nora was knocked unconscious.

Back in IKEA purgatory, Sara and Ava’s next task seems to be dishes. But then it’s the garbage. And then a lightbulb. And then sorting the mail. It’s all the extraneous parts of a life together. All the boring parts that seem that much more boring when the rest of your life is time travel and superheroes. The argument this time isn’t as easy to solve. Not when they both say they want all the boring parts, but they can’t decide on when that will be. Sara proclaims about moving to the suburbs to make Ava happy and looks away. When she looks back, Ava is gone and a door opens. It takes her to a warehouse filled with AVA models, none of which are Ava.

She runs, searching until she sees an ‘As Is’ sign. The doorway takes her back to Ava. The real Ava, the one she cares about. For a moment Ava’s mystified that Sara would still come back to her when she had all those other choices. But Sara doesn’t want other choices. She smiles and kisses Ava before Ava can pose an argument. And it seems like true love’s kiss saves them from purgatory, but really it was what the kiss signified. The assurance that they love, care for and want one another.

Now, Nora was the witch, the IKEA from hell was the Wardrobe, but there’s still the eggplant part of the title to discuss. And the eggplant is an eggplant emoji. While everyone was on their own emotional arcs, Zari was facing her own kind of torment while she watched the ship. What do you text to someone you like? Her situation was not helped by the Waverider’s problem children as they tried to help compose a text to Nate. Mona suggests emojis, while Mick offers his smut writing expertise. She finally just asks him on a date, but immediately regrets it.

This is too relatable.

Fortunately for her, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, Nate’s cell ran into the business side of a wrecking ball when, during a change of heart, he rushed to stop Heyworld from being torn down. Desmond and Constantine’s reunion isn’t a triumphant or romantic affair. Desmond had to go to hell because of Constantine. Constantine offers to wipe his memories, but Des refuses. He’d rather going on knowing they both know what Constantine did.

The episode wraps up with Nora in a coma with no one knowing if she’ll wake up or not. It’s Constantine, not Ray who stays by her side, surprisingly. But the reason why becomes clear soon enough. Outside, a dog barks at Ray to his confusion, but then he walks away whistling the same musical tune Neron had been whistling all episode.


This episode should be the kind that had too much on its plate. Sara and Ava in furniture store purgatory, Nate unpacking his feelings about his dad, Nora and Constantine facing Neron, and Zari and the emoji debacle. That’s a lot for one episode and yet it works. Each storyline covers exactly what it should.

Nate’s arc this episode carries over from last week, where he didn’t get to talk to Hank’s spirit. He’s not wrong to still be conflicted. Even with the best intentions, Hank was still doing a lot of wrongs. Ray was the perfect pair up for him here. Ray is an endless source of unconditional love and his and Nate’s bro-ship is one of the strongest relationships on Legends. Of course, he’d be the person to help Nate the love in Hank’s actions.

As for Nora and Constantine, bringing up their shared history from Nora’s childhood was to a good way to add some weight to their conflict this episode. They’re both so similar in their pasts and their proclivity to shut people out, so they make a compelling pair together. I thought the twist would be Nora being possessed, given her state at the end of the episode, but then the reveal came that Ray-Ray was the one possessed. Ray is too kind and too good for this.

Legends solved the romantic conflict between characters by forcing them to do the most domestic of tasks, while also having them confront their relationship. Sara and Ava’s conversations here were some of the most real and raw discussions I’ve seen for a couple on TV. Sure, it was done while in a magical purgatory, but they were still grounded. It’s the kind of thing that isn’t seen often in media for the very reason Ava points out here, ‘it’s boring’. Media thrives in the excitement of the extraordinary and for most, it’s an escape. Most episodes of Legends are a testament to that, this one notwithstanding. But it’s the moments that are grounded when the audience can most relate with the characters, that’s what can sell a show more than any giant Beebo could. The honesty of Sara and Ava’s conversations is rarely seen, let alone for a WLW couple.

Only Legends could

  • While Sara and Ava were facing purgatory, Gary sent the Waverider into a spa for them (mostly for Ava).
  • I’ll admit when I saw the title for this episode, my mind did go right to an eggplant emoji. I did not think it would be that literal about it though.
  • On a related note, Mona was basically a fandom stand-in, even giving Zari and Nate a ship name: Natari.
  • It was a small moment, but I like that Zari only hesitated for a second before looking at what Mick wrote. She is the person who most supports this writing after all.
  • Sara and Ava putting together furniture might be one of the gayest things I’ve seen on television this year.
  • Sara Lance saying the ‘M’ word, now there’s something I never thought I’d see.
  • Best lines of the episode – “You know, we should probably talk about whether or not we want kids,” “Let’s wait until the other eight are old enough to handle the news,” Avalance are time moms confirmed.
Images courtesy of The CW.

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