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Ray Gets to Shine by Embracing His Punk in ‘Dancing Queen’

When an episode Legends opens with a young Queen Victoria stage diving at a punk rock concert and showing her royal derrière you know everything that comes after is going to be a wonderfully ridiculous treat. To stop the British Monarchy from collapsing in flaming anarchy the Legends head to London, 1977. The royal misshapes are centred around a band known as the Smell so this week’s magical fugitive is someone in the band and the Legends need to figure out who. For our ragtag time travelling misfits, the punk ear is like coming home. For everyone except Ray that is, who contentedly sits in the van while his Mick and Constantine inadvertently cause a bar fight.

Since Ray is the least rebellious person to ever set foot on the Waverider, naturally fate decides he’s the one who ends up getting an in with the band. Queue the shenanigans as Sara and Mick coach Ray on how to be punk while he figures out which band member is really a demon. This includes him asking the royal dog walker if he can take one of the Queen’s dogs. Ray’s delighted when he’s just handed a leash, not knowing Sara is standing behind him, threateningly holding the two bodyguards she just knocked out.

While Ray’s finding his inner rebel, Constantine stormed off the ship after another fight with Mick. Zari tracks him to a pub. It’s not just any pub because the woman behind the bar is John’s mother. A mother he never knew because she died giving birth to him. Something his father never let a young John forget. Constantine tries to get some cathartic revenge on his old man, but the laws of time mean he seriously his dad without erasing himself. “The Ball Kick paradox” as Zari so eloquently puts it.

Back with Ray, stealing the corgi gets him in the band to trust him enough where they start opening up to him. So much so, one member, Charlie, reveals she’s a shapeshifter. Ray, in turn, opens about the team and how many changes it’s gone through recently; Sara trying to settle down in a serious relationship, Nate leaving for a desk job and Amaya, their moral compass, leaving.

The heartfelt sharing hour doesn’t last long when Ray tells the Legends he found their fugitive. The rest of the team is ready to send her packing to hell. Ray tries to convince them she’s not dangerous but no one listens. Not until Charlie literally puts a mirror to the Legends, using their own voices and faces to show their own hypocrisy of trying to be protectors by damning (literally) an innocent. Her ace in the hole is when she turns in the former moral compass of the team, Amaya and it visibly shakes everyone except Constantine. They can’t send her to hell, not when she’s wearing the face of a friend.

Constantine takes away her shapeshifter powers to prevent any mistaken identity. So she’s stuck in Amaya’s face and the Legends are stuck with her.

Meanwhile, Nate and Gary have been bonding at the Bureau. Gary’s showing Nate the wonders of taco Mondays and Nate is dragging Gary along on unsanctioned missions. After a blip pops up on the magical tracker in the Pleistocene era, they go to investigate. They have a heart to heart to about their heartbreak over Constantine and Amaya, but the mission is cut short by a sabretooth tiger. This may or may not be the same sabretooth tiger that once chased Ava through Waverider. The next day the blip has vanished and Gary has an ‘exotic’ desk plant to gift to Nate. The blip was a carnivorous, bipedal plant that Nate and Gary chase around the Bureau and beat to a gooey, messy pulp.

Sara shows up at the Bureau to grab Nate’s help for the Charlie-with-Amaya’s-face situation. But when he admits he took the job at the Bureau to get away from the constant reminders on Amaya on the ship Sara encourages him to stay. It’s partly to save him from meeting Charlie-with-Amaya’s-face, partly because he can flourish at the Time Bureau. But mostly to save him from meeting  Charlie-with-Amaya’s-face.

Some smaller things that happen this episode- Zari gets a new housing for her air totem after the old one melted last week during her near burning. Ray spills to Sara he’s the one who helped Nora escape.

Analysis

After two episodes packed with magical mayhem, this one wisely pulls back on the spectacle for a bit more substance. That’s not saying a hippie getting gored in the chest or a singing Disney knock-off are lacking in substance. But a constant barrage of the Legends taking on the fugitives’ magical abilities head-on could quickly become stale. Even on a show like this one which thrives on the monster of the week formula. The mystery of trying to find the fugitive was a nice twist on the trend established by the last episodes.

This episode introducing the idea of the Legends doing the easy thing verse the right thing is nothing new for superhero narratives. But for the Legends, right now it’s an interesting notion. Everyone on the team is a misfit with a past filled with regrets. Their time on the Waverider has shaped them all into true heroes. The idea they’ve gotten so good as being the good guys, they’ve naturally fallen into doing the easiest thing to save day, rather than looking for the right thing to do.

As for the return of Maisie Richardson-Sellers, could there be a better way to introduce a new character played by an old actor than a shapeshifter changing into Amaya then getting forced to stay in that form? Probably. But why do it the ‘better’ way when you can do it the Legends way? As weird as it is conceptually I’m excited they choose such an unusual path. The Arrowverse has an established history with doppelgängers. The easy thing could have been introducing an Amaya from Earth-(insert random number here) or since it is a time travel show have her be a distant relative. But having Charlie be so different from Amaya is wonderful as is the fact she’s wearing Amaya’s face because she used it to manipulate the team. I am already very interested in where her story goes.

Only Legends Could…

  • “Dear to Defy” taco Tuesdays and get your salsa filled deliciousness one day early. I see you, Gary, dropping the CW’s tagline on us.
  • The Time Bureau’s taco caterer is played by Romona Young, one of the new additions to the cast. This isn’t the last we’ll see of her.
  • Is Gary’s nipple’s going to become the running gag of the season? Because I’m not unopposed to the idea.
  • This week’s unbelieve plot thread is Ray stealing a royal corgi. He then gets a tattoo of a corgi with a mohawk.
  • Ray’s still trying to make ‘mytheries’ happen. Keeping trying Ray-Ray, it will catch on. Maybe.
  • Anyone else felt like they got stabbed in the heart when Ray casually said ‘astonishing’?
  • Sara had so many good team mom moments this episode. First with Mick for his picking fights with Constantine. Then with Nate at the Time Bureau when he opens up about missing Amaya.
  • Speaking of Sara’s scene with Nate, “Because I like to watch you grow” wins best line of episode purely because of Caity Lotz’s delivery.
  • “How do you keep five Legends on a leash at once?”
    “Very loosely because sometimes we pull you in the right direction,”
    This is the perfect summarization for the Legends’ relationships with each other.
  • This technically isn’t about Legends of Tomorrow, but Supergirl’s and Arrow’s episodes this week both featured Beebo. He is a god. He literally transcends space and time and writers rooms.

 


Images courtesy of the CW

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Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English. Aspiring fiction writer.

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