Monday, July 22, 2024

Film Noir Never Looked So Legendary

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A detective romp through 1947 cements the status quo for this season, giving a teasing glance of what’s to come. We meet an old face with a new vibe. It’s wrapped up in a film noir coating with all the snazzy costumes and (not so) period-specific accents you could want from a Legends episode.

We pick up right where we left off, with Constantine in Hell, again. Astra isn’t folding after one ‘you need to stop’. She isn’t stopping at all, not with the Encores putting her in a seat of power that only grows with each new soul they send to Hell. Returning to the land of the living Constantine fills the team on their newest threats (which the Legends are happy aren’t their direct fault for once). The Encores can’t be killed and they can’t send them to hell, Astra would send them right back up.

The Sibling duo I didn’t know I needed.

Behrad takes some personal leave from the ship for this dad’s birthday, dragging Nate with him to pretend to be one of his professors since his parents think he’s in business school. Nate’s been distracted since discovering Zari’s alternate timeline message, so he’s shaken when he meets Behrad’s sister. This Zari is a far cry from the Zari we knew, walking in as she talks to a live feed, her glam team trailing behind. Zari isn’t thrilled her brother brought home a guy who’s acting like a stalker fan with the way he’s drooling in her direction. Behrad isn’t thrilled Zari brought her fans in their home. In Zari, we see hints as to why Behrad didn’t flock to the cameras during the premiere. He rolls his eyes when she walks in streaming, plasters on a smile when she drags into frame, and it’s gone the moment the feed is off.

The rest of the Legends get their gumshoes shined because the next Encore crops up in 1947 LA, high of golden age Hollywood and organised crime. Their big bad taking a second walkabout is Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel. Posing as PI’s the Legends get info on Bugsy from his girl, Jeanie Hill. Jeanie wants out, but as long as Bugsy is around there’s no chance of that. Ray, with his too-big heart, gives her money to skip town. Constantine is sure he got played by the doe eyes and sure enough when they stake out Bugsy’s club who else is on his arm but Jeanie. She’s his honeypot, how he got enough blackmail to have of Los Angeles in his pockets.

I’d follow Sara Lance if she told me she was going to rob me blind.

Sara turns the honeypot play on Bugsy, leading him outside where fake-cop-Ray is waiting as backup. But the Legends aren’t the only one gunning for Bugsy. A rival mob unloads a lot of lead into Bugsy, which doesn’t do more than mess up his suit. Bugsy’s gun, on the other hand, turns them all to dust. Before Sara and Ray can take him, the real cops ‘arrest’ him, meaning they take him to the station for a fresh suit and dinner.

Back in the club Mick’s doing as Mick does, enjoying the bar. Ava not so much. Without the Bureau, she’s adrift. She’s used to being in charge, but the Legends are Sara’s team. She’s without responsibilities, without purpose. Mick sees that as freedom. Ava sees that as foreboding. When Sara needs a distraction Ava jumps at the chance.

Legends, the show that writes it’s own AUs.

The cops are too deep in Bugsy’s pockets for Ray to get the gun, but Constantine strikes a deal with Jeanie. She gets the gun, Constantine gets her Bugsy’s blackmail stash. Another cop recruits Ray for their own plan to take down Bugsy. Sara calls the mobster to get him to the club and when she gets there herself, her girlfriend is singing up a drunken storm. Bugsy realises he’s been played, too little too late. Jeanie switched his gun and what’s a normal gun going to do against Sara Lance? She and Mick knocked him out, leaving Ava to finish her performance.

Fantasy or not, she was fabulous.

Constantine, keeping his word, takes Jeanie to Bugsy’s blackmail stash, but when he tries to burn it she turns Bugsy’s gun on him.  She wants to use the blackmail for herself, tired of being used. Constantine tries to get her to walk away but decides it’s not his place to tell her what to do. She trades the gun for the stash, telling John there are five bullets left. Ray and his new cop buddy, but the cop wasn’t as squeaky clean as Ray thought. He works for the mob, just not Bugsy’s and they rigged Jeanie’s car to explode to destroy the blackmail. Ray and Constantine are too late to save her.

A little angry at the world, mostly angry at himself Constantine uses Bugsy to go back to Hell for a final confrontation with Astra. He uses four bullets to get through Astra’s henchmen but when he has the last one lined for Astra he doesn’t pull the trigger. See, ole John’s been living on the Waverider and giving second chances are kind of their speciality. He’s not giving up on her. He uses the last bullet on Bugsy, returning to Earth. He lies about what happened, but Ray suspects he chose to save Astra, happy there’s a good heart buried under all the dark magic.

In 2044, Nate tries talking to Zari, seeing what she remembers. At first, it seems like she remembers or at least has an instinctual feeling about Nate because of the alternate timeline. But she realizes she remembers him from somewhere else, Hey World, which was 24 years ago for her. It was the moment she became famous when she stopped the dragon. For the first time, she notices her brother in the Hey World videos too. To stop her from dropping the truth to their parents Behrad portals them all to the Waverider.

Zari steps on to the timeship for the first time… again… and freaks out.


The surprising thing is there’s not been a Legends episode that’s an ode to noir detective films before. The costumes, the style, the music, the accents, it all the perfect playground for Legends to soar in. As fun as it was, watching the characters, run around the grab and speaking the vernacular of the time (more of Sara Lance film noir starlet please), like the best episodes of Legends the plot was grounded in the characters.

Constantine had a lot of heavy lifting to do here, first in his failure to save Jeanie, then his declaration to save Astra. The end of Jeanie’s storyline was harsh in a Legends rarely gets, but that’s why it works. Legends knows when to pull punches, but also when to let them land for the best impact. If Constantine had convinced Jeanie to walk away she may have lived. He’s made his mistake and her death hardened his resolve to help Astra. Side note, it’s nice to see John’s filled Sara spot as the bisexual who seduces their way through history.

Speaking of Sara, I hope this episode is the beginning of a story arc for her and Ava as they adjust to the new status quo of their relationship. The Time Bureau being gone opens up so much possibility for Ava’s story. The Bureau was the job she created for, literally. On the Waverider she’s no longer a leader. It’s a huge dynamic shift for her personally and in her relationship with Sara. I can’t wait for more.

Rounding off the season-long setups is Zari and her reintroduction to the Legends. At first, I was getting ready to morn Zari 1.0, this new Zari such a stark departure of the one we’d come to love. Then she started to play Nate, saying just the right things to get the dirt on her brother. While that was happening the conversation glossed over Zari’s career, one she started young and with a hint that she fought for control of it. Now I believe I can breathe easy. Our Zari, the one who was stubborn to a fault yet fiercely loyal and sharp as whip is still there. It’s exciting, getting to learn the new parts of her while uncovering the ones we knew. Along the way, I hope we get to uncover more of Behrad too.

Only Legends Could

  • Zari streams on Cat Chat… I wonder if that platform called to her because of experiences from another life?
  • John must have an iron stomach. Really, why does magic require the ingestion of so many strange things?
  • Sara’s utter delight at her girlfriend’s performance was adorable.
Images courtesy of the CW

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