Sunday, May 19, 2024

‘Mortal Khanbat’ Pits the Legends Against Myths, Magic and Motorized Scooters

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Death rides in from hell on two wheels with a toothpick between his teeth. Wait, no that’s Genghis Khan. Same thing really. ‘Mortal Khanbat’ breathes life in Genghis Khan as only Legends could in an action-packed episode that takes Caity Lotz from the captain’s chair to the director’s.

The episode kicks off with Gary, Charlie, and Ray rushing Constantine to the Waverider’s med-bay as the Legends learn with horrified faces of Constantine’s cancer which is in its final stages. Even Gideon can’t do much more than sedate him.

In the chaos around Constantine’s condition, Charlie tries slipping away again when she starts hearing voices. Never a good sign. Then she runs into Behrad and things between them are… awkward. It quickly becomes clear what happened between them in the next scene when Behrad gets sheepish as Ray and Nate talk about Mick and his maybe-girlfriend/definite one-time hook-up Ali.

But time waits for no man or cancer so Ava calls a team meeting to introduce them to the Prognosticator, a program she and Gideon worked on to identify potential Encores before they change history and the first one is in 1997, Hong Kong. Which is perfect for Nate. Hong Kong gives him the perfect excuse to break out his new toy, um sorry, his new ride. He rolls into the bridge with way more swagger than anyone on a scooter should be capable of. He calls her Scoots McGoots. I call her Chekhov’s scooter.

In 1997, the team stakes out a tea house owned by the Triad. Nate sees someone in 13th-century armour ride up on a motorcycle and puts together who their Encore is. Genghis Khan marches to the Triad heads, ready to take it over. Ava plans on using a sedative to knock out Khan and get him on the ship. Charlie volunteers to administer it, but Behrad gets worried, blowing their cover in the process.

The tea shop explodes into action as the Triad starts shooting, three cops, who happened to be on their own stakeout, start shooting and the Legends are caught in the crossfire. Charlie goes after Khan, Behrad goes after Charlie, while Ava grabs a pair of guns and joins the firefight. Just when it looks like Ava’s cornered Nate slides in on good ole Scoots McGoots to take out the last of the Triad. Tragically, Scoots doesn’t survive. She’ll be remembered as a hero. Behrad, Charlie and Genghis Khan end up in a Mexican standoff. Luckily their guns were already emptied in the shootout. Unluckily Genghis escapes.

How’d he make his scooter even cooler?

Meanwhile, Constantine doesn’t want to take death lying down. No, really, despite coughing up a lungful blood every few minutes he’s determined to find a cure. Ray doesn’t want him to leave the ship but knowing there’s no way to convince him of staying he and Gary join him. Returning to his home first he tries summoning whoever caused his sudden onset cancer. He gets pulled into his purgatory where Astra is waiting for him. He tries to convince her to reverse what she’s done, telling her any bargain she struck won’t be worth the price. When that doesn’t convince her he reveals he has a lead on something that could put her family back together. But she’s not about to believe the words of a dying and desperate man.

After the tea shop fiasco, the Legends shift tactics to recon. Not before Charlie finds the time to flirt with Zari and Behrad finds the time to be offended. Nate puts it together Behrad and Charlie did the dance with no pants. It’s probably right about this moment Ava realized truly just how Sara deals with. Once they head out into the field again, they knock out a Triad member and Charlie impersonates him. While she snoops around Behrad and Nate have a bro moment while watching their prisoner. Behrad was hurt when she left. Nate tells Behrad to just talk to her, find out why she left. And speaking of left, that’s just what their prisoner did while they were having their wholesome talk.

Undercover, Charlie learns about Genghis and his plans. He’s in 1997 a few centuries after his death because that’s how long it took him to dig out of his tomb. Now he wants to kidnap Prince Charles. The Prince was in town to hand over Hong Kong to China. Genghis Khan instead wants Hong Kong to be handed over to him. Plus he has a great ‘fleet’ for his assault. As she’s leaving, the voices from before return, letting Charlie know she can’t keep hiding. Dazed and scared she doesn’t see a truck right in her path, Behrad jumping in at the last moment to save her. It’s clear something is up, but she’s cagey on the subject. Back on the ship, Behrad confronts her about her leaving, hilariously while Marie Antoinette listens in. Charlie deflects the conversation, leaving with the time courier.

Sometimes a family is a warlock, his sorta apprentices and a man who can shrink.

Constantine meanwhile has been looking for a magical cure. First, they try Nora’s magic, then the healing magic from the Púca (shout out the Konstentyn episode) but neither work. Just as Constantine’s ready to trim off some of Ray’s… dangly bits Gary asks him to stop. If this is the end for him, he wants John to do something more meaningful than just looking cures that only fail. Constantine doesn’t have time for sentiment or bucket lists (much to Ray’s chagrin). He’s dying and angry with nowhere to direct those emotions but on Gary and Ray. When a last ditched prayer to the angel Gabriel goes unanswered he slinks off alone, just broken now. His pitbull cane reprimands him for pushing his friends away in his final moments. Constantine relents, finding Ray cooking dinner (bless Raymond Palmer) and both he and Gary ready to be by his side however this ends.

In Hong Kong, the Legends realise the Great Khan’s fleet is a swarm of scooters. On their scooters, Genghis and the Triad cut through the gridlock and force the Prince’s motorcade off the road. Behrad follows but is caught before he can do anything. He apologises to Prince Charles, to which the Prince smirks and says his friends call him Charlie.

Genghis Khan’s is retrofitted with guns because of course.

Charlie changes into Genghis Khan, but the real Khan holds Behrad at sword point, forcing her to drop the deception. Even the great Khan senses the tension between Behrad and Charlie, figuring out they slept together. He orders Charlie killed, but as the Triad fire, Behrad uses his wind powers to stop the bullets, much to his delight because he didn’t know he could do that. Charlie uses Genghis’ hell sword to kill him, slow-mo swiping his toothpick in the process.

Behrad is at least the third coolest Airbender.

In the post-mission debrief Charlie finally shares her secret. She’s a Fate. Like of the Greek myth Fates who are in charge of mortal destinies. Or were in charge of that, until Charlie (whose OG name was Clotho a.k.a the spinner) broke their loom. She didn’t believe anyone should have much power. She scattered the pieces across the multiverse, but unfortunately, this is a post-crisis world. All the pieces are back in one universe and now Charlie’s sisters are close to finding her. She left so the Legends wouldn’t get caught in her family fight and she’s ready to leave again. But the Legends aren’t about to let one of their own face an enemy alone. Just in time for the family meeting, Sara returns, tripping over scooters and slightly overwhelmed when everyone starts filling her in, at the same time.

Constantine, Ray, and Gary are having what’s likely John’s last dinner. Gary is a wreak, but Constantine consoles him by leaving him his house. It only makes him cry harder. John asks what Ray has on his bucket list. It’s to ask Nora to marry him, but he’s hesitant after the last two times he got engaged (one died and the other had a soulmate who she was reborn every lifetime to be with). Constantine compels him not to wait. They have one last toast, which is more final that Ray and Gary knew. Wanting to go out on his own terms, Constantine drank poison. He slips into purgatory again, Astra there to watch him die. But John Constantine always has one more card up his sleeve. He tells Astra her mother wants to save her and to drive the nail home he sings a song she Natalie used to sing. It’s smart, it’s manipulative and it works. Astra makes John promise he’ll save her and her family, resorting John to his old self. He returns to the world of the living, much to his delight. Astra reconsidered meaning there’s a chance to save her. Now he needs the loom of fate to do it.


Despite the fact Sara Lance didn’t step foot in any of the action scenes, its clear Caity Lotz was having a blast with them. There was a gung ho dynamism to the action, especially the tea shop brawl. It was energetic and fun. How could one not love that slow-motion 360 degrees around Ava and that cop while gunfire exploded around them?

On the other side of the coin, Constantine’s story this episode was wroth with emotional weight. Matt Ryan hit a spectrum of emotions as Constantine struggled with his mortality. Flicking back and forth between an emotionally closed-off Constantine simmering in anger and pain to the John Constantine who’s learnt venerability isn’t the worst thing around the right people. But even at the bitter he never completely divorces himself from his dastardly ways and it saves his life.

While the Encores are far from formulaic yet the twist on Khan’s formal by bringing him into more modern times shows there’s conscious effort to keep on innovating. We’re starting to dig deeper in what’s to come. The Fates and Astra both in contention for the big bad or bads of the season and McGuffin of fate tying everything into the fold it’s going to be interesting to see where all these threads go.

Only Legends Could

  • John wasn’t really wrong. One more smoke couldn’t do more harm at that point.
  • Gary had several delightful moments here. Running to Ava for comfort, offering to shave his head, breaking down when he learnt Constantine left him his house.
  • Might be because serious Time Mom was gone but the Legends were more rambunctious than usual; see Nate riding around the ship on his scooter.
  • The single dove behind Genghis Khan’s entrance. What was that? I loved it.
  • Ray didn’t say no to Constantine’s back alley surgery.
  • While Charlie was impersonating the Prince, the real Prince was being ‘watched’ by Mick.
  • Ray wants to marry Nora! I’m down for a Legends wedding. Past precedent of other Arrowverse weddings says it can only go horribly wrong.
Images courtesy of the CW

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