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Football Stops World War III on legends of Tomorrow

‘Bay of Squids’ throws the Legends into the thick of the Cuban missile crisis, putting them face to face with Fidel Castro, JFK, and a killer alien, all of which they have to judge to maintain the tenuous political balance of the time.  After years of fixing time and history have they learned how to navigate just high tension moments without affecting the course of history? Of course not. They’re the Legends. They almost bring history to the brink of World War III but then they save everyone, with football analogies no less.

With Gideon’s help, Mick’s been researching history (words I never thought I’d write) searching for their chicken-wing-faced alien. They do find her image in KGB files and after Mick gives the important bullet points the team needs to know and leads them to steal the alien from the Russians. Only the convoy they attack isn’t carrying an alien. It’s carrying a nuke. Mick didn’t think the fact their destination was Cuba, October 1962 was an important point to mention.

The Legends
After the last crossover they know to stay away from anything with Crisis in the name.

After Mick’s disaster of an opening Ava takes charge again to keep the fallout from being literally nuclear. To clean up their mess the team splits up. Nate and Zari head to Washington, DC to keep the powers that be from starting WWIII. Ava and Behrad pose as a Soviet scientist and Cuban soldier to gain access to the alien. Meanwhile, Spooner and Mick are tasked with returning the nuke to the soviets.

The latter duo takes a wrong turn in the jungle and the nuke ends up in Castro’s hands, not with the Soviets. The Cubans, who encountered Kayla, think the alien is a mutant sent by the Americans. Castro keeps the missile as his own insurance against the US.

Spooner and Rory
The New Grump and the Old Grump

In Washington, Nate pretends to be a Harvard graduate which is apparently all you need to get into the Oval Office as an advisor. Zari gets in because they assume she’s a secretary and she brings them coffee. Thinks in the capital are already dicey because the US military caught images of the Waverider in Cuba (see Mick forgetting to cloak the ship) and mistake it for a new Soviet bomber. The General is pushing for JKF to go to DEFCON 3. Nate plays off the Waverider as a fake and when he’s questioned what his expertise is in, he deflects with sports analogies about a stalemate being the best victory when nukes are involved.

Back in Cuba Ava and Behrad were lead right to the alien, because they believe she’s the scientist there to dissect it. To buy more time Ava makes a small cut and Behrad, not good with blood runs of the room to puke. Ava discreetly cuts a line with laughing gas, waiting for the effects to kick in before the next part of her plan. Behrad manages to hold down his chunks, but he’s mistaken for Che Guevara and taken to Castro himself. Behrad, knowing he couldn’t pull off impersonating Che Guevara introduces himself as Che’s cousin, Jay.

Nate’s sports analogies don’t hold long in the Oval Office when the Russian ambassador calls, accusing the US of attacking them with a metal man. The General has a photo of this metal man (yes, it’s actually just Nate). He reveals knowledge on a secret serum being developed to turn a man into steel and believes this was a test subject gone rouge. JFK orders DEFCON 3.

Once the laughing gas has knocked out everyone in the operating room Ava moves the alien but Kayla begins to wake up. Spooner senses the alien and leads her and Mick to it. Not a moment too soon either as Kayla wakes up and attacks Ava. With his heat gun, Mick forces Kayla to retreat and he and Spoon get Ava back to the Waverider.

Meanwhile, Behrad has been hanging out with Fidel Castro and gives him some of his weed gummies. The Commandante is the kind to plan military takeovers while he’s high. The pacifist Behrad, very uncomfortable with all the nuke talk, offers to sing a song to Castro. The song he plays? “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens. It almost convinces Castro to stand down, but then he’s attacked by the alien and he’s right back to violence. He orders the nuke launched at DC. When the new developments are reported in DC Nate is unable to stop the president from going to DEFCON 2. Zari offers to type for the general because she can type faster. At the same time, Castro gets a call from Che Guevara and Behrad’s cover is blown.

Behrad
Only more evidence as to why Legends should do a proper musical episode.

With every part of the plan in tatters Ava orders Mick and Spooner to kill the alien, the only partway she can see to deescalate the situation. Mick doesn’t want to kill their only lead on Sara but Ava doesn’t see any other choice. They find the alien and with Spooner’s abilities, they learn Kayla wants to get off-planet. Mick uses this to negotiate, offering the Waverider to take Kayla where she wants to go.

Twice in one episode? Where are they getting the budget?

Back in DC, the General learns that instead of ordering DEFCON 2, Zari gave everyone a few days off. He gives the President the nuclear football, telling him they have to strike back now. He pulls a gun on Zari and Nate, but Nate steels up to stop the bullet. With his secret revealed, Nate uses that to convince JFK to not listen to the general. The General takes the football to order the launch himself.

And then all those sports analogies come back as JFK, Nate, and the other Harvard men in the room play football to get the nuclear football from the general and his men. Unfortunately, JFK isn’t much of an athlete. Thankfully Zari’s in the room and saves them by using her wind powers to get the football to Nate. He gives the football to JFK who deactivates it.

While Nate was bonding with JFK, Zari actually stopped WWIII.

Everyone in the room makes peace in their last moments with the knowledge that Castro’s nuke is on its way to DC. Only it’s not their last moments, the nuke doesn’t go off. They all get to tell this story another day. Except for the General who decided in his last moments he’d rather shoot at the missile making him the only one killed by it.

Turns out the nuke wasn’t a dud, but it never went off because Mick and Kayla stole the plutonium from it. Kayla uses the plutonium to turbocharge the Waverider. Even with the deal they made, Mick doesn’t trust her, so he’s decided to go alone. Ava hesitates to allow him at first, but after he managed to stop a nuke and find a way to Sara, she decides to trust him.

Ava
Proud Mom Ava

After the mission, Nate and Zari share a moment. He’s had times where he’s struggled with her around, her presence a reminder of the Zari he lost. She can’t help by feel bad that she’s a reminder of her, but Nate reassures her that now, after their time together, when he looks at her he’s only reminded of this Zari, not the other one.

Without the Waverider, the rest of the Legends decide to bunk with Constantine for the time being.

Kayla uses a ring, that much like Gary’s glasses, gives her a human appearance and allows her to speak with Mick. Mick’s expression when he sees her isn’t unlike how he looks when talking about Garima. Whatever happens next it’s clear those two have a long journey together.

Review

‘Bay of Squids’ felt like set-up for more set-up, with the Cuban missile crisis being the set dressing that set happened to take place in. There were entertaining moments that came out of it, Behrad singing about peace to Fidel Castro. Nate using football analogies with the payoff for that being a round of football with the nuclear footballs. But the episode felt as if it were spinning its wheels getting ready to leave rather than actually getting anywhere.

Behrad is a delight to watch, his comedic timing always spot on, but I’d love to see more for him storywise. We’ve seen strokes of how Zari feels about Zari 1.0 and her guilt for being here when she can’t. It will be interesting to see if Behrad has similar lingering emotions about his presence with the Legends. Have the events of last season changes how he feels about his place on the team?

It’s good to see Rory this proactive in the plot this season especially because he’s motivated to find Sara. Outside of Snart, Sara’s is probably the person he’s known and worked with the longest in his life. His willingness to go so far as to find her is a good acknowledgment of their shared history.

 As for that aforementioned set-up, he’s off to space with Kayla and that’s bound to lead to tension of one kind or another. Meanwhile, the Legends not having the Waverider and Gideon for a while might be the biggest shake-up to the show’s formula since the beginning of season two. Looking forward to how this plays out.

Only Legends Could

  • ‘Why not bring us back an hour earlier so y’all can change out of your PJs?’
    ‘Oh girl, we don’t ask those questions.’
  • Behrad being mistaken for Che Guevara because of his hair and a hat.
  • An old Legends call back with the General having knowledge of Krieger’s steel serum experiments. Legends deals with its own takes on real-world history so often it’s easy to forget that narrative can be affected by those Arrowverse alterations on history.
  • Where else are you going to find a show that has a montage of nuclear weapons being readied to the soundtrack of Cat Steven’s Peace Train?
  • Zari typing with her thumbs was a golden detail.
  • Legends played football with the nuclear football. That is a thing that actually happened.
Images courtesy of the CW.

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Author

  • Proud Trinidadian. Writer, poet and game writer when she isn't busy dissecting fictional worlds or galavanting through the latest video game.

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