Wednesday, July 17, 2024

‘Bad Blood’ Leaves a Bad Taste In the Mouth

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Legends of Tomorrow shifts its focus to Constantine this week with a surprisingly heavy episode that couldn’t quite carry the full weight of its story.  

Picking up the episode with the warlock himself, after some dirty tactics, Constantine is able to get the location of the map to the fountain of imperium from Crowley. He left it in the care of a banker, who also happens to be a vampire. Bluffing his way through the exchange he gets the map with the promise of a favor in return. The vamp banker also leaves a blood potion meant for Crowley. The potion is the magical equivalent of juicing. Drinking it increases magical power. Crowley used it to draw the map to the fountain, but he could never find its location because he wasn’t looking on earth. With the map, Constantine is able to figure out the fountain is somewhere in Spain, 1939.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Legends are on Gus-Gus sitting duty. Co-Captains/Time Moms are away, venue hunting for their wedding so the others are trying to keep out of trouble. Behrad, Nate and Gary are sitting lullabies to little Gus-Gus. Also, Gary lost his glasses so he’s stuck as an alien relying on Spooner to translate for him. Thanks to her built-in translator she also knows Gus-Gus won’t settle down because he had growing pains. Gary confirms that Gus-Gus’s species has an accelerated life cycle.

Astra and Zari
Where is their spin-off?

Spooner’s tired of being their translation app, leaving them to deal with the baby alien. Lita asks for her help next, wanting Spooner to check on Mick. A sizeable and unsightly egg pouch has grown on his neck, but Spooner doesn’t have any advice to give outside of the obligatory Alien reference. Constantine taps her for help next to translate the map. She translates the writing at the top of the map, ‘only those who are worthy may drink from the fountain’ which John dismisses as a classic empty warning. She also figures out a city is marked on the map, Albacete. The two travel there in 1939 to look for the fountain.

Constantine fills Spooner in on the political landscape of the country at the time. They’ve arrived right at the very end of the Spanish Civil War with the upper ruling class supported by the military and Nazis on one side and the nationalists fighting for democracy on the other. John thinks a good place to start their search is with ‘El Gato’ a rebel leader who survived several assassination attempts. He thinks magic was involved. Spooner gets the idea to ask around at a local bar.

Constantine and Spooner
Shout to the guy who grabbed a fire poker for a gunfight.

When they first get there, they’re held at gunpoint because John’s mistaken for a fascist. He lies about serving on the rebel side, padding his story with facts he’s probably learnt from being on a time ship for so long. It’s enough to convince the others in the tavern. Sharing a drink, John asks about El Gato. The man they’re talking to claims El Gato gets his powers from a donkey but Spooner clocks the way everyone looks when the name’s mentioned. She figures out they’re talking with El Gato. They both suspect the fountain could be close.

They sneak into the cellar, where Spooner’s alien senses start tingling. But instead of a fountain, they find a young boy. He doesn’t speak, but Spooner can hear his thoughts. He introduces himself as Fernando. John thinks he drank from the fountain, but before they can ask any more questions they hear a vehicle pulling up to the tavern.

Nazis arrive, also looking for the fountaining of Imperium. They shoot El Gato, but Fernando rushes out, healing him. Spooner runs after him, leading them both getting captured. Constantine contemplates using the blood potion to save them, but he comes up with another idea. Disguising himself as a priest, he pretends to offer help to the Nazis in their search for the fountain. Through Spooner, Fernando tells them how he found the fountain when he ran into a cave during a bomb raid. He prayed for a way to help his uncle, El Gato, who was killed by the bombs, and that’s when he drank from the fountain. He was able to heal his uncle and has been doing so since. But when he tells them he can take them to the fountain, Spooner lies, saying he was too lost to find it again. Constantine asks for some water, which gives the tavernkeeper the opportunity to get her gun. It turns into a shootout with the Nazis. El Gato tells John and Spooner to run with Fernando.

Meanwhile, the Waverider’s been turned into its own warzone thanks to the rapidly aging Gus-Gus. The Legends, minus Mick and Lita, are struggling to contain him. The father and daughter talk about Mick’s situation. When he complains about a headache, Lita worries it could be the eggs about to hatch. He’s in denial about the whole thing and also feels guilty about abandoning Kayla. Lita knows he would have left her without a good reason, which Mick confirms was to get back to Lita. It’s around this point Lita says she’d gone into labor.

Zari Tomaz and Behrad
True sibling energy is having dorky synchro moves.

Mick rushes her to the med bay. Zari and Behrad use their totems to keep Gus-Gus back and Mick helps them force him off the ship through a portal. But once they’re in the med bay, Lita admits to faking her labor to get Mick there.

Back in Spain, Spooner wants to go back to help the others, but John’s focus is on the fountain. Spooner calls him out his selfish desire to get back his magic. She’s not going to listen to him complain about being normal when she and Fernando have only felt like outsiders because of the powers they have. Constantine rebuts that when he was ‘normal’ he was put down by his father and society and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

Spooner agrees to look for the fountain. Fernando leads them to the cave, but instead of a fountain, all they find is a dry hole. His desperation rising, John gets an idea to transfer the magical power from Fernando to himself, using the mental link Spooner and Fernando have. He leaves Spooner to talk with the kid while he checks to see if they’ve been followed. They have, with the Nazis closing in on the cave. But Constantine chooses to conceal that fact.

Fernando agrees to it if they help him find his mother, which Constantine agrees to. But instead of going to him, the magic retreats to where the fountain was. Spooner and John both remember the prophecy about being worthy. Hearing the Nazis, Constantine tells Spooner to hide with Fernando. He drinks the blood potion, going on a magical high, killing all the Nazis.

Meanwhile, back on the ship, Mick finally agrees to let Gideon scan him. She finds his headache was caused by the 48 eggs in his head, showing them an image. Mick looks perturbed at first, but his expression softens after a moment. Sara and Ava return right then. Ava’s excited. Sara’s disturbed.

Gary, Sara, Ava, Lita and Mick
The Time Moms are also going to be Time Aunts?

Spooner and John take Fernando back to his uncle, then return to John’s place. They have a nice moment of bonding, with Spooner sharing a memory of her mother and her regret that she gave up looking for her. John points out there’s no such thing as ‘too late’ on a time ship. Unfortunately, the wholesome moment is immediately ruined.

Spooner catches John trying to get another taste of the potion from remnants in the vial, despite Constantine saying he wasn’t going to take any again. He alters Spooner’s memories, making her think he got his magic back from the fountain and sends her to sleep just before the banker vampire from earlier returns. She’s brought more of the potion, and in exchange, she’s taking Crowley.


Legends of Tomorrow is weird and quirky and embraces everything that makes it so. Often times it’s the episodes that completely go off the rails that become the most delightful. ‘Bad Blood’ isn’t one of those episodes. With most of the episode carried by John and Spooner, the chaotic charm that comes from the team interactions can’t help support the A-plot. Even the B-plot is a two-man job with Mick and Lita, but their interactions don’t flounder like Spooner and Constantine do.

The buddy system usually does one of two things, helps one character learn a lesson the other already has, like Mick and Lita in this episode or Spooner and Astra when they were in the old west. Or, it helps both characters learn something by having them take a bit from each other — Zari and Mona in ‘Séance and Sensibility‘ is a pitch-perfect example.

But there’s no give and take with Constantine and Spooner. Constantine doesn’t compromise once. Every opportunity he has to do so, he only digs himself deeper into old habits. On the other hand, when Spooner compromises it’s for Constantine’s sake. That by itself isn’t necessarily bad, but it feels as though an opportunity was missed. They were already having a conversation about their relationships with their powers being different, but by the end, they’re in the same place they started.

But, there’s obviously more being set up with Constantine so it could stick the landing after a disappointing dismount.

Only Legends Could

  • “A Superhero, a totem bearer and an alien named Gary became singing mannies. Did I just invent our spinoff?”
  • So vampires exists, but over on Supergirl there’s an alien race that drinks blood who supposedly spawned the vampire myth.
  • The Legends just let an alien who looks like a pink bigfoot loose in a random time and place.

Images courtesy of the CW

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