Monday, May 27, 2024

The Legends Of Tomorrow Aren’t Quite themselves

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Legends of Tomorrow’s midseason premiere returns to adventures of the Legends, protectors of the timeline. But there’s something different about them. Something that’s slightly off. Our Captain, Sara Lance recounts the events from the first half of the season. Bishop created a team of androids, modeled after the Legends with the task of destroying the timeline. After they kidnapped the original creator of time travel, they’ve been bouncing around the timeline, doing just that.

The Legends of Tomorrow?
Will the real Legends of Tomorrow please stand up?

The recap Sara gives doesn’t quite line up with everything that’s happened so far. But it does reveal the depth of Evil Gideon’s plan. She didn’t just create androids of the Legends, she made them believe they are the real Legends but with just enough altered about them that their priority is preserving the timeline above all else.

We flashback to 1934, where our Legends have just celebrated their integration win. We see the attack on the team, this time from the point of view of the android Legends. They’re not that different from the real Legends, arguing about who gets to take out who. Except for Nate, Evil Gideon replaced his endearing personality with extra big biceps.

After the Legends escape, and Bishop managed to take out two of the android Legends, the robots return the Waverider. Unaware they’re robots, they’re mourning the loss of Astra and Zari, but their Ava Sharpe, who’s the team doctor just asks that Zari and Astra be taken to the med bay. This version of Sara and Ava aren’t happily married. Just the opposite, there seems to be distrust and animosity between them.

The android Sara, the one who’s closest to the real deal, is questioning some of the details of their mission. Why did Bishop make Legends copies to destroy the timeline? And if their goal is to destroy time, why are doing random acts of good like saving a singer from her mobster boyfriend, or creating social change in the 1930s. The rest of the team isn’t as concerned about the answers. Gideon’s old adage ‘time is like cement’ is enough reason for why they can’t let these changes happen.

Android Sara and Android Nate
Making Nate’s arms this big is ridiculous and I love it.

Their next stop is to Ukraine, 1986, to ‘fix’ the Legends actions there. The team heads into the field, surprised to hear Zari and Astra providing support over comms. They’d been sure their teammate had been killed. Behrad and Spooner are mostly disappointed they can’t get vengeance for their deaths now. Dr. Sharpe provides the team with ‘no-kill’ weapons called destiny restoration devices.

Sara sends the team ahead while she goes to have a chat with Dr. Sharpe. She’s suspicious that she was able to save Zari and Astra from seeming death but she pretends to give her thanks to the doctor, using the opportunity to look around the med bay. She notices a computer chip with Zari’s name on it. Dr. Sharpe quickly puts it away, claiming it’s Zari’s medical records.

The android Legend’s mission is to keep the timeline intact by ensuring a notable Russian General still dies in the Chernobyl meltdown. Spooner and Behrad use the destiny restoration devices to knock out the soldiers with the General. Sara takes out the General herself, taking him back to Chernobyl so he can die according to the timeline. He asks why he has to die and when Sara can’t find a good answer she begins questioning their mission again. She tries to reason that they only need to kill the general which is why they left the other soldiers alive. But Zari points out, the device Dr. Sharpe gave them irradiated those soldiers who were meant to die in the meltdown.

Gideon points out the mission is not over until they restore the timeline to normal, which in this case means getting all the people who evacuated early to return to their homes so they can die by radiation poisoning. They threaten the General’s kids to get him to make a statement that the evacuation order was a false alarm. Sara is questioning more and more if they are the good guys when their actions seem like those of the bad guys. At first, the General refuses, but then Gary tries to eat him. In the resulting chaos, Behrad accidentally shoots Sara. Dr. Sharpe orders her back to the ship because of the injury.

With his children’s lives on the line, the General does film the statement about the false evacuation. Meanwhile, Sara is sure all she needs is a few stitches for the wound, but Dr. Sharpe insists she needs surgery. But unbeknown to Ava, Sara pulls out the IV with anesthetic, staying awake for the surgery. This allows Sara to see the doctor remove a metal joint from her.

Appropriately shocked by this discovery Sara waits until Dr. Sharpe is gone to grab the chips she claimed were medical records. She goes to Zari to uncover what they really are. At first, they theorize Ava is using the chips to control them and must also have Gideon under her control. Just as Sara considers that the ‘mistakes’ of the other Legends might not be mistakes, Gideon informs them of a new anachronism.

Android Sara and Android Zari
Genuinely curious as to what Zari’s tattoos are.

While most of the people believed the General about the fake evacuation order, one person, a nuclear physicist, Dr. Irina Petrov escaped. Now she might be trading information with foreign nations which would be a huge change in the timeline. She’s also being tracked by the KGB, meaning they need to assassinate her covertly and on their team, only person fits the bill.

Sara heads out into the field to kill Dr. Petrov while Zari investigates the computer chips she found. The rest of the team is watching Sara’s progress from the ship, making bets on how Sara will kill the doctor. Thanks to a lie about the KGB tracking communications Zari is able to talk to Sara without the rest of the team listening in.

The Android Legends of Tomorrow
There is something almost uncanny valley about their costuming.

Sara finds the doctor. She has a syringe of poison at the ready but wants to talk with the doctor first. Meanwhile, Zari uncovers the truth. The chips aren’t so Ava can control them, they’re processing units for them because they’re robots. Sara asks Dr. Petrov what her plans are. The doctor discovered a way to break down radioactive waste. Understanding the good that could come from such a discovery Sara fakes taking a punch from Irina to let her get away. She reconvenes with Irina in an area without cameras, promising the doctor she’ll find her again, but for now, she needs to be able to convince her team she killed Irina and for that, she needs her plans.

Sara returns to the ship, letting the team believe she killed Irina. When they’re alone, Zari shows hidden records she found in Gideon’s system of the real Sara Lance and the rest of the Legends. They still think Dr. Sharpe is behind this, until they find a recording of Bishop with an AVA clone. Realizing their Dr. Sharpe is an android too, it leaves only one possibility for who created them. Gideon.

Sara and Zari decide they need to put a stop to this. Zari goes to shut down Gideon while Sara goes to tell the team they’re androids. And by tell, I mean hold Dr. Sharpe at knifepoint until she admits their robo-existence to the team. Sara tells the team they can make their decisions now, without Gideon’s control but there is an unfortunate flaw in that plan.

While that’s happening, Zari is preparing to shut down Gideon when the AI appeals to her. She offers to upgrade her if she sides with Gideon. The android Zari takes the deal. As so all the other android Legends when offered the same thing. Except for Sara, who tries one last appeal to the team. Gideon realizes she made this Sara too much like the real deal and with the next version they remove her independence and leadership. It’s this version that Dr. Petrov unfortunately meets and this time Sara doesn’t hesitate or question what she’s been told to do.

Android Sara
Ra’s Al Ghul would be proud. Sara Lance would not.


The idea of this entire episode being set from the point of view of the android Legends is a great narrative move to establish them as our villains for the back half of the season. And the episode completely leaned into the gimmick as well with even the ‘previously on’ and the opening credits being redone from their perspectives.

The episode even followed the usual Legends format of ‘Legends travel to random time period to fix something timey whimey and get into trouble along the way’. How fitting that it was Sara, even if it’s not ‘our’ Sara, whose heart shone through the programming. Sara Lance has had one of the most extensive character arcs in all of the Arrowverse, spanning multiple years and shows. She once saw herself as an irredeemable killer and the best she could hope for was being able to aim her killer instinct in the right direction. But she’s grown into a leader, mentor, and protector. So even when programmed to place the timeline over human life that kinder nature breaks through.

That said, the idea of our Sara who’s come so far facing the cold ruthless version of herself is an immensely intriguing idea. I’m looking forward to seeing all the Legend’s reactions when they come face to face with these funhouse versions of themselves.

Only Legends Could

  • Between all the Avas, Zaris and several actors on this show having portrayed multiple characters at this point, Legends is giving Orphan Black a run for its money in terms of seeing double.
  • Bishop would be thrilled to know his body was eaten by an andriod alien.
  • ‘I’m a strong as steel and always hard.’
  • Spooner really got the worst of the CW wig curse this episode.
Images courtesy of the CW

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