Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A Sandwich a Day Won’t Keep the Assassins at Bay on Legends of Tomorrow

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Legends of Tomorrow picks up right where it left off, with an incredulous group of Legends listening to Gideon as she tells them she wants to stop the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. She explains there are key events in history so pivotal to the timeline they become fixed points. Points in the timeline where time travel and any kind of interference is forbidden. Because of this, her own information on these points is limited, but the same also applies to Evil Gideon.

Which is why she wants she wants to stop the assassination. Not to change the timeline, but to force Evil Gideon to fix a point in history she has limited information on. While Evil Gideon is fixing the timeline, the Legends can steal the Waverider.

It’s a plan diabolical enough to make Astra proud. The assassination attempt was a chaotic event by itself (involving multiple assassins, failed attempts and the successful attempt only happening because the archduke’s car happened to have some car trouble right in front of the sandwich shop where one assassin was eating after almost giving up because of the multiple failed attempts). Nate draws up a diagram showing the events of the day (a poorly drawn one), and the team makes their plan. To save the archduke, they need to eliminate the three assassins. They plan to do so by poisoning their drinks before the archduke’s motorcade.

Sara, Nate, Gideon and Gary
This is how they look when they’re confident with a plan.

But when Sara and Nate head to Sarajevo, 1914, they’re stopped by a man who seems to know more than he should. He asks them to follow him, revealing he knows they’re time travelers. He takes them into a bar hidden in a pub where we learn the Legends aren’t the only ones trying to stop the assassination.

In fact, there are so many there’s a whole ticket queue system and running bets on if and how each attempt will fail. They gather the rest of the team (sans Ava and Gwyn). Gideon is surprised to see so many time travelers, wondering how she couldn’t have known about this. Spooner, meanwhile seems a little out of place now that her usual buddy, Astra, is busy being very buddy-buddy with Behrad.

The team watches as another time traveler attempts to stop the assassination but ends up getting blown up by a grenade. The barkeep explains that time itself is protecting the moment by taking out anyone who attempts to change it. Gideon can’t believe that time is responsible for that. The barkeep hands the team their queue tickets and wishes them luck.

Meanwhile, back in the mansion, Ava and Gwyn are using the time to make a plan to save Alun. He’s grateful Ava is helping him now after her previous hesitation to change the timeline. But, he’s the reason they’re no longer stranded in time and if there is anyone who understands wanting to risk everything for the person you love, it’s Ava Sharpe.

Gary shows up to return the time machine (temporarily transformed into a cassette tape by Astra’s magic). He explains their plan has been delayed by the wait in the Time Traveler’s bar. Gwyn is awestruck to learn there are even more time travelers, and he and Ava take a moment to appreciate he’s the man who made it all possible. But Ava also comes across a flaw in their plan. Since Gwyn invened time travel to save Alun, if they stop Alun from dying in the war, Gwyn will no longer have his ‘divine calling’ to invent the time machine.

The paradox presents a problem, but Gwyn’s already figured that part out. They’ll save Alun, but the younger Gwyn will never find out. Ava hesitates when she realizes this plan means Gwyn will end up alone but he seems unphased by that outcome.

Back at the Fixed Point bar, Gideon is still pondering how time is killing people. She decides alcohol is what she needs to help her think, so she and Gary head to the bar. Astra and Behrad decide to check out the betting tables together. With Nate and Sara working on the plan, that leaves Zari and Spooner to awkwardly socialize. They realize they’ve never hung out alone and don’t really know what to talk about.

Zari and Spooner
Those two friends who never socialize outside of the friend group.

At the bar, the barkeep is explaining things about the fixed point. Gideon, used to being the one with the most knowledge of time travel, doesn’t quite know how to deal with the gaps in understanding.

Meanwhile, Nate and Sara are talking strategy. A couple of young, spunky time travelers overhear their conversation, realizing they’re the Legends. Nate and Sara think they’ve run into some fans, but instead, they get called washed-up superheroes.

Ignoring the rest of their heckles, they continue to work on their plan. Sara thinks she’s figured out the perfect plan, but as she’s explaining it to Nate, he points over her shoulder to the video of the person currently making an attempt. He had the same idea and it ends in his death and failure. She doesn’t have time to come up with a new plan before her turn comes up. But who needs a plan? She’s Sara damn Lance, as Nate reminds her.

She wings it, but keeps getting distracted. Her attempt is cut short when she runs face-first into a ladder. She regroups with the Legends but has no next steps planned. Instead, she heads to the bar.

Back in the mansion, Gwyn is focused on the plan to save Alun, but Ava is still caught up in Gwyn’s choice to be alone. She wants to make a plan that would allow him and Alun to be together. Gwyn stops her because to him, not being with Alun is more than a fix to their time paradox, it’s his deserved punishment for loving a man in the first place.

Gwyn Davies
Its heartbreaking how content he seems with the concept of his own punishment.

Ava tries to reassure him there is nothing wrong with him for loving a man. She let’s him know there are places and people where he can be safe and accepted. But for Gwyn, it’s not acceptance from people he seeks. In the eyes of his god, his religion, his love is wrong. With tears in her eyes, she listens as Gwyn explains that who he is is wrong and that’s why he deserves punishment. She can’t accept it, but doesn’t know what more to say to him in that moment.

Meanwhile, back at the Fixed Point, those cocky time travelers shoot some insults at Zari and Spooner. They’re the worst, but they do help Zari and Spooner realize they can bond by talking about people they hate. With the ice sufficiently broken, the duo confide that they found the other intimidating and didn’t know how to broach a friendship before now.

Sara is at the bar, probably drinking to numb the pain from the ladder. Nate joins her, trying to reassure her they’ll do better next time. But Sara sees the failure as her failing the team. And not just here at the fixed point, but this whole adventure since they’ve lost the Waverider. Nate points out that if it weren’t for her, they would have never made it out of Odessa. He rounds up the team, and the Legends remind their captain they’re in this together. They’ll be by her side, no matter what.

Legends of Tomorrow
Sometimes Mom needs the pep talk.

Sara doesn’t want to put anyone else in danger and she doesn’t have a plan for their next attempt. Nate reminds her that if the Legends have experience in anything, it’s experience with failure. They don’t need the perfect plan. If they fail, they’ll just try again. The pep talk is just what Sara needs. After all, who’s better at breaking time than the Legends of Tomorrow?

Since Sara is the unkillable one, she’ll run the attempts, but the rest of the team will be on scene to observe and help come up with strategies. With the team’s input, Sara is able to develop a plan for the first two assassins, but despite her best efforts, the final assassin eludes her efforts to stop her by seemingly increasingly lucky odds. The other time travelers begin to root for her, watching her persistence throughout her attempts, but the team is running out of tickets for attempts.

Between their runs, Zari suggest she and Spooner play smash, marry, kill. She first proposes the selection between Nate, Gary, and Gwyn. Spooner gives a little shrug and says she’s not into any of them. Without batting an eye Zari proposes Sara, Ava, and Astra. Spooner gives a hesitant headshake before saying she’s not into them either. Zari asks who is her type. Spooner admits she doesn’t get those feelings, assuming it’s because of how her alien connection messed with her. Zari, oh so gently corrects that there is nothing is wrong with Spooner and explains asexuality to her.

Spooner Cruz
The relief on her face.

There’s a small exhale from Spooner as she suddenly has words to describe parts of herself she couldn’t before. And she says ‘I guess that makes me ace’ like it’s both the simplest thing and like it’s a huge relief. Zari’s delighted and honored to be the first person Spooner came out to. Spooner turns Zari’s initial question around her, asking her who she’s into, besides broody warlocks. She points out a dark and mysterious stranger in a top hat who she might be into, but when Zari looks a moment later there is no top hat guy.

Spooner’s empathy powers give her all the wrong vibes when they check out the spot he was in. When they tell the rest of the team, some of them remember catching glimpses of a man in a top hat as well. They review the film and catch sight of the man in a single frame of footage.

Sara theorizes this mysterious man is the one fixing time, not time itself and that he has the power to stop time, which explains his appearance in only one frame of the film. Gideon is delighted to be have been right about time and she also has an idea to counteract the time freezing effects.

She returns to the mansion to borrow a part of the time machine to create the device they’ll need. Gwyn hesitates when he hears which part she needs. It’s vital for the time machine to function and he might not be able to reinstall it, which would risk his plan to save Alun.

But then Gwyn assumes this is just all part of god’s plan, including him being destined to fail. He goes to retrieve the part, but Ava follows him. She understands he has a deep connection to his faith. That’s something Ava doesn’t have but she can respect it. And no words I put would do this scene justice, so I’ll just let Ava’s words speak for themselves;

“But I do know that if- if there is a God, he or she or they or whatever pronoun they prefer would want you to experience love… and to feel acceptance loving whoever it is you choose, Gwyn, because love is love is love is love is love is love is love.”

Ava Sharpe
Ava Sharpe
Nothing more to be said.

Gwyn is moved by her words, and her own faith. If Ava Sharpe believes in anything, she believes in love. Gwyn goes to shake her hand as a thank you, Ava pulls him into a hug.

Gideon and Gwyn whip up the device to counteract the time freezing, carrying it to Sara. She’s prepared to head out again, except they’ve used all their tickets already. The barkeep isn’t going to let them go again, but those same cocky kids from earlier give them their tickets. They’ve been reminded why the Legends are known as Legends in the first place.

The bar cheers Sara on as she goes out for her final attempt. She approaches the final assassin, turning on the device. As she disarms the assassin, time freezes around her and she sees who the man in the top hat is: Eobard Thawne.  

The two fight, Sara noting he no longer has his speed. Sara quickly overpowers him, but he warns if she kills him she’ll have to take over as the protector of the fixed point. They call a truce so they can both explain their intentions. Thawne (this version of Thawne) had his speed stripped from him by the time wraiths. After some ‘re-education’ he was tasked with protecting the fixed point. Sara explains she doesn’t want to permanently change the timeline, just make it seem like it was changed so they can get their ship back.

Thawne and Sara
How does Sara keep ending sitting across from former enemies?

They make a deal. Thawne will give Sara forty minutes before he fixes the archduke’s assassination but not a minute more, with the condition that if Sara kills him she’ll have to take his place as the protector of the fixed point.

With the assassination seemingly foiled, the Legends get ready. Leaving Gwyn and Gideon at the bar, the rest of the team head out to where the Waverider appears, preparing to take their ship back.


I went into this episode expecting a fun romp of the Legends adding more chaos into a point of history that already had Legends levels of chaotic without their involvement and the episode delivered on that. And it also delivered two beautiful moments of characters coming to terms with their sexuality.

There’s this small moment with Spooner, where you can see the understanding and relief that just fills her when Zari explains that she’s not broken. What she’s feeling is perfectly normal. It’s the lightbulb moment when she has the words that she didn’t before. The moment is beautifully performed by Lisseth Chaves and Tala Ashe.

And it’s great to see more on-screen representation of asexual characters. As diversity continues to grow and develop in media, the spectrum of asexually is still an area that does not get much spotlight.

The other moment was, of course, Gwyn and Ava. It was heartbreaking to see the utter conviction Gwyn had that he deserved to be punished for who he loved, made all the more heartbreaking to see the tragedy of it reflected in Ava’s expression. It was important that Ava never tried to disavow Gwyn’s religion for him. She understood it is an important part of who he is, and instead of asking him to deny one part of himself to accept another, she showed him where those aspects intersected: Love. Because at the end of the day, it’s love.

It should not be surprising this tremendous episode was directed by Maisie Richardson-Sellers, returning behind the cameras once again. She clearly took care to give Spooner and Gwyn’s moments the space they needed among the usual Legends chaos happening.

Next episode, another Legends‘ cast member gets behind the camera. Jes Macallan steps up to the director’s plate as the Legends fight against themselves.

Only Legends Could 

  • The events surrounding the actual assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand are truly one of those instances where fact is stranger is fiction, a perfect fit for Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Gideon and Astra’s pseudo mother and child bond is so endearing to me. Astra was so proud of Gideon’s plan.
  • Sara trying to be supportive of Nate’s drawing abilities but it’s so bad she misinterprets what everything is.
  •  Spooner and Zari bonding over their mutual dislike of dude bros and the fact they were kind of abducted by the Legends.
  • And check the box for Sara Lance’s yearly brush with death. Sara might have tripled her death count in this episode.
  • How does Legends make me laugh with a Lin-Manuel Maranda joke in the same scene they make me tear up because one queer character is helping another accept himself?
  • Good for those young time travelers acknowledging their issues and being in therapy together.
  • One version of Thawne is here protecting the timeline while another one just messed up the timeline so much he almost convinced Iris West to marry him.

Images courtesy of the CW

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