Legends gave us their Thanksgiving episode this week, but since its Legends, the wholesome (or not so wholesome) family meal was relegated to the b-plot. The main course? One super-sized helping of Kaiju octopus out to destroy Tokyo. Plus, a Baba Yaga, chupacabra and Kaupe came along as some side helpings. Even with all of that, there was more to serve with Nora helping Ray bring Constantine off death’s door.
When the magic spectrometer goes off because of something in 1951 Japan, the team has to head out sans Ray because he goes off on his own to get Nora Darhk after Gideon, with some assistance from Sara, tracks her down in 2018. He gets a moment to become Sir Raymond of the Palms again when he fends off one of the unsultry patrons at the Renaissance Fair Nora’s been working at.
He needs her magical assistance to heal Constantine. Nora has her own doubts about using her powers. She links her magic with her dad, which is complicated. She doesn’t know if she can use them again without turning to a dark path again. Ray, being Ray only sees it as her using her powers this one instance for a good cause. Constantine knows better. He understands magic is never a one and done kind of deal. Even on his deathbed, with one foot in hell already he urges her only use her magic only if she’s doing it for herself.
The spell to save Constantine would ordinarily need to syphon the life-force away from a sacrifice. Ray comes up with an alternative, jury-rigging a system that allows Nora to draw energy from the Waverider instead.
Nora performs the spell, using her magic for something good the first time in her life. The act gives her the faith that she can use her magic without needing to go down a dark path. It also gives her the courage to turn herself into the Time Bureau in spite of Ray urging her to run again. She knows the only path to true freedom is by facing the consequences of her actions.
Meanwhile the rest of the team head to a film studio in 1950’s Tokyo to track down the footage captured of their unknown monster, the only lead they have for finding the fugitive. Sara takes Charlie with them on the mission but not without some complaining from the ship’s newest problem child. Charlie doesn’t do orders, which has her butting heads with Sara. But Charlie does find the footage while Zari and Mick distract Ishirō Honda.
The footage reveals the creature is a giant octopus, but it’s not a fugitive. Charlie never encountered it in the magical prison. They head to the bay to investigate and find Honda there trying to rid himself of a book. The book is something Charlie recognises, a gift from the Celtic goddess Brighid, it can bring the imagination to life. As it turns out, there was a giant killer octopus named Tagumo in Honda’s imagination.
The monster will only disappear when the story is completed. Honda’s story ends with the city being destroyed. The book rejects his efforts to rewrite the ending knowing he’s not truly inspired to create. In a surprisingly heart-breaking moment, Honda is overcome by the guilt of creating the monster and the deeper trauma that he suffers from being a survivor of Hiroshima. It’s Sara who talks him down, reminding him he’s allowed let go of the guilt.
Tagumo attacks the studio. Shrink ray in hand, Sara and Charlie take it on. Sara manages to shrink it, but it escapes into the sewers. Without someone to write an ending into the book, they have no way to stop Tagumo. In steps Mick, the closeted writer of the Legends. With the encouragement/kick in the behind he needs from Zari he picks the pen just in time for the shrunken octopus to show up. Fun fact, when you shrink down something the size of a building it’s still going to be pretty big in comparison.
Garima, the purple skinned, three-breasted alien queen, hero of Mick’s story comes forth to defeat the shrunken down, but still very large octopus, Tagumo amongst the miniature set of a ruined city (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write).
The creature defeated, the Legends return to the ship, taking the book with them. Charlie, after seeing Sara’s empathy towards Honda, makes her own peace with being on the team.
While the Legends were dealing with a kaiju, Ava and Nate were tackling another kind of monster, family gatherings. Hank invites Ava to Thanksgiving dinner after learning she was planning to spend the holiday alone. There are all the classics of family gatherings, the kids who get into trouble, the uncle who drinks too much and you shouldn’t talk politics with and the Hawaiian wolfman who escapes his containment cell. Wait, no, that last one happens to Gary. With everyone else away for the holiday, Gary’s left to hold down the fort at the Bureau alone. He orders food from Mona and invites her to join him for the meal, but some fugitives escape their cell. He calls Ava and Nate for back up. Ava’s worried about Hank finding out so Nate goes while she covers for his absence with his family.
The three creatures are too unruly to capture until Nate realises what’s wrong. They’re hangry. Luckily Mona knows just what one would feed a Baba Yaga, Kaupe and chupacabra. How does she know? She reads a lot. Sounds legit.
Back at dinner with the Heywoods, Hank gets suspicious when Ava’s stalling tactics start boarding on ridiculous. When he learns Nate is at the Bureau they both portal there, only to find Nate and Gary watching the fugitives eat ready to put them back in their cell once they finish their meal. This all leads to Hank giving Ava even more money (on top of the 4.2 billion he previously allocated to the Bureau) and Nate and Hank understanding each other better.
The warm holiday feeling doesn’t last too long when Hank is stepping away from dinner to take a call about a ‘Project Hades’. In the most government-like move, someone wants to control and weaponize the fugitives.
This episode gave us a lot to chew on. Perhaps, a little too much. With so many plots to go around, they didn’t get much time to let their arcs play out. Nora has a couple conversations with Ray and Constantine about her internal conflict over her magic, but there’s no time given to her show her processing their words. She goes from being scared of her powers to using them anyway without a progression between those two points.
The same flaw befalls the Time Bureau scenes. Why have three well known cultural myths when they are just there to literally chew the scenery. Sure this was Mona’s first time to shine, but she had so little to actually do she still comes off as more caricature than character at this point.
Another thing I think needs addressing is the lack of exploration with Charlie no longer being a shapeshifter. I keep waiting for Legends to acknowledge she lost a major part of who she was, but thus far she has just been the problem child. As fun as a character, as she is, it could become all too easy for Charlie and Constantine to cannibalize each other’s roles as the magical experts if Charlie doesn’t have something to define her outside of her knowledge of the other fugitives. Maybe it will be addressed in a future episode. I’ll just have to hold out hope.
I’ve similarly been holding out hope there will be an acknowledgement that Sara’s dad died some months ago. I’m more forgiving on this because it shouldn’t be on Legends to pick up on story tread from Arrow. At this point, the Arrowverse shows have established their own identities. I don’t expect another extended arc for Sara similar to what happened when Laurel died. Nor does there have to be one. Sara’s growth the past seasons on Legends have put her place where it’s more than believable her grieving period came and went during the five months of downtime between seasons three and four. But the mention of Quinten this episode made all the more apparent that it hasn’t even been mentioned.
But despite all the clutter of this episode, there was still a lot of good to be had. The moment between Ishirō Honda and Sara was the strongest in the episode. Honda was using his art outlet for his trauma, which is something many creatives do but isn’t often acknowledged in the main steam. The message of Honda letting go of his guilt coming from Sara makes it all the more potent. Sara Lance who once carried enough guilt on her shoulders to make Atlas’s knees buckle. For her to be the one to assure someone else that fault doesn’t lie with them was heartwarming. It shows how far she’s come since she found herself lying on the wreckage of the Queen’s Gambit.
Since creatives using art as therapy was the message of the episode it was wonderful Mick got his moment to shine here. He saved the day with his three-boobed fantasy woman while simultaneously revealing more about himself to the team. For all the silly comedy Legends loves to put at the forefront, it never fails to deliver on the empathic moments.
Only Legends Could
- I thought Beebo vs. Mallus would be the pinnacle of weird and wonderfully fights, but then Garima vs. Tagumo comes along and has me re-evaluating everything.
- Add Godzilla to the list of things the Legends have inspired. Right next to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
- Sara picking up after Charlie was the most mom thing.
- Best line of the episodes goes to Gary’s ‘I’m so fff-fired’.