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Teen Wolf 6A Was A Study In Wasted Opportunities

Barbara

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Teen Wolf delivered its mid-season finale exactly a month ago. It seems like enough time has passed to be able to look back with at least a little bit of perspective, so let me try to do that. The title is harsh, I know. Especially as it‘ s likely that there were some last-minute changes to the plot – if it was not changed entirely – in response to Dylan O‘Brien‘s injury and lack of availability. Still, looking at the half-season as it stands, on its own merit, it’s hard to miss.

Ghost Riders In The Sky

First, let’s look at the main plotline itself. It had potential. You may remember how I enthused about the sheer drama included with the threat of people being forgotten. And at the beginning, it delivered, too.

Stiles’ disappearance and the struggle of everyone left behind to remember him made full use of this, but almost immediately afterward, it started to go downhill.

It began with Gwen, whose frustration at everyone forgetting her sister was well done and heart-wrenching, but whose own memory was a little too easily retained. It would have added another layer of drama had she struggled with her memory as well. But fine, let’s say they did not have enough room to devote so much time to Gwen. She is a tertiary character, and her storyline still worked as it was.

All the other people taken by the Hunt, though…

No one forgets any of them.

Or maybe someone does, but we never see it on screen.

Gwen herself. The people taken on the lacrosse field. Corey. Melissa. Hayden and Mason. They are all remembered perfectly fine, taking away a good deal of the terror of the Hunt. As it is, the Riders are downgraded to sort of “temporary killers.”

Hand in hand with it also went the decrease of their power. At the beginning of the season, they seemed unbeatable by any means at the disposal of the pack. When the party was attacked, the entire sophomore pack wasn’t able to handle one rider, and they needed Parrish to arrive to (temporarily) save them.

A few episodes later, Liam was wrestling with them like nobody’s business.

So the only menacing thing about them remained that their bullets worked on werewolves as well as humans, but then again, the Riders forgot they had the guns half of the time – as the plot demanded it – so it wasn’t that much of an issue.

Given that the Hunt was presented to us as something almost akin to a force of nature at the beginning, that’s quite a downgrade. In addition, the potential terror of them gradually taking away everyone in Beacon Hills was pretty much entirely missed because there was no gradual danger. Instead, one day we just learned that everyone was gone. Completely out of the blue. Instead of creeping horror, there is just a surprise because of the suddenness.

The Riders were not bad antagonists exactly, but they could have, and should have, been so much more.

This goes for the entire business with Claudia Stilinski, too, both her original apparition and the Rider pretending to be her at the end. Regardless of the inconsistency of her depiction I kept complaining about, more should have been done with that storyline. The Sheriff was over her death in seconds, effectively, and Stiles barely seemed slightly bothered by her apparition at the end, because he did not have enough time to be.

This was a storyline that had even more heartwrenching potential than the Riders themselves, and even less was done with it.

Heroes and Villains…

Then there were the redemption arcs. And I use the word arc very loosely.

Peter was first, so let’s look at him.

Let me do a brief overview. We know very little about Peter Hale before the Hale fire. He slept with the Desert Wolf at some point, and his sister took the memory of his daughter out of that union from him. We don’t know why. Then he was in rather agonizing pain for a few years, and pretty much out of his mind for at least some of them. This ended when he killed his niece. There are differing opinions about his lucidity when he did that, so I’ll treat it as an unknown factor.

He became an alpha, and started to kill people responsible for the fire. Plus, apparently, Scott’s friends – or he wanted Scott to kill them, anyway. At that point, he was certainly at least partly in control of himself, though whether we’d term him in his right mind is another question.

He was killed by his own nephew, and resurrected. After the resurrection, he managed to pretend to be a mostly sane person and give help to the pack on occasion, and take care of his other niece. But it was also revealed he had issues about not being an alpha anymore. He decided to resolve the issues by tricking Scott into getting killed, and have Kate Argent, the last surviving perpetrator of the Hale fire, killed as well. He failed, and was locked up in Eichen House without a trial to face perpetual mental torture.

So stood the story before season six. It hardly makes Peter a hero, but it does contain some legitimate reasons for compassion, which make me understand why Peter might seem like a character worthy of a redemption arc.

Now when building a redemption arc, it’s good practice to start with the morally good side of the character in question and have that lead them to redemption. Another option is having them see the consequences of their actions, but even that often ties into the first – they need to have some good side to be moved.

In the past seasons, Peter definitely showed that he cared for Cora, and that he was at least interested in Malia. I hesitate to say that he loves his family in general, because of what happened to Laura and Derek, but there is the doubt about his sanity. So he loves some of his family at least and doesn’t feel completely indifferent to the rest, given that he never tried to kill Derek to gain alphahood. I know, a low bar to clear, but still. Peter was absolutely willing to kill for alphahood, so it’s relevant to know he wasn’t willing to kill Derek.

In any case, his love for his family was a good point to start, and given that Malia is the only Hale left in Beacon Hills beside him, it was obvious it should be her.

So that’s why we opened this arc with a scene that had Stiles and Peter together.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved that episode. It was my favorite this half-season. But given the lack of time they apparently had to devote to Peter, I question whether this was the most logical point to start. Because we had Peter decide to risk his life and incredible pain to get back to Beacon Hills when he realized the Hunt would take everyone one by one. He wanted to save his daughter.

That is a storyline that had much potential. Really, it did, though it would have worked better if they had more than three scenes together two seasons ago.

Put fine, Peter’s interest in Malia and his desire to be at least on tolerable terms with her was established in those scenes. So let’s say it’s enough to be going on. Enough to make Peter’s decision to risk himself work.

The problem is that the only thing we see from him for the rest of the season is making this very same decision again, three more times.

He gets points for perseverance, I guess?

Beginning his story at the point where he was willing to sacrifice himself for Malia meant we didn’t need to see that story anymore. On the contrary, that was the point of departure. From there, there were two things of interest to depict. One, Peter’s gradual coming to terms with the idea that Malia will not leave her friends, and that if he wants to save her, he has to honestly work with them and help save Beacon Hills. Two, Malia coming to gain some respect and affection for her father. The two, naturally, would be interconnected.

We saw neither.

Well, no, to be fair, there was the smallest glimpse of Malia coming to appreciate Peter when she went to fight for him in the final episode. I loved that. But it was simply too little too late, and there was nothing of Peter’s journey. He just did the same thing over and over again, with no development, until Malia finally decided it was worth her notice.

This is not a way to make any story compelling, let alone a redemption arc of sorts, which should be very character-centric.

The thought of what this storyline could have been, if it had been done well, makes me want to scream in frustration.

…Er, Sorry, Heroes As Well

Now to Theo.

There I find it more difficult to understand why anyone felt the need to give him a redemption arc. Unlike Peter, he wasn’t one of the show’s constants. He was a one-season villain. Not even a particularly memorable one, at least not compared to the repulsiveness of Kate, Gerard, or even the sociopathic charms of Peter.

What we know about him amounts to relatively little: as a child, he was dying, and to save himself, he cold-bloodedly murdered his own sister (standing on the bridge and watching her slowly drown and do nothing – it doesn’t get much more cold-blooded). Then he entered into the service of the Dread Doctors, and on their payroll infiltrated Scot’s pack with the intention of breaking it apart. He rather cruelly emotionally manipulated everyone involved to that end. He also killed people who considered him their friend in order to increase his own power.

Where exactly are the redeeming points about him that made someone want to write a redemption arc?

But, to be fair, there are at least some reasons for compassion. Learning that you’re dying when still a child sucks, and the years he worked for the Doctors were probably no nice gig either. Still, there was no indication anywhere in season five that Theo was anything but a wholly repulsive human being. Even those can suffer, and we might not wish it on them, but it doesn’t mean they’d be better people if they only got a chance.

Still, the showrunners clearly thought he deserved one. But not too much of it, or that’s how I interpret the complete lack of care or consistency.

The only sign Theo shows in season six of having changed in any way since the jerk he used to be is his trauma from the time he spent underground, tortured by visions of his sister killing him over and over again. And that bit was well done. But…nothing tied into it in any way, until he suddenly decided to sacrifice himself in an over the top situation when it wasn’t even necessarily called for. (And we still don’t know how he beat those impossible odds, by the way.) That’s not character development, that’s two separate points on the show doing something with his character.

His flashbacks were powerful and had potential, too. I understand they didn’t have enough space to develop them into something more, but then why include his redemption arc in the first place? Why resurrect him at all, if you can’t give us an interesting story? Or even a story at all, really?

Love Is in the Air…

To make matters clear: I’m not a Stydia shipper, but I absolutely see the attraction.

The only reason I don’t ship them is the uncomfortable dynamic that results from Stiles clearly being interested in Lydia and Lydia equally clearly not reciprocating in early seasons. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth to say they should be together in spite of her wishes. But otherwise, yes, absolutely. Their scene at the end of season one – the “Field’s medal” one – was awesome. That is what I find attractive about the notion of their relationship. They are both very smart, Lydia more so. Just like she and Jackson were a social power couple, she and Stiles could be an intellectual power couple. She would enjoy that, I think. Stiles would enjoy that. I would definitely enjoy watching that.

So of course, we saw nothing of that dynamics and everything of what is problematic about it.

I’ve complained about this already in my review of the first episode of his season, but I will shamelessly repeat myself. Because context really is everything. Yes, it’s a pity they haven’t seeded Stydia better in the previous season at least, but it could have been salvaged. If Stiles and Lydia acted differently towards each other from the very beginning of this season, if we saw the chemistry between them, if we saw more of that “intellectual power couple” dynamics, leaving everyone else (except for Mason) in the dust and people looking at them and rolling their eyes, clearly thinking of them as a couple in some ways already…yes, I can see that. And then the panicked realization that they thought they had all the time in the world, but now Stiles was going to be taken and they had none and the last-minute confession.

That would have been a moving story.

Instead, we got the identical friendly dynamics from previous seasons. We got Stiles kissing Lydia against her explicit wishes (how did they shoot that? I will never get over that), reinforcing the uncomfortable dynamics. We had Stiles saying he never stopped obsessing about Lydia, so instead of separating their mature mutual love from his teenage unhealthy obsession, they reinforced the connection.

Honestly, were they trying to hit all the wrong notes?

Their meeting again in the final fared better, and if it wasn’t for the unfortunate intro, there would have bene nothing to complain about. But the first episode cannot be unseen, and it makes it hard to be happy for them when Stiles sappily says that everything has changed.

…And It’s Quick-Acting

Stiles and Lydia weren’t the only ones to get lucky this season. There was Melissa, too, and her whirlwind romance with Chris.

And by whirlwind, I don’t mean passionate. I mostly mean it came out of nowhere and nobody knows where it is headed.

I quite like the idea of the pairing, really. It has potential. But, as per the theme, it was not even tapped.

Instead, we had Melissa randomly decide to go out on an adventure with Chris, contrary to all her previous character tendencies. Looking back, it’s obvious it was forced to get them enough time together. The writers were clearly clueless about how to make their romance natural in any way.

In fact, I struggle to come up with what was even the point of their storyline this half-season, except giving him an opportunity for an out of the blue romance. Chris came with the knowledge that someone was stealing pineal glands. That could have been relevant, but wasn’t. It led nowhere. And the rest of his presence was even more useless.

He gave the pack a bunker for use, where the Hale vault could have been used equally easily (and probably with more success). He then ran around for a while, got whipped, led Hauptmann to Parrish (seriously??) and was taken by the Hunt. His Western moment was nice, but hardly enough to outweigh all this. Except for the bunker, he never worked alongside the pack, always apart, so that he could have private time with Melissa. It went against all plot logic, and didn’t really do much to build intimacy or any kind of rapport between them. Speaking from a Watsonian point of view, I would probably assume Melissa kissing him was just a reaction to all that adrenaline, and that it wasn’t leading anywhere. Because it wasn’t coming from anywhere.

Oh well. At least the Mason/Corey romance was handled well, as far as I can tell. Hopefully, the next half season of Teen Wolf will have fewer missed chances.


All images courtesy of MTV.

Barbara is a religious studies grad student who uses fandom to avoid working on her thesis.

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This was an excellent summary and retrospective, I found myself nodding and saying YES EXACTLY over and over ’cause it mirrored so much of how I felt about 6a. The premise/plot of 6a was so interesting and had so much potential to be great and captivating. But then the season started and it all fell flat. So much of what happened didn’t feel well thought/planned out like they hadn’t written down the rules for how things should work. Like how the Ghost Riders marked and took someone wasn’t consistent, it was different each time. And when someone was erased, some… Read more »

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[…] with more down-to-earth antagonists. Well, as down to earth as you can get in a supernatural show. As the first half of this season showed quite well, the end with the larger than life villains tends to be a little underwhelming. It is difficult to […]

Television

Away In A Manger: Black Lightning 2×09, “Gift of Magi”

Sarah

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Black Lightning, Anissa, and Jennifer with the phrase Get Lit

Well, my friends, we’re nearing the end of Black Lightning S2, and I think it’s time to declare a sophomore slump. Anyone here with me? Let’s get into this week’s episode and discuss.

Jen and Kahlil are still on the run, but Kahlil was cut with one of Cutter’s Special aka Poison knives, so he’s quickly succumbing. The pair find a barn, where there’s a lot of soft lantern light and Kahlil can curl up in the hay. At first they swap cute-funny stories about when they first met, but soon Kahlil can’t manage talking let alone breathing well, so Jen goes out to steal some antibiotics from a hospital. (They don’t yet know that it’s poison, they assume his wound is infected). Jen is getting really good not only at controlling her powers, but using them for specific tasks, and I’m here for it although I really wish it wasn’t in the context of this storyline.

Manger

She manages to get the antibiotics and injects Kahlil with it, but it doesn’t work. She grows increasingly desperate, and as Kahlil’s death seems imminent, she goes outside for some air and a good cry. That’s when she goes back to her brain-salon, where she sees Perenna (her brain-version of Perenna, not the real one) and a twin version of herself. Mind-Perenna tells Jen that she already has everything she needs inside of her; it’s very Inside Out. Together with her brain creations she figures out that Cutter is actually *right there* watching them through binoculars. She manages to capture her and tie her up, tasering her with her hands as a form of torture in order to get her to tell her what she did to Kahlil. It’s not long before she figures out it was a poison knife, and cuts Cutter with it so that she’ll be forced to show Jen where on her person the antidote is. Turns out, it’s in that very obvious vial on her necklace!

Twins

Jen goes to a dark place when she’s torturing Cutter, which is kind of hard to watch. Again, I’d be more interested if this whole thing didn’t revolve around Kahlil. Anyway, Jen gives both Kahlil and Cutter the antidote and they’re on their way again. But only after they declare their undying love for each other.

I’m happy to report that no one left Kahlil’s aunt for dead in her house, as Black Lightning, Thunder, and Gambi have set up camp there to help her recover from what turned out to be one of Kahlil’s pain pills and try to figure out how to find Jen. They know Kahlil is hurt so they check hospitals, and end up being in the same hospital as Jen at the same time!

So close, yet so far

Jefferson and Anissa figure out Jen was there because she left a trail aka scorch mark in her path, but the fact that she keep eluding them is driving Jefferson to be irrational and reckless. Gambi and Anissa manage to keep him under control, but Lynn is losing it too. When she’s not crying in the wreckage of Jen’s room that she destroyed, she’s trying to get Kahlil’s mom, and then his dad, to give her clues as to where they might be.

Of course neither of them can help, but along the way she grabs a gun from the Inner Sanctum aka Gambi’s basement so that’s concerning, considering her emotional state.

My heart breaks for this heartbreak

In a parallel storyline, Tobias has set his sights on a kid named Todd, an academic prodigy who has just been rejected for a research grant in favor of the white kid whose rich dad just funded a new wing of the university. It’s unclear what Tobias wants Todd to do, and Todd seems dubious at best until Tobias deposits $100,000 into his bank account. Money is the root of all evil, amirite? I mean, capitalism is. But that’s a discussion for another place.

An invitation I hope to never get

Lastly, this episode ends with a scene in which a mysterious someone murders everyone in a bar in Texas before getting a phone call from his boss telling him that his next job is in Freeland. I feel like we’re about to meet a bigger bad than Tobias, but time will tell! Just someone end this Kahlil-Jen nonsense and give us our family back kthanks.

What do you think is in store for the final episodes? Are you happy with this season so far? Black Lightning is going on hiatus until the end of January, so I’ll be back then to see where we’re at. Enjoy what’s left of the year, friends!


Images courtesy of The CW

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Winter Hiatus Blues

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Even in December with the broadcast networks hiatus for scripted series starting, and pilot season underway, there’s so much to discuss!

The continuing behind the scenes drama of Les Moonves’ ouster from CBS, ABC’s entertainment president Channing Dungey stepping down, NBC’s Greenblatt moving on, and FOX setting up for its new leadership once the merger goes through…every big 4 network has a lot to deal with between now and the TCAs in early February. The exec panels will sure be a time… Especially if ratings come up at all.

Ratings Race

As of this Tuesday, and as always, I’m talking about scripted ratings: FOX is number 1 with a 1.13 average followed by NBC, ABC, and CBS. CW of course is last with .35. Last month, four of the five networks had six shows at or above their overall average.

Now, ABC has eight shows, the CW has five, and the rest have six.

Across the five networks, only a third of new shows are performing above the average on their network. The Connors (considered a new show), FBI, The NeighborhoodLast Man StandingNew Amsterdam, and Manifest. The highest rated new show on The CW, Legacies hovers right below the network’s average.

Interestingly, across the board, long running shows are still high rating performers (or what’s high now) for the networks. The exception to this is SVU at a tenth below the average.

Their “success” indicates that we probably won’t lose any of the longest running shows anytime soon. Still, the network with the largest average season length (including shows yet to premiere) is FOX at 5.3 followed by CBS at 4.5. Removing the shows already cancelled and predicted as canceled doesn’t make an impact because of The Simpsons‘ whopping thirty seasons! (Unrelated but with the announcement for Crisis on Infinite Earths, DCTV isn’t going anywhere either.)

Of course some of this will shift when the rest of the new slate premieres begin in January. I do not envy the folks in charge of scheduling spring shows, especially as more time slots are lost to winter reality or competition shows.

Scheduling Shenanigans

You can put whatever new show after strong shows and still have a dud in the ratings race.

On The CW, ableist In The Dark has had zero promotion beyond the scheduling announcement that it starts after Supernatural. Their other new show Roswell: New Mexico or Roswell: TVD received the coveted post Flash slot plus actual promo. Except for The 100, their other spring shows already received cancellations, so ratings definitely don’t matter.

FOX  only has two newbies to premiere, with The Passage starting after The Resident and Proven Innocent taking the 9PM slot after Cool Kids. I don’t know that people watching an hour of comedy will stick around for a procedural, but anything can happen these days.

ABC on Wednesday revealed that in a vote of confidence (or in hopes to increase viewers or to get Whiskey Cavalier onto the schedule earlier) is moving the last bit of A Million Little Things behind Grey’s leaving current slot holder Station 19 off the schedule until March. Considering AMLT  hit a .7 last week… The Fix is the only other newbie to get a spring slot, starting in March in The Good Doctor‘s place. Grand Hotel is now a summer show. ABC what are you doing?!

NBC and CBS have yet to fully unveil their new schedules so more on that in January! However, pilot development is in full swing and reboots (and spin-offs) continue to rule the pack.

Pilot Predictions

Predicting what pilots will make it to series this early is silly, but I do think that a chunk of the reboots in development will definitely make it to air. If they’ll get renewed is another question. Even though this year, only Charmed received a back 9 order (Last Man Standing was ordered with 22 episodes). Last year, all the shows that received fewer than 9 episodes in the fall except for Good Doctor were cancelled. So now in May, that trend continues, or the new trend is that any back order indicates a renewal.

Which is why even though I think it’s silly to bank on so many reboots in development, I know that networks are still going to do it. I won’t list all of the shows in development because there are a lot and many will die by January. The CW has three alone! And NBC already has a series order for Law and Order: Hate Crimes or as my friend calls it, “SVU but grittier” making it the seventh L&O series.

By late January, early February, the big entertainment sites will have lists of all the pilots in contention and then we can really get into the details. Until then, what shows are y’all waiting to see for the first time (or again)?


 

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‘Legends of To-Meow-Meow’ Cranks the Insanity up to Eleven

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It’s that time year of again. The Arrowverse crossover, but the Legends misplaced their invites. While Kara, Barry, and Oliver were getting acquainted with Batwoman and dealing with body switching, the Legends were dealing with their own alternate reality issues. Or should I say the Custodians were dealing with their own issues. Or, should that be the Sirens? Or the Puppets?

Yep, this was one of those kinds of episodes. ‘Legends of To-Meow-Meow’ didn’t just surpass the insanity of every other episode this season. It multiplied it, as Charlie and Constantine broke the timeline more with each attempt to fix it.

At first, Charlie hits the town on her own, going to Las Vegas to stretch her newly returned powers. Going out as Marilyn Monroe, she runs into a prison buddy, a leprechaun. She barely has the chance to warn him about faulting his powers when Mick, Nate, and Ray strut in dressed like they just walked out of an 80’s action show. Which they did, apparently, as they introduce themselves as the Custodians of the Chronology and we get ‘A-Team’ style opening credits. They kill the leprechaun without hesitation, which is a big clue for Charlie that not everything is right.

Legends already planning their own spin offs.

She returns to the Waverider with cat-Zari to figure out why the team is suddenly so murder-happy. She transforms into Sara, planning on just ordering them to stop. But it doesn’t work because in this timeline, without help from Constantine, Sara was killed by the unicorn at Woodstock. The team attacks her, recognizing her as a shapeshifter. Charlie makes a quick retreat from the ship, taking cat-Zari along to find John.

He’s being kept imprisoned at the Time Bureau. Because he was the epicentre of the timeline shift, he has memories from both timelines and his brain isn’t keeping up very well. When they find him, John turns Zari back into a human. Only to turn her right back when she’s against his and Charlie’s idea to save Sara instead of fixing their alteration. Charlie breaks John out, with some help from Mona and a very emo Ava. Some of the Lege- Custodians die in their fight out, but everything will be fine once they save Sara. At least that’s what Charlie and John tell themselves.

They travel to Woodstock, blasting the unicorn into rainbow gloop before it can gore anyone. But this time, when they return to their time Nate, Ray, and Mick are the ones with the memorial plaques. Plus, without the guys around, Sara, Ava, and an android?Gideon have formed a Charlie’s Angels style team that assassinates fugitives. Charlie attempts to infiltrate the team as Amaya, but her cover is blown almost instantly. She does learn the boys were killed by the Fairy Godmother. The fairy is also the reason Zari’s a cat.

I’d watch this show.

John and Charlie go to Salem for their next patch job. Charlie transforms into the Fairy Godmother to trick Prudence into releasing the fairy before she can kill the boys. It seems to go off without a hitch until she returns to the jumpship. Good news, Zari is no longer a cat. Bad news, she’s now a puppet.

So is the entire team, as John learns when he boards the Waverider. They aren’t just puppets. They’re puppets that sing their own intro and have a historical figure of the day. Since the Fairy Godmother didn’t kill Mick, he became her new charge. She turned the team into puppets before Mick took her along on a crime spree.

Charlie and John keep trying to Band-Aid the timeline, but each fix ends with someone else dead in the new timeline. Yet, even when they get to a point where no one has died, John’s mind has so many timelines clashing in his mind he collapses from the strain.

He finally agrees with Zari that they need to fix the timeline properly and stop Dez from leaving. When Charlie refuses to help they leave her behind, but she’s not giving up without a fight. She transforms into Ava, heading to the Waverider to clue the team in on the magical ongoings in New Orleans. But there’s something still wrong with this timeline. All the Legends are alive. No one is made of cloth. But they still have a ‘shoot first ask questions never’ policy when it comes the fugitives. Gideon picks up on the three Constantines at that point in time. The team assumes the extras are shapeshifters, sending Mick and Ray to blast them.

Charlie finally realizes it wasn’t just John’s absence from the team that caused the changes. It was her absence. Without her, the Legends don’t learn fugitives aren’t all unicorns with a taste for hearts or Fairy Godmothers that sing about murder.

…And with true love’s kiss, the curse was broken.

In New Orleans, this-episode’s-John stops Desmond after last-episode’s-Constantine broke up with him. He tells him he’s sorry for all the pain he’s going to cause him and wipes his memory just before still-in-a-relationship John can return. As Mick and Ray fire on this-episode-John, past-John and Desmond share a kiss which becomes the point from which the timeline fixes itself. Reality is right once again, where the only puppet person is the possessed Professor Stein and the Legends aren’t mythical creature murders. Ava and Mick even heal their rift from the last episode, finding some common ground.

John comes clean to Sara about their misadventure. He even tells her about Neron. Sara promises to help him take down his demon. So all’s well that ends well. Except, there’s no word on what happens to Mona after she met the business of the Kaupe’s claws. Nor is Hank happy the Kaupe escaped, which he learns about in the middle of a golf game with someone… something wearing Desmond’s face.

Analysis

Was this the strongest’s episode of Legends? Probably not. It sacrificed some substance for the sake of 80’s spoofs and sing-alongs. But that’s not to say this episode wasn’t good. Far from it. The alternate timelines were laugh out loud funny and the Puppets of Tomorrow song is going to be stuck in my head. They were so good I’m willing to overlook characters like Ray, Nate, Sara, and Ava feeling so drastically different in their respective spoof realities. I’ll chalk up to the discrepancies in their characterizations to time being so broken.

It could have easily become frustrating watching John and Charlie patch broke timeline after broken timeline while they ignored the obvious answer. But it never got to that point because every step of the way you knew John was doing this to keep Desmond alive. John Constantine, always the tortured soul, willing to let his mind be torn apart by multiple timelines before he gives up on his love again. It’s a tragedy the timeline being fixed has to come at the cost of Dez’s soul. But maybe it isn’t lost forever.

The scene between John and Desmond pulled at the heartstrings. As did the moment when Charlie finally realized she was the missing the link for the Legends. It’s always a good moment when a Legend finds their place on this mismatched, rag-tag team. It’s hard not to compare this episode to ‘Here I Go Again’, when Zari found her place on the team. Which is a glowing compliment when that episode is one of the best of Legends entire run.

The brief callbacks to the earlier episodes was a nice way to tie off the first half of the season as well. The Unicorn was only eight episodes ago. Yet, monsters, magic, and pure insanity feel like they’re always been a part of Legends of Tomorrow. Well, pure insanity has been a fundamental part of Legends since season two.

It just shows how this series isn’t afraid to shake up its own formula. Thus far it’s worked every time, with each season being better than the last. It’s still early to call season’s four place for certain. Season’s three back half had some heavy ringers, but so far this season is on the right tracks to be the most memorable one yet. They’re sure to come back strong when they return in April.

Only Legends Could

  • “You missed calls from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Kara Zor-El,”
    “Sounds like the annual crossover,”
    “Yeah, that’s going to be a hard pass,”
    This whole exchange is amazing. Easily wins favorite lines of the episode.
  • You can tick off Sara Lance’s annual dalliance with death. Sara dying, almost dying, or faking dying should be a running gag at this point, but for some reason, I can never find it funny.
  • Everyone just understands cat-Zari. No explanation needed. Much like when Nate understood pig-Ray.
  • The CW tradition of bad wigs continues with emo Ava. (Kate Kane, by some miracle, avoided the curse.)
  • In the Siren’s reality, Sara’s wielding Mick’s gun and Gideon has Rip’s.
  • I want more of DC’s Puppets of Tomorrow.
  • There’s a timeline where Nate and Hank die from a Garden Gnome.
  • Why yes, Legends did give us the true love’s kiss fixes everything. And yes, it was a kiss for a mlm couple. Legends never ceases to amaze.
  • I got a flirty vibe from Charlie and Zari at the end. Time will tell where that goes.

Images courtesy of the CW

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