[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 3×03: “Zari”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Hydroman is after Red Tornado in the future world of Blade Runner and only the Legends can save the day! Am I mixing up my comic universes and film references? Probably. Am I high? Well, someone is.

Seattle, 2042. An A.R.G.U.S. transport carrying a prisoner is attacked by Kuasa and her water powers. The guards are killed, but the prisoner escapes before Kuasa can get to her. Nearby, a hiding Agent Gary calls in a Code 99 to the Time Bureau. The Bureau’s got 99 codes and a water witch is one.

On the Waverider, Nate tries to talk to Stein about Amaya, but both are shocked to discover Amaya stuck to the ceiling after having summoned the spirit of a spider. Nate wakes her up and she falls down. Amaya is afraid her sleepwalking might lead to her going rhino on the hull of the ship. Here’s a thought – take off the totem. Stein wants to solve the problem with science because…science makes magic suddenly science. He takes her to medical to run tests, but can’t find anything wrong with her so Nate tries to step in. Amaya tries to tell them it’s a mystical problem, but the science nerds keep insisting on trying science. Amaya leaves and bumps into Sara in the hallway and says she now understands the meaning of the word “mansplaining”.

Sara receives the distress call from Agent Gary and the team goes to help, finding Gary and discovering the city is a police state run by A.R.G.U.S. Gary spills the beans – an unregulated time-traveling metahuman with water-controlling powers attacked the transport. Ray says he fought someone like this before, which I think is in reference to the Vixen animated series but for some reason he doesn’t actually recognize Kuasa in the video even though Kuasa was the one he fought. Are they doing the “no one knows who Reverse-Flash is” thing again? They track down the prisoner who escaped – Zari Tomaz. Nate uses the “come with us if you want to live” line. Neeeeerrrrrrd! Zari doesn’t want to go anywhere with them and when an A.R.G.U.S. drone appears, she scrambles its facial recognition with some hacking and slips away.

Seems A.R.G.U.S. made metahumans illegal in 2021 and the drone has identified Ray Palmer, Sara Lance, Nathaniel Heywood, and Mick Rory as metas. Look, I don’t doubt all four are in A.R.G.U.S.’ database, but three of them aren’t metas. None of them are if you count metas as being only the ones created by the particle accelerator explosion. It doesn’t matter; they escape the A.R.G.U.S. goons.

On the Waverider, they look at Zari’s rap sheet: burglary, larceny, grand larceny, identity theft, trespassing, digital trespassing, metahuman smuggling, conspiracy, and multiple religious infractions. Uh… “Zari’s Muslim.” UH…. “Apparently religion is illegal in 2042.” Oh. Why do I think there was an earlier draft of the script that dealt more specifically with Islamaphobia and outlawing Islam? I know it would have opened a can of worms, but acknowledging modern government-sponsored Islamaphobia and shining a light on where that shit could easily go would make for a powerful message. I can see why they didn’t, both from a political and narrative standpoint, but oof, that feels like a moment where they’re about to take a curve at 90 mph and then slow down to 15.

They track Zari to a bar. Ray puts on a backward baseball cap, fake beard, and eye patch and is all “How do you do, fellow criminals?” Never change, Ray. I’m serious; Ray’s dorky obliviousness is just perfect. They approach Zari, but Kuasa attacks. Sara tries to fight her hand-to-hand, but gets thrown around like a ragdoll. Mick starts a bar fight, letting them get away in the chaos. Zari is taken back to the ship where Gary scolds the Legends about revealing time travel to civilians…and in the process revealing time travel to Zari. Can we keep Gary for the rest of the season? Please? Zari asks if they’re time-traveling superheroes and Ray boasts that they’ve saved the world twice.

ZARI: “You saved the world?”
RAY: “Twice!”
ZARI: “Then why does it still suck?”

Preach. She agrees to help the Legends by being bait for Kuasa as long as they help her in return by breaking her brother out of an A.R.G.U.S. prison. A prison break? Mick says he’s in. The Legends agree and I’m far too lazy to link “what could possibli go wrong” again so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Nate’s research finds a special root which can help Amaya have a sort of vision quest to help her figure out the problem with her totem. The two of them drink tea with the root extract and try to meditate.

Sara, Zari, Mick, Ray, and Jax break into the A.R.G.U.S. prison and track down what room Zari’s brother is in. Jax and Ray see metahumans being tortured and experimented on, so they open every cell, starting a prison riot. Zari, meanwhile, isn’t interested in prisoners. She’s after an amulet. She apologizes, saying the amulet once belonged to her brother. She activates the amulet and it begins to glow. On the Waverider, Amaya’s totem glows and sense her into a trance.

The ground team calls Nate for help so he rushes to the rescue…while being high as fuck. What follows is a trippy scene of Nate walking through the Waverider seeing weird colors while weird music plays. I love this show. Zari uses the amulet to control the wind and fly away. Ray pursues Zari and Gideon takes control of the Waverider to rescue the others.

Amaya has a less LSD-like reaction and sees a vision of a woman representing her ancestors (and played by Joy Richardson, Maisie Richardson-Sellers’ mother). The woman tells her not to resist her power but trust in it, and to work with Zari.

Ray tracks Zari to the ruins of a camp – a sanctuary her parents were supposed to be at. She says her brother was killed in an A.R.G.U.S. raid and the amulet is all she has left of him. She needed it to protect her parents. Kuasa attacks just as a much larger time ship appears above the Waverider – Agent Gary called in the Time Bureau. Goddamnit, Agent Gary! Gary escapes through a portal and Sharpe, aboard the other ship, starts firing on the Waverider. They feign surrender and escape into the timestream with the Time Bureau in pursuit. Sara turns the Waverider around and flies it straight at the Time Bureau ship. Sara hails Sharpe to tell her the Legends won’t back down and won’t let the Bureau or A.R.G.U.S. lock up Zari for who she is. She stays on course, forcing Sharpe to lose that particular game of chicken and jump away.

NATE [still high]: “I really love this show.”

Same. ^_^

Zari saves Ray from being drowned by Kuasa and they try to run, but are cornered by her again. Amaya runs up with Mick and Jax to provide backup and she uses her totem to defeat Kuasa, who cryptically says that killing Amaya would be killing herself. Soooo, Kuasa is a descendant of Amaya. Gotcha. Kuasa uses some kind of magic thing to teleport or time jump away.

Sharpe calls Sara to say that the deal the Legends made with Rip and the Time Bureau is over. Amaya has control of her powers again, but she’s staying because her fate is intertwined with Zari’s. She stops Zari from leaving, identifying Zari’s amulet as a totem like Amaya’s. She and Mick convince Zari to join the Waverider crew.

In Ivy Town 1988, a young boy on a bike is being chased by bullies. He hides in a drain pipe to escape them, but hears something with glowing eyes growling. He introduces himself to whatever it is as Ray Palmer. I knew I shouldn’t have wasted that IT joke last week.

As character introductions, this episode was pretty good. We learned a little about Zari, saw the dystopian world she lived in, and she got a hero moment. She’s a criminal, but not in the way that Mick is a criminal. Her crimes seem to all be against A.R.G.U.S. and its police state. Sure she does “illegal” stuff, but considering the things that are illegal in 2042, she’s not exactly a bad guy. If you don’t know, Zari is loosely based on the character Adrianna Tomaz, a.k.a. Isis from the comics, a character associated with Black Adam and Shazam. She actually has roots in the 1970s TV series The Secrets of Isis, which holds the distinction of being the first weekly American live-action TV series with a female superhero lead, predating both The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman. It aired with the Shazam! series with which it had crossovers, but as far as I can tell the character wasn’t brought into the comic continuity until 2006. Now, I do say loosely based because Zari is from the future instead of modern times, she’s a hacktivist, and she has a magic necklace giving her wind powers instead of tapping into the powers of an Egyptian goddess. Still, it looks like an interesting direction for the character and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with her. And she’s a hacker! About time we got a lady nerd on the crew.

Apart from all of that I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. It was solid. Sara and Sharpe are still butting heads and I think the two are going to have an angry romance at some point. Then again, I’m still holding out hope for Kara and Lena hooking up on Supergirl, so maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. Also, this episode is worth it for stoned Nate alone.

Next week: DON’T TAKE THE BALLOON, RAY!

Legends Of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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