[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 3×16: “I, Ava”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Gather ’round, friends, as I recount the tale of Ava’s origins and fight a losing battle with my desire to make orgy jokes.

The Legends are up four totems to two, and Sara wants a break after the events of the last episode. Who can blame her? Ray graciously accepts the role of acting captain without it being offered, then Sara puts Amaya in charge. Ray then goes on a Men’s Rights message board to complain about how “forced diversity” is taking jobs away from straight white men, a.k.a. “the real minority”. Hahaha, just kidding. Ray isn’t a terrible human being; he steps aside like a mature person.

Mick is roasting hot dogs and popping popcorn, as you do when you’ve been granted the powers of a mystical fire totem. Zari is uncharacteristically not interested in any snacks. *gasp* She’s been replaced by an impostor! Oh wait, no, she’s observing a fast for Ramadan. Amaya comes in to train Mick in the use of the totem, and Zari warns her against pulling Mick’s finger. Classy, Legends. But Zari is assigned to the task when Amaya is pulled away.

Mari McCabe, the present-day Vixen, has been injured trying to save people from a fire. She’s operating as a superhero without powers since the timeline where Amaya didn’t have a totem to pass down is starting to solidify. Nate and Wally head to Detroit 2018 to convince Mari to back off the heroics for the time being. At the hospital, Nate spots Kuasa lurking around. Wally takes her out in seconds, but plot twist: she’s there to protect her sister!

Gary appears on the Waverider and is distraught to learn that Sara and Ava broke up. You are in good company, Gary. Ava hasn’t been to work in days, though – she’s gone missing! They search her office first, but her personnel file has been deleted, so they try her parents’ house in Fresno. Sara never imagined meeting Ava’s parents under these circumstances, not that she ever imagined herself meeting Ava’s parents. Hey, didn’t you say a few episodes ago that you weren’t the type of woman someone introduces to their parents, that you were more the type you take to an exorcism? Get you a superhero assassin who can do both.

After some stories don’t match up with what Sara knows about Ava, she pulls a knife on Mrs. Sharpe. It’s okay; no one panic! Sara does this every time she meets the parents of a partner. It’s how she breaks the ice! Ava’s parents are actors though, hired by an anonymous person to act like her parents if she were to ever come home. They head back to the Time Bureau with more questions than answers, but Ava’s there. Not missing after all! She lies about where she’s been, so Sara steals her time courier to do more snooping.

On the Waverider, Zari is frustrated by Mick’s laziness and gluttony. Mick is confused by Zari’s fast and her disgust when he offers her a bacon cheeseburger. He asks if she’s Jewish. Zari can’t even. You know, the beauty of these main characters – these two in particular – is if you pair them with any other character on the show you can easily make an Odd Couple-style plot. I’m counting down the minutes until hangry Zari tries to kill Mick.

Kuasa takes Nate and Wally to Mari’s hideout, where she tells them that despite their differences, she still cares about her sister and also doesn’t want to see her family’s totem in the hands of the Darhks. Nate and Wally want to help, but they’re all going to do this Kuasa’s way. She wants to use one or both of them as bait to lure the Darhks in. Amaya calls, but Nate and Kuasa want to keep her out of the loop, so Wally is sent back to the Waverider while Nate and Kuasa prepare their plan.

This is either going to go horribly wrong or turn out to be a trap; those are the only two options on this show.

Ava’s time courier reveals her first mission was to 2213, a time period which Gary identifies as being a no-fly zone. Time travel to that year is locked out of all time couriers, including the Waverider. The only one who can override that is the Time Bureau director. All right, here’s what you do: travel to December 31st, 2212 at 11:59 p.m. and wait out the unenforceable rule. Nope, they just steal the mothership (the big time ship from several episodes ago) and head to Vancouver, 2213.

Soon after landing they spot Ava…and Ava…and Ava…and Ava. The Avas are directing traffic, pushing baby strollers, giving directions, and more. Gary calls it paradise. Sara lies and says it’s hell. Also they’ve both had this dream before, but it involved less clothing. Gary suspects robots, but Sara denies this having presumably been thorough in her examination of – okay, yeah, she just says she didn’t have sex with a robot. Ray points to a giant billboard they all somehow missed on the walk over that advertises “Advanced Variant Automation”: clones designed from “top quality DNA”. Really? I would have guessed Sara was the top.

Yeah, the jokes are only going to get worse from here. Sorry.

Gary wants to leave, presumably so he can go home and publish his fanfic before all of this becomes public knowledge. Sara wants to stay to check out the giant building with the giant “AVA Corporation” logo which they also somehow missed while they were walking around. No, Sara, you can’t place a bulk order. They investigate the cloning facility where inactive Avas lay on gurneys covered by sheets. Ray discovers that AVA used what they believed were the perfect genes, taken from all over the globe to create the clones. That can’t be true – she looks nothing like Sara. Also, wow, genes from around the world and they ended up with a white woman? Even Ray notes she’s kind of pale. An Ava wakes up and attacks them for trespassing, but Sara knocks her out and tells the guys to tie her up. Isn’t that your job, Sara?

Again, really sorry.

Speaking of tying people up, Kuasa ties Nate up and injects him with a mild sedative or something to keep him from using his powers. You know, to be totally convincing. Yep. The Darhks show up and Kuasa offers Nate in exchange for Amaya’s totem. Surprisingly, veiny Nora gives it up…then Kuasa refuses to untie Nate and hands him over to the Darhks. She’s protecting her own existence since Amaya loves Nate and, if she stays with him, then she might never hook up with Kuasa and Mari’s grandfather. *gasp* Who could have possibly seen that betrayal coming? I mean other than everyone but Nate.

Sara is still trying to wrap her head around her girlfriend being one of a bunch of copies. Right? I mean how does that work anyway? I thought if you copied something too many times you’d run into fidelity issues. You know, the copies wouldn’t be as Sharpe as the original. Speaking of Sharpe, Ava arrives via time courier and seems to have no idea what’s going on. Oh noooo. She sees a clone and passes out.

With Nora out of the room, Damien starts to torture Nate for information, but Damien’s starting to have doubts about the Mallus stuff (since he’s taking over Nora) and rather than a torture session, it turns into a therapy session. This is, uh…wow, Damien has issues. I don’t mean the Nora issues; I mean this is the second time he’s used a prisoner for a therapist. Why does he associate the two so easily?

Zari tries to get Mick to do a little target practice, but she’s frustrated by his lack of focus. He’s also frustrated and calls her the b-word. Mick Rory, you deserve everything that’s about to happen. Zari activates her totem and starts throwing him around like a plastic bag caught in a hurricane.

Amaya and Wally hear this from another part of the ship, assume Zari is killing Mick, and just go about their business. Wow, that’s cold. Kuasa shows up on the ship because the Waverider is apparently as secure as S.T.A.R. Labs. She gives the totem back to Amaya and tells her what happened. Amaya berates Kuasa for being so cruel, realizes how right her future self was to leave the totem to Mari, and tells Kuasa she’s beyond redemption.

Ava wakes up not remembering what happened, but the clone from before is also up and has broken free. The group makes a hasty retreat with Ava not understanding what’s going on. Ava confesses that after the breakup, she called her ex and also made a profile on the Upswipes dating app, both of which she feels guilty about. Awwwww. Now isn’t the time though because an army of Avas…Avai…Sharpies! An army of Sharpies has found them.

SARA: “Ava, look, it’s not you…it’s them.”

I feel so much better about every dumb joke I’ve made in this recap.

They tell Ava she’s a clone and she doesn’t take it well, but Sara says where she’s from doesn’t matter, it’s who she is. Take your own advice there, Miss “I am death.” Ava doesn’t think she’s real, but Sara assures Ava that she’s real and nothing like the other clones…but she needs her to act like one to escort them out of the building. This works at first, but then the clone that woke up earlier sees through their ruse and the Sharpies attack. They fight them off with Ava declaring her individuality before knocking out the lead clone.

RAY: “This is the second worst attack of the clones I’ve seen.”

RAY PLZ.

Damien has Nate fake being tortured, but Nora notices and throws Damien across the room. Wally and Amaya appear and try to save Nate, but Wally is quickly subdued and when Amaya tries to use her totem, it hurts her due to its corruption. She regains control of it and fights Nora/Mallus. Kuasa tries to help by appealing to Nora’s good side, but there doesn’t seem to be a good side left as Nora telekinetically rips the water totem out of Kuasa’s chest, killing her. The Legends are able to make a fast getaway thanks to Wally.

On the ship, Zari is nonchalantly spinning Mick around in a tornado when both of their totems react to the loss of Kuasa. The totems have linked the totem bearers, and both Mick and Zari have felt Kuasa’s death. Mick goes for a drink. Zari’s fast ends for the day when sundown happens in her home timeline. Fucking clock in San Dimas…

She and Mick sit down for iftar, the fast-breaking meal. Zari says that like the way the totems connect them to each other, fasting for Ramadan and observing other Islamic traditions make her feel connected to her mom.

Nate feels responsible for Kuasa’s death, and wants Amaya to blame him too, but she blames herself. She thinks what she said to Kuasa earlier made Kuasa try to prove something, but that no matter their actions, Kuasa would be doomed either way because of the timeline. Amaya seems to hint at having her memory erased and going back to the ’40s to live out her destiny. She’s not sure if she wants that.

Gary’s memory of the event is wiped because he can’t keep a secret. Sara and Ava drink together because they’ve had a day. Ava questions why she doesn’t remember any of the clone stuff and why she’s different. Sara suggests that Rip is responsible and makes plans to ask him…probably with a fist to the face.

Elsewhere, Amaya takes the jump ship to Zambesi, 1992 – the year her village is destroyed and she’s supposed to be killed by warlords. Gideon warns her against this, but Amaya isn’t having any of it.

Overall, I liked this one. We got some answers about Ava, but we’ll probably have to wait until the next episode or the finale to find out what Rip knows. I really liked the subplot with Zari and Mick. It was short and sweet, and also depicted Islamic traditions as no big deal, and even a positive thing. I like that we can have that with Zari, and on top of that she’s a fantastic character.

I’m really mixed on Kuasa’s fridging. On one hand, it was inevitable and she did get a little bit of a redemption arc before it happened. On the other, I would have liked to see her team up with the Legends to defeat Mallus, actually live, then part ways with Amaya and the Legends in an amicable way. Instead it looks like they may have an even more unlikely ally in Damien Darhk.

Lastly, I want to touch on something that really made me uncomfortable while watching this episode. The Ava clones are indistinguishable from humans, and if Ava herself is any indication, they’re capable of independent thought, free will, and a sense of self-identity. With all of that information…yeah, 2213 is breeding slaves. We have to assume that the rest of the clones are capable of the same things Ava is capable of, so them being sold for household work, personal security, and whatever else gives us that unfortunate conclusion. This could be turned around later if we find out Rip rescued Ava from that life and freed the rest of the clones later in 2213, but since this episode didn’t really touch on the particular subject of cloned slaves (rather, it treated them like appliances), I don’t know if they’re going to go that route.

Next: Grodd tries to kill a young Barack Obama. What the hell is this show anymore?

Legends Of Tomorrow airs (temporarily) Mondays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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