written by Kate Danvers
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
Welcome to nipHell.
Last season on Legends of Tomorrow…
That. All caught up? Good.
We join the Legends some time after Mallus’ defeat where they’re still wrapping up anachronisms. But once you’ve defeated an eternal time demon with a giant blue teddy bear, stopping Paul Revere from riding through the Beatles’ “British Invasion” seems kind of mundane. Nothing has come of John Constantine’s warning about other supernatural beings escaping with Mallus.
They were promised dragons. Where are the dragons?
Ava calls them to the Time Bureau’s main headquarters in Washington D.C. and she look serious and angry. Sara’s worried that someone snitched because she indulged in the well-worn DCTV trope of keeping secrets from her significant other. Before they go in to see Ava, Sara roughs up Agent Gary and demands to know if Constantine got him to squeal. “I wish,” says Gary. Yep, the show is still super queer.
Turns out it’s not anything bad; the Bureau is throwing the Legends a party for fixing the last anachronism! This is kind of like taking your kid out for ice cream after they clean all their crayon drawings off the living room wall…with steel wool. At least they point out that they fixed the timeline which they themselves broke. Zari privately scolds Ray for helping Nora escape from the Time Bureau. Nate and Mick go off to rob a house because…sure.
Ava and Sara duck out of the party early to go to Ava’s apartment, which Ava suggests could be their apartment. Sara isn’t sure about being a “kept woman” and I agree. She’s more the keeper of the woman. But she eventually comes around to the idea and goes to the kitchen, where John Constantine is waiting for her because he doesn’t know how to knock like a normal person so he just creeps in people’s homes until they finally notice him and ask what the fuck, John.
More dire warnings! Also knucklebone rolling for divination! Ava catches them talking, Sara lies some more, Constantine buggers off before his rolled bones spell disaster!
Sarah has Gary do a scan of the timeline but the only (minor) time hiccup is in 1969 at Woodstock and clearly everyone there is too stoned to notice a mythological creature. Sara goes to check it out while Zari and Ray do the same because Ray is afraid Nora is there.
Mick and Nate break into a nice home to steal some booze and other items, but they’re caught by Nate’s folks, Henry and Dorothy! So…he broke into his own parents’ home. Nate has daddy issues. Nate’s dad is played by Tom Wilson, a.k.a. Biff from Back To the Future, because casting is either brilliant or trolling me. Maybe both. Nate’s mom is super nice and very June Cleaver-like, but Nate’s dad isn’t happy to see his son. He doesn’t like his career path or anything about him, really. Henry says they had a name for people like Nate back in his day, but before he can say “butthead” Nate asks if he means “hippie,” which just reminds Henry of the Woodstock Massacre.
Wait, the what now?
Precious dystopian future child Zari experiences the love-culture shock of hippies and Woodstock, but it turns to horror when she and Ray find a hippie in a tree with his heart ripped out. As they search for possible culprit Nora Darhk, the other Legends arrive so they can all share in the fashion disaster of the ’60s.
Suddenly, a beautiful magical unicorn appears and all are enamored. Lovely music swells, the hippies and Legends collectively “aww,” and then the unicorn impales a woman and begins eating her heart. They turned a horrific scene into comedy with everyone’s reactions, and it’s so good. Mick’s flamethrower has no effect on the unicorn and it sprays them with a sparkly rainbow beam of goop. Everyone gets glitter bombed except Sara, who uses Zari as a human shield.
Sara goes to find Constantine, who warns her about the unicorn’s spray and its hallucinogenic properties. He also recommends calling the Time Bureau, but Sara doesn’t want to admit to Ava that they screwed up. There’s a fantastic scene where Constantine tries to tell her that the two of them are alike and they will only bring misery to those they love, but Sara basically tells him and his fatalistic attitude to fuck off. Character growth! She offers to help Constantine instead and suggests he join the Legends. As they come across Ray trying to make out with a tree, Zari rolling around in the grass, and Mick and Nate bonding over separate hallucinations, Constantine doubts whether this team is right for him.
John, are you really going to play the “I’m better than that” card? Because you’re just as much, if not more, of a disaster than that. You beautiful people belong together.
Once the Legends recover from their trip, Constantine has them gather ingredients for a banishment spell: the saliva of a nine-fingered man (Jerry Garcia), the protection stone of a powerful shaman (Jimi Hendrix), and a lock of hair from a doomed woman (Janis Joplin) The Legends collect these items in a great montage set to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”. The last item they need to banish the unicorn turns out to be a virgin. At Woodstock. Seriously? It’s okay, though, because Constantine knows one.
Cut to shirtless Gary holding a pomegranate as bait – they tell him the pomegranate is the bait. Oh, Gary, you deserve better friends. He questions Constantine about his virginity because of “that thing we did,” but Constantine is positive. The Legends hide while Constantine prepares the spell. The unicorn arrives and Constantine reveals the unicorn’s true form as a hideous hellbeast. He then summons a portal to Hell that sucks the unicorn in, but the creature tries to take Gary (or at least his arm) with it. It manages to takes a bite out of Gary’s chest instead, leaving him down one nipple. Zari suggests Gideon may be able to make him a new one.
CONSTANTINE: “Forget it, mate, it’s a badge of honor! Y’see, my soul is headed straight to Hell, but your nipple, it just got there first, that’s all.”
I couldn’t not quote that.
Constantine promises Gary a beer and to discuss “this whole virgin situation.” Nate returns to 2018 to stay a few days and have some beers with his dad. Ray gets all mopey about Nora, but as much as he feels drawn to her, he knows they’re doomed. Zari takes him to a park to watch a mother pushing her daughter on swing. It’s a younger Zari and her mother, before their country betrays them. Zari wants so badly to run over and warn her mother about what’s to come, but she knows she can’t change the past without screwing up the timeline. Zari looks at her mother and tearfully asks “How could anyone be afraid of her?”
Sara goes home to Ava and finally ‘fesses up about the unicorn and other magical creatures. Ava already knows, but she loves Sara and doesn’t think she’s a screw-up. They put off living together for the time being until the Legends take care of the magical monsters.
Sara tries to get Constantine to join the Legends again, deducing that something has happened in the past five months to make him withdraw from people more than usual. He refuses her offer, and then later that evening he suffers a demon attack where “I’M COMING FOR YOU, JOHNNY” is written on his mirror in blood.
This is a great season opener, continuing all of the nonsense from last season’s finale. Since Season Two, Legends has been a quirky show mixing comedy, action, and drama, but this episode doubles down on the comedy. I’m really looking forward to more of that, and a season of magical monsters is the perfect way to make it happen.
That isn’t to say it’s all laughs. Horror elements are there with the unicorn’s true form being nightmare fuel, and the attack on Constantine is like something out of The Exorcist. There’s also good drama, like Nate’s complicated relationship with his parents, and that heartbreaking scene with Zari watching her mother and her younger self. I still miss Amaya, but I’m looking forward to seeing what direction Nate takes without her.
As for the Zari scene, it’s tragic but relevant in the current political climate. Zari’s dystopian future has its roots in the same kind of fear and bigotry present in the real world United States right now. Zari’s future is a glimpse at where we’re headed. That scene is uncomfortable to watch, and it should be. It hits too close to home. The Legends don’t have the luxury of correcting the course, but we do. VOTE. I’m sorry for the brief political message, but my country is on fire.
Next time: Magical fairy godmothers and witch trials…yeah, we’re just not letting up on the accelerator at all, are we?
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Mondays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.