[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 4×04: “Wet Hot American Bummer”

written by Kate Spencer

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Camp Ogawa, we hold you in our heart. And when we think about you…

An episode about monsters, magic, and glorified outdoor summer daycare begins with Ava and Sara being adorably domestic and watching a movie together in bed. Sara has never heard of the movie Swamp Thaaaang, so Ava looks up an AV Club review that gave it a D+ and said the production design is as lazy as the action staging. Shade. When they find out the movie is based on real events, Sara calls out to Gideon…and Ava reminds her that they’re in her apartment. The most difficult adjustment to home life for Sara will be learning to live without her futuristic Alexa. Gideon calls on the phone about a magical anomaly in the timeline at Camp Ogawa, Maine in 1995.

Charlie is adjusting to life on the Waverider…well, life in a cell. And by “adjusting” I mean she’s kicking the force field and screaming at the Legends. The team is briefed that they’re looking for a “swampy monster thing”. Constantine says he knows a Swamp Thing but “Maine is too far north for that muppet.” And we have confirmation that Swamp Thing is canon in the DCTV universe! Swamp Thing and Constantine are buds in the comics, and 1984’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 was the first appearance of John Constantine, so I love this reference.

The Legends infiltrate the camp as counselors, where they try to bond with the kids to figure out what’s going on. Well, Sara and Ray try to bond. Ava tries to turn her cabin into a military barracks and Constantine just stands around drinking from a flask or scaring the shit out of a kid by warning him about deadly monsters in the woods. Two kids sneak out in the middle of the night to make out and are attacked by a monster.

The camp director, Paula, isn’t too concerned about the missing kids. Constantine tries hypnosis to get some of them to talk but a confused kid just confesses that the missing boy went out to play baseball in the middle of the night (to get to “first base”). Ava continues treating her charges like they’re in boot camp, which doesn’t go over well. She’s told about the Lake Beast, who was once a boy who drowned in the lake. Now he returns every year to kill people. Huh, cool concept. They should make a movie out of that. Maybe like ten movies and a crossover. Nah, they would just reboot the thing thirty years later.

Zari is eating doughnuts on guard duty. I swear, I gain weight just watching Tala Ashe and Dominic Purcell snack. Either they make use of a spit bucket after each take or they both have the metabolism of a speedster. Also I want a giant doughnut with sprinkles now. Charlie appears to knock herself out, so Zari drops the force field to check on her and gets attacked and locked in the cell instead. Mick catches Charlie before she can escape, locks her up again, then they bond over alcohol and prison life.

“The Lake Beast” turns out to be a ruse to make Ava fall into the lake. Constantine and Ray go searching the woods. They’re not getting along. Ray is too much of a Boy Scout and Constantine is annoyed with him for letting Nora Darhk escape. They find the remains of a skin suit. Constantine’s book says they’re looking for a shtriga, a vampire-like hag that feeds off the life force of children. The captured kids are probably still alive because the shtriga feeds slowly over several days.

Sara wants Ava to use a potion that Constantine gave her so they can both turn into children and infiltrate the girls’ clique to get more information. Ava is reluctant because as a clone, she didn’t have a childhood and doesn’t know how to be a kid. Sara convinces her and the potion works, turning both into kids played by child actors who nail their speech patterns down to Sara’s “Damn it, John!” They bond with their new cabinmates and find out where the kids are disappearing to. Pairs of kids are following a rope out into the woods to a certain spot to have their first kiss, but they never come back.

Constantine drops more hints about why he’s in such a funk. He tells Ray he once had a friend like him who trusted him. “Be smarter than him,” he adds, because people like Constantine and Nora are bad for people like Ray. Is he talking about Chas? As friends go, Constantine doesn’t have many – not ones who stick around at least. Maybe he means Swamp Thing. Oh god, did something happen to Swamp Thing? Ray and Constantine find the kids in a shack in the woods. They’re in cages and not doing great.

Sara and Ava sneak out to the woods to confront the shtriga with some cayenne pepper because Constantine told them that witches hate the stuff. They bump into Mrs. Voorhees – I mean Paula, and Sara hits her with the pepper and clocks her with a flashlight because she’s obviously the shtriga, right?

Nope! Charlie tells Zari and Mick that she remembers the shtriga from the prison she were in, and this particular one is a dude. Little Ava and Little Sara are caught by Counselor Chad (no, I’m serious, he’s a dudebro named Chad) and a fight starts. Constantine and Ray cast a spell that returns the life force from the children and reveals the shtriga’s true form. Sara stakes the shtriga and it explodes into ashes.

Is this Buffy? This looks like Buffy.

Ava thanks Sara for giving her some childhood memories, even if they weren’t necessarily good ones. They turn back into adults and kiss. Charlie is let out of her cell by Mick and joins the team, sharing her inside information on the other fugitives in exchange for never being locked up again.

One of the kids doesn’t wake up, though, so Constantine uses a spell that gives some of his life force to save the kid. This leaves him incredibly weak and – according to Gideon later – dying. Ray thinks he knows someone who can save him, but he doesn’t know how to find her.

Meanwhile, Nora Darhk is trying desperately to fit in at a Ren Faire…wut?

Okay, so not the summer camp slasher episode I was expecting, but it was okay. Sara and Ava were adorkable as adults and as kids. Watching John “Doom, Gloom, and Bourbon” Constantine try to adjust to working with Ray “Sunshine, Rainbows, and Optimism” Palmer was just delightful. A surefire recipe for a good scene in this show is putting anyone with the least bit of cynicism near Ray. When you have literal Boy Scout Ray next to a bitter John Constantine with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of his camp counselor polo, there’s going to be friction.

The more they delve into what’s been happening to Constantine, the more I think I need to rewatch the Constantine NBC series. I have a feeling they’re going to reference people and events from that and I don’t want another Kuasa situation where the show does a “bum bum BUMMMM” reveal and I’m just left wondering “Who’s that?”

One last note. Nate wasn’t in this week’s episode, though there was a mention of him holding down the fort at the Time Bureau with Gary. I think this is the first episode Nate hasn’t been in since his debut, so it kind of stood out. While looking up things about the episode, I found this Instagram post from Nick Zano. Three months ago, he and his partner Leah brought their second child into the world but due to complications, the little one had to endure a nine-hour surgery and another two-hour emergency procedure only a day after being born. It seems she’s doing better now, but we may see a little less of Nate while Nick spends time with his family. I wish Nick and his family all the best, and to their new baby girl: welcome to the world, you little warrior.

Next time: Release the kraken! No, not the Kraken Rum. Guys, what are you doing? Stop.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.