written by Kate Spencer
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
[NOTE: The following review is brought to you by a mild case of automatonophobia.]
Okay. I can get through this. It’s just creepy dolls. Creepy dolls with knives and dead-eyed stares. I’m fine. Let me just turn on every light in my house first.
Constantine is dreaming about a bartender he picked up in New Orleans when Charlie wakes him up, demanding that he restore her shapeshifting powers to her. She thinks her condition is reversible because she still has a reduced ability to shapeshift. Constantine refuses, so Charlie suggests she might be able to do something for him in return.
Sara and Ava walk past Garima on the way to the galley. Ava isn’t happy about Sara letting Mick continue to use Brigid’s diary. Meanwhile, Ray has grown a moustache, but that’s fine. We can digitally edit that out in post–oh wait, wrong Superman. They read trivia off the back of the box of cereal Zari is eating, and we learn that Ava maybe knows a little too much about serial killers. Also Marie Laveau is the most prolific serial killer in North America.
I love all of the ways they just happen to find out about an alteration to the timeline.
Mona, meanwhile, is late to work because a jerk knocks her off her bike with his car door. Gary attempts (and fails) to flirt with Mona by negging her and Nate calls him out for taking “neanderthal misogynistic dating advice”. He tells Gary to be direct, but he also talks to Mona and fishes around to find out if there’s anyone she likes. Turns out, there is! It’s…the kaupe?
The Legends go to 1856 New Orleans to catch a killer. History has accused voodoo priestess Marie Laveau of the recent murders, but the Legends aren’t buying it. Constantine gets kidnapped by a man working for Marie Laveau. When he comes to, she asks him about a thing he has which belongs to her – a medallion of Saint Marron, the patron saint of runaway slaves.
MARIE: “Now what do you know about bondage, mon cher?”
CONSTANTINE: “Buy me a pint at the local pub and I’ll tell you all about it, love.”
People really need to stop setting him up like that. Marie isn’t amused and just reads Constantine’s mind instead. She sees Constantine and her future great-great-grandson Desmond in a relationship together. A demon is after Constantine at that point in time, so he warns Desmond to get out of town. Before he does, Desmond gives Constantine the medallion for protection. Marie concludes that Desmond must have loved Constantine to give him his family’s medallion and asks if the love was mutual.
Constantine tells her that a demon named Neron was after Constantine and Desmond was collateral damage. Marie does some kind of scary glowy-eyed stuff and tells Constantine to save her descendant. Zari and Charlie come to the rescue, but before they leave, they ask Marie about other magical things in the city. She points them to a spirit – a dybbuk.
At the house of the next victim, Ray finds a girl in her room crying about a doll that’s going to kill her mom. While Ray is distracted by what he thinks is the killer doll, the real one knocks him out from behind and calls him a dick. And that’s Paul Reubens. They got Paul Reubens to voice their killer doll. Someone in casting said “Hey, we need someone to play the serial killer doll. Go call Pee-Wee Herman’s agent.” What the hell is this show? Sara and Mick come to Ray’s rescue, and Mick burns the doll.
That wrapped up suspiciously quickly.
Now that the others have solved that mystery, Constantine recruits Charlie to help him rewrite history. In the first attempt, Charlie poses as Amaya to pull Past!Constantine away from his first meeting with Desmond. It seems to work at first, but on the way back Constantine has new memories of meeting Desmond a few days later. They’re caught by an angry Zari, who drags the story out of Constantine. He met Desmond six months ago and fell in love, then got all domestic with an apartment and everything. Neron, who owns Constantine’s soul, showed up looking for his help taking over Hell. Constantine refused and Desmond was dragged to Hell.
Mona tries to tell the kaupe how she feels about him and learns his name: Konane. He warns her to hide as armed men come in and drag him away. Mona follows and tries to stop them from loading Konane into a van, but Konane breaks free and kills the men, and accidentally slashes Mona across the stomach. She knows the Bureau might kill him for that, and tells him to run.
The charred doll is brought back to the ship and Sara, being horror genre savvy, chains it to a table. The spirit leaves the doll and enters a crate marked “309 MISC.” I GET IT! Episode 3×09 was “Beebo, the God of War” and that’s the episode where Leo had Puppet Stein.
This is going to be horrifying.
Sara very cutely tries to help Mick and Ava get along by sneakily inviting them both to dinner. It ends with Mick calling Ava a clone and Sara’s “fake girlfriend,” and Ava calls him a dick. They fail to see the Stein puppet stealing a knife from the table. It disables Gideon, forcing Sara and Ava to split up to restore Gideon and kill the puppet. Ava is attacked, but Mick saves her. They both go to the bridge where Ray and Sara are and the puppet attacks again.
Constantine tries to save Desmond again, this time with Charlie staying behind, shapeshifted into him to fool Zari. It doesn’t work. Charlie reveals her motive: without her shapeshifting powers, she’s dying. OH NO! …oh, just dying of old age. Eventually. Zari lets Charlie have it for putting history at risk because she doesn’t want to grow old.
The two board the jump ship and call Constantine, who finally tells them the whole story. Desmond made a deal with Neron to spare Constantine’s life, which bound Desmond’s soul to the demon. When Constantine sent Neron back to Hell, Desmond was dragged with him. He hangs up, throws away his phone, and says what he needs to in order to get Desmond to leave his past self. Constantine doesn’t send him to Hell, doesn’t feel guilty, doesn’t run away from his problems with the Legends, doesn’t remove Charlie’s powers, and probably a bunch of other things don’t happen either because UH-OH WE BROKE TIME AGAIN.
A wave of timey-wimey energy spreads everywhere, freezing everyone in time except for Charlie and Zari on the jump ship. Charlie has her powers back, though! She tries to tell Zari, but the only other occupant of the jump ship is a house cat wearing a collar with the air totem and a tag with the letter “Z” on it. So time is broken, most of the team is frozen, and Zari is a cat.
The promos for this episode focused on the killer doll storyline, but really that was more the B plot of this episode. The A plot with Constantine is the main focus of what turned out to be a two-part mid-season finale. The B plot is as ridiculous and terrifying as you would expect, with cute references to the Child’s Play series and a couple of horror clichés that Sara points out. But that’s just the ridiculous Legends icing on the really good Constantine plot.
Non-hetero sexualities on television are so rare that in this case it made the tired old “I killed the person I love” story feel fresh. I’m sure there will be complaints about the show using the “bury your gays” trope, but to me, this wasn’t that. For one thing, Desmond’s and Constantine’s stories are far from over and “in Hell” doesn’t mean the same thing as “dead”. Looking at the broader picture, we have a storyline usually reserved for the angsty dude who lost the woman he loved, but this time it’s two men. And it’s treated so normally. Actually, the most abnormal thing about the relationship (ignoring magic for a second) is that John Constantine isn’t one to settle down or really admit love for anyone.
It’s just refreshing to see LGBTQ characters on TV being given the same plots (good and bad) that non-LGBTQ characters get. And a bisexual man at that! I was going to call an openly bisexual man on television the unicorn of representation, but unicorns actually have more representation.
Time is broken again, but I doubt that means another season of anachronisms to deal with. What it does mean is that the next episode is going to be completely bonkers, and that’s what I live for. Legends has played it safe with altered timelines before, but we’re in post-Beebo Legends now. Come on, give us something crazy!
Next time: hopefully the craziest shit we’ve seen yet.
Legends Of Tomorrow airs Mondays on the CW at 9 ET/8 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.