[Review] Legends of Tomorrow Episode 6×01: “Ground Control To Sara Lance”

written by Kate Danvers

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Season Six is here. What else can I say but…



Still in 1977 London, Mick is surprisingly the only one who’s sober. He deals with some passed-out punks and finds Ava. Everyone else is missing, so they go to get the band back together…again. They find Constantine and Zari in post-coital bliss in a hotel room. Astra is cheating at poker. Behrad is having a one-sided chat with a member of the Queen’s Guard. Behrad tells them Nate went back to the club to hang out with Starman.

No.

No.

No.

No.

That’s the one.

Nate is chatting about his lost love – Zari 1.0 – with Bowie when the Legends come in looking for Sara. Nate hasn’t seen her, but Bowie is singing a song about “Space Girl,” a woman he saw getting abducted by a spaceship. He caught the whole thing on his Super-8 (in 4K, as the kids say). The Legends wipe his memory and digitize the film. The footage shows Sara telling Bowie that she’s going to propose to her girlfriend and shows him the ring. The footage skips ahead to Sara’s abduction, and Ava can’t handle that right after the previous revelation, so she goes off to process while the others discuss what they know about aliens.

Um…Nate, Mick, and Behrad at the very least have met at least one? Nate and Mick helped with the Dominator invasion, and assuming Behrad took the place of Zari 1.0 in the new history, he would have met Supergirl. As part of the pseudo-Justice League, Sara should have Kara, J’onn, and Clark in a rolodex somewhere. Sure glad we Crisis’d all of the Earths together like this so everyone could forget to pick up the fucking phone.

“They’re green.” Behrad, there are two non-green aliens just in your extended friend group. The fuck.

Sara wakes up in a chamber that’s slowly freezing her. She escapes to find herself on an alien ship and sees Earth outside the window before the ship jumps away to warp or slipspace or ludicrous speed – whatever these aliens call it.

Ava goes into full management mode, handing out binders about their current mission: “Scenario 601: Missing Legend – Sara Lance”. I get it! Also worth noting here: Former Time Bureau Director Ava Sharpe calls the Legends “the best of the best.” Character growth! She has a clipboard with a list predicting what every Legend is about to do before they do it, so she’s also scarily good at figuring out this show’s tropes.

With everyone else being moderately useful or at least out of the way, Ava calls the DEO but they’re currently a pile of rubble thanks to the previous season of Supergirl. Why not call the DEO of last year then? Or ten years ago? Or the DEO of 1977 since that was the year Sara was abducted? Oh, according to Gideon there were no UFOs sighted over London in 1977. Time-traveling aliens! …or they erased the memory of the only witness. No, stop, I said I was going to stop nitpicking the time travel in this show. Anyway, this is Legends jurisdiction. I guess no one has Alex Danvers’ cell number?

Behrad has just smoked a misdemeanor’s worth of “inspiration” and has a lead: a twenty-year-old article in the Wacky World News about a little girl named Esperanza Cruz, who claims to have been abducted by aliens and had alien tech implanted in her brain. Literally no other leads anyone can think of? Aliens are now common on Earth-Prime, but I guess only in National City and no one ever goes there.

This is the problem with this whole premise.

I’m just complaining to complain. B, you’re doing a wonderful job and you are a gift to the Legends and to this show.

Sara releases another prisoner from one of the cryo-pods: Spartacus! No. No. No. No. That’s the one. He sets out to free other prisoners, starting with a random pod containing a very large and very hostile alien. Sara makes quick work of the deathclaw-looking alien and shuts it back in its pod. Then she knocks Spartacus on his ass for standing around and letting her fight the alien alone. With the gladiator in line, they head to the bridge to find out who’s in charge.

Two aliens are on the bridge. Sara wants to isolate them and take them out one at a time. Spartacus charges in on his own, gets impaled with a tentacle, and then is swallowed whole by the lead alien.

When Constantine fails to find Sara with magic, Zari and Astra come up with another lead. Aleister Crowley, a former resident of Hell, was into alien conspiracy theories and had a whole book of alien spells. Constantine knows him. In fact, he summoned him to Earth and trapped him there, but he kept the book which is now missing. Constantine goes looking for his “apprentice,” Gary, and finds an empty alien chrysalis in his room.

At the same time, Sara corners the other alien by the pods. The alien can’t communicate at first, but it slowly reaches for a pair of glasses that turn it into…Gary. He doesn’t want Sara to be mad.

As stupid as this plot twist is – and it’s really stupid – credit to the suit actor here for mimicking Gary’s mannerisms perfectly. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s actually Adam Tsekhman.

Mick and Behrad go to see Esperanza Cruz in the present day. Her home is more of a compound, with security cameras, weapons, and fences. Esperanza gets the drop on them, knocks them out, and ties them up.

The other Legends come to the conclusion that Gary is an alien and he abducted Sara. Also, Gary is explaining to Sara that he’s an alien and why he abducted her. He had to abduct the “quintessential human,” and that was Sara. Gary couldn’t go through with it, but his boss/fiancée Kayla got impatient and did the abducting for him. Sara guilts him over how Ava must feel and Gary, realizing he’s hurting a relationship he stans, asks to be put to death.

SARA: “Knock it off! You’re going to help me get home. Now tell me everything you know about this ship.”
GARY: “Well, when you first met, you butted heads. But any fool could tell you were meant for each other.”
SARA: “This spaceship, Gary!”

Goddamn, I missed this show.

Mick and Behrad wake up to Esperanza – who insists they call her “Spooner” – ready to dissect them because she thinks they’re aliens. Their case isn’t helped when Behrad gets caught talking to Ava on comms and the Waverider comes to their rescue. Yeah, let’s take the highly advanced space/timeship to go talk to the trigger-happy paranoid alien conspiracy theorist. That will go smoothly OF COURSE SHE BLASTS THE WAVERIDER WITH A LASER CANNON. Ava talks to Spooner and explains the situation and who they really are, tearfully talking about how Sara was going to propose to her. Spooner doesn’t buy it, but Mick tranquilizes her with one of her own guns.

Hey, Spooner. Love the hat. The gun, too. Hey, ever hear of Supergirl? Superman? Brainiac 5? Martian Manhunter? Are you aware Earth has been visited by other aliens and some of them are pretty okay?

Gary goes to the bridge to get Kayla away so he can commandeer the ship and open a wormhole to the Temporal Zone. Kayla goes to the pods where Sara tries to lock her in one, but Kayla overpowers her and puts Sara in a pod herself.

The Legends convince Spooner to help send a signal to Gary through Constantine’s magic and a potion derived from Gary’s chrysalis. Because it’s a John Constantine potion, it’s gotta be gross. They spy on Gary, but the connection is weak and killing Constantine, so Ava jumps into the sigil and astral projects to Sara. She tells Sara “yes,” she will marry her, so she’d better make it home. Constantine weakens, so Zari grabs the Air Totem from Behrad and knocks Constantine down to end the spell.

Sara puts on the engagement ring and uses it to cut the glass of the pod enough that she’s able to break it. Round two against Kayla goes a little better, with Sara opening a door into space after Gary opens the wormhole. Kayla and several pods are jettisoned into the wormhole.

Behrad asks Spooner to stay, but she just wants the alien tech out of her head. However, Gideon can’t detect any anomalies in Spooner’s brain – at least not without dissecting it. It’s then that Spooner hears a disturbance, as though dozens of monster-of-the-week aliens all cried out at once and were suddenly shipped off to different episodes. It seems that all the pods in the Temporal Zone are being scattered all over the timeline. The other Legends are like “shit, another season-long mess to clean up,” but Ava smiles because Sara is the only person who could create a mess like that. She’s still out there.

Gary tries to pilot the alien ship through the wormhole, but it closes before they can make it through, stranding both him and Sara at an unknown point in time and space. A fake David Bowie song plays over the credits.

“Space Girl, floating away. Space Girl, gravity betrayed her. Space Girl, a punk rock treasure. Space Girl, goodbye forever.”

This season has a really flawed premise, or at least a flawed setup. Aliens being scattered across time and messing with history has lots of potential and it can be done. But to get there, Legends had to pretend like aliens were an entirely new and mysterious thing and not a common occurence on Earth-Prime. As I said about the Season Five finale cliffhanger, Sara being abducted by an alien ship isn’t much different than her being abducted by a bunch of dudes in a panel van.

I get the whole thing about how time-traveling aliens are their jurisdiction, but there are multiple well-known alien superheroes in their circle they could call and be like “hey, have you ever heard of any time-traveling aliens?” to help them narrow the search.

The new character, Spooner, seems all right but again, there’s a flawed setup. She’s supposed to be this loner who is thought to be crazy because she claims to have been abducted by aliens. But the world knows aliens exist. Aliens are common enough that there are equal rights acts being passed for them, there are multiple alien superheroes, they’re extremely common in National City, and the former President of the United States was an alien (and we know that happened on Earth-Prime because it was on Cisco Ramon’s timeline). A growing problem with DCTV post-Crisis is that they merged the Earths, but each show is either afraid to step out of their lane or just doesn’t want to commit to it, so we get half-hearted attempts like the references to Alex and the DEO in this episode.

I don’t like the Gary twist. I thought I was on the fence about it, but the more I think on it, the more it just doesn’t work. Gary being a bumbling, lovable, socially awkward, nerdy dork just worked. Making him an alien all along kind of takes something from that. Not to mention the plot holes it creates, what with him presumably going through medical examinations both at the Time Bureau and on the Waverider. No one ever noticed he was an alien with glamour glasses? Also, he’s been seen without his glasses.

I think I may be able to explain that away and hopefully this was the writers’ intent: The presence of the chrysalis implies a metamorphosis of some kind. Gary also had Crowley’s magic tome in his possession. Maybe he originally used a spell or something to actually transform into a human, and when Kayla came back, he reversed the process. That would explain…well, a lot. Still doesn’t make it a good twist.

I didn’t hate this episode. Plot holes and contrivances aside, I really enjoyed it. The characters were all on point, the special effects were great, and Sara and Ava are getting engaged! …Maybe. We’ll see.

Next time: An alien in the 1950s is causing a fast food craze! Ah shit, is the McRib back again?

NEXT

Legends of Tomorrow airs Sundays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate doesn’t believe in intelligent space-faring extraterrestrial life in the universe, because if they read her Twitter @WearyKatie, they would have destroyed us years ago.

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