[Review] Legends of Tomorrow Episode 6×08: “Stressed Western”

written by Kate Danvers

Yee – and I can’t stress this enough – haw.

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

The Legends help Ava prepare a breakfast for Sara and a thank-you meal for Mick. Everyone pitches in, giving us a cute family scene. Ava serves Sara breakfast in bed, but Sara doesn’t have much of an appetite, so Ava catches her up on what she missed until Sara blurts out that she’s an alien/human hybrid clone. She couldn’t even make it through the cold open. At least Ava’s initial reaction is to snort and say “What?”

Gary and Spooner hook a tracking gizmo from Kayla’s ship up to the Waverider so they can locate the remaining alien pods. Constantine asks Gary about the Fountain of Imperium, but Gary claims he’s never heard of it.

Ava isn’t phased by her fiancée being an alien hybrid clone because Sara is still Sara. Gideon informs the captains that a pod has been located. Sara wants to keep the “alien hybrid” thing from the others for the duration of the mission, just so she has one normal mission back.

The pod is in the Oklahoma territory, 1891, in a town called Fist City. What a coincidence; Sara was about to take Ava there before Gideon called. Ava tells Nate that Sara needs a nice smooth mission, which Nate interprets as a “classic Legends romp.” Uh, guys? I think Nate might have been replaced by a shapeshifting alien, because a guy who’s been here since Season Two should not think a “smooth mission” is standard operating procedure for the Legends.

Also, confirmed that this is indeed Sara Lance because she’s doing the awkward finger guns as she’s leaving for the mission.

There’s tension in the air. Spooner and Astra aren’t getting along, and Zari tries to give Behrad love advice when she notices him flirting with Astra. They enter the saloon of the supposedly violent and lawless town, but find everyone being cheerful and hospitable. There are rules on the wall against swearing, gambling, fornicating, and alcohol. There’s even a singing cowboy to serenade the Legends and welcome them to “Fist City, the Gladdest Place on Earth.”

Constantine shows Gary a reference to the Fountain of Imperium and tells him he’s lost his magic. Gary recognizes the Fountain now, but says it’s just a myth. As Constantine walks away unconvinced, Gary looks worried.

Meanwhile in Fist City (just around the corner from Peg Town), the Legends start to investigate why the town has suddenly become a Disneyfied version of the Old West. Astra tries to play poker against a guy with a bag of gold, but he’s playing Go Fish and gambling is against the rules. Behrad catches the attention of a woman named Irma Rose. Nate finds a wanted poster for Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves and learns that the sheriff of the town is an outlaw by the name of Levi Stapleton.

On cue, Stapleton walks into the saloon to welcome the strangers to the town. He’s played by actor Nic Bishop, who played General Killtacular (Kilgore) in “Bay of Squids,” which is a little weird. Then again, they reuse another actor in this episode. Stapleton politely suggests the Legends enjoy the hospitality and then leave town.

Outside, Astra asks the card player where he got his gold. Tempers flare and the ground starts to shake, drawing everyone outside. A massive alien worm burrows out of the ground and swallows the card player whole. Stapleton then calls the alien off with a whistle tied around his neck, then tells the Legends to leave and not return.

The Legends turn to Gary for info. He says the alien is probably a Haverack – an alien drawn to the chemicals released when people are angry. The only way to tame it is with the whistle that was loaded with the pod. Spooner and Astra – the team rageaholics – are benched while the others go to a square-dancing competition to get the whistle away from Stapleton.

During the dance, tensions between the Legends start to rise. Ava is concerned about Sara’s sudden appetite for milkshakes and cherries. Constantine thinks Gary is lying to him about the Fountain, and Zari is being nosy about Behrad’s love life. Zari tries to nab the whistle, but is stopped by Stapleton, who is wise to the Legends’ plan. Constantine gets angry, but Sara cools things down by challenging Stapleton to a duel.

Astra goes looking for the gold and Spooner follows her. They start out arguing, but bond over dead moms and tough lives. They find the alien’s burrow and notice that it um…poops gold. They also find Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, played by David Ramsey – actor for John Diggle and the director of this episode. Reeves tells them that the gold made Fist City a boom town.

After being serenaded by the singing cowboy narrator, Sara faces off against Stapleton in a duel. Stapleton turns and fires early, putting a shot clean through Sara’s head. She falls to her knees, but the wound heals, so she gets back up and begins walking toward Stapleton as he fires five more shots at her to no effect. She shoots the whistle out of his hand before his anger attracts the Haverack, which kills him.

“I am completely out of ammo…that’s never happened to me before.”

Irma picks up the whistle and calls off the alien, but she and the other citizens of Fist City aren’t giving up the whistle or the alien. A shootout starts and the Legends are forced to retreat to the saloon, where Sara tells the others she’s half-alien. Nate welcomes her to the bulletproof club, so he’s completely unfazed.

The earlier tensions continue to boil over with the occasional rumble from the alien worm. Gary finally tells Constantine about the Fountain. Finding it is extremely dangerous, and there’s a map, and the aliens know that map is of Earth. As the arguing continues, Nate tries to calm everyone down, but he’s tired of being the peacekeeper and starts to lose it himself. He starts formulating a plan that consists of just venting all his frustration.

Nate complains that when Sara was kidnapped and Mick left to save her, Nate was the most tenured Legend on the ship but nobody asked how he was doing. He used to have Zari to talk to, but she’s gone, though he assures Zari 2.0 there’s no offense intended. Out of everyone on the ship, he’s the only one who changes the cartridges in the fabricator. Someone changes the thermostat every night. And he tried to get a seat at the Hall of Justice, but got no response. His rant is great. He walks out onto the street to draw the worm away from the Legends, then steels up and prepares to get eaten.

Spooner, Astra, and Reeves arrive. Spooner doesn’t want the Haverack inside her head, so Astra tells her to reverse the empathic connection and make the alien feel what’s in her head. This causes the Haverack to momentarily freeze. Astra chants a spell that explodes the alien.

“A few household chemicals in the proper proportions.”

Without the worm and Stapleton, the town goes back to normal. The cowboy narrator takes us room to room and scene to scene for the denouement. Gary tells Constantine that Crowley is his best bet to find the fountain, so Constantine leaves the ship to get his magic back after saying goodbye to Zari. Ava and Sara realize they were trying too hard to pretend like everything’s normal, and accept that their lives just aren’t normal.

Behrad checks on Zari to see how she is after Constantine left. She apologizes for being overbearing, saying she was just looking out for her little brother. Behrad has an idea of how they can both help Nate and borrows Zari’s totem. He gives both totems to Nate so he can use them to visit Zari 1.0. As the song finishes with the lesson “There might not be a normal, but that might be okay,” an exasperated Ava says they can’t keep the cowboy narrator, so Nate and Behrad drag him off.

“Happy trails, Legends.”

I love this dumb show. I’ve often said that I really love the Old West episodes, and there are a few reasons why. Not only was the giant Beebo in an Old West episode, but I just genuinely love the aesthetic and the dumb tropes of westerns. Legends also heavily leans into that with duels, saloons, Wilhelm screams, brawls, piano music, and now a singing cowboy. While Dayna and I were watching the episode together, I told her that the singing cowboy was bringing me so much joy. Then that ending left me cackling.

Also, yeah, looks like the aliens are still going to be a threat, but the Fountain of Imperium is probably going to be this season’s Spear of Destiny or Loom of Fate.

Next time: Did you know there’s a wiki dedicated to the show ALF? Did you know that it greatly chronicles and details the series and all of its spinoffs? Anyway, the next episode is an ALF spoof.

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Legends of Tomorrow airs Sundays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Give Kate a break; she can barely compose tweets, let alone music. Find her on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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