[Review] Legends of Tomorrow Episode 6×11: “The Final Frame”

written by Kate Danvers

The Bowling Alley at the End of the Universe.

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

While Nate and Z are off on a date, Ava is picking out a wedding dress, and Constantine is getting a handle on his new souped-up magic, the ground team is searching for an alien pod. Sara, Mick, Spooner, and Astra find a pod in a junkyard, but instead of an alien, they find a metal box. The device activates and transports the four of them to a bowling alley floating on an asteroid out in space.

Okay, yeah, I’ve reached the point where weird shit on this show is mundane. This isn’t even the weirdest this episode.

Sara learns from Buddy, the owner and creator of the bowling alley, that he learned about bowling from Earth, and he loves it. He created the Galaxy Lanes to share that love with the universe, and everyone there except the Legends only appears human. The box that the Legends found was an “invitation.”

Not everything is gutter balls and ripoff claw machines – a group of bowlers have been bullying other players and challenging them to games they can’t win. They’re responsible for the invitations, abducting people against their will, and making Galaxy Lanes a nightmare. Buddy asks Sara to take the “Pin Killers” down and return control of the establishment to him.

There was a bowling alley near where I grew up. Didn’t really have “teams” or aliens or alien teams. It was mostly for birthday parties, Girl Scout and Boy Scout groups, and local fraternal orders…oh shit, maybe we did have aliens?

At the same time, Spooner is chatting up people in the bowling alley to find a ride back to Earth. The leader of the bullies, Mike the Strike, offers to take the Legends to Earth if they can beat him and his team. Spooner accepts, but has to wait until the Pin Killers finish their current game against some redshirts.

No seriously, they’re wearing red shirts.

Nate and Z are camping in Alaska and not having a good time. Their campsite is already booked by a couple of glampers, Nate accidentally brought Spooner’s bag, and all they have to eat are Spooner’s MREs. Their time courier and comms aren’t working, so Z uses a radio from Spooner’s bag to get a signal. They pick up a signal from a panicked announcer who says that the sun has vanished, it’s night everywhere on the planet, and massive chasms have appeared in Alaska, Canada, and Mexico.

While they’re waiting for the other game to end, the Legends warm up. Sara is a natural, Spooner has been bowling since she was thirteen and is also ridiculously good, but Mick won’t remove his gloves and Astra just refuses to bowl at all. They soon find out what happens to the losers when the redshirts lose and dissolve into dust that becomes part of a bowling ball in Mike’s trophy case.

“Mr. Strike, I don’t feel so good.”

Constantine is itching to get out in the field and use magic, so he suggests going to help the field team. Gideon can’t get back to Earth though, and they don’t want to worry Ava, so Gary distracts her by “helping” her pick a wedding dress. Constantine takes a shot of magic booster and casts a spell using the four elements of Earth: earth, wind, fire, and water. Cool, they can get three of those just from their music collection. The spell works and the Waverider is transported into space just outside of Galaxy Lanes. Ava couriers into the foyer or something just outside, but can’t get through the main doors because the Pin Killers control those.

Worse yet, Sara sees Ava in her wedding dress! (Don’t worry, I’ll show a screencap of that atrocity eventually.)

But why did the spell, which was intended to locate Earth, bring them to the bowling alley? Well, because Earth is in the bowling alley…in Mike’s bowling bag. Earth has become a bowling ball, and Mike is using it to play because this is Legends of Tomorrow. The Earth shakes for Z and Nate as it rolls down the lane, and they soon find one of the massive chasms described on the radio: one of the ball’s finger holes.

I’d like to point out that the other Arrowverse shows still happen in the same timeline as Legends, so Ryan, Kara, Barry, Jefferson, and Clark are experiencing all of this and wondering what the fuck. Also, none of them showed up to help. Guess it’s more up the Legends’ alley.

Astra observes that’s some god-level power Mike is wielding, but he says he’s not a god, just a guy who likes bowling….eh, I have a theory. Let’s put a pin in that for now. The Legends are falling apart, so Sara calls a timeout and talks to Buddy. He says bowling should be about fun, so Sara orders some nachos and turns off the scoreboard for their lane to take some of the pressure off.

The team starts to bond. Mick shows Spooner the burns on his hands and arms, saying that his past isn’t for everyone to see. She cuts two fingers and the thumb out of the glove so he can still bowl. Mick’s game drastically improves, and Astra joins in but is still inexperienced. I’d criticize her, but I’m not much of a bowler either, so I want to stay in my lane. The Legends need a miracle.

There’s some requisite CW relationship drama with Nate and Z, but I’ll spare you the details. Z grabs one of Spooner’s laser guns out of her bag and prepares to fire it at whatever keeps coming from the sky to enter the chasm. Nate points out that the gun is currently set to Level Three, but goes all the way up to a drawing of a middle finger. So Z shoots Mike the Strike’s middle finger with the laser on the middle finger setting. Mike is hurt enough that he throws a gutter ball as Nate’s time courier reactivates, and Nate and Z port out of the forest just before the backdraft from the weapon ignites the forest around them.

The Waverider crew are still keeping score, but in order to win, Astra needs to roll a strike on the last shot. Sara instructs Astra to bowl “granny style” and she makes the strike to win the game. Sara takes the Earth from Mike and bowls it out the exit door, sending it hurtling through space back to its home orbit. The Pin Killers leave in defeat, the Legends celebrate with a round of bowling, and Buddy senses very strong power coming from Constantine that will “be the death of him.” Buddy takes a photo of the team.

Not their most awkward team photo, but probably going to be one used for bittersweet memories after some of them die or leave the team.

Bonus image of that awful dress:

Oh honey, no. Take that off immediately. …because it’s ugly, y’all. Get your minds out of the gutter.

This was a fun episode directed by Jes Macallan (Ava Sharpe). Just the type of episode I like from Legends – silly, implausible, and heartwarming. They saved the world by bowling; what more could you want? I said in the last review that the premise for this episode seemed very Douglas Adams, and the episode itself delivered on that pretty well.

Now…let’s talk theories. “Mike the Strike” was played by actor Nic Bishop in this episode. And if that name sounds familiar, it’s because he also played General Kilgore in “Bay of Squids” and Levi Stapleton in “Stressed Western.” Now, the obvious answer might be that they just liked the actor and brought him back for multiple roles, especially because it was convenient given that he’s dating Jes Macallan. But I propose a theory…

What if Kilgore, Stapleton, and Mike are all the same person? Kilgore and Stapleton could easily have just been regular guys who looked alike and just happened to be villains the Legends came across. Then there’s Mike. They dismissed how powerful he was pretty hard when it was brought up. He’s able to turn planets into bowling balls with ease. Who’s to say he’s not some kind of powerful entity who faked his death two other times? Could they be setting up a recurring villain for next season or giving us previews of the villain for the finale?

Like I said, it may be as simple as Nic already being close to the show through Jes and also being a great actor. They’ve reused actors before, so it’s not unheard of. It just seems a little weird to have three minor villains played by the same guy.

Next time: a murder mystery game! I’m going to guess the killer was Spooner in the library with the BFG 9000.

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Legends of Tomorrow airs Sundays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Coincidentally, the bowling alley from Kate’s childhood actually did burn down. She jokes because it’s better than feeling sad. Read more sad musings disguised as jokes on her Twitter @WearyKatie.

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