Saturday, December 23, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 3, Episode 9: Beebo, The God Of War

It's the Legends Of Tomorrow mid-season finale! Enjoy this episode while you can, because the show won't be back until sometime in February! Thanks, Obama, er, I mean The CW!

So how do you follow up a somber, emotionally-wrenching episode featuring the death of a major character? Welp, if you're Legends Of Tomorrow, you counter it with the silliest concept possible, and give the audience ancient Vikings worshiping the equivalent of a Tickle Me Elmo doll!

It's the most ridiculous idea they could have come up with, but somehow the writers just manage to make it work.

This episode also gave us some much needed closure regarding the death of Professor Stein. Actor Graeme McComb returns to reprise his role as the younger Stein, and once again turns in a perfect performance that perfectly echoes Victor Garber. The episode was just what the audience needed, and gave the character of Professor Stein an emotional and satisfying sendoff. 

Ever since the season began, I was wondering how they'd handle Firestorm without Professor Stein. After all, Firestorm's the only superhero I can think of who's made up of two people. It's what makes him unique. Without that hook, he's just a low-rent Human Torch clone (since the show seems to have forgotten he can also transmute elements). Well now we know how they're handing it— by getting rid of Jackson as well as Stein.

I honestly didn't expect to see Jackson leave at the end of the episode, so kudos to the writers for surprising me. I hate to see him go, but as Jackson's now powerless, there's not much for him to do on the show, so better he sailed into the sunset than overstay his welcome.

The Darhks show up ever so briefly in this episode, pretty much just so they can punch the time clock and say they were here. Their presence was shoved way, way to the back, and had little or no impact on the storyline whatsoever.

Mallus also put in a brief appearance, sort of, to remind us all that he's supposedly the season's Big Bad.

This episode also briefly introduced Matt Ryan as John Constantine, who's joining the crew for a couple of episodes. I used to read the Hellraiser comic back in the 1980s and 1990s, but I missed the Constantine TV series a year or two back, so it'll be interesting to see this live action version of him.

There's a theory floating around fandom that the reason Wally West quietly faded out of The Flash was so he could join the Legends. That sounds like a pretty good idea to me. It's obvious that once Wally was introduced, the writers had absolutely no idea what to do with him. Maybe he'd fit in with the Legends crew.


The Plot:
In 1992, a young Professor Martin Stein is waiting in line at his local Toys Are We (yuk yuk!). He's there to get a "Cuddle Me Beebo" doll— that year's hot new toy—for his daughter Lily. Naturally, the store quickly sells out before he gets one. Martin spots a forgotten Beebo high on a shelf and manages to get ahold of it. The other customers see him with his precious bounty, and in true American Xmas spirit, start chasing after him. Martin takes off running, and somehow slips through a crack in time and disappears.

Cut to the present day onboard the Waverider. Citizen Cold, the touchy-feely Earth-X version of Captain Cold, is offering grief counseling to the crew after the untimely death of Professor Stein 
in Crisis On Earth-X Part 4. He uses a bizarre puppet of Stein to help them come to terms with their feelings. Heat Wave destroys the thing, growling, "I hate puppets!" Plot Point!

Suddenly the ship's rocked by a time quake, and Gideon detects a Level 12 (!) anachronism in 1,000 AD. According to her, Viking Leif Erikson set up a colony in the New World sometime around in that year. In the original timeline, he and his people eventually decided to leave and go back home. For some reason though, Erikson and the Vikings have now altered history by staying and conquering all of North America, which is now called New Valhalla. White Canary orders Gideon to set a course for the anachronism.

The crew lands in New Valhalla and stealthily sneak around the Viking settlement. They see Leif Erikson and his sister Freydis, arguing over whether to leave New Valhalla or stay. Erickson wants to go home to Greenland, but Freydis says the "Blue God" demands they conquer this new world.

The Legends spot Young Stein being held captive in a net. They assume he's the anachronism, believing that the Vikings used his advanced scientific knowledge to conquer the continent. Jackson, who's still grieving over the death of Old Stein, runs to free him. Canary orders them all back to the ship, but Young Stein refuses to go without his Beebo doll. Heat Wave grabs him and tells him to get his ass on the Waverider now. Stein says they don't understand— Beebo's going to change history!

One of the Vikings notices that Stein's escaped, and reports to Freydis. She says it doesn't matter, as they still have the Blue God. She then holds up the Beebo doll, as the Vikings all kneel before it. She squeezes its belly, causing it to say 
"Beebo hungry!" Freydis yells, "The Blue God hungers for WAR!" as the Vikings begin chanting "BEEBO! BEEBO! BEEBO!" 

Back on the ship, Young Stein tells the Legends that when he first arrived in the past, the Vikings were going to kill him until he accidentally made Beebo talk. They then began worshiping the doll as their god. Later Freydis found out that she could make Beebo talk as well, and began twisting its words for her own agenda. Canary says they need to get Beebo back, stat. Steel says today just happens to Yuletide (aka Christmas), and Erikson will be throwing a big feast. Canary says that'll be just the cover they need to get the doll back.

Jackson and Ray then argue over whether to tell Young Stein that he's going to die in 2017. Ray's against it, fearing it could alter everyone's timelines. Jackson of course wants to tell him in hopes of preventing his friend and mentor's death.

Meanwhile, Agent Sharpe of the Time Bureau calls, and actually offers her heartfelt condolences on the loss of Professor Stein. She then asks if the Legends need help with the Level 12 anachronism. Canary says thanks, but they've got it. Sharpe is skeptical, saying that'd be a "Beebo Day miracle." Canary realizes the anachronism is cementing fast, as Christmas has now become Beebo Day. She asks Sharpe for her help after all.

Cut to the Legends— including Agent Sharpe— dressed in period clothing as they infiltrate the Viking camp. They're welcomed by the others and invited to the Yuletide feast. Everything goes well until Heat Wave, looking for booze, knocks over Beebo and takes a mug of mead left as an offering to him. Freydis spots him and accuses him of stealing from their god. The Vikings capture Heat Wave and decide to burn him at the stake.

Meanwhile, Jackson and Zari are playing videogames on the Waverider (?). Young Stein enters and says he'd like to get back to his wife and daughter, with or without Beebo. Jackson offers to take him in the Jump Ship. Zari tells Jackson this is his big chance to tell Stein his fate. She tells him to try and find a loophole that will save him, the way she did with Helen Of Troy.

Jackson takes Young Stein back to Central City in 1992. He gives him an envelope and tells him not to open it until 2017, just like Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Young Stein refuses to take it, saying he doesn't want to risk altering the timeline. Jackson insists until he agrees.

Back in the camp, the Vikings throw Heat Wave into a raging fire. The instant they do, Citizen Cold snuffs it out with his freeze gun. While everyone's gawking at that, Vixen and Steel try to sneak off with Beebo. Vixen accidentally squeezes the doll, making it squeak, "I luh luh love you!"

All hell then breaks lose as the Vikings attack the Legends. It ends when Heat Wave decides he's had enough and uses his flamethrower to melt Beebo. The Vikings are aghast, and Erikson announces they've all been worshiping a false god. He says now it's definitely time they abandoned their colony and all went back home. Agent Sharpe then congratulates the Legends for saving Odin Day (not Christmas). Canary realizes their work still isn't done.

Suddenly a huge flash of lighting strikes the camp. Damien Darhk and his daughter Nora appear, dressed as Odin and a Valkyrie. Nora tells the Vikings to kneel before their true god. Amazingly Canary doesn't attack the pair, and tells them all to retreat to the ship.

Canary takes the Waverider into the temporal zone, where they can safely hide while figuring out their next move. She asks Agent Sharpe for help, and she leaves to ask the Time Bureau for backup.

Sharpe returns a bit later and says Time Bureau Director Bennett refuses to get involved. She says the Bureau's been in disarray ever since Rip Hunter was sentenced to prison, due to his "irrational" obsession with Mallus. She tells Canary the Legends are on their own, and warns them they can't win a fight against the Darhks. She then returns to the Time Bureau.

Canary calls the Legends to the bridge and they discuss various scenarios to defeat Damien and Nora. They go through them all Rashomon-style, revealing the flaws in each plan. Eventually they decide on the one with the highest chance of success.

Back in the Viking camp, Canary, Steel and Zari enter Damien Darhk's lodge and attack him. Meanwhile, Atom shrinks and squeezes inside a restored Beebo doll, making it fly and speak to distract the Vikings. Cold and Heat Wave then combine their powers against Nora Darhk. They cause an explosion which knocks her for a loop and incapacitates her.

Damien senses Nora's been hurt and rushes outside. He grabs her and the two teleport away. Canary tries to stop him as he vanishes, and is somehow pulled into a dark and empty realm. She hears the voice of Mallus, who tells her he'll soon be free and will inflict unbearable pain on her world.

Suddenly a hand reaches into the dark realm (?), grabs Canary and yanks her out (??). It's Agent Sharpe, who's defied Bureau orders and returned to help. Sharpe says their temporary victory is truly a Christmas miracle, and Canary realizes the timeline's finally been restored.

On the Waverider, Sharpe asks Canary what she saw in the dark realm. She says it was a place completely devoid of anything but Mallus. Sharpe says it's now obvious that Rip was right to be obsessed with him, and she'll do what she can to change the mind of the Bureau.

Jackson asks Gideon if Stein is alive in 2017, and she says no. He travels back to 1992, where Young Stein tells him he burned the letter. He said he knows he has a full and happy life ahead of him, and didn't want to risk changing it. He tells Jackson it's time for him to let him go.

Jackson returns to the Waverider, where he tells Canary he's leaving the show, er, I mean team to sort out his feelings. The Legends have one last Xmas party with him before he leaves.

Canary walks Jackson off the ship and watches him go. When she returns to the ship, she sees John Constantine waiting for her in the cargo bay. He tells her he needs her help, as there's a little girl who's possessed by a demon, who knows Canary's name.

• There's no opening narration this week, just a "Previously On." That means the episode was probably running long.

• Kudos to the Legends Of Tomorrow prop department, who did an amazing job in this episode!

The fake Toys Are We store looked very authentic, although it probably should have been Toys Backwards-R We.

The Beebo doll itself was absolutely perfect, and looked exactly like the plush nuisances of that era. They even created some awesome and very convincing packaging for him!

They also whipped up some Beebo marketing signage as well! Take a bow, guys!

• Apparently ugly holiday sweaters aren't just limited to Xmas! By the way, check out that sweet and massive 1992 cell phone that Young Martin has!

By the way, later in the episode the Vikings mention worshiping a "Blue God." I'm sure the writers expected us to think the Barbarians were talking about Stein (due to this sweater) and not Beebo. Clever!

• Sometimes I really love this show! When Young Martin spies the last remaining Beebo high atop a store shelf, he uses a toy bow and arrow to shoot it down and catch it. As he fires, we briefly hear that shrill synthesizer scream that's part of the Arrow theme! Brilliant!

• Actor Graeme McComb once again does an excellent job as Young Stein. I know it'll never happen, but I wouldn't mind if they kept him on as a permanent, time-displaced member of the team.

As much as I liked seeing Young Stein again, there's a serious problem with his timeline. According to Old Stein in Crisis On Earth-X Part 4, he was sixty seven when he died, meaning he was born in 1950. That would make him forty two in this episode. Yeah, there's no way the version of Stein we see here is in his forties.

• I thought Citizen Cold's Professor Stein grief puppet was just a liiiiiiittle over the top. OK, a LOT over the top.

By the way, so far this season we've learned that Heat Wave hates clowns, nature, the 1980s, Julius Caesar, Nazis and now puppets.

• Canary sees the Legends moping over Stein's death, and decides to give them a pep talk:

Canary: "All right, everybody, I know you're sad, so this is what we're gonna do. I want you to take all of your feelings about Martin and put it in a box, and then I want you to close the box. And then you're gonna lock the box."
Cold: (sarcastically, of course) "Well, that sounds healthy."

Jesus Christ! I'm afraid I gotta agree with Cold here. Canary's advice is how people develop PSTD!

• When the Level 12 anachronism hits, Gideon displays a map of America, which has now become "New Valhalla." The map lists several cities in the time-altered country, but the only two I can make out (even in HD) are "New Reykjavik" and "New Oslo."

• So this episode would have us believe the Vikings decided to stay in America because the Beebo doll they worship told them to. Now imagine the Legends had never intervened. Eventually Beebo's batteries would have run down and he'd have stopped talking forever. Then the Vikings would have realized he was a false god, branded Freydis a fraud and have all gone back home.

I guess that's why the writers threw Damien Darhk into the mix, to pretend to be Odin and command them to stay.

• At one point Jackson and Steel discuss the fact that the Legends keep running into relatives or younger versions of themselves:

Jackson: "But come on, man. Grey dies, and then, all of a sudden, his younger self gets displaced in time?"
Steel: "Yeah, it's crazy that we keep bumping into ourselves."
Jackson: "Yeah."
Steel: "I mean, Ray and the baby Dominator, and Sir Stein and his killer stash."
Jackson: "Mick's dad. I mean, this can't just be a coincidence."

Obviously the show's doing this for a reason and building up to something, but at this point I honestly don't know what.

• Zari plays some version of Mortal Kombat with Jackson, to try and distract him from telling Young Stein about his future. Note that Jackson, or "Jax" as everyone calls him, is actually playing the game as "Jax!"

• Jackson flies the Jump Ship to 1992 to return Young Stein home. Note that he doesn't activate its cloak (if it has one). I guess no one noticed a futuristic time shuttle landing in the Stein's front yard?

• Like many Legends episodes, this one contains several Back To The Future references. When Young Stein is first transported to 1000 AD, he exclaims Doc Brown's favorite catchphrase, "Great Scott!"

Later on, Jackson gives Young Stein a letter which explains how to avoid his untimely death, and tells him not to open it until 2017. Marty McFly did the exact same thing with Doc Brown in Back To The Future

Young Stein even references the movie by name when Jackson tries to hand him the life-saving letter.

• As most fans predicted, Agent Sharpe plays for the "other team."

• Agent Sharpe tells Canary that Grodd survived Viet Nam, as Darhk saved him and provided him with a means of time travel (as seen in Welcome To the Jungle). 

To illustrate this point, Sharpe says, "Gideon, can you pull up what Director Bennett showed me, please?" Gideon then dutifully displays an image of Grodd destroying the Great Wall (!). 

Um... how would Gideon have access to the Time Bureau's files, or have any idea what Director Bennett showed anyone?

Also, doesn't it seem like a large telepathic ape punching the Great Wall Of China should warrant at least a Level 8 anachronism?

• I don't really have anything to say about this image. I just wanted to post a picture of Damien Darhk in a bad wig!

• At one point Heat Wave decides he's had enough Beebo-worshiping nonsense, and blasts the doll (or puppet, as he calls it) with his flame thrower.

A bit later, Atom shrinks himself, crawls into a curiously restored Beebo and causes it to fly around, in an attempt to distract the Vikings.

This might seem like a huge plot hole on the part of the writers, but I don't think it is. We've seen in the past that Gideon can replicate any kind of period clothing, and she even does it here as the Legends all don Viking sportswear. If Gideon can replicate clothing, then it shouldn't be too hard for her to make a plush doll as well.

• During the end battle, Heat Wave and Cold combine their powers and blast Nora Darhk. She flies through the air and lands in a heap. Damien Darhk shrieks, as he runs out and cradles her head before teleporting away with her.

It looked for all the world like she was dead, but I doubt if she really is. That would have been a pretty anticlimactic death for a villain.

• When the Darhks teleport away, Canary's somehow pulled into Mallus' evil, empty realm. He monologues to her a bit, and then suddenly Agent Sharpe reaches into the void, grabs Canary and yanks her back into the real world (!). I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how any of that was possible.

Was there some kind of rip in the fabric of space that Sharpe could see? I suppose it's possible. When Canary's in the void we see sort of a glowing slit floating in mid air. This is actually where Sharpe's hand emerges from, so maybe saw this rent floating in the real world too, and reached into it.

• By the way, right before Sharpe reaches into the void, we see an extreme closeup of Canary's eye. Reflected in it is a blob of black energy that forms itself into a grasping hand that clutches at her.

I guess this is supposed to be Mallus? I hope so, because it's gonna be tough to have an effective Big Bag who's nothing but a menacing voice. Eventually he's going to have to take some kind of form for the Legends to fight.

Also, note that this grasping hand forms a couple of frames before Sharpe reaches into the void and grabs Canary. Hmm... that was probably just some fancy editing, to make us think Canary was about to be killed by Mallus. 

But what if this was foreshadowing, to hint that either Sharpe is somehow Mallus or will become possessed by him or something? That would definitely explain why she's so reluctant to help the Legends fight him. Eh... while that would certainly be a surprising and unexpected twist, I don't see that actually happening.

• Was Professor Stein some sort of ultra-famous celebrity?

Jackson takes Young Stein home to 1992, and gives him a letter telling him how to prevent his death in 2017. Jackson flies back to the Waverider, where he anxiously has Gideon check the timeline to see if Stein survived. Unfortunately, Jackson's scheme didn't work, as Gideon displays a huge, and I do mean HUGE, obituary for Stein.

If you look closely, it appears the obit takes up and entire page of the newspaper! Heck, movie stars and politicians don't even get that much coverage when they die.

• Jackson goes back to 1992 to find out why Stein didn't read the letter. When he arrives at the house, Stein's daughter Lily answers.

Lily of course is a time aberration who suddenly sprang into being last season, after Old Stein inadvertently altered his own past and fathered a daughter with his wife Clarissa. So it was kind of a shock to see her as a little girl.

I guess it shouldn't be though. After all, abberations don't just move forward in time, they move backward as well! Lily didn't just pop into being as a full grown adult— she was conceived years ago, so of course there was a time when she was a child. It still seems weird to see her as a kid though.

• Young Stein tells Jackson he's got to stop trying to save him, and learn to let go. Jackson finally agrees, and the two shake hands for a final time.

This handshake scene was especially poignant, since up until now, every time the two of them have ever clasped hands they've merged into Firestorm.

• If you've read any of these reviews in the past, you'll know that I'm constantly going on about how there's no possible way that all the Waverider's vast rooms could possibly fit inside the ship.

As Jackson returns in the Jump Ship, we get a pretty good look at the Waverider's shuttle bay. Predictably, it's massive, as its easily at least a hundred feet. Maybe longer! Once again, the only way all these rooms can exist inside the ship is if it's bigger on the inside than outside!

• Is there something wrong with the moon in this episode? Canary says goodbye to Jackson, and he walks off into his new life. In the background is a MASSIVE moon hovering behind the Waverider.  Did the Legends accidentally do something to cause the moon to move closer to Earth?

• The real reason that Professor Stein was killed off last week is because actor Victor Garber wanted to leave the show, so he could star in a new stage production of Hello Dolly!.

I wonder... did actor Franz Drameh (aka Jackson) want to leave as well? Or did Garber's departure cause him to be let go? If I was Drameh, I'd be REALLY pissed off at Victor Garber right now!

• At the very end of the episode, John Constantine appears and asks Canary for help.

If you're like me, you were probably left wondering what the hell (heh) Constantine's doing on this show and how he knows Canary.

John Constantine starred in his own DC comic called Hellblazer, which ran for a whopping three hundred issues, from 1988 to 2013 (!). He's a British demonologist and exorcist, who constantly wears a tie and trench coat and dabbles in the supernatural.

In 2015, Matt Ryan starred as Constantine in a short-lived NBC TV series of the same name. It ran for just thirteen episodes before being cancelled.

Despite this setback, Constantine lived on in the Arrowverse. He appeared in Season 4 of Arrow, in episode Haunted. It's a long, long story, but Sara Lance, aka White Canary, had been killed and then resurrected by the Lazarus Pit.

Unfortunately only her body had been brought to life, and she was missing her soul. Oliver Queen then reached out to his old pal John Constantine to help restore Sara's soul to her body. Oliver and John traveled to the "other side," where they were able to free Sara's trapped soul and return it to its rightful place.

There's way, WAY more to the story , but that'll get you up to speed for now.

This Week's Best Lines:
Atom: (talking with Cold and his Professor Stein puppet) "Uh, actually, there is one question I never got to ask Marty."
Cold: "Great."
Atom: "When I reduce the Waverider's coefficient of sinusoidal depleneration, it seems to inversely hyper-celerate."

Steel: (also talking with Cold and his Professor Stein puppet) "Let's hear it again." 

Cold: "What would you like to say to me, Nathaniel?" 
Steel: "Still a little too nasally. Remember, you speak very precisely." 
Cold: "This is therapy, not acting class." 
Steel: "Nice! That's the right level of frustration. That's very Stein. Now just do it with the puppet." 

Cold: "The Waverider's now a dry ship. No alcohol allowed."
Heat Wave: "You son of a..."
Cold: "You said your drinking wasn't a problem. If you can go a couple of days without booze, you've proven your point."
Heat Wave: "A couple of days? 42 hours?"
Cold: "48."

Gideon: "Incoming transmission from Agent Sharpe."
Canary: (sighs) "Put her on. Agent Sharpe, it's been awhile, thankfully."
Agent Sharpe: "Captain Lance."
Canary: "Let me guess, you saw that there's a Level 12 Anachronism, and you're calling to lecture me on everything that we're doing wrong."
Agent Sharpe: "No!..... OK, yes."

Agent Sharpe: "I hope so, because the Legends fixing a Level 12 under normal circumstances would be a Beebo Day miracle."
Canary: "Did you just say Beebo Day?"
Agent Sharpe: "December 25th? Beebo Day, when families exchange gifts and sing silly songs and discover that they can no longer live under the same roof? (long pause) Beebo Day's part of the Anachronism, isn't it?"
Canary: "Yeah."
Agent Sharpe: "Yeah, never felt right."

Freydis: (preparing to burn Heat Wave at the stake) "More wood, so bright Odin can see it from Valhalla."
Heat Wave: "Is it weird that I find her hot?"
Atom: "Weird, but then again, not surprising."

Atom: "Anyone have eyes on Beebo? Short, blue, looking for cuddles?"
Canary: "Yep, we're working on it."

Viking: "Ah! By Odin's Spear, you bested us. Beautiful, and they can hold their mead. Tell us which of these clansmen are your husbands, and we'll kill them."
Agent Sharpe: "Oh. I'm not really the husband kind."
Viking: "Perfect! Me neither!"

Zari: (talking about Canary to Jackson) "Just 'cause she's the Captain doesn't mean you have to do everything she says."
(um... that is literally the definition of "captain")

Jackson: "Listen this is gonna sound crazy, okay, but you need to open this letter on November 28th, 2017."
Young Stein: "I've seen Back to the Future, Jefferson, that that mockery of time travel that Clarissa adores."

Cold: "Your Earth-X doppelganger was my best friend. We grew up together in the Resistance. And when he died, I I was devastated. But seeing you made me realize I was a long way from acceptance. I didn't come onboard just to help you process your loss. I came so I could process mine."
Heat Wave: "Grrr..."
Cold: "Was that guttural sound your response?"
Heat Wave: "To what?"
Cold: "My heartfelt confession."
Heat Wave: "I don't care. I wasn't listening."
Cold: "Well, the Mick Rory I knew did care, and he did listen. He was the kindest, most selfless person I've ever met, a far cry from the crude, alcoholic, oafish waste of space before me."

Heat Wave: "I'm a disappointment? Well, the Leonard Snart that I knew was a cold, ruthless criminal, who didn't say boo about my drinking, because he knew I could get the job done! I don't like you. You don't fit in. Why don't you go back to that Nazi hellhole you call home?"
Cold: "Well, if that's how you feel, then I'll leave, as soon as we return from Vinland."

Atom: (flying inside Beebo) "It is I, Beebo, risen from the grave. Like Christ himself. Yeah...yes, Jesus is the one true God, which doesn't mean science or evolution isn't real! Anyway, you need to return to Greenland, which, um, will soon be melting, thanks to global warming, which is also real!"

Steel: (to Damien Darhk, after his powers don't work on him) "What's the matter? Performance anxiety?"

Jackson: "No, I am trying to save you!
Young Stein: "You need to let me go. 
We both know you shouldn't be here. I... I may have a life ahead of me, but to you, I'm a ghost."

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