Sunday, November 4, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 2: Witch Hunt

This week's Legends Of Tomorrow deals with hate, intolerance and the evil that men do in the name of fear. 

Given what's currently happening in our country, this episode is incredibly timely. There's no way in hell they could have known when it would air, so the whole thing's just a lucky coincidence, but it's still almost spooky how perfectly timed it is.

Once again Zari feels sorry for someone in the past and says screw history in order to save them. In this episode she saves Jane Hawthorne from an unjust death, which radically changes history.

She did the same thing last season in Helen Hunt, in which she took the real Helen Of Troy away from her horrible life and dropped her off in Themyscira (home of Wonder Woman). 

So I guess that's her thing now, and we're gonna get a "Zari Bends The Rules To Save A Doomed Woman" storyline at least once per season.

So what are the writers doing with Steel & Director Sharpe in this episode? Are they setting up some sort of twisted love triangle between them and Canary? Sara definitely swings both ways, but I'm pretty sure Ava doesn't. I suppose this could all just be an innocent friendship developing between Steel and Sharpe, but right now it seems very odd.

This episode also seemingly features Steel's departure from the team! I'm hoping his leave of absence is only temporary. If not, it's only a matter of time (heh) before Heat Wave is the only character left on the show, and each episode will be about him sitting alone in the Waverider, ordering sandwiches from Gideon.


The Plot:
On the Waverider, Atom takes the magic divining knuckle bones Constantine left at White Canary's apartment, and hooks them up to Gideon's time seismograph (how's that for a sentence?). Amazing his Jerry-rigged device works, and the Legends can now track supernatural fugitives across time and space. With this new Bone-O-Meter, the Legends won't need Constantine's help to clean up the magical mess they caused.

Right on cue, Constantine enters the Waverider, hat in hand, looking for a place to stay. Apparently the evil message he received last week rattled him, and he now wants to join the team after all. Suddenly the Bone-O-Meter detects a magical disturbance in Salem, Massachusetts (where else?) in 1692. Canary, Atom and Zari take off to investigate, while Heat Wave and Constantine elect to stay on the ship. 

Meanwhile, Steel has dinner with his dad, Hank Heywood. Things go well for a while, until Steel's credit cards are denied, and Hank belittles his career choice. Steel says nothing's changed between them and storms off in a huff.

Canary and the others arrive in 1692, where they witness a Reverend Parsons accuse a woman named Jane Hawthorne of being a witch. Jane's teen daughter Prudence watches as her mother's gagged and taken away from her. The Legends look on helplessly, unsure whether they should interfere with time. Suddenly a flock, or I guess that'd be murder of crows appears and attacks the villagers.

Back on the Waverider, Constantine becomes a thorn in Heat Wave's side, as the ship isn't big enough for the two of them. They're about to come to blows when Canary and the others return. Gideon informs them that Jane Hawthorne was hanged on October 29, 1692. Her execution caused The Burning Of Salem, in which everyone in the town spontaneously combusted.

Constantine doubts Jane had anything to do with the crows, since she was gagged and spells have to be spoken out loud. He asks if anyone else was present who'd want to protect Jane. Zari says it had to be Prudence Hawthorne. Constantine says it's obvious Prudence has been possessed by a demon.

Meanwhile, Agent Sharpe is working late at the Time Bureau. She hears a noise and sees Steel wandering around in naught but his drawers, brushing his teeth. Sharpe asks what the hell he's doing there, and he says since the Waverider's currently in the past and he has no money, he's crashing at the Bureau. 

Amazingly, Sharpe is OK with this. Steels asks what she's doing there so late, and she says she's preparing her budget proposal to the Department Of Defense. Steel tells her he can help with that, as he's great at glad-handing and schmoozing.

All the Legends return to Salem, where they confront Prudence while she's alone in the woods. Naturally she's suspicious of them, and asks what they want. Suddenly Constantine casts a spell, forcing the demon inside Prudence to reveal itself. Instead of a demon though, a lovable, portly Disneyesque Fairy Godmother appears!

Prudence explains that the Godmother protects and helps her. The Godmother begins singing, as a magical orchestra accompanies her. The Legends stand it as long as they can, until finally Heat Wave tells her to shut the hell up. Constantine starts to recite a spell that'll send the Godmother to Hell, but she warns him that she's linked to Prudence. If he banishes her, Prudence will go right along with her. Rats!

The Godmother's angry with the Legends,and wants to destroy them, but she can't act directly against them for reasons. Instead she manipulates Prudence into ordering her to get rid of them. 

The Godmother then uses her magic to wrap vines and roots around the Legends, immobilizing them. She calls down another flock of birds, but luckily Zari manages to convince Prudence that they're there to help her mother. Prudence tells the Godmother to stop. She releases them and then vanishes. The Legends bring Prudence onto the Waverider, as they apparently no longer give a crap about wrecking the timeline. 

Back in Washington, Steel prepares to help Agent Sharpe and Gary Green present the Time Bureau's budget proposal. Steel freezes though when he sees they'll be pitching to Hank, who's apparently the head of the Department Of Defense. He tells Sharpe he can't go through with it, and leaves her and Gary to present the budget themselves.

On the Waverider, Constantine studies his texts and says the Godmother's right they can't act against her without harming Prudence. The only way to banish the Godmother is if Prudence rejects her, and that's unlikely to happen. Zari says she might do it they save her mother, but Canary says they can't. Jane Hawthorne is destined to die, and saving her would alter history (as if they haven't already done so). 

Zari sneaks off the ship and enters the Salem jail, using her powers to open the door of Jane's cell. She tells her she's there to rescue her, but Jane refuses to go. She says the people of Salem know not what they do, and she forgives them (oy). Zari stalks off in a rage, seconds before Reverend Parsons arrives to put Jane on trial.

In Washington, Agent Sharpe recounts all the times the Bureau saved the world from various threats and fixed all the anachronisms. Hank says it sounds like their job is done, and the Time Bureau should be disbanded. Sharpe argues that the timeline is very fragile, and requires constant maintenance. She tells him there're now magical threats to deal with, which doesn't go over well. Hank says if she can't prove her claims, he's shutting them down. 

Back in Salem, Zari sneaks into Jane's trial. Reverend Parsons proves she's a witch by repeatedly sticking a pin in a birthmark on her shoulder, which doesn't bleed (???). Jane cries out in pain, which pushes Zari over the edge. She uses her wind powers to knock Parsons on his ass, then lifts him high in the air. He thinks it's Jane's doing, until Zari steps forward and says she did it.

Parsons says Zari's also a witch, and orders her captured as well. She then uses her powers to suck the air from the crowd's lungs. As they begin gasping and dying, she suddenly realizes what she's doing and releases them. Parsons snatches the magic amulet from her neck, leaving her powerless. He orders both Zari AND Jane to be executed. 

On the Waverider, Prudence is worried that the Legends haven't brought her mother to her. The Godmother appears and shows Prudence images of Canary saying they have to let Jane die. Angered by their lies, Prudence orders the Godmother to get her off the ship. 

Atom and Heat Wave try to stop them, but the Godmother turns them both into piglets. Constantine rounds a corner and tries to cast a capture spell, but the Godmother removes his mouth so he can't speak. 

In DC, Sharpe tells Steel that Hank shut them down. She begs him to try and convince his dad to keep them going, but he says they'll need proof. Steels uses a time courier to teleport to the Waverider (which is still in 1693, remember) to find some sort proof that magic exists. Suddenly he sees Piglet Atom scurrying around the ship. He scoops him up and teleports back to the Bureau.

Meanwhile, Jane and Zari are tied to a stake on top of a large pile of wood. Parsons denounces the women as witches one more time, and drops Zari's necklace in the wood pile. Just as the fire's about to be lit, Canary appears with a crossbow and tells everyone to freeze. She tells Parsons she'll kill him if he moves, but he says he's not afraid to die, as his soul will live with God.

Canary then beats the ever loving crap out of Parsons' men, but eventually she's captured and the pyre's lit. Just as Jane and Zari are about to go up in flames, Prudence and the Godmother appear. Prudence orders the Godmother to save Jane and Zari, and she magics them to safety. Unfortunately Jane's still unconscious. Prudence says she wants Parsons to burn, and the Godmother zaps him onto the blazing pyre. She then tells the Godmother to fry the townspeople.

Zari pleads with Prudence not to go through with it. She says she knows the Salemites are monsters who deserve to burn, but if she kills them she'll have blood on her hands and regret it forever. Prudence thinks long and hard, and then tells the Godmother she releases her. Instantly the Godmother's magic wand vanishes. Just then Constantine runs up, and his mouth magically returns. 

Elsewhere, Steel enters the Time Bureau, carrying Piglet Atom. He tells Hank he works for the Bureau and is a time traveler. He holds out Piglet Atom and says he's proof that magic exists. Hank thinks his son's gone crazy, until suddenly the piglet turns back into Atom, who's completely naked in Steel's arms. Steel then turns into his metallic state and says he's also a superhero. A stunned Hank asks Agent Sharpe how much money she needs. 

Back in Salem, Reverend Parsons is still on the burning pyre. The fire's melted Zari's mystical gold amulet, but luckily the red stone inside it is untouched. She reaches quickly into the fire, grabs the stone and uses its wind power to put out the fire, saving Parsons. Constantine casts a spell and binds the Godmother so she can't get away.

Some time later, Jane finally regains consciousness. Zari tells her she and Prudence are free to go (so does Jane know she was supposed to die here?), but says they'll need to move far away from Salem. So take that, history! 

Constantine takes the Godmother into the woods and offers her a deal. Instead of sending her to Hell, he offers to become her new host, so she can protect him from whatever attacked him last week. The Godmother says she knows what's coming for him, and she'd rather go to Hell than face it. He obliges her and opens a portal which sucks her in.

Zari's sure that Canary's going to scream at her for helping Jane & Prudence. Surprisingly Canary says she understands why she changed history, and has wanted to do it herself a time or two. Zari mentions seeing her mother last week, and says she'd like to save her as well. Foreshadowing Alert!

Back at the Time Bureau, Steel gives Hank a rundown of all his adventures with the Legends. For once in his life, Hank is impressed with his son, and suggests they give dinner another try. Sharpe offers Steel a permanent position in the Bureau. 

Atom, now fully dressed again, opens a portal to the Waverider and asks Steel if he's coming. Steel tells him he's gonna stick around at the Bureau for a while and he'll see him later. A worried look crosses Atom's face as he returns to the ship.

• I guess the opening narrations are a thing of the past, replaced by "Previously on Legends Of Tomorrow recaps. Too bad, as I liked the narrations, as each was read by a different cast member each week.

• At the beginning of the episode, the Legends have the following conversation:

Canary: "We need a way to pinpoint magical threats on the timeline. I mean who knows what kind of creatures are out there wreaking havoc on history?"
Heat Wave: "Like, uh, vampires."
Zari: "Gremlins."

Atom: "Aswangs."
(the others all turn to look at him uncomprehendingly)
Atom: "Aswangs. Cannibalistic Filipino were-beasts with proboscis-like tongues. I've been doing some research just in case."

I'd never heard of an Aswang of course, but it turns out Atom's absolutely correct. An Aswang, or sometimes Asuwang, is a shapeshifting evil spirit in Filipino folklore, and can take the form of vampire, ghoul, witch, warlock or were-beast.

Note that Atom pronounces the name as "ASS-wang" for maximum yuks. I have a feeling it's probably supposed to be more like "Az-wang."

• I loved the reactions of the Legends when Constantine gave his list of demands for joining the team. Heat Wave in particular was hilarious, as he began flexing his fingers and tightening his gloves as he prepared to hand Constantine a good old fashioned beat down.

• I covered this in the previous episode, but it happened again this week. Once again, the Waverider doesn't cloak itself as it exits the time stream, and emerges fully visible to anyone who happens to look up. 

Even worse, this week the ship doesn't even bother to cloak at all! Instead it settles completely visible in a wooded area, literally twenty feet away from a foot path! In 1692 yet! Any Puritan who happens to walk by could glance over and see the super-advanced 22nd Century time ship just sitting there.

Apparently at this point the Legends have given up any pretext of caring how badly they pollute the time stream.

• Is the name "Reverend Parsons" meant to be funny?

Jane Carr absolutely kills it in this episode as the Fairy Godmother. With her portly build and "veddy" proper British accent, I can't imagine a more perfect piece of casting.

Carr's definitely qualified for the role. She plays Mama Cosma on Nickelodeon's The Fairly OddParents. She's also the voice of Lady Pillingston and Pudin on The Grim Adventures Of Billy and Mandy.

 As silly as Legends Of Tomorrow can be at times, it generally tries to be reasonably historically accurate. So you'd think in this episode they'd at least attempt to give the Salem townspeople a Puritan-era New England accent.

Sure, the Salemites speak very formally and don't use contractions, but other than that the they all sound exactly like actors from 2018.

• Once the Legends interfere in history, they take Prudence onboard the Waverider for safe keeping. For someone from the 17th Century, she takes the futuristic ship amazingly well. The only thing she has to say about it is, "I have seen many wonders these past days."

Now that I think about it though, she does have an honest to god Fairy Godmother in her pocket, who can magically grant her every wish. After all that, maybe a time ship from the 2100s isn't that big a deal!

• To keep her occupied, Heat Wave hands Prudence a doughnut and a tablet loaded with Beebo Blox, which appears to be a Candy Crush knockoff. 

If The CW was smart, they'd be working on a real version of this as we speak!

• What the hell was up with the scene in which Reverend Parsons "proves" Jane's a witch? He repeatedly sticks a pin in the birthmark on her shoulder, and when it doesn't bleed, he proclaims she's the Devil's servant.

Is that really a thing? Do birthmarks really not bleed? First time I've ever heard that one! I tried looking researching it online, but came up with nothing.

• Boy, it sure was mighty convenient that Steel's dad just happens to head up the Department Of Defense. And even more convenient that Steel doesn't know this until he sees him!

• OK, I'm now officially VERY confused by the Arrowverse's fictional corporations and bureaucracies. Last week on The Flash, we found out that STAR Labs is somehow on the stock exchange, and people can actually buy shares in the enigmatic company. Just don't ask me exactly what they produce or how they manage to turn any sort of profit!

Then in this episode we find out the Time Bureau isn't an independent entity as we've been led to believe all along, but is actually an agency in the U.S. Government, and operates on a budget! 

This is news to me, and likely to every other viewer as well.

At the beginning of Season 3 in Aruba-Con, Rip Hunter appeared before the Legends and told them he was now the head of the Time Bureau:

Rip: "As you can see, my agents are already hard at work dealing with these Anachronisms."
Professor Stein: "Anachronisms?"
Rip: "People, places, and things displaced from their native time periods. I told you I was leaving to create an organization to replace the Time Masters."
Canary: "15 minutes ago!"
Rip: "For you. Forming the Time Bureau has been the work of the last five years of my life. I've gotten quite good at it, I'd have to say."

Stein: "You mean you have Time Agents at work in the Cretaceous Period as we speak?"
Rip: "Indeed, and throughout Los Angeles, making sure no one retains any memory of this unfortunate incident."

From that I (and I'm betting 98% of the audience) rightly assumed he'd formed the Bureau himself, from nothing probably using time travel to play various lotteries till he'd built up enough cash. I definitely never got the impression the Time Bureau was part of the U.S. Government!

So apparently at some point between Seasons 2 and 3, Rip Hunter, a British Time Master from the year 2166, came to present day America and somehow talked the U.S. Department Of Defense into funding a top secret organization that deals with time traveling threats. Got it.

• This episode also reveals that the Legends are not employees of the Time Bureau, and as such don't draw any kind of salary from them! Why the hell not? They regularly work with the Bureau, and in fact do a large part of their job for them. So why aren't they being paid?

• Gary seems quite proud of the fact that a unicorn bit off his nipple in last week's episode. Keep it in your clothes, Gary!

• Of course Steel can understand Atom, even when he's in pig form. Shades of Green Acres and Arnold Ziffel!

• Steel brings Piglet Atom to the Time Bureau, to prove to Hank that magic is real. As soon as Prudence releases the Fairy Godmother from her service, all her magic spells reverse themselves. Atom instantly returns to human form. Unfortunately he's stark naked, as his clothing fell off when he was a pig.

Note that the second Atom appears naked in his arms, Steel instantly "hardens" as his living metal power kicks in. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

• I don't understand why Hank has such a hard time believing magic is an actual thing. He's already overseeing the budget of a government agency called the Time Bureau, that deals chronological disturbances! If he knows about time travel and accepts it as fact, why's magic so difficult to accept?

You've got to remember the Legends don't live on OUR Earth. Their world is filled with metahumans who possess amazing powers, and is invaded by aliens on a regular basis. A pig turning back into a man shouldn't so much as raise an eyebrow on this world!

And why's he so flabbergasted that his son's a superhero? His own father Henry Heywood was Commander Steel of the Justice Society! Granted, Henry wasn't a metahuman, as he was more like the Arrowverse version of Captain America. But he was still a superhero, and Hank should be more than familiar with the concept. Unless maybe Henry somehow kept his superhero job a secret?

• What the hell was up with this scene? Once the plot's resolved, we get the obligatory wrap-up. As the camera pans over to Zari, Jane and Prudence, an extra passes in front of them, and it looks for all the world like he's carrying "two empty 'alves of coconuts." There's even a faint "clip clop" effect on the soundtrack, even though there aren't any horses in the scene.

Was this some kind of weird Monty Python And The Holy Grail reference? If so, it doesn't really make any sense, as this episode takes place in 1692 and a helpful caption in Holy Grail informs us it's set in 932!

It's also entirely possible those aren't really coconut halves, but I can't for the life of me figure out what else they'd be.

• Was there a point to melting the gold setting of Zari's air totem amulet? Is she gonna get a bitchin' new setting for it? If she was smart she'd get it implanted in her body somehow, so people can't keep yanking it off her neck and leaving her powerless.

• Speaking of Zari, we now have a good idea how old she is. Zari's from 2042, which is just twenty four short years from now. In last week's episode, she located herself and her mother in 2018. Given the fact that Lil' Zari appears to be about six years old in 2018, that'd make her 30 years old in 2042. And also in 2018, because time travel.

This Week's Best Lines:
Atom: "My peers would say that science and magic don't mix, but to them, I'd ask, "Have you seen The Fifth Element? Right?"
 "Ivy U sounds like a real party school."

Constantine: (arriving on the Waverider) "Yeah, about that. Constantine is tired, hungover, and in need of a stiff one. Dealer's choice as to what that's a euphemism for."

Zari: "Do we have a special name for these magical fugitives?"
Atom: "Well, I was thinking, since they're mysteries involving mythical beings, we could go with myth-teries."

Canary: "Fugitives it is."

Jane Hawthorne: "I have done no harm. I swear it."
Reverend Parsons: "But this man says he bore witness to your witchcraft."
Townsman: "She has lain with the Devil."
Jane: "I would never, not with the Devil nor with any man since my husband's passing, much to your frustration, good sir."

Heat Wave: "Get out of my chair, you weasel. I'm watching the football."
Constantine: (watching soccer) "The game's on already, mate. You want a Marmite crumpet?"
Heat Wave: "What'd you call me?"

Atom: (returning from Salem) "Well, we just saw a woman command a murder of crows, and now I know why they call it that."

Sharpe: "You couldn't spring for a hotel?"
Steel: "Well, here's a fun fact about staying in the present it costs money, and as a Legend, your salary is the friendships you make along the way."
Sharpe: "Got ya."

Constantine: "Show yourself, you cursed beast. Reveal your hideous form!"
(The Fairy Godmother magically appears)
Fairy Godmother: "Hello!"
Canary: "What in the Disney hell is this?"
Heat Wave: "You got to be kidding me. That's your monster?"
Godmother: "Monster? Why, I am nothing of the sort. I am a fairy godmother, and I mean only to make dreams come true, because a dream is a wish your heart..." 
Canary: "Don't say another word!"

Hank Heywood: "And what situations require our continued funding, Director Sharpe?"
Sharpe: "Sir, do you remember when dinosaurs took over downtown Los Angeles? Or when a telepathic gorilla tried to kill Barack Obama?"
Hank: "You know that I don't."
Sharpe: "And that's because we did our job."

Steel: "Hey, how'd it go out there?:
Sharpe: "Well, you better start packing your things, because he just gave the entire Bureau an eviction notice."
Steel: "Did you tell him about the magical creatures?"
Sharpe: "Oh, yeah. He's not buying it. He needs proof."
Steel: "Oh, that is such a Hank thing!"

Hank: "Nathaniel? What are you doing here?"
Steel: "I work here. That's right, Dad. I'm a time traveler."
Hank: "How how do you even know about the Time Bureau? What are you doing with a pig?"

Godmother: (to Prudence) "How else will they learn, deary? If these people aren't taught a lesson today, they will go and hurt others for days and years to come. (to Zari) You come from the future. Can you honestly tell this child that the hearts of men change in all that time?"
Prudence: "Do they?"
Zari: (after a lengthy pause) "No, they don't. People always fear what they don't understand, and that fear turns them into monsters. But we can't let it turn us into monsters, too. We have to be better than them."

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