Saturday, November 10, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 3: Dancing Queen

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, Atom lets his hair down and embraces the wild side he didn't know he had, Constantine lowers his defenses just a bit and Steel regrets leaving the ship. Oh, and character returns to the show. Well, sort of

This was most definitely an Atom-centric episode, as most of the focus was on him. He's always been the moral center of the team, never questioning authority or breaking any rules. That's why his decision to free Nora Darhk at the end of last season has been troubling him so.

But when he sees the Legends ganging up on his new friend Charlie in this episode, he realizes everyone deserves a second chance and that he made the right decision with Nora. 

It'll be interesting to see if Atom's newfound rebellious streak sticks, or if he'll be back his usual overgrown Boy Scout mode next week.

The biggest news this week was the return of Maisie Richardson-Sellars to the show. She played Vixen for two seasons, and although she started out as a reasonably interesting character, he constant whining in Season 3 made me glad to finally see her go.

Fortunately she's returning to the show as a completely different character (and using her own accent this time!), and after just one episode she's already better than Vixen ever was. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the cast reacts to a new character with the exact same face as an old one.

By the way, the method used to bring Richardson-Sellars back to the show through magic was downright ingenious. I don't think I've seen such a clever way of bringing back an actor since Star Trek: The Next Generation used time travel to resurrect Tasha Yar.


The Plot:
In 1977 London, Queen Elizabeth II seemingly goes nuts and starts drinking and partying at a local club called The Hole, head-banging to the music of punk rock band The Smell. Needless to say, this is somewhat out of character for the Monarch.

Her antics cause a disturbance that the Time Bureau detects in the present day. Steel says that due to her night out, the Queen is institutionalized and England thrown into chaos. Director Sharpe says in addition to the anachronism, the Bureau's magic detector (I guess they have one now too?) senses supernatural activity in 1977 London as well.

White Canary, who's visiting the Bureau, says she and the Legends will check it out. Steel looks on wistfully, obviously regretting his decision to leave the Waverider.

Back on the ship, Atom presents Zari with a new wristband that holds her air totem. Canary uses the Magic-O-Meter to discover the supernatural energy's not coming from the Queen, but from someone in The Smell. Constantine examines a photo of the band and says their drummer Declan is obviously an Irish leprechaun.

The Legends then visit The Hole in 1977. They're all dressed in period-appropriate punk attire, except for Atom, who stays behind in their getaway van. Inside the club the Legends enjoy the dulcet tones of The Smell, Unfortunately Heat Wave & Constantine cause a fight to break out.

As the police arrive, The Smell member slip out the back, see the Legends' van and pile into it. They order Atom to hit the gas and he peels out. He takes the band to their hideout, and radios the Legends asking what to do next. Canary says he's their inside man, and orders him to become a member of the band! Meanwhile, Constantine says he's had enough of the ship and is gonna tour 1977 London.

Back at the Time Bureau, Steel's bored with his new desk job, despite Gary's assurances that "Taco Monday" is off the hook. Gary detects a magical disturbance in the Pleistocene Era. He wants to write a dry, boring report on it, but Steel talks him into checking it out themselves.

Atom enters The Smell's hideout and pretends to be a punk like them (!). Amazingly they accept him and let him stay, in spite of his nerdy clothes and demeanor. Charlie, the lead singer, introduces him to the rest of the band: Gilly, Ian and Declan. Atom tests Declan, but determines he's not a leprechaun as Constantine said.

Charlie's quite the anarchist who's constantly railing against society and the Royalty. She plans to steal one of the Queen's corgi dogs to "expose her hypocrisy" or something, and tells Atom he's gonna be their driver.

Atom and the band arrive in St. James' Park, where the Queen's dogs are regularly walked. Charlie sends him out to steal one of them. He awkwardly manages it, with a bit of secret help from Canary and Heat Wave, who've been monitoring his situation. Atom returns to the van with the dog, much to The Smell's surprise.

That night the band watches a news report on the stolen dog (which was dropped off at a shelter). They celebrate their "victory," and force Atom to get a tattoo to prove he's one of them. Charlie says their next caper will be more ambitious, as she plans to make the Queen hand over her precious jewels. When Atom asks how she's gonna do that, Charlie says she'll "work her magic." Atom realizes she's the supernatural being they've been looking for.

Zari finds Constantine in a pub, and sees the waitress is flirting with him. He tells her the waitress is actually his mom, who died in childbirth. Constantine points out that his dad's in the bar as well, and tries to kick him in the balls, presumably to cancel out his own existence. It doesn't work though, as the laws of time prevent such a paradox.

Meanwhile in the Pleistocene Era, Steel and Gary search for the magical anomaly. Gary tells Steel he was sorry to hear that Vixen dumped him last season. Steel says that's not what happened, but suddenly realizes Gary's right. Just then they're chased by a sabertooth tiger, and barely manage to avoid it as they jump back through a portal to the present.

Atom contacts the Legends and tells him Charlie's the magical being. They prepare to move in so they can send her back to Hell, but Atom tells them to hold off. He has a thing for bad girls, dontcha know, and he's apparently fallen for Charlie.

Just then Declan discovers a newspaper featuring Atom and the Legends dressed like ABBA during one of their missions. He accuses Atom of being a disco fan, which, to a punk rocker, is the worst possible offense. They're all ready to string him up until Charlie defends him. She says what he was in the past doesn't matter, it's what he is now that counts. For some reason these wise words strike a chord with Atom.

At the Tine Bureau, Gary tells Steel that he solved the Pleistocene mission by himself. He then gives him a bizarre looking plant for his desk.

Atom thanks Charlie for standing up for him. She then reveals her true nature
— she's a shapeshifter who can look and sound like anyone she sees. Atom contacts the Legends, and Constantine warns him that shapeshifters are extremely dangerous. He says they need to send her to Hell immediately. Canary tells Atom to sit tight, as they're on their way.

A bit later Atom sees the Legends coming, and reveals to Charlie that he's a "magic narc." He tells her his friends want to send her to Hell, but he won't let that happen. He activates his Atom suit, as Charlie gazes in wonder.

At the Time Bureau, the plant Gary gave to Steel sprouts arms and legs and takes off running. Steel realizes it's the magical blip they detected, and Gary must have picked it up while he was in the Pleistocene by himself and brought it back. They arm themselves with office supplies to kill it before Director Sharpe finds out.

Cut to The Smell HQ, as Atom attacks the Legends with his suit blasters, to prevent them from taking Charlie. Suddenly the real Atom wakes up in his street clothes, and realizes Charlie took his suit and is impersonating him. Just as she's about to deliver the killing blow to the Legends, Atom yells for her to stop. He utters a voice command and his suit disassembles, leaving Charlie defenseless.

The Legends regroup, and Zari uses her wind power to pin Charlie to a wall, while Constantine opens a Hell portal. Charlie hisses that they're all the real monsters. She then taunts the Legends by morphing into each one of them. She finishes by shapeshifting into Vixen, which seriously affects the gang. Zari says she can't go through with it and releases her.

Constantine closes his portal, but says he's not letting a shapeshifter onto the ship. He then casts a spell over Charlie, robbing her of her powers and freezing her in the form of Vixen!

Back on the Waverider, the Legends keep Charlie in the brig until they can figure out what to do with her. Canary scolds Atom for getting them into this jam, and he echoes Zari's earlier words by saying he did the wrong thing for the right reason. He then blurts out that he's the one who helped Nora Darhk escape from Time Bureau custody. Canary stares at him in shock and awe.

Later Canary stops by the Time Bureau to see Director Sharpe. She runs into Steel, who says he fled the Waverider because he kept seeing Vixen in every nook and cranny. He says he's over it now, and ready to come back. Realizing they now have a de-powered shapeshifter onboard who looks exactly like Vixen, Canary tells him he might want to wait a while on that. Oh, and Steel and Gary killed the magic plant.

In the tag scene, Zari gives Constantine a security photo of him and his mom from the pub. He pretends he's not impressed, but puts stares at it wistfully after she leaves.

• Last week Atom cobbled together a Magic-O-Meter inside the Waverider to detect supernatural threats. Looks like this week the Time Bureau has one as well. Did Atom make one for them too?

By the way, Director Sharpe says the Bureau's magic detector is registering a massive spike. Yet when we see the device's readout it says, "Time Fracturing Detected" in the upper left corner. So which is is, Ava? Does your machine sense magic or time glitches?

• I love ya Legends Of Tomorrow, but for Beebo's sake, that was the worst Queen Elizabeth lookalike I've ever seen. And yes, I get that this was supposed to be the '77 model, not the current one. She still didn't look even remotely like the real Liz!

I guess we could give her a pass, since technically that wasn't actually the Queen, but Charlie impersonating her. Maybe she doesn't get her shapeshifting right every time.

Also, her Majesty's Royal Aide consistently refers to the Queen as "Ma'am." If five decades of Doctor Who has taught me anything, it's that most Brits pronounce the title as "Mum."

• Last week Zari's amulet, which housed her mystical air totem, was tossed in a flaming pyre. This melted its decorative gold setting, leaving the magical stone intact. It seemed odd that they'd go to the trouble to write and film all that, and I wondered what they had in mind.

Well, now we know. This week Zari gets a snazzy new Apple Watch, er, I mean bracelet to house her air totem. Still no explanation as to why they switched from amulet to wrist band though.

• Gideon tells the Legends that their magical fugitive is a member of the punk rock band The Smell. Constantine takes a look at a cover photo of the band, and has the following conversation:

Constantine: "Hold on a minute. There's your magic man right there. Obsessed with riches, given to mischief. That Irishman there is a leprechaun!"
Zari: "S-sorry. Are you being serious or racist?"
Constantine: "Both, love."

Can Constantine really tell someone's Irish just by looking at them?

Kudos to the Legends Of Tomorrow prop department for coming up with a convincing 1977 era music magazine. In particular I like the line at the top that says, "Violent Phlegms: A Tribute." I assume that's a takeoff on 80s punk band Violent Femmes.

• When the Legends infiltrate the club, Canary and Zari go all out, dressing in period-appropriate costumes so as not to call attention to themselves. I love that Heat Wave blends in by wearing his everyday clothing. And why not? He looks like a dangerous skinhead all the time. Of course Constantine doesn't even try, wearing his normal street clothes as well.

• Anjli Mohindra plays Charlie for the bulk of the episode, until Maisie Richardson-Sellers takes over in the final minutes. Mohindra does a great job, but I was thinking it might have been fun if Richardson-Sellers had played the character for the entire episode. Surely the amount of makeup Punk Charlie was wearing would have hidden her identity and fooled the audience.

• There's a time jump in this episode, and I don't mean one by the Waverider. Atom infiltrates The Smell's hideout at nighttime. The band accepts him, says he can be their driver, and they all set out to dog-nap the Queen's corgi.

In the very next scene they arrive at St. James' Park, but it's now broad daylight! Wha...?

The Smell's hideout and the Park are both located in London. So why was it midnight when they left home and noon when they arrived at the park? Did it really take twelve hours to drive across town? That London traffic must be murder!

• Why does Atom's van have a steering wheel on the left side like an American car? Don't all vehicles in Great Britain have the wheel on the right? Whoops!

• I kind of like Atom's new tattoo! Even if it does somehow look like a watercolor drawing.

 Speaking of tattoos, Charlie tells Atom he has to get one if he wants to be one of them. The germophobic Atom looks nervously at the tattoo needle, and asks if it's been sterilized. This prompts Gilly to lick the end of it to clean it off, causing Atom to grimace in disgust.

This brings up an interesting question: do the Legends have some sort of sterilization protocol they go through before they time travel in the field? Think about it. If they fly back to the Middle Ages, lordy knows what kind of nasty germs they could pick up there. Bugs for which they'd have no natural defense. Vice versa, too! One of the Legends could cough and inadvertently start a plague in the past and seriously alter history.

Hopefully while we're not looking, Gideon inoculates them before they enter a strange time and debugs them when they come back.

• After Atom steals the Queen's dog, Charlie says their next stunt will be even biggerforcing her Highness to hand over her precious jewels.

Wait a minute— in the opening montage, Charlie shapeshifted into the Queen, took the Crown Jewels from the palace and wore them while out club-hopping. She even gets up on stage and tosses her crown and scepter into the crowd!

So Charlie's already stolen the Queen's jewels. Why's she want to do it again? To humiliate her even more?

 At one point The Smell finds a newspaper proving that Atom isn't a punk after all (which couldn't possibly have surprised them) and was in fact in a disco band.

That's a pretty old newspaper that Declan found! The front page features a photo of the Legends dressed in ABBA-like costumes, which happened in Season 3's Here I Go Again. Thing is, that particular little adventure happened in 1975. Atom's currently in 1977. So how the hell did Declan just happen to find a two year old newspaper featuring Atom on the front?

 Meta-Humor Alert! Steel quickly becomes bored with his job at the Time Bureau. Gary tries to convince him the Bureau's anything but dull by saying, "Buckle up, Nate, it's Taco Monday!" Steel says, "Instead of Taco Tuesday?" To which Gary replies, "Oh, we dare to defy!"

• So the Time Bureau's a top secret government agency that the general public doesn't know exists. And yet they allow food vendors to move freely throughout the building. AND they visibly brand their clipboards with the Time Bureau logo. Got it.

• In the Pleistocene Era, Steel and Gary discuss their failed relationships. Gary tells Steel he was sorry to hear that Vixen dumped him. Steel says, "Wait, did she dump me?" Gary replies, "Well, all I know is she started a family with another guy real fast. You tell me."

Apparently Vixen must have gotten over Steel pretty quickly and married. Good! That means she's unlikely to return to the show. I liked the character OK when she first appeared, but quickly grew tired of her constant whining last season. There's only so many times you can hear "I'm in love with Nate but I have a destiny in the past! It's not fair" before it becomes grating. I'd be  happy with never seeing her again.

 I'm assuming the weird-looking plant Gary gifted to Steel was a Little Shop Of Horrors reference. Any minute I expected it to say, "FEED ME!"

 Apparently the effects budget was running low in this episode. In the third act, Atom reveals to Charlie that he's a superhero by donning his exo-suit. 

But instead of showing the suit assemble itself over his clothing like normal, Atom actually steps behind a curtain in order to put it on. We then hear a "suit activation" sound effect, and when he emerges from behind the curtain he's wearing his Atom armor! I guess there just wasn't enough money this week for a "suiting-up" scene!

 Atom (or rather Charlie disguised as Atom) finds a cool use for his shrink ray. At one point he shrinks the trunk Constantine and Zari are hiding behind, leaving them exposed!

 When Constantine finds himself in 1977 London, he decides to pay a visit to a certain pub to get a look at his future parents. He tries to commit temporal suicide by kicking his old man in the balls. Fortunately for him it doesn't work, as every time he gets close to his dad, he's zapped back across the room.

When Constantine asks what the hell happened, Zari explains, "Ball kick paradox. You can't kick your own dad in the junk because you'd erase yourself from the timeline, which means there would be no one to kick your dad in the junk."

Eh, I dunno... is that really what would happen? I could see the paradox kicking in if he tried to KILL his dad. That's a major action with permanent consequences. If Constantine shot his Pops in the head, then he'd never exist and there'd be no one to grow up to kill his father.

But ball-kicking seems like a different matter. If he kicked his dad in the balls and was never born, he'd never be able to assault him. So what? Why would the Universe care if Constantine Sr. ever got kicked or not?

Honestly I'm not sure whether this is a flub or not. Time travel and causality has always made my head hurt.

 In this episode we find out that Constantine's mom died giving birth to him. This explains why he was so keen to visit this particular pub, so he could lay eyes on her for the very first time. 

When he tries to attack his dad, his mom becomes angry and tells him to get the hell out of her pub, hissing, "I never want to see your face again!" Constantine walks out and says, "You won't."

Day-um! Not THAT was a hardcore response!

 Thanks to this episode, we now have a good idea of Constantine's age. 

We know his mom died giving birth to him, and since she's up and around in 1977, he had to have been born at some point after that. 

Based on the fact that we see his future parents heavily flirting with one another, and Constantine tries to neuter his dad, it's very likely this just happens to be the day (or more likely night) he was conceived. If that's true, he'd have been born sometime in 1978. That would mean he's currently 40. 

Actor Matt Ryan's 37, so the 40 figure seems just about right.

By the way, when Constantine and the others first enter The Hole (heh) in 1977, he says he used to play there in a band called Mucous Membrane. The way he says it makes it sound like his band played there around the same era, but that's impossible. If he was really born in sometime in 1978, he wouldn't be old enough to play in a club until around 1996 or so. Were punk bands still a thing then?

• It was a nice gesture for Zari to somehow obtain a security camera photo of Constantine and his mum. I can't help but point out though that there's no way in hell a 1977-era security cam would be able to take a HI-RES COLOR photo like that. Jesus, it's 2018 and bank security camera photos STILL look like shite!

 So now that Constantine took away Charlie's ability to transform, she's completely powerless, right? She's basically just an ordinary human. Yay, just what this team needs. Another superhero without any actual powers. Of the seven current members, only Steel and Constantine have actual powers that come from within. The rest just wield fancy weapons. Heck, Canary doesn't even do that— all she can do is punch and kick!

This Week's Best Lines:
Director Sharpe: "What kind of ripple effect are we really looking at here, Nate?"
Steel: "Okay. Right now, the queen gets institutionalized, the British monarchy fails, and England descends into chaos."
Canary: "Anarchy in the UK."

Zari: (to Atom) "Doing bad things for good reasons is practically our mission statement."

Canary: "In the meantime, we need to go back before the monarchy goes anarchy."

Heat Wave: "Why is the weasel running the show?"

Constantine: "If you got a problem with me, Pie Head, why don't you just say?"
Heat Wave: "I got a problem with you."

(The Legends show up at The Hole, a notorious punk rock club)
Constantine: "Ah, you got to love that sound."
Zari: (screaming to be heard) "What?"
Constantine: "The music. It's the dog's bollocks!"
Zari: "Sorry, I can't hear you over the terrible music!"

Heat Wave: (referring to Constantine) "He's gonna get us killed."

Canary: "You just don't like guys with ties."
Heat Wave: "That's right. It's like a little flag hanging from someone's neck, saying, 'I'm a liar."

Charlie: "I didn't catch your name." 

Atom: " Rage. Yep, Rage That's what they call me, on account of all my various rages against, um, the machine."

Charlie: "Guys, do you remember our driver? Well, he goes by the name Rage, because of his wicked rages."

Declan: "Yeah? About what?"
Atom: "Oh, Disco music, right? The Queen, obviously. Doing chores in a timely fashion."

Steel: (after discovering there's a magical fugitive in the Pleistocene) "Or... we can handle this ourselves."

Gary: "Without approval? That sounds dangerous. You've got two, but I'm sort of down to my last nipple!"

Zari: (after seeing a waitress flirt with Constantine in a pub) "That brooding, anti-hero crap must be a real panty dropper, huh? You tell her you have four roommates and sleep on the couch?"

Constantine: "No, I didn't. She's my mum."
Zari: "I'm really wishing I had not said panty dropper."

Heat Wave: "What the hell is that on your arm?"

Atom: "It's my tattoo. It's a corgi with a mohawk."
Heat Wave: "You've lost it, Haircut. You finally lost it."

Constantine: (to Atom) "She's manipulating you. Don't fall for it, mate."

Heat Wave: "Too late. He's got a tattoo."
Zari: "Oh, please let it be a tramp stamp."

Canary: "All right, then, squad save the Queen!"

(Canary was just full of monarchy-based quips in this episode, wasn't she?)

Canary: "Those punks were a bad influence on you."

Atom: "Oh, well, maybe you just don't know as much about me as you think you do."
Canary: "You were an Eagle Scout, former CEO of Palmer Tech. Your favorite musical is Singing in the Rain. You're allergic to cats and Grodd, and you were knighted by Queen Guinevere Sir Raymond of the Palms."
Atom: "Okay, so you know a lot."

Canary: "But right now we need to deal with our current captive. She cannot stay on the ship."

Zari: "Yeah, especially now with Amaya's face. It's frickin' creepy."
Heat Wave: "You broke her, you fix her, weasel. Make her not Amaya again!"
Constantine: "Spell doesn't work like that, Womble."

Gary: "Nate showed the plant who's boss, Captain Lance."

Canary: "Oh, yeah?"
Gary: "Although the plant did get in a lot of punches."

Canary: (seeing Steel bonding with Gary) "Aw. You already found a new time bro."

Steel: "He's growing on me."

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