Saturday, December 8, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 7: Hell No, Dolly!

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, the show sets the pieces in motion for the dreaded Mid-Season Break, which will no doubt end in a cliffhanger that won't be resolved for three or four months.

Unfortunately a huge chunk of this week's episode involves events that happened over on John Constantine's solo series, which aired a whopping FOUR YEARS AGO. I have no doubt the vast majority of viewers (like me) never saw his show, and spent most of this episode wondering what the bloody hell was going on.

I don't have a problem with them referencing minor elements from Constantine now and then, but it's probably not a good idea to build ENTIRE EPISODES around plotlines from a little-seen series.

That said, Legends continues to impress by giving us one of the best casts of characters on TV. Sure, they're all oddballs, but they're also distinct and very well defined. Best of all, none of them ever act out of character. Everything they do is natural and genuine.

This is essential for a show as bonkers as this, where cast members can turn into cats for no reason or fight grief puppets.

It took me a while to warm up to Zari last season, but this year she's rapidly becoming my favorite character. I love the fact that at some point she went from the bad girl who tries to change the past to save her loved ones, to becoming the one who keeps everyone else from doing the same thing.

Lastly, a note to the Legends Of Tomorrow writers. I love the batsh*t insane nature of this show, and the way you guys seemingly throw anything against the wall to see what sticks. It's part of the series' charm.

But I think it may be time to reign in the crazy a bit. Giant Blue Beebos fighting demons are fine and all, but the wackiness is starting to get out of control. Things that were firmly established in one episode are completely contradicted in another, seemingly without a care.

It's fine for your scripts to be nuts, but the nuttiness needs to be internally consistent, otherwise there's no point in watching. Just something to think about.


The Plot:

Onboard the Waverider, Constantine has nightmares about Dez, a man he loved who was dragged to Hell by a demon named Neron (all of which happened on his own series). He's wakened by Charlie, who's desperately trying to shapeshift despite the fact that Constantine negated her powers. She manages to distort half her face, which she says proves that Constantine's spell is reversible. She says if he restores her power, she'll owe him a huge favor.

White Canary and Director Sharpe walk through the ship and are confronted by Garima, the alien fantasy woman conjured up by Heat Wave a few weeks ago in Tagumo Attacks!!! Canary causally mentions that Heat Wave's using the magical Diary Of Brigid to keep Garima around. Sharpe says the Diary's a dangerous artifact and confiscates it.

In the galley, Atom's grown a cheesy mustache after finding out from Nora's letter that she's partial to them. Heat Wave bursts in and angrily demands to know who took the Diary. Sharpe says she did, as it it's now Time Bureau property. This triggers an episode-long resentment between the two.

Sharpe notices a serial killer quiz on the back of Atom's cereal box, which says Marie Laveau was the most notorious murderer in history. As a serial killer enthusiast, Sharpe notes that the quiz is wrong.

Right on cue, Gideon says there's an anachronism in 1856 New Orleans. She says the victims were all young blonde women who were found dead in locked bedrooms. Sharpe says that sounds more like the MO of "Mike The Spike," another notorious serial killer.

Nevertheless, the Legends fly to New Orleans to capture Laveau before she goes on her murder spree. Once there, they head for the mansion of Didi Charbonnet, Laveau's first victim. Canary sends Constantine off on his own to try and intercept Laveau if he can.

Constantine walks down a seedy alleyway and is knocked out and abducted by two sharply dressed black men. He wakes up a bit later inside a coffin (!). He breaks free and discovers he's been kidnapped by Marie Laveau. She holds up his medallion and asks how he got it.

Constantine tells her that Dez gave it to him, saying it was imbued with a protection spell. Laveau somehow knows that Dez was (will be?) her great-great grandson, and says he must have loved Constantine very much to give it to him.

At the Time Bureau, Mona runs into Gary, who awkwardly (and unsuccessfully) tries to hit on her. Steel sees Gary's pitiful attempt and says he'll try and help the two of them get together. Mona then visits the Kaupe in his cell. She tells him all her problems, and says he's a good listener (what else has he got to do all day?).

At the mansion, the Legends find Didi Charbonnet, and make sure she's safe. Canary spots a "creepy ginger" hanging around, and tells Atom to tail him.

At Laveau's place, she demands Constantine tell her what happened (or will happen, from her point of view) to her great-great grandson. He tells her Dez was dragged to Hell by a demon named Neron, and there's no saving him. Laveau goes full voodoo priestess on Constantine and orders him to save Dez, the "last of her line."

Just then Zari and Charlie track Constantine to Laveau's lair, and rush in to save him. He tells them there's no need, as the two of them were just chatting. Laveau tells Constantine she senses a Dybbuck in the city— one from another time like him.

Cut to the mansion, where Atom's still following the ginger. As he passes a room, he sees a little girl inside holding a doll and crying. Atom asks what's wrong, and the girl says the dolly told her it's going to kill her mom. Atom grabs the doll and contacts the others, saying they may have a Chucky situation on their hands.

Just then Robert The Doll a doll in a sailor suit attacks Atom and knocks him out.

Constantine tells Laveau he needs to go capture the Dybbuck, so she's not blamed for its murder spree. She gives him the medallion back, and the two nod knowingly.

In the Time Bureau, Steel chats with Mona and asks if there's a special man in her life. She says yes, but is afraid to act on her feelings, as the object of her affection (meaning the Kaupe) is from a "different world." Steel, who obviously thinks she's talking about Gary, encourages her to tell her secret beau how she really feels.

At the mansion, Canary looks for Atom and finds him unconscious with the little girl still standing over him. Suddenly the Sailor Doll attacks Canary and begins strangling her. Just then Heat Wave and Sharpe enter the room. Heat Wave incineratesthe doll with his blaster.

Meanwhile, Constantine, Zari and Charlie return to the Waverider. Constantine pulls Charlie aside and asks if she still wants her powers back. She says of course, and he tells her to come with him. They take the jump ship to 2018 New Orleans, where Constantine tells her that his self from five months ago is sitting in a bar, about to meet Dez for the first time. If she goes in and prevents their meeting, then he'll never join the Legends and won't be around to give her a magical lobotomy.

Charlie enters the bar and pretends to be Vixen (who Constantine knows). She talks him into taking her out to dinner, and successfully prevents him from hooking up with Dez.

Back on the Waverider, Canary chains up the burnt body of the Sailor Doll, just in case. As she and Sharpe exit the lab, the doll's burnt fingers move.

Constantine and Charlie take the jump ship back to the Waverider. Charlie asks why she can't shapeshift yet, and Constantine tells her to give it time (heh). Just then he has another vision of Dez, and realizes his plan didn't work. Instead of meeting Dez in the bar, he now meets him a few days later, meaning nothing's changed. Suddenly Zari appears on the screen, tells them she knows they're up to no good and orders Gideon to bring them back.

On the ship, Zari demands an explanation. Constantine says he's trying to change history because the demon Neron owns his soul, and will torture him forever once he dies.

At the Time Bureau, Mona uses a Hawaiian dictionary to speak with the Kaupe. He tells her his name is Konane, and the two bond. Suddenly he senses danger and tells her to hide. He shoves her out of his cell, accidentally touching the forcefield and setting off an alarm. Two black-clad guards immediately enter, put Konane in cuffs and drag him away.

On the Waverider, the Dybbuck exits the Sailor Doll's mouth and floats through the ship. It enters the cargo hold, and floats into a container labeled "309." Meanwhile, Canary invites Sharpe and Heat Wave to a specially prepared dinner, hoping it'll help the two get along. It doesn't go well, as Heat Wave calls Sharpe a clone and angrily storms out. 
Canary then sees tiny footprints in some spilled flour, and realizes the doll's still alive.

Zari asks Charlie why she's so desperate to get her powers back. She admits it's because she's dying. Whenever she shapeshifts, her body's literally born again (so she's like a jellyfish?). As long as she's stuck in one shape, she'll eventually age and die.

Zari then demands she tell her what Constantine's up to, and Charlie says he went back to try and save Dez again. Zari says the two men meeting one another must be a fixed point in time, and if Constantine manages to change it, he'll destroy the universe. She and Charlie head off in the jump ship to stop him.

Meanwhile, Constantine uses a time stone (I think?) to appear in New Orleans. He goes to his old apartment to break up with Dez. Zari manages to call his cell phone and beg him to stop, before he wipes out time. 

He tells her he lied about what happened. Neron didn't drag Dez to Hell— he did. Apparently Dez made a deal with Neron to save Constantine's soul, but in doing so, he bound himself to the demon. That means when Constantine sent Neron back to Hell, he banished Dez there as well. Confused yet?

On the Waverider, Canary and Sharpe split up to search for the doll. Sharpe enters the lab and sees the charred sailor doll still chained to the table. Suddenly something slices open her leg, and she collapses in pain. She turns to see the Dybbuk's now inhabiting Citizen Cold's puppet of Professor Stein!

Heat Wave appears, sees the puppet and punches it. He helps Sharpe to her feet as the puppet jumps into an air vent and disappears.

At the Time Bureau, Mona follows the two mysterious agents and sees them toss Konane into an unmarked black van. She tells them to stop, and one of them shoves her away. This drives Konane crazy, and he breaks free of his cuffs. He attacks and kills the two men, and in his frenzy accidentally slashes Mona across the belly. Horrified at what he's done, he runs away.

In New Orleans, Constantine ignores Zari's warning. He breaks up with Dez, telling him he never had feelings for him. A hurt Dez storms out. This successfully changes the past, and causes a massive time quake. A wave of temporal energy washes over the entire universe.

At the Bureau, we see an injured Mona frozen in time. On the Waverider, Canary, Heat Wave, Atom, Sharpe and Puppet Stine are all hanging immobile in midair as well.

The wave hits the jump ship too, but for some reason doesn't freeze its occupants. Charlie discovers she can now shapeshift again. Unfortunately she sees that Zari's been transformed into a cat, for no good reason.

• I don't have anything to say here, but it always looks weird to start off with a photo. So here's some filler text.

• Charlie attempting to shapeshift again may be the most horrifying thing I've ever seen on this show.

• It was nice to see Garima again, if only for a second. I kind of wish they'd let her stick around. She wouldn't even have to be a regular member of the team, she could just be there in the background now and then.

So how does the Diary Of Brigid work? In this episode, Heat Wave steals the book and uses it to bring Garima to life for "inspiration." Based on his reaction, it's safe to assume Garima disappears once Sharpe confiscates the book.

But that's not how it works in Tagumo Attacks!!! There, Ishiro Honda created the giant kaiju Tagumo, and its existence appeared to be permanent, despite his repeated attempts to get rid of the book. Tagumo even stuck around after Honda gave the book to Heat Wave.

Why was Honda's manifestation permanent while Heat Wave's isn't? Whoops!

• By the way, everyone automatically assumes that Heat Wave brought Garima back to use as a sex toy. But he very sincerely tells Canary that Garima helps him write. She's his muse, not his sex kitten! That's a nice bit of characterization there, proving there's more to Heat Wave than he lets on.

• Atom has Gideon stimulate his hair follicles after he discovers Nora Darhk likes men with mustaches.

I wonder... was this a belated dig at Superman's mustache debacle in last year's Justice League movie?

For reasons I don't feel like going into here, Henry Cavill, aka Superman, was sporting a full walrus mustache when he was called back to do reshoots on Justice League. For more reasons, Paramount wouldn't let him shave it, so Warner Bros. to cover up the 'stache with a CGI mouth. The results were... mixed, at best.

Given the fact that Brandon Routh (aka Atom) played the Man Of Steel in Superman Returns, and Atom's mustache plays absolutely no role in this week's plot, I'm gonna say that yes, this is definitely the show throwing shade at Justice League.

• Loved the Big Easy-Os cereal, complete with "serial killer" quiz on the back. Get it? Serial killers? Cereal? Com-O-Dee!

Eh, it's no dumber than the real life "Prince Of Thieves" cereal from the early 1990s. It was obviously meant a tie-in to the Kevin Costner Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves film. 

For bizarre legal reasons that I doubt even lawyers understand, the cereal couldn't actually say "Robin Hood" anywhere on the box, even though the character's been in the public domain for about five hundred years. This meant kids around the country were forced to specifically ask their moms for a cereal celebrating THIEVES. Eat up, kids!

• We need to talk about the creepy, robot-like black guy who works at the Time Bureau. Mona rides her bike to work, and accidentally runs into his car door, denting it. Creepy Black Guy then says, "Unbelievable. You just ran into my car, earmuffs. This scratch will easily cost you a couple hundos."

Hundos? HUNDOS? I freely admit I'm not up on all of today's current slang, but who the frak says "hundos?" There's obviously something going on with this guy, and I'm wondering if he's even human.

Unfortunately the episode has no time for him, so we probably won't find out what'd going on with him until next week, or possibly after the dreaded mid-season break. With his stilted, inhuman delivery, I'm assuming he's either secretly a Fugitive, or some weird member of Hank Heywood's Project Hades.

• Turns out Madame Laveau was a real person! 

Marie Catherine Laveau (1801-1881) was a Louisiana Creole, and known as the "Voodoo Queen Of New Orleans." She was the first generation of her family to be born free, although at various points in her life she actually had slaves of her own (apparently this was not uncommon at the time). 

Laveau consorted with a white man, which was not unheard of in New Orleans, but the law wouldn't allow them to marry. Oddly enough, she was a devoted Catholic all her life, and somehow reconciled this with her voodoo beliefs.

She held weekly voodoo ceremonies in her home, in which the participants (black AND white) would chant and leave offerings for the spirits. Prominent businessmen and politicians sought her help as well (!).

To this day, people still visit her grave, leaving offerings in hope she'll grant their requests.

And no, she was NOT a serial killer, as this episode unfortunately implies.

• Laveau realizes Constantine can save her great great grandson, and gives Dez's medallion back to him. She says, "I believe this belongs to you, Monsieur Constantine."

For some reason, Laveau pronounces it "MON-sewer," rather than the correct "Miss-yeuh," like the rest of the French speaking world.

Laveau's of Creole descent, and they speak a distant dialect of French. Is that really the way they pronounce the word?

• After the Legends capture Mike The Spike, Canary says, "Gideon, how's the timeline?" Gideon replies, "History is on track, and Marie Laveau lived a long and celebrated life, inspiring an Emmy-nominated portrayal by Angela Bassett."

Gideon knows her stuff! Angele Bassett DID play Marie Laveau in American Horror Story: Coven, and was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal!

• At one point Zari and Charlie burst into Laveau's lair to rescue Constantine. Zari poises to attack with her wind powers, while Charlie... um. puts up her dukes and threatens to give Laveau a good punch.

This is why I'm all for restoring Charlie's powers, or giving her SOME kind of ability. Right now she's just a plain, ordinary human, and has little or no place on a superhero team (yes, I get that most of the other Legends don't have powers either, but they've got gimmicks that make up for that).

• Mike The Spike, with his little sailor suit, was obviously modeled after Robert The Doll— a real-life supernatural relic which was the inspiration for the Chucky franchise.

In 1904, Robert Eugene Otto of Key West, Florida was given a sailor doll by his grandfather. According to legend, the doll is able to move on its own, change expressions and even giggle.

After Otto's death in 1974, the family home changed hands several times. In 1994, Robert The Doll was donated to the East Martello Museum in Key West, where it's become a popular tourist attraction. 

Many claim that visitors who don't show Robert the proper respect are struck by various accidents and misfortunes.

The writers were apparently aware that Robert existed long after the episode's 1856 setting, so they threw in a line about the Dybbuk being displaced in time like the Legends.

By the way, the Mike The Spike is voiced by Paul Reubens, who I did not recognize at all.

• Once the Legends return to the ship, Sharpe and Canary have the following conversation:

Sharpe: "Did you happen to notice that Rory robbed that party blind?"
Canary: "I believe it."
Sharpe: "I don't understand why you enable his bad behavior. At the Bureau, we would fire people for lesser offenses."
Canary: "Well, at the Bureau, you don't have to eat, drink, and sleep with your team."
Sharpe: "Point taken. It's just this is supposed to be a professional operation, babe."
Canary: "Look, deep down, Rory's a good guy. And, honestly, a friend."
Sharpe: "I get it. You run your team, I'll run mine."

To her credit, Canary does defend Heat Wave here, but she didn't go far enough. But what she should have said is that despite all his anti-hero, loner bluster, Heat Wave is an incredibly loyal member of the crew, who's demonstrated his worth time and again. A little light theft is a small price to pay for his happiness and devotion.

• Somebody on the Legends' writing staff really, really liked The Shape Of Water.

• A bit later Mona returns to the Kaupe's cell with a Hawaiian language phrase book, so she can properly speak to him. Why? Just a few scenes earlier the two of them were conversing about the rotten day she was having, and they seemed to understand one another just fine. 

• Even though she doesn't need to, Mona begins conversing with the Kaupe in his native Hawaiian. I did a bit of googling, and it turns out the phrases they use are real!

Mona says, "Uh, "O...o mona ko'u inoa Mona. O wai kou inoa?" This means "My name is Mona. What's your name?"

The Kaupe replies that his name is Konane. She looks that up and says it means "Shining like the moon. That's a really pretty name."

Konane actually does mean "bright moonlight." It's also a checkers-like game.

A bit later Konane tells Mona, "E holo a huna! A huna!" Mona looks this up and sees it means, "Run and hide." 

Turns out that's right too!

Someone on the writing staff did their Hawaiian language homework!

• So if a Fugitive touches the forcefield around their cell for any reason, even accidentally, they're immediately punished? That seems a bit harsh.

• Obviously the two mysterious agents who whisk Konane away are working for Hank's secret Project Hades project. As I said earlier, one of them may be the Creepy Black Guy that Mona ran into in the parking lot. It's hard to tell though, as I couldn't get a good look at him in this scene.

• Last week the Legends tried to teach Charlie to speak with an American accent so she could impersonate Vixen. She claimed it was too hard, quit in disgust and left the ship.

Apparently she suddenly got better at it, because just one episode later she's doing a flawless Vixen accent!

Now that I think about it... why does Charlie have such a broad, coarse English accent in the first place? Every time she shapeshifts into someone, she SOUNDS exactly like them as well. In fact we see her demonstrate this at the end of the episode— as she morphs into Queen Elizabeth and Steel, she sounds exactly like both of them. 

So if she's locked into the form of Vixen, then why doesn't she speak exactly like her as well? Whoops! Forgot about that, didn't you, writers!

• Charlie explains that she wants her powers back because she's "dying." She says every time she shapeshifts, her cells apparently reset themselves. Now that she's stuck in the form of Vixen, she's aging and slowly dying.

At the end of the episode she finally gets her shapeshifting powers back. That doesn't necessarily mean anything though, as she could lose 'em again in the very next episode.

If her powers do stick though, the writers are gonna have to come up with a good reason for her to keep Vixen as her default form!

• The Dybbuk floats into a crate labeled 309. A couple things here. First off, the crate contains the Professor Stein puppet that Citizen Cold used in his grief counselling sessions. Secondly, the "309" refers to Season 3, Episode 9 (Beebo, The God Of War), which is where the puppet first appeared!

As much as I loved the callback to Puppet Professor Stein, his appearance here opens up a big ol' can of plot hole.

When Puppet Stein first appeared, he was just that— a PUPPET. A puppet of the "hand up the ass" variety. His body CLEARLY ended at the torso.

Suddenly in this episode, Puppet Stein's somehow sprouted a pair of legs, complete with pants and tiny shoes. Whoops!

I guess maybe the Dybbuk sewed a pair of legs onto the puppet while we weren't looking? Or maybe caused them to appear? It IS a magical creature, after all, so why not?

• Kudos to Matt Ryan, aka Constantine, who reeeeeeeally sells the scene in which he dooms Dez to Hell.

By the way, in one scene Constantine says, "I killed the man I loved, and for what? To buy New Orleans a little more time? Neron needs souls to take over hell, and mark my words, he is coming back to Earth to get them."

Obviously Neron's the one who's been after Constantine since The Virgin Gary, and will no doubt be the focus of the back half of the season.

• Once Constantine changes history, Charlie gets her powers back. She then exercises them by shapeshifting into 1977 Queen Elizabeth, Steel and this guy. 

Who the hell is this? I don't remember seeing him in the Dancing Queen episode, or in any one since. I guess he's just a random guy she's seen before?

• So Constantine's time shenanigans have turned Zari into a cat. Sure, why not.

• So why does everyone else in the universe get frozen in place by the time wave, but Cat Zari and Charlie can still move around? Is the jump ship somehow protecting them? If so, why doesn't the Waverider protect the rest of the crew?

 This Week's Best Lines:

Sharpe: "Sorry, but how are we all being so blase about the diary? What if Rory goes from writing sci-fi to horror? Do you want killer clowns running around the ship?"
Atom: "The only killer on this ship is the amount of sugar in this cereal!"

Atom: (reading the cereal box) "There's a quiz on the back. Who is the most prolific serial killer in the United States?"

Sharpe: (matter of factly) "Ted Bundy. Although in my opinion John Wayne Gacy had way more victims than he confessed."
(Sharpe sees everyone staring at her)
Sharpe: "What? Everyone has their hobbies."

Steel: (seeing Gary's pitiful attempt at hitting on Mona) "Hey, Catch-a-Predator, what was that?"

Gary: "Well, that, my fellow rebound artist, was flirting."
Steel: "Oh, Gary. That was not flirting."

Atom: (trying to break up a fight between Heat Wave and Constantine) "Gentlemen. Gentlemen, gentlemen. I mustache you both to calm down."Atom: "What kind of Fugitive stabs a woman?"

Heat Wave: "I know a woman I could stab. Rhymes with 'Shayva."
Canary: "Rory, play nice."
Sharpe: "Don't worry, I can handle myself against the cretin."
Heat Wave: "Whatever, man-pants."

Zari: "Gideon, we can't find John, and he's not on comms."

Gideon: "Mr. Constantine has refused to wear his communications device."
Charlie: "Stupid blighter."
Gideon: "However, Captain Lance requested I fabricate a tracker in every pair of his undershorts."
Charlie: "That cheeky little minx."
(Actually, being a British A.I., Gideon probably should have said "knickers" or "pants" instead of undershorts)

Constantine: "Now, the me from five months ago is having a drink in there. Now, I'll recognize you as Amaya. All you have to do is play the part, all right?"

Charlie: "American accent, stick up my bum, and in love with Nate."

Steel: "Hey, Mona, how's life? Likin' the Time Bureau? Settling in? Datin' anyone?"

Mona: "Uh, good, great, yes. I mean, there is someone."
Steel: "Lay it on Nate."
Mona: "I think it might be inappropriate. 'Cause I work here."
Steel: (thinking she's talking about Gary, when she actually means Konane) "And he's here too? Wow."
Mona: "Exactly."
Steel: "Yeah, I think I know who you're talking about, and trust me, he has a crush on you too."
Mona: "He does?"
Steel: "Mm-hmm."
Mona: "I swore I was just imagining it. We don't even, like, speak the same language."
Steel: "Well, he does have a unique way of expressing himself."
Mona: "I'm afraid people would think it was weird. I mean, that hair."
Steel: "Well, he just needs the right product."
Mona: "What about the man meat?"
Steel: "Um, well, what What about it?"
Mona: "I think he's, you know... had some."
Steel: "It wouldn't surprise me. I mean, it's 2018. I don't judge."

Constantine: "So, naturally, I told Neron to piss off."

Zari: "Naturally."

Canary: "I roasted a roast."

Gideon: "Technically, Captain, I fabricated..."
Canary: "Shut up, Gideon."

Canary: "So I was thinking maybe you two could find some common ground. For example: Ava, you love to read. Mick here is an author.

Sharpe: "Oh. Well, that's something. Though I would be shocked if his novel wasn't sexist and derivative."
Heat Wave: (through gritted teeth) "It is."

Sharpe: "That's rich, coming from a man who's so lacking in personal hygiene that he had to resort to sleeping with a three-breasted alien sex toy."

Heat Wave: "Well, at least Garima isn't a clone."
Sharpe: (shocked) "Only I get to use the C word."
Canary: "Too far, Mick. Too far."
Heat Wave: "Why do you get to have a fake girlfriend, and I don't?"
(He gets up and leaves)
Heat Wave: (to Sharpe) "Clone."
Sharpe: "Dick."

Charlie: "How are you planning to find John?"

Zari: "Well, his tracker... which you told him about."
Charlie: "Yep. Old John-O's changing history commando.!"

Mike The Spike: "Ya dumb blonde! It's not size that matters, it's how you use it!"

(He attacks Sharpe with a knife)
Heat Wave: (horrified and confused) Professor Stein?"
Mike: "No! It's Mikey, you dick!"

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