Saturday, December 15, 2018

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 8: Legends Of To-Meow-Meow

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, we get the big mid-season finale before the show goes away for much too long. 

As you would expect by now, Legends Of To-Meow-Meow was packed full of comedy, callbacks, obscure references and even a bit of drama. It's amazing just how much story they managed to pack into this episode's 41 minutes and 45 seconds. If this was The Walking Dead this episode would have taken up an entire season! Or two!

For the past two years now, Legends has been a part of the annual crossover that winds through all the Arrowverse shows. For some reason though they decided to sit out this year's event. I'm assuming the writers probably had their season all mapped out, and didn't want the crossover disrupting their plans?

Whatever the reason, Legends Of To-Meow-Meow was way more fun than the big Elseworlds crossover that aired the same week as this episode. At least here I had a rough idea as to what was going on. The Elseworlds plot was muddled and vague, as things seemed to just happen without any proper setup or explanation.

As much fun as this episode was, it wasn't without its issues. In particular, Legends still has a big tonal problem. This week's show was filled with comedy, hijinx and puppets. And then at the end, the characters discovered they needed to condemn a man's soul to Hell in order to win. Talk about 180 degree turns!

Also, for the past couple of weeks I've been praising the Legends for being so sharply drawn and well-defined, and how they never act out of character. Welp, that all flew out the window in this episode!

This week we get several timelines in which the Legends turn into homicidal maniacs after one or more team members are tragically killed. Um... what? Where the hell did that come from? They've lost comrades before with no ill effects. In fact just last year they lost both Professor Stein AND Rip Hunter, and not a single one of them turned psycho. So why go with such a lame conceit here? Obviously it was done for comedic effect, rather than logic. Feh.

So that's it till April, 2019. Since The CW has more shows than time slots, Legends is going away for four freakin' months so they can air their Roswell reboot, which I will not be watching. Have I mentioned before how much I absolutely HATE these fraking mid-season breaks?


The Plot:
Picking up right where we left off last week (sort of), Constantine's managed to change history and prevent his pal Dez from being dragged to Hell by the demon Neron. Unfortunately this has created a massive Time Quake throughout the universe, altering the very fabric of reality. Charlie's got her shapeshifting powers back, but for some reason Zari's been turned into a cat. And everything that happened to the rest of the Legends and Mona last week has seemingly been forgotten.

Anyway, Charlie sends Zari Cat back to the Waverider, while she goes to 1962 Las Vegas. There she morphs into Marilyn Monroe and slinks through the casinos. She runs into a former acquaintance named Red, who's secretly a leprechaun.

Red's openly using magic to win at the casino, and Charlie tells him to knock it off before he attracts the attention of the Legends. Right on cue, Atom, Steel, Heat Wave & Garima burst in, weapons drawn. They're the remnants of the Legends, who now call themselves the Custodians Of The Chronology. They spot Red and blow a hole clean through his chest.

Charlie morphs back into her Vixen form, and sneaks onto the Waverider. She runs into Zari Cat, and tells her she has no idea why she's now a feline, but vows to find out. Just then Gideon appears and we see she's now a humanoid hologram. Gideon helpfully says Zari was turned into a cat during the Legends' encounter with the Fairy Godmother from Witch Hunt. Charlie asks what happened to turn the Legends into murderers, and Gideon says they changed after their "disastrous encounter at Woodstock" in The Virgin Gary.

Charlie gets the bright idea to shapeshift into White Canary and order the Custodians to stop killing magical creatures on sight. Her clever ruse doesn't work though, since it turns out Canary was murdered by the unicorn at Woodstock. This was the traumatic event that turned the team into homicidal maniacs.

Garima stabs Canary/Charlie with her sword, seemingly killing her. The rest of the Custodians then argue over whose turn it was to murder the next shapeshifter they encountered. While they're distracted, Charlie morphs back into herself and runs off. She stuffs Zari Cat into a backpack carrier and they blast off in the Jump Ship.

Charlie says these changes to the timeline were obviously caused by Constantine's meddling, and they need to find him in order to set things right. Zari Cat says she knows where he is, and sets a course (!) for the Time Bureau in 2018.

At the Bureau, Charlie morphs into Agent Gary Green to infiltrate the place. He/she notices a memorial plaque on the wall, dedicated to Canary.

Cut to Constantine's cell, where he's been held for months. His meddling shenanigans have caused his mind to fragment and exist in multiple timelines at once, driving him crazy. Gary enters and shapeshifts back into Charlie. Constantine notices the cat she's carrying, and realizes it's Zari. He plucks a hunk of fur from Zari, chants a spell and turns her back into a human.

Zari tells Constantine his actions broke time, and in order to fix it he needs to go back to New Orleans and condemn Dez to Hell again. Charlie protests, saying all they have to do is go to Woodstock and prevent Canary from being killed. Then the Legends won't turn into the Custodians, Dez will be Hell-free and she'll get to keep her powers. Zari says it doesn't work like that, but Constantine turns her back into a cat and stuffs her in her carrier.

On their way out they run into Mona, who overheard everything. She says she wants to help take down the Custodians after they turned her Kaupe friend into a rug. Just then the Custodians return to the Time Bureau. Charlie, Constantine, Zari Cat and Mona duck into Director Sharpe's office.

Inside the office, they find a morose, black-haired Sharpe who's mourning Canary. Charlie and Constantine explain to her that they're from a timeline in which Canary's still alive, and are trying to restore it. Sharpe says she'll do whatever she can to help them.

The four of them (plus Zari Cat) head for the Jump Ship, when they're confronted by the Custodians. A massive shootout occurs, and Sharpe tells Charlie and the others to get to the ship while she covers them. Sharpe's killed, but not before she takes out the Custodians as well.

Charlie, Constantine and Zari Cat manage to make it to the Jump Ship and zoom off.

Cut to Woodstock, where the Legends encounter the unicorn. Suddenly the Jump Ship appears in the sky, piloted by Charlie. She fires on the unicorn and blasts it into oblivion before flying off again.

They return to the Time Bureau, and Charlie sneaks in again. This time she sees memorial plaques for Atom, Steel and Heat Wave. Suddenly there's a commotion in the Bureau, and Charlie sees Canary, Sharpe and an android version (I guess?) of Gideon strutting down the hall. They're the Sirens Of Space-Time, who've replaced the Custodians Of The Chronology. The Sirens report to Hank Heywood, who gives them their assignments.

Charlie pretends to be Vixen, and approaches the Sirens to pump them for info. They're even worse than the Custodians, as they murder Magical Fugitives and then discard their corpses like trash. They mention they've been this way since the Fairy Godmother killed Steel, Atom and Heat Wave.

The Sirens then reveal they know Vixen is really Charlie, because Gideon's been programmed to detect "shapeshifter pheromones." Charlie makes a run for it, returns to the ship and blasts off.

Charlie, Constantine and Zari Cat land in 1794. There they spot the Fairy Godmother, who has Steel, Atom and Heat Wave wrapped up with magical vines. Charlie spots Prudence Hawthorne, who's bound to the Godmother and controls her. She morphs into the Godmother and tricks Prudence into releasing her. Immediately the real Fairy Godmother's magic wand disappears, freeing the guys.

Charlie returns to the Jump Ship and takes off. She and Constantine congratulate each other on finally restoring the timeline. Just then they turn around to see Zari's no longer a cat, but is now a puppet!

They return to the Waverider, where Constantine discovers Canary, Atom and Steel are also puppets, who love to sing about learning and fun. Apparently after the Godmother was separated from Prudence, she attached herself to Heat Wave, who caused her to turn the whole crew into puppets for some reason.

We then get a montage of Charlie and Constantine attempting to plug all the leaks in the timeline. Charlie repeatedly checks the Bureau's memorial wall, and sees their efforts are having ever more disastrous consequences.

Eventually they create a timeline in which there are no plaques and Zari's human again. Charlie celebrates, until Constantine suddenly passes out. When he comes to, Zari tells him his head's full of dozens of timelines now, which is slowly killing him. She says she realizes he doesn't want to send Dez to Hell, but he has no choice if he's to survive. She tells him there's always hope that he could still bring him back somehow at a later date.

Constantine realizes she's right, and agrees to go back to New Orleans. Charlie doesn't take this well, as she doesn't want to lose her powers again. She attacks Zari, who knocks her on her ass with a wind blast. Constantine and Zari then enter the Jump Ship and head for New Orleans.

Charlie morphs into Sharpe, and time couriers onto the Waverider. She tells Canary there's a Magical Fugitive loose in 2018 New Orleans, and the Legends agree to check it out.

Here's where it gets extra complicated, as there are now three different versions of Constantine in New Orleans. There's Constantine-1, who damned Dez to Hell, there's Constantine-2, who broke up with Dez in Hell No, Dolly! and now Constantine-3, who's trying to re-damn Dez in order to fix the timeline.

The Waverider arrives in New Orleans and Gideon detects the three versions of Constantine. Canary says one must be real, while the other two are shapeshifters imitating him. She orders Atom and Heat Wave to roll out and kill the impostors.

Atom and Heat Wave enter the alley and set their sites on Constantine-3. Canary tells them to fire, but Sharpe/Charlie tells them to hold their fire. She then reverts to her Charlie form, and tells Canary she's part of the team. She says something changed the Legends, and asks Canary if she can see that what they're doing is wrong. Canary says, "Not really," and breaks Charlie's neck!

Meanwhile, Constantine-2 breaks up with Dez, saving him. Dez storms out of the apartment, where Constantine-3 intercepts him and tries to un-break up with him again. Dez is very confused, but after several minutes Constantine manages to convince him he's sincere. Dez agrees to take him back, and Constantine-3 wipes his memory with his Men In Black flasher.

On the Waverider, Charlie comes to, as she can apparently survive a broken neck (!). She tries to convince Canary that she's not a threat, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Canary pulls a gun on her and prepares to fire. In the alley, Atom and Heat Wave aim at Constantine-3.

Suddenly Constantine-1 returns and sees Dez standing bewildered in the alley. They banter for a bit and then kiss, right as everyone pulls their triggers. Their kiss causes a massive shockwave that erases all the "wrong" timelines, and sets everything right again.

Constantine wakes up in the alley, holding Dez's medallion. He vows to try and save Dez somehow. On the Waverider, the Legends are once again battling Mike The Spike, who's possessing the Professor Stein puppet. Canary kicks the puppet in the head, knocking it out.

Constantine returns to the Jump Ship, and Zari asks if he's OK. He says his mind's no longer split in two, but his heart is. Charlie's there as well, sans powers once again. Zari tells them both she's sorry, but it had to be done.

They return to the Waverider, where Canary wonders why the three are suddenly so chummy. Charlie apologizes to Zari and hopes they can be friends. Heat Wave and Sharpe bond, as he makes a batch of her snickerdoodle cookies while she reads (and enjoys) his novel. Constantine tells Canary he broke time, and she says welcome to the club, as they've all tried changing history for personal gain. He says he's being chased by Neron, and asks for her help.

Cut to Hank Heywood, who's playing golf with a mysterious partner. Hank gets a call telling him the Kaupe escaped, and tells his agents to recapture it or else. He then turns to his partner and says there's been a setback, but he'll make it right. We then see his mysterious golf partner is Dez, who says he's sure everything will turn out OK. For a split second Dez' face moprhs into that of Neron's.

Obviously the showrunners had this episode planned out from the very beginning of the season. How do I know? Because it's unlikely they brought back the actresses who played the Fairy Godmother and Prudence for a couple brief scenes, or returned to the Woodstock location just in this episode. They must have filmed all these bits months ago, and saved them for this week's show.

• I'm a bit confused by what's going on at the beginning of this episode. OK, make that a LOT confused.

At the end of last week's episode, the Legends were battling a Dybbuk who was inhabiting the Professor Stein puppet, while the Kaupe had just eviscerated Mona before running off. So far, so good.

Constantine then changed the past, causing a massive time quake. For some reason, this seemingly stopped time all over the universe, as we saw both the Legends and Mona frozen in midair. Constantine, Charlie and Zari were apparently protected from the time stoppage by the jump ship (I guess). Oh, and Constantine's meddling caused Charlie to regain her powers and Zari to become a cat (?). 

Then in this episode, Charlie still has her powers and Zari's still a cat, but everything else seems to have been forgotten. The Legends and Mona are no longer frozen in time and are freely going about their business.

See why I'm confused? It's like the writers couldn't figure out how to get the characters out of the situation they'd put them in, so they just ignored half the ending of the previous episode. So are Constantine and the others now in a different timeline than the frozen one? Or was the time freeze just some sort of visual metaphor, and didn't really happen? Your guess is as good as mine.

THIS is what I was talking about last week, in regards to the show's sudden ramped-up wackiness. I don't mind all the crazy, but it needs to be consistently crazy. They can get as silly as they want, but the plots still need to have some degree of internal logic. You can't freeze time in one episode and then ignore it in the next.

• By far the best part of Legends Of To-Meow-Meow were the various mock TV show intros.

First up we got Custodians Of The Chronology, which was obviously a riff on The A-Team and other 1980s action series...

Complete with cheesy freeze-frames introducing the "actors" and the characters they play.

The intro even features Garima, Heat Wave's fantasy woman made real by the power of the magical Diary Of Brigid.

By the way, can we stop for a moment and consider the fact that Heat Wave literally created a sentient life form from his mind. Why is no one talking about the fact that he's now a god?

Nice callback here, as Steel's freeze-frame features him being chased by the magical prehistoric plant that first appeared back in Dancing Queen.

After some more timeline meddling the Custodians disappear, only to be replaced by the Sirens Of Space-Time.

The Sirens are a pitch-perfect parody of Charlie's Angels, complete with Hank as the boss who hands out their assignments.

"Roundhouse?" I guess because Sharpe has a nice roundhouse punch?

Since Charlie and Zari were busy in other areas of the plot, they filled the third slot with Gideon, who apparently has an android body.

By the way, pay close attention to the wonderfully cheesy monsters the Sirens battle in this intro. They're deliberately cheap and fake looking, just as they would be on a low-budget 1980s TV series. Someone on this show is having WAY too much fun!

At one point the Sirens enter their armory and weapon-up. Canary grabs a large gun that's obviously a modified version of Heat Wave's blaster. Roundhouse picks up what appears to be Captain Cold's freeze gun. Note that Hard Drive chooses the glowing six shooter that was the signature weapon of... Rip Hunter! Fitting!

Charlie and Constantine fiddle with the timeline some more, creating the last of the TV intros. This time it's DC's Puppets Of Tomorrow.

As you might expect, in this reality all the Legends are puppets, who're constantly singing about... well, everything.

Sadly, this was my least favorite of the intros, as I just couldn't get into it and enjoy it. I think it's because the stench of the abysmal The Happytime Murders is still too fresh in my mind.

 When the Custodians return to the Waverider, Gideon informs them they've received frantic messages from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen and Kara Zor-El. Obviously this is a nod to the annual Arrowverse crossover, which aired the same week as this episode. The Custodians decide to pass on participating.

Oddly enough, Constantine's alteration of the timeline seems to have impacted just the Legends. The rest of the Arrowverse characters were busy with their Elseworlds storyline, and seemed completely unaffected by his time meddling.

Why would that be? Did John Deegan's (the villain of the Elseworlds storyline) shenanigans protect the other characters from Constantine's changes?

By the way, did Barry, Ollie and Kara really use their real names when they called the Legends? Did the Legends KNOW their secret identities? If not, they sure do now!

 Charlie sneaks onto the Waverider in the Custodians timeline, where she discovers Gideon has received a major upgrade, and now appears as a human hologram.

I wish the producers would keep this look for Gideon, as it's much, MUCH better than that stupid giant blue head that appeared a couple weeks ago in Tender Is The Nate.

Sadly, I have a feeling this hologram and Gideon's Sirens Of Space-Time android form are just one-off appearances. This show already has a MASSIVE cast, the biggest of any Arrowverse show. There's probably just don't have the budget to add another full time actor. 

It might also be a question of scheduling and availability. Amy Pemberton, who voices Gideon, can probably record her lines in an hour or so, leaving her free to work on other projects. She may just not have the time to become a regular cast member.

 Kudos to the feline who played Zari Cat, seen here in her stylish pink backpack carrier that just happened to be lying around on the jump ship.

I thought I was gonna lose it when Zari Cat started operating the jump ship's control panel, setting a course for the Time Bureau! I know someone probably grabbed its paw offscreen and made it tap the screen, but damned if it still wasn't effective. And funny!

Of course I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point out that the cat clearly taps what appears to be St. Louis, even though the ship flies to the Bureau's HQ in Washington, DC!

I also loved it when Zari Cat patted the arm of Constantine, whose mind was rapidly unraveling due to the timeline changes. That cat is a damned good actor!

 Inside the Time Bureau, Charlie morphs into Agent Gary Green. Note that according to his plaque, Gary's the RUNNER UP Employee Of The Month! What a prestigious honor!

 Speaking of plaques, they're a running gag in this episode. Every time Charlie returns to the Bureau, she sees a different set of memorial plaques on the wall, commemorating various fallen Legends. 

Here's all the plaques we see, complete with the cause of death on each:

Sara Lance
Beloved Captain, Hero And Warrior
Struck Down By A Unicorn

Nate Heywood, Ray Palmer and Mick Rory
In Memory Of Our Beloved Time Brothers
Killed In Defense Of The Timeline

Ava Sharpe
Our Beloved Leader, Replaced Too Soon

Henry Heywood and Nate Heywood
In Memory Of Their Tragic Battle
With A Garden Gnome
(I'm assuming mean a REAL garden gnome, and not the decorative stone kind!)

Agent Gary Green
Died Tragically In A Time Courier Accident

At Mt. Vesuvius

 Once again, the issue of Charlie's accent makes absolutely zero sense.

Every time she shapeshifts into another person, she instantly and expertly mimics their voice, vocal inflections and accent.

Charlie's permanently stuck in the form of Amaya Jiwe, aka Vixen, who inexplicably had an American accent despite the fact she was from Africa. For some reason though, all the time Charlie's in Vixen form, she speaks in her default, coarse London accent! Wha...?

To make things even more confusing, in Tender Is The Nate, the Legends needed Charlie to pretend to be Vixen, in order to fool Hank Heywood. For no good reason other than for comedy purposes, she couldn't manage an American accent while in Vixen form! Why would she have to TRY to copy Vixen's accent, when we've clearly seen she has no trouble replicating the speech patterns of anyone else she copies?

 Charlie tricks Prudence Hawthorne into freeing her Fairy Godmother. The Godmother then hooks up with Heat Wave, becoming his magical partner in crime.

Note that the Fairy Godmother's not only carrying Captain Cold's ice blaster, but she's wearing his trademark blue parka as well! Nice attention to detail, guys!

Apparently the series finally found enough money in the budget to construct a full-sized interior/exterior Jump Ship prop. And by the gods, they're determined to use it in this episode! A good half of the storyline takes place in and around this prop!

 Missed Opportunity: I was really expecting a The Silence Of The Lambs reference here.

 So I guess at the end of this episode Mona's now either in intensive care or dead!

See, at the end of Hell No, Dolly! the Legends were fighting Mike The Spike while Mona had just been eviscerated by the Kaupe. Then Constantine broke time, causing everyone to freeze in place.

At the end of this episode, Constantine fixes everything and restores the timeline. The Legends continue their battle with Mike and win. That means Mona must still be in the parking garage with her guts hanging out. Hopefully she was able to call for help before she passed out or died!

Didn't think anyone would notice that little plothole, did you, writers?

 In the tag scene, Hank's playing golf with a mysterious partner who looks exactly like Dez.

Except it's not Dez, as he momentarily turns into what I assume must be the demon Neron.

No doubt Dez/Neron's appearance triggered an extreme reaction from all the trypophobiacs in the audience.

 This Week's Best Lines:
Atom: "Man, Garima is gonna flip when she hears we met Marilyn Monroe."
Steel: "Do you think a murderous alien queen that sprang to life from Mick's fantasies is into Marilyn?"
Heat Wave: (knowingly) "Yes."

Steel: "Gideon, any messages while we were gone?"
Gideon: "You missed calls from Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and Kara Zor-El."
Atom: "Sounds like the annual crossover."
Steel: "Yeah, that's gonna be a hard pass. Did I tell you Oliver owes me money? I bet this year they'll swap costumes."
(That last sentence was a reference to this year's Elseworlds crossover, in which a reality-warping villain causes Barry Allen and Oliver Queen to switch lives.)

Charlie: "Why are you looking at me weird?"
Atom: "Well, just seems like a shame to change our policy now. Considering we're so close to capturing our white whale."
Steel: "That's a Moby Dick reference."

Steel: "How dare you step on this ship and pretend to be our dead captain?"
Charlie: "What? Wait, Sara's dead?"
Atom: "Yeah, that's why we know you're not Sara!"

(Constantine turns Zari Cat back into a human. She immediately starts coughing and hacking into her hand.)
Zari: "Hairball. Because of you dicks, I have been a cat for so long. Do you know where this tongue has been? Places!"

Mona: "I wanna help."
Charlie: "You do?"
Mona: "The Custodians Of The Chronology must be stopped. They turned my Kaupe friend into a rug! So if you're trying to defeat them, I want in."

(Charlie shapeshifts into Gary, and then runs into the REAL Gary.)
Gary: "Wait, stop right there. Are you me?"
Charlie/Gary: "Yes. From the future."
(Gary gasps.)
Gary: "Do I ever find love, or at least my sunglasses? They might be in my other pants."
Charlie/Gary: "Yes, Gary, all that and more."
(OK, it's a funny scene, but why's Gary so gobsmacked by seeing a future version of himself? He works for the Time Bureau!)

Sharpe: "What are you talking about?"
Constantine: "Well, you see, you're living in a timeline that doesn't exist, and we are from a timeline where your hair is still blonde."
Sharpe: "Okay, I don't have time for this timey-wimey crap."
(Hey, a Doctor Who reference, from back before the show was destroyed!)

Constantine: "Yeah, and the kicker is Sara is supposed to be alive."
Sharpe: "Did you say Sara's alive?"
Constantine and Charlie: "Yeah."
Sharpe: "I knew it! I knew something was wrong. I mean, I like the Indigo Girls, but they should not be a way of life!"

Canary: (revealing she knows Charlie isn't really Vixen) "Cor blimey. No more tea and crumpets for this dodgy doppelganger. Hard Drive here knew you weren't really Amaya all along."
Hard Drive/Gideon: "I'm equipped to detect shapeshifter pheromones."
Sharpe: "How fortunate our white whale swam right into our net."
Charlie: "What is with you guys and white whales?"

Prudence: "Fairy Godmother, I relinquish you!"
Charlie: (disguised at Fairly Godmother) "That's cool."

(The Fairy Godmother has Steel, Atom & Heat Wave bound by magic vines, and prepares to kill them.)
Fairy Godmother: (singing) "I alone may become satiated, when you're all asphyxiated!"
(Her magic wand vanishes)
Fairy Godmother: "My bond with Prudence has been severed."
(She turns to see Heat Wave pointing his blaster at her)
Fairy Godmother: "Oh, fiddlesticks."

(Constantine returns to the Waverider to see the crew's been transformed into puppets.)
Puppet Canary, Puppet Atom and Puppet Steel: "Flying through history. Solving some mysteries. We give bad guys the boot, in super hero suits. We'll win our victory. By stopping witchery. So they've got magic. Well we've got heart and fabric. Puppets of Tomorrow! Puppets of Tomorrow, today! Welcome to DC's Puppets of Tomorrow."

Constantine: "What the... Fraggle Rock is going on here?"
Puppet Canary: "Well, today we learned about the importance of cooperating."
Puppet Atom: "And about the number three."
Puppet Steel: "And about a famous man from history named Napoleon."
Puppet Canary and Atom: "Mm-hmm, mm-hmm."

Constantine: "I think I need a drink."
Puppet Canary: "Ooh, we can help.When you're thirsty for a drink."
Puppet Atom: "And you just can't reach a sink."
All Three: "You gotta ask for a help..."
Constantine: "No, stop. All right, please, please. No more singing!"

Heat Wave: "I made snicker doodles with your recipe. Not bad."
Sharpe: "Hmm. I'm reading your novel. I'm on the last chapter. Your females characters are shallow, libidinous.. and so much fun to read!"
Heat Wave: "Hmm. Thanks."
Sharpe: "Yeah, good job, um, Rebecca Silver?"
Heat Wave: "Nom de plume"
(Note that he pronounces it "plum.")
Sharpe: "Got it. So let me get this straight.They're making love on the surface of the sun?"
Heat Wave: "It's a metaphor."

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