Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 4, Episode 13: Egg MacGuffin

I'm playing catch up this month, so please excuse this dreadfully late review. I'm determined to finish the season even if it kills me.

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow we get another mildly decent episode. Wow, that makes two in a row, sort of. Seriously, what the hell happened to this show?

But just because I didn't hate this episode, that doesn't make it good by any means. This thing is absolutely riddled with plot holes, to the point where little or nothing makes any sense. 

Case in point: A good portion of the episode deals with Heat Wave & Charlie trying to scam a book convention out of $20,000. It's been established over and over that the Waverider contains a Star Trek-like replicator, that can conjure up literally anything— clothing, weapons, medicine and even money. What the hell, writers? Does anyone on the staff actually read the things you write before filming?

This episode also devotes an inordinate amount of time to the ongoing Steel/Zari romance, as the writers believe their relationship is much more interesting than it actually is. I can't speak for anyone else, but I have absolutely zero interest in whether or not these two ever get together. I like them as characters, but their romance woes leave me cold. 

On the plus side though, Nora Darhk officially becomes a member of the Time Bureau this week, which means we'll be seeing a lot more of her. I've always been a sucker for "villain redemption" stories, so my interest has been piqued. Plus I like the fun chemistry between real life couple Brandon Routh (aka Atom) and Courtney Ford (aka Nora), so any excuse to keep her on the show is OK in my book.


The Plot:
We open in the Arctic in 1933, where archaeologist Gordon Gilchrist is on some kind of dig. His assistant Vincent enters with a large golden egg he found. Gilchrist immediately grabs the egg and claims credit for it, saying it'll be his greatest discovery.

In the present, White Canary and Zari are at the Time Bureau, where they run into Steel. Canary asks Zari why she acts so awkward around him. Zari says she doesn't know what the next move is, and Canary says she should jump Steel's bones already and get it over with.

Meanwhile, Mona's reading to Nora Darhk, who's lying unconscious in a cell after her ordeal last week. Atom enters with flowers for Nora and offers to sit with her, so Mona leaves. After a beat he suddenly puts his hands around Nora's neck and tries to strangle her. He pulls back his hands, and sees magical black energy swirling around them.

Atom runs to the restroom, where he sees Neron in the mirror. The demon tells him if he doesn't let him fully possess his body, he'll force him to kill someone he loves and then own his very soul.

Elsewhere on the Waverider, Charlie discovers a letter meant for author "Rebecca Silver," aka Heat Wave. Seems she/he's been invited to appear as a guest at Romanti-Con for a cool $20,000. Charlie talks Heat Wave into going so they can split the dough. Why either of these time travelers would possibly need money is left to our imaginations. Heat Wave doesn't want his fans to know Rebecca Silver's a man, so Charlie offers to impersonate her (more on that below).

Gideon reports a disturbance in 1933 at the Adventurer's Club in New York. As an historian, Steel knows all about the place, so Canary sends him and Zari to deal with the matter. Steel stops by the Waverider's lab to invite Atom along on the mission as well. Atom nervously tries to warn Steel about Neron, but the demon stops him. Neron then forces Atom to try and kill Steel while he's not looking, but he manages to stop himself in time.

Steel and Zari arrive at the Adventurer's Club, and both realize Canary sent them on the mission hoping it'd turn into a date. Zari's mortified, but Steel says they should see how things work out. They meet Gilchrist, who reveals the egg to everyone. Once again he takes credit for finding it, much to Vincent's irritation.

Heat Wave & Charlie/Rebecca arrive at Romanti-Con in Seattle. Charlie claims Heat Wave's her bodyguard, and asks the Con's organizer when they get their money. She tells Charlie she'll be paid after participating in a Q&A panel. Charlie worries that she doesn't know anything about Heat Wave's books, so he coaches her.

In the lab, Atom injects himself with a compound to rid himself of Neron. It doesn't work, and Neron forces Atom to disable Gideon. Gary arrives on the ship and enters the lab, just as Atom's hand turns black again.

At the Club, Gilcrest finishes his speech. Steel and Zari then attempt to find the egg and steal it. Unfortunately it's surrounded by an intricate set of trip wires. Steel slithers through the wires, grabs the egg and tosses it to Zari. She discovers it's actually paper mache, and assumes Canary set up the whole thing. Suddenly two Nazis enter the room and demand to know where the real egg is.

Meanwhile, Canary agrees to participate in Sharpe's book club in an effort to share her interests. She meets the other in the still-comatose Nora's cell, where Sharpe and Mona are drinking wine and discussing the book. Mona discovers that Rebecca Silver's appearing at Romanti-Con and rushes off to see her.

On the Waverider, Atom tells Gary something bad's happening to him. Neron forces him to pick up a knife, but instead of stabbing Gary with it, Atom plunges it into himself. Gary somehow realizes Neron's inside Atom, and runs and hides in the brig. Neron decides Gary would be a more susceptible host, so he appears on a monitor and says no one loves or appreciates him. He tells Gary he can "make him whole again."

In 1939, the Nazis tie up Steel and Zari and again demand they tell them where the egg is. The two finally figure out the Nazis are real, and use their powers to easily defeat thems. Just as Steel and Zari start to kiss, Canary and Sharpe arrive and interrupt them. Steel returns to the Waverider to check on Atom, who's been acting strangely. Zari and the others search for the real egg.

At Romanti-Con, Charlie appears at the Q&A and does her best to bluff her way through the audience's questions. Suddenly Mona appears and recognizes Charlie through her cunning disguise. She accuses her of being a fraud and demands to see the real Rebecca. Just as the audience is about to riot, Heat Wave steps up on stage and reveals he's Rebecca Silver. The crowd's outraged at first to see their favorite author is a man. Heat Wave gives them an uncharacteristically emotional speech, saying he pours his heart into his work. He manages to win over the audience and they applaud him.

Constantine returns and enters Nora's cell, where he casts a spell to revive her. She wakes and immediately tells him that Neron's trying to possess Atom.

Steel arrives on the Waverider, looking for Atom. He goes to the lab, where Atom tries to warn him to stay away. Neron muzzles Atom and forces him to attack Steel. He punches Steel repeatedly, knocking him out. Atom pleads with Neron, saying he'll give in to him if he promises not to kill his best friend. Neron agrees and completely takes over Atom's body.

At the Club, Zari and the others discover that Vincent stole the real egg for himself, because he felt he should get full credit for discovering it. Just then more Nazis arrive. There's a short battle as Canary and Sharpe dispatch the Nazis, and Zari catches the real egg before it hits the ground.

Constantine appears on the Waverider and hurls a few magic fireballs at Atom/Neron. He actually manages to immobilize him, and begins to separate him from Atom. Just then Gary walks in, and Neron sees his chance. He tells Gary that Constantine's always used him, and never given him anything in return.

Neron then summons a jar and tells Gary to open it. Constantine tells Gary not to look inside, but of course he does anyway. Inside Gary sees... his missing nipple. Yep, they went there. Gary then thinks back to all the times the Legends mistreated and downright abused him, and takes the nipple and sticks it to his chest.

For some reason this causes Neron to break free, and he knocks out Constantine. Neron/Atom touches Gary and the unconscious Constantine, and they all disappear. Gideon instantly comes back online.

Canary, Sharpe and Zari arrive on the ship with the egg. Gideon informs them that Atom/Neron took Gary and vanished, even though she was deactivated during the whole incident and couldn't possibly know that.

At the Time Bureau, Sharpe meets with Nora and says she needs her and her powers to find Atom and defeat Neron. She offers to make Nora a full-fledged Time Bureau agent. Touched by the gesture, Nora happily accepts.

On the Waverider, Steel tells Zari he's going off to search for his best pal Atom. Suddenly the recovered egg begins quivering and making an odd sound. Gideon analyzes it and says it's a dragon egg.

• Neron tells Atom that he'll force him to kill the person he loves most unless he lets him possess him. To demonstrate that he's serious, he forces Atom to pick up knives and scalpels numerous times and brandish them against his friends.

If Neron can do all that by only partially possessing Atom, why's he need full control over him?

• Credit where it's due: I really like the design of the Mummy that Zari and Canary bring into the Time Bureau. He looks just like a live action version of a mummy you'd see on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You.

There's also a fun, subtle little bit with the Mummy during the scene between Steel and Zari. As the two of them make horribly awkward small talk to one another, the Mummy actually shakes its head and looks away, as if he's embarrassed for them.

• Charlie finds out that Rebecca Silver's been invited to Romanti-Con for a $20,000 speaking fee. She then concocts an elaborate plan to impersonate the nonexistent Silver so she and Heat Wave can split the dough.

This all makes perfect sense, because a demon and an ex-con who both have access to a time ship and a device that can replicate literally anything— including piles of cash— would definitely need $10,000 each.

As if that wasn't enough, Charlie who you'll recall is a shapeshifting demon actually puts on a funny wig and glasses to transform herself into Rebecca. So why didn't she just use her goddamned powers to change into her?

There's actually a half-assed answer for this. The writers needed Mona to see Rebecca Silver and recognize her as Charlie. She wouldn't have been able to do that if Charlie had magically shapeshifted her face into someone else's. That's still a pretty poor reason for not having her use her powers though.

Sometimes I think the writers have absolutely no understanding of their own show. Or they just don't give a sh*t.

• For some reason there are a crap ton of Indiana Jones references in this episode. I like a good classic movie reference as much as the next person, but after a while the sheer number of them became grating. Most were reasonably clever, but a few of them (like the I.D. card and the inevitable whip) were downright eye rolling.

References are a tricky thing. Done right, they can be a fun little surprise for the audience. When botched, they remind the viewer of a much better piece of entertainment they could be watching.

Here are all the Indy references I caught:

— The mission's set in 1933, the decade in which all three Indiana Jones movies are set (yeah, I said three).

— As the Waverider flies to the Adventurer's Club in 1933, we see it superimposed on a map of the world as a red line indicates its path. Just like we saw in Raiders Of The Lost Ark (and the other movies as well).

— Once they're at the Adventurer's Club, Steel checks his fake credentials (provided by Canary), and discovers his mission code name is Dr. Henry Jones. Zari says her code name is Marion Ravenwood.

Since when do the Legends use code names on their missions to the past? Has that ever happened before, or did it pop up here just for the sake of the joke?

— When Zari removes her coat, we see her dress virtually identical to the one Marion wore in the third act of Raiders.

— One of the Nazis is a doctor, and threatens to torture Zari, much like Toht did to Marion in Raiders.

— During the fight scene, Zari hits one of the Nazis in the head with a frying pan, similar to what Marion did in Raiders.

— Also during the fight, Sharpe grabs a whip and uses it against the Nazis, just like Indy in all three films.

— Lastly, at the end of the episode Zari comforts Steel in the Med Bay, and they have the following conversation:

Zari: (pointing to his head) "Does this hurt?"
Steel: Yes, Zari. It all hurts."
Zari: Well, where doesn't it hurt, Nate? Here?"

Note that this scene is almost identical to one between Indy and Marion in Raiders.

• Speaking of references, is Gordon Gilchrist supposed to be a Harry Potter shout out? Gilchrist is an archaeologist and adventurer who's actually a pompous fraud. He takes full credit for discovering the egg, much to the irritation of his assistant Vincent (who really found it). 

In Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart was a wizard and adventurer who was actually a pompous fraud. He became a celebrity in the Wizarding World after convincing everyone he'd survived deadly encounters with dozens of magical creatures, but actually made it all up.

There's another Potter reference at the end of the episode, when Constantine returns to the comatose Nora's bedside and says, "I would've come sooner, Nora, but have you any idea how hard it is to acquire a phoenix's tail feather? I didn't."

Phoenixes and their feathers play a prominent role in the entire Harry Potter saga.

• The novel Canary reads for Book Club is titled The Girl Who Got Murdered Too Much. Is that a possible dig at the Millennium Trilogy of books? You know, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest?

Here are a few beautifully written passages from The Girl Who Got Murdered Too Much:

"I showed him my locket, explaining, I keep the ones I love in here, close to my heart.
Gustavo replied, 'I keep the ones I love in my freezer, close to my microwave.' He had a devilish sense of humor that I found irresistible."

"They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. But what if in that moment, you finally see everything life's been trying to show you? That's how I discovered that a killer was amongst me."

"I should've known something was amiss that night. I was returning from hot yoga to my sensational cliff side home, matcha green tea smoothie in hand, when I noticed my door was slightly ajar. I entered wondering if my dog walker or cat sitter or personal shopper or astrologer had failed to close it. That's when I heard him say, 'There's something I've been meaning to kill you."

• Romanti-Con 2019 is held at a massive, unnamed convention center in Seattle.

Wow, whatever that place is, it sure bears a striking resemblance to McCormick Place in Chicago! It's like the buildings could be twins! Heck, it looks like they even used the exact same angle I found online!

C'mon, guys! You didn't even try to disguise it! McCormick Place is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Chicago! Why didn't they just set the scene there and be done with it?

• Why does Charlie, who's pretending to be Rebecca Silver, prep for the Q & A by MEMORIZING the lines Heat Wave writes for her? As we've seen in numerous episodes (and even a bit later in this one), the Legends all wear tiny, discreet earpieces that they use to communicate with one another (even across time!). Heat Wave could've simply stood off to the side and fed Charlie her lines through her earpiece! Whoops!

• One of Rebecca Silver's novels is titled Heatwaves. That's mildly amusing, as Rebecca Silver is of course the pen name of Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave. It's been so long since his code name's been used on the show that I bet most viewers forgot about it, and the joke flew right over their heads.

The cover blurb of Heatwaves is "In space, no one can hear you moan," which is an ALIEN reference.

Also, if you look closely at the left of this shot, you can see another oversized prop version of one of Rebecca Silver's novels, this one titled Rawhides.

If you zoom in, you'll see that's Caity Lotz (aka Canary) and what appears to be a very young Dominic Purcell (aka Heat Wave) in a steamy pose on the cover of Rawhides! Someone in the prop department had fun this week!

By the way, the cover blurb says, "The only thing he loved more than her... was his horse."

Legends Of Tomorrow prides itself (see what I did there?) on its equality, diversity, inclusivity and wokeness. You'd never know it from watching this episode's "trip wire" scene though.

Steel and Zari discover the golden egg inside the Adventurer's Club in 1933. Unfortunately the egg's protected by a series of trip wires. Steel then drops to the floor and slithers through the wires, arching his back and thrusting his ass at the camera as he does so. Zari plants her hands on her hips and takes a long, hard stare at his impromptu floor show. Wow, Legends. Hypocritical much?

What do you think the reaction to this scene would have been if the roles were reversed, and Zari was the one kittenishly presented her rear while Steel leered at her? There'd have been a great disturbance in the Woke, as millions of blue-haired voices cried out in anger, and were suddenly outraged.

Additionally, Steel's seductive slithering is possibly a reference to Entrapment, in which Catherine Zeta-Jones' character performed a similar act while negotiating her way through a laser security system.

• Whenever Neron begins exerting his control over Atom, we see smokey tendrils slithering around his hands and binding them. Is this one of those deals where Atom and the audience are the only ones who can see this? Late in the episode, the tendrils appear around Atom's hands and force him to punch Steel in the face. Steel looks right at Atom and says, "You've been acting so weird lately."

There's no way in hell he could have missed the tendrils, unless they're something only Atom (and we) can see.

By the way, when Atom first notices Neron's tendrils circling his hand, he mutters, "Not groovy at all." This is obviously an Evil Dead II reference. In that film, Ash Williams' hand becomes possessed by a demon and begins attacking him, before he cuts it off with a chainsaw. Luckily Atom doesn't go that far here

• Neron prevents Atom from telling anyone else he's been possessed. At one point though, Atom tries to warn Steel and manages to growl out, "Nerrrrrr" before the demon shuts him up. Hmm. What if he said, "Ner" and then started a new sentence and said, "On?" Would that work?

• Atom/Neron knocks down Steel and then begins punching him repeatedly in the face. Steel "steels up," which should protect him from any punishment an ordinary human like Atom could dish out. But then for no good reason, a second later Steel reverts to normal and Atom continues pummeling him, eventually knocking him out.

Is Neron increasing Atom's strength? He has to be, as that's the only way this scene makes any possible sense.

• Hoping to get him on his side, Neron tells Gary that the Legends don't respect him and treat him like a doormat. Gary then begins flashing back to all the times they snubbed and verbally abused him.

Among these flashbacks is one in which Heat Wave yanks Gary out of the Waverider's trash compactor and yelsl at him.

Hold it a minute... that scene comes from Season 3's Here I Go Again. In that episode, Zari experiences the same day over and over, Groundhog Day style. Eventually we find out the whole thing was a simulation, created by Gideon to show Zari she was a valuable member of the team.

That means the scene of Heat Wave pulling Gary out of the trash never actually happened. And there's no way Gary could possibly know about or remember the incident. Whoops again!

Annnnnnd then we come to the most infamous scene in the episode, in which Neron tempts Gary by promising to "make him whole again." He presents Gary with a small box, and tells him to open it. Constantine tells him not to do it, but of course Gary does it anyway.

Inside the box we see... Gary's missing nipple. That's right folks! Gary sells out the Legends not for riches or power, but for his goddamned tit.

Never in a million years did I ever think I'd see a network TV show that featured a man's disembodied nipple crawling across a floor like a caterpillar, but... that's apparently where we are now.

This Week's Best Lines:
Steel: (as he and Zari act weirdly around one another) "Whoa, smells like somebody hasn't showered since birds were letters. That's a hieroglyphics joke."
Zari: "Ha, nice."
(The mummy snarls)
Steel: "Whoa, buddy, don't talk with your mouth full, am I right? Mummy's are the biggest dummies. 'Hey, you big dummy, mummy, got your containment cell all set up, and we upgraded you to a king-size sarcophagus!"
Zari: "Oh, and would you like a wake-up call from the front desk in, I don't know, about a thousand years?"
Steel: "Nice."
Zari: "All right, cool."
Steel: "Bye."
Zari: "Bye."
(They leave.)
Sharpe: "I mean, what the hell was that?"
Canary: "On it."

Gary: (exiting a Time Bureau bathroom stall) "Ray. Oh, wow, this place is a mess. Uh, hey, um, Containment Level bathroom is sort of my crying spot..."
Atom: "Not now, Gary!"

Romanti-Con Organizer: "Does Rebecca Silver belong in Sci-fi Erotica or Cyber Erotica?"

Sharpe: "I didn't read the book."
Canary: "What?"
Sharpe: "Sorry."
Canary: "Seriously?"
Sharpe: "Honestly, I usually just drink rosé and let Mona go on and on and use it as a mini-vacay for my brain.

Nazi #1: (to Steel and Zari) "My friend here is a surgeon."
Steel: "Oh, nice."

Nazi #1: "He will kill you until you tell me where the real egg is."

Atom: "You can't help me. I need Constantine."
Gary: "Well, I may not be a master of the dark arts, but I am an intern of the dark arts."

1 comment:

  1. Did you see a totally different version? Because when I saw the episode Atom tries to suffocate Nora with a pillow and doesn't try to strangle her.


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