Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 5, Episode 3: Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, the gang goes Hollywood, Constantine goes to Hell (twice!) and we get the return of Zari. Well, sort of.

Miss Me, Kiss Me, Love Me was a fun little romp, and felt like a throwback to the giddy heights of Seasons 2 and 3. That's a good thing, by the way. 

That said, the episode felt a little light in the substance department, as there was very little of note that actually happened. Constantine tells the Legends that Astra Logue is bad news (which we already knew), the team puts on period clothing and hangs out in 1947 Hollywood and there's a pointless subplot involving the girlfriend of gangster Bugsy Siegel. 

OK, so we did finally meet the brand new, time-altered version of Zari. More on her below.

The theme this week seemed to be coping with how various people deal with... I was gonna say failure, but that's not the right word— disappointment would be more apt. We got to see how various characters react when things just don't go the way they planned.

This theme gave us some interesting parallels between two very unlikely characters— Ava Sharpe and Zari 2.0. Sharpe was once the respected and competent leader of a secret government agency. In fact she's a clone who was literally created to be the head of the Time Bureau!

Now she finds herself not only out of a job, but without a purpose, as she struggles to find her place on the team she used to (sort of) lead.

In a similar vein, Zari 2.0 seems like a shallow, self-possessed airhead on the surface. Some of that's true of course, but she's also quite the savvy businesswoman, who created a multi-million dollar business for herself out of nothing. Yet when she returns home, she's completely ignored as her parents dote on their favorite son Behrad, who— unknown to them— is lying about attending business school!

These two plotlines are actually pretty subtle for a show like this, and easy to miss amidst the typical fun and goofery.

Lastly, several characters are still MIA in this episode, making me wonder if they'll ever turn up again.


The Plot:
Picking up where we left off last week, Constantine visits Hell to chat with Astra Logue. In case you came in late, she's the young girl he accidentally damned to Hell years ago. She's all grown up now, and is wreaking havoc by releasing the worst souls in Hell and sending them to Earth.

Constantine finds Astra in the nightclub she apparently owns, and asks her to cut it out and recall the souls. She says these "Encores" are making her rich by killing people and providing her with even more souls to rule (I guess that's what passes for currency in Hell?). She tells him he'll have to kill her to stop her, but then her soul would end up right back where it is anyway, so why bother? Frustrated, Constantine returns to the Waverider.

Constantine tells the others about Astra's plan. Ever the optimist, Atom thinks Astra can be saved— much like his formerly evil girlfriend Nora Darhk was. Constantine disagrees. He also says that if and when they catch any Encores they can't banish them to Hell because Astra would instantly return them. White Canary suggests storing the Encores on the ship until they figure out what to do with them.

Steel tries to get Gideon to replay the message from the Original Timeline Zari that he saw last week. She assures him there's no such info in her memory banks. Behrad appears and asks Steel to accompany him to his home for his father's birthday. They think he's in business school, so he wants to preserve the illusion by having Steel pretend to be one of his professors.

Gideon detects a new timequake in 1947 Hollywood. Sharpe starts to take charge, but stops when she realizes Canary's the captain and she's stepping on her toes. Canary splits the Legends into two teams— she, Atom and Constantine will go to Hollywood, while Sharpe and Heat Wave "quarterback" from the ship.

Sharpe's thrilled to be coordinating at first, till Heat Wave tells her quarterbacking means staying on the ship and doing nothing.

Behrad and Steel arrive at the Tarazi home in 2044 (which looks suspiciously like 2020). The Tarazis greet their son, and are happy to meet his "professor." Just then Zari comes in, followed by a gaggle of assistants live-streaming her arrival. Apparently this new, timeline-altered Zari 2.0 is a social media influencer and superstar. Steel recognizes her from Gideon's video, and tells Behrad that he somehow knows his sister and thinks they "dented" time in the Heyworld incident.

In 1947 Hollywood, Constantine uses a spell to trace infernal residue to the empty office of a Detective Webb. Inside he and the others find a pile of ash, which used to be the detective. Suddenly a woman named Jeanie Hill arrives, pulls a gun on them and demands to know who they are. Constantine adopts a dodgy American accent and says he's Webb's partner. He introduces Canary as his secretary and Atom as an undercover cop.

Jeanie somehow buys their story, and says she hired Webb to protect her from her boyfriend, notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel. She says Bugsy was killed a week ago, but has somehow returned and taken over the Blue Iguana nightclub. She says now that Bugsy's back, he's more fearless than ever, and she's afraid he'll kill her if she tries to leave him. Canary suggests she leave town for a few days, and Atom gives her a wad of cash to help. After Jeanie leaves, Constantine says she's lying and just took Atom for a load of dough. Canary says they need to visit the Blue Iguana.

Cut to the Iguana, where Bugsy's laughing it up with celebrities and politicians. For some reason, Sharpe and Heat Wave get to join the team and sit at the bar. Atom, now disguised as a cop, stands outside waiting to grab Bugsy if he exits. Canary and Constantine watch from a table. They see Jeanie enter and plant a big kiss on Bugsy. She sees them and runs off, but they intercept her.

Jeanie comes clean and says Bugsy has a secret stash of blackmail photos that he uses to get the cops and politicians to do his bidding. Jeanie's in the photos as well, and can't start a new life until she destroys them. This time they believe her for some reason.

Canary says it's time to end Bugsy's reign, so she shamelessly flirts with him and gets his attention. She says she's a reporter for a gossip rag, and has tons of blackmail material in the trunk of her car. Bugsy follows her outside the club, but before she and the other Legends can capture him, a rival criminal gang shows up.

The gang opens fire on Bugsy, riddling him with bullets. Because he's an Encore and already dead, he shrugs them off. He then pulls out a pistol he apparently got from Hell, and fires a single bullet at the gang. The supernatural shot takes out all four of the men in a blaze of green Hellfire. Atom tries to "arrest" Bugsy, but the real police arrive and haul him away. Canary tells Atom to go with them.

Meanwhile in 2044, the Tarazi family sits down to dinner. Steel can't stop looking at Zari 2.0, trying desperately to remember her. This makes her uncomfortable, and she tells Behrad (in Farsi) to stop bringing stalkers home with him. Steel notices a large painting of a man wearing the Air Totem and comments on it. Mrs. Tarazi says the Totem was stolen and asks how he knows about it. Behrad (who's wearing the Totem!) quickly changes the subject.

Back at the Iguana, Sharpe tells Heat Wave that he wouldn't understand her problems. He says she's upset because she used to run a top secret government organization, but now has nothing to do but hang out with the Legends. She realizes he DOES understand, and begins drinking heavily. Canary tells Constantine about Bugsy's Hell Gun, and he says that's the only thing that can "kill" the mobster.

Constantine meets with Jeanie at the detective office, and they both come clean. She says she wants to take down Bugsy by destroying his blackmail stash. Constantine says he knows where it is, and will tell her in exchange for Bugsy's gun. Jeanie agrees, and says she can get the gun from Bugsy when they kiss. She demonstrates her technique on Constantine, and the two end up having sex on top of a desk.

Canary has a plan of her own: she calls Heat Wave & Sharpe and tells them to create a diversion that'll draw Bugsy back to the club, where she'll steal his Hell Gun. At the police station, Atom's disgusted to see the Chief and all the other crooked cops fawning over Bugsy. An Officer Sullivan tells Atom he feels the same way.

Just then there's a call for Bugsy that something's going down at his club. The police release him, and Jeanie pulls up in a limo to take Bugsy to the Iguana. She begins pawing at him, secretly stealing the Hell Gun. As they pull away, we see the limo's being driven by Constantine. Sullivan and Atom follow.

Bugsy & Jeanie arrive at the Blue Iguana, where the guests are fleeing in droves. They go inside and see the problem— Sharpe's onstage, drunkenly screeching out an off key song. Canary confronts Bugsy, saying he should be dead. Bugsy pulls out his Hell Gun and points it at her, but is shocked to see it's a toy— Jeanie stole the real one while she they were in the limo. Heat Wave knocks out Bugsy with one punch.

Constantine and Jeanie drive to a nearby cemetery, followed by Atom and Sullivan (are you getting all this?). Somehow Constantine's worked out where Bugsy's hiding his blackmail stash— in a secret compartment inside a tombstone (???). He pulls out a satchel full of evidence and starts to destroy it. Unfortunately Jeanie pulls the Hell Gun on him, saying her real plan is to use it to make herself as powerful as Bugsy. Constantine warns her not to do it, but she refuses to listen.

Sullivan says he's going to "take care" of the situation, and Atom realizes he intends to kill Jeanie. He tries to stop him, but Sullivan handcuffs Atom to the steering wheel and leaves. Gosh, if only Atom had some way to, I don't know... alter his size so he could escape from the cuffs. Too bad he doesn't!

Constantine gives Jeanie the briefcase in exchange for the gun. She gets into the limo (which Sullivan's apparently somehow rigged), and when she starts it up it explodes, killing her. Atom frees himself, and he and Constantine walk away.

Canary & Heat Wave stick Bugsy in a holding cell on the Waverider. Constantine enters and tells Bugsy that Jeanie's dead because of him. Bugsy accuses Constantine of creating the REAL monster— Astra. Fed up, Constantine transports himself and Bugsy back to Hell.

They go to Astra's bar, where Constantine says he's not giving up and will find a way to redeem her. Astra laughs and says he's gone soft. Constantine points the Hell Gun at Astra for a few tense seconds, then relents and shoots Bugsy, causing him to disintegrate.

Back on the Waverider, Atom tells Constantine he's glad he didn't kill Astra, as there's still hope for her.

At the Tarazi house, Zari 2.0 suspects that Behrad has the Air Totem, and tries coming onto Steel to get him to confirm it. He manages to resist, and Behrad warns him that Zari's just playing him. Zari then asks them what the hell's going on, as they both look exactly like they did at Heyworld some twenty four years ago.

Zari says she's going to tell her parents the truth about them. As she stalks off, Steel opens a portal in front of her, and she steps onto the Waverider. Steel and Behrad follow, and Zari 2.0 looks around in bewilderment. She screams for help.

• Last week I noted that for the first time in a long time, we got an episode in which the Legends all used their powers. I also said to enjoy it while it lasts, because it would likely be a long time before you saw it happen again. 

Sure enough, Constantine's the only person who uses his powers in this episode. Even then it's nothing spectacular— just a couple of spells that transport him to Hell. You could maybe count Heat Wave, as he used his flame gun for a second or two. But that was pretty much it. 

The one person who absolutely should have used their powers this week was Atom. He could have easily shrank himself and stolen Bugsy's Hell Gun from his coat, or freed himself when he was handcuffed to a steering wheel. Of course he doesn't do any of these things, because once again he apparently forgets he has the ability to shrink.

• This week we get a brand new title sequence, which looks like it stepped straight out of a 1990s music video.

I gotta say, it's nice to see the Saved By The Bell opening credits getting work again after all these years.

Sorry, but I'm not a fan of it. With its solarized photos and "wacky" distressed fonts, it looks like something you'd see on a Mountain Dew commercial or one of those ubiquitous Disney Channel tween sitcoms. It just doesn't scream "Irreverent Comic Book Show" to me.

Just think, somewhere inside The CW, an unpaid intern cobbled this thing together in an hour with AfterEffects, and a highly-paid network executive actually approved it for use on a nationally televised TV series. Amazing.

By the way, the new title sequence features a prominent shot of a spiral clock face that recedes into infinity. Hmm... I feel like I've seen that image somewhere before, but I can't quite think of where...

Ah, there it is! They used the exact same image in the Peter Capaldi era Doctor Who opening titles! Expect a call from The BBC's lawyers any day now, The CW!

• Charlie sits out yet another episode this week. Is she ever coming back? I hope so. She's in the stupid opening credits, so signs point to yes. Nora was nowhere to be seen either. Which is a real shame, since she and Atom are being forcibly kicked off the show in just a few episodes.

Gary's AWOL this week as well. You'd think that in a Constantine-heavy episode like this, his new assistant would be tagging along beside him.

• The episode begins as Constantine pays a visit to Astra in her nightclub in Hell. It looks like quite a posh establishment, complete with waiters busily bustling about the place. Wait, what?

So apparently if you're damned, once you die you're required to work a menial job in the afterlife. That really DOES sound like Hell!

• At the very end of last week's episode, Constantine drew a circle of power on the floor and stood in the center of it. He then lit the circle, and a blue flame slowly burned around it as he vanished and was transported to Hell.

At the beginning of this week's episode, the blue flame continued all the way around the circle until it the whole thing was burning. Constantine then reappeared as he was pulled back into the real world.

So I guess that means with this particular spell, he can only stay in Hell as long as it takes the flame to travel all the way around the circle— which seems to be five minutes, ten tops. That doesn't seem like a lot of time for a person to take care of whatever business they might have in the netherworld!

• Constantine's new habit seems to be putting gross things in his mouth (the remains of Rasputin, cinders of a fried detective, Bugsy Siegel's blood) to power some sort of magic spell.

• Behrad takes Steel with him to visit his parents in the year 2044. Oddly enough, it doesn't look all that different from 2020!

In fact the one and only "futuristic" conceit in this entire sequence is Zari 2.0's phone, which has some sort of glowing blue holographic symbols hovering above it. Other than that you'd never know this wasn't a contemporary scene!

• I love how Constantine didn't have to change his clothes to blend in perfectly with 1940s fashions!

• I can't tell if Constantine's terrible American accent was done on purpose, or if that's just the best Matt Ryan can do. Either way, it was pretty unconvincing.

• Atom falls for Jeanie's sob story and gives her a wad of cash to help start a new life. Hmm... Just last week we were told that Gideon can't replicate money for some reason, which is why Sharpe was worried about how the Legends were going to survive. 

If Gideon can't conjure up money, then where'd Atom get a roll of 1947 era bills? They'd have to be vintage, right? 2020 dollars would be like counterfeit bills in the past.

• As you're probably aware, this week's "Encore" Bugsy Siegel was a real person, and one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his day. He was reportedly very charismatic and handsome, and became one of the first "celebrity gangsters" of the time. He started out as a bootlegger, but after Prohibition was repealed he turned to gambling, eventually moving from New York to California.

He was quite the busy boy, as he was active in the Jewish mob, the American Mafia and the National Crime Syndicate. Siegel was also instrumental in the creation of the Las Vegas Strip, where he developed and financed many of its original casinos.

Siegel was quite popular in Hollywood and associated with many high-profile movie stars, such as George Raft, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Tony Curtis, Phil Silvers, Cary Grant and of course gangster fanboy Frank Sinatra. He had a habit of borrowing thousands of dollars from celebrities and keeping it, knowing they'd be too scared to ask for it back.

He was friendly with studio executives such as Louis B. Mayer and Jack Warner as well, though he often extorted money from the Screen Actors Guild trade union. Siegel was fond of throwing lavish parties at his Beverly Hills home.

He was even friends with Benito Mussolini and actually tried to sell him weapons. He also met Nazi leaders Hermann Goring and Joseph Goebbels, but instantly disliked the two and offered to kill them. This makes me wonder if Siegel was the inspiration for the Eddie Valentine character in The Rocketeer.

Siegel also founded an organization called "Murder, Inc." Gosh, I wonder what business they were in?

On July 20, 1947, Siegel was shot and killed (by an unknown assailant) at the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill. Legends got the date of his death right, but fudged the name of his girlfriend for the show, no doubt for legal reasons.

• So Zari 2.0 is basically a Kardashian. Shudder!

OK, it was funny to see her acting like a self-absorbed internet twit in this episode, and probably a lot of fun for Tala Ashe to play. That said, I hope we get the ORIGINAL Zari back soon. Please!

I dunno if that's gonna happen though. In an interview late last year, the producers confirmed that Ashe would be returning to the show, but said "the Zari we know and love is gone for good." Gulp!

Producers are notorious liars though, as they're constantly attempting to prevent spoilers and keep plot points secret. I hope that's what's going on here, and they're just telling us that to throw us a curve. I don't want an entire season of Kardashian Zari!

• During the Tarazi dinner scene, Zari 2.0 catches the love-struck Steel staring wistfully at her. She turns to Behrad and speaks to him in Farsi— so Steel can't understand her and scolds him for bringing home a stalker.

Wait a minute... last week it was explained that the Legends are able to understand people from other places and time periods through the magic of "temporal linguistic dysplasia."

This is presumably either an effect of time travel, or a service somehow provided by Gideon (similar to how the TARDIS allows the Doctor to understand anyone from any time on Doctor Who).

However it works, the point is thanks to temporal linguistic dysplasia, Steel should have been able to understand Zari 2.0 when she talked behind his back in front of his face. Whoops! Didn't think of that, did you, writers?

• During dinner, Steel notices a portrait of a Tarazi ancestor wearing the Air Totem. A couple things here:

First of all, according to the Arrowverse wiki, the Air Totem originated in Africa. At some point in the past, the village of Zambesi (where Vixen was from) faced numerous threats and attacks from neighboring countries. They prayed for protection, so the gods presented them with four mystical Totems— each harnessing one of the elemental forces. 

Eventually the Air Totem found its way into the hands of Behrad Tarazi, who used it to fight against ARGUS after it placed America under its fascist rule.

That would seem to contradict this episode, where it appears the Totem's been a Tarazi family heirloom for centuries— as far back as ancient Persia.

I guess there could be some wiggle room here, depending on how long ago the gods gifted the Zambesi tribe with the Totems. Maybe that happened a couple thousand years ago, and the Persians stole the Air Totem several centuries later? I suppose it's also possible that the Heyworld incident altered these events, and they unfolded differently in the new timeline we're currently in. Or maybe the writers just forgot about all this and goofed up. 

Secondly, did Mr. and Mrs. Tarazi know the Air Totem has magical powers, or did they just think it was a cool looking amulet? Behrad certainly knew of its abilities, since he stole it to use as a weapon. And he likely wouldn't have known that unless he heard about or saw one of his ancestors use it! 

Lastly, Behrad apparently isn't very bright. He obviously doesn't want his parents to know he stole their priceless and beloved Air Totem, so of course he wears it on his wrist when he visits their home! Jesus Christ, Behrad! To paraphrase Saruman in The Lord Of The Rings, "his love of the halfling leaf has clearly slowed his mind!"

• Canary tells Sharpe and Heat Wave to create a distraction in order to lure Bugsy back to the Blue Iguana. Sharpe complies by jumping onstage and belting out a provocative version of Bell Biv DeVoe's Poison (a very anachronistic tune for 1947!).

Annnnnnd then we cut to reality, and see a visibly drunken Sharpe slurring her way through a dire a cappella version of the song! HAW!

Props to Jes Macallan here, as she plays an hilarious and VERY convincing drunk in this scene. That ain't easy to do, and she pulls it off flawlessly. In particular I love the part where she pulls the mic off its stand and smacks herself in the face with it! I wonder if she did that on purpose or if it was really an accident?

I can't find any info as to whether that was Macallan singing the good version of the song or not. If I had to guess, I'd say probably not.

• At the beginning of last week's episode, we saw TV news coverage of Senator Wellington's Congressional hearing into the Legends. At the bottom of the screen was a news ticker, which among other things read, "Dragon Girl Still Trending #1 Worldwide Across Social Media Platforms."

I knew that was likely a joke or reference, but at the time I had no idea what it meant.

Thanks to this week's episode, we finally know! At the Tarazi home, Steel picks up a framed copy of Mini Trenders Magazine (which is apparently a thing in the Arrowverse) and casually glances at it. The cover reads "Zari Tarazi Is DRAGON GIRL. We Have The Exclusive Interview With The Pint-Sized Powerhouse Who Tamed A Dragon And Saved The World."

If you'll recall, in the Season 4 finale Hey, World, Steel realizes his father's dream of opening a magical theme park filled with supernatural creatures. At one point Tabitha The Fairy Godmother shows up with a gigantic dragon, threatening the Legends and the audience alike. A young version of Zari— who discovered the dragon and played with it— steps out of the crowd and calms it down. She even gets it to dance!

Apparently that incident happened in the revised timeline as well, and Young Zari picked up the nickname "Dragon Girl." That moniker apparently stuck with her, as that's what the new Zari 2.0 calls herself on her various social media programs.

• What the hell happened to the Waverider's Brig? In the first couple of seasons the ship contained several holding cells, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and locking doors. There was a bench or cot inside each one as well, for prisoners to sleep on.

At some point (not sure exactly when) the Brig disappeared, and was replaced by this open, circular platform surrounded by a force field. Oddly enough, this new "holding pen" seems to be in the middle of Atom's lab! 

I have to assume they needed the Brig set for something else and remodeled it?

• Constantine takes Bugsy back to Hell to see Astra. To prove a point to her, he shoots Bugsy with the Hell Gun, which vaporizes him. 

So I guess if you're shot with a Hell Gun in Hell, your soul is permanently destroyed. Got it.

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