Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Name Game

As all good Star Wars aficionados know, fan-favorite character Boba Fett's ship is called the Slave 1— and has been, ever since it first appeared in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back

For over forty years that name's never caused so much as a ripple of controversy. Until now, of course.

This week Lego announced they were releasing a brand new, pricey (of course) Slave 1 playset. Except it's no longer called "Slave 1."

As you can see from the box art, it's now been re-christened with the incredibly imaginative non-name, "Boba Fett's Starship.™"

In an interview with Jedi News, Lego designers Jens Kronvold Frederiksen and Michael Lee Stockwell claimed that Disney (who owns the Star Wars brand) demanded the name change.

Said Stockwell, "We’re not calling it Slave I anymore. This is Boba Fett’s Starship.”

Frederiksen added, “Everybody is dropping the Slave 1 name. It’s probably not something which has been announced publicly but it is just something that Disney doesn’t want to use any more.”

Although Disney declined to comment on the matter, it's pretty clear they're distancing themselves from the name due to the negative and uncomfortable connotations surrounding the word "slave." 

Predictably, once news of the change broke, Star Wars fans pitched a huge sh*t fit. They pulled out all their old favorite arguments, crying that Disney was ruining their childhoods, destroying the brand and bending the knee to the SJW Twitter posse, so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.

Personally I don't have a dog in this fight. 

Which is odd, because I've been a HUGE fan of all things Boba Fett since his debut. At one point I probably would have been incensed by this news along with the other fans, but that time has long passed— for multiple reasons.

First of all, the sub-par Prequels and unwatchable Sequels have pretty much killed my once all-consuming passion for Star Wars. While I've admittedly enjoyed The Mandalorian for the most part, it hasn't been enough to reignite my love for the franchise. So I honestly don't care about this whole name change business.

Secondly, the name Slave 1 has been used in the novels, comics, toys, games and publicity materials since the 1980s— but amazingly it's NEVER actually been uttered onscreen in ANY of the movies!

That means there's likely a huge swath of the population that's completely unaware that Fett's ship even HAS a name! Seriously, if it's never been said aloud, does the name even count?

Lastly, "controversial" name changes like this are nothing new.

In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader's massive Star Destroyer was called the Executor. Again, this name was never said aloud onscreen, but that's what it was dubbed in the script.

When it came time for Kenner to make an action figure playset of the ship, they were uncomfortable releasing a kids' toy with "executor" in its name. To that end, they simply called it "Darth Vader's Star Destroyer."

Oddly enough, no one flipped a table over this back in 1980. Either people were more reasonable and had better things to worry about in the 80s, or there was no Twitter then where they could post their mock outrage.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 6, Episode 5: The Satanist's Apprentice

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, we get a surprisingly good episode focusing on the shamefully-underused Astra, as she struggles to live a normal life on Earth. We also finally check back in with Canary and her outer space plotline, as we finally meet her enigmatic captor Bishop.

And if that wasn't enough, this is also the big animated episode that the internet's been buzzing about for months. 

Whenever a TV series manages to last for five or six seasons, it becomes harder and harder for the writers to come up with new ideas and plotlines. It's then a sure bet they'll then resort to a"Gimmick Episode," in a flailing effort to generate viewer interest and shore up the ratings.

You know the kind I mean. There's the Musical Episode (in which the cast is forced to sing all their dialogue for some reason), the Live/One Take Episode, the Movie Parody Episode, the Evil Parallel Universe Episode, the Halloween Episode (in which the characters dress up in outlandish costumes), the A Christmas Carol Episode (in which the cast plays the parts in Dickens' classic story), the What If Episode (in which the characters make different choices that change the dynamic of the show) and the Rashomon Episode (in which we see the same event from several perspectives).

And then of course there's the old standby, the Animated Episode— which leads us to this week's Legends installment. Thanks to magical shenanigans, Astra's transformed into a bona fide Disney Princess, who sings all her dialogue as she dances across the screen— while the rest of the cast become cartoonish household items along with her.

Although this animated interlude is reasonably fun and slightly amusing, it's most definitely a gimmick. There's no reason for the producers to resort to it, other than (as I said earlier) to try to pump some life into the rapidly aging series. 

Amazingly, despite all the hype for this episode, it contains just a scant FIVE minutes of actual animation! Seriously, I timed it! Five minutes! So much hoopla over so little content!

Despite all that, The Satanist's Apprentice is surprisingly well-written and impressively nuanced. Constantine's typical assholish self-absorption causes him to neglect Astra and her needs— even though it was HIS idea for her to try living like a normal person for once. This leads to her becoming a perfect target for the devious and oily Aleister Crowley, as he takes full advantage of her susceptibility and expertly manipulates her for his own ends. Well done!

This week's episode was directed by Caity Lotz, aka White Canary. This isn't her first time in the director's chair, as she previously helmed Season 5's Mortal Khanbat. She does a terrific job here, expertly juggling numerous storylines, as well as dealing with a complicated animated segment— which no doubt required extra detail and planning.

On the acting front, Olivia Swan, aka Astra, was no slouch either. This week she finally gets the opportunity to shine, in an episode focused almost solely on her. She does an admirable job, as she gives the normally cold and severe Astra a much-needed sense of humanity and vulnerability. She even gets a chance to sing, though I wasn't quite as dazzled by her voice as others are.

Even more impressive was Matt Ryan, aka Constantine. He did an amazing job here, playing a version of the character who's possessed by the soul of Aleister Crowley. His scenes were a hoot, as he managed to give his amalgam a smarmy and comedic menace. Kudos!

MUCH less impressive though was guest star Raffi Barsoumian, who plays the long-awaited Bishop. He spent the majority of his scenes singing his lines (even though he's NOT a Disney Princess) and dancing around the set, which was highly annoying to say the least.

Bishop should have been a dangerous and menacing presence, but thanks to Barsoumian's bizarre performance undermines all that as he comes across as... goofy. He most definitely doesn't seem like a serious threat.

This episode also features numerous Disney references, which isn't surprising considering the episode's based on their princess stereotype and contains an animated segment.

Speaking of animation... This week's cartoon segment was created by the Warner Bros. Animation division. Which makes perfect sense, since The CW is partly owned and distributed by Warner Bros.!

It was supervised by industry veteran Tony Cervone, who worked on Animaniacs, Duck Dodgers, the original Space Jam and the recent Scoob! movie.

Quality-wise the animation was fine. The character designs were adequate and the animation was reasonably smooth, but you'd never mistake it for Disney-level. It looks exactly like what it is— high-end TV animation. Of course this episode had nowhere near the budget or schedule of a Disney production, so... I'll cut 'em some slack.


The Plot:
Astra, who's now living in Constantine's House Of Mystery, wakes up, gets ready to face the world and goes out to run some errands. Unfortunately she doesn't have any Earthly money to buy the things she needs. 

As she walks dejectedly back home, she's greeted by her neighbor Robert Truss. Due to her skin color he assumes she's Constantine's housekeeper, and wonders if she's "the right kind of people" to live in his neighborhood. She goes into the house and sees Constantine. She tries to talk with him, but he says he's busy dealing with aliens (from the Ground Control To Sara Lance episode) and Time Couriers away.

Sometime later Astra tries using her phone— which is connected to the wifi in Hell— but can't get a signal. Constantine returns with Zari 2.0 (fresh from the Meat: The Legends episode), and Astra asks him about wifi and where she can find his washing machine. He promises he'll get right on it, as he dashes upstairs to the bedroom with Zari 2.0 (ewww).

The next morning Astra looks for a job, but she has no experience or background details due to her growing up in Hell. Later she's trying to do dishes when the faucet breaks.

Constantine appears, wearing a leather jacket (from The Ex-Factor episode) and looking for his smokes. Astra tells him the house is falling apart, there's no food and she can't find a job. He says he deals with all that through magic, and she asks him to teach her. He says it's too much work and teleports away. Just then the electricity's cut off.

Astra goes up to the attic to look for items she can sell. She finds a few antiques, along with her mother Natalie's old journal. She looks inside it and sees a song Natalie wrote for Constantine, and is sad that she never learned to read music.

Just then Astra hears a voice, and discovers it's coming from an old painting of Aleister Crowley. He tells her that Constantine summoned him from Hell to learn his secrets, then trapped him inside the painting. Astra tells him that Constantine didn't prepare her for the real world, and Crowley slyly says he can teach her a few basic spells.

Elsewhere, Canary's right where we left her last time— inside a citadel on an alien planet, confronted by a man-bunned stranger. He introduces himself as Bishop, and says he's been waiting a long time to meet her. He also tells her that due to the venom in her system (from the fake Amelia Earhart a few episodes back), she has about ten seconds left to live. He offers her the antidote, and having no other choice, she grabs it and drinks it down.

She wakes in the ship's medbay, strapped to a bed as she's tended to by a Nurse Ava clone. Bishop enters and shows Canary a presentation explaining that in his future, human greed & stupidity destroyed the Earth and wiped out everyone but him. 
As a bioengineer, Bishop created the AVA clones and has come up with a plan to save the human race— by splicing them with alien DNA so they can survive in any environment.

Canary realizes that the aliens on Kayla's ship were the raw materials for Bishop's plan. He says he wants her to train his army of hybrids to fight.

Back at the House Of Mystery, Crowley teaches Astra a transformation spell, and flatters her by saying he's never seen anyone take to magic like her. He says he could teach her more if only he wasn't stuck in the painting. He tells her if she were to provide a body, he could swap places with it and be free to instruct her. Amazingly she seems OK with this idea.

Constantine returns and sees what's going on. He warns Astra that magic is a slippery slope, and her mother Natalie left him because he couldn't give it up. He grabs the painting and tells Crowley to leave Astra alone. Just then she casts the swapping spell, causing Constantine & Crowley to switch places.

Constantine, now stuck in the painting, demands that Astra change him back. She tells Crowley he has twelve hours to teach her as much magic as he can.

We then see her transmute a pile of garbage into money & jewels, and conjure up some stylish clothing for herself. She's horrified when she finds out the spells are only temporary. Crowley expertly manipulates her, telling her she could "level up" and make the transformations permanent. Like a dope, she falls for his spiel.

Elsewhere, Canary manages to free herself from her straps. Nurse Ava enters to check on her, and Canary springs into action, holding a sharp buckle to her throat. She demands she take her back to her ship. Nurse Ava says it's not in her DNA to disobey Bishop, but Canary assures her she has a soul and no one can control her. She lets her go, and a puzzled Nurse Ava leaves.

Meanwhile, Constantine— who's still stuck in the painting— apologizes to Astra for blowing her off the past few weeks. He says Crowley's dangerous, and if she wants to learn magic she needs to "work her way up from the bottom" (PLOT POINT!).

Just then Crowley (in Constantine's body) enters and says that together, he & Astra will be unstoppable. He says their first order of business is to find the fabled Fountain Of Imperium, located somewhere in space (ANOTHER POSSIBLE PLOT POINT!). He then takes the Constantine painting and stashes it in the attic.

Astra starts working on some kind of potion just as the rest of the Legends (fresh from Bay Of Squids) arrive. They explain that Heat Wave & Kayla took off in the Waverider, stranding them. With nowhere else to go, they've decided to crash at Constantine's place.

Angry at the interruption, Astra quickly loses patience with them and transforms them all into mundane objects. Sharpe becomes a three ring binder, Steel a wheel of cheese (?), Zari 2.0 a smartphone, Behrad a candle and Spooner a fork (GET IT?).

Just then Crowley returns and tells her it's time for some REAL power. He shows her how to make a magic amulet, but says it'll need a human soul to charge it (!). Astra's not so sure, but Crowley reminds her that she damned millions of souls when she was in Hell, and asks what's one more?

He eventually convinces her, and she says she knows the perfect target— her racist neighbor Robert Truss. Astra calls Truss, telling him she has an antique lamp that'd be perfect for his collection and invites him over. The transformed Legends tell her what she's doing is wrong, but she tells 'em to shut it and stuffs them all in a cabinet.

Back at the citadel, Nurse Ava returns and says Canary was right. She brings her a fuel cell to power her ship so she can get off the planet. The two then exit the medbay and sneak through the corridors.

Truss arrives at the House Of Mystery, and Astra shows him the lamp. He's delighted by what he sees, but acts unimpressed so he can lowball his offer. 
She holds the amulet up to him as his back's turned, intending to drain his soul. Ultimately she can't go through with it, and tells him to get out.

Just then Crowley appears, grabs the amulet and sucks out Truss' soul, killing him (I think?). Furious, Astra tries sending him back into the painting, but nothing happens. He laughs maniacally, telling her he's now far too powerful to stop. He says she's nothing more than a damsel in distress, and turns her into an animated princess. He cartoonifies the house and everything in it as well. Yeah, that happens.

As a cartoon princess, Astra sings everything going through her mind, such as how she's going to stop Crowley. The transformed Legends, who are also now animated, break free and help her. She sics them on Crowley, but he magically binds them and transports Astra to the attic.

There, the Constantine painting says they're all doomed unless Astra can find a "cleansing spell" that her mother Natalie created. Astra remembers the song she found earlier in the journal, and Constantine says that's it. She says she can't read music though, but Constantine reminds her that all animated princesses can.

Spooner somehow escapes and frees Astra from the attic. She comes downstairs and begins singing the spell, which frees the rest of the Legends, puts Crowley to sleep and makes him switch places with Constantine again. And it brings Truss back to life!

Astra tells Truss it's her house (?), the Legends are her friends and shoves him out the door.

Sometime later, Constantine takes the Crowley painting up to the attic to hide it. Crowley says he knows what's happened, and says he could use the Fountain Of Imperium to help him. Constantine puts a piece of tape over the painting's mouth and covers it up.

Astra tells Constantine she wouldn't have been tempted by Crowley if he'd helped her when she needed it. He admits she's right, and promises to do better. He then informs her that the "cleaning spell" rid everything in the house of magic— including him! He says he & Astra will now have to "work their way up from the bottom" together.

On the planet, Canary & Nurse Ava find Kayla's ship. They enter, and Canary preps to activate the new power source. Just then several guards appear, and Nurse Ava admits it was all an act, and the "fuel cell" is just a nightlight.

Bishop appears and says he needed Canary to lead him to the ship's alien cargo. She laughs, telling him she ejected all the alien pods into the Time Vortex. He opens a panel, revealing he took DNA from each species as a backup.

Canary attacks and defeats all the guards, then grabs Bishop and savagely snaps his neck. Just then she's hit with a tranq dart, and wakes in a study. Bishop (or a clone of him) is there waiting, and tells her they're "inseparable."

• This is the first episode of the entire series that doesn't feature Heat Wave. Which means there are now no characters who've appeared in every episode.

• Fun Fact: The Satanist's Apprentice begins just after the season premiere, and takes place over the course of Episodes 2 through 4.

At the beginning of the episode, Astra staggers out of bed and sees Constantine prepping a spell. When she tells him she needs his help, he claims he's too busy, saying, "I got a bloke in an alien costume with another alien inside him, and I gotta prep my gut for a purging spell."

That's a reference to Meat: The Legends, in which the gang suspected the Big Bang Burger mascot was secretly an alien in disguise.

I should note though that in the actual episode, Constantine doesn't pop back to the manor to prep any spells. In fact he didn't know he'd be needing one! When he runs into the suspected alien he simply casts the Divination Of Hor spell, which "extracts all unwanted influences." Whoops!

A bit later Astra finds there's no wifi in the manor right as Constantine & Zari 2.0 return. Note that they're both still wearing their outfits from Meat: The Legends, as they've just come from their victory in that episode.

Sometime later the kitchen faucet breaks while Astra's washing dishes. Just then Constantine shows up looking for his cigarettes, wearing his Criss Angel cosplay that he sported in The Ex-Factor.

A few days after that, the now-homeless Legends invade the manor right after the events of Bay Of Squids.

As I said, it's kind of cool to see how this episode takes place at the same time as these other three, which neatly ties together the whole season so far.

Legends Of Tomorrow features an interesting and very odd version of Hell. Last season we saw that the place resembles a perpetually dark version of downtown Detroit, and the damned souls living there actually work at various jobs! Jaysis! I can't think of a worse form of eternal punishment! I'd rather burn in a lake of fire forever!

Anyway, this week we find out that Hell apparently has its own wifi network as well, called Demon Data! Weird!

So lemme get this straight... If there's really a Hell and I end up there after I die, I'll need to find a job, someplace to live and buy a smart phone with an netherworldly data plan. Got it.

• When Astra tries to find a job, her potential employer runs a background check and says it shows she's only fifteen. She replies, "Okay, yeah, that's because I spent my adolescence in another dimension where time works differently, so..."

Amazingly, that checks out. According to the Official Arrowverse Wiki, Astra was born circa 2005— which would make about fifteen.

• This is some heavy duty nitpicking, but whatever. If Astra was born about fifteen years ago but looks like she's in her twenties, then time must move FASTER in Hell. That doesn't seem right. The point of Hell is to torture souls, correct? So why make their time there go faster? Wouldn't it make more sense if time moved super slowwwwwwly, to drag out every miserable second there?

Told you it was heavy duty!

• After having no luck finding a job, Astra calls up a former associate in the netherworld and says, "You try getting a job when your last employers were the Triumvirate of Hell. Just give me my power back, or I will have your blood drained to fill my swimming pool." Several things here:

First of all, she's calling on Constantine's landline phone, so apparently it's possible to direct dial numbers in Hell! Interesting.

Secondly, when I heard her demands my first thought was "what power?" As near as I remember she was just a normal woman who ran a nightclub in Hell. I don't recall her ever having any sort of powers.

I checked the trusty (and indispensable!) Official Arrowverse Wiki once again, and according to it, while in Hell Astra had general magical powers, she could resurrect historical figures with her soul coins and could teleport others throughout the underworld with a snap of her fingers.

So I guess she DID have powers after all. I stand corrected!

Third, it appears that once a person leaves Hell, they lose any powers they might have had there.

Lastly, who the, er, hell is she talking to here? Who has the ability to restore her powers while she's on Earth? Is she calling Satan himself?

Disney Reference #1: The painting of Crowley that can speak and offer advice to Astra is reminiscent of the Magic Mirror in Snow White. Yeah, yeah, paintings & mirrors aren't anything alike, but they both feature talking faces in a frame.

• Back in Ground Control To Sarah Lance, Astra mentioned Crowley and his Book Of The Law as a possible source they could use to locate Canary. Based on how much the episode emphasized Crowley and his book, I predicted he'd show up in person at some point during the season.

Looks like I was right! Just four episodes later he made his appearance! Well, sort of. According to Constantine, he yanked Crowley out of Hell for reasons, but instead of simply returning him back there, he trapped his soul inside a painting for reasons. Sure, why not.

• Also last week, I railed against the show's poor casting decisions, as the actors they chose to play John F. Kennedy & his brother Robert looked ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like the actual historical figures. Not even a little bit. The show fares much better this week though, as the magical Crowley portrait looks exactly like the real thing! In fact it looks like they based it on one of the few available photos of Crowley that are out there.

• Whenever Crowley's painting starts talking, it reminds me of that MyHeritage site— the one that lets you upload old family photos and animate them.

• The sneaky & manipulative Crowley begins teaching simple magic spells to Astra, in a scene that's VERY reminiscent of the Harry Potter movies (which I'm sure was the point). He even tells her she needs to flick her wrist in a certain way!

I'm honestly surprised he didn't tell her, "No, no, it's Wingardium LevioSAH!"

• In this episode we get our first look at Bishop's citadel, and what a place it is! In fact I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking at here. I guess it's supposed to be a building on his planet's surface, but it looks for all the world like a giant bug.

• This week we also get our first good look at Bishop, and man, is he ever annoying! As I pointed out in the intro, he spends most of the episode singing his lines and dancing across the screen like an idiot.

According to the interwebs, actor Raffi Barsoumian (aka Bishop) is married to Tala Ashe (aka Zari 2.0) in real life! Wow! Let's hope for her sake he's nowhere near as aggravating at home!

• I've brought this up before over the years, but it's worth a repeat— what the hell happened to the art of TV wig making? In this episode Jes Macallen plays Nurse AVA (of course!), and she's saddled with the most ridiculously fake-looking wig possible. I've seen Muppets with more realistic hair.

I don't remember wigs looking so fake when I watched TV as a kid. Did they start making them out of a different material or something? Or have wigs always looked this bad, but we never noticed it till we all got hi-def TVs?

• Speaking of AVA clones: In this episode Bishop tells Canary:

"As a pioneer in bio-engineering, the founder of AVA Corp 
and the designer-creator of the AVA clone, I alone have the knowledge and means to restart humanity in the stars!"

Hmm. Is this a major retcon? I was always under the impression that Rip Hunter created the AVA clones to manage his Time Bureau. Maybe I'm just remembering wrong. Or could it be this is yet another Crisis change?

• Bishop shows Canary a PowerPoint presentation explaining his master plan. Basically he says humanity destroyed Earth's biosphere and inadvertently wiped itself out. So he's come back in time to create human/alien hybrids that can survive in any environment. A couple things here:

According to Bishop, the only way to save our race is to turn us all into hideous mutants. But then we'd no longer be human. That's not really preserving the species now, is it?

Secondly, he blames humanity's extinction on greed, violence & war. But then he tells Canary he abducted her so she could train his new hybrids to have a "fighter's spirit" and overcome any obstacle. 

But... won't teaching them to fight just lead to greed, violence & war all over again?

• Speaking of Bishop and his ability to time travel... Not only did he come to the present AFTER humanity was destroyed, but he brought with him "all FIFTEEN seasons of Wynonna Earp"— a series that to date has only been on for four years.

• Crowley teaches Astra a simple transformation spell, which uses the word "permuto." He also tells her, "You know, 'permuto' has several meanings in Latin. One is to transform, but the other is to exchange."

Amazingly, that actually checks out!

Astra then uses the permuto spell to cause Crowley & Constantine's souls to switch places. Which leaves Constantine trapped in the painting and Crowley in possession of his body.

Not sure why the soul swap would cause the face in the painting to change, but eh, I'll allow it.

• According to IMDB, Matt Lucas, aka Nardole from Doctor Who (among many other roles) provides the voice of Crowley when he's in painting form. I honestly didn't recognize his voice here.

I mentioned this in the intro, but it's worth a repeat. Kudos to Matt Ryan as well, for his portrayal of Crowley inhabiting Constantine's body. He's clearly having a ball chewing the scenery as he plays Constantine possessed by Crowley. His mannerisms and body language are completely different, and he does a very good impression of Matt Lucas' voice.

• Once Crowley cons Astra into freeing him from the painting, he teaches her more advanced spells, such as how to turn trash into treasure... literally!

If you look closely at the pile of trash, you'll see an empty can of Spotted dick! I guess Constantine must be a fan of the stuff? By the way, despite its provocative name, it's just pudding.

• Thanks to Crowley's spell, Astra transmutes the garbage into treasure, conjures up a stylish new outfit for herself and even generates electricity for the manor.

She's disappointed though when she finds out that these transformations are only temporary. Oddly enough, although the money & jewels change back to trash after just a few minutes, her magic clothing and the electricity last for the remainder of the episode— even though she conjured up everything at the same time. Whoops!

• Disney Reference #2: At one point Astra's working on a spell when the Legends show up at the manor, fresh from their adventure in Bay Of Squids. They prove to be a huge distraction, so she transforms them all into suitable sentient household items— much like the various characters in Beauty And The Beast.

Sharpe becomes a three ring binder, presumably because she was created as an Administrative Clone and has an innate need for organization and order. 

Zari 2.0 changes into a glittery cell phone. Oddly enough she doesn't seem to mind the fact that she's been transformed, but is livid that she's now a lowly flip phone.

Spooner becomes a walking, talking fork (Com-O-Dee!), while Behrad's turns into a candle. Because candles are lit, get it? Note that Behrad looks virtually identical to Lumiere from Beauty And The Beast, who was also a talking candle!

Lastly, Steel's transformed into a wheel of cheese. Because he has a cheesy personality, I guess? I dunno.

• Crowley shows Astra how to make a superpowerful magic amulet, but tells her it needs a human soul to charge it up. She looks through her purse and finds a few of the soul coins she brought with her from Hell last season. Among them she has a coin of Christopher Columbus and another of Ed Gein.

Sigh... We get it, The CW, you're woke! Christopher Columbus is no longer a hero worthy of his own holiday, as he wasn't the first to cross the Atlantic and became a brutal governor who indulged in slavery and genocide.

While I fully agree he was nothing like what we were all taught in school, I don't think he should be lumped in with a cannibalistic, negrophilic serial killer like Ed F*cking Gein either. Jesus Christ!

• Astra can't go through with stealing Truss' soul, so Crowley does it instead— and takes the now supercharged magic amulet for himself. He then transforms Astra in to an animated Disneyesque princess. He turns the manor and everything inside it into a cartoon as well.

It's a fun little scene, and one the entire episode's been building toward. There's just one MAJOR problem with it though— Crowley becomes an animated character as well!

But, but... WHY? I get why he transformed her (to render her ineffective and get her out of his hair), but why would he animate himself as well? Shouldn't he have remained a flesh & blood human?

I'm assuming they did it because it was easier to just animate Crowley/Constantine instead of filming Matt Ryan on a green screen reacting to nothing and dropping him into the cartoon scenes later.

• The Legends actually go through two transformations in this episode. First Astra changes them all into household items— then Crowley changes them into animated versions of those same objects! 

Note that when the now animated Legends decide to help Astra fight Crowley, Steel actually uses his superpower and "steels" up! That's right, he turns into an animated, metallic wheel of cheese!

Granted, he's a cartoon here, but technically this makes the third episode in a row that he's actually used his powers! Amazing!

• During the animated segment, Constantine tells Astra how he was reckless and addicted to magic in his youth, which prompted her mother Natalie to create a cleansing spell so he wouldn't overdose.

When then see a montage of violent and realistic illustrations of Constantine's "reckless" days. I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I'm betting these images are from the Hellblazer comic book (which stars Constantine). 

Disney Reference #3: In the third act, Astra sings a good portion of her dialogue, just like a classic animated Disney Princess.

Disney Reference #4: At one point the animated version of Crowley grows to Godzilla size and sprouts a pair of devil horns, looking very much like Chernabog, the massive demon in Fantasia.

• I don't know why, but I love this scene of everyone transforming from cartoon characters back into real people. In particular I like Crowley's animated soul getting sucked out of Constantine's body and into the painting!

• So Natalie's spell cleanses the House Of Mystery of ALL magic— including Constantine's! Once it's cast, he finds himself completely powerless.

But why? I never got the impression his magical abilities were inherent, like Superman's strength or the Flash's speed. He usually said a spell or drank a potion to make something magical happen. So why would Natalie's song affect that? It doesn't make any sense.

Did Natalie's song wipe out Constantine's memories of spells and such, so he can no longer perform magic? If that's what actually happened, even that shouldn't be much of a problem. Just crack open a magic book and start recitin' spells again!

• At the end of the episode, Constantine takes the Crowley painting back to the attic. He then tapes Crowley's mouth shut and stuffs the painting in a trunk so he can never manipulate anyone else.

I feel like everyone's overlooking the most obvious solution here. Why not just toss the goddamned painting in the fireplace and be done with it? Crowley's already dead, so it's not like it'd be murder. What more could happen to him?

I guess maybe it's possible that burning the painting would free his soul from it, leaving him free to find another suitable host?

• Right before he's silenced, Crowley mentions his Fountain Of Imperium again. Based on how often it's been mentioned, I'm betting it'll play a major role in an upcoming episode soon. Whatever the heck it is.

• For the first time in a lonnnnnng time, we actually got an honest to goodness Canary fight scene this week. And man, was it was awesome!

Another plus— in the final shot, Canary does what everyone in the audience has wanted to do throughout the entire episode and snaps Bishop's annoying-ass neck! Unfortunately he just instantly replaces himself with a clone. Darn.   

This Week's Best Lines:
Zari 2.0: (angry that she's been transformed) "Am I a flip phone?"

Spooner: (in animated fork form) "If y'all got a proud boy who needs talking to, let me at him. I'll fork his eyes out!"
(I guess we know who she supported in the last election!)

(The Legends are transformed back into flesh & blood humans.)
"I'm so glad to have my arms back."
Steel: "So over being cheese. That smell was getting aggressive."
Behrad: "Yeah, I was gonna say something."
Spooner: "Yeah, why was I a fork?"

Waving The White Flag

For over half a century now, my hometown of Evansville, Indiana has been flying the same boring, lackluster city flag. 

Spectacular, isn't it? I love the wonderfully banal non-design, as if back in 1950 someone took the letterhead from City Hall stationery and plopped it on a vast, empty field of blue. It may not be exciting, but it sure is dull!

In an effort to spice up our city's woefully uninspired banner, the Evansville Flag Project was born. Organizers of the project put out the call for new design submissions back in 2016, then sat back and watched the entries pour in. Wait, what? 2016? Did they really start this whole thing SIX freakin' years ago? What the hell?

The project ended up receiving over 200 submissions. Most were from Evansville, of course, but others came from as far away as Australia. Wait, what AGAIN? Why the holy hell would they open the contest to the entire world? Shouldn't this be a local, grass roots effort? What the hell would someone from Down Under know about Evansville? Our flavor, our vibe, our... zeitgeist?

Anyhoo, after a ridiculous six years, the Project narrowed the entries down to four finalists. They unveiled them this month, and invited the citizenry to vote on them. 

Hoo, boy!

Note that I don't have any real problem with any of these designes, but the second I saw them I KNEW there was gonna be trouble. Especially in a backward, er, I mean highly conservative city like this, full of rednecks, er, I mean people with traditional values.

The upper left and lower right options were fine, and either would have made decent replacements for what we currently have. The other two, not so much. As soon as I saw their crescent & star designs, I predicted the public would object.

And sure enough, they did. Almost instantly, the populace took to the internet to protest the two "Muslim" flag designs being forced onto the city, illustrating their displeasure with this image. 

Here's just a sampling of the angry and bitter comments (all of which are 100% true and not augmented by me in any way):

Bruce R
All are alike and very unsatisfactory, too Mid-Eastern, too un-American. I am insulted by the designs. GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!!!

Nicholas H
Man this is what I woke up to this morning seeing these posts. Evansville leadership can't be serious about using any of these flags. You people should have had a larger set of options and probably even let the school kids in on the design process. Through a elimination process regardless who was involved had there been more choices to dwindle it all down to a few for the final round of votes would have surely given Evansville better options for a flag than a bunch of stuff that screams middle east. You do know we love in the opposite side of the world. I don't knock any group of people for their beliefs etc but making our flag resemble something that looks like it should be over seas is disrespectful to our own amalgamation of cultural difference here that makes our own culture. Whoever designed these should be fired and whoever pushed them forward should likewise be fired from whatever office or job they hold.

Eric G
This looks like any other middle eastern flag, I think it was poorly designed and forgettable.

David E
If any of these become our beautiful city's flag we may as well just accept the communist in the WH as our God and bow down to his completely brainless ideas which this idiotic flag TRUMPS in every way. It is ridiculous and should be burned ASAP. Wake up fools, this is a ton of crap and a smear on our city!

Cindy V
The current options are terrible though. No imagination, no creativity, and they look like a mash up of other foreign flags.

Sigh... like I said, completely predictable responses to those designs. Sucks to be right all the time.

After a couple weeks of similar outrage and vitriol, the organizers of the Evansville Flag Project threw up their hands in defeat and disbanded, calling the whole thing off.

As a result, it appears that for the time being we're back to using the bland and boring blue flag we've had since the 1950s. Typical.

You know, it's really too bad that Parks & Recreation ended its run back in 2015. I've often said that I'm convinced the producers of the show based the fictional town of Pawnee on Evansville. This real life incident would have made a PERFECT storyline for the show.

I could just see Leslie Knope deciding the city's flag needed an update, and organizing a contest to pick a new design.

We'd then get one of the show's patented Town Hall Meeting scenes, as the citizens of Pawnee voiced their anger and outrage at all the "Muslim-looking flags," and demanded they be given more traditional, American options.

A disappointed and defeated Leslie would then reinstate the old flag, and ask her boss Ron Swanson where she went wrong. He'd offer up a platitude about how people don't like change, and offer her a shot of Lagavulin whiskey. End scene.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 6, Episode 4: Bay Of Squids

This week on Legends Of Tomorrow, we get a decent, if unremarkable episode that comes dangerously close to being filler, but manages to advance the story somewhat.

Bay Of Squids is a very busy episode, one that somehow finds a way to give every character something relevant to do. Maybe that's because a third of the cast is AWOL this week! 

Constantine and Astra (if she's even still part of the show) are both absent, as they're presumably off puttering around in the House Of Mystery. 

More surprising though is the fact that Canary & Gary don't show up in this episode at all! And this after barely appearing in the previous one. That's puzzling to me, as I assumed that Canary's "Lost In Space" storyline would be the prime focus of this season.

This is all a sure sign that the Canary arc doesn't contain enough story to fill eight episodes, so the writers are forced to stretch what little content they have. I said it last week, but it's worth a repeat— I assumed the show was gonna adapt the Warworld story from the comics, so I've been VERY disappointed so far with what they've given us so far. Feh.

On the plus side, there's a lot of fun historical stuff this week, as the Legends meet JFK, Fidel Castro and get tangled up in the Cuban Missile Crisis! Let's get to it!


The Plot:
There's a LOT going on in this episode as it jumps back & forth between multiple plotlines and locations, so bear with me.

It's October 16th, 1962. Somewhere in Cuba, an alarm sounds in an underground bunker. Two Communist soldiers see something moving fast on their radar, and assume it's an American missile. They brace themselves for impact, but all they hear is a dull thud. They rush outside and see one of the alien pods from Kayla's spaceship lying in a crater. As they get closer to it, they see a tentacle slap against the pod's glass door. One of the soldiers tells the other to sound the alarm, as the "invasion" has begun.

Elsewhere, it's morning on the Waverider. Steel runs into Zari 2.0, who hasn't applied her extensive makeup yet. He note that she looks exactly like HIS Zari— the one who's currently chilling inside the Air Totem.

Heat Wave calls everyone to the Bridge, where he tells them he got a hit on Kayla. Apparently she & her pod showed up in heavily redacted documents in 1962. He says if they locate Kayla, she can tell them where to find Canary. Sharpe wants to swing by and pick up Constantine & Astra, but Heat Wave says there's no time and sends the ship to 1962.

The Waverider arrives and Sharpe, Heat Waves, Steel, Zari 2.0 and Spooner head out into the dense jungle. They hear a convoy approaching, and assume it's transporting Kayla's pod. Heat Wave blasts it with his flame gun, while Steel steels up and attacks several of the soldiers and Spooner grabs one of their guns and opens fire. They commandeer the lead truck and drive off.

Eventually they outrun the rest of the convoy, and stop to check out the truck's cargo. Instead of a pod they find a crate containing a Russian nuclear warhead, and realize they've landed in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gulp! Sharpe asks if Heat Wave remembered to cloak the Waverider, and he fumbles a weak no.

Meanwhile at the White House, military advisor General Kilgore informs President John F. Kennedy that government surveillance has spotted a new Soviet bomber parked in Cuba. He then shows him a photo of the uncloaked Waverider.

Back on the ship, Steel (who's an historian) briefs the others on the Cuban Missile Crisis, pointing out that the US and Russia came very close to engaging in all-out nuclear armageddon. Sharpe comes up with a three-pronged plan: 
Heat Wave and Spooner will return the warhead to the Russians, in order to protect history. Steel and Zari 2.0 will go to DC and make sure JFK doesn't start WWIII. And she and Behrad will infiltrate the Cuban bunker in order to recover Kayla. 

Steel & Zari 2.0 arrive at the White House, where they run into JFK. He assumes they're supposed to be there, and invites them into the Oval Office, where they meet Robert Kennedy and the rest of JFK's brain trust. Based on the presence of the Waverider, General Kilgore wants to go to Defcon 3. Steel downplays the ship, saying it's clearly a fake. He tells JFK that in a nuclear war, both sides lose.

Sharpe & Behrad approach the bunker, where they're stopped by a guard. She pretends to be a Russian scientist, and is immediately allowed to enter. She's taken to a lab where Kayla's laid out on a table. A doctor hands Sharpe a scalpel, believing she's there to vivisect the alien to find out what makes it tick.

Unable to think of a way out, Sharpe makes a tiny incision in Kayla's torso, which starts gushing silver blood. This makes Behrad sick, and he grabs a guard's hat (in order to throw up in it) as he runs from the room. He eventually collects himself and puts the hat on. He's then mistaken for Che Guevara, Fidel Castro's right hand man.

Behrad's taken to see Castro, and tells him he's Che's cousin Jay Guevara. Castro apparently believes him, and says the Americans are sending mutant warriors to kill him.

In the Oval Office, JFK speaks with the Russian Ambassador, who claims a "steel man" stole one of their nuclear missiles. Once again, Steel tries to downplay the incident by saying the steel man's a hoax as well. Kilgore says DARPA's been developing a such a program themselves, and suggests they attack Cuba. He tells JFK it's his call. JFK grimly tells him to raise the alert to Defcon 3. Steel & Zari 2.0 realize things are spinning out of control and history's changing.

Back in the lab, Sharpe gets a brainstorm and cuts a nitrous line, flooding the room with laughing gas. Everyone beings giggling and eventually passes out— except for her (?). She pushes Kayla out of the lab on her gurney.

Heat Wave & Spooner return the missile to the camp, and are hailed as heroes by the soldiers. Spooner's implant then activates, and she says there's an alien nearby.

Elsewhere, Castro tells Behrad he has a nuclear missile and he plans to use it on DC. He sees Behrad gulping down some of his marijuana candies, grabs the bag and begins eating them.

inside the bunker, Kayla wakes, jumps off the gurney and attacks Sharpe. Just then Heat Wave appears and blasts Kayla with his gun, causing her to run off.

Meanwhile, Castro get high from the candies, so Behrad sees his big chance. He picks up a handy guitar (?) and plays Cat Stevens' Peace Train. The song moves Castro to tears, and he says he's going to call JFK and make nice with him. He then opens the door, and is shocked to see Kayla standing in it. Behrad saves him by using his Air Totem to blow Kayla away and shut the door. Castro says JFK clearly sent the "mutant" to kill him, and says the attack's back on.

Heat Wave & Spooner take Sharpe back to the ship to treat her injuries. Behrad calls & says Castro's prepping to nuke DC. Sharpe realizes they've screwed up, and hopes JFK won't counterattack.

In the Oval Office, Kilgore gets a report that Castro's prepping his nuke, and says their only option is to counterattack. JFK starts to crack, unsure what to do next. Steel tries to de-escalate the situation, but JFK gives the order to go to DEFCON 2. Zari 2.0 gets a brainstorm, and offers to enter the order into the teletype machine. She secretly types in orders sending everyone on leave.

Back in Cuba, Castro gets a call from the actual Che Guevara. When Castro mentions his cousin Jay's there, naturally Guevara has no idea what he's talking about. Castro instantly assumes Behrad's a CIA agent. Behrad uses the Totem to escape, and Castro screams that'd he'd better tell his bosses to call off their mutant or he'll launch his nuke. 

Back on the ship, Sharpe overhears Castro threatening Behrad. She tells Heat Wave their only choice is to kill Kayla in order to prevent Castro from destroying the world. Heat Wave balks, saying the alien's their only shot at finding Canary. Sharpe realizes that, but preventing all-out nuclear war comes first.

Heat Wave accuses Sharpe of thinking of him as a hired good who's only good for killing. She agrees, saying that's exactly what she needs right now. He grimly says it's good to know where he stands, and stalks off to kill Kayla.

Heat Wave & Spooner find Kayla snooping around the missile. Spooner senses she thinks the missile is some kind of escape pod. Heat Wave yells at Kayla, saying she can't ride back to her planet on a nuke. He tells her he has a ship of her own, and offers to take her wherever she wants to go. 

Elsewhere in the bunker, Castro gets fed up and launches his missile, to the horror of his staff.

Back in DC, Kilgore gets a report that the missile's on its way and urges JFK to launch a counterstrike. Steel tries telling JFK that the Russians don't want nuclear war any more than he does, and to call Khrushchev to negotiate.

Kilgore grabs the "nuclear football" (which is just a briefcase with the launch button inside) and says he's initiating the counterstrike himself. There's then a very silly scene in which JFK's men face off against Kilgore's in a deadly game of touch football, for possession of the button.

Steel eventually grabs the football and hands it over to JFK. He says the Cuban launch was a mistake, and just because they're going to die when it hits, they don't have to take the entire world with them. JFK agrees, and deactivates the football.

Steel and Zari 2.0 then hold hands as they prepare to die.

Kilgore says he's not gonna go down without a fight, and runs out on the White House lawn. Now completely insane, he begins firing at the approaching missile with his handgun. It lands right on top of him, but for some reason doesn't explode.

We then see why, as Heat Wave, Spooner and Kayla (!) walk down a corridor of the Waverider. Heat Wave's carrying two cases filled with the plutonium he stole out of the missile, which rendered it harmless.

He then opens a portal and pushes Spooner through it and off the ship. He & Kayla then go to the Bridge, where Sharpe's waiting for them.

Kayla begins working on the Bridge equipment, and Heat Wave explains she's turbocharging the ship. He says he made a deal with her— get her back to her own ship, and she'll help him find Canary. He says he doesn't trust her though, so he has to do it alone. Sharpe thanks him and leaves.

The rest of the Legends return to the landing coordinates, only to find the Waverider's gone. Sharpe tells them Heat Wave took it on a special mission. Zari 2.0 asks where they're supposed to live now, and Steel says they can hang out at Constantine's House Of Mystery.

On the Waverider, Heat Wave warns Kayla to keep her tentacles off his beer. She shrieks something at him, and he says he doesn't speak alien. She then activates a control and morphs into the form of a sultry human woman. She grabs his beer and chugs it, impressing him.

• This is the first episode of the entire series that doesn't feature Caity Lotz, aka Canary (even though her name appears in the credits). That leaves Dominick Purcell, aka Heat Wave, as the only actor who's appeared in every episode.

• Whoever wrote this episode did their research (or at least paid a visit to wikipedia). The Cuban Missile Crisis did indeed begin on October 16, 1962.

• On the Waverider, Steel runs into Zari 2.0 (who looks exactly like his true love Zari 1.0) and they have the following conversation:

Zari 2.0: "Oh, you're not used to my nighttime makeup. I mean, no makeup. Sorry to ruin the illusion."
Steel: "No, you, um... you look just like her."
Zari 2.0: "Oh. You mean the other Zari."
Steel: "Yeah."
Zari 2.0: "I could change my hair if it would help."
Steel: "Help what?"
(She indicates his crotch.)
Zari 2.0: "Whatever's happening down there."
Steel: "It's not my fault."
Zari 2.0: "Mm."
Steel: "I was sleeping."
Zari 2.0: "Yeah."
Steel: "It's natural."
Zari 2.0: "Whatever you say, Steel."

So yeah, thanks a lot Legends Of Tomorrow, for introducing the concept of "morning wood" to prime time. 

• Heat Wave briefs the Legends and says he managed to locate Kayla's pod in 1962 Cuba. 

That's odd, since back in Ground Control To Sara Lance, we saw Canary open an airlock and jettison Kayla (along with several alien pods) into the Temporal Zone. Make no mistake— she's clearly tumbling end over end, completely unprotected through space.

So how the hell did she end up INSIDE a pod in Cuba?

If you watch the video very closely, right before she's sucked into the vortex you can just make out a couple of her tentacles reaching for one of the pods. I guess it's possible she latched onto it, opened it up, threw out the occupant and climbed in herself.

• Also during the briefing, we get this exchange:

Heat Wave: "Well, Gideon helped me find this photo buried amongst some old KGB files. Report about a crashed space alien. It was redacted until Putin was ousted from power in 2044.
Sharpe: "Redacted?' 'Ousted?' 
Where are these words coming from, Rory?"
Heat Wave: "I know words."

Seriously? Why's she so surprised that Heat Wave can be literate when he needs to. Did everyone forget that he was a best selling author a couple seasons back? Why wouldn't he know words?

• Heat Wave, anxious to start the mission, sends the Waverider to Cuba before the rest of the Legends have time to get dressed. This puzzles Spooner, who says:

Spooner: "Okay, hold up, I thought this was a time machine. Why not bring us back an hour earlier? That way, y'all can change out of your PJs."
Zari 2.0: "Oh, girl, we don't ask those questions."

I see what you did, Legends Of Tomorrow writers! You KNOW your damn show doesn't make any sense, so you just lampshaded the problem so I can't call you on it!

• Gideon's talents truly know no bounds. Not only does she synthesize marijuana gummies for Behrad, she even designs customized packaging for them as well— complete with her own brand name and logo!

• The Legends arrive in Cuba and attack a convoy that they assume is transporting Kayla's pod. Amazingly, Steel actually steels up as he battles Castro's troops! Wow! This is the second week in a row that he's used his superpower on this superhero show. 

Even more incredibly, this week the writers remembered he's an historian, and he actually used his considerable knowledge to help save the world. I should point out though that Steel studied at Oxford, and wasn't a fellow Harvard man as he tells JFK.

• The Legends steal a truck, believing it contains Kayla's pod. Heat Wave pries the lid off the crate, as the others anxiously peer into it. Something about this shot seemed familiar, but I can't quite remember where I've seen it before...

There it is! Looks like this week's director is a reeeeeeally big fan of Tarantino and his infamous "trunk shots."

• Steel, Sharpe, Spooner and Zari 2.0 are all shocked & stunned when they realize they've captured a nuclear warhead in the middle of Cuba in 1962.

Honestly I'm impressed that the Legends (sans Heat Wave, of course) had all heard of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Especially Zari 2.0— not only is she from further in the future than the others, but she seems like the type that wouldn't be interested in anything that happened more than a month ago.

• Heat Wave takes control of the mission, landing the Waverider in the jungle during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He then conveniently "forgets" to activate the ship's cloaking device, allowing US spy planes to get a good look at the futuristic ship and assume it's a new Russian weapon.

Gosh, it's really too bad that no one on the team has any way to contact the sophisticated AI that controls the ship, so they could order it to activate the cloak.

Legends Of Tomorrow has always had a VERY poor track record when it comes to casting actors resemble historical figures. And so it is with this episode. This is supposed to be John F. Kennedy. Jesus Christ! There's no way in hell anyone would have guessed that unless told.

Even worse, actor Aaron Craven doesn't even attempt Kennedy's voice! Seriously? JFK had one of the most distinctive and recognizable accents in presidential history. Heck, little kids can even replicate his nasally "Pakh the cahh in the yahhhd" Boston accent with ease. 

So why didn't Craven try it here? Could he not do it, or did the producers think it'd sound silly?

JKF's brother Robert Kennedy was a huge fail as well. Actor Preston Vanderslice looks like more like an Omega House reject than the US Attorney General.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tim Perez makes a pretty decent Fidel Castro, although honestly it'd be tough to screw up his trademark look.

And Behrad really does look like Che Guevara! Or at least his cousin "Jay."

• Steel & Zari 2.0 infiltrate JFK's Oval Office in a desperate attempt to prevent nuclear Armageddon. I'm sure it's no accident that Zari 2.0's fetching little outfit resembles Jackie Kennedy's omnipresent pink suits.

• JFK's military advisor is the aggressive, gung-ho General Kilgore. Seriously? KILGORE? Who named this character, Charles Dickens? Subtlety, thy name is Legends Of Tomorrow!

• Sharpe poses as a Soviet scientist to infiltrate Castro's base and abduct Kayla. She does a pretty good Russian accent— To my ears at least. I have a feeling a real Russian would probably disagree though.

While in the base, Sharpe's forced to perform a vivisection on Kayla. Turns out the alien has silver blood, just like a unicorn! Who knew?

• In order to escape with Kayla, Sharpe secretly cuts the nitrous oxide line, flooding the room with laughing gas. Right on cue, everyone in the room starts giggling uncontrollably and eventually passes out— except for Sharpe, who's apparently immune. What the hell? Are clones unaffected by nitrous?

When Sharpe cuts the nitrous line, everyone in the room starts laughing uncontrollably and eventually passes out-- except for her. Are clones immune to laughing gas?

• When the Russian Ambassador accuses the US of attacking them with a "steel man," Steel downplays the incident as a hoax. General Kilgore says he believes the report, claiming DARPA's been working on a serum to turn a soldier's flesh into metal. A couple things here:

First of all, the mention of DARPA seemed suspect to me, as I was under they impression they've only been around twenty years or so. Turns out they were founded in 1958! So they were definitely around in '62.

Secondly, Steel actually got his powers from a serum! Way back in Season 2's The Justice Society Of America, the Legends went back to WWII to prevent Eobard Thawne (aka the Reverse Flash) from giving a super soldier serum to a Nazi officer named Baron Krieger. 

During the mission, Steel— who suffered from severe hemophilia— was injured and began bleeding uncontrollably. Atom stole the super soldier serum, modified it and injected it into Steel to save his life. The serum cured his hemophilia, but inexplicably gave him the power to transform his body into living metal.

Is it possible that DARPA somehow heard about Atom's serum and are trying to reverse engineer it for themselves?

• Did Behrad secretly the song Peace Train? While hanging out with Castro in his bunker, Behrad grabs a guitar and sings the song in an effort to calm the dictator and convince him to not start WWIII. 

Cat Stevens wrote Peace Train back in 1971. But what if someone in the bunker heard it and started singing it later, and at some point Stevens heard it and claimed it as his own?

By the way, Behrad has a pretty decent voice. And it looks like he was really playing the guitar, not just faking it.

• Did the editor mix up some scenes in this episode? While Behrad's busy singing Peace Train, we're treated to a montage of Cuban soldiers 
unboxing and prepping the nuclear missile, and aiming it toward Washington DC.

In the very next scene, Kayla escapes from the lab and tries to kill Castro. Fortunately he's saved by Behrad, but Castro blames Kennedy for the assassination attempt and tells his men to launch the nuke.

Why would they prep the nuke BEFORE Castro flipped his lid? Shouldn't these two scenes have been reversed?

• JFK gives the order to go to DEFCON 2. Zari 2.0 offers to enter the order into the teletype machine, so she can issue fake instructions and stall the end of the world. She then proceeds to type 120 words per minute— with her thumbs! HAW! Looks like all those years of texting really paid off!

As funny as this scene is, this raises a good question— do they no longer have computer keyboards in 2044, where she's from? Seems like she'd have encountered one at some point in her life, and know how to type normally with all her fingers.

• When JFK decides not to retaliate, General Kilgore goes nuts and steals the nuclear football— which, as I mentioned before, isn't a piece of sporting equipment at all but just a briefcase containing the launch button. 

Kilgore grabs the "nuclear football" (which is just a briefcase with the launch button inside) and says he's initiating the counterstrike himself. There's then a very silly scene in which JFK's men face off against Kilgore's in a deadly game of touch football, for possession of the button.

Only a show as nuts as Legends Of Tomorrow could take the term "nuclear football" literally, giving us JFK's squad facing off against Kilgore's in a deadly, over the top scrimmage.

• More historical accuracy: During the impromptu touch football game for control of the nuke button, JFK screams in agony as his back goes out. 

This is consistent with the facts, as Kennedy famously suffered from back problems his entire life. It started when he was injured during a football game (!) at Harvard, and was exacerbated during his service in WWII.

We also see JFK's iconic rocking chair in the Oval Office. Kennedy had it brought in because he claimed sitting in it relieved his chronic back pain.

• As the Cuban missile arrives, the deranged General Kilgore gets a very Dr. Strangelove-esque comeuppance. Nice!

• At the beginning of the episode, Steel sees Zari 2.0 without her makeup, and notes that she looks just like HIS Zari— the one he clearly still has feelings for. When Sharpe sends the two of them to the White House together, it's a dream come true for Steel, as he's obviously pretending Zari 2.0 is the version he knows and loves. He even holds Zari 2.0's hand when the nuke approaches and it looks like they're about to die.

Once the crisis is over, this happens:

Zari 2.0: "I look like her again, don't I? I hate that I'm a reminder of everything you lost."
Steel: "You're not. I mean, I guess at first."
Zari 2.0: "But now?"
Steel: "Now you just remind me of you."

I'm pretty sure Steel's line was meant to show us that he's finally over losing Zari 1.0. But it could also be taken another way, and indicate that after sharing a near death experience with her, he's now got the hots for Zari 2.0. 

I guess time will tell which it is.

• All through the episode, both Sharpe and Heat Wave try to convince Kayla to help them find Canary. Yet at no time do either of them refer to her by her name. Heck, at one point, Heat Wave even calls her "Dummy!" 

Wouldn't they be more likely to convince her to help if they actually called her by her name?

Plot Trickery Alert: At the end of the episode, the Legends all rendezvous back at the Waverider, only to find it's not there. With nowhere else to go, they decide to hang out at Constantine's House Of Mystery.

Gosh, if only they had some sort of device that could open a portal onto the ship. Ah well.

Yes, I get that the writers want to split up the team and prevent them from returning to the Waverider for story purposes. The problem is they had an easy way to get back on it— one that the show hoped we wouldn't remember.

• At the end of the episode, Heat Wave and Kayla set out in the Waverider to find Canary. At one point Kayla's tired of not being able to communicate, so she uses a holographic imaging device— just like the one Gary has— to transform herself into a sultry and formidable-looking woman.

This was obviously done for two reasons: 1. It's much cheaper to film a human actress instead of someone in complicated and expensive alien prosthetics, and 2. They wanted to give Heat Wave a new love interest who's his physical and spiritual equal. Look for yet another relationship on Legends, as we get a Heat Wave/Kayla pairing next week!

This Week's Best Lines:
Nothing much this week really, except this exchange between Behrad & Sharpe:

Behrad: (on comms) "Guys, thought you might like a little update on El Comandante."
Sharpe: "Wait, you're with Fidel Castro?"
Behrad: "Yeah, we're super tight, but the problem is, he thinks the alien was sent to kill him."
Sharpe: "Why would he think that?"
Behrad: "Because it tried to kill him."

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