Legends of Tomorrow: Nip/Stuck

legends

Don’t know any winter coat spells, John?

 

The Legends of Tomorrow are heading for the end of their season full steam ahead. They have possessed teammates, hypnotized friends, and a time-lost warlock to deal with, among other complications. All this and a nod to a departed character are parts of “Nip/Stuck.”

The episode opens back in the Ice Age in what will eventually be infamously known as Donner Pass. Neron-in-Ray’s-Body has brought John Constantine here, and makes demands of the warlock. Constantine, polite and reasonable as ever, refuses. Neron is desperate for the return of his “Tabitha” from Hell, where he claims Constantine sent her, and tells his prisoner that the Time Bureau is being taken care of by Gary. At the Bureau, Nora is going through the initial paperwork, including an epically bad ID picture. Ava praises her for joining the team, pleasing Nora and Mona both. Why Mona is suddenly off the ship and back at the Bureau, we never find out. Ava goes back to her office and gets several surprises at once.

Aboard the Waverider, Nate frets and everyone else is worried about both Ray and John. There’s nothing they can do yet, so they are stuck playing a waiting game. Back at the Time Bureau, things keep getting stranger, puzzling Mona and a few other agents. Mona tries to find out what’s going on, and gets a baffling, out of character response from Ava. In the Ice Age, Neron threatens Ray, and John does what he can to save his teammate, at least short term.

In the lab, Nate and Zari share some odd bonding over a dragon egg, because of course they do. Gideon zeroes in on Neron, and Sara tells her she’s giving them “too much exposition,” which might be my favorite line of the show. The Waverider arrives, Neron smirks and threatens, and they come to an impasse. Sara hesitates to open fire on Ray, and Mick Rory suddenly takes command. This goes badly on several levels, and the ship ends up buried in an avalanche as a laughing Neron teleports himself and Constantine away. Maybe don’t fire at the bad guy when you’re at that low an altitude, guys?

The entombed ship is having major problems, and their call for help runs afoul of one of Neron’s other plans. Sara and Mick bicker, and she brings him with her to see about a way out. Neron and Constantine turn up in a small village in 56 AD, and John gets a big surprise when he sees who is in charge. Nora is having some serious paperwork issues, and Mona tells her what’s going on. Nora is reluctant to believe at first, but sees enough to convince her, and the two form a plan. Sara and Mick argue while they work on a clearly futile plan to get out, with Charlie trying to play peacemaker. The ship has reduced powers, so it’s very cold, but they are all decked out in leftover blue parkas from the late, lamented Leonard Snart/Captain Cold. Constantine continues to defy Neron, but gets some of his convictions shaken as he learns more about what’s going on.

Things keep going badly at the Time Bureau, where Mona tries to fake her way through the madness sweeping the agency. Nate and Zari get some more time with their egg and each other, while Sara gets visited by Mick. Twice. They finally agree that Ray had a plan for everything, so they will go search his room for notes. Mona’s rebellion proves short-lived as she gets a nasty surprise.

Constantine tries to confront the local king, and that goes even worse than usual. Mick and Sara make up their quarrel, but don’t find anything they really need in their search. They seem to be out of ideas for now. Neron gloats over Constantine in his present circumstances, and John remains defiant and uncooperative. Things aren’t really looking good for anyone at this point.

Sara comes up with a unique strategy to not exactly save the day, but at least pass the time, in the spirit of what Ray would have done. Mona has some bad thoughts in her predicament, and gets an unexpected boost. Constantine makes a confession to a fellow prisoner, and the king starts up a magic ritual. Mona gets brought to the center of the chaos at the Time Bureau, and nothing goes as expected there. The team plays a version of Cards Against Humanity based around survival scenarios, come up with by Ray at some point. Sara’s off-the-wall plan has some unanticipated results, which leads to an Empire Strikes Back quote and eventual freedom. Neron’s plan has some unexpected results, and Constantine shows he has a few more skills than we knew about, and also gives us an echo of Empire.

We finally see exactly what’s happening at the Time Bureau, but Neron’s agent gets their own surprise when Mona reveals a secret she’s been keeping. Constantine and Neron battle and seem evenly matched. Mona’s ally manages to free Ava and Nora from the influence that was controlling them, and the allies go to confront their tormentor. Constantine is about to do something drastic when the Waverider shows up, and both Sara and Mick urge their ally not to give up on “Haircut.” Neron is smug and convinced he’s about to win when Constantine does something completely unexpected. Neron manages to get Tabitha back, and it turns out to be a familiar face that I never would have guessed. Mona gets another unpleasant surprise, Ava goes to warn the Legends, and everyone tries to figure out what to do next, while Constantine is, again, alone against incredible odds.

What I liked: The Empire nods were nice. I’m not at all surprised at what the team found in Ray’s room. The callback to Snart was a nice touch. Mona proved more resourceful than I would have given her credit for, and Constantine more self-sacrificing. Brandon Routh is doing a good job of showing someone else being in charge of Ray’s body. The Tabitha reveal was a big surprise that makes a certain kind of sense.

What I didn’t: The ship firing from that low was dumb, and the sudden multiple system problems (and their instant repair) didn’t make a lot of sense. Once again, the show felt kind of like John, Sara, and their sidekicks. I don’t really buy the excuse behind not using Mick’s gun, but then, pretty much no one gets to use their trademark weapons and/or costumes on this show anymore. For example, it would have made a lot more sense for Nate, powered up, to do what Mick and Sara were earlier in the episode to free the ship.

Disturbingly, at this point in their relative seasons, the misfits of the Legends of Tomorrow are actually making better choices than Team Arrow or the folks on Supergirl, who are supposed to be “real” heroes.

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. There are only two more episodes to go, and I’m sure they’ll pull off something fascinating and improbable to wrap things up.

 

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