Legends of Tomorrow: The Satanist’s Apprentice

Hey, wait, is this still the right show?

Legends of Tomorrow is, without doubt, the strangest of the Arrowverse shows. The team has dealt with all manner of random threats, weird creatures, and bizarre situations. Now things get even stranger as we see what Astra has been up to for the past several episodes that she’s been absent from. There’s a payoff from a passing comment made earlier in the season, some unexpected transformations, and nods to both a classic cartoon and a niche genre show. This is also the first episode where Mick doesn’t turn up at all, making it so that no Legend has been in every episode. And as if all that wasn’t enough, “The Satanist’s Apprentice” is also Caity (Sara Lance) Lotz;s second time in the directors chair.

Astra has been notably absent from a good bit of this season. Now we get to find out why as we see her trying to figure out how to manage being on Earth and not being a virtual queen in Hell. She’s staying in John Constantine’s house (which is called the House of Mystery in the comics and really seems like it should have a name here but doesn’t), and is not doing well. To be fair, she spent most of her life in Hell, and is being given no guidance at all by Constantine, who flits in and out in different costumes showing how some scenes tie to prior episodes. Astra has to deal with not being able to get a job, a house that lacks a lot of things people take for granted, and at least one racist neighbor.

At wits’ end, she begins considering pawning items from around the house. Instead, she finds a powerful sorcerer bound in a painting (but no Picture of Dorain Gray jokes) who begins the classic gambit of turning her against John with false sympathy and sweet words. She also finds an old book from her mother, but can’t read it due to a bit of her education. Astra, despite her time in Hell, falls for the magician’s patter hook, line, and sinker. While Astra eagerly treads the primrose path, Sara meets up with the alien who is behind her current predicament. Sara isn’t at her best from her recent run-in with the local fauna, and Bishop, the man in charge, is not at all what you’d expect from what we’ve heard so far. Sara takes some iffy medicine because she’s out of options, and then passes out as Bishop goes into a musical number. No, really.

Apparently she made the right choice, since she wakes up later. She’s restrained in bed, not in a fun way, and finds the nurse taking care of her is disturbingly familiar. Bishop rolls in on a scooter to give a big presentation about who he is and why he’s doing what he is. Utterly taken aback, Sara gets rolled down the hall, told about her role in things as envisioned by Bishop, and there’s an in joke about a tv show that once mentioned Sara herself several seasons ago. They even play the theme, which makes me wonder how much they spent on this episode. Astra’s dark journey continues as she gets seduced by easy early success, misleading words, and nudged along by Constantine being himself. Frustrated, she takes the next step into darkness, and things aren’t looking good for her, and worse for Constantine. Her new master continues to effortlessly manipulate her, and you’d really think she’d be sharper than this.

Off on Bishop’s planet, which I don’t think we’ve heard a name for yet, Sara Macgyvers herself an escape, but hits a snag when the nurse reacts in unexpected ways. Sara tries to reach the woman, but her words seem to fall on deaf ears. Constantine, now in a bad position, tries to warn Astra, but she’s not going to listen. The magician goes on about an odd theory we’ve heard about earlier in the season, and Astra casually dismisses Constantine’s warnings. Astra is just about ready to take the next step when most of the other Legends straggle in from their misadventures at the end of the Bay of Squids episode. Exactly how they got from 60’s Cuba to modern day England is never addressed. Gone too far to turn back now, Astra unleashes more magic on her team and they get imprisoned in a series of visual jokes. Astra is just about to take her next big step when she finds out something important and sinister that was left out of her earlier instructions. She brushes aside her clear qualms of conscience, ignores some pleas from the Legends, and decides to engage in petty vengeance. Her chosen target is understandable enough.

Falling back on the routine that a lot of prisoners do, Sara is knocking out pushups when her nurse comes back to her. Unsure at first what’s going on, Sara is pleased when the nurse tells her that Sara’s words reached her after all, and has brought everything they need to stage an escape. Astra comes to her moment of truth, and her designated victim does nothing at all to help his case. Finally, whatever there is of her conscience kicks in, and she decides to do the right thing. Her new master isn’t having it, and does the deed himself. Astra thinks she has an ace in the hole, but finds out how thoroughly she’s been played. Never passing up a chance to get weird, the show kicks into oddity overdrive as things get vaguely Disney-ish for a major magic battle. There are a lot more visual jokes, a cartoon trope turned to practical advantage, and a big showdown with a little help from her friends. This really is an incredibly odd sequence, and yet it works. The good guys are victorious, evil is vanquished, and the banally bad get away scott free.

The big threat dealt with, there’s aftermath to get through. The evil magician is returned to his prison with a few modifications. John and Astra have a more honest talk than they have in quite a while, and we learn the price that was paid for this victory, which I really don’t like at all. Astra and John bond over their new shared circumstance. Sara’s plan goes off the rails, as she also falls for something she shouldn’t have, and things go south for her. There’s a big fight with Sara’s ruthless fighting efficiency, and what seems like a victory. The show ends with Sara learning she’s in a bigger mess than she thought.

What I liked: They got really odd, even silly, and some of it really worked. The nods to Disney canon in general, Fantasia in specific, and the other genre show were amusing touches. Nate got in another good pop culture quip, and there was a Beauty and the Beast vibe to some of the craziness, too. Sara, when she got to fight, was her usual hell on wheels self.

What I didn’t: Both Astra and Sara were manipulated far too easily. I guess they believed what they wanted to, but it still seems a bit out of character for both of them. I really don’t like what they did to John near the end. I know this is a turn off your brain show, but really, how’d they get across an ocean and several decades? I missed Mick.

I enjoy the amusement factor of this show, but this episode felt like it had some holes in it. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5. I’m curious to see where they go from here.