Legends of Tomorrow: Bishop’s Gambit

They brought popcorn, but it’s not a show most of us want to see…

Things are getting even stranger than usual for the Legends, and that really says something. So far this season, we’ve dealt with Captain Sara Lance being abducted by aliens, the secret origin of Big Belly Burger, an evil painting, and an animated sequence that was like a demented Disney scene, among other things. Now we learn a bit more about Bishop, Sara’s kidnapper; what happened to Amelia Earheart; and then a huge shocker at the end; as well as what Mick has been up to with his new friend. The strangeness just keeps coming in “Bishop’s Gambit.”

Following up last episode’s surprise, Sara confronts Bishop, a bit dumbfounded since she just killed him. One of the few times we see his composure slip is when Sara makes a comparison that seems more than fair enough to me. This is followed by more of Bishop’s self-aggrandizing boasting about what he’s trying to do, and telling Sara no one is coming to save her. Naturally, this is followed by the Waverider coming in to Bishop’s world, as Kayla and Mick banter about drinking, unfair advantages, terraforming, and what their priorities should be when they manage to land.

Constantine is less than thrilled about the Legends making his place into their temporary headquarters, and all manner of chaos ensues as he tries to stagger through his morning. The only reassuring bits are Astra making progress in her studies and Zari making him a very nice offer. Mick and Kayla’s infiltration goes badly from the start, between divided loyalties, surprising opposition, and an unexpected theft. Ava, more through determination than skill, gets a version of Gideon running, and learns about a surprising event in 1956.

I know this tends to be a “shut off your brain” show, but when they even mention the lack of the Waverider and its useful gadgets at the start of the show, it’s hard to not wonder how they got from modern Britain to 50’s upstate New York. At any rate, they find out who they were looking for isn’t who we thought, but it is someone else we’ve seen. Constantine and Zari get back to the house in a better mood, which lasts about as long as it takes to see the new sign that’s been put up in their absence. John and Zari get filled in on what happened to get to this point as they all watch a very unusual show, and Spooner says some things that first impress Ava and then make her sigh.

Sara paces her finely appointed prison, not liking what she finds. Then, she gets a surprising visitor through a very unique method of entry. They have a quick conference, and then Sara gives some orders and finds a renewed sense of hope. Spooner and Behrad give their own unique spin to good cop/bad cop as they try and find out if their new guest can tell them anything about Sara. There’s some debate about what to do next, and Spooner takes matters into her own hands. What they find out leads them back across the sea and the decades, however they’re managing that, with appropriate wardrobe for the era. Kayla sees a familiar face and takes full advantage to give her an edge with something she’s working on.

While Nate and Ava make a surprising discovery, Sara draws on her League of Assassins training and begins seducing her target into doing what she wants. There’s singing, joking, and a lot of hidden scowling. Spooner starts pushing their newest guest, and while that would usually be enough to send someone over the edge, in this case it’s Ava, returning from her trip and very insistently demanding answers. This kicks off a few surprises, including Behrad actually using his powers and their guest revealing their true nature. After a few more wrinkles, Constantine goes to see Astra about some help with their current problem. Bishop gets what should be a troubling alert, but he seems amused by it, and gives an order that one of the Avas finally questions. Bishop’s indifference troubles her, and I wonder if this is the start of a great Ava revolt. Finally, she follows the order, which leads to different complications for both Mick and Kayla.

With a lot of preparation and some backup, Astra begins trying to find out what their “guest” actually knows. Things don’t go as expected, and they learn a lot of surprising facts about their newest visitor’s background. Eventually, things get pushed too far, and there’s a transformation that no one was prepared for. Spooner watches all this through the monitors, and has a conversation with Behrad about how to deal with being on the Waverider. Their outlooks couldn’t be much more opposed if they tried, but she seems to take some comfort from that conversation. Then there’s another development that makes her feel a lot more on edge. Mick improves his circumstances while Gary has a very peculiar meeting with some of the people he admires most.

In the aftermath of the earlier chaos, Constantine drinks and avoids questions from Zari. When she presses, he fools her, with some help from someone else, and asks a question that’s probably going to haunt him in coming episodes. Mick and Kayla link up and he does something surprising. Bishop’s argument with Ava gets interrupted when Sara arrives, dressed to kill. Her attempt to take a softer approach lasts about as long as it takes Bishop to offhandedly mention that he killed one of her friends. As you may imagine, that puts things in a different perspective.

Mick reveals the surprising motivation behind his near-obsession with rescuing Sara, and it does make a certain amount of sense, while also showing a depth of feeling and respect he’s hidden pretty well up to now. After having changed locations, Zari checks on Spooner, who has some odd new issues cropping up, and the woman from the future comments that “Everyone is being weird today.” That’s probably more baseline than unusual for this group. Setting her own plan in motion, Sara uses some clever means to defeat Bishop’s biometric security devices.

On the run and being hunted, Mick and Kayla manage to arrive at their next stop. After some fighting and more running, they end up in cramped quarters and then do something not at all surprising. Spooner makes a discovery about her own powers, and that leads to some actual dialogue with their “guest.” The team hears a surprising and disturbing claim, but we the viewer know better from what we’ve seen. Then, in the final scene, there’s a big shocker of a reveal that casts everything into doubt and is going to have some long-lasting repercussions for a major character. I didn’t see this one coming, and it really shocked me.

What I liked: I actually felt bad for Constantine trying to deal with everyone at his place. Astra came through for the team. Spooner’s new ability is intriguing and I wonder where it will lead. Sara got in some great moves. The big reveal at the end was stunning.

What I didn’t: I’m very unclear how the team is travelling between continents and eras without the Waverider, and how they’re getting the new clothes. They’re really having trouble balancing screen time with this many characters. Did Nate do anything at all useful this episode? I’m not sure Behrad really adds much but a source of cheap laughs at this point.

It was a decent, not great, episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5, largely for that big end scene. It’s an erratic show and this wasn’t one of their better outings,