Roughly halfway through the season, the Legends have been reunited. Sara’s back from her Space Odyssey, she and Ava are together again, and the team’s back on the Waverider (and out of John’s house, which I’m sure he appreciates). Now, everyone wants to get back to normal, so they literally revisit the past. Sadly, their usual Western contact doesn’t show up in “Stressed Western.”
Aboard the Waverider, Ava is trying to make Sara breakfast in bed as a welcome back present. The team is actually helpful for once, with most of them contributing little touches, and Behrad apparently doing a lot of specialty shopping. Grateful for the lengths he went to, the team also does something special for Mick, in what is about his only scene in the episode. As Ava rushes off to serve Sara, she tells Nate to come up with a Legends mission to get Sara back in the groove.
Missing from the meal prep, Spooner and Gary are trying to get a new gadget installed to make finding the aliens easier. They bicker with Astra, who is studying magic, and things get tense. Constantine, still feeling the loss of his powers, comes by to ask Gary some questions, and is clearly off his game, since he doesn’t question what Gary tells him. Ava is trying a bit too hard with her breakfast for Sara, and Sara finally blurts out her big secret regarding what happened to her on Bishop’s world. The two talk over the ramifications and agree to keep things secret for now. Oddly, Mick knowing about it too never comes up.
Returning to the bridge, Sara gets a rousing ovation from the team and a greeting from the handless Gideon. Their mission is going to take them to Fist City, Oklahoma Territory. Nate, their historian, rattles off what he knows about the history of the rough and ready town, and everyone gets ready. They do look good in Western gear, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen most of them dressed up this way. Arriving in town, they check the place out, make their way to the saloon, and find out that nothing is the way they expected it. The reverse of rough and tumble, the place seems like a Western as imagined by the late, great Fred Rogers, with musical numbers and a balladeer in white. Even the jaded Sara remarks how weird this is.
Not one to be dissuaded, Constantine presses Gary on something very important to him. The now-alien, former Time Agent (how did he pull that off, anyway?) is clearly not telling what he knows, and Constantine is seemingly falling for it. Nate is utterly lost about what’s going on, and Spooner gets in a great line. The team splits up to try and find out why the town is so different than expected, but instead find strange rules, unexpected games, some Behrad and Zari bickering, and a strange shift in appetite for Sara.
Eventually, they hear about a new sheriff, who Nate also knows a bit about. The man’s entrance isn’t at all what you’d expect, and the balladeer literally sings his praises. Nate, as he learns more about some apparently reversed roles in town, gets even more confused. Things take a turn when Astra decides she’s going after a target of her own, and Spooner tries to talk her out of it. They have the first less than pleasant interaction with someone from here, and we see exactly how the rules are so strictly enforced. The team is stunned, the townsfolk apparently used to it, and the sheriff drops a not-so-subtle hint about them all leaving town. Back to the ship they go, to consult Gary about what they saw. He fills them in on some details, they get the latest McGuffin to chase, and Nate comes up with an odd way to go about their new task.
The team returns to the saloon and things continue to get weird. Constantine gets firmer in his questions for Gary, and they touch on a bit of their mutual history that I’m still surprised made it onto the show. Sara and Ava talk first dances and milkshakes, and Zari keeps giving advice to Behrad. There’s an argument, a hint of what’s to come, and a challenge. While the balladeer croons some more, Spooner and Astra strike out on their own, bicker, find a few points in common, and are followed by a stranger who we’ve seen hints of.
Sara and Ava are both worried about Sara’s upcoming fight, which is unusual for both of them, but they’ve been through a lot lately. The big event happens, with Gary playing comic relief again, and things go badly. The Sheriff is definitely not a good guy, Sara’s secret gets revealed, and things change hands. Astra and Spooner make a few unexpected discoveries, and meet our special guest star. Things get steadily worse in town, and the team flees to take cover, once again apparently forgetting that many of them have powers.
A standoff develops, and most of the Legends go really off task, descending into assorted side conversations. Once again, Nate steps up and tries to keep things moving smoothly, but it seems like everything is working against him. Gary finally tells Constantine something he wanted to hear, but the circumstances make the wizard even angrier. Astra, Spooner, and their new friend head back to town to help the team. This goes on for a while, and Nate finally snaps. He lets go a tirade of things that have been weighing on him for a while, and the man has had more than his share of losses. Nate does something I wondered about from the start, and then he gets some help from an unlikely team up. There’s something closer to a traditional shootout, and things finally start wrapping up.
In the aftermath, the visiting stranger has a good talk with Spooner and Sara. After that, the closing scenes are all linked by the balladeer, who seems to have shifted to the omniscient viewpoint and gets around really easily. Constantine gets a new quest which for some reason he decides he has to do alone. Sara and Ava talk, clear the air, and approach things from a healthy new viewpoint. Zari and Behrad patch up their quarrel, and Behrad does something really nice for Nate. After a sort of After School Special moment from the balladeer, the show ends on a very amusing, breaking-the-fourth-wall kind of moment.
What I liked: It was a fun, silly episode that the Legends excel at. I really liked the guest star, both in the character that was portrayed and getting to see that actor. The unexpected musical numbers were really entertaining. I really hope Constantine’s new quest ends the current storyline they have him suffering through, which I really don’t like. It was nice to see Nate catch a break.
What I didn’t: I kinda missed seeing Jonah Hex. He’s been in all their other Western stories. Some of the intra-team conflict seemed really manufactured. And, as ever, the team is really erratic in the powers. Zari and Behrad never used theirs at all. Why was Mick gone for most of the episode again?
It was a fun episode. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.