One of the problems with Legends of Tomorrow (aside from the title no longer making any sense at all) is the size of the cast. They have too many players, and even when they cut someone (I still miss Ray), they tend to fill their slot almost immediately. So, occasionally, they need an episode focused on one of the characters to give them some decent screen time and story. This time around, it’s Constantine’s turn to be the main player, which I find worrying since DC has already made the incredibly foolish decision to cut the character from the show because of a completely unrelated project. Both for the episode and how a lot of us feel about that decision, there’s some “Bad Blood.”
Constantine is at home and not dealing with the loss of his magic well at all. The living portrait of Alistair Crowley isn’t helping any, mocking and belittling the ex-warlock. Never one to leave a bad situation alone, Constantine descends to extortion, and Crowley gets a very unusual banker involved in the matter. She and Constantine don’t get along, and there are assorted threats exchanged before their business is settled. Aboard the Waverider, things continue in their usual surreal fashion. The team is trying to keep new alien acquisition Gus under control due to his powerful sonic attack, Gary has lost his glasses so he’s in alien form, and there’s a lullaby/jam session going on. Spooner uses her powers to tell them some of what Gus’ problem is, and then stalks off to get away from some of the madness, prompting a comment from the newly returned Zari 1.0.
Apparently destined to get no peace, Spooner next finds Lita trying to get Mick to accept his new situation. The pyromaniac thief is taking news of his pregnancy by alien about as well as you’d expect. Rescue, of a sort, shows up in the form of Constantine asking Spooner for her help, and she’s fed up enough with the entire ship to run off with the man, when she should really know better. Taking a jump ship (I’m really not clear on why they need the jump ship sometimes and the portal device others), the two journey to Spain in 1938, at the height of the brutal civil war there. Constantine gives Spooner a history lesson that she really wishes she’d known before they set off on this journey. With some fast-talking, they manage to get in with the right people to start John on his way.
Aboard the ship, Behrad serves drinks and flirts with Astra, while Lita does some role reversal and ends up trying to get Mick to take his situation more seriously, very much acting like a parent to her father. Lita makes a few good points in their discussion before chaos erupts in the from of Gus going through some changes. Back in Spain, Constantine and Spooner try and get a lead on their quest, and hear a fishy story neither believe. They do some more investigating, and then things get much worse when some of the Nazi-adjacent government soldiers arrive. They are unfortunately well-informed, and Constantine and Spooner barely manage to evade them, making their own surprising discovery in the process. Things go badly, someone shows an impressive ability to the soldiers, and things get much more complicated. Constantine ends up on the run alone and struggling with temptation that was left for him by the occult banker.
The struggle with Gus is mostly off-screen and for comedic effect, giving a background to other issues on the ship. In this case, Lita is worried about Mick and he’s making some odd comments that don’t reassure her. Mick is feeling some serious guilt for something he did a little while ago, and I’d bet that, since that’s not something he’s used to feeling, it’s even harder on him than it would be for others. Lita has her own reaction to the stress of the moment, and it does have the effect of focusing Mick’s attention. In Spain, Spooner has an interesting conversation with someone that indicates the post-Crisis Earth has some early heroes when Constantine returns, running a new bluff that stuns her. It’s an entertaining bit, especially knowing Constantine’s history and feelings in this area.
On the ship, Zari and Behrad give a nod to an old cartoon as they help Lita and Mick get where they need to be. This turns into a reveal about something that was done to outmaneuver Mick and an amusing bit of open affection among the Legends. Eventually, some teamwork gets Gus handled. Constantine’s newest dodge buys them some time and lets some important information get shared before general chaos and combat erupts. Really, that was just a matter of time. Spooner, Constantine, and a new friend manage to get away, and John’s cynical side shows through. Spooner has had enough and demands answers, and Constantine goes on an unexpected and vulnerable rant that convinces her to help against her better judgement. They finally get where they’re going and Constantine gets a shocking disappointment. He spins this into his specialty, something that sounds almost altruistic on the surface but is entirely selfish. Things go downhill rapidly as the plan fails, the soldiers find them, and Constantine does something disturbing and desperate. It’s really ugly to watch.
Lita, Mick, and Gideon have an amusing scene in the medbay, which is when Sara and Ava return from the excuse that kept them out of most of the episode. Lita says something touching and Ava uses a nickname I haven’t heard from her before. Constantine and Spooner wrap up their business in Spain and return to Constantine’s place. John is very, very drunk and a bit morose. Spooner actually opens up a tiny bit about her past, and Constantine points something out to her. Their amusement at something Crowley does fades fast when John does something else, and it appears that at least some of his magic is back. Constantine ends the episode by making yet another deal and betraying someone else in return for a very questionable gain.
What I liked: Matt Ryan plays a magnificent Constantine, which is one of the reasons so many of us are annoyed by DC’s weird decision about him. Him getting more screen time was a good choice as far as I’m concerned. While it was mostly comic relief and background, the battle with Gus was entertaining. She had a minimal role, but it was nice seeing original Zari back. I’m good with seeing Gus go.
What I didn’t: I don’t like either Constantine’s current story arc or the decisions made about the character by DC execs. The bit about Gary losing his glasses was just weird. I really want to go back and watch his every appearance now and see if he was ever without his glasses before this alien thing was decided on.
I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. We’re most of the way through the season. I’m wondering where they’re going with some of this.