One of the entertaining things about Legends of Tomorrow is their great sense of humor. The show not only makes fun of itself regularly, it makes fun of a lot of aspects of television. They had one really memorable episode where they hopped from show to show, touching on sitcoms, science fiction, and networks in general. For this episode, they set their sights on reality television, and (fittingly in my opinion) link it to Hell, literally. They really are trying to appeal to the “Lowest Common Demoninator.” No, that’s not a typo.
The Legends hurriedly teleported away from the aircraft factory that came under attack by Evil Gideon’s forces, and Gideon had to make a snap decision about where to go. Bearing in mind the only home she’s ever had is the now-destroyed Waverider, it sort of makes sense that she jumped them all to the pocket dimension that resembles the departed John Constantine’s mansion. Unfortunately, with no one on the outside, the way out now leads directly to Hell, so they don’t have an easy way out. Sara, realizing Evil Gideon can’t find them here, decides they’re going to stay put until they can work out a plan. Doctor Davies, the least experienced of the team, falls prey to some manipulation and leaves their safehold vulnerable. In short order, Ava sets up a unique version of a “crazy wall,” complete with lots of yarn, and Sara talks about the team’s priorities for what they need to do next. Gideon is worried about her choice of destination and wonders if she’s somehow endangering the team, while Gary tries to reassure her. They decide to go enjoy themselves upstairs while the others talk strategy.
No crisis will prevent some personal drama on almost any show, and the Legends are actually, as far as most of them know, in a safe place for once. So Behrad takes advantage of this to talk to Nate and Zari about his feelings for Astra, which have been blindingly obvious for a most of this season at the very least. It’s an amusing little scene, and leads to Zari and Nate reflecting on their somewhat odd relationship. Astra and Spooner, realizing something is wrong, find Davies and realize what’s going on. They do what they can to safeguard the mansion, but it’s very much along the lines of closing the barn door after the horses after gotten out. There are immediate hints that something isn’t right, and the new title card isn’t confidence-inspiring.
Acting on Astra’s advice and Ava’s orders (after the co-Captain comes up with and discards a bad idea), the team splits up to search the place. Zari and Nate end up with some wardrobe issues after something conspires against them, Sara and Ava both admit they’re running out of capacity to deal with new problems, and Astra and Behrad have their own close encounter. The team uncovers a secret some of them have been hiding, and Astra realizes what they’re up against, providing a sort of holographic briefing via hastily cast spell. We get a rough rundown on what they are facing, hear the somewhat clunky way to beat it, and Astra says she can deal with the problem. Davies, fortunately for him, doesn’t know what reality tv is, and Spooner’s explanation shows which show she’s going to be mocking (it actually seems to be a mash-up of Survivor and Naked and Afraid, as we’ll see more of later).
We see a suspect glass of wine appear just in time for Sara to grab it and start drinking before she goes all Real Housewives of the Waverider. I should note at this point that my guesses as to what show is being mocked are from either comments the characters make themselves or some very general stereotypes, since this is not a genre of tv I watch. While Sara’s new attitude causes some problem with Ava, Zari and Nate get into a very strange argument about them not hooking up. Davies finds Sara and presses her to hold up the deal they made when they met, which Sara overreacts to, under the influence of the magic in the air. Spooner reappears and has taken one of her shows to heart, unnerving the conservative man from the 1920’s. Astra walks the streets of hell and runs a really good bluff on Harris, a network executive in the Infernal Realm (make your joke here; there are far too many of them). Astra nearly succeeds in her mission, but Behrad’s well-intentioned “help” brings the whole thing crashing down around them. Harris uses his powers to take control of the situation, and then makes a (to him) horrifying discovery about Behrad. Sent back to the mansion, Astra makes her displeasure with Behrad known.
Gary and Gideon have what should be a sweet moment together, but the reality show energy in the air screws it up and she walks away. Then they take on the “confessional interview” bit that’s a part of many such shows, and Gideon ends up talking to Harris and revealing some doubts that aren’t good to share with the enemy. Now changed in attitude and even appearance, Gideon starts wreaking havoc among the team, starting with Gary. She then turns her malicious attention to Zari, and fans the flames of her argument with Nate. Gideon guides Zari into making some bad leaps in logic, and very much enjoys it. Gideon next drips some poison in Nate’s ear as he starts more and more resembling someone from (I think) Jersey Shore, before going on to plant some bad ideas in Dr. Davies’ head. Astra continues her argument with Behrad, and Gary, worried about Gideon, tries to get some help from Nate, but the transformed historian isn’t really worried about other people’s problems at this point. Gary tries to approach Spooner, but that doesn’t go well for assorted reasons.
Ava makes dinner for everyone, gets some flashbacks to memories that aren’t even hers, and a very confrontational meal is set up, with Gideon egging everyone on. Astra, finally seeing what everyone else is up to, realizes how far off the rails things are, but is sucked into the emotional vortex that has everyone in its grip. Arguments break out among pretty much everyone, and Zari decides to call out the original timeline Zari. Zari 1.0 realizes things are off, but ends up getting pulled along by the out-of-control energy. Somehow, Gary is the only one either mostly or wholly not affected by all this, and ends up leading the others on a chase as he tries to get them to realize what’s wrong. That scene really needed the Benny Hill music. Finally, the big screaming match in the front hallway is broken up by Behrad, who has resisted his own temptations and delivers a rare serious speech. This ends up meeting the bizarre conditions Astra mentioned back at the beginning, and the curse is lifted.
In the wake of them all acting the way they were, assorted apologies are offered. Most of them make up, and Behrad and Astra get a nice moment together before Gary calls everyone together for a house meeting, which I think is a Big Brother nod. The others are a bit confused about what he’s got them all together for, and he stands up for himself, and Gideon, for once. Gary’s speech is impassioned and Sara realizes the team has been unfair to the newest, if most unlikely, couple. Everything is going all right and things are looking up until Gideon makes an announcement about what they should do next. The others think it’s a joke at first, but it becomes the cliffhanger they leave the episode on.
What I liked: As I said, I don’t watch reality tv. That said, some of the stereotypes and situations have become such a big part of modern society that I was able to follow at least most of what they were mocking. The big exaggerated attitudes were really entertaining, and I had fun watching the changes in attitude and wardrobe. I really liked Gary refusing to be comic relief at the end and taking a stand for his relationship. There was a nice bit of characterization for Davies near the beginning of the episode that got more or less lost among the swirl of everything going on.
What I didn’t: Gary did something to get everyone’s attention that should cause a lot of problems going forward, but that got glossed over. I get they had to do something, but the whole setup with their tormentors and the way to end things was kind of clunky. This was a fun little sidetrip, but didn’t really advance any of the main plots at all.
This was some silly fun, and they did some fun poking at tropes throughout. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5, and we’ll see what comes of Gideon’s pronouncement at the end of the episode.