Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e09 – Zari, Not Zari

It’s an unexpectedly strong episode. Not everything goes off without a hitch—teaming up Jes Macallan and Dominic Purcell as they go through time trying to make it seem like Purcell was a present dad ought to be a great comedy subplot but instead just seems rushed.

And, despite some really good acting from Maisie Richardson-Sellers, the main plot involving she, Caity Lotz, and Matt Ryan looking for a missing relic (again) so they can fix the universe (again) while running from Richardson-Sellers evil god of a mean older sister, Joanna Vanderham. Vanderham’s not a great villain. Not so far. She’s not a bad villain, but she’s not a great one.

The relic is hidden in the British Columbia woods and, while there, the good guys stumble across a “Supernatural” episode filming. No star cameos—in fact, it appears to be a prop cameo—but it’s fairly cute, albeit draggy. There’s some obvious twists and turns you’d think at least Lotz would see coming, given they’re familiar “Legends” tropes.

Where the episode excels—before the third act, where even the Vanderham stuff excels—but where it excels throughout is Tala Ashe. She’s now sleepwalking herself into bed with alternate reality boyfriend Nick Zano (alternate reality to the show, but not to the viewer), so brother Shayan Sobhian suggests she go into their family superpowers totem and talk to the ancestors.

Only when she goes in, Ashe finds the alternate universe self waiting to talk to her, which turns out to be a far better scene than it ought to be, given the goofiness level. It’s because Ashe can pull it off because Ashe is so good. When the show’s stars are at their best, they’re not just selling the silly mix of supernatural and superhero, they’re making it believable. Ashe does it times two this episode (versus Richardson-Sellers’s times one). Plus Ashe then has an absolutely phenomenal resolution to her eventually tragic subplot.

The emotional weight of the episode helps it get over the laggy sections… plus the five minutes it feels like we’ve literally seen the same turn of events before (from a couple seasons ago).

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