Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e14 – The One Where We’re Trapped on TV

I’m not going back to count, but I feel like at least half this season of “Legends” is them getting knocked off track for an episode then getting back on track by the end. It’s fine, there have been some great episodes, but there’s no momentum on the main plot.

So while this episode is amusing—the Legends are trapped in TV shows with Caity Lotz doing a bad William Shatner impression for a while (with Jes Macallan doing a Spock), Nick Zano doing a riff on Joey from “Friends,” and Matt Ryan playing Mr. Carson from “Downton”—it’s definitely just a gimmick. It’s well-produced though maybe not well-executed. But it’s also hard to say for sure because the trip through reruns isn’t even the biggest deal in the episode—real Zari (Tala Ashe) comes back. So does Ramona Young.

The episode opens in a dystopia where the Fates have retaken control and turned it into a “1984”-type thing where all you do is work, make mush, watch TV. Young is the protagonist for this section, figuring out things are wrong on her favorite shows as Ashe pops out of the totem and possesses new Zari who’s living in the “Friends” show. Sounds complicated, but plays out real simple. The show almost immediately works itself into a pickle with old Zari, because Ashe is so good. So good. Even when she reunites with Zano, who is still in his “Friends” mode. Also, is “Legends” correct, is “Friends” responsible for the growth of “Bro” culture?

Anyway.

In the real world, Young hooks up with Adam Tsekhman, who also knows something’s wrong, and they go to the TV studio to try to confront the TV actors (not knowing what the Legends are yet). There, they discover a complicated, almost steampunk setup plugging life threads into a computer and auto-generating the TV shows. Turns out Maisie Richardson-Sellers had to get creative to keep her teammates alive.

So will the team get back together and save the world? Going to be a pretty dreary season finale next episode if they don’t….

There are some good jokes, there are some eh jokes; there’s a lot of good acting from Ashe, Ryan, and Olivia Swann in particular.

The show moves a bunch of pieces around to setup the characters who’ve returned and those who haven’t, but there’s no sense what the final battle is going to look like… instead, I’m just hoping some of the developments are permanent for next season because there’s a lot of potential.

Also—amazing makeup and costumes this episode. It’s a great idea, just awkwardly executed.

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