blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s06e09 – This Is Gus

It’s such a good episode. And not just because of the last five minutes, which are fantastic and remind how the magic “Legends” really started when Tala Ashe arrived. She’s spectacular.

And it’s not just because there’s an adorable alien who looks like the goofy Gremlin in Mogwai form (there’s a little Gremlins montage in the music). Or because there’s a fantastic plot arc for Mick (Dominic Purcell) and his daughter, Mina Sundwall, which is hilarious, heartwarming, and not anywhere near done. Or because Shayan Sobhian gets a showcase where he’s going through Back to the Future changes but, like, George McFly-style, not Marty. Or even when he gets to talk about the representational importance of Muslim potheads in popular culture.

It does all of those things and gives Olivia Swann a whole subplot with Sobhian and gives Lisseth Chavez a Han Solo blaster.

But the string through all of them is a sincerity to character. An ambition for character. “Legends” taking a leap—it just goes there with the representation subplot (then makes it a big part of the main plot as Sobhian changes due to changes in his favorite sitcom)—isn’t really a surprise. The show likes its big, earnest character swings, which it almost always achieves thanks to the actors and writers, but this episode hits a home run then does two victory laps in a matter of minutes.

It’s outstanding.

The best acting from the episode, no contest, is Ashe, but it doesn’t really count because she doesn’t get great material until the epilogue. Sobhian’s really good in the A-plot. It’s either him or Purcell, though Purcell also doesn’t have as much to do (and he’s got Sundwall and Jes Macallan doing a bunch of heavy lifting on the B plot). Nick Zano has a bunch of material—with the promise of taking a much more prominent role in the rest of the season thanks to twists and turns—and he’s real good. Swann’s got some terrific scenes. Plus, a bitching golf cart on a studio backlot chase scene. Not sure whose idea it was to have that chase scene, but director Eric Dean Seaton does an excellent job with it.

Tyron B. Carter gets the script credit. Lots of good scenes. The stuff with the baby alien on a sitcom is all good, all funny; it just doesn’t compare to the character development running under it.

The episode ends with two big surprises; one of the surprises is well-forecasted, so it can be an in-joke between the viewer and one of the characters, but the other one is a definite surprise and promises more than they’ll ever be able to deliver.

I was confused when they wrapped up the big bad so early in the season, but the second-half setup is awesome at this point.

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