blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s07e08 – Paranoid Android

Every once in a while, “Legends of Tomorrow” will do an episode reminding Caity Lotz isn’t just top-billed on the show or the captain (now co-captain) of the time ship; she’s also really the star. This episode is done from the perspective of the (presumably) android Lotz introduced in last episode’s cliffhanger. Rogue Waverider AI Gideon has created (presumably) android duplicates of the “Legends” to hunt down the human versions and stop them from screwing up history by helping people.

The episode’s got opening titles setting up the new, evil team, and then there are appearance changes as well. Lotz is bustier in her android version, and Nick Zano has hilariously big arms because evil Gideon has a sense of humor. The other big change is Adam Tsekhman doesn’t appear in the episode, but his character’s alien form does. And this version likes eating people more than Tsekhman’s.

The team feeds the alien the innocent people history demands they kill, and history demands they kill a lot of people. Their mission this episode is to clean up after the Chernobyl disaster. Not the actual disaster, but the disaster of the good Legends saving a bunch of people. So Shayan Sobhian and Lisseth Chavez delight in irradiating terrified people to death while Lotz wonders if good guys should act differently.

When Lotz’s revised mission is to force Soviet general Ego Mikitas to lie to the citizenry about the Chernobyl threat being averted, he directly challenges her self-identification as the hero. A little investigating later, Lotz realizes there’s something else going on, and she especially can’t trust team doctor Jes Macallan.

After the recap and the conclusion of the cliffhanger, the episode starts with Macallan mysteriously resurrecting dead teammates. Everyone notices it—Sobhian and Chavez don’t care thanks to bigger guns—and Lotz can convince Tala Ashe to think differently.

It gives Ashe something more to do? She and Lotz don’t get to team up much anymore, and Ashe has been playing a different version of her character for a couple seasons, so bringing her back to the norm and then doing a Stepford riff on it has a lot of layers for Ashe to work with. Plus, there’s a lot of humor to the new characterization; it’s a dark episode, so the gags help. Zano’s goofy arms are worth at least a smile every time (and they’ve got an excellent spoof commercial tying into another DC property).

The finale’s depressing and raises some questions about how time travel adventuring shows work in general—but for a done-in-one concept episode. Lotz gets to do a good arc.

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