blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s07e09 – Lowest Common Demoninator

“Legends of Tomorrow” doesn’t have bridging episodes; it has rest stops and layovers. Last episode had the cast playing their evil android counterparts; this episode has them back playing their regular parts, just in a trashy reality show. Several characters get subplot work, mostly Shayan Sobhian and Olivia Swann, Tala Ashe and Nick Zano (and Tala Ashe), Jes Macallan and Caity Lotz, and Amy Louise Pemberton and Adam Tsekhman.

Pemberton leaps the Legends into the “Manor Dimension,” an extra-dimensional mansion where they can hide out and usually get free by going through a door. There’s a magic key. It’s been used to good effect throughout the season. Except they don’t have the key. The mansion is sitting just outside Hell, and when Matt Ryan, freaking out about the situation, leaves the window open, some damned souls get in.

These particular damned sold their souls to demon Giles Panton in exchange for making a successful reality TV show. Something went wrong; now they haunt people, and their presence amps up the drama.

Even someone like Ashe, who grew up on a reality show, finds herself unable to control the demonic influences. That reality show’s going to be important because we find out all about how Sobhian hid from it and that hiding changed the course of his life. He’s also just a boy trying to ask a girl (Swann) out on a date, which means he makes the gallant mistake of following her into Hell. She’s going to negotiate her friends’ safe passage with Panton.

Until Sobhian screws it up and makes things worse.

Though not as worse as when Pemberton, miffed the team is upset at her choice of quantum leap location (not to mention her romance with Tsekhman), turns off her emotions to better navigate the alliances and betrayals of the reality show.

Macallan and Lotz have subplots where they’re melting down individually instead of together, with Macallan obsessed with homemaking and Lotz planning an island vacation.

The biggest drama throughout the episode is Ashe and Zano. And Ashe. So, now regular Ashe is the social media influencer from the near future who Zano can’t stand. Only since they’re on a reality show and it’s turning him into a “Jersey Shore,” there’s a lot of tension between them. They go from almost making out to Ashe deciding Zano’s going to mess up his relationship with her alternate universe version (who lives in her magic bracelet). Ashe creates the subplot out of thin air (and the script, credit James Eagan and Emily Cheever), but it works thanks to Ashe. She’s so good overall, but especially here with the comedy.

Also good with the comedy is Lisseth Chavez, who decides she will outplay her teammates to win the reality show. Though it’s unclear if there are any actual (even demonic) rewards.

Eric Dean Seaton’s direction is fine. The episode’s got a Steadicam vibe, but not cheap aughts reality show Steadicam. It’s a little too professional.

The episode requires a lot from Sobhian—getting into his teenage trauma—and while he’s not the best actor, he’s incredibly sympathetic. And Swann’s able to hold up her part of their burgeoning romance arc.

Plus, the Pemberton and Tsekhman stuff is funny, but also not, but also funny about it not being funny.

Good episode, with some great performances from Ashe, Chavez, and Zano; they’re the three most obviously comedically inclined, and it pays off here.

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