Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s07e11 – Rage Against the Machines

One of “Legends of Tomorrow”’s greatest strengths—which I don’t think started until the second season—is finding these absurd, literally comic book relationships between characters and then having actors ably essay them. For example, Olivia Swann has a subplot this episode where she’s being overprotective of Amy Louise Pemberton and showing it through rudeness to Pemberton. It starts as an aside—Swann’s seemingly unconscious of her behavior, so Adam Tsekhman confronts her about it. Tsekhman’s worried about girlfriend (not sure if they’re official actually, but close enough) Pemberton and thinks Swann’s doing it because Pemberton’s basically Swann’s child. Albeit one created through magic and possessing the intellect and memories of a time-traveling supercomputer.

It’s fantastical and ludicrous, and all three actors do a superb job with it. It’s not about finding the mundane humanity in the extraordinary; it’s about humanity scaling up to extraordinary. It’s very cool and “Legends” is very good at it.

The main plot still has the Legends trying to reclaim their time ship. Though it’s more like claim because it’s an evil universe version (sort of). They just don’t know the Robo-Legends are happy to kill every single thing in their way, which forces captain Caity Lotz to reassess and then reassess again after the next tragedy. And then again after the next tragedy. It’s a good episode for Lotz, who has to work through helplessness and futility, mostly on her own, because she’s keeping the futile aspect of it all from the team. Including wife Jes Macallan, who directs the episode and gets injured out onscreen early to give her that time.

Instead, Lotz has to rely on Matt Ryan and Nick Zano for support, with Ryan concocting the eventual plan (though, really, anyone could’ve done it, just gives him something to do). And since everyone else is busy, it teams Zano and Lotz, the series’s longest-running regulars at this point. Some of the time, however, Zano’s playing his Robo-version, which has some obvious and desperate Terminator jokes; Zano’s able to make them work. They’re just silly enough, and he’s just funny enough.

Shayan Sobhian gets a bunch to do as he’s got to infiltrate the evil version of the ship, though he quickly enlists Tala Ashe and Swann’s help. Ashe gets an absolutely phenomenal scene opposite “herself,” having a slapstick fight while no one can figure out which version to help. There’s a strange narrative gaffe—the human Ashe needs to hack a computer, but she’s just a social media megastar, not a hacker, so there are difficulties. She could’ve just brought in her alternate timeline self, who’s literally a hacker. But it’s okay. Ashe is great.

The episode still doesn’t move things along as much as I’d have liked, but I’ve since discovered there are only thirteen episodes this season. They only have a couple more, which means they’re in fine shape. Well, outside the show not having been renewed yet.

The cliffhanger’s excellent too. A little convenient but emotionally rending nonetheless.

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