Bettina Strauss/The CW
Shirley Li
October 24, 2017 AT 11:20 PM EDT

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

type
TV Show
genre
Action, Sci-fi
run date
01/21/16
performer
Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Dominic Purcell
broadcaster
The CW
seasons
2
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

Sometimes when I’m watching Legends of Tomorrow, I’m struck by just how odd it is that a show like this even exists.

Not odd in that it’s groundbreaking television or anything — it’s one of, what, 37 superhero shows currently airing? — but in the fact that it can be so transparently meta and silly and fun even though its plots revolve around Serious Matters. It spent tonight’s episode introducing a character with a devastating backstory while having another one spend the hour high out of his mind. It turned time travel into both a perfunctory plot device and a nifty punchline. It has, just like the Legends, somehow continued to spin new ways of staying relevant in the face of pretty much everything.

Maybe that’s because it continues to veer in directions you simply wouldn’t expect, treating every episode as a completely different adventure from the last. This week does that well by not only expanding the mythology of the show but also exploring a cool new setting in Seattle in 2042. (Plus, it’s an hour packed with jokes.) The city has become a militarized one controlled by an out-of-control ARGUS, which, since 2021, has rounded up metahumans and incarcerated them. (Ah, DC, taking a page out of Marvel’s X-Men‘s playbook.) There, a woman named Zari is being transported to a prison when Kuasa, the water witch from last week’s tag, intercepts the vehicle and tries but fails to kill her.

The Legends get involved when they, too, make an interception. Gary, the quavering Time Bureau agent who got roughed up by Sara in the last episode, had sent a report back to headquarters about how his anachronism turned out to be a deadly metahuman. Sara hears this and leads the team to 2042, where they easily find Gary and use his intel to figure out a plan. It’s an easy one: Find Zari, and then use her as bait to capture Kuasa.

It sounds easy, anyway. When the Legends arrive at Zari’s hideout, she leaves them to deal with ARGUS while she hacks her way into ARGUS’ network and erases herself from their feeds. Luckily, Sara manages to lead the team as they take out the soldiers; unluckily for Mick, he doesn’t get to shoot a single one.

He gets a lot more to do soon enough. After learning that Zari is a criminal with a lengthy, impressive-to-Mick background who’s also being hunted because of her Muslim identity, Sara asks Mick to lead them to a place where a criminal trying to stay hidden would, well, hide. He takes them to a bar — but just as he begins to make conversation with his new crush, Zari catches sight of Kuasa, who’s arrived ready to fight. Sara, again, gets the rest of the team out of harm’s way: She fights Kuasa until Kuasa overpowers her, then has Mick start a brawl so the two of them can escape as well.

Zari’s grateful for the help and is astonished to find that her group of stalkers have turned out to be time travelers. (Gary spilled the beans. Do better, Gary.) But she offers them a trade for her use as bait: She needs the Legends to help her break her brother out of an ARGUS facility first. At this, Dominic Purcell Mick perks up. “Prison break?!” he marvels. “I’m in.” Like I said, this show likes to get way meta — even if it’s a trick they’ve pulled before.

Inside the facility, Zari finds the room number of her brother, and Ray and Jax almost release him when Jax notices that the facility is actually experimenting on metahumans, not just trapping them. Angry at the metahumans’ mistreatment, Jax ends up unlocking all of the prison’s doors, and as a riot breaks out, the Legends lose sight of Zari, who has run off to a storage room where she finds an amulet. When she returns to the Legends, she admits she duped them into helping her pull of a heist that would allow her to have her brother’s treasured possession again — and as she explains this, the necklace begins to glow — just as Amaya’s does, too, on board the Waverider. (Next: A mystical malfunction)

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