If life is a highway, then Hank Heywood has reached the end of the road.
Yes, Tom Wilson’s Hank met his demise at Neron’s hands in Monday’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow, “The Getaway.” Constantine’s archnemesis killed Hank after he tried reneging on whatever exploitative arrangement they had because he wanted to protect his newly rebuilt relationship with Nate. It was a heart-wrenching development because Hank and Nate had just turned a corner in the episode after spending the entire season trying to repair their fractured father-son bond. It was also surprising because a death was the last thing I expected to come out of an episode that was basically National Lampoon meets Smokey and the Bandit and featured some very clever dick jokes about Richard Nixon’s name.
Let’s dig into how the zany drama built to Hank’s demise.
In the wake of last week’s episode, Mona is now hanging out with the Legends, who believe the Kaupe was responsible for killing the Time Bureau agent. A clearly traumatized Mona tries coming clean to Sara, but our favorite captain has no time to listen because she’s too busy trying to ignore her own emotions about her fight with Ava and focus on the Legends’ current mission: President Nixon has come down with a case of telling the truth, which causes a lot of chaos in the time stream. For example, his truthfulness means All the President’s Men was never made, which means Robert Redford’s career floundered, and that bums Mick out for a very Mick reason.
“What, no Redford?! No Sundance. No indie film. No artful nudity. We have to fix this!” says Mick, who suddenly cares about the time stream.
In Washington, Hank becomes the Time Bureau’s new director after Ava takes a leave of absence. His first order of business is to bring in the Legends, which worries Nate and Zari, who are still pretending to be dating. Hank follows the Legends to 1971 and commandeers the Waverider. Luckily, Nate and Zari arrived a few minutes before him and warned their teammates. So instead of returning to the ship, Sara, Constantine, Ray, Mona, and Mick kidnap Nixon and jump in a RV because they need to make sure Nixon makes it to Disney World for his infamous “I am not a crook” speech. Unfortunately, they forget Charlie at the hotel.
A cramped RV is the last place any of the Legends want to be, especially Sara, who is annoyed and frustrated, and Mona, who is extremely anxious. Unfortunately, the already tense and hilarious situation becomes even more dire when they discover the source of Nixon’s truthfulness, a.k.a. the monster of the week: a lie-eating bug that burrows its way into a person when they fib and compels them to tell the truth. So now the Legends have lost the ability to lie to each other, which has hilarious results because, as the great philosopher House once said, everybody lies. For example, Constantine admits he purposefully loosens his tie and Mick confesses that he covets Fabio’s long locks.
Unfortunately, the truth bug also causes some drama. Mona makes the mistake of asking Sara if she actually thinks things will be okay. Sara lies, the bug flies up her nose, and she goes off on Mona about everything. Sara is worried that losing Ava means losing her one shot at something real, and she blames Mona for the argument and for losing her ship. Upset and hurt, Mona jumps off the RV and runs away. Sara and Constantine run after him.
Meanwhile, Nate and Hank hop in a police car in pursuit of the Legends. Along the way, Nate starts asking his father about his childhood because Gary needs the name of his dog to unlock his password-protected phone. What begins as an attempt to unravel whatever conspiracy Hank is mixed up in ultimately leads to a touching moment between father and son because Nate is genuinely fascinated by and moved hearing about his father’s youth. Nick Zano plays Nate’s guilt over lying to his father rather beautifully.
Nate ends up getting the information Gary needs, but Neron receives an alert when Gary and Nora break into Hank’s files. Neron alerts Hank, who isn’t an idiot and quickly realizes Nate was playing him. Eventually, though, Nate and Hank catch up to the Legends and arrest them. In the process, the truth bug flies into Nate’s mouth and he opens up about his conflicted feelings about his father. On the one hand, he loves his dad, but on the other hand, he’s worried that their relationship will always be hindered by the secrets his father keeps, like whatever shady Pentagon business he’s up to with the monsters. Hank assures Nate that he’s doing this all for him, and we know that’s the truth because the bug doesn’t make Hank his next target. “The fact that it’s hurting you, Nate, it’s killing me,” says Hank, who agrees to let the Legends go.
Sara and Constantine follow Mona’s trail, and on the way, Constantine gives Sara a “rubbish” pep talk in which he reminds her she doesn’t need to shoulder everything alone, because she has her friends. It’s a moment where the script recognizes the value of lying. Constantine doesn’t believe it himself — he admitted earlier that he doesn’t trust the Legends to help him against Neron — but he knows Sara needs to hear it to feel better, so he lies. At the same time, the show also understands the value of honesty, which it displays when Sara and Constantine find Mona, who wolfed out after an encounter with Time Bureau agents, at a diner. The only way for Sara to talk Mona down is to be completely open and vulnerable with her. “I thought if I could forget the way I was feeling, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad. I was wrong,” Sara says. “You don’t have to bury your feelings. You can let them out.” And with that, Mona transforms back into herself.
With the day saved, Nate returns to the Time Bureau prepared to confront his father about his shady business — but when he enters his office, he finds Nora crouched over his father’s dead body. No, Nora didn’t kill him. She felt Neron’s presence in the building and escaped her cell to find out what happened. Alas, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now Nate believes she murdered Hank. With no other option and the Time Bureau closing in, Nora uses magic to escape the building.
Wall of Weird:
- Sara’s takeaway from the mission: “Maybe that’s what family is: the people you don’t mind being annoyed by”
- “Let’s put Dick in a box.” Constantine, when he stuffs Nixon into the RV’s closet.
- “We are going to Disney World!” “Haven’t we been through enough?!”
- Zari, who helps the Legends avoid capture using a radio broadcast, has the perfect radio voice.