“Witch Hunt” may have been set during the titular Salem witch trials, but the hour belonged to a dotty fairy godmother, hijinks at the Time Bureau, and a pair of pigs. In other words: It’s just an average episode of Legends of Tomorrow.
Don’t point your 17th century crossbow in my direction just yet! I know there’s lots to love about the hour: the godmother’s couplet-fueled dialogue had me cracking up, the central mother-daughter conflict was heartfelt, and again, there was a pair of pigs. But Legends cut a major corner this week to make the plot work. Zari’s decision to disobey Sara’s orders tracked, but her subsequent outburst (and reveal of her powers to a room full of paranoid Puritans) at Jane’s trial was so uncharacteristic, even she paused to ask herself what the hell she was doing.
Look at this way: This ensemble show doesn’t really work when it’s having one Legend make a boneheaded decision just to raise the stakes.
Even Constantine’s come around on the idea of joining the Legends’ quest for now — but not the Legends as a team member, of course. (The idea that he won’t wear costumes and expects pay is a blurry line he’s drawing in the sand — do the Legends even have an HR department? Gideon? — but it’s a line all the same.) He’s arrived at just the right time: Ray has built a Time Seismograph that can track magical fugitives, and they’ve located their next target: Salem in 1692.
There, they quickly discover that while the humans accusing women of being witches are monstrous enough, there is something supernatural lurking about. Sara, Ray, and Zari — Constantine and Mick weren’t into the job, and end up bickering on the Waverider — observe a woman named Jane Hawthorne being dragged away for her “witchcraft” and her daughter Prudence begging for mercy, before a murder(!) of crows arrive to peck at those hurting Jane. When the team regroups on board the Waverider, Constantine helps them deduce that it’s Prudence who’s hosting a demon and using it to protect her mother.
And so, the five-some return to Salem and prepare themselves for a fight — only to find that Prudence’s demon is a Fairy Godmother straight out of, as Sara puts it, “Disney hell.” The bubbly Fairy Godmother (the… BFG? sorry) explains in song that she’s there to make Prudence’s dreams come true, but Constantine knows she’s not simply tossing around harmless glitter and singing really catchy songs.
See, she’s a demon who can’t be sent to Hell because Prudence would be, too, and she needs Prudence as a host to survive. And so she suggests, ever so sweetly, that Prudence should think about how nice it would be if these strangers went away, and the girl agrees. As the Fairy Godmother gleefully uses tree roots to trap the team and summons crows to peck at their faces, the quick-thinking Zari promises Prudence they’re there to help Jane, and Prudence stops her violent granny. Soon enough, the Legends bring Prudence to safety aboard the Waverider and even give her a Beebo(!!!!!)-related game to play while she waits.
Unfortunately, bringing Prudence on board means bringing the Fairy Godmother there, too. She laughs as Constantine tries to find a loophole around her connection to Prudence and finally reveals what she’s doing torturing people instead of creating pumpkin carriages and leaving things be: The Fairy Godmother was locked away for a thousand years by humans and wants revenge on them for shunning her. (It’s not clear what happened post-Cinderella in the show’s world… maybe the Legends should visit the Brothers Grimm soon. Or Charles Perrault.)
She disappears to carry out her plot, and manipulates Prudence into distrusting her new time-traveling friends by showing her a video of Sara telling Zari earlier about how Jane has to die during the witch trials to ensure history goes smoothly. At that, Prudence wishes to leave, and the Fairy Godmother gladly obliges, pausing during their escape to torture the Legends standing in their way: She turns Ray and Mick into pigs (so fairy tale of her, really) and casts a spell on Constantine so he’s unable to speak.
If only she’d also managed to stop Zari…
NEXT: Ugh, Time Bureau-cracy
Back in 2018, Nate’s taken one step forward, several steps back with his father, Hank. The elder Heywood wants to know what Nate’s doing with his life, and thinks Nate could use more money, but Nate refuses Hank’s help, unable to bring himself to tell his father the truth of what he does and why he doesn’t need an income. (Tell that to Constantine, Nate!)
That said, he does need one if he’s going to stay in 2018: While not pulling off heroics around history, Nate has nowhere to live, so he’s been crashing at Time Bureau HQ, where, that same night, he runs into Ava, who’s pulling an all-nighter to prepare for her meeting with the Defense Department the next day. She’s worried about her budget proposal: How is the DoD going to approve massive amounts of funding for magic if all the anomalies in history have been fixed?
Nate has a plan: As an expert schmoozer, he’ll be her wingman, and in exchange, she’ll let him continue to live in her workplace. The next day, though, Nate’s unable to hold up his end of the bargain when he realizes the DoD representative is Hank. He forces Gary to attend the meeting instead, and — surprise, surprise — Gary’s attempt at proving that magic exists by showing off his missing nipple from the unicorn attack doesn’t convince Hank that the Bureau could use more support. Hank evicts them, and Ava musters all of her pep talk energy into making Nate understand that he needs to talk to his dad and convince him of their plight.
That brings us back to the pigs. Nate heads to the Waverider for help, only to find the halls empty and his friends now cuddly swine. Curiously, he understands pig-Ray, so he quickly brings pig-Ray back to the Time Bureau as evidence. Only thing is, pig-Ray’s not doing a great job translating to everyone else that he’s human. He needs some more finesse…
… and a Fairy Godmother to finally be released. But for the jolly lady to leave, the Legends need to find a way to convince Prudence her mother’s okay. Zari’s already tried to take care of that: She left the ship on her own after Sara told her they can’t change history to protect one woman and tried to talk Jane into escaping from behind bars. Jane, though, has made up her mind, telling Zari that Prudence is strong enough to move past the anger Zari warns her she’ll feel about not being able to protect a loved one. Zari obviously speaks from experience, but Jane just accepts her fate.
Even at her trial, Jane doesn’t protest as the paranoid Reverend Parsons stabs a birth mark on her neck and claims she’s been burned by the devil. Instead, Zari’s the one who can’t stand it in the end and uses her totem to blow the Reverend away and threaten the men in the room. She becomes violent, practically force-choking them until she realizes how scared the women look — and as she gazes at what she’s done, dazed, several Puritans drag her away while the Reverend accuses her of being a witch, too, and order her and Jane burned at the stake.
Sara does her best to undo the mess — she even arrives with a crossbow — but it’s Prudence who hits pause, literally. She freezes time with the Fairy Godmother’s help, releases her mother and Zari from their bonds, then orders the Fairy Godmother to burn the reverend. But Zari, now realizing just how fighting fire with fire doesn’t work, advises Prudence to stop. “People always fear what they don’t understand, and that fear turns them into monsters,” she says. “We can’t let it turn us into monsters, too.” Aww.
Prudence listens and finally releases the Fairy Godmother, whose spells reverse and, well, promptly causing pig-Ray to turn right back into Ray… in the nude. Seeing this, Hank immediately plays Fairy Godmother himself and grants Ava her wishes — $4.2 billion for the Time Bureau a year to “ensure this never happens again” — before praising his son for becoming a superhero and putting his history degree to good use. Impressed, Ava offers Nate a job, and while he doesn’t accept right away, he decides to stay behind instead of accompanying Ray back through the portal to the Waverider. He’s thinking of giving dinner with his dad another round — and even if this gig doesn’t work out, at least this scene gave us a chance to watch Nate and Ray awkwardly bro-hug.
As for the events in Salem, Constantine captures the Fairy Godmother and tries to strike a deal with her — he could use an ally right about now — but she says no. She knows who he is, and she knows he’s on the run for something she’d rather go to Hell than face. Constantine sends her back into the depths of Hell, as she wishes.
Zari, meanwhile, gives better news to the Hawthornes: She tells Jane and Prudence they’re free (and should find a change of scenery), and Sara doesn’t stop her from affecting history. She tells Zari back onboard the ship that she wants to help Zari through her deep-seated anger toward what happened to her family, not shut it away. History may need fixing, but people do, too.
Ugh. Too cheesy? Whatever — just think about the pigs. PIGS!
- Zari’s totem fell into the fire and while the necklace melted away, the totem itself wasn’t affected, was it? She did gaze it at for a while afterward…
- Of course pig-Mick would head straight for the kitchen and make a mess. (Human Mick on the other hand, is suspicious of Constantine. Guessing this will come up again down the line.)
- Excellent validation joke, Gary. Just the wrong audience, as usual.
- Ray’s eager delivery of his “mythteries” pun is too good for this world, too pure.