A Head of Her Time
Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Guest Starring John Noble

“A Head of Her Time” is my favorite episode of Legends of Tomorrow so far this season, and not just because part of it takes at Versailles during the French Revolution, one of my favorite time periods. It starts out with your typical Legends premise — the team travels to Versailles to capture Marie Antoinette, the latest of encore — but then the climax twists in a very interesting way, bringing the story’s focus back on the characters, specifically Zari and Ava. It’s classic Legends, and in the best way possible.

The Morgan Faust-penned hour begins with Sara putting Ava in charge of the Waverider because she needs to leave and handle some business in Star City. Of course, that’s code for “Caity Lotz needed time to prep for her directorial debut episode, which airs next week.” But as usual, Legends turned a potential problem into a problatunity because Sara’s absence allowed the show to continue developing Ava’s relationships with the other team members. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been completely sold on Ava as a character and I’m not sure why (I know that it’s not Jes Macallan, who is fantastic in the role). But this season is starting to change that.

So Ava, who’s worried about people thinking she’s just a “button-pusher in a boring pantsuit,” decides to make the best of her new power by bringing some Time Bureau-esque order to the Waverider with the ALOHA method. That stands for “assess, listen, observe, hydrate [shout-out to the Arrow writers’ Twitter account], and attack.” Although the Legends dismiss the method, Ava gets a chance to show how it might be effective thanks to the latest encore: Marie Antoinette.

Initially, Ava refuses to let Zari accompany them into the field because it’s against protocol. But Zari, who also overheard Ava’s conversation with Sara at the beginning of the episode, manipulates Ava by appealing to her desire to seem cool. Ava relents and allows Zari to join them at Versailles in 1793.

One thing that makes “A Head of Her Time” stand out from the previous three episodes is that Versailles 1793 has a strong sense of place, because it feels like no expense (on a CW budget) has been spared. The halls of Versailles are filled with period-dressed extras and littered with paintings, destroyed furniture, guillotines, and other revolutionary debris that makes it all feel very alive. That feeling only increases once Zari cons her way past Marie Antoinette’s guards and the team walks into a wild party. By the way, Courtney Ford, who portrays Nora, is playing Marie Antoinette. Why? It’s never explained in the episode, and I kind of love it.

As the team makes its way through the party, Ava and Zari realize Marie is using some hell magic to make everyone party to their deaths (of course the boys have already fallen under her spell). Zari has experience dealing with divas and devises a plan to take her down: She gives Ava a makeover and teaches her how to manipulate the French queen into leaving the party with them by teasing her with the existence of an après-party (#FOMO). Ava is a rule-follower, but this plan forces her to trust Zari, and in the process she, like the audience, learns there’s more to this Zari than just her vocal fry and social media obsession. Sure, she may not have all Zari’s hacking skills, but she’s savvy when it comes to dealing with people, as we see with how she handles both Ava and Marie.

Zari’s plan works and the Legends lead Marie out of the party, but the partygoers chase after them and Marie accidentally and hilariously beheads herself during the fray. Back on the ship, Zari ends up bonding with Marie because they were both were thrusted into the spotlight at a young age and have spent their lives trying to fit in and be what everyone wants them to be. It’s moments like this when Legends reveals how smart it is. A lesser show would’ve let Zari’s new influencer status be a joke and nothing else, but the show digs deeper here to explore how that has affected Zari and isolated her from the world.

During their chat, Zari asks Gideon to reveal her future and learns that she suffers a fall from grace because her new perfume Dragoness, which is about to launch in New York, destroys user’s sense of smell. Wanting to avert a disaster, Zari steals Marie’s perfume bottle, which was the key to making everyone love her and party around her at Versailles, and takes it to the launch, hoping to use it to make everyone love her. Naturally, this plan goes to hell because she accidentally spills the bottle of perfume all over herself, causing the press and attendees to become obsessed with her.

Thus we arrive at the episode’s raucous climax: Ava, Behrad, and Nate head to New York to save Zari. Earlier in the episode, Zari told Ava to trust her when it came to handling Marie, and now it’s on Zari to trust Ava when Ava tells her to jump in the fountain with her to negate the perfume’s effects (hydrate!). Ava’s plan works and the attendees calm the hell down, and Nate punches Zari’s fake fiancée, DJ Smoremoney (spelling?), a walking Deadmau5 parody that shouldn’t be as funny as it is in the year of our lord Beebo 2020. (Meanwhile back on the ship, Ray and Mick are busy chasing Marie’s headless corpse, which gets ahold of Mick’s flamethrower, giving us the craziest visual since a headless horseman picked up an assault rifle on Sleepy Hollow.)

With the day saved, everyone returns to the ship. Zari 2.0 throws on a Zari 1.0-like flannel because her outfit was ruined by the fountain, and she even picks up a doughnut to enjoy on the bridge’s steps by herself, which is also a classic Zari move. In fact, Zari has a vision of all the times she enjoyed a doughnut on the ship. Eventually, Ava comes up to her and Zari tells Ava she was impressed by how comfortable Ava feels just being herself, which is something Zari has struggled with since she’s been famous since she was a kid. “I have millions of followers, but zero friends,” Zari says. Well, now she has one in Ava. In some ways, this entire French escapade does for Zari 2.0 what “Here I Go Again” did for Zari 1.0.

While all this is going on, Constantine is reckoning with his past. Natalie, Astra’s ghostly mother, forces Constantine to admit to Charlie and Gary that he was in love with her way back when, but chose magic over her. When she died, he resurrected her so he could prove to her that he made the right decision. Of course, we know how that turned out, since the demon he summoned ended up dragging Astra to hell. Thankfully, Natalie doesn’t do all this just to get back at Constantine. She has a plan to save Astra: They need to find the Loom of Fate, and their first lead is none other than Charlie, who claims she destroyed it. Unfortunately, Astra, from way down in hell, makes her move against John: She uses his soul chip to turn his burgeoning lung cancer up to 10, which causes him to collapse to the floor in a fit, coughing up blood. In other words, Constantine is suddenly dying.

Wall of Weird:

  • Mick has come down with a case of the feelings after hooking up with that woman at his high school reunion.
  • Ray and Nora say “I love you” to each other for the first time.
  • “This isn’t a club, Zari. It’s an execution.” “An event is an event.”
  • “I’m a sucker for a corset and updo,” Nate, to Zari, as they walk around the party.
  • Marie uses a guillotine to slice a cake. That’s all.

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