DC's Legends of Tomorrow recap: Genghis Khan rides again in Caity Lotz-directed 'Mortal Khanbat'
Captain Sara Lance is still off in Star City on a mysterious mission, but that’s okay because Caity Lotz’s presence is felt in this week’s episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow since she directed it. And Lotz received the perfect episode for her directorial debut: The hilariously titled “Mortal Khanbat,” which is a fun homage to John Woo’s action films. Given Lotz’s martial arts and dance background, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the episode has some amazingly staged action sequences that are some of the show’s best to date. Not only that, the Grainne Godfree and Mark Bruner-penned script also features some amazing jokes.
We pick up with Charlie and Gary rushing a terminal lung cancer-ridden Constantine back to the Waverider. There isn’t much Gideon can do apart from sedate Constantine because this is a magical issue. So, it’s not long before Constantine is (barely) back on his feet and making his way to the mansion, with Gary and Ray following closely behind to help him.
Even though she just got back to the ship, Charlie begins looking for a way out because her sisters — the other two fates from Greek mythology — have started calling out to her telepathically. Unfortunately, she gets roped into staying on the ship for a team meeting during which Ava shows off her new Encore-tracking device, the Prognosticator, to very little fanfare. You know what the Legends are excited about, though? Nate’s new scooter! (This sets up an even funnier sight gag later in the episode.)
Anyway, Charlie sticks around to help with the latest Encore: Genghis Khan, who pops up in Hong Kong circa 1997 because it took him 700 years to dig out of his tomb. Time may have passed, but Genghis is still intent on conquering the world and plans on using the modern tools at his disposal to do so. His first move? Taking control of the triads.
Genghis shows up at a triad-controlled teahouse the Legends are staking out. Ava’s plan is for them to simply sedate him and bring him back to the ship, but things go sideways when Behrad spooks one of the triad guards. Cue the aforementioned amazing action sequence! First, the triad guards start shooting at Behrad. Then three female detectives flip over a table, pull out two guns each, and start shooting, at which point the scene devolves into stylish slow-motion chaos as bullets whiz through the air. My two favorite moments were Ava’s badass team-up with one of detectives in a 360-degree shot, and Charlie and Behrad’s Mexican standoff with Genghis. Honestly, this entire set-piece is just a true flex on Lotz’s part.
The action scene also sets up one of the episode’s most interesting (and somewhat random) elements: Behrad and Charlie’s relationship. Before the bullets started flying, Behrad seemed very thrown by Charlie’s return, and once all hell broke loose, he was determined to make sure she was alright. Well, it turns out that these two hooked up after Heyworld, but Charlie peaced out shortly thereafter without saying a word and Behrad is still in his feelings about it. All of this feels like it comes out of nowhere because at no point in the first four episodes did Behrad seem to notice or care that Charlie had left. Furthermore, I wonder if there was a way to give Charlie a connection on the Waverider without it involving her hooking up with someone.
Behrad and Nate have a heart-to-heart in which Nate tells Behrad he just needs to ask Charlie what’s up since it might not even be about him. Behrad takes that advice, but Charlie pushes him away even more. “We had sex mate, and it was mediocre! Get over it!” she yells at him, right in front of an imprisoned Marie Antoinette, who hilariously adds, “Mediocre is not bad.” Anyway, Charlie makes off with a time courier because her sister won’t leave her alone.
Through some undercover work, the Legends discover that Genghis plans on attacking and killing Prince Charles — who is in town to hand Hong Kong back over to China — with a new fleet he had the triad build for him: Scooters! Yes, there’s a brilliant shot of Genghis and his men riding down the streets of Vancouver Hong Kong on Bird-like vehicles. It’s hilarious and I love it so much — especially because it’s very specific to this historical figure since horses were a major part of his military tactics back in the day. (“A motorbike is a modern-day horse,” says Genghis when he first arrives on the scene. Clearly, he realized that scooters are the next frontier.) This is the sort specificity I wish we had gotten in episode 2.
Anyway, short story shorter: Charlie actually ends up taking Prince Charles’ place in the motorcade and gets captured by Genghis. Behrad shows up and saves them both by stopping bullets with the air totem; it’s awesome. Through all of this, though, Behrad convinces Charlie to open up about her past to the rest of the team. So back on the ship, she reveals that she’s Clothos, one of the fates from Greek mythology, and her sisters are chasing her because she destroyed the Loom of Fate and scattered the pieces across the multiverse thousands of years ago. Those pieces, though, are now on Earth-Prime because of “Crisis,” which is the gift that keeps on giving. The Legends assure Charlie she can stop running because they’ve got her back, which is sweet.
Meanwhile in England, Constantine tries and fails to find a cure for his lung cancer. When nothing works, he lashes out at Gary and Ray and decides to just die alone. Well, that is until the dog handle of his cane scolds him for giving up when his friends are just in the other room (the switch comes way too suddenly). So, he eventually joins Ray and Gary at the table for one last meal right before he dies from the poison he took in order to have some control over his fate. However, instead of going to hell, he goes to Purgatory and finds Astra there waiting for him. There, he manages to convince Astra that he can fix everything that’s gone wrong for her family, and she turns the gears on his soul chit, sending him back to the world of the living cured of cancer. Newly resurrected, Constantine announces it’s time to talk to Charlie about the Loom of Fate.
Wall of Weird:
- “What is with all these damn scooters? They’re a menace!” says Sara when she returns to the ship at the end of the episode.
- “If you lose your hair, I’m shaving mine in solidarity,” Gary, to Constantine.
- Ray reveals that he wants to ask Nora to marry him; Gary wants to the flower boy at his wedding.
- Constantine’s lung cancer storyline is an adaptation of Garth Ennis’ classic Hellblazer story arc “Dangerous Habits.” Of course, the show made many changes to it.
- Constantine plants a big one on Gary when he comes back to life.
- Early on in the episode, Zari smiles when Ava confirms that she’s indeed part of the team. It’s a small moment, but I loved it.