Caity Lotz and Nick Zano are the MVPs of the mockumentary-styled season 5 premiere.
Coming into season 5, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is in an unenviable position. Whereas all of the other Arrowverse shows were able to start their seasons before diving right into the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, Legends had to launch its season out of it. But the writers took what could’ve been a problem and turned into a problatunity, using the crossover to add some emotional weight to the season 5 opener, “Meet the Legends.” The mockumentary-styled premiere is very playful and silly (a bird flies into the camouflaged Waverider), but beneath the sight gags and meta-humor, there’s a really strong and sincere emotional story that bowled me over. In other words, it’s a classic Legends episode.
Although “Crisis” eventually does impact the premiere, “Meet the Legends” is a bit more concerned with the fallout of the season 4 finale. After publicly defeating Neron at Heyworld, the Legends are now famous. They’re hanging out with the Obamas at games, presenting at the Oscars, and starring in commercials. Legends mania is sweeping the country (we need reality to look more like this, tbh). Unfortunately, not everyone is enthusiastic about them — specifically Senator Wellington, who doesn’t trust these screw-ups with time travel. In the interest of transparency, Ava and the Legends invite a documentary crew onto the Waverider, without telling Sara, Ray, and Mick, all three of whom were off dealing with the crossover. (The documentary is called Meet the Legends. I think it should’ve been named What We Do in the Time Stream.)
The mockumentary format brings with it a lot of funny bits. There’s Nate, dressed like a stuffy professor, rambling on about skipping the crossover (read: not being invited to participate) and briefly dying in the season 4 finale; Mona, who is now Mick/Rebecca Silver’s book agent, wolfing out in the middle of a negotiation; and Behrad, Zari’s brother who replaced her on the Waverider, visiting baby him on his birthday. Clearly, the Legends are enjoying their newfound fame. You know who isn’t? Sara.
Our favorite captain, who is clearly carrying a lot emotionally, is far from pleased when she returns to the Waverider to find a bunch of cameras there. This is the last thing she wants to deal with after what happened in the crossover (Ava tells the Legends not to bring up the crossover because she doesn’t want to upset her). To make matters worse, Rasputin, one of the historical baddies Astra released from hell, comes back to life, which causes a time quake, and the Legends force Sara to bring the doc crew with them as they travel to 1917 St. Petersburg (a.k.a. go where the movie 1917 should’ve gone).
Hoping to steal more of the spotlight, Nate/Ray, Ava/Mick, and Mona each come up with a hilariously ridiculous way to deal with Rasputin: Nate and Ray want to just talk him out of seeking revenge, Ava and Mick simply want to kill him, and Mona thinks a love letter from the czarina would fix things. It’s all very silly and very Legends. Rasputin ends up killing the man who assassinated him, but Nate tries to reason with him, you know, one resurrected bro to another. During their chat, though, Rasputin senses that Nate lost someone he loved around the time of his resurrection, which is the first step toward Nate realizing Zari’s absence. I liked that this episode touched on how Nate is feeling after briefly dying. It’s mostly played for humor, but then there are moments like this one where there’s some real emotion to it because what happened was traumatic in a way.
Their bro time, though, is interrupted by Ava, who shoots Rasputin. Unfortunately, Rasputin can’t die because a chit of his soul is still in Hell. So, there’s a lot of commotion, and the Legends barely make it out of there.
Once again, Sara is pissed off with her friends. Not only did they disobey orders and almost die, but they’ve become so obsessed with this documentary that none of them bothered to check-in and ask how she’s doing. Spoiler alert: Not great, bob! Sara is traumatized from the Crisis and Oliver’s death, and she would love nothing more than to talk about it with her friends, but she can’t because they’re too busy mugging for the camera. Lotz is truly heartbreaking in this scene, especially because it was clear she was carrying something heavy since the moment she returned to the ship. What’s even more impressive about Lotz’s performance is that she had to do all of this months before even reading the crossover script or shooting everything that’s currently messing Sara up.
This part of what makes Legends so special. Episodes can have these very silly premises like a mockumentary, but then the script will hit you with an emotional scene like this that knocks your socks off without there being any tonal whiplash. In fact, it’s moments like this that really remind me of Community, another meta show that took stylistic leaps without ever losing track of the characters’ emotional story.
Anyway, Rasputin, who loves the camera, ends up kidnapping Kevin Harris, the documentary’s director, and declaring that he plans on killing the royal family. Annoyed with almost everyone on the ship, Sara recruits Behrad to help her stop this from happening. That doesn’t stop the rest of the Legends from following after and backing her up out in the field. Sara and Ava end up reconciling while fighting Rasputin’s goons. Since nothing they do will kill him, they try a very Legends plan: Sara throws a shrunken and unconscious Ray into Rasputin’s mouth and then tells Ray to embiggen once he regains consciousness, which of course, causes the mystic to explode everywhere.
With Rasputin handled, it’s time for the Legends to get back to their roots. At the documentary’s premiere, the Legends decide to debunk time travel so that they can go back to working in anonymity. Once back on the Waverider, Nate and Behrad get to work fixing Gideon, who is having trouble processing data from two different timelines. In the process, Nate discovers both footage of the moment Behrad took Zari’s place at Heyworld and a goodbye message from Zari in which she says she loves Nate and asks him to find her. Unfortunately, Nate has no idea who she is.
Wall of Weird:
- Impressed by the love letter she wrote, Mick decides to pass the Rebecca Silver mantle onto Mona, who decides to leave the ship and focus on writing.
- At the end of the episode, Constantine traveled to Hell to figure out why Astra released all of these historical baddies.
- The season 5 premiere confirmed that the Legends do indeed like to get high on occasion.
- Ray, Nate, and Behrad have a really cute secret handshake.
- “Should’ve skipped the crossover,” Nate deadpanned to the camera after learning Oliver died in the crossover.
- At the beginning of the episode, Tala Ashe’s name appears on-screen right as Nate said he felt like something was missing after coming back to life. Not sure if that was planned or not, but I loved it.
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