The Legends join the circus, while Nate and Amaya kick ass and make up
The Legends may suck at fixing anachronisms, but they sure know how to put on a show. This week’s romp had perhaps one too many characters and subplots, but it was far more entertaining than the exposition-fueled premiere thanks to its Mission of the Week: a stop in 1870 Wisconsin to visit P.T. Barnum’s still imperfectly titled circus show, where five members of the Legends end up on stage themselves.
They obviously didn’t mean to be a part of the act. The team chose the anachronism for its Level 1 designation — Rip’s team has been labeling the myriad anachronisms by levels of difficulty and gravity — as a way to prove they can take care of a small fry. (They decide not to handle the Titanic after an outburst from Stein. Oh, show, please never stop referencing Victor Garber’s filmography, especially in episodes that also feature Billy Zane. Even if you’ll have to soon enough.) Too bad the small fry gets even bigger when Ray tries to use his new
shrink ray hyper-molecular compress on the anachronism, a sabertooth tiger that wound up caged inside Barnum’s tent. The tiger, enlarged instead of shrunken, leaps out of his cage and into the wild. Oops.
Sara decides the best way to track down a giant tiger would be to call for help from their friend with animal abilities, so she makes a pit stop in 1942 Zambesi to pick up Amaya. Vixen wants to see the old team, but she’s wary of coming to face to face with Nate again. After all, she ghosted him on his birthday six months earlier in Central City, leaving him heartbroken. Sara assures her Nate knows she’ll be boarding the Waverider, but of course, it turns out to be a little white lie.
Even so, Sara and Amaya manage to get the job done on their own, tracking the tiger in the woods and shrinking it into a cute little kitten they bring on board. Unfortunately, things don’t go as smoothly for the guys: Distraught at seeing his ex, Nate downs one too many shots of whiskey and ends up steeling up in the middle of the bar where Barnum (Zane) has also been drinking away his sorrows (namely, losing the sabertooth tiger). Barnum marvels at seeing, well, a marvel that could potentially turn his show’s fortunes around, and when he approaches the inebriated Nate, Nate spills the Legends’ secrets. He boasts of how Jax can turn into Firestorm and how Ray can turn “teenie-weenie.” Having seen Nate’s abilities at work, Barnum is even more interested in his friends, and later manages to kidnap an unusually gullible Jax and Ray by luring them with the promise of flexible acrobats in his tent.
Nate, meanwhile, collapses inside the Waverider and wakes up hungover with Sara and Amaya chiding him for being the worst Legend. It’s his fault Barnum has Jax and Ray locked up in a cage now, and that their Level 1 anachronism has turned into a Level 4. As Barnum puts it: Ah, poppycock.
(Next: They’re gonna need a bigger timeship)
With tensions flaring up everywhere — Nate and Amaya can’t help sniping at each other over their value to the team — it’s no wonder Barnum quickly adds both of them to his act when they dawdle around Jax and Ray’s cage. Then again, their imposed heart-to-heart works out for the best: Amaya finally tells him why she left him all those months ago, and apologizes for doing so. She explains that she had to see her granddaughter Mari — the Vixen she glimpsed in a news report that night — in Detroit in person, and that after talking to Rip, she knew she needed to return to 1942 sooner or later to ensure that Mari doesn’t disappear.
Elsewhere, though, Sara doesn’t get a second to breathe. At the circus, she spies Gary, one of Rip’s minions, lurking around and spying on the team. She knocks him out and forces him at gunpoint to tell Agent Sharpe that the Legends are doing a great job and that the increasing Levels are because of him — but of course, the plan backfires, as Sharpe boards the ship herself to check things out. Sara and Sharpe duel it out, but eventually get so worn out both agree to take a break, just before the sabertooth tiger, which Mick accidentally let out of its small cage, wanders into the kitchen and returns to its fearsome size. Sharpe makes a run for it, but Sara manages to save her life again.
At the circus, things have gotten even crazier. Sara sent Stein and Mick to save the rest of the team, but Mick’s fear of clowns drives him into hiding almost immediately. Alone, Stein goes undercover as a clown, basking in the applause so much he nearly misses his chance to merge with Jax and flame on.
Behind the curtain, Barnum is having a ball shooting bullets at Nate to make him show off his ability. Seeing how much the act tortures Nate, Amaya finally uses her totem, but just like what happened at the end of the season premiere, her abilities seem to get the best of her, as she nearly kills Barnum with her super-bear strength. Nate stops her just in time, reminding her who she is — and Barnum being Barnum takes advantage of the moment to sell his show to the masses.
In the end, Sharpe allows Sara to keep her ship, but Sara presses her enough to make her finally reveal that Rip indeed needs them around to handle an even bigger threat. Sharpe refuses to say what it is, but then again, the Legends aren’t too concerned with this nameless enemy. They laugh when Sara tells them of the “greater evil,” and besides, they have Amaya back. After Nate tells her that their conversation earlier did make him feel better, she chooses to come clean to the rest of the team about how she’s begun to lose control of her powers, and that she’s been ashamed of it. She’ll eventually go home, she says, but for now, she has a lot to figure out. They welcome her back with open arms — even Nate — and Amaya allows herself a smile.
Unfortunately, nothing’s ever that easy when it comes to Legends. Far away in a secluded spot, a hooded character chants and raises a woman out of a pool of water. (Viewers of CW Seed’s Vixen will recognize her as Kuasa, a villain from the series. For everyone else, read my colleague Natalie Abrams’ postmortem, which details exactly who Kuasa is and how her history connects to Amaya’s.) As she materializes, the figure tells her they have work to do — evil work, I presume.