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From Beebo to the delirious Puppets of Tomorrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the Arrowverse’s brilliantly zany time travel drama, is always testing the boundaries of what’s possible within a network superhero series. That experimentation reaches a new peak in the April 15 episode, “Séance and Sensibility,” which boats an extravagant Bollywood musical number — and EW is debuting exclusive new photos from the show-stopper above and below.
“A lot of [our ideas] come from a place of not self-destruction but trying to figure out the most difficult thing you could try to do,” showrunner Phil Klemmer. “And I’d definitely count this among the hardest things I’ve ever attempted.”
In the episode, the Legends travel to Regency-era England chasing a time fugitive who precipitates an outbreak of unbridled lust that inadvertently causes Jane Austen to abandon writing. The romance in the air has a profound effect on Zari (Tala Ashe), who is typically guarded but succumbs to the magic.
“We just wanted to use this conceit as as a way of understanding why Zari keeps all of her feelings contained and what it would be like if they came out in a giant explosion,” says Klemmer.
The result? A full-blown Bollywood set-piece featuring original music and lyrics. “Usually we just fit something crazy into our story; [here] the entire story becomes something crazy,” says Caity Lotz, who plays Sara Lance/White Cannary.
When Ashe was told about the routine, the first thing she told the writers was: “We need to rehearse the crap out of this,” she says. “I feel I know how to sing, but I don’t feel like I know how to dance. I’m not sure if I ever got comfortable with it, but I was able to get through the moves in a reasonable way.” But Lotz, who has a background in dance, was dying to do more. “The [background] dancers are, like, running around and flipping. I’m like, ‘Let me do that part!’ says Lotz with a laugh.
Fun fact: This isn’t the first time Ashe has been part of a Bollywood musical act on television. Seven years ago, she recurred on Smash and was part of the NBC musical drama’s big Bollywood-themed number “A Thousand and One Nights.” From Ashe’s perspective, though, “they were essentially different experiences” and their similarities began and ended with aesthetics.
“In the Smash one, it was really fun and really incredible to be dancing alongside Anjelica Huston,” says Ashe. “This one was really, really character based for me and Zari’s story. It kind of starts in the world of Jane Austen and Regency-era, and then in the wonderful, crazy Legends way, we land in Bollywood. But all of it, at least in my mind, made sense for the evolution of Zari’s character.”
She continues: “It was more challenging in a great way, and I’m really grateful to Phil and the writers, who in both the past two seasons have challenged me in really exciting ways.”
So is this the last time Legends will embrace its musical side, or do the future hold an even bigger song-and-dance routine? “This episode has encouraged us to try something more ambitious, although it’s not necessarily a musical episode,” says Klemmer. “I’d rather do a music video episode.”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns Monday at 8 p.m. on The CW.