*Spoiler warning for Legends of Tomorrow, season 4, episode 5.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow finally got its groove back. While the first few episodes of this season have been underwhelming, especially compared to how amazing the past two seasons have been, this episode finally felt back up to its old standards. The episode celebrates Thanksgiving and the horror genre, as well as honoring history – a strange combination that only Legends can pull off.
The team goes in three directions this episode. In 2018, Nate and Ava spend Thanksgiving with Nate’s family, while Gary babysits the captive monsters back at Time Bureau headquarters. Ray splits off from the team to find Nora Darhk and get her to save Constantine’s life. The rest of the team – Sara, Mick, Zari, and new team member Charlie – head off to 1951 Tokyo to deal with a new monster that has cropped up there.
When the team arrives in 1951, they steal footage that a film crew shot of the monster. It’s got tentacles, lives in the water, and it’s huge. According to Gideon, the monster would go on to destroy the entire city of Tokyo in the next few days. When they confront the filmmaker, Ishiro Honda – director of the 1954 film Godzilla – they discover that the monster came from a magical book. As demon Charlie explains, the book was created by Brigid – the Celtic goddess of art, creation, and healing – for humans to write their stories in, and whatever they wrote would be played out in real life. Unfortunately, Honda didn’t know that when he wrote a story in it about a giant sea-monster named Tagumo that emerges and destroys the city of Tokyo.
In a rare moment of seriousness, and actually connecting with history, for Legends, Honda explains that he wrote the story to deal with the PTSD of having witnessed the Atom bomb destroy Hiroshima in World War II. Trying to make sense of this weapon that turned everything and all the people around him into ash, Honda wrote this story. Sara tells him that he has nothing to be ashamed of, that he went through something horrible and chose art of a way to deal with it, and that’s beautiful.
The problem is, they still have to deal with a giant city-eating monster. Honda tries to write a new ending to the story in the book, but since a happy ending isn’t in his heart, it doesn’t work. When Tagumo starts to attack, the Legends attack, with the plan to hit it with the shrink-ray, and turn it small enough for them to beat. Sara and Charlie, for the first time working together, manage to hit it, but even as a smaller monster, Tagumo is still pretty big.
A lovely surprise in this episode is bringing back a secret Zari learned last season about Mick – that he’s writing a novel. Staring down a still pretty large Tagumo, Zari convinces Mick to use his gift, and write a new ending in the book. Mick writes to life his novel’s heroine, Garima, Queen of Thanzanon, a large purple warrior woman with three breasts, to vanquish the beast. In a stunning sequence where Garima and Tagumo battle throughout the movie set, Garima defeats Tagumo. Tokyo is saved, Honda has a chance to make his 1954 film Godzilla, and the Legends take the magic book back with them. Even Charlie and Sara gain some respect for each other, and Mick learns that there’s no shame in having an artistic side.
That would’ve been enough to be a blast of an episode, but there are two other side plots that we haven’t even discussed yet. Ray finds Nora at a Renaissance fair in 2018 and convinces her to help him save Constantine. Nora explains to Ray that it’s not that simple. She wants to help, but magic is a dark, slippery slope for her, and she doesn’t want to get sucked back in. What’s more, she says that in order to restore Constantine’s life force, she would need to drain the life force of someone else. Ray gets the idea, however, to use electrical energy to recharge Constantine, using Nora as a magical conduit. It works, and Nora learns that her magic isn’t inherently evil; it can be used for good. Wanting to complete her path to redemption, Nora turns herself into the Time Bureau so that she can pay for her crimes.
Lastly is the Thanksgiving portion of the episode. Ava gets roped into going to Nate’s family’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, which is full of bickering family members like any family Thanksgiving meal. There time there, however, gets cut short when they get a call from Gary that the monsters have escaped their containment cell. Not wanting to arouse suspicion in Nate’s dad, Hank, since he’s their government oversight, and technically their boss, Nate sneaks out of the house while Ava keeps everyone occupied. Over at the Time Bureau, Nate finds Gary and food-delivery-girl Mona (and Gary’s crush) trying to fend off the monsters. Nate realizes that the monsters are just hungry, and once they feed them, Mona is actually able to tame the monsters and keep them calm.
Back at the house, Hank notices that Nate’s missing and makes Ava take him to the Bureau. They arrive once the monsters have already been dealt with, and Hank commends Nate, Gary, and Mona on a job well done. Everything seems positive, but when everyone is eating dinner, Hank privately takes a phone call, and says that he’s seen that the monsters can be tamed, and I think I’m not the only one who’s worried about what Hank has in mind for these monsters.
This was the best Legends episode in a long time. It really utilized its characters, had an explosive plot, and even managed to work in Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping they can keep the momentum going.