NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow has had a bit of a trying time finding its footing with the start of Season Five, despite its inspired idea of rounding up history’s worst figures, after they’re resurrected across time. Finally though, this season seemed to settle into a much better storytelling groove this week, presenting an especially creative new Encore scenario in the main storyline. Not only that, but Constantine and Charlie manage to anchor an equally compelling subplot, wherein Constantine continues to face his past, along with filling in more blanks related to how Astra ended up damned to Hell in the first place.
Even more impressive here is that this episode’s series of storylines is pretty much entirely done without Sara. Sara goes to Star City to take care of some unfinished business early in the episode (could this possibly be related to potential Arrow spin-off series, Green Arrow & The Canaries?), and leaves Ava in charge as acting captain. Ava is naturally eager to live up to her potential as a Legend-in-command as well, though naturally, her dry, Time Bureau-era methods don’t exactly sit well with the Legends’ crew. Despite that however, the Legends nonetheless have to go on a new mission, after they’re summoned to France in 1793, to deal with another Encore. Oh, and Zari decides to come along too, with Behrad vouching for her.
Surprisingly, this week’s core conflict proved to be a great way to start re-inserting Zari into the Legends’ team dynamic, beginning with Zari using her party know-how to get the Legends into a big, never-ending party, one that shouldn’t be happening in Revolution-era France. This is also where we meet our Encore-of-the-week, Marie Antoinette (who is weirdly played by Nora Darhk actress, Courtney Ford, in a strange running gag that doesn’t seem to go anywhere at this point), who has the power to charm anyone with some enchanted perfume, resulting in a never-ending party that leads to people dying, since they refuse to leave Marie’s side. Since Zari knows all about parties, and she and Ava are mysteriously unaffected by the perfume, Zari is able to eventually lure Marie onto the Waverider, narrowly evading her ‘guests’ as well. Oh, except for the fact that Marie’s head accidentally gets knocked off in the process! Yep, only on Legends of Tomorrow.
Despite the farcical capture of Marie Antoinette however, in two pieces no less, this episode presents an interesting examination of the price of fame, with Marie relating her own struggles and corruption to Zari. This occurs after Zari breaks the Legends’ rule of never looking into the future for personal gain, wherein Zari discovers that her dragon-themed perfume results in mass anosmia across the world, effectively destroying Zari’s fame and popularity in a short time. This in turn provides a clever explanation for how Zari and Ava were able to dodge the effects of Marie’s perfume, since Zari’s perfume took away their ability to smell it. Regardless, Zari decides to attend her dragon perfume launch event anyway, deciding to use Marie’s magical perfume to ensure that her fame is perpetual.
And, naturally, this goes belly up pretty quickly. After Zari accidentally spills the entire bottle of Marie’s perfume on herself, the whole crowd goes quite literally insane for her, forcing the Legends to intervene, and Behrad to try and hold the crowds back with his Wind Totem. Ava manages to stop the effects of the perfume after leaping into a nearby fountain with Zari, but at that point, Zari’s fame is seemingly destroyed anyway, at least in the short term. This was both a great lesson in humility for Zari, and a great gesture of friendship for Ava, who takes it upon herself to become Zari’s first real friend, before Sara comes back, and the rest of the team covers for Ava’s exploits. This made for a heartwarming conclusion that’s full of camaraderie and charm, even though Gideon breaking the Legends’ golden rule is inexplicably glossed over. Actually, for that matter, when Marie Antoinette’s body runs amok during the climax, which prevents Ray and Mick from joining the others in helping Zari, why didn’t Gideon enact any security measures? You’d think that stopping a blind, runaway body wouldn’t be that hard for Gideon to do on her own!
In any case, Constantine’s subplot is also quite strong this week, as he makes contact with the ghost of Astra’s mother, Natalie. After Gary manages to save Constantine from a violent scuffle with Natalie’s ghost, Constantine ends up subsequently trapped in his estate, alongside Gary and Charlie. The three are then led by the ghost through Constantine choosing magic over Natalie many years ago, with Natalie apparently being Constantine’s former friend, band-mate and lover in life. Soon after this, Constantine is also forced to admit that he resurrected Natalie from death at the hands of a drunk driver (before she committed suicide mere moments later, go figure), not out of love, but for the sake of his own ego. After finally admitting his own part in damning Astra, Constantine also learns about the Loom of Fate from Natalie’s ghost too, something that can steer the course of someone’s destiny, which Charlie allegedly stole, broke apart, and hid the pieces of across the multiverse. Well, after the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, there is no multiverse anymore (at least, not one known to Earth-Prime’s inhabitants), so it would stand to reason that all of the parts of the Loom of Fate now rest completely on Earth-Prime, and I can’t imagine that this valuable magical tool will escape Astra’s notice for long!
Speaking of Astra, she also rapidly moves Constantine toward death by lung cancer towards the conclusion of this episode, leaving Constantine violently coughing up blood and seemingly breathing his last, as the episode ends. It’s probably far too early to kill off Constantine in earnest for the Arrowverse, but this is nonetheless a pretty solid cliffhanger, one that could see Constantine trapped in Hell for a while. Whatever ends up happening there though, it’s great to see Legends of Tomorrow finally bouncing back with, “A Head of Her Time”, an episode that finally starts setting Season Five on a worthy narrative course. Marie Antoinette being one of the so-called, “Worst souls of Hell” feels like a bit of a stretch, but this week’s scenario with her was both clever and fun. Likewise, Constantine revealing a key detail regarding how Astra was damned, along with what Astra may soon be after next, also rounded off this episode effectively. The question of Constantine’s fate feels most pressing after this week’s Legends of Tomorrow offering, but I imagine that there will be no slowing down for the proper Legends crew either, with so many more Encores still on the loose!
- Marie Antoinette is an especially creative Encore threat
- Zari facing the limits of fame, and finding her place with the Legends again
- Constantine revealing the truth surrounding why Astra was damned
- Gideon being strangely unhelpful this week