NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Another week, another Encore, and this week, the Legends also happen to be short-staffed. Legends of Tomorrow brings in another infamous historical figure for its titular team to deal with in its latest episode, “Mortal Khanbat”, which focuses on the newer additions to the Legends working together to stop Gengis Khan in Hong Kong, 1997. At the same time, Ray joins Constantine and Gary for an attempt to save the rapidly-dying Constantine’s life, despite the curse of Astra being untouchable by magical means.
Putting the newer Legends team members in charge of this week’s latest conflict is an inspired idea, considering that Sara is still tending to business in Star City (Sara’s actress, Caity Lotz actually directs this episode, in fact!), and Mick is, “In a mood”, and apparently just doesn’t feel like saving the timeline in this episode. Ray being moved to the subplot with Constantine is also a solid idea, resulting in another very good episode for Legends of Tomorrow overall. Better still is that the mysterious shiftiness of Charlie is finally addressed this week to boot, and sure enough, Charlie’s actions with the Loom of Fate end up presenting a major season arc-in-the-making, one that also benefits from the creation of Earth-Prime, and the fallout of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.
It’s finally revealed this week that Charlie’s true identity is Clotho, one of the Three Fates from Greek mythology, which explains why she had the ability to break up and separate the Loom of Fate across the multiverse. With the original multiverse now destroyed however, and the Loom of Fate’s pieces now being handily nestled together on Earth-Prime, Charlie/Clotho can now be tormented by her powerful sisters, who want to rebuild the Loom, and use it to once again control people’s destinies. This is a smart season-scale threat that fits very well with the style of Legends of Tomorrow, plus the revelations with Charlie’s character were overall strong here. I do wish however that the show didn’t try to force an awkward romance between Charlie and Behrad. That was one element of this episode that felt unnecessary, and didn’t add much of value to either Charlie’s nor Behrad’s character.
Actually, Behrad is sticking around a lot longer than I imagined he would in general, basically doing the job that Zari is supposed to be doing, while Zari continues to languish around the Waverider. At least Zari is deceptively useful once again though, researching an initially irrelevant bit of history, but one that’s later revealed to be at the center of Gengis Khan’s plans. This turn also handily improves the chemistry between Nate and Zari, with Nate noticing that Zari has taken an interest in researching history. Nate is the only one going into the field for now however, where he actually uses his Steel powers for once, namely during a John Woo-parodying gun fight at a Triad club, where Gengis Khan is trying to seize control of the Triad for himself.
Gengis Khan is a bit of a one-note Encore-of-the-week, honestly, but he’s a decent amount of fun at least. Not only that, but I suppose that Legends of Tomorrow already provided a slightly deeper portrayal for Marie Antoniette last week anyway. Hell, Marie Antoinette even makes a brief return in this episode, to serve some background gags. Regardless, Gengis Khan wields a hell-enchanted saber, which seems to work similarly to Bugsy Siegel’s former hell-enchanted pistol from a few episodes ago. This eventually provides a convenient excuse to take Gengis Khan out in the climax, but before that, we get more amusing action movie satire, specifically when the Legends have to protect Prince Charles from a scooter-empowered Triad army, under Gengis Khan’s command. Only on Legends of Tomorrow.
While this episode’s core storyline leaned into ridiculous comedy most of all, the subplot between Ray, Gary and Constantine is where most of the drama dwells this week. Granted, Gary still injects plenty of comic relief into an otherwise stark serious storyline, but Constantine nonetheless has only a short while left to live, and he decides to use it by hiring, and eventually spurning, every magical ally he knows. When every conceivable source of magic can’t help him, Constantine is then subsequently forced to face his mortality, eventually capitulating to the necessity of spending his dying moments with his friends. It’s a sweet character turn, but of course, Constantine, as usual, has a few tricks left up his sleeve. After deliberately poisoning himself, in order to secure a parlay with Astra, Constantine claims he can bring Natalie back to life, and buys himself a reversal of his death sentence in the process. Like I said in last week’s review, it seemed inevitable that the show would never commit to killing off Constantine in earnest at this point, considering the character’s devout fan following, but this resurrection nonetheless provided a good excuse for Constantine to try a new strategy for redeeming Astra, one that may also provide a better fate for Natalie in turn.
This, naturally, has Constantine eyeing the Loom of Fate for himself, providing an effective way to tie this episode’s subplot in with its main plot, at least outside of the battle against Gengis Khan, which is almost entirely played for laughs. “Mortal Khanbat” definitely doesn’t take its latest Encore-of-the-week that seriously, and its shallow portrayal of Gengis Khan might disappoint some viewers. Still, the great revelations with Charlie, along with the engaging Constantine subplot, nonetheless made for an overall solid episode of Legends of Tomorrow. The show is taking next week off, alongside the Arrowverse’s other ongoing shows (except for Black Lightning, since it’s about to wrap up its current season), though this will give fans a bit of extra time to speculate as to how the Loom of Fate will end up changing the dynamic and mission driving Legends of Tomorrow’s latest season. The Encores are a big enough problem as it stands, but the ability to freely influence the fate of anyone will no doubt prove to be a far bigger prize than Astra’s spiritual nest egg!
- Amusing action movie satire with Gengis Khan
- Constantine facing death, and cheating it
- Charlie's huge character revelations
- Charlie/Behrad romantic tension is tiresome and unnecessary
- Gengis Khan is a shallow villain-of-the-week