NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of,”Legends of Tomorrow”, including a major character death, are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow has been off the air for just over a month, but finally, the series appears to be returning to its regular Tuesday night timeslot, alongside sibling series, The Flash. This unscheduled hiatus has given the show ample time to pick up after the departure of Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk from the series, during last month’s previous episode, and while it certainly feels like there’s a hole in the Waverider’s team at this point, “Zari, Not Zari” does do a solid job of keeping up business as usual for the Legends. In this case, that involves continuing the hunt for the pieces of the Loom of Fate, even as Charlie and Constantine find their loyalties to the team a bit unsteady. In a way, despite the ongoing shutdowns in the real world, it feels like virtually no time has passed on this show, and that feeling is a fitting one for Legends of Tomorrow.
Legends of Tomorrow also has another considerable advantage over its sibling Arrowverse shows at this point. Its current season is the one ongoing Arrowverse season that’s already been completely filmed, with some episodes simply needing touch-ups in post-production before they’re ready to air. This is in contrast to The Flash, Supergirl and Batwoman, who weren’t able to finish filming all of their respective seasons before The CW temporarily shut down all ongoing series production, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The result is that The Flash, Supergirl and Batwoman may have to end their current seasons early (though thankfully, The CW has already renewed all of its ongoing DC shows, so that could be worse), possibly compromising their major storylines in the short term. Legends of Tomorrow however can thankfully proceed as planned, with no changes to its major story arcs for Season Five.
That’s great, because the season’s overall conflict is really starting to gain momentum now. “Zari, Not Zari” even ends with another big shake-up to the Legends in the wake of the Palmer family farewell, and that’s kicked into motion with the introduction of Charlie’s sisters. One of them has even been hiding in plain sight, in fact! It turns out that Astra’s mysterious mentor in Hell is actually Lachesis, the Fate that determined human lifespans in ancient times, which helpfully explains how she was able to accelerate Constantine’s lung cancer a few episodes ago. We also meet the third Fate in this episode, Atropos, the Fate that determined when to cut the threads of human life and kill them, which is helpfully demonstrated when Atropos murders an entire Smell concert’s worth of punks in 1977, including Charlie’s friends and biggest fans, during this episode’s opening!
With the coming of Atropos now being signaled, the Legends thus try to race towards the next Loom piece, which has actually been stashed on the set of another CW series, Supernatural, in Vancouver, Canada, during the present day. This means that this episode of Legends of Tomorrow actually doesn’t involve any time travel for a change, at least not for the team’s latest mission. Mick and Ava instead do some time manipulation in a heartfelt, if slightly undercooked subplot, which involves Mick trying to place himself into the memories of Lita throughout various stages of her childhood. This ends up backfiring however, and Ava is forced to concede that Mick’s only option is trying to apologize to his daughter for not being there. This is fairly sweet in concept, but this subplot feels half-finished, and awkwardly shoehorned into an episode that already has too many other things going on. Frankly, it just ends up serving as an excuse to temporarily bench Mick in the end.
That said, the meta jokes surrounding Supernatural are fairly funny, even if that show’s about to end. Atropos butchering the Supernatural crew to get to the next Loom piece is a bit of an amusing wink to general CW enthusiasts, though I do wish that Charlie being tempted back to her sisters actually carried some weight, and wasn’t hastily resolved a few moments later. Likewise, Constantine nearly being killed by Atropos doesn’t carry any real consequences either, though Sara not being killed by viewing Atropos’ true form, her favourite method of killing mortals, opens up a fairly compelling mystery, one possibly related to Sara’s death and resurrection on Arrow so many years ago. I’m also curious to see how Atropos continues to be a threat later, after Sara and Charlie sever her hand and eject her into the time stream, likely landing her in some random era, and hopefully buying the Legends some time to keep hunting Loom pieces, without the other two Fates breathing down their necks.
That ejection of Atropos from the Waverider comes after the previously mentioned shake-up to the team, which unfolds off the back of a standout subplot with Zari. After Zari continues to perceive evidence of being ‘haunted’ by another version of herself, one that knows how to hack computers and play video games, i.e. the Zari that she formerly was over the past two seasons, Behrad motivates Zari to try some psychadelic drugs and enter the Wind Totem. Here, Zari actually meets her former self from the aborted timeline, who now apparently exists inside the Wind Totem, despite that Zari being erased from history. The meeting between the Zari’s is funny, heartfelt and very rewarding, with the old Zari essentially giving the new Zari her blessing to continue on as a member of the Legends. This ends up having fitting, but tragic timing as well, since Behrad’s attempts to defend a spiritually displaced Zari ultimately lead to Atropos killing him. With the Legends down yet another member then, Zari becomes fully invested in their mission, vowing to Constantine that she’ll do whatever it takes to bring her brother back to life. Good to have you back, Zari, at least in a manner of speaking!
“Zari, Not Zari” keeps Legends of Tomorrow at mostly a steady boil, even after a month off the air. The team has seen yet another big change to its roster with Behrad’s death as well, which the Loom of Fate could also reverse, if the Legends can assemble it quicker than the other Fates. The Fates wanting to regain control of humanity to correct issues like widespread violence, corruption and genocide also gives them some nice added dimensions as antagonists, while providing a semi-compelling reason for Charlie to actually be susceptible to the temptation to rejoin her sisters. The conflicts with Charlie and Mick really could have used more focus here, admittedly, but the Legends’ first encounter with Atropos is a memorable one, and a deadly one, especially when it jokingly comes at the cost of Supernatural’s final season on Earth-Prime. With Atropos being kicked somewhere else in the timeline for now though, hopefully this buys the Legends a temporary advantage with the remaining Loom pieces, even as Astra and Lachesis no doubt have their own plans to strike at the team from Hell.
- Intense introduction to Atropos
- Zari meeting her former self in the Wind Totem
- Creative subplot with Mick and Ava
- Mick is dropped from the episode too abruptly
- Charlie's temptation to rejoin the Fates is resolved too quickly