NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review

 

 

Legends of Tomorrow presented an especially bonkers battle against the forces of Hell last week, after Son of Sam’s Demon Dog ended up invading the Waverider, courtesy of Gary. The show has been moving away from its regular Encore-of-the-week format over the past several episodes (even if it means packing several Encores into one location), and this week, Hell decided to give the team in break in general. Instead, “Freaks and Geeks” pits the Legends against a denizen of Mount Olympus, rather than Hell, when they start looking into ways to use the Loom of Fate safely. As it turns out, one unlikely Olympian may be the answer to their troubles.

Said Olympian is Dionysus, one of the many children of Zeus, whose chalice has the ability to make anyone who drinks it immortal for a day. After some quick digging, it’s determined that Dionysus is currently partying it up at Hudson University in 2020 as well, where he poses as a student and frat house leader named, “Dion.” Even better is that Dion was also a frat leader of Nate’s, despite Nate going to a different university. Thus, the stage is set for a big batch of shenanigans, as the Legends determine that they must start a sorority in order to win the right to drink from Dion’s cup. It’s a very fun idea, but one that unfortunately doesn’t end up being as entertaining as you would hope.

This is yet another instance of Legends of Tomorrow essentially spending an episode to ‘initiate’ a new member of the team, in this case, Astra. Astra is roped along with the Legends’ female members (and Nate), to try and figure out a way to win the chalice, while Mick decides to use this opportunity to tour the Hudson University campus with Lita, before she prepares to choose her own college path. Astra and Charlie naturally butt heads in particular during this mission as well, which leads to a disastrous attempt to pledge for another sorority. Left with no other choice, the Legends must thus make their own sorority. Again, this should be a fun idea, but it’s a lot more fun in concept than it is in execution.

What makes this episode disappointing is that it doesn’t effectively lean into Legends of Tomorrow’s often zany, unpredictable charm. The mission to build a sorority for misfits and outcasts is ultimately very cliched, as are the trio of, “Rejects” that the Legends’ women have to ‘rescue’ from the sorority that they failed out of. Some of the material with Astra is a little better, especially when Charlie eventually becomes the voice of reason with Astra’s buried desire to be part of a team, but even if Charlie applies her own positive experiences with the Legends to inspired effect, this can only go so far when the mission against Dionysus ends up being disappointingly boring and cliched. When a Legends of Tomorrow episode feels cliched, you know the show is having an off week.

Even the opportunity to have Nate re-live his so-called, “Glory days” feels under-utilized and dull. The idea is no doubt to have Nate struggle with a time when life was simpler, long before he joined the Legends. Instead, Nate simply ends up under Dion’s spell, after drinking some of his enchanted beer, and becomes an out-of-control party animal… Except one that can still ferry valuable information to Charlie and Astra at one point? Yeah, the rules with Dion really aren’t clear sometimes. The idea of Sara ultimately defeating Dion with a better party and a beer pong competition are at least a little funny, but even this ultimately lacks suspense. Sara’s new future-seeing powers give her a total advantage over Dion, and the subsequent moment wherein all of the Legends (save for Zari, because she’s Muslim and can’t drink Dion’s wine) drink from the chalice together, making all of them immortal for twenty-four hours, doesn’t land with the emotional swell that it should have.

Speaking of emotional swells, one of the best storylines in this episode is actually the subplot with Mick and Lita, finally giving them a chance to have a true father/daughter weekend together. Mick makes an effort to tour the Hudson University campus with Lita, but eventually has Nate pose as Lita’s father instead, when he believes that he’s hurting Lita’s chances of getting into the school. This was another solid chance for Mick to make surprisingly noble sacrifices for his estranged daughter, including an amusing payoff of Mick going back in time to change a building’s name, by making a donation far in the past. Lita ultimately choosing to accept her father over Hudson University is an expected, but sweet result as well, with the two ultimately deciding that they’d rather stick it to rich kids than be something they’re not.

Mick’s new character direction remains a good one, as does Astra learning to evolve beyond her dark origins in Hell. As much as it’s satisfying to see Astra develop a little more as a would-be Legend however, “Freaks and Geeks” ultimately feels like a pointless filler episode for Legends of Tomorrow, and that’s very unfortunate. The barrier to using the Loom of Fate ultimately feels like a waste of time, and while this episode ends with an interesting tease of Astra being roped back in with Lachesis, it doesn’t feel like Astra has spent enough time with the Legends for this to truly matter yet. At least there’s nothing else standing in the way of the team finally using the Loom of Fate, hopefully restoring Behrad to the Legends’ ranks, but now that the Encore-of-the-week format has been absent for several weeks, I’m kind of starting to miss it. Perhaps the diminished emphasis on Encores lately means that the forces of Hell will continue to menace the Legends next season, but either way, hopefully the team manages to embark on a more interesting and memorable mission next week.

Legends of Tomorrow 5.11: "Freaks and Geeks" Review
Legends of Tomorrow stumbles with a largely pointless filler episode this week, despite a valiant effort to better initiate Astra onto the team.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Astra going on her first proper mission with the Legends
  • Some fun ideas with Dionysus' Hudson University hustle
  • Heartwarming subplot with Mick and Lita
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Storytelling is too dull and cliched
  • Dionysus duel is too anti-climactic
  • Nate's college regression is ultimately pointless
65%Overall Score
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