NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
After having to take several extra months off to accommodate the remainder of Black Lightning’s second season, Legends of Tomorrow has finally returned with its midseason premiere, picking up shortly after the time-warping events that stood in place of the show joining the Elseworlds crossover between Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. “Lucha de Apuestas” thus deals with the fallout of Konane escaping captivity at the Time Bureau, just in time for Mona to learn about the existence of Hank’s mysterious Fugitive-capturing goons, whom she refers to as the, “Men in black.” Since no one believes Mona when she says that there’s a conspiracy at the Time Bureau, the Legends thus become sucked into an effort to recapture Konane, even with Mona determined to stand in their way.
Considering the heap of extra time we’ve had to wait for Legends of Tomorrow to make its return in 2019, it’s a bit of a let-down that, “Lucha de Apuestas” doesn’t ultimately end up being that interesting of a midseason premiere. Part of the problem is basing an entire episode around the unlikely Mona/Konane romance, which is a little cute, in a twisted way, but neither character has really been developed enough to truly carry any narrative weight at this point. Making matters worse is that the episode quickly abandons the idea of the Legends being the obstacles instead of the heroes, instead devolving into another fun, but strangely boilerplate Fugitive-capturing mission for the team, even with Mona in tow.
After Mona sends Konane away to an unknown destination with a Time Courier, the Legends nonetheless quickly pick up that Mexican history has been altered in 1961, thanks to the mysterious appearance of an undefeated luchador wrestler named, “El Lobo.” Well, so much for sending Konane away, if the Legends were just going to pinpoint his exact location a few scenes later. Still, the trip to 1961 Mexico at least allows us to carry on with a lot of Legends-approved craziness and fun, particularly when the men in black invade El Lobo’s latest match, prompting a very amusing fight scene that quickly disturbs the Legends’ plan to quietly recapture Konane in his dressing room.
Even considering the big fight at the ring, there’s a golden opportunity here to have Sara in particular doubt Mona’s claims about a cover-up at the Time Bureau, but it just never goes anywhere. Instead, Sara quickly comes around to Mona’s side, even to the point of blowing off Ava when Ava tries to reign her in, and after Ray becomes interim captain so that Sara can go over to a subplot with Nate and Zari, Charlie and Constantine talk Ray into going back to 1961 to restore a famed luchador that helps the country avoid a swath of government violence. Konane then becomes trained to ‘lose’, and obviously struggles with it, until a failed effort to recapture him by the Time Bureau results in another big fight, which has El Lobo and the other luchador standing together, restoring history, and allowing Konane to return home to ancient Hawaii.
It’s towards the end of the episode however that the Mona/Konane romance really starts falling apart. After a claim by Mick that the characters in his book don’t end up happily ever after together (again, who knew that Mick was such a deep romantic soul?), Mona decides that she can’t be with Konane, because they belong to different worlds. This not only feels arbitrary, but quickly becomes moot, since Konane is simply killed by a random man in black anyway, resulting in an enraged Mona turning into a werewolf, and murdering the guy out of revenge! This more or less serves as an inconvenient way for the Legends to learn that Mona has been ‘infected’ from being struck by Konane, and has developed quite the case of lycanthropy under certain conditions. I guess this means that Mona is the latest candidate to join the Legends, even though, like Charlie, she doesn’t exist in DC Comics lore.
Meanwhile, the subplot with Nate and Zari, and later Sara, carries some moments of amusement and intrigue, as Zari helps Nate come around to the idea that his father may be a traitor to the Time Bureau. This leads to the two having to attend a hemophilia charity benefit to steal data from Hank’s phone, which Sara eventually appears at as well, in order to quietly tip off Ava that Hank can’t be trusted. As with the Mona/Konane romance that ends up being a moot point, Nate doesn’t ultimately react much to his father potentially stealing and harming magical creatures at this point either, which doesn’t really feel true to his perpetually wide-eyed character. The bigger eyebrow-raiser here however is Ava, who shockingly doesn’t seem to care about what Hank’s doing, and goes as far as to tell Sara to leave it alone, because what happens to the Fugitives they capture is none of her concern. There’s a gem of a conflict touched upon here, with Sara’s and Ava’s professional loyalties now being at odds, but Ava appearing to yet again break up with Sara over it quickly becomes tedious. How are we supposed to believe in the relationship between these two women if it constantly seems like it’s falling apart the second they start disagreeing with each other?!
Still, despite some of its flaws, “Lucha de Apuestas” is at least fun to watch, even if it’s a bit of an underwhelming midseason premiere for Legends of Tomorrow. The Mona/Konane romance ended up being entirely pointless, simply serving as an excuse to turn Mona into a werewolf, and a possible Legends addition, while the latest Sara/Ava spat feels like it’s just forcing too much drama, despite its inspired premise. I’m also surprised that Nate is taking his father being a traitor so well in stride, considering how hard he’s worked to recently repair their strained relationship. Still, the comical insanity of a Kaupe luchador, and the resulting chaos that this creates, is at least worth the watch, proving once again that even when it’s saddled with lesser storylines, Legends of Tomorrow never manages to truly lose its outstanding sense of humour. I hope that we can take a break from these tired romances in favour of something better next time though!
- Interesting initial premise of the Legends being obstacles to Mona
- Amusing action scenes at the luchador ring
- Sara and Ava being strained by their professional agendas
- Mona/Konane romance still never truly carries any weight
- Ava seemingly breaking up with Sara again is tedious and pointless
- Nate seemingly not caring about his father being a traitor