NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
With Ray and Constantine now missing, the Legends have no choice but to pursue their lost comrades into the Ice Age, a move that ends up having unexpected consequences for the team! “Nip/Stuck” makes the interesting decision to ultimately split itself between two period settings, on top of another subplot within the Time Bureau in present-day 2019, as Neron and Constantine goad the Legends into a dangerous trap, while Gary begins an effort to subjugate the Time Bureau. This makes for another interesting storytelling hook for a Legends of Tomorrow episode, one that continues to offer payoffs that are both amusing and smart, though unfortunately, much of the core storytelling doesn’t ultimately live up to its potential here.
The main storyline surrounding the majority of the Legends is sound on paper, as Neron lures them to the Ice Age with the captured Constantine, taunting them into opening fire and destroying two of their allies, in order to finally neutralize the demon that they’ve been after. Sara hesitates when making the call however, resulting in Mick telling Gideon to fire the Waverider’s blasters for her. This triggers a trap, with Neron and Constantine teleporting away, as an avalanche ends up burying the Legends’ ship! This open display of insubordination naturally drives a pretty thick wedge between Sara and Mick, with Charlie left to try and play peacemaker, as the remaining ‘OG’ Legends members find themselves at odds.
The intentional reference to Sara and Mick now being the only two remaining among the original Legends roster is interesting (even though Ray is still technically part of the team too), and it’s too bad that their conflict ends up being resolved disappointingly easily. The two just kind of make up after a bit of arguing, and that’s it. Even Charlie temporarily posing as Mick to try and force a reconciliation between Mick and Sara doesn’t end up going anywhere in the end. This could have been a cool way to highlight the team dynamic and how it’s changed over the course of four seasons, with the current arc of Legends of Tomorrow now entirely re-inventing the show as an off-the-wall comedy that’s proudly and openly embracing the most bizarre and absurd elements of the Arrowverse. Instead, the team merely ends up wasting time throughout much of this episode, only being inspired to break free from the avalanche once Sara decides to sacrifice life support for some heat and comfort. In that case, couldn’t Sara have just waited a few minutes, if it was that easy for the Waverider’s energy signature to melt hundreds of feet of ice and snow?!
The other period setting of the episode unfolds in Stonehenge during 55 BCE, where Neron takes Constantine in order to observe his ancestor, King Kon-sten-tyn, who is also played by Matt Ryan. With Kon-sten-tyn being the original progenitor of the Constantine family’s magical bloodline, Constantine is left to bear witness to the earliest and darkest days of his family line, namely as Kon-sten-tyn captures and prepares to banish an innocent magical creature called a Puka to Hell. When Constantine tries to tell his ancestor to stop the ritual, he simply ends up captured as well, ultimately being mistaken for a face-stealing demon. Yeah, I’m not sure why Constantine thought that directly confronting his hyper-superstitious ancient ancestor was ever going to work…
Neron’s clever planning is at least consistently interesting to watch here nonetheless, as Constantine waits to be banished to Hell alongside the Puka, whereupon he’ll face everyone and everything he’s ever previously sent there. Constantine’s supposed surrender to his fate naturally ends up being a ploy however, since Constantine decides not to take the innocent Puka to hell with him, instead using his magic to stabilize his ancestor’s portal, which allows him to escape and fight off the subjects of Kon-sten-tyn. This turn with the Puka and Constantine’s bloodline does create a bit of confusion though, since it essentially retcons the Fugitives’ origin so that they did actually exist in the real world during ancient times, but somehow got banished to an alternate realm that was somehow barred from the natural world by the power of Mallus? Yeah, it’s a little confusing. I will admit however that the twist of, “Tabitha” being the banished fairy godmother from this season’s second episode was both hilarious and nicely surprising, setting up both her and Neron as the major antagonists of Legends of Tomorrow’s fourth season. The truth about Tabitha’s identity definitely fits with the zany style of Legends of Tomorrow, on top of just being a clever story turn on its own merits!
This just leaves the subplot at the Time Bureau, where Nora becomes sworn in as the newest agent, just in time for Gary to begin furthering Neron’s agenda there. Mona and Ava stay to help Nora settle in, only to have Gary call in, “Performance reviews” with all of the Bureau’s agents, which he begins overseeing. The reviews then appear to hypnotize all of the agents, as well as Ava, and even Nora, who eventually attempts to lock Mona away in a containment cell! This was an interesting scenario, though the show didn’t ultimately make effective use of it from a narrative standpoint, sadly. First of all, since when can Wolfie talk to Mona in her human form? That’s new. Even that turn ends up being pointless though, since Mona is just dragged before Gary anyway, only to discover that his cursed nipple is taking control of everyone, in what I admit was actually another really funny and unexpected twist. Mona fixing Ava and Nora by just clonking their heads together is a bit amusing too, as was her chewing Gary’s nipple out again, which presumably liberates the rest of the Time Bureau from their hypnosis. Does that mean that everyone is instantly in the clear then? I have to say, it would have been ideal if the show had spent at least a bit more time running with the idea of Neron successfully taking control of everyone at the Time Bureau, and weaponizing them against the Legends, even if it was still nice to see Mona actually be useful to the plot for a change.
“Nip/Stuck” continues to keep the story payoffs of Legends of Tomorrow plenty strong, particularly as it ends with Constantine intentionally throwing himself into Hell to save Ray in the final moments! Mona being the one to save the Time Bureau was a nice change of pace as well, since it finally allowed her character to be something other than a crying nuisance for once. I wish that more was ultimately done with most of the Legends having to be stuck in the Ice Age for an entire episode, but at least Season Four is continuing to build up to its climax pretty nicely. The fairy godmother being Neron’s lost love is easily the highlight of the episode too, especially since this does set up a genuinely threatening, if also delightfully comical magical threat to round off the current season with. Even considering some of this episode’s flaws, I’m happy to see Legends of Tomorrow finally giving its overdone romantic arcs a rest too, despite Neron being ultimately motivated by his own missing love. Now that Constantine has made it into Hell, I can only imagine the obstacles that now face him especially, as the final two episodes of Legends of Tomorrow’s fourth season begin to unfold.
- Sara's hesitation and Mick's initiative trapping the team
- Mona finally getting the chance to be truly useful
- Constantine leaping into Hell to single-handedly rescue Ray
- No real narrative payoff to the Sara/Mick spat
- The team's escape from the ice is underwhelming
- Some annoying contrivances at the Time Bureau