NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow”, including a character departure, are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow’s ambitious, eccentric battle against the Three Fates already reached a pretty amazing high note during this season’s penultimate episode last week, which saw the Legends escaping a bizarre confinement within several knock-off TV shows. Now that the Legends are finally free however, it’s time to take the fight to the Fates, and this decisive battle against those who would rob humanity of its free will predictably serves as the backbone of this week’s season finale. “Swan Thong” also presents a last hurrah for one particular member of the team to boot, and technically two, after the original Zari’s brief return inevitably results in complications with the timeline.
Legends of Tomorrow has been a bit all over the map in Season Five, sometimes to its detriment, and that did occasionally create some rushed, unsatisfying plot resolutions within this season finale. Chief among these is the initial fight against the Fates’ totalitarian world, which the Legends eventually get a foothold on, when they discover the Waverider in a lost dump of historical contraband. Unfortunately, even after finding the Waverider again, Gideon remains out of contact with the Legends, resulting in some very quick improvisation when Sara leads Constantine and Astra to the Loom of Fate, in order to destroy it.
The first half of this episode is, unfortunately, its weaker half, even if this does at least mean that the episode gains momentum during its second half. Sara engages in a fairly decent final scrap with Atropos while most of the team tries to get the Waverider online, with Mick branching off to go find Lita instead of participating in the battle. Weirdly, Mick is once again sidelined in this episode, which is even more bizarre when he doesn’t end up departing the team at the end, despite having every reason to do so at this point. Regardless, the decisive struggle against the Loom of Fate’s power, shared between Constantine and Astra, is a bit too hurried through, with Astra channeling her mother to open the Loom of Fate, before Sara, with some help from Behrad and Zari, sends Atropos into it. This has the handy effect of both destroying the Loom of Fate and killing Atropos, which nonetheless feels like a bit of an anti-climactic, overly convenient end for both obstacles.
Still, like I said, this season finale does gain a bit more momentum in its second half, when the Legends time jump a few months ahead (humourously forgetting about Mick in the process), only to find that the population continues to lack free will. This time, everyone is at the mercy of a, “Fate” program that runs on a series of smart watches, while Charlie/Clotho remains MIA, and Lachesis appears to be in charge of everyone’s destiny. This motivates the Legends to check out a local history museum, where they discover that they have been labeled as the #2 villains in history, and, “God-killers”, second only to Charlie, who is imprisoned in the museum as the #1 villain of history, for creating any and all chaos that allowed history’s greatest villains to rise in the first place.
Charlie having to confront the true implications behind being the, “Loom Breaker” makes for a strong plot device for this season finale, particularly when Lachesis responds to the Legends’ return by unleashing a final wave of Encores on them. This provides another excuse for a pretty decent, and comical, action scene, all set to the tune of Sisqo’s, “The Thong Song”, because I guess Legends of Tomorrow wasn’t quite weird enough without that. Again, this isn’t the most satisfying end that we could have gotten for the Encore problem though, especially when several Encores that were teased during last season’s cliffhanger ending, including Charles Manson, Lizzy Borden and Mary Tudor, never actually featured on Legends of Tomorrow in the end. Still, this episode did nonetheless subvert expectations nicely, specifically when Charlie ultimately forgives Lachesis instead of destroying her, insisting that Lachesis live her new, mortal life on her own terms.
It was also fantastic to see that Gideon was the one behind the Fate program, having been captured and abused by Lachesis, until she subdued the entire population. Inevitably though, the Legends set that right again, only to be hit with an expected batch of farewells. As teased throughout this episode, Behrad’s clash in timelines means that the original Zari has to return to the Wind Totem, in order to preserve Behrad’s new life in the modified future. This results in a bittersweet end to Nate’s romance with the original Zari, as the two tearfully say goodbye after a night of sex, and original Zari subsequently bids the team farewell. Shortly after this, another predictable departure takes place, when the team subsequently attends a concert by Charlie’s punk band, The Smell in the 1970’s, at which point, Charlie decides to leave the Legends. Yes, this is rather predictable, since Charlie’s story arc is pretty definitively resolved at this point. Showrunner, Phil Klemmer has also since confirmed that Maisie Richardson-Sellers has indeed left the show to boot, leaving another vacant spot on the Legends for Season Six next year.
As with sibling series, Supergirl however, we’ll be waiting an extra long time for the next season of Legends of Tomorrow, which isn’t scheduled to premiere until at least Spring 2021, several months after most of the other ongoing Arrowverse shows begin their new seasons in January. New shenanigans are predictably promised as the team leaves Charlie in the 1970’s however, namely when Sara, having regained her sight and lost her future-sensing abilities in the wake of Atropos’ death, appears to be abducted by an alien tractor beam, unbeknownst to the other Legends. Considering that the world and characters of Supergirl now exist on Earth-Prime alongside all of the other recent DC personalities made for The CW, the idea of aliens coming to Legends of Tomorrow isn’t as potentially zany as it could have been, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see where the show takes its characters next, even if we’ll be waiting until well into 2021 to get answers there.
As for, “Swan Thong” itself, it makes for a strong exit for Charlie/Clotho, even at the expense of a slightly messy wrap-up to Season Five overall. Still, the latter half of this season finale at least feels clever and nicely subversive, bringing the battle against the Fates to a mostly solid finish, even if Atropos and the Encores get a much less satisfying defeat. The ultimate resolution with the two Zari’s and Behrad also feels nicely heartfelt though, even if the blossoming romance between the ‘new’ Zari and Constantine continues to not really make much sense, nor elicit much interest. In a way, Season Five of Legends of Tomorrow represents the perfect embodiment of the messy, but ultimately rewarding chaos that Charlie/Clotho created so many eons ago, when she initially freed humanity from the Loom of Fate the first time. This may not be a perfect season finale for Legends of Tomorrow, but it still gets the show to where it needs to go, while giving us just enough teases for what’s to come to help ease the potentially year-long wait for the series’ next batch of new episodes.