NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow may have taken an amusing detour with Astra and the Constantine estate last week, but it’s back to tracking and battling aliens this week. This wasn’t the only unfortunate downgrade that the show suffered in its latest episode either, as, “Bishop’s Gambit” unfortunately leaves the series functioning on half-gear, and delivering a filler episode that focuses heavily on exposition. Considering Legends of Tomorrow’s usual madcap pace, this feels quite annoying, especially when the Legends mostly don’t go anywhere this week, while Sara, Mick, Gary and Kayla remain stranded on Bishop’s strange alien planet.
We do get some decent explanations regarding what exactly is going on, and what it means for the rest of this season, but this doesn’t change the fact that Legends of Tomorrow feels disappointingly sluggish this week. This is despite a promising initial mystery surrounding the bulk of the Legends, who manage to rig Gideon up to an old 1970’s TV, at which point they learn about an alien massacring a bunch of doctors and patients at a 1956 mental hospital. After briefly traveling to that location and time period (disappointingly, this is all the time traveling that the Legends do this week), they end up encountering none other than Amelia Earhart, whom they take back with them to 2021. As it turns out, Amelia somehow stole the Waverider from Bishop’s planet, after Mick and Kayla brought it there, whereupon she stashed it in 1956, allowing the Legends to easily reclaim it. Well, so much for the Legends being cut off from the Waverider.
Fortunately, despite the Legends now having to spend most of this episode catching up with what viewers already know, namely that Amelia has been possessed by some sort of alien presence, there is at least a solid mystery brought up with Spooner at this point. After the true form of Amelia’s alien hijacker is revealed, Spooner is shocked to realize that she can speak its language. The alien, a Zaguron (yet another alien race that’s made up for this show and doesn’t exist in DC Comics lore), a vicious and hostile reptilian race that avoids daylight and hunts in the dark (as later established by Kayla), then beckons Spooner back to its side, taunting her with her mysterious ability to communicate with it. Ava manages to save Spooner from being killed during this exchange, but the implications of what Spooner has discovered are pretty intriguing. Is Spooner also serving as a host for a dormant Zaguron? Or, is Spooner a full-blooded alien herself?
Speaking of aliens, Mick and Kayla stumble around Bishop’s planet without accomplishing much this week, in a throwaway subplot that feels like yet another frustratingly predictable element in a disappointingly unremarkable Legends of Tomorrow episode. Kayla eventually betrays Mick to some Ava clones, an initially promising turn, but after Bishop lowers his terraforming shield, this ultimately ends up being moot. Mick simply escapes an easy confinement on a tree, makes it to Kayla, and shares a gas mask with her. The two are then cornered by Zagurons, and hide in an alien pod, before promptly making out. Yeah, who could have seen that coming, eh? Legends of Tomorrow telegraphed this affair like crazy, and more annoying than that is the fact that it’s already cleanly swept away Mick’s romance with Ali. Maybe Mick’s new alien lover could eventually cause some nice friction with Lita down the line at least?
Sara, fortunately, headlined a slightly better storyline in this episode, even if it also plodded along at a snail’s pace for the most part. After a failed, pointless rescue attempt by Gary, who simply gets diverted by the Ava clones, in yet another wasted subplot that merely recycles the, “Ava clones are independent humans” angle again, Sara decides to play nice with Bishop, seemingly as a way to grab more intel and escape. This could have been a chance to further develop the striking rapport between Sara and Bishop, especially since Bishop is a bit of an annoying, shallow antagonist at this point, but unfortunately, that doesn’t quite happen. Instead, Sara quickly learns that Bishop seemingly killed Mick by lowering his terraforming shield, at which point Sara brutally beats Bishop, and drags him to his cloning lab, planning to destroy him for good.
Now, the idea of Bishop not being able to be conventionally killed, because he can just keep cloning himself indefinitely, is pretty great in concept at least. This hook even leads into Sara discovering a nicely shocking twist, one that also carries massive implications for Ava; Sara is not actually the real Sara. Instead, the real Sara succumbed to her Zaguron poisoning and died, with Bishop simply opting to clone a new Sara, rather than save the original one. Not only does this make for a nicely ironic twist in regards to Sara’s relationship with Ava, considering that Sara is now a clone herself, but it also creates the ominous potential for Sara to be directly controlled by Bishop in the long run, much like his Ava clones already seem to be. Spooner learning from the Zaguron that took over Amelia Earhart’s body that it killed Sara is also tragically ironic, while also being technically true. Considering the Legends’ usual tendencies as well, does this mean that Ava will try to manipulate the timeline next week, in order to save her true fiancee from death?
Legends of Tomorrow may have inched its storyline forward in a few decent respects this week, but too much of this episode felt sluggish and predictable, and that’s frustrating. Even Constantine and Astra predictably trying to hide Constantine’s power loss from the Legends (and especially Zari!) feels very trite, representing an overdone Arrowverse trope that Legends of Tomorrow has mostly avoided up to this point. The series just wasn’t on its A-game this week, instead trudging through a filler episode that mostly felt like it wasted time. “Bishop’s Gambit” does at least present some unexpected twists for Sara and Spooner, who may soon find themselves compromised, but Bishop is still a bit of a lame villain, something that isn’t helped by his plot and alien connections barely presenting any surprises so far. In the end, everyone is still mostly in the exact same position that they started this episode in, at least beyond the Legends reclaiming the Waverider from the Zaguron-possessed Amelia Earhart. Even that merely reverses the team having to crash at the Constantine estate however, something that probably would have been funnier as a more exclusive episode focus in this case.
- The Legends predictably being terrible houseguests for Constantine
- Spooner learning a chilling new alien connection
- Sara discovering that she's a clone
- Bishop is really not working as a villain so far
- Gary subplot is a total waste of time
- Mick/Kayla subplot is especially dull and predictable
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