NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Legends of Tomorrow” are present in this review
Legends of Tomorrow has felt a little directionless throughout much of its current season, and that reached a new low last week, following a Behrad-focused storyline that just didn’t really go anywhere that interesting. Fortunately, the series puts another key character in the spotlight this week, one that’s been a little neglected throughout this season so far, as Constantine occupies the core storyline on Legends of Tomorrow in this case, backed up by Spooner. “Bad Blood” sees Constantine make his grab for the Fountain of Imperium, which, with some unwitting help from Aleister Crowley and a vampire broker (vampires exist in the Arrowverse, apparently. Why not?), he manages to track to the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, circa 1939. Since Spooner speaks Spanish as well, she ends up tagging along.
The bulk of the Legends meanwhile ended up being completely sidelined in a largely pointless subplot this week, something this season of Legends of Tomorrow unfortunately seems to be full of lately, as the team struggles to wrangle a rapidly-aging Gus-Gus. This frustratingly fails to make interesting use of Zari 1.0 returning to the team, while Zari 2.0 takes a rest in the Wind Totem, and despite this storyline attempting to be a significant exploration of Mick’s ‘pregnancy’, and how it relates to Lita’s own unexpected bun in the oven, the show just doesn’t do much with any of these narrative ideas. The Legends simply battle an aggressive teenage Gus-Gus off-screen, eventually banishing him to a forest, before Mick finally witnesses that he has 48 Necrian eggs in his skull.
At least this week’s core storyline surrounding Constantine and Spooner is far better though. That’s especially important when you consider that Legends of Tomorrow is taking the next two Sunday’s off from here, and not returning for its next episode until well into August. This Constantine-centric plot works so well because it takes two of the Legends’ most outwardly self-serving characters (aside from Astra, who’s wasted on the Waverider with most of the other Legends this week), and plays with their moral ambiguity to really inspired effect. Dropping the two into an especially morally bankrupt setting and time period is also a great idea, with Constantine even directly pointing out that the Spanish Civil War is infamous due to its more moral faction ultimately losing.
Carrying along a bit of cursed blood from his new vampire dealer, Constantine seeks the answer to the prophecy that’s brought him to the apparent location of the Fountain of Imperium. Yeah, apparently it’s on Earth now, despite the show previously claiming that it was in space, a plot inconsistency that’s hand-waved away with a throwaway line. Like I’ve mentioned before, maybe COVID-19 issues are to blame here, but what’s with these weird, obvious last-second Arrowverse rewrites that have been especially noticeable this season? Well, in any case, Constantine and Spooner make their way to a bar, which happens to be a hiding spot for El Gato, a leftist resistance member who supposedly survived seven shootings and a crucifixion.
After Constantine quickly defuses this situation, upon initial suspicion that he’s a German spy, several Nazi soldiers show up at the bar, at which point Constantine and Spooner discover that El Gato’s nephew is the one that actually wields the power of the Fountain of Imperium. After Spooner is then captured, Constantine later returns in disguise as a priest (an amusingly ironic turn for him), and helps Spooner use her alien telepathy to get a location on the Fountain. Constantine, Spooner and the nephew then escape after an ensuing gunfight, and make their way to the Fountain’s location, only for Constantine to see that it’s a pile of rocks. Even a subsequent magic ritual fails to transfer the nephew’s magic power to Constantine, forcing Constantine to once again face reality without his magic.
The narrative goes into brutal detail about Constantine’s shaky justification, and probable addiction, to his former magic power in the Arrowverse here as well. Like a drug addict, Constantine blames everything except himself for his issues, and claims that he needs magic for the good of the world, and for himself. After Spooner and the nephew are once again forced to flee however, Constantine ultimately indulges in the cursed blood he’s been carrying, resulting in a trippy, haunting sequence wherein he gains temporary dark magic abilities, abilities that slaughter the Nazi soldiers. Finally, despite telling Spooner that he’ll never tap into these powers again, Constantine uses the last of the blood’s initial power to enchant Spooner so that she returns to the Waverider, and lies about the success of their mission. That’s bad enough, but Constantine subsequently ending this episode by trading Crowley’s painting for even more cursed blood is even worse!
On another note, this season of Legends of Tomorrow curiously seems to lack an arch-villain at this point, assuming that Bishop really is dead for good, and Kayla isn’t suddenly going to massively turn on the team, because, let’s face it, she’s definitely still alive. Constantine becoming the biggest obstacle for the Legends this season instead is an interesting direction to take, if the narrative really does go that way, especially since I’m starting to get the impression that the show is moving towards an exit for Constantine’s character in the Arrowverse. This would make sense if Legends of Tomorrow isn’t planning to entirely end during its upcoming seventh season (which it very well could, especially with rumours once again indicating that it probably will), considering that HBO Max is developing its own separate Constantine series with a new lead actor, which would likely render Constantine’s TV rights off-limits to The CW, if sudden restrictions on characters like Arrow’s Deathstroke are any indication.
Regardless, “Bad Blood” delivers a really strong central team-up plot between Constantine and Spooner, even if it once again comes at the expense of Legends of Tomorrow’s latest disposable subplot-of-the-week. I’m not sure what the point of the Legends adopting Gus-Gus is currently supposed to be, frankly, particularly after they end up kicking him into some unknown forest anyway. This unfortunately means that the show trying to once again shift Sara and Ava out of the spotlight for a week is mostly pointless in this case, though like I said, it’s tough to complain too much when the narrative is actually flexing Constantine’s amoral side again for a change. Constantine’s character has just been in a very awkward spot throughout this season, shifting wildly between this cloying, out-of-character relationship subplot with Zari 2.0, and abruptly losing his magical abilities off the back of a fairly obvious CW budget slashing. It just feels like the series no longer knows what to do with Constantine anymore, to the point where he doesn’t even regularly show up on the Waverider at this point.
Every so often though, Legends of Tomorrow remembers what John Constantine is actually all about, and this was thankfully one of those episodes. Even with his magic gone, maybe there is some fight still left in the Arrowverse’s Constantine, and hopefully his controversial blood magic dabbling actually makes him a legitimately interesting and unpredictable character again.
- Smart Constantine/Spooner team-up
- Effective use of the Spain, 1939 backdrop
- Constantine handing off Crowley, and going all in on blood magic
- Most of the Legends wasting time with Gus-Gus (and then abandoning him)
- Nothing interesting is done with Zari 1.0's return yet