DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 6 Episode 10
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow continues with John’s quest for the Fountain of Imperium as Mick struggles to accept his pregnancy.
The addition of a pregnancy plot for Mick is a strange yet interesting development for the show to explore. It’s something that has been put in place to facilitate Mick finding a way to resolve the parental strife that has been rampant in his family. He had a less than healthy relationship with his parents that resulted in him burning the house down with them in it, his own approach to parenting Lita has been far less than ideal and now he is faced with the prospect of giving birth to a Brood of Alien babies. The most recent development is definitely something he never planned for and brings his familial anxieties to the surface.
Lita wants Mick to be scanned by Gideon to determine if the eggs are life threatening. She does this because she cares about him but Mick refuses to allow the scan. It’s a stubborn and foolish decision on his part but being obtuse is very much on brand for him so the plot becomes about understanding why he refuses to be scanned. Eventually he opens up in his own way and declares that he deserves what’s coming to him. He thinks this because he left Kayla behind which runs counter to the code he has always lived by. As a thief he prided himself on being loyal to his partner which means never leaving them behind under any circumstances. His life has been defined by lawlessness and breaking rules but that one mantra is what everything else revolved around. Mick always believed he could be counted on to stand by a partner in crime so he has always had integrity but leaving Kayla behind has caused him to believe that the one thing he took pride in doesn’t apply to him. This means he feels that he deserves to be punished in the form of a Brood of Alien babies exploding out of his skull.
Naturally Lita isn’t willing to accept that Mick has given up though a big problem is that she initially doesn’t understand why he feels the way he does. Early on she assumes that it’s nothing more than the pregnancy being unwanted which prompts her to encourage him to accept it. Mick tells her that he didn’t have a choice in the matter which leads her to remind him that her mother didn’t have a choice and that her own pregnancy was unplanned. Her mother dealt with the consequences and so is she where Mick is trying to use his lack of choice in the matter as an excuse to not face up to the consequences. Once again this showcases how mature Lita is and how she is placed to break the cycle of toxic parenting that predates her in the family. Having the daughter teach the father about parental responsibility and show him a better way through her own decisions is an excellent way to frame this lesson with it showing that Lita has learned a lot from what her father didn’t do for her. Lita has gained wisdom through imagining what an idealised family life would be since she never had one and working to create that for her own family.
Her acceptance of Mick as a less than ideal father figure is a big part of why their relationship works so well. A lot has been covered such as her being angry at him for being absent throughout most of her life, blaming him for impregnating her mother and disappearing, being bitter because he disappears for long stretches after entering her life, being resentful that his trying to do better often results in him being worse and so much more. Once she reflects she always realises that Mick carries around a lot of guilt associated with her and is really trying to do right by her but struggles to find the best way to do it. She has reached a point where she is secure in the knowledge that Mick cares about her and that he shows it in unconventional ways as he fumbles around trying to figure out how to make up for being absent. In other words she has accepted her relationship with Mick for what it is rather than what she would like it to be which is an important distinction that allows her to relate to him in a very real way.
Mick still has difficulty accepting that he needs to move on from what he didn’t do and concentrate on what he can do. His pregnancy could be seen as a second chance for him to do right by this Brood from day one. His arc in this episode is about accepting the reality of the pregnancy and taking responsibility for it. He has to realise that his lack of choice in what happened to him is irrelevant as his own carelessness allowed it to happen and now he has to deal with it. Lita helps him along that journey with a tough love approach and her matter-of-fact declarations pointing out exactly what the situation is underscores how simple Mick’s decision should be.
In the end she uses subterfuge to lure Mick into the Medbay by faking going into labour and after Nate reminds him that everyone on the team cares about him he reluctantly agrees. I wonder how much time on this show would be saved if Mick wasn’t a stubborn character. That isn’t a criticism of the show or the character but that consistency as well as his capacity for growth has taken up a lot of time over the years and it’s usually endlessly watchable to watch the journey towards the inevitable play out. It is never in doubt that he will reach the point where he accepts that he is impregnated and assumed responsibility for it but watching it play out is unquestionably entertaining.
The other plot focuses on John’s quest to get his magic back which involves tracking down a magical fountain. He enlists Spooner because of her Alien translating ability and they go on an adventure to Nazi era Spain. The plot itself isn’t all that interesting and features a lot of tedious scenes but the character work is strong as it often is. Pairing Spooner and John was really engaging because they are both damaged characters who can relate to one another because of the challenges they have dealt with. Those challenges are not the same but there’s connective tissue there because there’s a shared understanding of those difficulties.
Spooner’s connection to Fernando (Ricardo Ortiz) is an interesting one. He is mute but she can understand him because of the Alien power he has. She sees a lot of herself in him because she spent so long feeling that she didn’t have a voice while having this Alien power forced on her and that understanding works on two levels. He’s a victim of circumstance just as she is but the key difference is that he doesn’t have the support structure she now has. She feels empathy towards him and takes real ownership of trying to help him which actively contrasts John’s singular desire to regain his magic.
It’s a great contrast because it highlights how single minded John can be when he has his mind set on something. He has learned a lot being part of the Legends in terms of being more compassionate, working better with others, considering the impact his actions have on other members of the team and even attempting a committed relationship. Despite those lessons it doesn’t take much for him to fall back on old habits and a setback such as losing his magic is more than enough to allow that to happen.
He does justify his mindset when he confesses to Spooner that he feels as if he’s nothing without his magic. His self worth is tied to his ability to use magic so without it he feels like a worthless addition to the team as well as feeling useless within himself. This can go one of two ways; the first being that he gets a reality check and learns what worth he can provide or the second is that he spirals into a really dark place where he compromises his morality in order to achieve his goals.
Naturally the show goes with the latter approach for now which is unfortunate in a way as almost nothing has been done with him acting as a mentor for Astra following her beginning to learn magic. John can be a very dark character even if this show has shied away from it for the most part so it fits that his desperation would push him over the edge. Attached to the fountain is a clause where someone has to be worthy in order to drink from it. This either sets up an arc that builds to John gaining that worthiness or sets up an emotional journey towards him accepting that he could never be worthy. Either way there’s a lot of potential and plenty for Matt Ryan to chew on as an actor.
The introduction of the magical narcotic that gives him temporary access to magical abilities with the notable downside of it driving him to give into his darker impulses adds to this potential. Matt Ryan plays that sequence perfectly. He highlights the seductive and damaging quality to this drug as well as the euphoria that comes with wielding that power. Added to that is that he has been without it for a spell -word choice deliberate- so wielding it even temporarily is intoxicating to him. It does initially seem to be a problem that solves itself as he only has one dose and admits how much it scared him so he has no desire to go near it again. Once again Matt Ryan’s performance is on point as John was perfectly convincing but it was either true at the time or a well delivered lie and he gives into the seductive qualities of the narcotic even putting a spell on Spooner to lie and say they were successful in getting his magic back. He is very much headed for rock bottom which might be a requirement in either progression option for this story.
A distinct weakness in the episode was the handling of the rapidly ageing Gus Gus. On one hand it was a wacky background detail to offset the emotionally driven storytelling elsewhere but on the other it received very little attention and was clumsily thrown away by him being lured through a time window. There was no substance to this though it may not be the end of this plot. Even if that is the case it was clumsily thrown into this episode for the sake of cheap laughs which isn’t always enough even for this show.
A good episode that has a strong emotional journey for Mick, an appropriately dark plot for John and really engaging content for Spooner. Lita helping Mick on his journey towards acceptance of his unexpected pregnancy is excellently handled. It touches on Mick’s turbulent family life as well as the mistakes he has made with Lita while highlighting her maturity in accepting those hardships and building a relationship with him in spite of them. She comes from a position of having accepted the consequences of her actions and breaking the cycle that plagued her family up until this point which makes her perfectly suited to encourage Mick to do the same. The end result of that journey is never in doubt but watching what it takes to get there is always engaging. Mick admitting that he feels he deserves the potentially fatal consequences allows him to explain that he lives by a code that he feels he has broken which shows growth on his part as well as the integrity he has always had. Mick’s stubbornness and capacity for growth is often well handled and this is no exception.
Spooner and John working together works really well because they are both damaged characters who can relate to one another even though their experiences aren’t the same. Spooner’s connection to Fernando is really well handled with the strong implication that she sees a lot of herself in him since she was also a victim of circumstance. Her ability to understand what he’s thinking due to her power works on two levels as she is able to understand what he’s going through. John heading down a dark path also works well because he has always been prone to self destructive tendencies. Despite all he has learned and the growth he has achieved as part of the Legends he can still be very single minded. His confession that he feels that he is nothing without his magic makes sense and ties his abilities to his self worth. It was the one thing he offered and without he feels he has nothing. This leads naturally to him taking the drug that grants him temporary magical powers and Matt Ryan plays this perfectly. It’s dangerous, seductive and addictive. Matt Ryan’s delivery of the line where he states he won’t go near it again is convincing meaning it was a well crafted lie or true at the time. There is a worthiness aspect attached to the fountain which suggests he will either become worthy by hitting rock bottom and improving or coming to accept that he isn’t worthy then find a new version of self worth. The rapidly ageing Gus Gus plot was clumsily handled and had no real substance. It only served to encourage cheap laughs which isn’t always enough even for this show.
- a strong emotional journey for Mick
- his confession about feeling that he has broken his own code
- Lita showing her maturity by helping him on the road to acceptance
- The Spooner/John dynamic
- Spooner seeing a lot of herself in Fernando and their connection that forms
- John falling back on self destructive habits
- lots of potential associated with the addiction plot
- the ageing Gus Gus plot awkwardly shoehorned in for little more than cheap laughs
- a lot of tedious scenes in the John/Spooner plot
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