DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 6 Episode 6

Jun 14, 2021 | Posted by in TV
Legends

“Bishop’s Gambit”

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow intensifies the search for Sara as Mick finds his way to Bishop’s planet and the rest of the team explore a new lead that comes their way.

For the most part we’re still in formula territory for this season. We have the team chasing down leads that may or may not be connected to the main arc along with definite development of the main arc in other places. The show is closing in on those two aspects meeting for some real development with this episode probably marking the point where that starts to happen.

Legends

Allowances for family

There are three plots vying for attention in this episode. Sara with Bishop, Mick with Kayla and the rest of the team. The rest of the team follow a lead that brings them to the Amelia Earhart alien. This allows for a natural development point for Spooner who was already concerned about the growth of her abilities since joining the Legends. Encountering the Amelia Earhart alien brings her concerns to the surface as her abilities grow further through her hearing the alien clearly and starting to speak the language. As the episode progresses she learns that Amelia Earhart was replaced by what amounts to an infection that overpowered her and then took over. She fears the same is happening to her and sees herself as a potential liability as a result as well as being terrified that she will lose herself to this.

It’s a valid fear and the alien only helps confirm that in her mind through indulging her paranoia and suggesting that she’s looking at her own future. The loss of self is always a terrifying prospect and often comes up in alien invasion narratives especially where bodysnatching is involved. Identity is a theme that the season looks to be exploring in various ways and the framing of Spooner’s struggles with hers is really interesting.

She has a really strong moment with Behrad where he applies his own particular type of logic to Spooner’s situation. He talks about the present being all that matters so obsessing about what happened in the past and might happen in the future is unimportant and unproductive. Behrad does acknowledge that such a mantra seems ridiculous for time travellers but it applies because he means in a personal sense. To him all that matters is who a person is in the moment and what choices they make as their present self. Spooner’s concerns about what she might become don’t currently matter because she has the opportunity to impact her future in the here and now. Given Behrad’s status as someone who likes to indulge in mind altering substances it makes perfect sense as an overblown viewpoint but it is also meaningful because it gives Spooner hope. Their dynamic is really fun and engaging with their personalities complimenting each other well so hopefully this heralds more moments along these lines.

Legends

Adventurers doing adventures

Spooner’s acceptance of her present circumstances means she is able to take some control of the situation and confront the Amelia Earhart alien who tries to get under her skin -both literally and figuratively- while confirming that she killed Sara. At this point in the episode it’s assumed to be a lie from the audience perspective as Sara is seen alive and well in other scenes -more on that later- but it’s also assumed to be a lie by Ava and the rest of the team because they don’t want to think about Sara being dead. It’s a reasonable reaction and the episode cleverly takes the viewer on the journey of assuming the Amelia Earhart alien is being dishonest.

Added to this is the John and Astra dynamic following on from the previous episode where John takes on the role of her magic teacher after losing his abilities -beyond the odd simple trick- and shows her how to probe the Amelia Earhart alien’s mind with a spell. It’s a small moment but it showcases some of the potential of this connection which proves to be overwhelming for both of them as John isn’t used to being someone who has to be patient with others in passing on wisdom and Astra struggling to master her new abilities. It’s more of an introduction to this dynamic with the promise of further development and it’s a solid start. More interesting than that was the single take sequence where John walked through his house to showcase the impact having the Legends currently living there was having on his surroundings. It brings in all the characters naturally, highlights the chaos that is now his home while also serving as a reminder of his acceptance of this group of people as his family. He’s irritated and inconvenienced but is completely willing to accept this disruption because he has grown so close to them. It’s a very realistic portrayal of family dysfunction and the associated obligation that comes with tolerating it because the connection is so worthwhile.

The Sara plot spends a lot of time with her doing what she does best i.e. overcome overwhelming odds. She takes on Bishop, uses her superior fighting prowess to overwhelm him while also lulling him into a false sense of security with her winning personality. Bishop remains problematic as a character as there remains too much focus on how over the top he is. The way he so easily falls for Sara’s obvious deception doesn’t track with the threat he’s supposed to represent but it’s always great to see Caity Lotz indulge the lighter side of Sara Lance as well as see examples of Sara’s ability to alter her personality to fit the moment. It’s a strong idea but less than believable in the execution despite how satisfying it is to see Sara dragging Bishop all over his facility.

Legends

Some adjusting to be done

Identity threads through the Sara scenes in various ways. The Ava clones are an obvious example of this as they have accepted they are nothing more than disposable assets that can be exploited by Bishop. Sara obviously knows different due to her relationship with “our” Ava but the trick is convincing them that they are worth something. It’s something she has achieved to some degree with the nurse who expresses horror when seeing other clones so casually killed because Bishop wants to prevent intruders from entering his stronghold. He doesn’t value them or recognise them as people but Sara does and with her help the Avas will all come around to that way of thinking.

Bishop has a different perspective on identity as he fully subscribes to the idea of life and consciousness being a machine. Everything can be replicated so he has no concept of fearing death since a new version of him is created. He sets himself apart because there is never more than one Bishop at a time but he sees everything as disposable because it can all be recreated. What he doesn’t consider is the concept of a soul and whether something unique is lost whenever one Bishop dies and another takes it place. It isn’t clarified if the consciousness is copied over to the next iteration which means that they are two different people who share the same physical characteristics and memories. Even though the memories pick up where the previous model left off they still aren’t the same person because the soul -which is confirmed to exist in this universe- presumably doesn’t transfer. Bishop may be ignorant to this fact and will come to realise that in time but for now he sees life as mechanical so doesn’t value it.

There is an emphasis on the idea of a fresh start as Bishop solves all of his problems by scrapping an old model and starting again. Sara is able to latch onto this and manipulate him which brings in her views on identity. She talks about how she doesn’t subscribe to the idea of a fresh start because she believes that development is earned through experience. That experience is often brutal such as her death and resurrection but it all adds up into the person she now is. She references her scars connecting to memories and those memories making up the person she is which leads Bishop to reveal to her that the original Sara Lance died and has been replaced with a clone that has none of those scars. The episode ends with her staring at the dead body of what is presumed to be the original Sara Lance meaning that the current Sara may be a clone who simply shares the memories. by her own definition of what makes up a person she no longer qualifies assuming this isn’t an elaborate misdirect and the body is a highly detailed husk that never contained any life. If what Bishop is leading her to believe is true then it will be interesting to see how the new Sara reacts to this knowledge and how that impacts her perception of herself.

Legends

Facing the problem head on

Naturally this raises the question over whether the show can get away with replacing Sara with an exact duplicate of herself that shares the same memories while being categorically not the original. My view is that it can because it retains the character while providing an entirely new avenue for character exploration. Will she be able to think of herself as Sara Lance? Will the team accept her as Sara Lance? Will she decide that she is something else and change accordingly? Those are just a sample of the potential arcs that she could follow with each providing excellent potential to explore identity as a concept and what it really means to identify as a specific person. Bishop needs to be a stronger antagonist but the ideas associated with him are excellent.

The Mick and Kayla portions of the episode aren’t as engaging as they could be. Bizarrely the episode skips over the interesting things that are referenced such as them flying through time and space becoming drinking buddies. It would have been excellent to see Kayla drink Mick under the table rather than hearing about it. The actors have great chemistry that makes the connection they have formed believable but it’s a strange choice to skip over something that would be undoubtedly entertaining to watch develop. It is as expected hilarious to witness the inevitable end point of them giving into their passion but building to it would have been stronger. Mick’s contribution to the episode is entertaining otherwise even though he doesn’t do a great deal. The conversation he has with Kayla where he agrees that Humanity sucks but that doesn’t apply to Sara. It’s a great quick reminder of how much he respects Sara while maintaining his trademark standoffishness. Mick remains delightfully consistent.

Legends

Sara knows who she is…or does she?


Verdict

An engaging episode that threads the theme of identity through the two main plots, offers excellent characterisation and capitalises on engaging dynamics. Spooner’s concerns over the growth of her abilities and facing down the Amelia Earhart alien who could represent her future allows for some compelling development from her character. Behrad assuring her that all that matters is the here and now rather than what came before or what might come after makes for an engaging moment that suits Behrad’s personality as well as helping Spooner recontextualise her thoughts in order to take control of the current situation. This provides the information that the Amelia Earhart alien killed Sara which prompts denial from the team as well as the audience. The John and Astra dynamic receives some attention through this though it’s more geared towards introducing this shift in their relationship rather than actively exploring it. John’s one take stroll through his house to showcase how inconvenient it is for him to have the Legends living with him is an excellent reminder that he sees the team as family and is willing to tolerate having them around despite his annoyance. Bishop needs to be better as an antagonist but his views on life prompt some fascinating exploration of the concept of identity and how the soul factors into how he defines life. Sara’s take on it is as expected which makes the end of episode reveal that the original Sara is dead and she is a clone all the more shocking. There’s a lot of potential on the back of this assuming the reveal is as it seems.

The Mick and Kayla portions of the episode aren’t as strong as they could be. As actors they sell the connection completely and it’s fun to watch but bizarrely they skip over the referenced details that would have been fascinating to see such as them becoming drinking buddies in the meantime. It’s entertaining and Mick’s cynical view of Humanity with Sara being the exception is a strong reminder of how much he values her. Mick remains delightfully consistent.

Overall
  • 8/10
    Bishop's Gambit - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Kneel Before…

  • Spooner’s concerns over her growing abilities being heightened
  • Behrad’s advice helping her reframe her own thinking
  • Spooner overcoming her anxieties and confronting the Amelia Earhart alien
  • showcasing John’s acceptance of his found family through his tolerance of the disruption
  • exploring the concept of identity through Bishop’s take on what life is
  • Sara’s views on what defines her
  • the shock ending
  • Mick and Kayla’s fun dynamic

 

Rise Against…

  • Bishop remaining a less than engaging antagonist
  • hearing about the fun adventures Mick and Kayla share rather than seeing them

 

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