DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 4 Episode 13
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow deals with the Ray possession plot, continues to develop the Nate/Zari relationship and gives Mick’s role as a writer attention.
“Egg MacGuffin” is one of those episodes where it’s hard to put a pin in what it’s actually about because the focus is spread pretty evenly between all of the different plots. This isn’t a bad thing as it highlights that the writers see the ensemble as being more important than plot movement. The fact that most of these plots tie into the overarching season narrative is definitely a bonus but by themselves they are perfectly entertaining in their own right.
Recent episodes have taken on the task of convincing the audience that a Nate and Zari relationship is something that should be invested in. I’m sure readers of this site will know that I’m rarely all that impressed with Nate as a character but he certainly has his moments and has been used to great effect lately. Zari has always been an interesting character but isn’t always given a lot to do and it’s somewhat backwards that the only way the writers can think of to make her more prominent is to pair her up with one of the other characters. This is still a CW show and relationship drama is one of the pillars of most of their output so it unfortunately bleeds into this.
Having said that, the writers have been doing a really good job setting this up as a worthwhile and natural pairing. Mercifully the “will they/won’t they” aspect of their interactions hasn’t been annoyingly overpowering and the actors have been settling into their chemistry as time has gone on. They have also been dealing with other characters commenting on their suitability as a couple so part of the development has been both of them coming to that realisation on their own. This episode is designed to move that to the next stage with a bit of a push from Sara who puts them on an easy mission together that can double as their first date. It’s so obvious a setup that Nate and Zari immediately realise what’s going on but decide to run with it anyway. Each of them try to bring in other members of the team but everyone’s tied up with other stuff so they have to take on this mission without any backup. It’s a fairly standard coupling scenario but it works better than most because both characters are acutely aware of what’s going on while being afraid of what giving into their feelings might mean for them.
The fear aspect isn’t that well developed as it makes them come across a bit like teenagers with no justifiable reason for being afraid of their feelings for one another other than the writers want to mine the situation for all the awkwardness that they can. This makes their interactions a weird hybrid of knowing exactly what’s going on while being reluctant to admit what they both know. It’s somewhat jarring when put together and it does get in the way though thankfully this looks to be the final time that they will be in denial as to their true feelings.
Their mission definitely numbers among the most mundane in terms of stakes though this is done with purpose as each of them feel it’s an elaborate setup on Sara’s part. Having them under the cover identities of Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood to infiltrated a club that directly interests Nate to retrieve a mysterious egg comes across as contrived to them almost immediately. The appearance of Nazis right after Nate jokes about that being the only thing missing confirms this for them. Sara does confirm that the mission is genuine which makes them shift gears and take it seriously but she also admits that they were assigned it as an excuse to be alone together. The whole scenario is predictably ridiculous and doesn’t feel like a massive obstacle to any member of the team though the point is to force Nate and Zari to admit their feelings to one another while also serving as a reminder that not every mission will have obscenely high stakes.
By the end of the episode Zari and Nate admit that they have feelings for one another and embark on a relationship. As I’ve said this hasn’t been delayed to the point of irritation so the progression towards this point feels natural enough. Starting their relationship with an overt Indiana Jones reference feels about right as well. It remains to be seen if this relationship will be interesting following this but I hope it doesn’t come at the expense of developing the characters independently.
Mick’s journey towards self acceptance continues when his pseudonym Rebecca Silver is invited to a literary convention. The payment for an appearance will be $20 thousand so it’s really enticing but Mick doesn’t want to reveal himself to the world because he feels insecure about his creative side and would rather people enjoy his work without attributing it to him. Charlie steps in to be the face of Rebecca Silver and they attend a Q&A where Nora shows up and outs Charlie as being the clueless stand-in that she is. Mick ultimately reveals himself to the crowd and finds he is accepted for who he is. It’s an important step forward in Mick embracing his talents as a writer and opening himself up to those who appreciate him for what he has created. It’s unusual to see Mick so insecure but it does wonders for him as a character as he so often sits in the background of the show. Gaining this sort of insight into his insecurities and his desire to share a part of himself with the world is excellent. Being accepted for who he is by a large number of fans is the perfect resolution to the fear that has plagued him through much of the season.
Tied into Mick’s plot is the book club that Sara has decided to be a part of to prove that she can be a part of Ava’s life in different ways. She really makes an effort to contribute to the book club because she wants Nora to know that she will do anything for her. Amusingly Ava uses this as an excuse to turn her brain off and drink wine while Nora rambles about the book. It tracks that Nora wouldn’t notice that she was the only one talking given how excitable she gets. The effort Sara goes to is appreciated by Ava who sees it as a really sweet gesture. This will continue to help put the fears that were detailed in the previous episode to rest.
Ray’s possession by Nero is the plot with the biggest stakes. The portrayal of this is weird as it is largely played for laughs which undercuts the threat value of Neron. Brandon Routh’s performance here is great though is skewed in a more comedic direction than it really should be. Adding Gary to the mix only furthers the comedic aspects which makes it all the more jarring when John shows up taking the situation seriously. Obviously Ray being possessed by a dangerous Demon is a massive problem and John treats that with the gravity it deserves but it would have been better had the episode not leaned on the slapstick nature of Ray trying to stop himself from stabbing anyone who comes near him. Once again Brandon Routh sells it well but it’s the wrong tone for this sort of plot.
Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Neron in full control is really chilling because it is so different from how he plays Ray. There’s a sinister quality to his voice and the body language changes completely so he completely sells the transition. It’s also a strong character moment for Ray when he sacrifices his body in order to protect his friends. It’s a noble if short sighted sacrifice as there is absolutely no chance Neron will continue to leave the Legends alone especially considering they will be entirely focused on finding and defeating him. We can definitely counting on the team not letting one of their own go without a fight.
Speaking of one of their own, Neron preys on the insecurities of Gary in order to get him to betray the team and go with him. This is set up really cleverly throughout the episode with a couple of references to the doormat being the guilty party. It plays out that way in the book club book and in the date/mission combination to set up Gary doing the same thing. Neron recognises that he isn’t as valued as others on the team because he is perceived to be less than competent. He tempts him with a lost part of himself that now belongs to Hell, in this case the nipple he lost in the first episode of the season. Unlike the jarring tonal contrast in the Ray plot this comes across really well as it exemplifes the ridiculous of Gary as well as how seriously the situation is taken. Gary remembers all the times he has been put down by those around him and sees Neron’s point that they don’t want him even though the reality is that they do consider him part of their team even if he is often the butt of jokes and a source of frustration for them.
Gary being the turncoat works so well because everything leading to it has been there all along. He has consistently been put down and devalued by other characters and the show plays it for laughs because the Legends are our perspective and Gary is around for nuisance value. It clearly affects him deeply such as when he talks about having a designated bathroom stall that he cries in. This is his escape from the constant negativity he’s faced with on a daily basis because it would have an impact on anyone’s confidence to consistently have everyone you happen to meet constantly bring you down. In fairness Gary does himself no favours but he does try and the Legends clearly have some affection for him but it will be difficult for him to see it that way because he will be so focused on the negative behaviour towards him. It’s a quietly tragic story that has been building since his introduction and it pays off wonderfully here. Neron promises him the kind of respect he doesn’t get anywhere else and offers to make him whole by returning his nipple to him. The loss of his nipple may seem funny but for him it’s a part of himself that he can’t get back and he clearly focuses on how terrifying that loss was for him because it could have cost him his life. It’s actually a really profound moment that may teach the Legends a lesson about the impact their words can have.
There is a significant shift in how Nora will come to be regarded from now on. Ava admits to her that she will need her powers to have any hope of combatting the evil that lies ahead and offers her the opportunity to become an official part of the Time Bureau. She is granted the acceptance that she needs and now knows that she doesn’t have to face her demons -both literal and figurative- alone. Considering how Ava once regarded her this is a powerful gesture on her part and allows Nora to be an important part of something positive. It’s not the entirety of the redemption that she needs but it’s an important step in the right direction.
An excellent episode that juggles a wide variety of character stories expertly to offer meaningful development for all concerned. The Zari/Nate plot is fairly low stakes as it’s about capitalising on the will they/won’t they aspect of their present interactions. Amusingly they don’t take the mission seriously because they quickly believe it to be constructed by Sara. It’s far from the most dangerous thing that either of them have undertaken and it isn’t treated as something of significance because not everything has to be. The purpose of this plot is to get Nate and Zari together which happens though it’s bizarre that they know the purpose of being sent on this mission yet dealing with the feelings they know they both have as if they’re teenagers worried about what the other may thing.. I hope this coupling doesn’t devalue either character on their own as there is a tendency in CW shows to define characters by their romantic entanglements. Mick’s journey towards true self confidence is further developed here when he outs himself as his pseudonym Rebecca Silver to a room full of fans after Charlie fails to be convincing posing as the face of this creation. There has been a defined arc for Mick as he gains more confidence in his creative side and becomes more comfortable expressing it. This marks the end of that journey for him and it’s really satisfying to see that play out. Tied into this is Sara joining the book club that Ava partakes in. This follows up on her genuine desire to be a part of every aspect of Ava’s life in the previous episode and amounts to a sweet gesture even if Ava uses the book club as an escape from having to think elsewhere thanks to Mona’s tendency to become overexcited.
The Ray possession plot is a mixed bag. Brandon Routh sells it really well but the clash in tones is very jarring as it is really high stakes mixed with awkward slapstick. It ends up undercutting the threat that Neron represents. Brandon Routh’s portrayal of Neron is really well done; he plays it very different to Ray and is convincingly sinister. Ray’s short sighted sacrifice is perfectly in character for him as there is no chance of Neron leaving the Legends alone especially since they will stop at nothing to bring back one of their own safely. Gary acting as the turncoat works really well because it leans into the insecurities that are exascerbated by the way the Legends treat him. They don’t see it as harmful and he is clearly seen as a nuisance by them because of the haphazard way he goes about things. This treatment clearly impacts his confidence in ways that are played for laughs because the Legends are the audience perspective but there are signs of the profound effect this has such as having a bathroom cubicle set aside for crying. Neron playing on these insecurities makes a lot of sense and the way he does this perfectly combines comedy with the seriousness of the situation. Gary regaining his lost nipple is a funny situation but there is a lot of weight attached to it because Gary sees it as a profound loss for him since it could have so easily been his life. Neron promising acceptance and respect is definitely a powerful motivator so it makes a lot of sense. Nora being accepted by Ava and offered a position within the Time Bureau is a really satisfying development as it makes Nora a big part of something positive while also confirming to her that she doesn’t have to face her demons -literal and figurative- alone. It’s a step towards the redemption she’s looking for.
- juggling a variety of character stories expertly
- building towards Nate and Zari admitting their feelings for one another
- Sara making efforts to be involved in all aspects of Ava’s life
- Mick outing himself as Rebecca Silver and completing his journey towards self respect
- Brandon Routh’s performance as Neron
- Gary’s betrayal making complete sense based on how the character has been portrayed
- Nora being accepted as part of the Time Bureau
- the Ray possssion plot having awkwardly clashing tones
- Nate and Zari acting as teenagers when it comes to admitting their feelings for one another despite knowing how the other feels
What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below
User Review( votes)
We’d love to know your thoughts on this and anything else you might want to talk about. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or just leave a comment in the comment section below. You’ll need an account for Disqus but it’s easy to set up.
If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.