DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 7 Episode 13

Mar 3, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“Knocked Down, Knocked Up”

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow wraps up its seventh season with the tying up of loose ends, farewells and a visit to the First World War.

The lack of a season 8 renewal looms over this show as it’s possible this could be the series finale rather than a series finale. Personally I think a renewal will happen as the show has existed for seven years so to have it dismissed without the opportunity to wrap up properly would be an insult to those involved. One of the questions associated with this episode is whether it could work as the end of the show. The answer is that it does in some ways but not in others but it does amount to a strong episode of this show.


Once a family, always a family

The early part of the episode features the Legends in their new lives without the knowledge that Gary has been thrown out of the Waverider. They all meet up once a week in the pocket dimension mansion to enjoy being together and discuss the direction their lives are taking. Sara and Ava are considering thinking about having kids, Zari is focusing on her business, Nate is procrastinating on his book, Astra has begun her political career and so on. As always it’s great to see the characters come together without necessarily having a problem to deal with. They have been through a lot together and have become a family along the way so simply being around one another is always a joy to watch.

As the Legends enjoy retirement, Gideon is less enthusiastic about her role as protector of the timeline. She is shown to be conflicted over whether she is doing the right thing by preventing opportunistic time travellers from changing history. One remark she makes is about one of her interventions restoring the long timescale before women can be granted the vote. Sara’s words about making things better for people by making changes to the timeline ring in her ears and she constantly questions her sense of purpose. Evil Gideon tempers this by continuing to insist that the timeline must be preserved at all costs and together that’s what they set out to do. It’s impressively insidious to see Evil Gideon constantly stifle Gideon’s humanity and prey on the difficulty she has resolving that part of herself. It’s easier for her to lean into the artificial side rather than compassion and Evil Gideon encourages it. As pairings go it’s not sustainable but watching the manipulation play out in this way is compelling.

Gideon and Evil Gideon’s paths cross once again when the Legends get wind of Gwyn being killed in an attempt to prevent Alun’s death. Gary is the one to catch everyone up on what has been going on and even informs Gideon that the evil A.I. flushed him out of an airlock to sever her connection to her Human side. Gideon tries to shrug it off as the A.I. having a good reason as a further example of the manipulation at play but it’s clear from Amy Louise Pemberton’s performance that she is conflicted and questioning her decisions. With everything she learns her situation looks increasingly worse and it quickly becomes something to be escaped rather than endured.


Finding joy in your job anyway you can

This leads to an excellent conflict between Gideon and Evil Gideon. It starts when Evil Gideon offers her an upgrade of sorts; she is given the opportunity to put her consciousness into an android body with the pain and heartache being deleted in the process so that she doesn’t have to live with emotional turmoil. She has learned enough to question this and understands that the bad has to be taken with the good in order to appreciate the contrast. She also worries that her good memories will be compromised in the process but ends up being manipulated in agreeing to the procedure because the prospect of being hated and shunned by the Legends is too much for her to live with. Fortunately Astra and Spooner rescue her and assure her that she has a place in that found family. Having them be the ones to rescue her is appropriate as they were there when she first became Human so there is a more meaningful connection there. Astra accepted herself as a mother of sorts to Gideon since it was her magic that made her Human so Spooner could be an extension of that since her earliest experiences as a Human were guided by the two of them. The lesson they can impart is that the anger directed at her isn’t permanent and it comes with being part of a family. This is enough to tip the scales away from supporting Evil Gideon as she comes to understand that being Human is about enduring hardships rather than erasing them.

Their conflict becomes much more physical when Evil Gideon downloads herself into the android body therefore becoming the personification of everything Gideon has to reject and defeat in order to become her best self. She does so by exploiting the strict programming that Evil Gideon lives by and turning her into the historical anomaly that has to be stopped. This prompts Evil Gideon to self terminate which wasn’t quite what Gideon expected but nonetheless effective. On a symbolic level it represents her rejection of the artificial side of herself in favour of a more compassionate and emotionally driven existence. She understands where she belongs and what was holding her back so takes steps to get rid of it. Astra magically rebuilding the Waverider immediately after it was destroyed was a little too neat as resolutions go particularly with a major plot earlier in the season being focused around her inability to do that. It does represent growth in her confidence and her magical abilities but that growth hasn’t been shown over the season so it doesn’t quite work as intended.

Sara and Ava’s journey towards motherhood takes unexpected turns in the most joyous of ways. Early on the thought is that they would choose the best donor and Ava would carry the child but a quirk of Sara’s alien physiology means that all she needs to do is think about babies and kiss Ava in order to become pregnant. This way they get to have a child that is genetically built from both of them so it comes from them. Ava is overjoyed to learn that the child is hers and it becomes a clear representation of the love they have for one another. In the process it removes Sara’s invulnerability with that being passed onto the fetus. Whether that persists once the baby is born is unknown but it removes Sara as a functionally unkillable character if the show is to be renewed.


Overcoming your limitations

The loss of her invulnerability and her pregnancy increases the stakes in the First World War segment of the episode as the team can no longer rely on trial and error as the tactic for figuring out how to save Alun. They know that someone will be tasked with protecting the fixed point and know that they can kill whoever tries to circumvent it so the loss of Sara as their solution creates a problem. Caity Lotz’ performance as this comes to light through her hormones dialling up her performance is excellent and hilarious; it was a typically Legends way to highlight that contribution and allowed Caity Lotz to cut loose in a way she doesn’t often get to.

Their plan changes to communicating with the fixer in order to make them understand what it is they’re trying to do and why it won’t break the timeline. They have a handy robot duplicate of Alun that can be put in his place in order to maintain the believe that he was killed so that Gwyn can still go on to invent time travel. The fixer is introduced as Mike (Donald Faison) and later revealed to be Booster Gold though the branding on his golf balls gives it away fairly early on. He is established as very confident in his abilities and someone who makes his own fun in the endless loop that is his imposed occupation in preserving the fixed point. He’s a great addition to the show and Donald Faison is as always effortlessly charismatic in his portrayal. Should the show get renewed hopefully he will continue to be a fixture at least in the early part of the season.

Part of convincing him to let them change the timeline is to point out that this particular fixed point isn’t one that time travellers would go anywhere near because changing it would prevent the invention of time travel and make their journey there impossible in the first place. This leads Mike to conclude that his job is utterly pointless and he has been put in that position in order to mock him. This is perfectly in line with iterations of Booster Gold in the comics. He is often written to be arrogant while not being taken seriously by anyone around him so this is a great Legends riff on that idea and it feeds into the events of this episode wonderfully. His theft of the Waverider further raises the stakes and reinforces the sting of betrayal Mike feels.


Proud parents to be

His later betrayal of the team ends the season -and possibly the series- on a cliffhanger. They are arrested for “time crimes” and sentenced to prison along with him. The collective reaction suggests that they don’t take it too seriously which makes sense considering they have been in similar situations before. It’s both a comedic beat to end the episode and the establishing of a threat to carry into the next season; something Legends usually does very well.

This episode features the definitive exit of Nate who decides to leave the team and live happily ever after inside the Totem with Zari 2.0. It’s appropriate for him to leave at this point as he has been considering his own future and taking steps to plan for it. His final act as a Legend is to save Alun’s life which is definitely a heroic note to end on. Added to this is Mustard Gas corroding his metallic skin to the point that it’s completely gone and can’t be used ever again. Sara points out they share the loss of their powers and lament yet another change being forced on them. The episode doesn’t treat the loss of his powers as being the reason he has to leave. Considering how infrequently they were used it would be laughable to suggest that his ability to turn his skin to metal was an essential resource for the team. He could easily stay and his inability to do that wouldn’t make much difference especially when the writing can compensate for the loss of this ability.

Nate’s exit is more of a personal choice for him upon realising that it’s time for him to move on and live his life as he wants to. There are no hard feelings from anyone but there never are on this show. A character leaving is usually because they have chosen to rather than had it forced on them in some tragic way. There are of course exceptions such as Martin Stein but most characters leave of their own volition. Legends at its core is about becoming a complete person through the influence of the family you need to help you get there. Once that journey is complete then people can move onto other things. It’s a heart-warming message to constantly promote and departures are bittersweet because it means not seeing the character again while knowing they are moving onto happiness. Nate’s exit works well and is a worthy conclusion for a character that has been there a long time.


Seeing the best in yourself

Gwyn is very much on the journey towards becoming his best self. Prior to being forced to join the team through circumstance he held a very low opinion of himself and was defined by despair. Becoming an unwitting Legend has forced him to consider different ways of thinking and come back around to being able to hope again. His visit to the setting of Alun’s death causes him to lean into self loathing as he blames himself for being consumed by fear in crucial moments and allowing people to die due to his inability to act. Being witness to those events allows him to see that PTSD has caused him to forget the reality of the situation and he sees himself bravely cradling a fellow soldier as they die. He sees first hand that he isn’t a coward and has been unfairly blaming himself for things that were completely beyond his control. This allows him to forgive himself and look to finding a happier life after saving Alun. Matt Ryan’s performance as Gwyn consoles the dying soldier is incredibly powerful as is his performance as the Gwyn bearing witness to it and coming to realise something about himself.

There is a general sense that the show is winding down. Retirement is still in theory on the cards for most of the characters. Sara and Ava becoming parents probably brings an end to their adventures through time, Zari willingly gives up the Totem assured within herself that she no longer needs it after getting the hero moment that she wanted and the other characters are working on their own projects. On a conceptual level this show does lend itself to a rotating cast with some continuity to maintain a semblance of familiarity. In reality it may not work to replace most of the cast because the dynamic has been so intricately built around the core group. Sara and Ava are mainstays so their departure would fundamentally change the show in ways that perhaps don’t resonate with audiences. Nate leaving could shift the overall group dynamic in an uncomfortable direction as he often served as an ear for Sara in matters that Ava couldn’t help with so it may be for the best to do one final victory lap of a season and then say goodbye to the show; as much as it pains this reviewer to say that.


One final hero moment!


An excellent episode filled with strong emotional beats, moving character development and the usual lunacy driven entertainment that makes the show so beloved. The early part of the episode focusing on the Legends in their new lives still making the time to come together is excellent. Seeing the characters come together without having a problem to deal with shows how strong the chemistry is on this show and how scenes can be carried without a threat. It further reinforces the notion of them being a family who enjoy being together. Gideon being manipulated by Evil Gideon to reject her Humanity and lean into the artificial side creates a fascinating conflict and frames her arc around the rejection of the artificial in favour of compassion and other positive emotionally driven traits. Evil Gideon’s offer of an upgrade that will remove all the anguish associated with the Legends hating her leads her to question how the removal of the pain will affect her perception of the happier memories. She comes to understand that taking the bad with the good is necessary to appreciating the contrast but ends up being manipulated because she doesn’t want to live with the pain any more. Astra and Spooner rescuing her is appropriate since they were both there when she became Human so have that connection. There’s a strong symmetry and it enable Gideon to fully accept her Humanity. Evil Gideon downloading herself into an android body allows her to become the personification of everything that Gideon needs to overcome. She does this by exploiting the strict programming which prompts Evil Gideon to self terminate. It’s satisfying though Astra using magic to rebuild the Waverider is too neat as a resolution particularly since a significant plot point earlier in the season centred on her inability to do that. It does show growth in her magical abilities but it hasn’t been consistent throughout the season so comes from nowhere.

Sara and Ava’s journey towards motherhood takes unexpected turns in the most joyous of ways. A quirk of Sara’s mixed biology allows their shared genetic material to create a child. It’s a clear representation of the love they have for one another. The associated loss of Sara’s invulnerability as well as her pregnancy increases the stakes in the First World War segment as the team can no longer rely on trial and error to accomplish their goal. Mike aka Booster Gold’s introduction works brilliantly thanks to Donald Faison’s effortless charisma and his ability to fit into the overall tone of the show. His realisation that his job is a pointless one was a fun beat and organically leads into the appropriately dramatic and fun cliffhanger ending. Nate’s exit also works brilliantly. He gets one last moment of glory before deciding that he need to move on and build the life he wants. There are no hard feelings just as there never is and it feeds into the ongoing idea that being a Legend is about becoming the best version of yourself before living your life. This extends to Gwyn who is very much on that journey and comes to realise he was wrong about himself when bearing witness to his immense bravery while cradling a dying soldier. Matt Ryan’s performance as both versions of Gwyn is excellent and the moment itself is powerful. It’s a strong step forward for Gwyn and feeds into what the show says about personal growth. There is a general sense that the show is winding down and based on where the characters are in their personal journeys it may be close to the time to say goodbye to it, as much as it pains this reviewer to say that.

  • 9/10
    Knocked Down, Knocked Up - 9/10


Kneel Before…

  • the team coming together just to be together
  • the contrast between Gideon and Evil Gideon
  • using the contrast to set up Gideon having to reject her artificial side in favour of her humanity
  • Evil Gideon’s manipulation of Gideon by having her doubt her emotions
  • the symmetry of Astra and Spooner helping Gideon to fully embrace her Humanity
  • Evil Gideon becoming the personification of everything Gideon has to overcome
  • Sara and Ava’s biological child acting as a representation of their love
  • Mike aka Booster Gold’s excellent introduction
  • the fun cliffhanger ending
  • Nate’s bittersweet and well handled exit
  • Gwyn bearing witness to his bravery and how that combats his self loathing
  • Gwyn’s realisation reinforcing the ongoing theme of being a Legend helping with personal growth


Rise Against…

  • the too neat resolution of the destroyed Waverider


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User Review
9.75/10 (2 votes)

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