DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 7 Episode 9

Jan 20, 2022 | Posted by in TV

“Lowest Common Demoninator”

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow traps the team in a Hell produced reality show that heightens their personalities for the sake of drama.

There’s probably a large tally in my reviews of this show of the times I’ve said that there’s nothing it can’t get away with. Over the years we’ve been blessed with all sorts of format shifts such as sitcoms and animation. Now the show tackles reality TV and uses it as a way to take stock of issues that are bubbling under the surface by exaggerating them and mining them for artificial drama.


This will get the viewers talking

I am not someone who enjoys reality TV but I’ve had enough exposure to it to understand how footage and people are manipulated to create drama that will captivate viewers. People on those shows are pushed to their limits so that they will argue, fight or give into attractions depending on the dynamic. This episode covers a wide range of scenarios using the built in relationships between the characters.

The actors clearly have a blast dialling up their performances to suit the situation. Caity Lotz delights as Sara crumbling under the pressure of leadership and demanding a well earned break from the insanity that is her life. Jes Macallan by contrast is a lot closer to her normal self though is noticeably more stressed. Her line about Ava turning into the implanted memories of her mother was perfect and the associated clip of her commanding the others to wash up for dinner complimented it perfectly.

These heightened traits address an unaddressed problem between them. Ava has taken on a lot of leadership responsibility as Co-Captain and feels that she is shouldering the bulk of it while Sara relies on her doing so. This ordeal helps Sara recognise that but also understand that she is approaching burnout because she has spent so long in this position of leadership. Her fatigue has unconsciously allowed her to pass on much of that responsibility to Ava while failing to recognise the toll it takes on her. It’s not deliberate or malicious but it still happened and now that she recognised that to be the case she promises to make an effort for the load to be shared more fairly. Sara is often characterised as someone who takes everything in her stride so revealing that she struggles with the burden of leadership and the increasing lunacy that she has to deal with allows for some compelling vulnerability associated with her. Bringing this in with her behaving like an entitled “Real Housewife” is a master stroke as it tears down the walls she puts up while being hilarious at the same time.


Very comfortable in her own skin

Zari and Nate address how bizarre their connection is with Nate being in love with an alternate version of her but seemingly having no attraction to her. The dialled up personalities caused by the Reality TV scenario directly address the idea that there might be a latent attraction between them by forcing them into a situation where they might see someone else in each other. Zari puts on a flannel shirt while Nate puts on one of John’s which causes them both to do a double take as they see someone else when looking at each other. The point being made is a valid one as on a genetic level Zari 1.0 and 2.0 are identical so it is strange that Nate is in love with Zari 1.0 while not seeing Zari 2.0 in the same way.

Due to the exaggerated nature of the Reality TV gimmick it’s framed as jealousy on Zari’s part as it heightens her self absorbed tendencies as she takes Nate’s lack of attraction personally and works to try and force it out of him. This is tempered by her awareness of how Reality TV works thanks to being the star of a show featuring her family but the magical influence is strong and she is unable to prevent herself from regressing to more shallow personality traits. Her rant about how she looks and dresses better than the other Zari because she makes an effort with her appearance is hilarious and highlights insecurities that Zari carries with her every day. Her desire to make herself look good may be attributed to a self image problem that she needs to address and lashing out at Zari 1.0 for appearing to be more secure in her own self image is because she’s jealous of the lack of insecurity in her other self. Of course this is all assumption on Zari 2.0’s part as she doesn’t actually know how Zari 1.0 views herself but it’s easy to dismiss feelings others might have when experiencing such strong self doubt.

Nate’s inner concerns are less clear with the focus being more on him reacting to Zari’s behaviour in a heavily superficial way. He becomes obsessed with working out and changes his voice to match the fake tan. This could be out of a heightened desire to become a man that he thinks Zari 2.0 will appreciate as he focuses on the pride she takes in her appearance. To make for good Reality TV this turns him into a ridiculous caricature but it’s a potential commentary on the uncertainty around his relationship with Zari 1.0. When Zari 2.0 points out that he should be attracted to her because she’s genetically identical to Zari 1.0 and lives on the same timeline it introduces the idea that it would be a lot easier for Nate to be in a relationship with her. This is something he has expressed no interest in and it’s easy to accept that he wouldn’t be drawn to Zari 2.0 because them looking identical is where the similarities end. They are entirely different people which means that Nate doesn’t see the physical similarities when looking at her. At the same time he would reasonably have doubts about his decision to move into the Totem with Zari 1.0 but the episode does nothing more than suggest this without actually doing anything with it when Zari 1.0 becomes part of the narrative.


Things are getting complicated

The Gideon and Gary pairing acts as something of the catalyst for the animosity to come out when they are caught together and the others learn about their connection. Some believe that Gideon’s affair with Gary is distracting her and resulted in them being stranded in this situation in the first place which causes her to feel guilt and uncertainty around her own effectiveness. Further complicating this is her acknowledgement that Gary is a distraction for her and his accidental admission of being in love with her adds to her being overwhelmed.

This results in her embracing the passionless and logical artificial intelligence side of her personality because she sees emotions as an unnecessary distraction. It makes sense to her because of the heightened Reality TV influence and pushes her too far down the path of being a machine to the point that she starts plotting against the team because she sees their emotions as limitations. There’s a nasty streak to her where she seems to take pleasure in causing the suffering of the team which makes her the perfect candidate for a particular role in a Reality TV show. Amy Louise Pemberton is delightful as the calculating and sadistic version of Gideon taking pleasure out of causing drama among the team.

Her lesson is around embracing the confusion that comes with emotion and using her emotions to help her arrive at a decision. They arrived in the pocket dimension mansion because she instinctively felt that it was where they needed to be and she was right to an extent as it did allow everyone the opportunity to recalibrate after recent events. It did lead them to another problem but she was right to want to bring them somewhere safe. This helps her realise that she does have good instincts and wants to do right by the team so she can move forward being more confident in trusting gut feelings. It’s a strong arc that plays out really well and is endlessly fun to watch unfold. Her next gut feeling is to save the Archduke Franz Ferdinand prior to the outbreak of the First World War. It seems like an insane idea but that’s exactly what this show is known for.


Dance puppets dance!

Spooner’s approach is to remove all of her clothes and revel in the chaos. It’s not entirely clear what she is supposed to learn from this if anything but it suits her personality to take things to the extreme and stand out in her own way. A lot of her scenes are around forging alliances with people that she plans to betray. Her tactics are a more passive version of what Gideon is doing with her waiting for people to come to her rather than actively seeking them out. It’s a different version of the long game while she just enjoys being naked at the same time.

Gwyn’s grief is amplified by the situation and he expresses dissatisfaction with Sara for failing to carry out her end of the bargain which prompts her to promise that he can save one person. Gideon intensifies this by pointing out that there’s no guarantee that saving Alan at that point would mean that he survives the rest of the war so he decides to cash in his one save by preventing the War from happening in the first place. It feeds into Sara’s altered personality by her being unwilling to truly listen to him while furthering Gwyn’s difficulty adjusting to learning how events play out in his future. There isn’t a massive difference in his personality though that comes with his character being new and less defined than the others. He does successfully add to the chaos and bad decisions being made or suggested while meaningfully continuing to process his grief.

Astra and Behrad have a strong contribution to the plot while furthering their own developing romantic relationship. Astra recognises exactly what is going on and tries to put a stop to it but fails because she has lost the fear and respect she once enjoyed in Hell. She is also considered to be part of the intrigue because of the tension between her and Behrad so ends up being part of the Reality TV show rather than working to stop it. The solution is outlined early on with the description of the camera crew being cursed until they film something “real” and the episode delivers that late on. Astra’s personality doesn’t visibly change as she often leans into her anger and frustration. In this case she’s frustrated at the entire team for giving into their heightened emotions while showing clear compassion for them as she tries to solve the problem.


Taking a break

Behrad is very much in a transitional phase at this point as he has been clear of weed and gummies since they became stranded in the past. This provides him with a new sense of clarity that has been absent for a long time and allows him to focus on his feelings, specifically for Astra. He is reaching the point where he is ready to pursue a relationship with her but is sidetracked by this current problem. Reality TV is a particular trigger for him as he remembers growing up with cameras constantly in his face. It is mentioned that he took to hiding until the point he was recast in his own family for not being interesting enough. He is resentful of being on display again and refuses to partake even though he has no choice in the matter. This culminates in him unloading about his feelings which include unresolved trauma about being dead and the pressure associated with his reputation of being laid back. This means that others don’t naturally worry about his feelings because he see,s to take everything in his stride. It’s a brief example of the idea that those who seem the happiest might be suffering the most. This certainly applies here and comes out in Behrad’s outburst.

Once he airs his feelings he is able to regain control and continue to take stock of his life. he confesses his feelings for Astra which she reciprocates but chooses not to pursue them at this time because he needs to figure out his new normal. This new clarity is uncharted territory for Behrad and he needs time to understand what it means for him before pursuing a romantic relationship. It’s a subtle and meditative take on recognising the need to work on yourself before pushing things further.

Something that bears mention is that the episode was filmed like a Reality TV show. The change in style really added to the authenticity of what was going on and helped to further justify the heightened behaviour of all the characters. It was a visually creative departure from the norm and added to the fact that things were far from normal for the characters. Once again, Legends succeeds in leaning into the ridiculous and making it meaningful for those involved.


Clearing the air


A strong episode that has fun with the lunacy of the Reality TV concept while providing meaningful development for may of the characters. Sara’s heightened personality focusing on her being at the point of burnout in the wake of constantly dealing with leading the team in the midst of increasingly ridiculous situations. She has unconsciously passed much of the leadership burden onto Ava who is feeling the effects at this point and it comes to a head through Sara acting like an entitled Real Housewife while Ava leans into her anger and frustration. It resolves that tension between them in a really fun and illuminating way. The Zari and Nate plot deals with the question of attraction and why Nate is able to separate his feelings for Zari 1.0 from how he sees Zari 2.0. He doesn’t appear to be attracted to her because he recognises that they are two different people and the lack of attraction intensifies insecurity in Zari 2.0 who sees it as a sleight on her in some way. All of this is heightened by the Reality TV setup but it speaks to Zari’s desire to look good being down to self image issues and jealousy over how comfortable Zari 1.0 appears to be in her own skin. It also raises potential discomfort in Nate’s decision to move into the Totem though that doesn’t go in the expected direction and there’s limited development for Nate which stands out considering the effort put into setting up a potential problem.

The Gideon and Gary pairing plays out in interesting ways with Gideon being led towards doubting her instincts and feelings to the point that she tries to discard them entirely. Her passionless approach awakens a nasty streak where she seems to take pleasure in causing suffering among the team as she plays them against each other. Her lesson is around learning to trust her feelings and instincts which works well. Amy Louise Pemberton once again impresses with her performance. Spooner takes on a more passive version of what Gideon is doing in waiting for people to come to her before privately promising to betray them. She does this while enjoying being naked. It isn’t especially deep or developmental but it’s fun all the same. Gwyn is continuing to process his grief as well as try to get his head around all that has happened since his time. He is led down the path of trying to prevent the First World War because saving Alan is no guarantee of his continued survival but ends up realising that the timeline needs to be preserved to some degree. It’s hard to tell if anything was heightened for him due to his character being new but he feeds in well. Astra and Behrad’s contribution was excellent with Astra dealing with her loss of reputation in Hell as well as further recognising her connection to the team. Behrad is dealing with newfound clarity in the wake of being free from mind altering substances for a long time. He opens up about his feelings and highlights that he isn’t quite as laid back as he always appears. His moment with Astra where he tells her about his feelings while stating that he needs to figure himself out before pursuing them was strong and in general he develops a great deal. The stylistic change with the episode being filmed like a Reality TV show adds to the authenticity and helps justify the heightened behaviour. Once again, Legends succeeds in leaning into the ridiculous and making it meaningful for those involved.

  • 9/10
    Lowest Common Demoninator - 9/10


Kneel Before…

  • addressing the tension between Sara and Ava in a creative and hilarious way
  • Caity Lotz’ performance as an entitled Real Housewife type
  • Ava’s realisation that she’s turning into the implanted memories of her mother intercut with the example clip
  • Gideon leaning into her passionless and logical side
  • Amy Louise Pemberton’s performance as Gideon takes pleasure in playing the team against each other
  • Gideon organically learning to trust her instincts
  • Spooner enjoying being naked and passively involving herself in the chaos
  • highlighting insecurities in Zari’s self image and the jealousy of her perception of Zari 1.0
  • Nate’s change in personality and accent
  • Astra further recognising how much she cares about the team
  • Behrad opening up about his feelings and being honest about not being as laid back as he seems
  • his acknowledgement that he needs to work on himself before pursuing a relationship with Astra
  • filming the episode like a Reality TV show


Rise Against…

  • setting up a problem between Nate and Zari 1.0 that doesn’t come to anything


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User Review
7.5/10 (2 votes)

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