DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 5 Episode 15

Jun 4, 2020 | Posted by in TV
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“Swan Thong”

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow wraps up its fifth season with questions about free will and changes to the team roster.

Once again this shows wraps up a season with its own brand of lunacy. After escaping various syndicated TV prisons at the end of the previous episode the team now have to get to work restoring the world to what it once was. They have their work cut out for them as the entire planet is under the thrall of the fates with no concept of a different life being possible.

Legends

Making a case for Free Will

The episode is split into two rewritten realities; the first being the one that resembles 1984 that was depicted in the previous episode and the second looks more normal but is controlled by an app that tells everyone what to do. More details is shown of how that world works with everyone completely subservient to the will of the fates where they are conditioned to do little more than ask for more blue mush to be granted to them. It’s a world without creativity, ambition and individuality but it’s also technically completely at peace which Charlie’s sisters consider to be a good thing.

This raises an interesting moral question that the episode does a really good job of covering. In this universe Free Will was granted to the Human race -and presumably every alien race- because Charlie dismantled the Loom of Fate after feeling that it wasn’t fair to have that much control over people. Atropos and Lachesis feel that the gift of Free Will has been squandered so they want to reclaim control on the grounds that people can’t be trusted to make their own choices.

If Human history is to be used as the evidence to facilitate this debate then there is definitely a reading that suggests people can’t be trusted to make their own choices though that takes a very singular view of everything that has happened in Human history. This reading suggests that more bad things have happened than good which means that Free Will isn’t something that people have made good use of. The other side of the argument is that making mistakes is entirely the point of free will. Mistakes are made and terrible things happen but in an ideal world those mistakes are learned from and growth is achieved. Whether that actually happens on a global scale or not is entirely up for debate and there are strong examples that could be referred to going on in the world at this very moment which makes this debate far more topical than it might have been otherwise.

Legends

A strange family situation

Lachesis illustrates her point using a museum exhibit filled with history’s greatest villains made up largely of people that used Free Will to conquer others. Her argument is that if there was no Free will then those people would never have had the opportunity to take over in that way. It’s a fair point though it is overly simplistic as those villains inspired people to rise up against them and -in some cases- create a better system in the process. Nothing is perfect but there’s a general progression of things improving as time goes on.

This show decides to take a more personal approach in answering the question of whether people deserve to have the ability to make their own choices. Charlie is beaten down into believing that her sisters were right and it’s better to defer to them on this but the Legends take on the role of champions for Free Will and makes a case for why people deserve to have it based on their own personal beliefs. This includes showing her things like The Beatles’ “White Album” and a DVD of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again as shining examples of what those with Free Will can create. Charlie has a negative impact for everything she is shown until Sara and Ava make the case for their relationship. Without Free Will a clone and an ex-assassin with a few resurrections under her belt would never have found each other. This logic can be applied to the Legends in general who found each other following a set of unique and unpredictable circumstances. According to Sara that makes Free Will worthwhile because their lives have been enriched by those circumstances.

It doesn’t quite convince Charlie but it’s enough for her to do a double take with Lita following it up with her own specific life example of being the product of a union between Mick and her mother thanks to time travel. Free Will created her and allowed her to have a relationship with her father which she sees as entirely worthwhile. It’s enough to convince Charlie to embrace her punk rock attitude and take steps to restore Free Will to the people.

Legends

All good fights need the perfect soundtrack

The subject itself is far too broad for a handful of episodes of this show to cover in its entirety unless the entire season was about analysing the impact of Free Will on Human history through the Legends visiting various events to provide those examples. The Legends themselves provide a pretty good sample of good and bad decisions being made with all of them making choices that had devastating consequences as well as positive ones. Essentially if the audience believes that the Legends having Free Will is a good thing then that means the Human race having Free Will is a good thing. Is this overly simplistic? Maybe but the argument is well presented and makes no effort to absolve the Legends of the mistakes they have made though does identify them as being part of being a person. What the show is basically saying is that identity is informed by failure as much as success and it’s how people react to each that defines them. It’s not a new idea but it’s a strong one and it’s very much at the root of what this show is about so it works. Lita was at one point “a mistake” that came about because of Free Will but the impact on Mick was really positive in that it led to him accepting a child and doing what he could to help her deal with life. For Lita it’s positive because that act of Free Will literally caused her to exist. There’s real depth here if you choose to look for it and it’s all presented in a delightfully fun Legends package.

This episode marks Charlie’s exit from the series. After helping restore Free Will to the Human race she decides to makes use of hers and stay in the 70s with her punk band. This comes after she gains closure on the issues she was having with her sisters through confronting Lachesis. Atropos had been killed by this point so there can’t be any real closure to that relationship but Charlie is able to approach Lachesis and offer her forgiveness for everything she has done. This isn’t something Lachesis reacts well to as she blames Charlie from taking everything away from her that she once thought defined her. There’s so much anger emanating from her in that moment because she had absolute control over everyone only to have it ripped away from her. Charlie points out to her that she is Human now and shouldn’t waste her finite life trying to control others. In effect, Charlie grants her Free Will and encourages her to choose to do something positive with it. It’s an appropriate defeat for Lachesis who gets to live her life because of an act of kindness that she arguably didn’t deserve. Charlie gets to move on with her life knowing that there’s no fear of the Loom of Fate being misused so it’s an ideal ending for her as well. Her choice to live a simple life unburdened with the fear of being discovered and exploited makes perfect sense for her though it’s a shame that Maisie Richardson-Sellers won’t be around any more.

Astra also gets closure on her particular issues. Particular reference is made to who raised her and the circumstances of her upbringing. She misses her biological mother but also identifies Atropos as her mother because she is the one who raised her. It wasn’t a good upbringing as she was trained to abandon her Humanity which means she had to forget all about her mother. Survival in Hell meant being ruthless so she had to cast off any ties she had to her Humanity so that her feelings wouldn’t let her down. John assures her that she is still Natalie’s daughter but Astra is so confused that she has no idea who her real mother is because Lachesis had such a profound influence on her. She is able to resolve this when she confronts Lachesis and asks the big questions such as whether Lachesis ever truly cared for her or was simply looking for a replacement for her sister. At this point she understands what a mother’s love really means especially after interacting with Natalie’s spirit which is enough for Astra to assert her independence and reclaim her life. She decides to stay with John which likely means staying with the Legends into next season. Her permanent presence on the team should add to an already engaging dynamic.

Legends

In the right hands anything is a weapon!

The two Zaris plot is also resolves with Zari 1.0 returning to the Totem so that Behrad can live which means that Zari 2.0 continues. This is where the episode falls down some as it makes no real sense to bring Zari 1.0 back only to have her disappear within the space of an episode. It’s not outlandish to expect some sort of loophole to be found that allows both Zaris to coexist. Of course that would be a production nightmare having to plan for that but The Flash would manage several episodes with different versions of Harrison Wells sharing scenes so there is previous for this within this universe. It’s good that Zari 1.0 gets to say goodbye to Nate and the rest of the team while making the choice to return to the Totem because it’s a worthy sacrifice if it means her brother gets to live bu there’s also a vast amount of potential created by having two distinct versions of Zari around. For one thing seeing them interact with each other is always hilarious thanks to their clashing personalities. Zari 1.0 telling her that phone screens and drugs activate the same part of the brain while Behrad smugly glares at Zari 2.0 was a great moment and Zari 2.0’s quick and easy solution to shutting down the corrupted Gideon while Zari 1.0 works to hack the system was hilarious.

Seeing how different their dynamics are with the other characters consistently works really well also. Zari 1.0 is really close to Nate for obvious reasons and their interactions are handled well here. Their goodbye is especially well done with both parties understanding why it needs to be done but still not liking the idea. Their happiness at being reunited combined with their sorrow associated with how brief their time together is hits all the right emotional beats and offers closure on yet another relationship in this episode. Zari 1.0 has no regrets as Behrad is alive and a version of her gets to live on which is enough for her. Zari 2.0 has forged her own dynamic with the team and her strongest connection is to John. Their hook-up was apparently not just a one shot deal as evidenced by her being very forward when they are made to work together and their general closeness at the end of the episode. There’s also an innate hilarity to two versions of the same person being romantically linked to different members of the crew. Zari 1.0’s reaction to seeing her counterpart with John is priceless and Zari 2.0 calling her out on her general embarrassment after she figures out what Zari 1.0 had been doing with Nate was equally hilarious. This certainly isn’t all that could have been done with this situation and Behrad suddenly being inflicted with the injuries he would have sustained in the timeline where he died felt forced.

It wouldn’t be a Legends episode without a number of things that only this show can include without making the whole thing too ludicrous to accept. The comedy cropped up throughout the episode but most of the lunacy was contained in a single sequence where the team fought Encores using items housed in an exhibit commemorating terrible ideas throughout history. These items included energy drinks and Shake Weights while Sisqó performed “The Thong Song” to give the sequence a musical backdrop. It means that the stakes of the action sequence are basically non existent but this episode is more about emotional stakes with a big fight being almost mandatory so it doesn’t impact heavily. It’s a really fun way to present something familiar an arguably necessary in a show like this.

The end of the episode showed Sara being abducted by an unseen foe. Of course the strong implication would be aliens but a mystery has begun around who took her and why. The fact that none of the team noticed what was going on was a bit of stretch no matter how drunk they all were but it’s all in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from this show.

Legends

Where she’s meant to be


Verdict

A strong ending to another strong season that offers satisfying closure on various character arcs, asks big questions about free will while still having a lot of fun. The debate over whether people deserve to have Free Will has been lingering in the background for a few episodes now and the enormity of the debate at hand isn’t something the show is prepared to tackle because it’s more concerned with relating the question to the characters. This is illustrated through making a case to Charlie for granting Free Will being a good decision. She offers counters to pretty much everything until Sara and Ava use their relationship as an example and relate that to becoming a Legend in general. Lita finishes convincing her by pointing out how Free Will is responsible for her very existence, Lita is the mistake being made that ends up producing a positive outcome so she is the best example of what the episode is trying to illustrate. The approach taken may be overly simplistic but it fits right into what this show often tries to do so it works.

Charlie -and Maisie Richardson-Sellers- makes her exit from the series after gaining closure on the issues she was having with her sisters. She forgives Lachesis and lets her live a mortal life after encouraging her not to waste it trying to control others. In effect she grants Lachesis Free Will and encourages her to use it well. After this there isn’t a lot left for her to achieve so she decides to live in the 70s with her Punk Rock band which feels like as appropriate an ending for her as there could be. Unfortunately Zari 1.0 returns to the Totem despite having no real reason to beyond the one manufactured in this episode. The two Zaris created some excellent situations and they both had distinct dynamics with many of the characters. Zari 1.0 does get to say goodbye to Nate and the team but there was more potential to be mined from this than was made use of. Astra gains closure on her particular issues by rejecting Lachesis as a controlling figure in her life. She talks to John about what surviving in Hell meant and what she had to let go of but she comes to realise that her real mother gave her everything she needed and lets go of her pain choosing to stay with John -and likely the Legends-. This works really well and is a great ending for Astra’s plot. There was a good amount of comedy in the episode but the highlight is definitely the action sequence with ridiculous props while Sisqó performed “The Thong Song”. The fight had no real stakes but up until that point the emotional stakes were spot on which is ultimately the important thing. Sara’s abduction was an unexpected cliffhanger that raises some questions for next season.

Overall
  • 9/10
    Swan Thong - 9/10
9/10

Summary

Kneel Before…

  • a personal approach to the “Free Will” debate
  • Lita embodying the idea of a mistake ending in something positive
  • Charlie gaining closure on her issues with her sisters by forgiving Lachesis
  • Astra rejecting the toxic relationship she has with Lachesis and understanding what her real mother gave her
  • a nicely done and appropriate exit for Charlie
  • excellent use of the two Zaris
  • the hilarious and perfectly soundtracked action sequence

 

Rise Against…

  • Zari 1.0 returning to the Totem for a manufactured reason when there was still plenty of potential in having two Zaris around

 

What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below

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User Review
6.5/10 (1 vote)

What’s Next?

The story being told this season was very neatly wrapped up which doesn’t leave a lot obviously open to be covered next season beyond Sara’s abduction. It’s fairly clear that aliens will be involved next season which may be a nice departure from the magic based threats that have been the norm for a while now but as with everything it depends what the approach is. I have faith that the production team will provide the usual excellence that we have come to expect with an alien threat.

Quite a lot has changed in terms of the team roster this season. Ray and Nora left earlier in the season with Charlie taking her leave at the end. Astra and Behrad would appear to be taking their place full time but a lot can change between seasons especially in these more uncertain times so we’ll see if they stick around. I think there was more that could have been done with Zari 1.0 but keeping Zari 2.0 around is definitely a good thing. There’s a really engaging melting pot of characters that I’m sure will provide ample fodder for compelling stories especially with the certain to be turbulent fling that Zari 2.0 and John are currently involved in.

Legends

You might want to look behind you!

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