DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 7 Episode 1
“The Bullet Blondes”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow begins its seventh season with the team stranded in 1925 dealing with the destroyed Waverider and an increasingly hopeless situation.
Other shows would treat a setback like being stranded in the past with no hope of getting back as a big deal but this show does things differently. That hopelessness does manifest mostly through Ava who doesn’t see a solution but the rest of the group takes it in their stride. As with every problem they face it’s about coming up with the right plan and figuring out how to get back to their own time.
The steps towards solving the problem take the form of the typical lunacy that has defined this show for so long. According to Time Bureau training the best cover story for being stranded in the past is a circus because people apparently will always accept strange goings on if they think they’re associated with a circus. It makes a kind of sense and provides an excuse for the characters to get dressed up in flamboyant outfits which adds a great deal of visual flair to the episode so it’s more than acceptable.
As said above, Ava is the one who adopts a defeatist attitude because she can’t see a way this situation can be resolved. At least one member of the team definitely needed to be holding that view because the Waverider has been destroyed, their Time Courier has no power and it seems like the only way back to their time is to wait until the years naturally pass to get them there. That is obviously a bad option because it means they also age but having a character underscore the apparent hopelessness is necessary to establish that the situation has stakes rather than simply being a diversionary romp that will prove temporary.
Ava’s stance also provides some natural and engaging interactions between her and Sara. Another frustration of Ava’s is that this is supposed to be their honeymoon and they are stick in another crisis that they need to deal with. Sara is much more chilled out about the whole thing which fits in with their natural dynamic anyway while also being a good indication of how much Sara has changed over the season. Her cynical attitude seen in Arrow or in earlier season of this show has naturally transitioned to hope and optimism. Being a Legend has changed her for the better and her boundless optimism in this episode especially highlights her leadership skills as she is able to rally the team by never losing faith that they will find their way back to the present day.
Sara’s attitude proves to be infectious where Ava’s concerned, at least to a limited degree. Her proximity to that optimistic outlook allows her to start thinking about solutions. The first is finding the indestructible failsafe box that contains emergency supplies such as a Time Courier. Of course it’s not as simple as finding the box among the wreckage as it has been taken in by the local sheriff but it accomplishes the task of giving Ava a goal to focus on which is ultimately what she needs at this point.
Nate is tasked with gaining possession of the box using the very useful super power of being a white male; something that really comes in handy during the 1920s. The only way he can gain traction is by impersonating J. Edgar Hoover which allows him to get his hands on the box but invites further complications that I’ll get to later. Gaining possession of the box doesn’t solve the problem because Mick took the courier for a beer run according to a helpful note that he left so they’re back at square one. Ava does hear about a Doctor in New York active in this time period who has something to do with the origins of time travel tech so once again Ava has a goal to focus on.
Her approach to achieving that goal is hilarious. As always she remains committed to preserving the timeline but also understands that some rules will have to be bent in order to have any hope of escaping this time period so she finds a compromise. The circus cover alters to robbers and she stages a bank robbery with Sara where they steal a very small amount of money because it’s exactly what they need to get to New York. It’s a great use of Ava’s personality in a desperate situation and allows for a really fun bank robbery sequence where the newlyweds work together seamlessly to get a hold of guns and stage their robbery. It’s punctuated nicely by the less than impressed bystander who immediately sees through them appropriating another gang name and suggests another one. This all adds up to be a wonderfully staged Legends moment.
The main antagonist for the episode is none other than J. Edgar Hoover (Giacomo Baessato) who doesn’t take kindly to being impersonated and makes it his business to understand the bizarre goings on. His appearance at Gloria’s house is nicely tense as he closes in on finding the poorly hidden Legends with the right amount of comedy added to it when highlighting how poorly hidden the team are. This sets up Hoover as a credible threat to the team given their limited resources which makes it unfortunate when he is so quickly killed off. The bullet bouncing off Nate’s steel head and killing him before the body is disposed of by Gary eating it is almost darkly funny though tonally more falls into farce territory. It’s the classic problem of the team making things worse as they stumble through the circumstances presented to them and it works well. It’s likely that Hoover’s death will have major consequences given his historical importance but killing him off feels like a wasted opportunity to have him act as an effective foil for however long they are stuck in 1925.
For the rest of the team there’s a general sense of picking up the pieces of the previous season. They are literally doing that with the Waverider but there is still some emotional baggage to sort through. Zari is lamenting the end of her relationship with John while trying to act like she’s taking it well. Her brief conversation with Behrad serves as a reminder of what happened without forgetting the emotional impact of it. Behrad reminds her that John loved her and Zari is aware that she can continue to be the better person she became as a result of being with him. She learns that the key she was given allows her access to a pocket dimension John created so that he could be completely alone. It looks like the mansion because this is a TV show and it’s a standing set they can keep using but it says a lot about how much John valued his relationship with Zari as he gives her access to something he considered to be deeply personal. Of course it’s a convenient solution to a specific issue found in this episode but the emotional grounding is there.
Astra is feeling anxious about her role in the team now that John has left. She sees herself as the only magic user without him and is desperate to prove that she can be useful. In this episode she does this by trying to magically rebuild the Waverider but it’s beyond her abilities and she ends up badly hurt as a result. It’s a temporary situation and she quickly recovers but feeling that she has to level up quickly in order to be useful is a dangerous mindset to be in. Spooner helps her resolve this by pointing out that the team needs her rather than another John and that she brings things that John never could. It’s a quick but effective commentary on measuring yourself against the capabilities of others and how damaging that can be. Astra literally does damage to herself by unreasonably measuring herself against someone else and has to learn that it’s not a healthy attitude to maintain. Spooner openly admits that she considers Astra to be her best friend which provides an example of something she brings to the team that John never could. One of Astra’s ongoing struggles is to feel like part of something so having someone consider her to be their best friend is a very big deal and she clearly appreciates it. I look forward to further development of this engaging dynamic.
This is an episode that is light on answers and plot progression. That isn’t a criticism as using an episode to have everyone take stock of what they’ve been through and what they’re currently dealing with is a perfectly valid use of time especially when the content presented is so strong. The other -presumed- Waverider appearing to destroy theirs is addressed as a question that will need to be answered at some point in the season and the in the flesh appearance of Gideon at the end of the episode is an effective cliffhanger so the new season is definitely off to an engaging start.
A strong opening to the season that’s heavy on characterisation and delivers on laughs as they take stock of previous events as well as the current situation. Ava’s defeatist attitude due to the apparent hopelessness of the situation forms a strong grounding both for her on an individual level and in her relationship with Sara. There seems to be no way to solve being stuck in 1925 and there is added frustration because this is supposed to be her honeymoon. Sara being more chilled out highlights how much she has changed as well as showcases her leadership skills as she is beacon of optimism that the team can follow. It proves infectious when Ava starts planning. The first involves an indestructible failsafe box containing a spare Time Courier which ends up not panning out but it doesn’t entirely derail her slight enthusiasm as she finds hope in a scientist active in this time period who was responsible for the beginnings of time travel tech. In order to meet with the scientist they need to get to New York which means sourcing funding to get there. In order to do this they become bank robbers but in keeping with Ava’s obsession with preserving the timeline they only steal the small amount of money they need. It’s a hilarious detail that compliments the earlier circus performer cover story wonderfully. The circus performer outfits also adds excellent visual flair to the episode.
J.Edgar Hoover as the antagonist works really well but is unfortunately dispatched far too quickly. It’s almost darkly funny to have a bullet bounce off Nate’s steel head and kill him followed by Gary disposing of the evidence by eating him. In many ways it’s a missed opportunity as he could have been a fun foil for them while stuck in this time period. He is set up as a credible threat when he arrives at Gloria’s house and almost discovers the poorly hidden Legends. There is a general sense of picking up the pieces -literally in the case of the Waverider- from the previous season. Zari is reflecting on the end of her relationship with John and how upsetting it is while still acknowledging she’s a better person because of it. The key that John leaves her ends up being a clear solution to a problem in this episode but on an emotional level John is trusting Zari with something deeply personal to him. John’s departure affects Astra in that she feels obligated to fill his role and isn’t up to the task. She does herself harm by performing a spell that is too advanced for her and has to be told by Spooner that the team need her to be herself rather than try to live up to John’s example and take on what he did. Spooner also tells Astra that she considers her to be her best fried which makes for an earned sentiment. The slow burn start to the season works well because the content is so strong. Why the Waverider was destroyed is a lingering mystery and the in the flesh appearance of Gideon at the end was an effective cliffhanger.
- Ava’s defeatist attitude strongly contrasting with Sara’s optimism
- the interactions between Sara and Ava with them on different sides of how they see the situation
- Ava’s approach to bank robbing and the compromise she makes that preserves the timeline
- J. Edgar Hoover as an antagonist
- the circus performer cover adding strong visual flair
- Zari reflecting on her relationship with John and how it made her a better person
- the key representing trust on John’s part
- Astra wrongly believing she needs to take on John’s role
- Spooner helping her realise Astra needs to be herself
- Spooner’s declaration that Astra is her best friend
- taking the time to reflect on the previous season and establish the current situation
- an effective cliffhanger
- Hoover being dispatched too quickly despite potential to be a foil for the team in the current time period
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