DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 6 Episode 14
“There Will Be Brood”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow raises the stakes for the finale with a turncoat John Constantine and unhatched eggs in peril.
This has been a strange season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow as it hasn’t been apparent what it’s building to. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Arrowverse shows often follow a rigid season structure of every episode having to justify why the hero can’t defeat the main villain yet until the season ends with a final confrontation. Instead of having a clear antagonist or plot this season has been more concerned with establishing different elements such as Mick’s eggs, John’s addiction and the mystery surrounding Spooner’s alien abduction some years ago. In some ways it’s a little unfocused and loses momentum but a lot of that is offset by really strong character work.
With only one episode to go until the finale this is where things start to converge and the unknown connections are revealed. There’s a lot of weighty emotional content for the actors to work with and the stakes feel very significant because of how connected the characters are to the events that are playing out.
Spooner is a major focus in this episode and her contribution is excellent. Her motivation over the course of the season has been to learn the truth about what happened to her and her mother. She always assumed that they were abducted by aliens who killer her mother, experimented on her and left her with an ability that she didn’t want but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined. Connecting Spooner to the Fountain of Imperium plot was an interesting choice that makes John’s quest to find it far more than an aside only relevant to his addiction plot. The Fountain of Imperium is pivotal to Spooner, John and Bishop which came as something of a surprise considering it was pushed aside after John’s failed attempt to use it.
It turns out the Fountain of Imperium is actually an alien being and not a body of water as the name suggests. For now this detail seems pointless as it being an alien being doesn’t really come to anything but it does feed into the focus on aliens for this season and highlights how wrong myths can be. Bishop also drops the bombshell that mushrooms are alien beings which makes for an amusing yet equally pointless detail.
The fountain becomes important for Spooner as it is revealed that it saved her as a child and sent her to the future after her mother was killed. It protected her and gave her the chance for a fresh start which reframes Spooner’s unknown history in a vastly different light as she assumed that the motivation behind her memory gap was malevolent when it was very much the opposite. Spooner has the opportunity to actually meet her mother and deal with these unresolved feelings. This was always going to happen given the time travel premise and it’s necessary for the character to develop especially when not knowing what happened to her is one of her defining traits.
It’s very much a rite of passage for new characters to be faced with the prospect of changing history in order to improve their lives. Most of the time the given character succeeds in making the change which makes a mess that they then have to clean up. This is subverted in Spooner’s case who has a really moving conversation with her mother, Gloria (Alexandra Castillo) about wanting to make sure that she doesn’t have to grow up alone. Gloria is able to convince her otherwise by stating that she’s very proud of the woman her daughter will grow up to be. This also acts as a catharsis for Gloria who gets to see her daughter grown up and thriving while Spooner is able to internalise words of wisdom from her mother. Gloria also gets to survive while young Spooner is saved by the fountain which means that Spooner doesn’t have to watch her mother die though the end of the episode suggests that Gloria might have to sacrifice herself so that her daughter can continue.
Time travel is often used to allow people to get a final meaningful moment with lost loved ones -I wrote a piece about how powerful that can be- and the scenes Spooner shares with Gloria are especially powerful. The gaps in Spooner’s memory meant that she had no idea what sort of a person her mother was though she still felt that powerful sense of loss. It was intensified by a desire to know exactly what she had lost but there would be an idealised version of her mother in her head that the real person may or may not be able to live up to. Gloria is warm, brave and kind so more than lives up to what Spooner had built up in her mind. Her insightful advice and ability to understand the situation as told to her makes Spooner proud to be her daughter and she is heavily comforted by this opportunity. It’s incredibly moving to see Spooner work through this and have Gloria support her every step of the way. It alters her alien ability from a curse to a blessing as she is able to use it so save her mother’s life while also sending her younger self down the same path. She is able to do this as she knows that one day her younger self will experience this and that the pain she endures as a result ends up being worthwhile because of the resolution it leads to. It’s heavily suggested that there is a tragic ending to follow but for now Spooner is content and that means a lot.
With Bishop in control of the Waverider the team are scrambling to find a way to deal with the problem. Mick is the emotional hook for this portion of the plot as his eggs are on the ship and he’s concerned he’ll miss them hatching. He has been gradually softening over the run of the series and in this season in particular but stops far short of being overtly sentimental. It’s well known that Mick has buried feelings that he struggles to express but always makes concerns clear when he has them. In this case he bluntly states that his eggs are on the ship. Later on he openly admits to Kayla that he has strong feelings for her which doubles as his version of a declaration of love and a tactic to convince her to help them. Once again the Mick/Kayla connection suffers from a lack of prior development. It’s something that has to be accepted at face value at this point but every time the show brings it up all it does is serve as a reminder of not taking the time to organically establish this connection.
Naturally Kayla helps because she’s invested in the survival of the eggs but Bishop is ready for them and booby traps the eggs with a bomb on a short timer. All those in attendance work to get the eggs out before the bomb explodes but they miss one and Mick goes back in to retrieve it only to be caught in a massive explosion. It’s one of three seemingly fatal cliffhangers to be found in the episode with very little chance that any of them are what they appear to be. Mick putting himself in danger for the sake of his child without hesitating shows how devoted he is to his children and the emotional connection he has formed. There’s no hint of selfishness in his actions which continues the development he has received over the entirety of this show.
John’s addiction has pushed him firmly into antagonist territory. He aligns himself with Bishop who promises to give him his magic back using the Fountain of Imperium. Everything about this alliance suggests that John isn’t going to be the winner in all of this though that’s something he’s aware of. John’s assumption is that he’s craftier than Bishop so will be able to weather the inevitable betrayal and turn it around on him. This is perfectly in keeping with John as a character who has always been arrogant enough to assume he’s the smartest person in a given situation. Sometimes he’s right but he always operates on that assumption which gets him in trouble. Combine that with his trademark self loathing along with his tunnel vision fixation on getting his magic back and there’s a recipe for major problems to occur.
The opening scene where Zari and other members of the team confront him immediately highlights how far gone he is. Giving into his addiction means that the vulnerability he exhibited around Zari where he asked for help and confirmed his feelings for her is now suppressed to the point of being unable to reach him. He now declares that he doesn’t need or want help because he thinks he knows what the only solution is. It’s a tragic relapse after apparently reaching rock bottom in the previous episode and it’s painful to see play out. Matt Ryan is excellent at portraying John completely consumed by his addiction. No longer fighting it give him a clarity that he didn’t previously have as he now sees the drugs as a means to an end that will result in him regaining his magic without needing to use them. Before it was about getting off the drugs as they harm him and his relationships but Bishop offered him a solution so he falls back on destructive habits easily. This supports the previously established idea that John was always teetering on the edge of an abyss that would be easy to fall down. Magic is actually his addiction rather than the magic granting drug but the drug intensifies what was already there and giving into his desire to have his magic back causes him to turn his back on those that care about him.
John says a lot of hurtful things both to Zari and to the group at large. Zari is made to feel unimportant and unappreciated because of how dismissive John is which clearly impacts her greatly. She admitted previously that she loves him and she feels comfortable being herself around him but the next developmental step in this relationship for Zari could be to realise that she deserves better than John. It’s certainly unsustainable if he is always going to be battling addiction and mistreating her as a result.
He says other hurtful things to the team such as never being cut out to be a Legend and that life never suiting him. Prior to joining the team he was very much a loner who went through life isolated to an unhealthy degree as he engaged further with the dark arts. Since he joined the team he has definitely found a sense of belonging and unquestionably felt like an important part of something greater than himself so there’s a large amount of denial associated with his claims though his self loathing means he can easily convince himself that he is destined to be alone.
John’s interactions with Bishop help make Bishop more relevant as a character though as an antagonist he leaves a lot to be desired. The attempted manipulation from both sides works well and the reveal that he anticipated John would steal the potion so put poison in it works well. It makes sense that John wouldn’t see that coming as his mental state means that he is far from at his best. It also ties into the addiction narrative as failing to beat it leads John to a bad end.
His death scene is really powerful and moving. It takes dying for him to realise his mistakes and gain much needed perspective. His attitude as the end approaches is the opposite of sorrow and regret as he feels that this is exactly what he deserves. Matt Ryan’s performance suggests that John is finally at peace when he realises that he’s dying because there will be no more struggles for him to endure once his life ends. He always saw himself ending up this way and gladly accepts it when he does. Astra is there as he dies which is appropriate given the connection he has with her. He sees her as a defining failure in his life when he damned her but also his greatest success as he was able to rescue her meaning she could have her life back albeit with so much missing. It’s unlikely this will be the end for John but the fact that he believes it is and accepts it carries considerable weight.
Bishop’s plan to destroy the Fountain of Imperium to leave Earth vulnerable for an alien invasion largely comes out of nowhere though that’s not surprising considering how much information is thrown at the viewer over the course of this episode in terms of how different things work. Seeing Humans as a blight on the planet and wanting to start from scratch without Humans doing damage to it is very much a half baked environmental message that fails to resonate because Bishop’s contribution to the season has been all over the place. Nothing around this reveal feels natural because it all comes from information delivered in this very episode. It’s less important in the grand scheme of things because the character stories are so wonderfully handled but the plotting is adrift due to shortcomings associated with Bishop as a character.
A strong episode with excellent characterisation that pays off a lot of what the season has been working with. Spooner’s desire to find answers for the gap in her memory has been her defining motivation and it was always going to culminate in her having the opportunity to interact with her mother in some way. Through her life she had an idealised view of what her mother might be like and upon meeting her isn’t disappointed. Their interactions are really well done and subvert the usual rite of passage involving a new member of the team changing the timeline before realising they were wrong to do so. Gloria convinces Spooner to let things play out as they did before and achieves catharsis herself by seeing what her daughter would grow up to be. Spooner is able to let things play out as they did before knowing her younger self would eventually have this experience though there is also an apparent loophole found when Spooner’s mother survives. The ending suggests that there is more to come but for the purposes of this episode it is entirely satisfying. Mick forms the emotional core of the plot involving him. He is motivated to get back to the Waverider because his eggs are on there and he wants to get back to his children. He also opens up about his feelings for Kayla which once again highlights how underdeveloped this connection is but works from the point of view of Mick as a character and his ongoing development.
John being fully consumed by his addiction works brilliantly. He is pushed fully into antagonist territory by aligning himself with Bishop. There is manipulation happening on both sides with John assuming that he will be able to outclass Bishop in the end. He has firmly fallen back on old habits by isolating himself and pushing away all the help he has been given. This is shown through saying hurtful things to Zari and the team that confirm he has given into his addiction. Zari may have to realise that she deserves better than what John can give her in a relationship but for now she’s upset at the way he’s treating her. John stating that he was never a true Legend and is better off on his own is major denial on his part as he has found a sense of purpose since joining the team. At this point he sees himself as beyond help and closes himself off to the possibility. This culminates in his death which makes for a powerful and moving scene. Astra being there at the end was a strong choice as he sees her as both his greatest failure and his biggest success. Bishop’s plan largely comes out of nowhere and links into how problematic he has been as a character up until now. The reveal depends entirely on information given to the viewer in this episode which robs it off its impact. The half baked environmental message fails to land and it contributes to the plotting being adrift though it’s saved by the excellent character work elsewhere.
- Spooner having her questions answered and that helping her process her feelings
- the excellent interactions between Spooner and Gloria
- subverting the expectation of Spooner changing history to give her a problem to fix
- Mick forming the emotional core of the plot he’s involved in and how that contributes to his ongoing development
- John being consumed by his addiction and that shifting him into being an antagonist
- Matt Ryan’s excellent performance
- Zari’s reaction to the shift in John
- John’s moving and powerful death scene
- more reminders of the weaknesses in developing the Mick/Kayla connection
- Bishop’s plan coming from nowhere and further showcasing how the plotting has been adrift this season
What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below
User Review( vote)
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. Don’t forget to share your rating in the “User Review” box
If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.