DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – Season 7 Episode 12
“Too Legit To Quit”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has the team consider their future as change appears to be radical and imminent for all of them.
This season has explore a number of different themes such as making a positive difference to both history and the lives of others, change in general and self worth. There have been others but these are particularly relevant to this episode; one that could function as a series finale with very few tweaks. Perhaps appropriate since there is no notice of an eighth season at the time of writing this review.
The cliffhanger from the previous episode is resolved very quickly and used as the catalyst to set up what this one will be about. Gideon can only be healed by the medical facilities on the Waverider which means reactivating Evil Gideon to bring the system back online. Naturally it’s a very bad idea as she can kill them instantly by cutting off life support which is, of course, the first thing she tries. Fortunately the Legends have a bargaining chip in the form of Gideon. There is a protocol preventing Gideon from self terminating which apparently extends to the human version of her. Why Evil Gideon accepts Human Gideon as part of her being isn’t explained but it’s the necessary conceit to set up the episode. As long as Human Gideon remains on the ship in close proximity to the Legends they are safe. For clarity purposes I’ll refer to Human Gideon as Gideon and A.I. Gideon as Evil Gideon from here on out.
Early on the situation is a stalemate created by Gideon remaining in close proximity to the team so that Evil Gideon doesn’t do anything to harm them. It’s unsustainable as it means the team has to be huddled together indefinitely with no food since Evil Gideon could create poisoned food to pick them off. The plan to resolve this stalemate is for the Legends to completely retire while Evil Gideon takes charge of protecting the timeline. This means the Legends have to go their separate ways and live their lives which is naturally a difficult prospect considering all they have been through together. It is pointed out that people have moved on over the years but what is being proposed means ending the team completely and breaking up the family so there is a great deal of resistance to this.
To sweeten the deal, Evil Gideon agrees to show everyone what their personal futures will look like if the team splits up. If this were a series finale -and it very well almost could be- commonly the flashforwards would show the characters achieving success in whatever they apply themselves to in order to assure the audience that the characters they love will live happily ever after. To an extent this is the case but there are also drawbacks that make the prospect seem less than appealing. For all it’s the knowledge that they will never be together as a group again. This represents a significant loss for all of them and a price that may be too high even if they are fated to move onto what many would consider success.
It is best exemplified through Zari seeing herself receiving an award and becoming aware of the massive success she achieves in the cosmetics industry but no longer wearing her totem. She sees it as a step back to return to a life she saw as shallow and unfulfilling so is disappointed that her future seems to have her turn away from the growth she has achieved. She laments the fact that she doesn’t end up as a hero and has never had what she considers to be a definitive “hero moment”. It’s deflating for her to separate from the team because it likely means losing the sense of purpose and belonging that has been building since she joined.
She talks to Nate about the other Zari and how she still feels like she is living in her shadow. To her mind, Zari 1.0 made a difference and mattered in ways that she never will so that insecurity that she often experiences rears its head once again. Nate can empathise with her significantly after seeing his future as he will become known for writing a book about history from the perspective of someone who has travelled through time. His issue is that he wants to be remembered for something he did rather than writing about what others did. This makes him feel as if he is going to be lost in the pages of history and forgotten rather than making an actual difference. Arguably seeking external validation is the wrong thing to be doing. By contrast Zari wants to feel like a hero within herself rather than be recognised as one. She has grown to the point where external validation doesn’t matter to her where Nate still needs to learn that recognising his own worth is more important. His feelings about what he will amount to are valid and feed into the double edged sword that is the “happily ever after”. Curiously appearing to not live happily ever after with Zari 1.0 isn’t referenced.
Not everyone has issues outside of being apart from the team. Sara and Ava get a glimpse of a daughter they will one day have therefore confirming that their marriage both survives and thrives to the point where they raise a child. Jes Macallan’s facial performance as the realisation they will have a daughter dawns on her is note perfect and as closure for these characters I doubt the show could do better. If the show does get another season then it will take some doing to justify Sara and Ava continuing to be Legends as they are both clearly content with their future even accounting for Ava’s concerns around knowing their future meaning that they have no actual choice in what comes to pass. Sara doesn’t share that concern and it’s an existential debate that probably won’t ever achieve more than lip service in terms of coverage on this show.
Similarly, Behrad is happy with ending up as a successful musician helping to shape the minds of children with his popular TV show. It’s a fitting direction for Behrad who has always been about positivity and support. The additional drawback for him is never getting to see how a relationship with Astra might develop but he’s generally positive about moving on as it means finding different ways to help others.
Gwyn’s drawback is particularly powerful; he learns that he is fated to have a peaceful life in a scenic locale but that life will be a lonely one. Since Gwyn’s chief motivation is undoing Alun’s death, loneliness is a massive problem for him as everything he does is in service of mitigating that loneliness. Learning that his future involves him ending up alone is definitely not a victory, particularly when he is starting to feel more secure among the Legends. Matt Ryan’s subdued performance as Gwyn internalises what his future means for him is excellent.
Spooner’s future involves returning to her native time period and setting up a clinic with her mother. Her return to her own time corrects an anomaly and allows the flow of time to proceed as it should. Astra is the one who learns this and reacts to it from the point of view of losing her best friend as well as her best friend losing her. Spooner’s future feeds into Behrad’s point about helping people in different ways and allows Spooner to have valuable time with her mother.
Astra sees that her future is in politics with a possible attempt at the Presidency. This naturally flows from her experience managing Hell and her general desire to make the world a better place as well as her predisposition to gain power. Getting into politics aligns perfectly with her personality and desires so it’s a really good eventuality for her with the drawback being a particular form of loneliness.
When given the chance to reflect on their futures the point is made about changing the timeline not necessarily being a bad thing. It is well established and a firmly held belief by Evil Gideon that the Legends have made some spectacular messes of the timeline but they have also managed to improve things significantly along the way as well. Just this season they accelerated the equality movement by showing how effective women can be in a munitions factory. The Legends always take an opportunity to improve someone’s life even if it means changing timelines. Sara’s point is that an Artificial Intelligence would be too clinical and opportunities to make life better for people would be ignored. The human touch is necessary to shape the timeline in a more positive way. The compromise is that there should be a Captain and an A.I. so that altruistic decisions can be made with the A.I. analysing the projected impact of them to create a balance.
The often quoted “screwing things up for the better” is very much the cornerstone of Sara’s point and it’s something that forms part of the compromise. Gideon agrees to stay on the ship with Evil Gideon to address this which puts Sara’s mind at ease as to the state of the timeline. A major arc for Gideon this season has been embracing her humanity and understanding her own feelings. She still has a long way to go in terms of fully understanding Human emotion. This is something she admits to and sees her relationship with Gary as the gateway to embracing her humanity. She asks him to join her to help guide her towards moral and emotionally driven decisions. Her feelings for him also factor in as she wants to be with him so wants him around. Gary feels the same and wants to join her on her self imposed mission. It seems to be a near perfect happy ending for them both with the only drawback being the same that exists for everyone else; not being together as a team and found family.
Complications appear almost immediately when Gideon hides her knowledge from Gary in service of making him feel better. Gary would rather she was honest and not to make herself less for his benefit. It’s a simple hurdle that would seem to be easily cleared but adding to it is the reveal that she created a robot duplicate of Alun to protect Ava and Zari while also preventing Gwyn from being alone. It’s an extension of that honesty issue and prompts Gary to feel overwhelmed by the responsibility that Gideon has placed on herself. Being party to that is something he struggles to handle so he questions whether being with Gideon and watching her making those kinds of decisions is something he’s equipped to deal with.
His internal conflict comes from the fact that he loves Gideon and it leads to a fascinating conversation between him and Evil Gideon around what defines love. She boils it down to chemical mixtures within the body and the pain it can cause being down to how unstable the mixture is. She is able to accurately diagnose why Gary feels the way he does but not understand why it’s so important to hold onto the feeling rather than dismiss it as a weakness. Gary admits that it’s messy but worth powering through plus he sees himself as instrumental in keeping Gideon tethered to her humanity, something that is immediately proven to be true when Evil Gideon blows him out the airlock and convinces Gideon that he left. Amy Louise Pemberton’s performance excellently conveys Gideon’s shift into a cold and analytical outlook. Evil Gideon’s agenda is clear and she sees humanity as an obstacle.
One point that gets muddled though remains connected to what the episode is exploring is what Robo-Alun (Tom Forbes) represents. Gideon admits to constructing his personality based on historical records meaning there are significant gaps. Gywn rumbles him almost immediately following a failure to complete a poetic statement he was known for saying. The substance of who Alun was is gone and Gwyn can’t live a lie. It clumsily feeds into the notion of identity raised through the Robo-Legends and through Gideon herself trying to resolve the substance of who she is with her former programming. In effect facing off against herself invites exploration of her rejecting the artificial in favour of something real and tangible. This is what Gwyn does when he unplugs Alun because being with an empty copy of him is worse than losing him entirely and is an insult to his memory; at least that is what is suggested though not explored.
There are loose ends to tie up as indicated above but otherwise this episode could function as a mostly satisfying series finale. The party scene complete with a Beebo Piñata is incredibly charming and allows the cast to be together in a tension free celebration scene. It’s just great to witness and highlights the effortless chemistry that makes the show work so well. The dividing of the keys offers an opportunity for them to meet up at a designated time but even that ends on a bittersweet note with the team disappearing one by one from the group photo; a reminder that despite best intentions sometimes people just drift apart when they aren’t together all the time. It’s an unfortunate fact of life but doesn’t diminish the good times.
An excellent episode that offers satisfying possible conclusions for many of the characters and celebrates the strengths of this wonderful show. The stalemate created between Gideon and Evil Gideon sets up the Legends being retired and turning the responsibility for the preservation of the timeline over to Evil Gideon. Sweetening the pot is glimpses into their futures which shows them all to go onto achieve success in some way with some notable catches. For all it means they will never be together as a team and family again but there are drawbacks on an individual level. Zari notes that when receiving her award she isn’t wearing her totem so this means returning to a life that was shallow and unfulfilling. She doesn’t feel that she ever got her defined hero moment and now apparently never will. Being with the Legends gave her purpose and allowed her to grow beyond the limited person she once was. Nate laments being remembered for writing about what others have done rather than doing something significant himself Strangely the point isn’t made about his own perception of his worth being all that is important which stands out even more when Zari is the other side of this conversation. It also isn’t addressed that he appears to not be living happily ever after with Zari 1.0. Sara and Ava getting a glimpse of a daughter they will one day have confirms their marriage both survives and thrives. This is near perfect closure for the characters to the point that it would be difficult to justify them returning for another season.
Behrad becoming a successful musician helping to shape the minds of children with a TV show is an appropriate path for him to take and one he is definitely happy with. His major drawback is not getting to see how his relationship with Astra might develop but he recognises that splitting up doesn’t mean they stop helping people. Astra transitioning into a political career makes sense for her personality and character arc with the drawback being a lonely existence. Loneliness also comes into Gwyn’s future and is handled very powerfully. Any positivity associated with his quiet and scenic life is countered by the fact that it’ll be a lonely existence. Spooner gets to return to her native time and live a life with her mother but it means losing her best friend and the found family she feels a part of. Splitting up the team becomes more viable after the argument is made around changing the timeline not necessarily being a bad thing. There are many example of the Legends messing things up but also many examples of them helping people, improving lives and making positive changes. Sara’s argument is that the mission needs a human touch which prompts Gideon to volunteer. She recognises that she is still getting to grips with her humanity which forms part of her desire to bring Gary along; the other side being her actual feelings for him. Complications appear almost immediately when she is dishonest with him before confessing that she made a robot duplicate of Alun. Gary feels overwhelmed by thig but makes a strong case for the messiness of love being worth it before Evil Gideon disposes of him. This highlights the importance of emotional connection in making moral decisions and how Gideon needs guidance to tether her to her humanity. This clumsily connects to Robo-Alun being incomplete because the substance of who Alun was is gone. Gwyn can’t live that lie. The link can be drawn between this and Gideon working towards understanding her humanity while rejecting the artificial but it’s not something the episode explores. This could function as a mostly satisfying series finale. The party scene is a great example of the effortless chemistry that makes the show work so well. Dividing the keys offers an opportunity for the characters to keep in touch but that ends on a bittersweet note with the characters disappearing from the photo one by one. A reminder that despite best intentions sometimes people just drift apart when they aren’t together all the time. It’s an unfortunate fact of life but doesn’t diminish the good times.
- layered looks into the future of the characters with notable drawbacks
- Zari’s disappointment in going back to a shallow and unfulfilling life
- Matt Ryan’s performance upon Gwyn’s realisation he’s fated to a lonely life
- Sara and Ava’s marriage both surviving and thriving
- Jes Macallan’s facial performance as Ava sees their daughter
- Behrad’s positivity around finding other ways to help people
- Astra’s political career making perfect sense for her character
- furthering Gideon adjusting to her humanity by Gary being the tether
- reinforcing that through her becoming more detached and analytical
- not exploring the obvious ideas of substance and the removal of it despite having the ingredients
- failing to address some of the drawbacks to splitting the team
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