Legends of Tomorrow Truly Is the Greatest Show on Earth

Come one, come all to the beautiful show!
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)

Come one, come all! DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is here to put on the event of a lifetime—one full of captivating creatures, devilish delights, and a musical number so powerful it could bring back the dead. Stay tuned for a cameo four seasons in the making, and a cliffhanger that promises what might be the show’s greatest storyline yet. Curtains up: It’s showtime!

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“Hey, World!” is a season finale only Legends of Tomorrow could deliver. It perfectly blends the silly and sincere, and gives even the darkest storylines a bit of room to play. Come on: How many other televisions shows would try and stop literal hell on earth with a dancing dragon, a guitar-strumming minotaur, and superhero cosplay?

Neron, still possessing the body of Ray Palmer, has bumped up his plans to take over the world with an army of demons. But first, he has to summon a portal created with human fear. That’s what Neron’s “Eyes” app is truly for, to create a magical surveillance state that sows mistrust of creatures, monsters, and metahumans. The more people use the app, the more chaos and fear spreads, which powers up the portal to hell. The “Terms of Service” clause where Neron owns your soul for downloading the app is just a fun bonus.

Down in hell, the newly fairy godmother’d Nora is on a mission to rescue John Constantine and the real Ray. It’s a fun b-plot—one that cleverly introduces our villains for season five—and Nora and Constantine make a good buddy-buddy team. But the real star of this storyline is...

...holy shit, VANDAL SAVAGE.

That’s right, the villain everyone loves to hate from season one shows up once again. He was sent to torture Ray, but instead, the former enemies played Giant Jenga and reminisced about old times. It took a few polite shots at the show’s largely disliked first season, and gave Casper Crump a great scene to go out on. Now we no longer have to remember Vandal as that super-dark immortal villain who murdered children and tried to take over the world. Now, he’s another guy chilling in hell, whose epic final words were: “I love those groovy guys. Jenga Time!” Thank you, Legends of Tomorrow. Thank you.

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Meanwhile, the Legends figure out the only way to stop Neron and his girlfriend Tabitha (better known as the fairy godmother, I squee’d for about 30 minutes after she was first revealed) is to combat fear with love. Zari realizes this after watching her younger self (while she and Charlie had to hide in her childhood home) train their newly hatched baby dragon to dance, which helped her make friends at a time when she didn’t have any. The Legends need to show the world that magical creatures aren’t to be feared, but celebrated. Not only would this prevent the apocalypse, but it would also change the future. Zari will no longer grow up in a world where metahumans were hunted. Her parents and brother would still be alive. She wouldn’t be alone.

Also...it’s time to finally open Heyworld.

This is the only part of the episode where things feel a bit dicey. Having a theme park filled with magical creatures, some of whom don’t fully understand human language or customs, is risky. If not handled well, the storyline could come across as more of a zoo or P.T. Barnum-style “freak show.” In this case, the solution is that the Legends just don’t let it be an option. The creatures are eager participants, happy to be sharing their talents with humanity. It does come across as dancing around the issue, but Legends has often been about bucking stereotypes by simply not letting them exist. Kind of like how She-Ra and the Princesses of Power takes place in a world without sexism.

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Been waiting months to see this.
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)

The park looks adorable, thanks to Nate creating it using Mick’s magical book from the kaiju episode, but the show does not get off on the right foot. Sara thought it would be a smart idea to coerce people to come by disguising themselves as “The Trinity,” meaning Supergirl, Arrow, and the Flash, and promising a big show centered around superheroes and monsters. They wanted the real heroes to make a cameo, but it was a “hard pass” from the original CW heroes. As Nate points out: They should’ve done the crossover.

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The audience starts to leave, but get stopped when Tabitha shows up with a larger version of Zari’s dragon, which starts sowing enough fear to complete the portal to hell. All hope is lost, with Sara about to be barbecued, when young Zari steps in front of her dragon...and asks it to dance. And boy howdy does it dance. Right into the path of Tabitha, snatching the former fairy godmother in her jowls and swallowing her whole. It was a death worthy of the finest Game of Thrones episode. Goodbye, my fairly oddparent, I shall always be grateful you were in our lives.

But the problems aren’t over yet. Neron’s gathered enough fear to open the portal, and starts summoning his demons to create hell on earth. But just then, Constantine walks up and demands they finish this, face-to-face. Neron’s thrilled: He loves the idea of killing Constantine! Except Charlie’s not the only shapeshifter. Constantine disguised himself as Nate, and vice versa, meaning Neron had actually killed Nate. Since keeping Nate alive was part of Ray’s original bargain with the demon, it’s now null and void. Ray is freed and Neron is defeated. But Nate is dead. Zari had originally stayed on the ship so her life and memories wouldn’t change when her past did, but she chooses to risk her own fate to be with her love in his final moments.

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Nate watches from the rafters as humans and magical creatures come together to mourn his death. Sitting next to him is his father, Hank Heywood, who’s gone on to “The Happy Place” (hopefully a nod to NBC’s The Good Place) but came back to see his son one last time. That’s because it’s not Nate’s time yet. Hank magically gets the crowd to sing James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James,” and everybody joins what’s best described as a mix between the Whoville Christmas Day gathering and every time an audience is asked to clap and shout how they do believe in fairies. We do believe in Nate, we do, we do!

Nate is brought back to life thanks to the power of love—literally, as love powered Tabitha’s staff to revive him—but everyone loses Zari in the process. Now standing in front of Nate is Zari’s brother, Behrad, and their memories of Zari have been replaced by a vague idea that something is “missing.” The showrunners confirmed to TVLine that Tala Ashe will be returning to the show, but the version of Zari “we know and love” is gone for good. It’s a happy ending for a character who deserves it, but I’m hoping Zari’s time with the Legends isn’t over. Perhaps we’ll see a similar situation to what happened in Avengers: Endgame?

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The episode ends with Astra, a young woman who’s found a comfy life for herself in hell after Constantine failed to protect her, cashing in some soul chips for a deposit. While John and Nora were searching for Ray’s “soul coin” in Neron’s vault, Astra grabbed all the nastiest villains she could find. She’s sending these so-called “Encores” back to earth to give them a second chance to wreak havoc throughout history. It’s an awesome cliffhanger and promises some seriously demented time traveling fun. All Glory to Beebo.

And just like that, she’s gone.
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
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Random Musings:

  • This is the second time Nate has lost his true love after her destiny was rewritten so she could have a happy ending. Bad luck there.
  • I loved the moment Hank starting singing and got everyone else together to save his son. It was a beautiful moment and much-needed closure for the two of them. But I’m just going to come out and say it: I thought Nate should have stayed dead. His story had come full circle. It made sense for Nate to sacrifice himself for his best friend, and get to spend eternity having beers with his dad. Plus, Nate’s outlived the show.
  • LaMonica Garrett’s Monitor was chilling in the corner eating popcorn during the Legends’ show, clearly judging the crap out of them. This is a teaser for this fall’s crossover, which Legends of Tomorrow is participating in. They learned their lesson last time.
  • It was kinda funny how all the dancers and servers in the hell bar were wearing bathing suits. Also, they were clearly the same ones from the bar scene last week, except they were dyed black instead of white.
  • Here are all the names I was able to find on the coins that Astra grabbed: Mary Tudor, Joseph Stalin, Caligula, Genghis Khan, Lizzie Borden, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Rasputin. That’s a decent group of baddies right there.
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About the author

Beth Elderkin

Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.