Despite its humble origins, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has grown into one of the best shows in the Arrowverse, combining meta-humor, weird moments, and heartfelt sincerity to make a show that’s just as funny as it is moving. Here’s our list of the 10 best episodes of Legends of Tomorrow so far.
We’ve decided to present the episodes in chronological order because trying to rank them would be like trying to rank the stars in the sky—although you know what episode would be at the very top. After all, it’s Beebo’s favorite. Glory be His name. (Note: The god of cuddles did descend from on high to approve this list. If you have any problems, take it up with him.)
“Out of Time” (Season 2, Episode 1)
It’s not easy for a show to start from scratch. The first season of Legends of Tomorrow was criticized for being too dark and unpleasant, coming across like a bad copy of Arrow instead of its own thing. Season two was when the series turned things around, starting with the fantastic “Out of Time.” Told in flashback with Mick, Oliver Queen, and Nate Heywood (in his Legends debut), it’s all about how the Legends managed to save New York City from an atomic bomb—though it comes at a great cost to the team. The whole episode plays like a movie, with quippy one-liners, great action scenes, and Sara Lance single-handedly seducing all the women of history (and loving it).
We’ve had some great villains on Legends of Tomorrow, but none have compared to season two’s Legion of Doom. Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Professor Zoom (Matt Letscher), and Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) teamed up to get their hands on the Spear of Destiny but faced a lot of hiccups along the way. “The Legion of Doom” put the spotlight on the three supervillains as they tried to torture a memory-wiped Rip Hunter for information, only to succumb to jealousy and infighting. The three actors played brilliantly off of each other, giving us an episode that was deliciously evil and a lot of fun.
“Aruba” (Season 2, Episode 17)
“Aruba” started the Legends’ series-long trend of aiming high on their season finales and sticking the landing every time. After the Legion of Doom managed to get control of the Spear of Destiny and change reality, the Legends broke the cardinal rule of time travel and travel back to the events of “Fellowship of the Spear”—trying to save the world while avoiding their past selves. Of course, it doesn’t take long for everything to blow up in their faces, forcing the Legends to (literally) confront their own mistakes and make a better future for themselves and everyone else.
On the surface, “Phone Home” may have seemed like more of a filler episode—a cute one-off that followed on the previous season’s Invasion! Arrowverse crossover. But underneath the lighthearted E.T. parody lies an emotional exploration of Ray Palmer’s character. The Legends traveled back in time to secure a lost baby Dominator, which had been found by the much-younger version of Ray. The normally optimistic tech mogul has to come to terms with the traumatic parts of his childhood, offering hope and guidance to the boy who would grow up to become the Atom.
There are two eras of Legends of Tomorrow: B.B. and A.B. In case you couldn’t tell, that’s “Before Beebo” and “After Beebo.” In “Beebo the God of War,” the Legends travel back to the Age of Vikings and discover they’ve taken over all of North America to please the “hungry” demands of their new god, a Tickle Me Elmo-like toy named Beebo. This was the episode where we learned just how weird Legends was willing to go in pursuit of a great story. The answer was: Just the right amount.
Zari showed up mid-season three and quickly established herself as a core member of the Legends, with this episode being the one that made her feel right at home. “Here I Go Again” is the Groundhog Day-esque episode where Zari found herself repeating the same hour before a mass ship explosion. It was quirky, weird, and thoughtful, largely thanks to Tala Ashe’s performance, and stands out as one of the show’s best single character-led episodes so far.
“The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly” (Season 3, Episode 18)
The biggest bummer about putting this list in chronological order instead of a ranked list is that I can’t put this very obvious choice at the top of it. Over the course of the greatest hour of television in Arrowverse history, the Legends waged war against some of history’s greatest figures, only to magically join forces and become a stuffed animal so they can hug a demon to death. It’s the kind of television that really needs to be seen to be believed. Only those who’ve witnessed the glory of Giant Beebo can ever truly understand.
“Hell No, Dolly!” (Season 4, Episode 7)
After Fox’s Constantine was canceled, it was great to see Matt Ryan don the red tie and trench coat for Legends of Tomorrow. He’s mostly been around to perform dark magicks and fail to be inconspicuous during undercover missions, but occasionally we’ve gotten a peek behind the sarcastic smile to the man underneath. “Hell No, Dolly!” may be about a killer doll (voiced by Paul Reubens) who possesses a puppet version of Martin Stein, but it also explored Constantine’s tragic history with his boyfriend, Desmond. Legends has never been afraid to let sincerity break through the silliness, and this episode is one of the standout examples of that.
“Legends of To-Meow-Meow” (Season 4, Episode 8)
After Constantine tried to change the past to save his boyfriend in “Hell No, Dolly!”, the episode ended with Zari stuck as a cat while she and Constantine were outside the bounds of time itself. In this wild and wacky episode, the two of them travel between realities to try and fix the mess Constantine made, and it includes parodies of Charlie’s Angels, Hogan’s Heroes, and Sesame Street. All the while, it helps Zari and Constantine confront the losses of their loved ones, giving this ridiculous journey through reality a grounded message.
“The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” (Season 5, Episode 14)
In the season five penultimate episode (directed by showrunner Marc Guggenheim), Legends of Tomorrow took the storytelling format of “Legends of To-Meow-Meow” and cranked it up to 11. After the Fates managed to take control of the Loom of Fate, the Legends were trapped in fake version of popular TV shows, like Friends, Downton Abbey, and Star Trek. These might be sterilized worlds designed to serve as propaganda for the Fates-worshipping masses, but they also represent everything the Legends want in their lives. The Legends have been given their perfect worlds, and are forced to choose whether they want to sacrifice bliss for the greater good.
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