[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Director: David Geddes
Writers: Keto Shimizu & Ubah Mohamed
Stars: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh & Caity Lotz
Helen of Troy shows up in 1937 Hollywood, while Stein and Jax accidentally switch bodies.
Neal McDonough again steals the show as Damien Darhk. His animated glee in his own evil is some of the only humor that actually works in this show. Darhk’s reaction to the Freaky Friday subplot is absolutely hysterical. I also like that Darkh gives the Legends a chance to walk away. I don’t know if it’s out of respect or just because the writers need an excuse for Darhk to not kill everyone right then and there, but the moment plays. There is also a cool reveal about the witch that brought him back to life. It’s a cool story development.
The Helen of Troy story has potential, but ends up not working. I like what the writers are trying to do. According to myth, a war was fought over this woman. That is not her fault. Any violence towards woman or in a woman’s name is not the woman’s responsibility. The idea being presented is that men are responsible for their own actions. This is a solid theme and could be explored but it feels hollow. The episode is vague on whether or not Helen has powers. Men get so ridiculous around her and the episode plays it like they’re under a spell. But we never get confirmation if that’s the case; the episode may be presenting that she is the most beautiful woman in the world and men are shallow bastards. That doesn’t work for me, especially when our main characters get involved. These guys essentially live with Sara, Zari and Amaya. If they’re not fighting over them, why do they fight over Helen if it isn’t magic? It makes our male characters look even more unlikable and shallow than they already were. Additionally, the episode itself only seems interested in her beauty. She barely even gets a line for a lot of the episode and the writers never bother to show a side to her beyond beauty.
Hedy Lamarr’s representation is a little better. They at least represent her intelligence and make the case that she paves the way for the Waverider to exist; that’s cool. But the episode feels the need to comment on her attractiveness constantly. She’s Stein’s hall pass which is creepy and weird. I don’t get him fawning over her when he’s married with a recently born grandson. The line the episode repeats is that Lamarr is beautiful and brilliant. Why even bring up her attractiveness? Is that necessary? Her accomplishments are made to feel secondary to the fact that she was hot.
Sara has the perfect opportunity to kill Darhk and just stands there like a moron. At least in season two they couldn’t kill Darhk without screwing the timeline. Here, they need to kill Darhk and she just stops to brag about how cool she is which nearly results in her own death. Also, the new White Canary costume is still hideous.
This is another dud. It’s shallow in its attempts to be meaningful with nothing to really offer. I appreciate the attempt in the themes because it is important, but there are other superhero stories out now that are able to deal with these ideas much more effectively without the superficiality of this show. The only thing that really works here is a living cartoon villain while the rest of the episode meanders or falls flat on its face.