[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Dermott Downs
Writers: Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala
The Legends attempt to assist John Constantine in an exorcism.
Matt Ryan is excellent as Constantine. His charisma and energy are both as effective as they were on his own show. He has always been wonderful in the role and I like how committed he is to the part.
Leo and Heatwave both have the comedic highlights of this episode. And by highlights, I mean the only source of actually funny comedy. A lot of it has to do with their delivery; they’re just enjoyable actors.
Like his appearance in season four of Arrow, Constantine feels so watered down. It’s supposed to be the same character from the NBC show but he isn’t nearly as compelling. There’s no weight to Constantine and it’s all in the writing. He talks about being damaged and damned but it is never felt or seen. It’s just lip service. In this, he’s more like a Harrison Ford character; a charming jerk with a noble heart of gold. Constantine has real darkness, which could have been really cool.
Making parallels between Constantine and Sara is a brilliant move. I absolutely see the similarities and the attraction between NBC-Constantine and Sara on season two of Arrow. But Sara is also watered down on Legends; there is no darkness in the character as she is presented on this show. There’s no fight for her soul. She says there is, but there is no evidence of that. And then there’s the consistent tone problem. There’s a conversation about Constantine’s soul being damned and Sara not deserving forgiveness followed by a clumsy sex scene while Heatwave yells about football.
The Vixen plot does not work. She’s trying to reach her evil granddaughter and reason with her. I feel like the writers think that Vixen is the key to the serious story. She’s usually not involved with the comedy outside of silly outfits and is typically given the “emotional” stories. This only adds to the tonal inconsistencies but also slows everything down. Vixen subplots are so boring. She’s a barely two dimensional character, because the show can’t seem to do anything beyond that, in stories that always contradict the ridiculous nature of the show. I just want the show to make up it’s mind about what it wants to be. During one scene, it will be a farce. But then that scene will be followed by an “emotional” scene that’s supposed to develop the character but usually doesn’t because everyone is so generic to help with the farce side of the show. But it’s ashamed to be a farce.
Vixen’s plot also brings up the idiotic time travel rules of this show. She can’t save her village because that would change the timeline. That’s fair, except that the entire episode is about changing the future. The Legends are trying to free Nora Darhk from Mallus’ control as a child. That is a change to the timeline as it naturally occurred. Why is it okay to change that? I could just turn my brain off and not think about it but the show wants me to be legitimately invested in Vixen’s moral dilemma. The writers are challenging me to think and care about it.
Is this Wentworth Miller’s last appearance? I don’t know if he’s doing a final episode of Flash or not. Either way, this is a weak exit for this actor. Out of nowhere, he says goodbye to Heatwave and Sara and then he leaves. What was the point of him joining the Legends if he was just going to leave after two weeks? The crossover would have been a perfect ending for Miller. The crossover sucked but he got to be a badass in a huge battle and he had some good lines. He could have married The Ray at the end of that and it would have been satisfying. I’m glad they didn’t kill him like Stein, but it’s an underwhelming exit for one of the strongest elements of this continuity.
The episode doesn’t work. As a fan of the NBC show, I don’t think these writers have a good grasp on Ryan’s Constantine. Granted, I also don’t think they have a good grasp on Sara, and Marc Guggenheim helped create that character. Seeing Ryan in the role combined with some of the music cues maybe raised my expectations too much. I except more with Constantine. This generic version of the character doesn’t excite me; he feels like a million other characters I’ve seen. With Constantine, the usual tone problems feel much worse and exaggerated in this episode. It’s a typical episode of Legends with all of the same problems. But it’s guest starring a great version of Constantine in the only exposure we can have to it and the final episode of Wentworth Miller. I normally am prepared for the less than stellar quality of this show, but this is the first time I’ve been genuinely disappointed in Legends since the pilot.