Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Review

  • Series Title: Legends of Tomorrow
  • Season: Season 4
  • Episodes: 16
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray) (DVD set is 3 discs)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Maise Richardson-Sellers, Dominic Purcell, Nick Zano, Tala Ashe, Matt Ryan, Jes Macallen, Adam Tsekhman
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review will contain spoilers for Season 4 of Legends of Tomorrow

As the tease at the end of Season 3 promised, Season 4 brings magic into the Legends of Tomorrow universe and John Constantine becomes a regular. The first half of the season has relatively self-contained episodes, as the Legends chase magical creatures before they can mess-up the timeline. These episodes though are so very character-centric and each one allows our characters to shine. In the third episode of Season 4, the Legends meet a punk shapeshifter in 1970s London. Although Constantine wants to send the creature to hell, as he had previous magical creatures they had met, Ray Palmer, who has gotten to know Charlie, convinces the Legends to capture her instead. First imprisoned by the Legends, Charlie eventually becomes one of them, assisting on the current mission. She also looks like Amaya.

The two-part midseason finale, “Hell No, Dolly!” and “Legends of To-Meow-Meow” gives us more information on Constantine, including explaining why he’s been in a weird headspace all season and introduces the season’s villain, a demon called Neron, who bonded with Constantine’s lover Des (Desmond) forcing Constantine to send them both to hell. Being in the same city at the same time that he lost his lover, Constantine cannot resist trying to change things and save Des. But when he does he breaks time. He and Charlie, who helped run interference while he was on his unsanctioned solo mission, return to the jump ship and find Zari’s been turned into a cat.  In “Legends of To-Meow-Meow” Constantine, Charlie, and Zari with help from Nora and Mona attempt to find a solution that will allow them to save Des, allow Charlie to keep her shapeshifting powers, but that won’t have the Legends die – because in this new broken universe, members of the Legends team keep dying in magical creature attacks. These losses cause the Legends to become reckless killers. Although the episode expresses this with various genre-style “TV series”, complete with credit sequences, including, “Guardians of the Chronology” (an 1980s-style, all male-led, action show with lots of guns and violence), “Sirens of Spacetime” (in “Charlie’s Angels” style – Sara, Ava, and Gideon are action stars) and “Puppets of Tomorrow” (the Legends have been turned into singing puppets). But the only way to prevent disaster is to prevent John from changing time in the first place.

The second half of the season features more magic, Mona becomes a regular – despite being essentially a werewolf, and Nora Darhk also, through her friendship with Ray Palmer, joins the crew. It’s not a straight or easy transition for either Nora or Mona. Mona starts as the girl who delivers food to the bureau (and is continuously mind-wiped by Gary) to the creature keeper to falling for a Kaupe named Konané to being scratched/bit by Konané and becoming a Kaupe herself. Mona’s journey includes learning both to control and embrace “Wolfie” – her werewolf side. Nora had escaped the time bureau using the time stone Ray gave her, but when John Constantine goes too far to save a young camper – only Nora can save him. Ray finds her and Nora learns she can use and control her power without becoming evil. She too joins the Legends but is still considered a fugitive.

Throughout the season Nate is mostly based at the Time Bureau, which leads to some interesting confrontations with his father. Henry Haywood seems to behind a plot to torture the captured magical creatures. Too late, Nate, John and the others discover Henry had made a bargain with the demon Neron for funding. When Henry tries to reject the demon, Neron kills him. Nora, a captive herself, feels Neron’s attack but when she tries to stop it, she’s caught and accused, of course, of killing Henry. Fortunately, Ray, Nate, and John believe her when she says she didn’t do it. John discovers Neron’s kidnapped Ava to be a new vessel for his “Tabitha”. John sends Sara to Ava’s personal purgatory to rescue her. It proves to be a test (and a successful one) of their relationship, which has suffered a few setbacks due to the Legends “harboring” Charlie and Nora.

Mona, Zari, Sara, and Charlie end-up solving a magical alert when Jane Austin’s books disappear. Mona not only meets her favorite author, but Zari confronts the Hindu god of love who is causing chaos. Mona is initially upset with Jane’s practical advice on love (marrying for security not love) but when she “wolfs out” and confronts Jane again, Jane is more honest, telling her not only she does believe in love, but that she rejected her only marriage prospect because she didn’t love or respect him. She then says that she and her sister will be penniless. Mona assures her she will publish her writing and it will be timeless, and she is her favorite author. Jane helps Mona to embrace Wolfie. Meanwhile, Zari is nearly talked into marriage by the Hindu god, leading to a fabulous Bollywood-style musical number. The Legends prevent her from making a mistake and free the young man who is being possessed. The unexpected musical number is wonderful!

The rest of the season focuses on finding a way to stop Neron, someone Constantine has failed to stop once. Ray, unfortunately, gets possessed by Neron, and starts a campaign to raise fear and paranoia – he even introduces a new app to report monster sightings. The app’s terms of service include the statement that “in return for using this service the user signs over their eternal soul to the demon Neron”. Neron is gathering souls to confront the Triumvirate that rules Hell. Also, by owning people and stirring up fear, hatred, and paranoia, he makes the atmosphere ripe for all sorts of trouble. When he doesn’t get enough downloads he arranges a “monster attack” during congressional hearings into monsters. Zari remarks that this is how her dystopia started – then they passed the anti-meta act and soon after ARGUS took total control. She and her family were forced to move to a ghetto (restricted living) and later her brother and family were killed – all because of their religion (Muslim). But Nate also discovers his father’s plan wasn’t to “out” magical creatures, or to turn them into weapons, but to capture and train them for a magical theme park called HeyWorld. Zari discovers that if the Legends are able to successfully start HeyWorld and get people to believe magic is well, magical and wonderful, she can save her family and change the future. But she has to stay on the ship in the temporal zone or she’ll lose her memories if time changes.

Constantine finds out that Ray made a bargain to let Neron take him over if Neron didn’t kill Nate. Nate is willing to sacrifice himself – if that’s the only way to stop Neron. The Legends have Mick Rory, now an accomplished romance writer (a thread slowly introduced in season 3), create HeyWorld using the journal of Bridget that creates whatever a writer can imagine. But they still have to convince people that magical creatures are magical and wonderful, not dangerous and evil. Sara, Nate, and Gary try a stage show that is bombing badly (while the Monitor sits in the stands, munching popcorn). But when Tabitha (the fairy godmother), and Constantine (returned from Hell) arrive it becomes more of a confrontation. Nate and Charlie switch places, tricking Neron into “killing” Nate. Zari arrives when she sees that it’s Nate who died. Neron’s hold over Ray is broken and he’s sent back to hell. Zari gets everyone to sing Henry Heywood’s favorite song to revive Nate. But, although the timeline is now safe, and Zari’s dystopia is erased, she is replaced by her brother who is now the air totem bearer. Nate doesn’t seem to remember Zari. In Hell, Astra cashes in the soul coins she stole from Neron’s vault (where Constantine and Nora went in search of Ray’s coin) – in a set-up for next season.

Although not quite as surprisingly wonderful and marvelous as the season finale for Season 3, Season 4 still has a fun finale. I loved the “looking for magic” theme that developed from “magical creatures are evil – send them to hell” to “OK, some magical creatures are all right” to “let’s live in concert and happiness with magical creatures”. And the singing scene was similar to saving Tinkerbell by clapping in Peter Pan. But while the sing-along is going on, Nate has a much-needed final conversation with his father, Hank.

We also get some wonderful girl power this season – Legends has gone from Sara being the only female member of the crew (albeit the captain) to having four members: Sara, Zari, Charlie, and Mona – plus regular appearances by Ava and occasional ones by Gideon as more than just a computer voice. Because the cast, in general, has gotten so large (the guys include Mick, John, Nate, Ray, and Gary) many of the episodes have two or three plots with the crew being split into groups. (Such as the wonderful, “The Eggplant, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” – where Nate and Zari go on a date in the 1930s and find a dragon egg, Ray figures out Nora didn’t kill Hank, and Sara has to save Ava from Purgatory.) This allows the women to shine and work together, while at the same time gives everyone something to do. Even “quarterbacking” from the Waverider isn’t a way to shove a character aside for a story or two. And Sirens of Spacetime – starring Gideon, Ava, and Sara – I just love it!

I highly recommend Legends of Tomorrow, especially seasons 3 and 4 – the show just gets more original and more magical every season and its tons of fun to watch. Because the Legends were not involved in this season’s crossover it is not included on the Blu-Ray or DVD set.

Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1.
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 3.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Review

  • Series Title: Legends of Tomorrow
  • Season: Season 3
  • Episodes: 18
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Arthur Darvill, Franz Drameh, Victor Garber, Maise Richardson-Sellers, Dominic Purcell, Nick Zano, Tala Ashe, Neal McDonough, Matt Ryan, Wentworth Miller, John Noble
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review will contain spoilers for Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow.

Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow picks up where Season 2 left off, with the Legends discovering they “broke time”. However, no sooner do they realize this than the team runs in to Rip Hunter. Hunter explains he’s spent the last five years building the Time Bureau specifically to deal with anachronisms caused by breaks to Time. The Legends borrow the Waverider again and set off to fix Time and remove the anachronisms.

The early episodes of Legends for Season 3 are pretty self-contained and stand-alone until “Crisis on Earth X” the massive four-show crossover event. After the crossover, the episodes flow into each other, but there is still a tendency for the stories to be somewhat self-contained, more so than other CW DC series.

Besides fixing anachronisms – and managing to make things worse, as usual for the Legends, they also learn that by breaking Time there is a danger that a demon by the name of Mallus will be released from its prison. The only way to stop Mallus is by gathering the six stones of the Zambesi tribe. Much of the season has the Legends accidentally or intentionally gathering the stones, which represent: Spirit, Death, Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Amalya has the Spirit totem, though at one point in the season it is stolen from her and the Legends have to get it back. In the third episode of the season, the Legend crew travels to a dystopian 2042 where Zari joins the crew. She possesses the Air Totem. Kuasa is a woman who possesses the Water Totem and is working with Damien Darhk. At first, Darhk seems to be up to his old tricks – causing anachronisms to help break the prison holding Mallus because he can. But when Mallus possesses his daughter, Nora, Darhk comes to realize that if the demon is released his daughter will die and he will lose her forever. The redemption of Damien Darhk is a fascinating story, especially considering he was the main villain for a year on Arrow and part of a threesome of villains on last year’s season of Legends of Tomorrow. Neal McDonough is brilliant in the part of Damien Darhk though so it is great to see him finally redeemed.

Season 3 brings in John Constantine played perfectly by Matt Ryan. Constantine is an accomplished magic user, though he also tends to have bad luck. Still, with a Time Demon as the “big bad” of the season, it makes perfect sense for Constantine to make an appearance. Constantine explains that the six stones can be used to defeat the demon, but he warns Sara about using the death totem herself. Sara ignores this advice, not because she’s stubborn, but she’s essentially fooled into using the Totem and then trapped. However, she manages to master it eventually, enough to use it against the demon when the time comes.

The Totems and Mallus are also tied in with Amalya’s history, including the destruction of her village, and the future history of her Totem (her village must be destroyed for the Totem to find its way to her granddaughter, Mari, who becomes the Detroit superheroine, Vixen.) Amalya, Nate, and the Legends, including Rip Hunter, despite their best efforts end-up breaking time in Zambesi, and Rip sacrifices himself so the Waverider can escape.

Sara takes the Waverider to Salvation in the Old West. The Legends meet up with Jonah Hex, but the town which is supposed to be a time travel blind spot – isn’t. Julius Ceasar and his Roman Legion, Leif Erickson’s sister and an attack phalanx of Vikings, and Blackbeard and his pirates, and of course – Mallus attack the town. But Amalya has figured out why simply attacking Mallus with the Totems didn’t work. The Totems must be used together. “Oh, like Voltron,” remarks Nate. The first attempt fails but in the second attempt the six Totem Bearers call forth beams of pure light which form a construct of good. Yes, these different colored beams of light that represent the elemental forces of the Totems do bring to mind Voltron – and the “being of pure good”? It’s Beebo! Beebo is a talking, fuzzy toy that a younger Martin Stein had bought for his daughter’s Hannukah present before he was accidentally sent through time to Vinland – the Viking colony in North America. The anachronism has the Vikings conquering North America instead of returning to Greenland, and worshiping the talking Beebo toy instead of becoming Christians. Anyway, the Beebo construct created by the Legends is a giant size version of Beebo – and it does manage to defeat Mallus and even kills the demon.

Legends of Tomorrow is a fun show. Whereas the other CW DC shows have gotten darker over the years (but are still good), Legends remains light. The show is also focused on character. This season Martin Stein dies during “Crisis on Earth X”, and Jax loses his firestorm powers and leaves the crew. Rip Hunter sacrifices himself to simply give the Legends time to escape – though I’m hoping he will return, or that Arthur Darvill will play another character on the series (Booster Gold, anyone? I’d love to see that.) The finale of Season 3 is wild: pirates, Roman soldiers, and Vikings attacking a Wild West town. Ava, the director of the Time Bureau, also introduces characters from the future – descendants of our characters or characters from episodes of this season (such as Helen of Troy, whom Zari drops on Themyscira rather than returning her to the Trojan War). But it’s the Voltron-style Beebo that just makes that final episode hilarious and perfect. I am still really enjoying this show and I highly recommend it.

Read my Review of Season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow.

Read my Review of Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow.

UPDATE: I recently purchased and re-watched Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow, and I really enjoyed it. The Blu-Ray version is three Blu-Ray discs and includes the entire “Crisis on Earth-X” crossover, with the special “Crisis on Earth-X” titles.

Read my Review of Crisis on Earth-X.

Constantine – the Complete Series Review

  • Series: Constantine
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 3
  • Cast: Matt Ryan, Angelica Celaya, Charles Halford, Harold Perrieneau
  • Network:  NBC (Warner Brothers Productions)
  • Blu-Ray Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Based on characters from DC and Vertigo Comics

I first saw the character of John Constantine in a guest shot on the CW’s Arrow. I enjoyed the character and Matt Ryan’s portrayal of the character. I knew the actor and character had been on his own short-lived series, a series a few friends had raved about. And I knew the character came originally from the Hellblazer comic book. But I had missed the original series – horror isn’t my thing – and my brain had somehow mixed-up “Hellblazer” with some horror movies from the 1980s.

Constantine, the Series, does have some horror elements. It also has elements of supernatural stories – at times bringing to mind series like Shadow Chasers, The X-files, and Supernatural. However, what makes this show work is the characters – especially John Constantine – exorcist, spellcaster, magic user, and con man. John Constantine is an anti-hero, but you can’t help wanting him to win. And not simply to win by defeating a demon, malevolent spirit, or ghost – but for once to not lose everyone around him. In the pilot, he meets the daughter of an old and deceased friend. When, at the end of the episode she tries to join him in his fight – John waves her off with – “everyone around me dies.” Over the course of thirteen episodes – we see how true that is. Because no matter how talented John is as a spellcaster and magic user – he’s also a bit cursed. John’s magic comes at a high price.

But again, Matt Ryan makes this show work. He is utterly convincing when uttering spells in arcane languages which may or may not be real. He’s, surprisingly, not an angry character – if anything he’s perpetually sad – struggling on in an endless fight against evil – and often losing friends in the process. John’s a pragmatist – if the only way to stop a hunger demon is to convince a friend – the one who caused it’s accidental release – to become it’s host, then that’s what John will do, even when he knows it will cause his friend his life. Constantine isn’t afraid to make sacrifices. And those sacrifices haunt him.

Other characters in the show include Zed – a psychic haunted by images of Constantine, that she can’t help but draw, who joins him in his fight. Chas, an old friend, who seemingly cannot die, In “Quid Pro Quo” we find out why and that his inability to die isn’t quite infinite. (Let’s just say that “protection spells” can have unintended consequences.) And Manny – an Angel who seems attached to John. The final episode even calls into doubt just who Manny is really working for. John also has a network of friends and associates whom we see occasionally.

Because this show comes from DC Comics – we have the inevitable “Easter Eggs”. Constantine has inherited “the Mill House” from Jasper. The house is filled with antiquities and magical artifacts. It’s bigger inside than out. The rooms move and change. It’s basically “the House of Mystery” from Justice League Dark without the ability to travel in space. And the House of Mystery is rather similar to the TARDIS but without the ability to travel in time under normal circumstances. In one episode, the helmet of Dr. Fate (Lord of Order) can be spotted among the artifacts. The Spectre (Det. John Corrigan) is present in two episodes: “Danse Vaudou” and “Waiting for the Man”. Papa Midnite is present in three episodes: “The Devil’s Vinyl”, “Danse Vaudou”, and the final story, “Waiting for the Man”. There may be more. I suspect Richie and Gary Lester weren’t invented for the television series.

Constantine ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger. And it’s an emotional one – because we suddenly learn something about Manny – a revelation that makes one question everything he’s done, his motivations, the whispering he’s done in John and Zed’s ears, respectively, etc. In other words, I almost wanted to re-watch the series from the beginning and try to determine just what Manny was doing. And I must admit, I love a series that can do that. You are told at the beginning, “Manny is an Angel”, which leads to assumptions about his character. We learned things in “Blessed are the Damned” that reinforce this point. In any case, I’d love to see the CW bring back this show. It would easily fit in with their line-up of DC superhero shows, slotting in as the “supernatural/horror” show. Or to build a show around Justice League Dark. John Constantine was the leader of Justice League Dark. Bringing the show back as Constantine would allow the answering of unanswered questions: What is The Rising Dark? Just who is Manny working for? Why is John so cursed, and being cursed, what led him to fight evil? Whereas Justice League Dark is a team book – it would allow the CW to bring in as many characters as DC would allow – and to rotate them in and out as they do in the book. Currently, there are plans for DC Animated to do a Justice League Dark movie – and Matt Ryan has already been announced as voicing John Constantine. Not only am I anxious to see that, but perhaps it will lay the foundation for a return of the character in some way.

As it stands, Constantine is an excellent though short series. Some of the grosser scenes are in the early episodes, then it lightens up for the most part. This is a character-driven supernatural drama, built on the DC Comics tradition of magic users and spellcasters. It’s a show I can recommend. I have the Blu-Ray version but it’s also available on DVD – directly from Warner Archive and also from retailers like Amazon. Do check it out!