DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow chooses chaos in a totally for-real reality show episode

·8 min read
Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow

The midseason premiere of DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow ripped us away from its regularly-scheduled programming to introduce the heavies of season seven, Mean-Gideon and her small army of Robo-Legends. It was tense, it was surprising, it was terrific—but it sure was tough to go yet another week without the lively exploits of our original-recipe Legends. This week’s episode, “Lowest Common Demoninator”, rights the Waverider (metaphorically speaking) by placing the plucky crew front and center in an irreverent and legitimately hilarious hour that—seemingly for the sheer Hell of it—transmogrifies the much-beloved Arrowverse series into a yes-for-really-real reality show.

While the hijinks of “Lowest Common Demoninator” are fittingly broad it is an incredibly well-produced and even more well-balanced episode, with each Legend getting a chance to reassert where they are at this crucial point in the season. Some Legends have more screen time than others (for Spooner that may have been a blessing in disguise, no kink-shaming) but this Midseason Premiere 2.0 is all business when it comes to getting its ducks in a row before that rogue Waverider comes crashing down on the Legends’ heads all over again.

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That’s important, because the Legends’ last brush with Mean-Gideon’s Waverider has left them quite shaken. They do find themselves safe and sound within the confines of John Constantine’s mansion, another accidental pit-stop on behalf of Gideon, who may or may not have been distracted by Gary’s “sweet little bottom” when she charted the course for “home” back in November. But Bishop, once their sworn enemy and now a fallen ally, is still very, very dead and it appears he won’t be saved from his violent end in the near future. “We have to go back,” Dr. Gwyn Davies insists, not content to leave another fellow soldier behind. But the portal that could lead the crew back to Earth is currently shut. For right now, the Legends have to sit tight.

Which isn’t too much of a problem, considering how much bopping around this show has done over the last eight episodes. Since they lost their Waverider it’s been one crisis after the next and the opportunity to chill out in the House Of Mystery proves appealing to most everybody, even though this mansion’s current address is a place none of them would prefer to be. “Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?” Gary asks Gideon, just before they go and knock some more boots. It is, in fact, getting quite hot; the mansion is located somewhere near the tenth level of Hell and wouldn’t you know it? Somebody has gone and left the door open.

That means: Demons. Or, at least, demonic subordinates. “Lowest Common Demoninator” is a ghost story of sorts, a possession narrative that methodically ropes in every member of the Legends and turns them, one by one, into the trill cast members of a hellacious reality tv show. And authenticity is what these damned houseguests are looking for; it’s the one thing that will set them free from their obligations to the demon known as Harris Ledes (Giles Panton), who operates as a Hell-bound tv producer for the LCD network and commands the spirits known as the Cursed Crew. The Crew, who film every single moment that transpires inside the mansion no matter how intimate or embarassing, twists the Legends up to amplify the raw, unfocused emotions one commonly finds in reality tv. Zari puts it more succinctly: They love drama.

Lisseth Chavez, Olivia Swann, Tala Ashe, Nick Zano, Adam Tsekhman, Shayan Sobhian, and Caity Lotz star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
Lisseth Chavez, Olivia Swann, Tala Ashe, Nick Zano, Adam Tsekhman, Shayan Sobhian, and Caity Lotz star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow

This effectively turns the House Of Mystery into a bonafide love shack. Whether they’re guided by voices or they feel like they know what their hearts actually want, the Legends mix it up romantically to mixed results. Questions about the whole Nate-Zari-Zari thing are addressed (wouldn’t Nate technically be attracted to Fancy Zari since she looks just like Flannel Zari?), while the Legends cope poorly with a burgeoning romance between Gary and Gideon, which sends the newly-human into a demon-spiral towards her latest iteration: Shady-Gideon. And with a few days without edibles under his belt Behrad finally has the clarity of mind to ask Astra out. “Don’t make it weird,” Nate suggests. Considering that Astra’s working overtime to trounce Harris’ schemes, Behrad’s puppy dog crush ends up making things totally weird.

As for Fancy Zari, an expert on reality tv herself having been a former child star with her be-maned brother Behrad, she speculates that the Cursed Crew are foisting the “friends into lovers” trope on her and Nate. It’s one thing to be self-aware, but too much self-awareness might leave them open to magical persuasion... right? “We are too tv savvy for that… all we have to do is not sleep with each other,” she says. Surprisingly, that’s harder than it sounds, with Nate and Zari finding themselves at times in the midst of a proper hate-cute while at other times they find themselves topless. (Nick Zano, by the way, has not been skipping arm day.)

It’s all a hoot, but the way this episode slowly changes its superhero drama format into that of a reality tv show, shifting its use of cameras and employing snap-zooms and hand-held reaction shots, is uncannily brilliant. (Gary’s reactions put me on the floor.) It sets the episode on an axis, rotating towards whatever will maximize the ridiculous melodrama of any given moment. (Later, the Legends periodically fall into a fourth-wall-breaking confessional.) The production of this episode is, simply put, a marvel of buffoonery, expertly made.

LIsseth Chavez and Nick Zano star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow
LIsseth Chavez and Nick Zano star in DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow

The abject silliness of the plot also affords the cast a chance to flex their daffier comedic muscles with some members making more profound changes than others. Nick Zano turns into a full-on Jersey Bro, all spray-tan and tacky gold chains, while Caity Lotz’ onscreen transformation from gung-ho Waverider co-captain into a vapid tv housewife, replete with hand claps and tableside drama, rivals even the monster-morphs of Lon Chaney.

But what pushes “Lowest Common Demoninator” over the top is how it works in Behrad’s metamorphosis into a proper Legends leading man, a turn that’s been a long time coming for actor Shayan Sobhian, whose role has been affable but peripheral. There’s a moment further into the episode where Harris Ledes taunts Behrad in front of Astra. “Youre a nice guy? Here’s the thing about nice guys: they are all over the place down here in Hell. The nicer they are, the more secrets they got buried.” So what kind of secrets does Behrad keep? Turns out that’s complicated: Behrad is a nice, easy-going guy, sure, but he hurts too, and he’s been holding onto unspoken feelings about that one time when he died and how this whole reality tv experience dredges up raw feelings he’s had about being a child caught in the spotlight.

So Behrad takes a stand. That he smashes a bowl full of weed gummies (a ploy that’s meant to bend him to Harris’ will) just to get everyone’s attention at such a pitched moment is all we need to know that he’s finally arrived to a critical moment in his destiny. Behrad is who he is because he’s cool. But when it comes to Astra? “I lose all my cool.” Behrad gets real, and thus he saves the day.

Stray Observations

  • Episode’s MVP: Behrad. This week Shayan Sobhian got the opportunity to take Behrad to a newer, stronger place, and he met the challenge head-on. Were those glycerin tears or the real deal? Doesn’t matter. Behrad’s off the dope and only has eyes for Astra.

  • So it looks like Bishop is going to stay dead? Nah, couldn’t be.

  • Gideon theorizes that Mean-Gideon wants to destroy the Legends because they are “an unpredictable and destructive force that needs to be eradicated.” I wonder how individualized these Gideon AIs actually are; if they’re systematically in sync but for their agendas, this might pose a problem should the two Gideons ever bump into each other. Mean-Gideon could prompt a villainous overwrite.

  • I wonder how these last two terrific episodes would have worked out had they’d been switched around. Hmm.

  • Gideon, to Gary: “The last thing the Legends need is for their time pilot to be obsessed with your sweet, little bottom.”

  • Astra: “Behrad! Don’t sneak up on people in Hell!”

  • Spooner: “How long has this been going on?” Gideon: “Well, including the foreplay and…”

  • I imagine every demon in Hell walks around with a pocket torture kit.

  • “Just when you think you can trust a woman, she turns around and reveals her true self. That’s why you can’t trust dames! You can only trust…” *FLEX* “Gains.”

  • So how did you like “Lowest Common Demoninator”, group? Will the Legends actually change the history of the world next week? Was Gary’s superfluous third nipple placed where you thought it’d be? Is Spooner going to lean into her fascination with public nudity? Go nuts in the comments below.