To my surprise, it appears that Legends of Tomorrow was able to complete their intended season 5 finale despite the COVID-19 shutdown. Fifteen episodes seems like a strange number for a season of television, but that fits with the Legends. What’s been so surprising about the show for the past two seasons is that the bolts-and-quarks sci-fi of time-travel blends so seamlessly well with magic and fantasy. The bonkers fun of the show remains an excellent contrast to the more grounded (for comic book stories) drama in other Arrowverse shows. The series is able to take meta-textual approaches to their storytelling without making the entire show about it’s meta-ness. It works because the storytellers are able to weave in relatable relationships amidst all the goofiness.
The characters are the most important part of the show, no doubt. A cartoonish premise like being stuck in a series of TV shows only works if the audience cares about the characters. Social media lights up each week celebrating the romance of Caity Lotz’s Sara Lance and Jes McCallen’s Ava Sharpe. The friendships between Nick Zano’s Nate Heywood and his bros, Shayan Sobhian’s Behrad Tarazi chief among them, have a purity to them rarely seen outside of sitcom.
The show has leaned into the idea that its premises are wildly out there. (In fact, an argument could be made they leaned a little too heavily into it this year.) Still, Legends of Tomorrow is the spiritual successor to Batman 1966. I’m not an expert in camp, but this show feels like camp to me. It takes itself seriously but knows how to have fun at the end of the world.
The Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Finale Was All About the Value of Mistakes
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The crew of the Waverider dealt with very little conflict this season. Relationships dynamics changed, but none were truly at odds. Instead the obstacles the characters faced this season dealt with mistakes they made and attempts at reconciling them. It’s why they had an entire Mister Rogers parody episode about peaceful conflict resolution. Only newcomer Olivia Swann’s Astra acted in any antagonistic way, and she was condemned to Hell as a child, so she has an excuse.
Like Doom Patrol or less serious iterations of the X-Men, the Legends are misfits and screw-ups. Without getting into spoilers, the characters dealing with the fallout of their mistakes find solace in the members of the crew who already conquered their own guilt. Like the Fast and Furious movies before them, Legends of Tomorrow is (now) all about found family.
Still, it’s Legends so it’s going to be goofy. A major set piece in the episode was the Museum of Bad Ideas. Contained in it were things like genocide, cigarettes, but also glitter, and Sisqo’s early-2000s hit “The Thong Song.” The artist, who cameoed, performed (or lip-synced) to the song during the climactic fight scene. It was a quintessential Legends moment.
The Ever-Changing Dynamic of the Series and What’s Next for the Legends
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We saw Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford leave the series this season. (Though, producers have said they are open to the characters returning, and Ford returned in the finale.) However, it appears we’ve also seen the last of Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who’s played two characters over the past four seasons. It appears, however, that Astra may be joining the team as she decides how to live her post-Hell life. However, it appears that Behrad is here to stay. The treatment of his character is a testament to the writers. I was originally skeptical of the idea of this new character, but Sobhian’s performance made him almost instantly endearing.
For the first time, however, we have no idea about what lay ahead for the Legends. The next season of Legends of Tomorrow is already in pre-production to air in 2021. Yet, at the time of filming, the writers may not have known where the team would go next. The series was renewed before the shutdown, so it’s not like they were worried this would be a series finale. Nonetheless, they walked off into the night with as happy an ending as comic characters ever get.
After the Legends of Tomorrow season 5 finale, it feels like the show might be pulling back from their focus on magic. I’d suspect we get a more straightforward time-travel plot for season 6. Where do you think these loveable doofuses will end up when they come back in 2021? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via CW
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.