Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 20, 2022)
Even the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t send DC’s Legends of Tomorrow off course, so 2021 brought Season Six of the series. This three-disc set includes 15 episodes, and the plot synopses come from IMDB.
Ground Control to Sara Lance: “The Legends go looking for Sara (Caity Lotz), who has been abducted by aliens.”
On the negative side, “Control” offers a ludicrously bad depiction of David Bowie. As played by Thomas Nicholson, he becomes an unconvincing addition to the episode.
On the positive side, the Bowie scenes become a minor aspect of the episode. The rest works pretty well, as “Control” brings the series’ usual mix of comedy and adventure.
Meat: the Legends: “Sara and Gary (Adam Tsekhman) crash-land and meet an unexpected ally. Meanwhile, the Legends track an alien to a burger joint in 1955 San Bernadino.”
I figured Season 6’s alien theme would begin and end with “Control”, as I assumed the Legends would rescue Sara and go back to their usual adventures. However, it now appears that S6 will stick with a theme connected to these extraterrestrial issues.
How well that works remains to be seen, but “Meat” becomes a pretty good push toward this narrative. Expect some of the usual goofy surprises.
The Ex-Factor: “The Legends try to stop an alien invasion by traveling to 2045 and having Zari (Tala Ashe) perform in a TV talent show.”
Reality TV doesn’t offer a fresh subject for parody, but the fact this episode takes place in the semi-near future adds zest. This leads to another entertaining and clever show, even if the music/TV scene in 2045 looks an awful lot like music/TV in 2021.
Bay of Squids: “In 1962 Cuba, the Legends try to get history back on track when Fidel Castro (Tim Perez) gets a nuclear warhead.”
The inclusion of Castro and JFK (Aaron Craven) sounds fun, but “Squids” doesn’t exploit the subject matter as well as I hoped. While not a bad episode, “Squids” seems a bit lackluster.
The Satanist’s Apprentice: “Astra (Olivia Swann) gets a chance to learn real magic, while Sara meets Bishop (Raffi Barsoumian) and learns what he intends.”
“Apprentice” can feel like an excuse to give Matt Ryan a chance to stretch his acting legs, as he does double-duty as both John Constantine and Aleister Crowley. The episode can seem heavy in exposition but somewhat low in charm.
Bishop’s Gambit: “Mick (Dominic Purcell) takes the Waverider and Kayla (Aliyah O'Brien) to try and find Sara. After a report of an attack, the Legends return to their new headquarters. Zari is suspicious of Constantine's behavior but isn't surprised when she learns the truth.”
After a pair of sluggish episodes, S6 bounces back with the frisky “Gambit”. The show moves along story elements along with the series’ usual frothy nature to offer a nice rebound.
Back to the Finale Part II: “The Legends make a last-ditch effort to keep Sara from being abducted, even knowing that it will after the timeline. Sara is shocked when Rory finds her on the mystery planet.”
As implied by the title, “Finale” takes us to revisit S5’s last episode. It does so in a manner that winks at the anachronisms and premise, so expect a clever take on the topic.
Stressed Western: “The Legends go on a ‘normal romp’ to investigate an alien that has taken up residence in the Old West.”
Prior seasons touched on Westerns, but “Stressed” manages to find a creative new exploration of the genre. With a bit of a nod toward Tremors, it becomes a creative take on the topic.
This Is Gus: “Mick deals with fatherhood when he learns that Lita (Mina Sundwall) is pregnant, while the other Legends try to save Behrad's (Shayan Sobhian) favorite show when an alien crashlands on the set.”
Behrad’s not a great character, mainly because his stoner thing seems stale, but “Gus” gives him a good spotlight, partly because the episode mocks lame sitcoms well. Gus the new alien adds some spark as well.
Bad Blood: “John and Spooner (Lisseth Chavez) travel back Spain 1935 to find the Fountain, while the Legends deal with an adolescent Gus-Gus.”
With Mick “pregnant”, “Blood” starts to feel more than a little cutesy/gimmicky, and the developments with Gus don’t help. The 1930s plot does little for me either, so this becomes a less than solid episode.
The Final Frame: “When the Legends track down another alien pod, they find a device that transports them to a cosmic bowling alley. Nate (Nick Zano) plans a romantic date for him and Zari, but nothing goes as planned.”
With the use of bowling aliens, “Frame” can lean toward silliness. Nonetheless, we get some clever sequences that overcome the potential negatives.
Bored on Board Onboard: “While Waverider makes it way back to Earth via normal rather than jump drive, Gary suggests that they play a game. However, John uses his newfound powers to make the game real - and deadly.”
“Board” starts well, as I like the challenge involved with self-entertainment sans energy-operated escapades. However, the story soon devolves into a horror tale with some nods toward Clue, and these don’t really work. While not a bad episode, “Board” doesn’t live up to its premise.
Silence of the Sonograms: “Ava (Jes Macallan) tries to get into the captive Bishop's mind, but who is playing who? Meanwhile, Mick goes into labor and John fights his addiction.”
I can never decide if I find Bishop to offer an engaging character or not. On one hand, he brings a slick villainous energy to the series, but he never quite becomes as delightful as he should.
That makes “Silence” an erratic episode since Bishop plays a large part in the show. “Silence” moves along some plot points in a decent manner but it doesn’t quite excel.
There Will Be Brood: “John teams up with Bishop and travels to Texas 1925 to find the Fountain and regain his magic.”
While I admire the ambition of long narrative arcs, these can backfire if the stories in question don’t engage, and that becomes a moderate issue during S6. The mix of Bishop and Constantine’s turn toward evil don’t work especially well.
I tend to like Legends best when it goes with the semi-wacky adventures of the misfits, and S6 could lean away from that. This more serious turn continues during “Brood”, which makes it an episode that pushes the narrative but doesn’t quite delight.
The Fungus Amongus: “Sara and Ava prepare for their wedding, while aliens threaten to overrun the Earth.”
Was it inevitable that the Sara/Ava wedding would occur in the final episode – and that it would become sappy? Yes, and that turns into a minor disappointment, as I kind of hoped the usually irreverent Legends would subvert the formula.
But as noted already, S6 has leaned in a generally more serious direction than the first five, so this doesn’t come as a surprise. At least “Fungus” tosses in some good action among the sentiment, so it wraps up the year in a mostly satisfying manner.
Ultimately, I view S6 as a minor disappointment, mainly because I enjoyed the prior years so much. On its own, this still becomes a good collection of shows – it just doesn’t live up to its predecessors.