The seventh season of DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow has been a fraught game of tug-of-war. On one side: The deterministic philosophy of the cruel Gideon artificial intelligence. On the other: That chaotic-good band of buffoons history calls the Legends Of Tomorrow. Only one could ever win this contest, and as Gary Green went flying out an airlock into the temporal zone with his fellow Legends scattered to the winds to enjoy their own personal happily-ever-afters, last week we sure were under the impression that Mean-Gideon had won. With her human counterpart locked in as captain of the Waverider, the timeline appeared to be safe from the Legends’ particular brand of giddy chaos.
Throughout the course of seven seasons, the Legends have been tasked not to interfere with the timeline even when their hearts commanded otherwise. Rules, not sentiment, keep the timeline of the Arrowverse intact—but when the Legends found themselves stranded in the culturally repressed year of 1925 at the beginning of this season (in Odessa, Texas, of all places), maintaining the sanctity of the timeline with injustice and oppression all around them wound up being far too much to accept. Their breaks from the timeline, big-hearted though they may have been, put them at odds with a rogue Gideon AI and her compliment of robo-Legend commandos. Those robots put up one hell of a fight, but in the end the Legends came out on top. All that remained was Gideon. (The mean one.)
It’s been a wild, emotional ride. And there’s an added metatextual wrinkle to this temporal rollercoaster: The lack of a season eight renewal at The CW, which has hovered over the latter half of this season like a cloud of bad vibes. This uncertainty colors this week’s finale, titled “Knocked Down, Knocked Up” for reasons we’ll get into, especially after you pair it with the sudden (if *sob* somewhat expected?) departure of Dr. Nate Heywood, the Legend formerly known as Steel.
Nate’s tenure as a Legend has been extraordinary, but this week it is time to say goodbye. (Loathe as I am to accept it; did Nate need to leave?) As for the rest of his Legends, they begin the natural progression of their very regular lives away from the responsibilities of protecting the timeline. You’d think beginning a new life post-Waverider might be a difficult thing for Captain Sara Lance and her crew (considering… everything they’ve been through) but Wednesday nights have instead become the home for a new kind of routine for the Waverider crew—and it’s far less wacky than the scenario to which we’re accustomed.
It’s Dinner Night at the House Of Mystery, where the Legends find a little time to unwind from their hum-drum normal lives to share future plans (Sara and Ava want to start a family!), dodge new responsibilities (Nate’s not writing his historical tome!) and tamp down on how generally miserable everybody is now that the timeline has been left in the capable hands of Gideon and her not-so trusty AI, Mean-Gideon. (How’s 1925 going for you, Spooner?)
Even Gideon is feeling uneasy with the new arrangements. Early on she stops a small crew of well-meaning time travelers from amending the U.S. Constitution before it’s even ratified, a job well done even if she feels a little raw about chastising people who only want to make the world a better place… just like her former fellow Legends. Wistful, possibly heartbroken, and not so eager to deal with the next anachronism to come her way, we see that adjusting to her AI’s strict codes of conduct has driven Gideon to drink, which is consistent with the series’ laissez-faire approach to boozing.
Only not everyone is celebrating with booze these days. Sipping apple juice at the former Legends’ dinner table Sara and Ava announce that they’re finally planning on having a baby, a development that is later superseded by the revelation that Sara is actually pregnant, right now, this minute. (Thanks to her half-Kriblix DNA, apparently all Sara had to do to achieve this was smooch Ava and think of babies. Legends!) This is arguably the biggest thing to happen to Legends Of Tomorrow since it began, hyperbole notwithstanding; Legends has (almost) always been a show about finding the family you need, and Sara and Ava’s impending bun in the oven adds to their impending domesticity that this season of Legends has been quietly building towards all season long. Our time-traveling kids are finally growing up. (Also: The fetus is absorbing Sara’s powers which has rendered her vulnerable, even to champagne foil.)
This low-key life for the Legends might have stuck, too, if it weren’t for Dr. Gwyn Davies, who discovered last week that his beloved Alun—whose death became the sole reason why Gwyn invented time travel in the first place—had been replicated by Mean-Gideon. Gwyn rendered his robo-beau obsolete last week, which gave him an opportunity to seize fate on his own terms: Traveling back to that fateful day in Mametz Wood, France, the battleground of The Great War where Alun lost his life, Gwyn wants to plant this mechanical fraud in the very place where Alun died so that Gwyn can take him elsewhere to live a happier life far away from time and trouble.
Of course, it’s not going to be that simple. The battle of Mametz Wood turns out to be another Fixed Point, just like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and where there’s a Fixed Point… there’s a Fixer.
Cue “Here Comes The Hotstepper,” because DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow certainly does. With Ini Kamoze’s prom-time 1994 hit blasting through our televisions, Donald Faison struts onto the green of Mametz Wood (and the Arrowverse for good measure) as DC’s resident time-traveling goof, Booster Gold. (Skeets wasn’t available this go-around.) Calling himself “Mike,” Booster smacks a few blue and gold star-spangled balls across the war-torn fields (golf is how he passes the time as this WWI Fixer) and quickly finds himself at odds with history’s greatest heroes, the Legends.
Booster Gold’s sudden appearance seems to imply that there is a desire within The CW for an eighth season of DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow. We don’t know. For now, Booster’s heel-turn, which comes after he discovers that his time overlords have given him a thankless job because he may not be the bitchin’ time-traveling dude he thinks he is, comes amid a finale that is already busy wrapping up an emotional arc that bids farewell to a Legend as well as the villain who has blighted the crew’s happiness all season long. Booster is an exciting proposition for the future of the series (after all, he is Rip Hunter’s dad), and his double-double cross at the end of the episode sets up crazy things for the series. But right now, Legends has to take care of itself.
“He should have been content with what I gave him,” Gideon tells her former colleagues once they’ve decided to make the temporal leap to save their friend Gwyn. “This was cleaner. The way it was meant to happen.” It’s that war of philosophies rearing its head once again: Is the timeline supposed to be immutable, or is there room for change? That Alun is walking the sleek confines of the Waverider by the end of the episode and the mean version of Gideon is not implies that DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow wants to break away from the strict laws of time and space to make room for love and acceptance. That fits. It’s fiction. And fiction is where we find our hope these days.
Yet hope isn’t reserved for just us viewers. There’s that bit towards the end of this week’s episode, where Nate and Sara and the rest of the Legends bid each other farewell, for now. “I’m ready for that part of life after being a hero,” Nate says, fading away to join Flannel Zari for a quieter life far away from anachronisms and Legions Of Doom and Time Masters and Reverse-Flashes and Beebos and other such extravagances. For Nate (as well as Nick Zano) the future is a calmer place; when he finally bids adieu to his crewmates we get the feeling that he’s saying goodbye to us, as well.
- Season’s MVL: Gideon. When Amy Pemberton finally made the leap from voice actor to a series fixture as the human version of Gideon, we all went crazy for her (especially Gary). Pemberton has revealed multitudes of range and talent during this rambunctious season, belting out songs at Zari’s impromptu speakeasy party and generally being a wonderful addition to an ever-growing cadre of Legends. May Amy’s run be long.
- I will genuinely miss Nick Zano on this show. Once Mick departed Legends, Nate Heywood became Sara’s defacto buddy/confidante outside of Ava. Who is going to drink with the Waverider captain now that... oh, yeah!
- Will Gary’s advancement of caveman door technology alter the timeline in any substantial way? Probably not. Legends!
- “You two are the best mom and friend that a girl conjured out of circuits could have ever hoped for.”
- “Yes! I am reveling in joy right now! Goodbye!” Caity Lotz is a treasure.
- Gwyn’s words of valor: “Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade. And yet the years shall find me unafraid.” How is Matt Ryan not a movie star?
- Mustard gas, eradicator of expensive superpowers everywhere? If Nate is really gone from Legends Of Tomorrow, why go to the extra trouble of finding a way to get rid of his superpowers—OH.
- “I wonder if there’s chocolate sauce on board.” “Oh, Gary!”
- So what did you think of this season finale of DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, group? If there’s an eighth season, how will Donald Faison fit into the scheme of things as Booster Gold? Will we ever see Nate and Flannel Zari again? (Or Mick, for that matter?) Sound off in the comments below.
- Oh, and one more thing: This is my final dispatch as Legends recapper for The A.V. Club! It has been an absolute pleasure to join you every week as we bounced from one point in time to the next. Thank you for being patient with me as I found my bearings as a born-again Legends follower, and thank you for all your comments and feedback along the way. Each of you made me a better recapper (I think/hope) and you made the experience that was season seven of DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow a richer and more hilarious one. Later, Legends!