Monday, November 12, 2018

REVIEW: 'Legends of Tomorrow' - The Legends Return to Summer Camp to Hunt a Monster in 'Wet Hot American Bummer'

The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 4.04 "Wet Hot American Bummer"

When the Legends discover that kids at a summer camp have disappeared, Sara, Ava, Ray and Constantine find themselves as the new camp counselors. Ava struggles to get along with the kids, but Constantine whips up a potion that helps Sara and Ava bond with the children. The team finds clues to the whereabouts of the missing kids, but the battle to save them leaves one member in bad shape. Rory and Zari are tasked with watching the fugitive and Rory finds a kinship with their "prisoner."

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Legends of Tomorrow.

"Wet Hot American Bummer" was written by Ray Utarnachitt & Tyron B. Carter and directed by David Geddes

Legends of Tomorrow opts to explore the horror genre when it spends the week at camp. This is such a ripe environment that has already been the host for so many different takes on this story. Even though this hour is named after Wet Hot American Summer, it's not a madcap comedy adventure hour where a bunch of ridiculous things keep happening. That can be a good definition for what this show is as well. And yes, there are plenty of strange and amusing things that happen here. And yet, the show wants the audience to be terrified that something is lurking in the woods and is preying on everyone at this camp. This adventure has already been turned into a cheesy B-movie that has somehow spawned three sequels. That's ridiculous while also allowing the show to drop a reference to Swamp Thing without needing to feature that character at all. And the threat that lurks around this camp isn't some creature that resides in the lake. Instead, it is one of the counselors who is luring the kids into traps in order to steal their life energy. That's absolutely horrifying. But it's also not the immediate priority of this hour either. It's mostly about Sara and Ava once again working on a mission and trying to find the right way to get the information that they need. They have wildly different approaches to trying to get the teenage girls to open up and respect them. Ava's military style doesn't work at all. Sara wants to make this a magical summer because of her own memories about camp. It's fundamentally a story about none of Ava's memories actually being real. She was lied to by Rip and sees it as sad that she still revers the actors who played her parents. This episode provides her with a new childhood memory that is fully her own and that she can cherish. She fears that she won't be able to convincingly act like a teenage girl in order to gain their trusts. And yet, Constantine's potion only makes Sara and Ava look like teenage girls. They still have the rest of their adult personalities. So, there was nothing really for Ava to be afraid of. But it's the younger versions of themselves who are able to rise up and defeat the monster haunting this camp. Sure, there were only two suspects for who could be torturing this community. It continues to show just how dangerous the magical creatures can be this season. The team is only able to succeed because of Charlie's help as well. She may look like Amaya but she has a wildly different personality. It's a massive mistake to keep Nate in the dark about what is currently going on aboard the Waverider though. That is especially true moving forward now that Charlie presents herself as an actual member of the team. She has the knowledge of what this prison for magical creatures was like. She may be condemned to return to that place. But there is also the hope that the team will help her find a new purpose. Of course, she only really has a connection with Rory because they are both criminals who don't like being imprisoned by the system. But she's also bound to have a fascinating dynamic with Constantine because they know what the Legends are probably up against for the overall story this season. That's ominous. Of course, that's operating under the idea that Constantine will survive sacrificing a peace of his soul to save a kid's life. Ray believes they need Nora's help in order to save him. But Nora may not be in the best position to actually help the team succeed in their new mission.