Tuesday, February 11, 2020

REVIEW: 'Legends of Tomorrow' - The Legends Return to High School as Nora Helps a Kid Find His Strength in 'Slay Anything'

The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 5.03 "Slay Anything"

When the Legends discover a new encore, Sara, Rory and Ava end up crashing a high school reunion to stop a serial killer from finishing unfinished business. The Legends devise a plan to send Nate, Ray, Nora, Behrad and their hostage Zari back in time to try and intervene in order to save everyone including them. Constantine is annoyed that Charlie has been squatting in his old home, but it might be the blessing in disguise they were not looking for.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Legends of Tomorrow.

"Slay Anything" was written by Matthew Maala & Tyron B. Carter and directed by Alexandra LaRoche

"Slay Anything" takes a different approach to the villainous encore premise for the season. The first two episodes of the season centered on historical figures. People who have been infamous throughout history come back to life with supernatural powers from Hell in order to reign terror once more in their former lives. Here, the show uses a construct in order to tell a specific story in a unique combination of genres. Sure, Freddy Meyers certainly has a lot of inspiration from famous film figures. This episode mashes up the high school angst genre with the horror slasher genre. It goes back and forth in time as well. Part of the story takes place in 1989 during the prom that was traumatized by a serial killer. The other half of the story occurs in 2004 during the 15 year reunion when the killer returns to finish what he started. It plays according to the timeline in which these encores previously died. Their most heinous actions may have taken place years prior. But their returns to life can cause even more chaos and destruction because of the powers they now wield. This masked figure torments the high school reunion because of telekinetic abilities. That fuels Ray's grand plan to reach out to these encores while they are still in their formative years. That offers the ultimate salvation in this story. Can evil be redeemed? That has been the source of a great deal of debate over the years. Is it simpler to believe that a person was born that way and can never curb those impulses? Or is it worth the effort to try to make things better by connecting with those who feel isolated in their lives to the point where they see these deadly tools as valid? It's a fascinating conversation the show embraces here. Sure, it ultimately pivots around the reveal that Freddy Meyers isn't actually the serial killer who ended the lives of his various classmates. Instead, it was his mother who refused to let him go out into the world and leave her. He took the blame for her in the original timeline. That is corrected once the Legends make their influence known. They are no longer concerned about the potential consequences that come from them messing with the timeline. That is just a given now. They have the tools to make life better for those they interact with on these missions. Sure, they don't always want to embark on these missions. They have personal lives that can often distract from them. But it's also exciting to see how their personal identities shape how they influence the people they meet along the way. Ray and Nate believe in the value of reaching out to Freddy before he kills to save his soul and their friends in the future. It's actually Nora who embraces the brunt of that responsibility though. She fears she's interacting with a serial killer who now has access to her fairy godmother abilities to get whatever he wants. That's absolutely terrifying. But behind all of that, there is a kid who just wants to fit in and feel accepted by his peers. It's easy to see the many ways in which he could have been humiliated at this prom. The team works to make the evening better for him. It still creates a rampage for his mother. But it creates a better future where Freddy doesn't have to be condemned to death by the electric chair. That's a horrifying visual to start this episode. It's creepy and eerie to watch as the show embraces what could have happen. It does prop itself up a little too much with the core misdirect. But it's also incredibly winning to watch as Nora uses her own experience of being accepted despite her flaws and past decisions in order to help Freddy. That is so sentimental and emotionally earned. Sure, the Mick tangent of him also going to this high school never completely comes together. Meanwhile, the Constantine plot just simmers in the background and teases something more to come that may be important. Plus, Zari gets a somewhat better understanding of what her brother has been doing while getting flashes of her former life. But this episode thrives because of its main story and the powerful insight it offers Nora as well as the charm that Ava and Sara get to embrace while battling this powerful new encore.