Tuesday, February 25, 2020

REVIEW: 'Legends of Tomorrow' - An Army Rises in Hong Kong That Charlie and the Legends Have to Stop in 'Mortal Khanbat'

The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 5.05 "Mortal Khanbat"

With Sara still away from the Waverider, the Legends find a new Encore with Ava's new invention, the Prognosticator, and must now try to defeat Genghis Khan in 1990s Hong Kong. Constantine's life is hanging in the balance, and Ray, Nora and Gary all try to help him, but Constantine tries to make a deal with Astra instead. Behrad has been confused about Charlie's recent behavior, but they all learn why Charlie is trying to out run her past and from what.

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.

"Mortal Khanbat" was written by Grainne Godfree & Mark Bruner and directed by Caity Lotz

It should come as no surprise that Caity Lotz's directorial debut is an episode centered around action. She isn't in much of the episode. In fact, Sara only makes a cameo appearance at the very end. However, it's a lot of fun to watch the specific and outrageous action that takes place while the Legends deal with Genghis Khan in the 1990s. It's a story that ultimately builds around an army on scooters. That is very on brand for this show without losing any of the necessary tension or emotional stakes. Again, the show can have fun with its central premise and the way in which it tells its various stories. However, there is always that solid emotional through line. Lotz has been at the center of some very elaborate stunts across her years in the Arrowverse. As such, she probably has a good understanding of how things work and how to best showcase them. That means it's absolutely wonderful to watch her helm the action with confidence. It's also just badass to see Ava shooting two guns at once, Nate sliding across the floor as Captain Steel and Behrad using wind to actually stop bullets. The final moment of Charlie confronting Genghis Khan and stealing his toothpick is a flourish typically given to Sara but is offered to another character to provide some necessary depth. Charlie was introduced last season. However, it's clear that the creative team is trying to provide her with a more meaningful character arc this season that connects to the grand mythology. It's hard to say just how important the Loom is ultimately going to be for the proceedings. It's just the latest plot device that the Legends have to search for in the hopes of correcting the latest threat to the timeline. It means Charlie gets to take a moral stand as she is firmly against anyone having the power to decide the fates of others. She destroyed the Loom thousands of years ago because she no longer wanted to handle that burden. She has been running ever since. She may have found a home with the Legends. However, she fears that she is putting all of them in danger now that the pieces of the Loom are gathered on the same Earth once more. That is given a more personal context here with the reveal that Behrad and Charlie had sex after Heywood. It's a fact that everyone feels the need to comment on because it informs what their current dynamic is like. Behrad feels betrayed because Charlie left without saying goodbye. Nate tells him he has to get over his ego and just ask her to be honest. She eventually is. Charlie gets to be the hero of this story. It's just clear that her natural impulse is to run because that's the life she has known for so long. She can hear her terrifying sisters calling out to her seeking their revenge. That puts some intense stakes on the storytelling while ensuring that the team is there to support her no matter what. She may be a shapeshifter but she is so much more than that too. Similarly, Constantine is more than the master of the dark arts who would rather be left brooding alone. He believes he can fix his terminal condition by himself. In the end, he might have because he makes a deal with Astra. However, he has to rely on the Legends for that support. Ray and Gary refuse to leave him alone. They are there to celebrate alongside him when he springs back to life. He wants to embrace death fully because he knows it has always been destined to come tragically for him. But now, he is allowed to be contemplative and actually figure out if he has lived a life of true meaning or if he was just contentious with the people around him when they showed genuine interest in what happened to him. He helps encourage Ray to propose to Nora. He takes care of Gary despite the trauma his death would bring. And yet, he still feels like a man who can solve problems by himself at the end of the day. That pompous attitude can be tiring. It has to be carefully calibrated in each episode. However, everything about this hour works as it tells a personal story about life and purpose while having fun with the action too.