Sunday, June 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'Legends of Tomorrow' - Sara's Hope for Normalcy Gets Tossed Aside by a Typical Mission in 'Stressed Western'

The CW's Legends of Tomorrow - Episode 6.08 "Stressed Western"

With everyone finally back together, the Legends find themselves looking to Nate to keep everything calm while in the old West on a mission to find an alien. After trying to keep things normal, Sara reveals her secret to Ava and the team. Constantine looks to Gary who might have answers to help his problem. Spooner and Astra are forced to work together despite their clashing personalities which ultimately helps push them to hone their powers. Zari takes an interest in Behrad's personal life.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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.

"Stressed Western" was written by Matthew Maala and directed by David Ramsey

Sara is back as captain of the Waverider. She just wants a normal mission on her first day back. Of course, a normal Legends mission is such an ill-defined concept. Yes, a pattern occurs that makes each mission feel of a piece of everything that embodies this crew. And yet, the point of so much of this series is about the ways in which things fly off the rails and still end up working just fine. It takes sacrifices. This team is constantly evolving. They are doing noble work as well. It can be costly from time to time. Sara strives for normalcy as captain because so much of her life right now is an unknown. She has been changed following her abduction. Her team rescued her. She is surrounded by friends once more. They support her no matter what. They too are confused about her new existence as an alien-human hybrid clone. They still respect her as their captain. They still follow her into battle. She has never been one to back down from a fight. And now, she has the regenerative powers to make herself more invincible. It inspires a new way for her to fight back. It's still a terrifying sight for Ava. She sees her fiancée shot in the head. It doesn't kill Sara. It's still a traumatizing moment. One that puts into context exactly what she has become. It's a horror visual as well. That disrupts the natural flow of what the Legends expect. But again, the team is always evolving. That is normal. As such, it's expected that they would all just go along with the wild journey they are on. It all verges on not making any sense whatsoever. But it still remains grounded in an emotional reality for these characters. Sara and Ava remain strong as a couple. Their love is still celebrated. They are so worried about presenting as they have always been. Things have changed. That's not necessarily bad though. They find that acceptance by the end of this episode. Of course, it also comes with the tease that not everything is fine with Sara. That's mostly just introduced through her appetite. That shouldn't be all that concerning. It does highlight the ways in which this new body is different. Her mind and personality are the same. Those are evolving too though. Again, that can make her even better as a captain and a partner. Only time will truly tell though. Elsewhere, a lot of pieces of storytelling are happening here. It's a bit of a jumble of an episode. It returns to a self-contained storyline with the Legends tracking down an alien who has escaped in the timeline and is currently wreaking havoc. It's comfortable for the show to return to the Old West setting. The team has had various adventures in this particular environment before. That too contributes to the overall idea of Sara wanting some normalcy in this mission. The circumstances are different though. That had to be apparent. And yes, the show has a lot of fun with its cowboy narrator. It's also a joke that comes up again and again. Meanwhile, the casting of David Ramsey as Bass Reeves is just confusing. It may have just happened out of convenience because it would cut down on the people needed on set since Ramsey was already directing the episode. It's just odd for Sara to comment on the similarities when the show had a whole season of Courtney Ford playing both Nora and Marie Antoinette with no one mentioning it. As such, it comes across as a moment of fan service. It's more rewarding to spend time with the characters given actual storylines. That includes Nate once again moping about the loss of his girlfriend. Now, a convenient solution is also given for him to spend time with the original Zari once more. That's exciting considering how excellent Tala Ashe has been at playing both variations of the character. But this episode also packs in Constantine harassing Gary for details on a fountain that can provide magic to him, Astra and Spooner clashing until they realize they can learn from each other, and Zari pestering Behrad about his personal life. Some of these details provide solid development for the characters. They all help channel the other dynamics and character depths across the ensemble. It's also just a lot to juggle in an episode trying to buck its sense of normalcy by trying to touch on everything that could be important.