Legends of Tomorrow is a show that dares to shake up its own formula, something it’s done several times now. ‘Bishop’s Gambit’ brings a huge twist ending that’s sure to shake up the rest of the season.
Things kick off right where they left off, with Sara staring down Bishop wondering why he’s not dead. He teases her with the mystery but Sara pieces it together pretty quickly. Bishop is a clone. But not like the AVAs as he very emphatically points out. There is only one of him. One at a time at least. He clones himself and copies his memories and mind when the previous version expires. Sara points out he could do so much good with this technology but Bishop thinks he’s already doing good. He’s sure Sara will come around to his way of thinking given time.
At that moment Rory and Kayla arrive on the planet, flying through a force field into a protected zone Bishop has made with an earth-like atmosphere. They’ve apparently spent most of the trip drinking. As they prepare to head out, Rory offers Kayla an oxygen mask, but she tosses it aside pointing out the atmosphere is breathable within the forcefield.
Per their deal, they search for Kayla’s ship first. Kayla’s keen on avoiding any trouble, which makes Rory think she’s scared. She retorts she’s smart, not scared. They find Kayla’s ship, without a fuel source and being guarded. Rory tries to interrogate the guard but more show up. He’s confused for a moment when he sees it’s Ava, but on seeing a second Ava he realizes they’re AVA clones. They capture him, leading him away. Kayla sees an opportunity to steal the Waverider but someone has the same idea, making off with the ship before she can.
Meanwhile, the Legends have made themselves at home, much to John’s annoyance. Ava manages to get Gideon running on an old TV. Even running on older hardware, Gideon is able to detect changes in the timeline, picking up an alien attack at a sanatorium in 1956. There an extra layer to this mission though. The alien gave the name Sara Lance when admitted.
Needing to know how this alien is connected to Sara, the Legends plan to collect the alien from 1956 and bring it to John’s place to question it. Ava, Nate, and Spooner head to 1956, claiming to be ‘Sara’s’ relatives, there to pick her up. The nurse informs them that ‘Sara’ sometimes answers to other names, including Amelia Earhart. The alien is the same Amelia Earhart Sara and Gary ran into a few episodes prior.
Taking her back to John’s place, they pose as another sanatorium to keep her calm. While they wait for the sedation drugs to work their way out of her system, they discuss their plan. Spooner proposes interrogating the alien and Behrad joins her to be the chill cop to her bad cop.
Spooner can’t get any alien vibes from Amelia. Her questions only seem to set Amelia on edge. Amelia claims to not know Sara Lance. Behrad’s question about how she got to the sanatorium gets a familiar answer: the same response she gave Sara and Gary when they asked how she got to an alien planet. However, she does have an added bit now, about her ship. Thinking she’s talking about her pod, they question her further. She gives them the location she landed on earth, so Nate and Ava head there.
Investigating the area, they don’t see any signs of a crashed pod, but then Ava walks into something invisible. Nate pulls out a remote, uncloaking the Waverider. Amelia didn’t return to earth in a pod, she used the Waverider. For a moment, Ava’s eyes fill with hope as she tries contacting Sara or Rory on the comms but only silence answers.
Back on the alien planet, Gary is in the toilet. That’s not a metaphor. He’s been searching for Sara through the sewers, his alien body morphology allowing him to move through the pipes. He crawls out of the toilet in Sara’s room. The bad news, Sara can’t fit through the pipes with him. The good news, Gary’s found fuel cells they can use to power the ship.
Excited by this news, Sara tells Gary to get the fuel, promising to find her own way out and meet him. He heads to the fuel cells, but Kayla’s also there. She blows his cover, using his capture as a distraction to take a cell for herself so she can get away with her ship.
Sara, in the meanwhile, plays up to Bishop. She pretends to have a change of heart, saying she wants to be part of his plan. Excited by this, Bishop releases her cuffs and invites her to dinner. He’s celebrating this turn of events when an Ava informs him of Mick’s capture. Worried Mick might not be the only one on the rescue mission, he orders the AVA clone to lower the barrier. Ava hesitates, concerned about the AVA troops still outside, but Bishop says they’ll be fine or replaced. She lowers the forcefield, leaving anyone outside of Bishop’s compound exposed to the alien atmosphere, including Mick, Kayla, Gary, and the AVA clones.
At Constantine’s, our Ava returns, charging into the room. She demands that Amelia tell her where Sara is. As Ava gets more confrontational, Amelia’s features shift, becoming more alien. Behrad uses the air totem to blast her away, Spooner tranquilizing her before she can do any harm.
Knowing with certainty now this alien can somehow lead them to Mick and Sara, the Legends adjust their plans. Constantine has a spell that can pull a memory from a person. He’s never used it on an alien, but it’s worth a shot. While still unconscious they move the alien to the Waverider in case something goes wrong again.
Since his magic is gone, John needs Astra to perform the spell. The others, who don’t know about John’s magic, question why Astra’s doing the spell if it’s potentially complicated. He deflects saying Astra is more than capable and this is how she’ll learn. The spell works, linking Astra with the alien, but she gets flashes of what looks like the real Amelia Earhart’s memories.
She sees her preparing for her flight around the world then her getting abducted and experimented on. She sees her being deemed a failure and cast out, eventually building the home Sara and Gary first encounter her in. When Astra sees Sara in her memories Ava pushes her to go deeper. This takes a toll on both Amelia and Astra. The alien’s human visage burns away, revealing a full alien form. It attacks Spooner, who screeches at it in its own language. Ava pulls her from the room while John grabs Astra, Gideon sealing the alien inside.
Spooner’s taken aback by her new ability to speak alien. She warns Behrad they need to be prepared to kill her if she becomes a full alien like Amelia. Behrad’s advice is not to worry about the past or future but to focus on the now. He knows it’s a strange sentiment to hold on while being on a time-traveling ship, but he knows worrying about unknowns of what could have been or things yet to come aren’t going to solve the problem. Spooner takes some comfort in the notion, but then she starts hearing the alien’s voice in her head.
Back in space, Mick’s been abandoned by the AVA clones. He frees himself from his bindings, pulling on an oxygen mask like the one Kayla returned earlier. He finds her with a fuel cell, struggling to breathe in the toxic air. He offers her his mask. Sharing the mask, they carry the fuel cell to Kayla’s ship. When she makes some snide remarks about humanity, she’s surprised when Mick doesn’t contradict her. He agrees. He thinks people are cowards and selfish traitors. But Sara’s different, which is why he’s going so far for her. They get to the ship but are attacked by aliens. Seeking refuge in a pod, Kayla admits for the first time to being scared. And then they do something stupid and hook up. Because why not.
Meanwhile, Gary’s saved one of the AVA soldiers, earning himself favor with some of the clones. He tells them of his Ava. They’ve never heard of an Ava leading and Gary encourages them that they don’t have to be servants.
Sara joins Bishop for dinner, where he reveals Mick’s on the planet, but he’s dead from the exposure to the atmosphere. Sara drops the friendly façade, attacking him, but this time she keeps him alive, incapacitating him. Dragging him with her, he uses his biometrics to unlock a part of the facility with another Bishop clone in a stasis pod.
On the Waverider, John’s looking after Astra, who’s resting, when Zari finds him. She suspects something is up, knowing John wouldn’t have put Astra in such a dangerous position unless he had to. Astra covers for him, saying that she wanted to do the spell and called in a favor so John would let her. She then discreetly makes it look like John does some magic to sate Zari’s curiosity. Zari believes them, much to John’s relief. He knows if it got out he didn’t have magic any number of the enemies he’s made over the years could come looking for him.
Spooner returns to the alien, entering the room. It reveals that the experiments Amelia Earhart was subjected to combined alien DNA within her but now the alien side emerged fully. It claims to see a similar struggle within Spooner. Spooner asks if it killed Sara. The alien attacks, Ava stepping in and killing it, but not before it answered Spooner’s question. It did kill Sara.
But it must be wrong because Sara’s alive. She’s defeated Bishop, never mind his need to continue on about their fresh start. Sara doesn’t want a fresh start with Bishop. He thinks they’re alive because they’ve defied death, but Sara’s learnt from all her battles, from her deaths. She carries her scars as reminders and lessons. Bishop only forgets. He taunts her that he doesn’t see scars on her body.
As Sara looks around the room she sees a hand emerging from under the tarp, a familiar ring on the finger. She pulls back the tarp to reveal the body of Sara Lance. The body of the ‘real’ Sara Lance as Bishop calls her. This Sara, like Bishop, is a clone.
Sara Lance is dead, But she’s also alive. And a clone. The cliffhanger certainly left a lot to unpack. The entire episode left quite a bit to unpack. One episode introduced Mick and Kayla’s romance (even if that was clearly going to happen from the moment the narrative placed them together), revealed that Bishop has already experimented on some humans and might be responsible for Amelia Earhart’s disappearance and then her death, tried to develop Spooner more, and presented the additional complication of John hiding his lack of magic from the team.
There might have been too much for one episode, some of the more subtle elements getting lost in the clutter. Behrad’s conversation with Spooner was one thing that could have been expanded on to its benefit. Behrad’s laid-back personality makes him a great contrast to the more reactive Legends on the ship, like Spooner and Ava. His ‘living in the now’ speech could have opened into exploring his feelings about the alternate timeline where he died saving his sister which he now has memories of. Or the fact that his sister from that alternate timeline sacrificed herself so he could be here. Is part of his ‘live in the now’ philosophy trying to avoid thoughts of that past?
On the other side of that conversation, Spooner’s stuff has been some of the more interesting elements being developed this season. The Alien Amelia said she sensed Spooner’s fear. How much of that tough, alien killer front she puts up its actually Spooner and how much is her trying to cover that fear. Fear of the unknown/not knowing one’s self could be a compelling theme to develop for the season with most of the Legends already having pieces in place for it. Spooner and Astra were both exploring and discovering new powers. John’s lost his. The Tarazi siblings learned about another timeline that they haven’t really explored their feelings on. Sara has to grapple with her sense of identity. Ava is going to learn of the man who created her soon enough. One way or another, they’re all facing down the gauntlet of the unknown.
Only Legends Could
- The dial-up internet noise when Gideon was searching for anomalies.
- Spooner: talks about uncovering the deepest fears of aliens to exploding them.
Astra: I like this one.
- We really must be on another planet for Avas to think highly of Gary.
- Did Mick get freaky with tentacles? I think he got freaky with tentacles.
- Put a checkmark next to Sara’s annual brush with death.
Images courtesy of the CW
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!