A few days after the big day, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow celebrated Halloween with a zombified episode that celebrated the big day with jump scares, hilarious juxtapositions and honest to god introspection. In short, “Abominations” baked a pretty awesome pumpkin pie for us to enjoy as we star off November.
This week found the Legends landing in Mississippi, smack in the middle of the Civil War. After receiving a distress signal from a stranded Time Pirate in 1863 (I hope we get to learn more about these guys later), the Legends found out that he had accidentally unleashed a zombie plague from the future. The end result was an army of Confederate soldiers that would irrevocably change the course of American history.
This sent the Legends on a collision course with history as they try to stop the outbreak before it happens. As with most time travel stories, their actions were less than sterile as they accidentally kill a crucial spy in the War, depriving General Grant of critical intel. So, in order to fix the timeline Jax and Amaya have to infiltrate a Confederacy stronghold and steal battle plans vital to the war. While they’re sneaking around Sara and Nate try to warn General Grant of an impending Zombie attack and Professor Stein and Ray have to cure Mick of a zombie bite. All in all, par for the course as far as the Legends are concerned.
What really impressed me with this episode is how well the writers have handled such an ensemble cast. While the Legends are together, they are a powerful force that can overwhelm most obstacles, but by splitting them up, the writers have devised a fantastic narrative that prevents the team from being a simple shock and awe campaign but an actual tactical team with finesse. When you also take into account the fact that Ray, one of the Legends heaviest hitters, has no A.T.O.M. suit, the story creates all these wonderful facets that could have been easily missed otherwise. When you team him up with Stein versus a zombified Mick, you have a perfect haunted house setting as the two scientists try to evade their flesh craving ally.
Even so, the real horror of this week’s episode came in the form of the Deep South. Jax and Amaya’s mission behind Confederate lines meant the duo had to witness the horrors of the slavery and how it infused every moment of the Antebellum period. It’s one of the worst moments in our history and certainly a horrible presentation of humanity at its’s worse. It also put Jax and Amaya on opposing views pertaining to time travel. While Jax wanted to complete the mission and leave, Amaya wanted to free the Confederate slaves. It begged a wonderful question of what it means to be a hero. Do you help everyone no matter “when” you are and how it may affect the future, or do you only help those in need when you know it’s safe? In the end Jax chose the later, and it was the right decision. His actions may have changed the future, but for these slaves, at least they’ll get a chance to see it. Honestly, in lesser hands this could have come off as heavy handed, but Legends of Tomorrow was able to deftly handle this story and we’re all the better for it.
Keeping things on a lighter note though, Ray and Stein getting trapped by a Zombie Mick was hilarious. The revelation that Stein has an irrational fear of Zombies was cackle worthy when you consider that this man has witnessed metahumans with far worse abilities. Regardless, Stein’s ability to overcome his fear just as Mick is going to devour him is absolute gold. Mick’s sudden reversion to human and inquiry about if he and the Professor were going to make out had me rolling and continues to highlight just how pivotal Mick is to the team dynamic. This was really brought home though as Mick took Ray under his wing. Since the show’s inception, Mick and Ray have had a nice polar opposite dynamic that’s been a wellspring of material. Now that Mick has decided to give Captain Cold’s Freeze Gun to Ray it’s only going to become even more dynamic. Will Ray simply become Captain Cold II? Or will he tinker with the gun and create some kind of freeze suit? I’m not sure, but the Lethal Weapon type mismatching here can only mean some crazy hijinks are going to ensue.
The only weak part to this week’s episode was the Sara and Nate subplot. While the duo was able to handle their mission with a steady hand, I felt that the Union just felt flat. Grant seemed too young and the camp of soldiers felt like a really bad camping trip. The scale of the Union/Confederate armies just never felt that grand and I think it hobbled the scope of what was occurring. That said, Sara’s solution to “what is a zombie” is maybe the most insane thing I’ve seen on this show. It’s certainly one of my favorite moments of the year. Even so, I wish the Legends would get back on topic and start pursuing Rex’s storyline, or at the very least this time traveler anomaly that seems to be tampering with the time line. They have a great plot set up, let’s see it take off already.