This post contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow.
Check out last week's review here.
“Tender is the Nate” is Legends of Tomorrow’s friendly little reminder to its viewers that it’s one of the best damn shows on television. It’s nearly always complete and utter nonsense in the most perfect of ways. But, while it’s being nonsense, it’s also teaching you a lesson or sharing an important narrative on the sly. If that sounds like something Ray Palmer said tonight, that’s because the show has recently added breaking the fourth wall into its repertoire. It’s in your face ridiculous and often so self aware that it almost never matters.
This week the Legends have an inspection! Captain Heywood visits the Waverider to figure out where the government’s millions are going. Minor detail: Nate comes along, and Charlie’s still on the ship. If you recall, Charlie’s still wearing Amaya’s face. Thankfully, the writers chose funny over feelsy and ended their meeting with Charlie punching him in the face. Good hook, girl.
If you couldn’t tell by the first paragraph’s gushing, “Tender is the Nate” is the perfect blend of all of the things that make this dumb little show wonderful. On their mission they head back to the roaring twenties, where they meet people like Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. The Legends have to capture a minotaur. That requires a certain finesse that Captain Heywood (and his hero, Hemingway) lacks. But first? It’s girl time on the cell block back at the Time Bureau.
After saving everyone’s bacon on Thanksgiving, Mona is given a fulltime job feeding the creatures being held captive. As it happens, one of those creatures is one Nora Darhk, and Mona wants to make friends. Her attempt to do so ultimately results in Nora, Mona, and Ava all finding themselves trapped in the fanciest prison cell you ever did see. It takes a moment, but the three eventually bond, and it is the most pure, magical damn thing. They’re talking about their pasts, they’re talking about boys, they’re drinking wine and having birthday cake, it’s a regular slumber party. And what slumber party is complete without being crashed by one of the girls’ crushes?
Yeah, that’s right. Ray got stuck in the glue of the love letter that Mona was supposed to deliver to Nora. We get robbed of Nate and Ray time because of it, but we also get to see Mona gush in real time about one of the cutest ships on television. Ava immediately snaps back to professionally annoyed upon Ray’s entrance, but her soft spot shines through again before the close of the episode.
Back in the ‘20s, Nate and his dad finally have the aggressive heart-to-heart that’s been years overdue. Though Captain Heywood assumes that Sara will side with him (he is her boss, after all), Sara backs Nate and uses the Legends’ jobs as collateral. Because this is Legends of Tomorrow, things only go as planned for about thirty seconds. But Captain Heywood still sees that his son’s way was right. Getting to see him turn into a giant steel superhero probably helped.
In the end, Nate gets his pizza party and bids a fond farewell to his Legends family (Charlie included). For those who have been following along with these reviews all season: yes, I am still in deep denial that Nate’s departure from the team is happening. Nate Heywood will return to the Waverider, and there will be much Ray bromancing, okay? Okay.
Next week it’s spooky time! Legends of Tomorrow knew that you were missing Halloween and all horror things all the time, so they’re bringing us an extra special murder doll episode. It promises to be utterly absurd. Let’s hear your thoughts on this week’s episode below!