This post contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow.
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Fear’s a hell of a thing. There can be good fear, like the type that tells you you’re about to fall off a ledge, or the fear of losing someone you love. But then there’s the kind of fear that twists souls. It’s the same kind of fear that turns neighbor against neighbor because of something as simple as the color of their skin or the language printed in their religious texts. It’s been around since the dawn of time, and it’ll be around as long as our species inhabits this rock, but there are always points of fluctuation. Great waves of fear get met with great waves of hope, and things explode until they even out again and history repeats itself.
The murder of Zari’s family takes place in one of those great waves of fear. Muslim families are already subject to the nastiest of emotions that fear can drive. Add in Meta powers and you’ve got yourself the Meta-Human Act of 2029 (think Mutant Registration act, only in DC). When the Legends first started out, it was their goal to ensure that the timeline was protected at all costs. Unfortunately, this included things like slavery, and all of the other nasty bits of history where fear outweighed people’s humanity. Smash cut to Zari joining the team two years later, coming from a not-so-distant future that the very real version of The United States currently sees itself hurtling towards. Z’s broken the rules from day one, doing everything she could to find loopholes to protect displaced women like her throughout the timeline. I imagine Helen of Troy’s doing pretty well for herself in Themyscira.
Her rule breaking has also included attempts to find a way to save her own family. While Zari agrees to never explicitly break time, she’s spent a large amount of her time on the Waverider looking for the loophole that changes her family’s future. That takes us to Nate Heywood, his ever doofy belief that humans can be good, and the love that these two crazy kids found together.
That love takes us to “Hey, World!”. NeRay and Tabitha are doing everything they can to spread fear across the globe, showing humans that all magical creatures are actually the monsters that go bump in the night. At first, we’re led to believe that the goal was to take over hell. Not technically untrue, but the endgame was bringing hell to Earth. Fear can drive some terrifyingly strong magic, and ol’ NeRay and his cougar friend intend to use that power to open a portal that will bring all their demon groupies up to the surface.
How in the hell do the Legends of Tomorrow combat the combined fear of an entire species? The happiest place on the planet, of course! Nate turns to his father’s legacy to help them show that the magical creatures aren’t monsters, they’re just different. They use the marketing power of The Trinity to draw in young superhero fans, promising a fight of the ages between the heroes and the monsters (while low-key always planning to use the skit to show off just how good the creatures can be). Everyone’s on board with this extremely Legends plan except for John Constantine.
Johnny Boy’s ever the cynic, but that doesn’t make him wrong. He knows the plan won’t defeat Neron, but he also knows that if Neron kills Nate then his claim to Ray’s body is forfeit. This might be Legends of Tomorrow, where we always go with the hokiest possible plan, but Nate Heywood still has to sacrifice himself so the team can take the demon down. And now we’re back to Zari.
It turns out, the loophole that Zari had been looking for all this time was herself (and her brofriend). Heyworld, young Zari, and a little dancing dragon showed the world that they didn’t have to be afraid. Because they knew that it was a possibility that the timeline would be altered, Zari was ordered to remain on the Waverider in the Temporal Zone where her reality couldn’t be altered by the shift. Seeing Nate die made her deviate from plan.
So, Nate’s a ghostie-ghost, staring down at all of his friends as they mourn his death. We’re all paying attention to Zari’s sobs here, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the moment where Ray gets control of his body again and delightedly looks around his circle of buds only to realize that his best friend’s corpse is right next to him. Soon, Nate’s joined by his father Hank. The two get their heart-to-heart that they missed out on before Hank’s death, and he tells his son that his theme park is missing one tiny thing: music.
Hank possesses Mick for a moment, getting him to kick up a tune. Zari joins in shortly after, singing through her tears. Before long, all of the Legends are singing along. And then they realize that the music is powering Tabitha’s staff. Here’s the part where folks who take themselves super seriously are going to roll their eyes and call nonsense. Fear and hate are easy to believe as powerful forces of destruction, but less folks are willing to buy in on hope and love and their ability to combat such dark magic.
But this is Legends of Tomorrow, and there’s no place for cynics and doubters here! Once they realize that there’s a chance to bring their friend back, the Legends encourage everyone in the crowd to join in on the song. They do. This big dumb show brought Nate Heywood back with the power of love and a tune and yes I did cry very hard thank you very much! Hank literally pushes his son’s soul back into his body, and Nate comes back to life just in time to watch Zari disappear.
The thing about timeline shifts is that those who experience them don’t know that they happened. When Nate pulls back from the hug, it’s no longer Zari, but her brother Behrad. The Metahuman registration act never happened, her family was never murdered, Zari never stole the totem back, and never became a Legend. All memory of Zari as they knew her was lost, but it looks like the Time Bros might have gotten a new member.
Where’s The Monitor during all this? In the other four shows, his appearance has been something deeply serious and tied to the upcoming Crisis event. Since this is Legends, he was in the crowd snacking on some popcorn while watching the heroes technically break time. His appearance is pitch-perfect to the show, and it’s my sincere hope that we see him bring Zari back into the fray at the beginning of next season. What good is an all-powerful cosmic being if he doesn’t bring my favorite character back into the fight?
And that’s that, Legends. A powerful, hilarious, and heart wrenching close to another wonderful season of Legends of Tomorrow. The team rejoins the crossover fray next season, and will be back in our lives come October. See you then!