Legends of Tomorrow 4×10: “The Getaway” review
We only had one Arrowverse episode last week, yet this review is still coming out a day late, and it’s on the shorter side, too.
*(slaps own wrist)* Bad, reviewer! Very, very bad!
For the second week in a row, Legends of Tomorrow has delivered a disappointing episode. And for the second week in a row, I have to clarify that by that I don’t mean a bad episode. What we have here is a very enjoyable outing, but its potential to be an all-time great episode is so obvious, and so poorly realized, it can’t help but leave you frustrated at the end.
Unlike last week, where a lot of setup had to be dealt with before the episode could get into gear, this week’s ep establishes itself with remarkable speed.
The Legends are driving to Disney World in a stolen RV containing a kidnapped Nixon, a woman who’s secretly a werewolf, and a magic cockroach that makes everyone tell the truth. Meanwhile, Nate and Hank are chasing down the Legends in a stolen cop car, doing a riff on Smokey and the Bandit, while Zari, posing as Nate’s girlfriend, covertly informs the Legends of the duo’s pursuit under the guise of radio broadcaster “DJ Z”. Oh, and Charlie got left behind, Home Alone style, and has to keep posing as Nixon in front of the Secret Service.
That is one doozy of a premise. Over the last few seasons, Legends of Tomorrow has established itself as the Arrowverse show most willing to go broad and wacky, featuring madcap adventures, farcical situations, and rampant pop-culture homages. But this setup leaves those previous efforts in the dust, promising new levels of hilarity as all these elements come together for an explosively ridiculous climax.
Shame that’s not what we end up getting.
After a first half that moves with delirious speed from one shenanigan to the next, the second half of the episode slows down, lets many of those wacky premises peter out, and instead goes for a sappy, emotional ending about building trust and repairing relationships. And, look, I’m not opposed to having some sappiness in my Legends of Tomorrow. And I can certainly see how a magical truth-telling effect would be a handy way to force some emotional conflicts to the surface. But, for this episode, it’s too severe of a pivot.
“The Getaway” promised us a wild farce. You can have a wild farce that ends on a sentimental note, but you still need to deliver a suitably outrageous payoff to the farcical elements (see classic episodes of The Simpsons for an example of this done right). But this episode doesn’t do that. The big car chase ends anticlimactically the moment our heroes reach a roadblock. Mona’s were-kaupe side only comes out once she’s far away from Nixon, the RV, and the magic cockroach, so that element can’t play off any of the others. Nixon himself ultimately doesn’t do much of anything. DJ Z is criminally underused. And we never do find out what that red button on the toilet does.
So when we get our emotional catharsis between Sara and Mona, and between Nate and Hank, it feels like it’s coming at the expense of balls-out hilarious climax we should have gotten. Even though the scenes are well done and are important for the characters going forward, I couldn’t help feeling a twinge of annoyance while watching them, like if someone swapped out my chocolate chip cookie for a piece of pot roast. Pot roast is good, but you don’t let someone get all geared up to eat a chocolate chip cookie and then take it away.
- Let me reiterate: this episode was disappointing, but it wasn’t bad. For all I complained about it not paying off its outrageous premise, the scene where everyone takes a hit of the truth roach was everything I could have hoped for. “I sometimes lie awake at night, staring into the dark, wondering if I am it and it is me.”
- I’m not digging the Nate/Zari romance the writers are setting up; they’ve got great friend chemistry, but no real romantic chemistry as of yet. However, the two of them pretending to be a couple while at work? That was frickin’ hilarious. Couldn’t they have kept that going for a couple more episodes?
- Nate and Hank’s bonding this episode was very sweet, even if I’m disappointed by what it came at the expense of. I’m not too bothered about Hank dying, though. Between time travel and all the supernatural goings on this season, being dead is only a minor obstacle to appearing again.
- Loved Nate’s attempted deflection of “I don’t hear gender”.
- Nora’s back! And she’s working with Gary! That’s a teamup I didn’t know I needed.
- Zari’s 70’s DJ voice is a thing of pure artistry. You find a reason for her to do that again, writers. You find it!
- Mick continues his streak of surprising pop-culture tastes, this time with a fierce protectiveness of Robert Redford, the Sundance Film Festival, and independent film (his appreciation of “artful nudity” is less surprising).
- “Maybe that’s what family is: the people you don’t mind being annoyed by.” I think I need that stitched on a throw pillow or something.
MVP of the Week: Richard Milhouse Nixon
Yeah, it’s a ridiculous caricature rather than an accurate portrait of the man, but would you want anything else?
Question of the Week: What characters or setting from a previous episode do you most want to see one of these shows revisit?