Legends of Tomorrow may be (no, definitely is) the dumbest entry in the DC Comics lineup airing on The CW, but the show can also be damn hilarious. That’s perhaps never been truer than the Season 4 premiere.
Having defeated the demon Mallus last season, the Legends team have kept busy fixing timeline anachronisms, exemplified here when Paul Revere shows up at Kennedy Airport in 1964 to warn that “The British are coming!” just as the Beatles land in America. Despite straightening out that goof-up, most of the team are feeling bored. Their adventures have gotten repetitive and mundane, and they’ve seen no sign of any other evil demons escaping from Hell, as they were warned about. Sara thinks these are things to be grateful for, but Mick laments, “I want dragons.”
When Sara is ordered to bring the team back to the Time Bureau headquarters in 2018, she worries that they’re in trouble yet again. This time, however, the news is good. Sara’s boss (and also girlfriend) Ava throws the team a surprise party to celebrate that they’ve corrected the final anachronism. “You, my friends, fixed history,” she declares.
Ava is very lovey-dovey with Sara and asks her to stay in 2018 and move in with her. Sara is on board with this plan until her friend, John Constantine (Matt Ryan, reprising his role from NBC’s short-lived Constantine series), turns up to warn her that a great evil is coming. He’s kind of a wet blanket.
Searching for this new monster, Sara sneaks off to the Woodstock concert in 1969 so as not to tip off Ava that anything is wrong. The rest of the team soon follow, all dressed in hippie attire. The episode director has some fun emulating the split-screen montage effects of the famous Woodstock documentary.
After Ray and Zari stumble upon the corpse of a dead hippie whose heart has been ripped out, they learn that history has changed dramatically, and the concert is now known as the site of the Woodstock Massacre. Hundreds of hippies will die there.
The dreaded demon behind these murders turns out to be a beautiful but deadly unicorn, which impales victims on its horn and chews their hearts out with its teeth. Mick tries to kill it with his flame gun, but the beast is fire resistant and shoots a rainbow-colored goo containing a powerful hallucinogen that gets them all tripping balls.
Sara begs Constantine for help. He returns with her to 1969 and sets about concocting a spell to vanquish the foul monster. For this, he needs a sample of Jerry Garcia’s saliva, a strand of Janice Joplin’s hair, Jimi Hendrix’s necklace, and a virgin to use as bait. Because there weren’t too many virgins in the heat of the Sexual Revolution, Sara recruits nerdy Gary from the Time Bureau.
The trap works. The unicorn is lured toward Gary, and Constantine casts a spell vanquishing it back to Hell, but not before the monster bites off one of Gary’s nipples. Ouch.
Returning home, Sara confesses what happened to Ava, who’s already aware and shrugs it off. She’s not even upset when Sara tells her she’s not ready to move in together after all. Their relationship is still solid regardless.
Sara asks Constantine to formally join the Legends team. He declines, not wanting to be part of any group. However, he’s forced to rethink that after being attacked by an invisible demon that leaves him a note written in blood stating: “I’m coming for you, Johnny.”
In a side plot, Mick gets bored and itches to steal something. Nate tags along, directing him toward a mansion he says will be an easy score. The mansion of course turns out to be his own family home. He expected his parents to be away on vacation, but they interrupt the robbery. Nate’s mother is exceedingly nice to the both of them, but his father (Biff Tannen himself, Thomas F. Wilson) is a hardass who thinks his son is wasting his life in academia. (Nate can’t exactly tell him that’s he’s a time-traveling superhero these days.)
After helping to save Woodstock, Nate offers his dad a peace offering and tries to mend their relationship.
As Season 3 progressed, the show’s writers basically gave up any pretense of taking the plotting or storytelling seriously anymore. For this particular series, that’s actually a benefit. The show’s time-travel logic was nonsensical at best even when it was meant to be played straight. These days, the whole show is just a lark, and it works much better. The unicorn stuff in the Season 4 premiere is a riot.
After a few appearances last year, the John Constantine character will be a regular castmember this season. I like the character and I’ve liked Matt Ryan’s take on him since he briefly had his own series, but I’m not sure that Legends of Tomorrow is really the best place for him. Foisting the occult and demonology on top of the sci-fi time travel stuff is an awkward mix. Then again, the show seems to be flexible enough to accommodate just about anything, so why not?