Zari goes down the only road she’s ever known.
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
In many ways, Legends of Tomorrow’s third season has been every bit as entertaining as the first. However, there are a couple of areas where this season doesn’t quite measure up yet, one of them being the team dynamic. Between the loss of both halves of Firestorm and the less than thrilling addition of Zari Tomaz, the Legends just aren’t quite the well-oiled yet dysfunctional machine they were last year. This episode was clearly aimed at rectifying that problem and making Zari feel more like a legitimate member of this oddball family. And while she may never be the most dynamic character on the show, Zari did benefit from her prominent role this week.
As Nate himself said at one point, it’s crazy to think that the series made it this far without doing a Groundhog Day parody. No doubt the original plan was to air this episode a little closer to actual Groundhog Day, but what can you do about The CW’s increasingly convoluted airing schedule? In any case, it’s always fun to see the series directly parody classic movies. And you have to give the show credit for wearing its influences so proudly on its sleeve.
The time loop premise helped spice up an otherwise very low-key installment of the show. For all intents and purposes, this was a bottle episode, unfolding almost entirely within the confines of the Waverider and from the point of view of one character. We didn’t even get to see what must have surely been a crazy mashup of a mission involving the Battle of Waterloo and “Waterloo” the song. A pity.
Needless to say, “Here We Go Again didn’t do much to advance the larger Season 3 narrative. But Legends is often at its best during these goofier periods. Take, “Phone Home,” for example. “Here I Go Again” didn’t live up to that standard, but there’s still a lot to be said for an episode that prioritizes the team’s dysfunctional family qualities over focusing on the big villains.
Easily the highlight of this episode was simply seeing the team through Zari’s relatively unfamiliar eyes and watching her come to terms with her true feelings for each one. Mick is always great comic relief on this show, but it’s great when we can get a glimpse of the sensitive man beneath all the scowls and bluster. It seems fitting that a man who’s loathe to admit being fond of anyone could only express his love for his new family in the form of an erotic sci-fi novel. It was also a hoot seeing Sara and Ava grow closer. Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan have built up a strong chemistry in recent episodes, and hopefully we’ll see the latter start to play a more active role on the show again.
Ultimate, “Here I Go Again” did succeed in making Zari feel like a more integral part of the team, even if she’s not quite where I’d like her to be as a character. I think a lot of my resistance to Zari this season boils down to the fact that Tala Ashe rarely seems on the same wavelength as the rest of the main cast. Hers is a much more subdued and low-energy performance. That definitely seems to be an intentional choice. But while there’s probably room for a more sarcastic, disaffected member of the team, Zari just doesn’t have the magnetic, larger-than-life of her fellow Legends.
But that said, at least this episode allowed Ashe to branch out and push her character in more extreme directions. Zari’s struggle loosely mirrored that of Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day, meaning that confusion gave way to desperation and then to blissful abandon and then finally a weary resignation. As such, we got to see Zari’s goofy side for a bit, as well as a more raw, emotional side. So perhaps the key is for her to stop being the disaffected member of the team and for Ashe to focus on bringing out that emotion more often.
One thing that hurt this episode on the Groundhog Day parody front is that an hour-long loop doesn’t give the writers as much room to work with as a full 24-hour loop. Half the fun is seeing those memorable moments repeated over and over again with small variations as the loop keeps unfolding. But other than Sara’s stern speech and Ray’s random pratfall, there wasn’t much repetition involved. It does feel like more could have been done on that front. Also, the last-minute twist involving Gideon seemed a bit unnecessary. It’s not clear why revealing the whole thing to be a digital simulation made this conflict more meaningful or significant. If anything, it robbed Zari of her big moment of honesty and self-sacrifice in front of her teammates. It’s always a treat to see Amy Pemberton play Gideon in human form for a change, but I don’t know that her brief appearance was worth the sacrifices necessary to make it possible.