Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 15 Review: Swan Thong

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This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers. 

Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Episode 15

Broadly speaking, there are three types of Legends of Tomorrow episodes. There are the gag episodes, where the entire thing is built around one bit (like the time John Noble guest starred from the set of Lord of the Rings in a show he was already on, or the one where Gary’s dogis the demon who created Son of Sam). There are the experimental episodes, with countless examples, the most recent being last week’s Interdimensional Cableepisode.

And there are the plot episodes, that move the season’s serialized story along. The first batch are hit or miss depending on how the one bit of the episode lands, but they generally hit. The second batch are what makes Legends Legends, something even the castagrees with — even when they don’t work, they’re still interesting, and they almost always work spectacularly.

The plot episodes are where the show has traditionally struggled, because the strengths of the show are the characters and relationships they’ve formed, and historically, plot episodes on Legends spend more time on moving the ball down the field than they do exploring the characters.

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That changed a lot in season 5, and there’s no better evidence than “Swan Thong,” an episode that didn’t slow down for a second, and one inelegant transition aside, was every bit the entertaining, emotionally honest show that we’ve grown to love over the last five seasons. Also it had Sisqo.

We get to see more of the world the Fates created with the Loom as this week picked up right where last episode left off, with the Legends leaving Charlie’s TV studio to bust up the 1984 dystopia they started to bring down with their call to arms. One group busts into the hall where the Loom is kept, while a team goes to find the Waverider.

There’s a big fight between Atropos and Sara, in which we discover her ability to see deaths is both useful in combat and a “gift” from Atropos. John and Astra try using the Loom, with John pushing Astra to remember how much her mother loved her and help channel her spirit to let Astra control the Loom. That fails, but they do manage to kick Atropos into the Loom, killing her and destroying the season’s Macguffin. The gang breaks out of the hall and escapes by jumping the Waverider through Nate’s shirtless metal torso, and they skip forward four months in time. 

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When they get there, everything seems okay until they realize everyone is taking orders from their smartwatches, run by Lachesis, so they hit up a local history museum to see why. In it, they pass through the Hall of Bad Ideas (like flowbees, shake weights and Chekhov’s summer bop, “The Thong Song”) and the Hall of Villains, listing some of history’s greatest monsters, like Stalin, Caligula, the Legends, and Charlie. Lachesis is using history as a way to scare the regular populace away from free will, and that’s the Legends’ true battle.

In the end, they discover that it was Gideon running the smartwatches and not a reconstituted Loom, and there’s a big battle in the Hall of Villains against the Encores living there (including a fun return from Courtney Ford) set to “The Thong Song.” Charlie confronts Lachesis and instead of killing her, lets her live with the consequences of her own fear. And then the gang goes to the ‘70s to get blasted and celebrate at a Smell show in London.

Everyone gets closure on their season arc. The best ending belongs to season MVP Tala Ashe. Zari 1.0 is causing a paradox where different strands of hypertime compete with each other to see which is the settled timeline — Behrad is starting to bleed out of the gunshot wound that killed him in 1.0’s time. So she decides to go back into the totem, to save her brother. This is pretty heartbreaking — she and Nate have reconnected, and he remembers everything. Both actors nailed their final scene together in one of the saddest, most meaningful scenes this show’s done. 

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Astra and Constantine end in a better place. Astra doesn’t get her mother back, but she does get her love for her mother back, breaking out of the abusive relationship she acknowledges she was in with Lachesis for good. Behrad lives, Nate is happy, Lita loves her father and Mick is happy being one to her.

Charlie, who’s spent the last two episodes acting out of crippling fear of losing her friends, comes to terms with the chaos of an unguided life over the course of the episode, and decides to stay in the 70s with The Smell. And Sara loses her powers, which she had because of the now-dead Atropos, so she can finally see again. And then she gets abducted by aliens. 

The scale for judging episodes of Legends of Tomorrow is completely broken. It feels almost trite at this point to continue talking about how good the show is. And it’s completely unfair to “Swan Thong” to gauge it on the same scale as some of this season’s highest points — it’s an excellent episode, even if it’s not as good as the Bollywood one, or the Puppet one, or Beebo. It’s an incredibly satisfying, fitting end to the best season Legends has put out to date.

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