REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow, S3E11 – Here I Go Again

Legends of Tomorrow has not shied away from homages this season, and so far it’s worked out beautifully for them. Groundhog Day gets the loving Legends treatment this week in “Here I Go Again,” a Zari-centric episode that brings her closer to the team while also allowing them to discover a few things about themselves along the way.

“Here I Go Again” starts off with Zari (Tala Asha) accidentally overloading Gideon in the process of trying to hack history, as she’s searching for a loophole that will allow her to save her brother. She confronted by Ray (Brandon Routh) and Sara (Caity Lotz) on the way back from a Napoleon-Disco mission that I really wish we had gotten a chance to witness, but their good cop-bad cop routine ends with Ray tripping over his platform heels and the two women more than a little steamed at each other. Zari stomps off the the Med Bay, which is where she’s hit with some sci-fi sludge and things start to get really weird. Specifically, the Waverider explodes and Zari’s right back to where she started, with only an hour left until she does it all over again.

A Buck & his busty alien queen spinoff, please.

There is a lot to love in “Here I Go Again,” and it works remarkably well as a look into Zari’s fear of letting others in, but the best part is getting to see the other team members through her eyes and exploring some of their insecurities right alongside her. She’s spent a lot of time with Ray thus far this season and Legends of Tomorrow has mined a great deal from their sunshine-and-gloom dynamic, but it’s a nice surprise when the episode switches it up and makes Nate (Nick Zano) her partner in crime. That being said, no one on the ship gets left out and everyone gets a moment to bond with Zari as well as to shine a light on their personal issues.  Zari herself has to learn to become a team player in order to save her friends, which is especially hard for her when she keeps butting heads with Sara’s leadership style. While this push-and-pull between them seemed to escalate a little too quickly, it helped flesh out a deeper bond between the characters.

Ray has perhaps the biggest bomb to drop – and it’s sad to think that Constantine burdened the sweetest Legend with killing Sara if she’s ever possessed by Mallus again – but Mick (Dominic Purcell) might win the night for best secret. His sci-fi erotica subplot is hysterical yet still manages to have a heartfelt final scene that perfectly encapsulates Mick’s character and what he’s searching for on the ship. Nate and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) finally get a chance to resume their ill-fated romance with the help of disco outfits, memory flashers, and (cue Zari’s eyeroll) animal noises – and it once again strikes the right balance of humor and heart. Sara’s burgeoning romance with Ava feels like more of the same at first, but it turns into a real breakthrough once the captain finally opens up about the reason she’s stalling. Her feelings for Ava are strong enough that she’s wary of how poorly her previous relationships have ended, and of course she doesn’t want to go through something similar here. The fact that each character is going through all this emotional turmoil while Zari is trying to prevent the ship’s very own Armageddon adds to the tension of the episode, resulting in a a big heroic sacrifice on Zari’s part when the chronal device that’s been allowing her to relive the same hour (thanks Gary!) is smashed to pieces (thanks Mick…).

Ugh. People in love, right?

Up until to the climax, “Here I Go Again” was shaping up to be one of my favorite Legends of Tomorrow episodes yet. And while it’s still great, the introduction of the It Was All A Dream trope docked it a few points. The bomb goes off for the final time and Zari finds herself in Gideon’s (Amy Pemberton) mind matrix as she heals from the glowing sludge earlier in the episode. It turns out the entire thing was an experiment designed to bring Zari closer to the team instead of leaving it, because that’s the only way she’ll be able to save her brother. Thankfully, she is very open with the other characters about what she learned in the simulation – and the show sidesteps the fact that it wasn’t real by explaining that the situations were all extrapolated from what Gideon knows about each character – so that they wind up learning the same lessons they learned in the time loop. Sara even comes to the same conclusion Amaya should have thought of episodes ago: her future is still malleable for her, so trying to save Zari’s brother (or choosing not to die in Zambesi) isn’t breaking any rules. I would have preferred Zari be saved from the explosion another way, rather than it being a MacGuffin altogether, but I appreciated that the show preserved as much of the story as possible after the fact.

The cliffhanger of the episode is rather interesting, though it is disconnected from the rest of the hour. Rip Hunter travels to present-day China in order to find a meditating Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale, who’s basically being asked to play himself at this point) and recruit him to save the universe. We have no idea how they will get on the Waverider or what the Legends will think of this addition, but Wally has been sorely missed this year on DCTV, so it’s about time.