REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow, S4E7 – Hell No, Dolly!

“Hell No, Dolly!” was the first half of a spiritual two-parter for Legends of Tomorrow that provided a look at Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) recent loss, the pain of which was so big it threatened to swallow the fabric of reality whole. That being said, the powerful force at the center of the episode was brought down a little by silly subplots that for the first time this season detracted from the story rather than add to it. While Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) was doing her best to save John’s love Dez in exchange for the return of her shapeshifting abilities, Sara (Caity Lotz) was mediating an argument between Mick (Dominic Purcell) and Ava (Jes Macallan) about whether a clone was more or less real than a magically-created sex toy, Ray (Brandon Routh) was growing a moustache overnight to impress Nora, and Nate (Nick Zano) was accidentally helping Mona (Ramona Young) “go for it” with one of the imprisoned creatures at the Bureau.

The A-Team defeated by a doll?

The best storyline of the night was also its most important, despite having little to do with the title “Hell No, Dolly!” Because while the premise of the hour was tracking down a serial killer named Mike the Spike whose soul had hid itself inside a demented Chucky doll in New Orleans, that was merely a pretext for John to meet Marie Laveau and learn that his dead lover Dez was her great-great grandson. She inspired him to save Dez before it was too late, which led to his and Charlie’s harebrained scheme to prevent the two of them from ever meeting. Said plan involved Charlie once again playing the role of Amaya, which is when we can see Richardson-Sellers having the most fun with the literal duality of her characters, in order to drag past John away from the fateful encounter with Dez.

Despite “Hell No, Dolly!” being the first time Legends of Tomorrow explored the relationship between John and Dez, the flashbacks and Ryan’s performance are touching enough to paint a believable portrait of their love. It made for a genuine moral dilemma when Zari (Tala Ashe) caught onto their history-changing scheme and had to weigh the potential effects on the timeline against the possibility of saving Dez’s life and removing Constantine from the Waverider before he ever stepped foot on it. And since everything had two sides to it this week, there were also two scenes competing for most heartbreaking moment: John revealing that sent his love to Hell after he bonded his soul to the demon’s, and John denying his love after their first date in order to save Dez’s life. It was that last act that cemented a new timeline for the show with several unintended consequences. On the one hand, Charlie got her shapeshifting powers back and Mona was no longer bleeding to death thanks to her werewolf boyfriend (more on that later). But on the other, Zari was now a cat.

Can’t we all just get along?

As for the rest of the episode, Mike the Spike inhabiting the Professor Stein hand puppet upon being burned out of his previous home by Mick’s heat gun was in and of itself a classic Legends of Tomorrow move and one that’s sure to bear more hilarious fruit in next week’s season finale. But the rest of the subplots ranged from unnecessary to unrealistic, starting with the standoff between Mick and Ava. The romance with Sara has been such a sweet interlude to Waverider shenanigans that having the ladies clash on how to run their teams while on a mission together would have been a meaty enough story, instead of having Ava clash with Mick over whether it was okay for him to keep his mythical three-breasted girlfriend around. There was a nice near-resolution once Mick saves Ava’s life, but it wasn’t worth the scenes spent hashing out their differences.

The Bureau storyline bordered on the disturbing too, especially now that Gary is an accidental Men’s Rights Activist. As gratifying as it was to hear Nate school him on how players’ dating handbooks are misogynistic garbage, it didn’t make up for Gary reading them in the first place. And while Mona falling for one of the prisoners could be a sweet story to complement Ray and Nora’s romance, it instead became an excuse for a double entendre-filled conversation in which “man meat” meant Gary’s sexual orientation in one context and a Pacific werewolf’s dietary habits in another. It also took precedence over Nora’s discovery of some abuse and malpractice going on at the Bureau, which we’ll have to wait until after the timeline is restored to learn more about. Mona got her belly slashed open by her crush in the middle of a presumably illegal raid, but there wasn’t much time to contemplate what that said about the viability of human-fugitive relationships.

While “Hell No, Dolly!” wasn’t one of Legends of Tomorrow‘s best outings, it still had plenty of feelings and giggles to go around – not to mention a great shoutout to Angela Bassett on American Horror Story – and set the scene for promises to be a mind-blowing mindseason finale.

Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 9/8c on the CW.