Though Legends of Tomorrow was not invited to the “Elseworlds” crossover party this year, it’s been good for both sets of shows. “Elseworlds” has plenty to juggle on its own with introducing Batwoman (and spending an inordinate amount of time talking about Batman and Superman — but that’s an essay for another day). And while it wasn’t a 100th episode clip show or part of a massive crossover event, the Legends of Tomorrow midseason finale, “Legends of To-Meow Meow,” was still a specially-crafted hour that highlighted the best of the season so far, and showed that the series may be best at crossing over with itself.
Though the premise of “Legends of To-Meow Meow” could have been a decent setup for “Elseworlds” (that Matt Ryan’s John Constantine broke time and made things weird), it also worked as a way to celebrate the best of Legends by allowing it to be as bonkers as it wanted to be (and has been). We started with Zari as a (totally adorable) cat, moved on to the A-Team and Charlie’s Angels spoofs, and ultimately saw the Legends in Sesame Street puppet form, complete with songs! Not only were all of these things (including seeing Gideon in person, the return of the nipple-biting unicorn, Mick teaming up with Garima and later the fairy godmother) hilarious callbacks to other episodes this season, but they all came from the perspective of the Waverer’s two newest crew members: Charlie and Constantine.
One of the things I always mention in regards to Legends’ lasting success (and it getting better with each new season, something television series rarely achieve) is that the show is never afraid to mix things up to keep the story fresh. It ditches characters, villains, and even themes and seasonal structures in favor of making the show fun and exciting to watch each week. And yet, Legends is never hollow. Some of its best episodes have been the ones that pack the biggest emotional punch, like last week’s reveal that Constantine had to send the only man he’s truly loved to Hell because of his own damned soul — one of the most crushing moments to date.
The addition of Constantine (and magical fugitives) as well as “new” Amaya (a.k.a. Charlie) have been powerful energizers to this season. Legends of Tomorrow has always been great at doing a “villain of the week” setup to maximize creativity, rather than let it ever become just a procedural, and magical creatures are certainly new to the superhero TV scene. And while Amaya was a fine character, her arc definitely felt like it had lost its steam last year; she and Nate may be in love, but we know she returns to Zambesi, so that tension was played out as far as it could reasonably go. But so as not to lose Maisie Richardson-Sellars, the show brought her back with a new accent and attitude that delivered some necessary conflict to the Waverider (as all new recruits, from Mick to Zari, have done).
There were also some lessons learned along the way, which is what “Legends of To-Meow Meow” was really all about, and it’s always genuine. Constantine had to go through what almost everyone else on the ship has: learning that changing time does not fix your problem, it only makes things worse (if only Barry Allen could spend some time on the Waverider …). Charlie, meanwhile, focused in on something that has only been addressed on the edges of this season, which is the Legends’ policy regarding magical creatures. Do they all deserve to be sent to Hell? And if not, what do you do with them? The Flash has asked this question a few times but never really followed up on it (most of the metas they try to win over to their side either end up dying anyway, or disappear from the show). By incorporating Charlie into the Legends, it allows a different perspective on how they should approach their jobs this season.
But more than anything else, “Legends of To-Meow Meow” was about how Legends plays by its own rules, and is all the better for it. It has tried to set rules in the past, and then very much broken them, but the midseason finale also proved that the show has figured out how to set some light boundaries without overtly explaining them. When the third Constantine shows up in New Orleans, he’s getting migraines and nosebleeds because he’s experiencing the memories of three possible realities. The show doesn’t need to stop and explain why or how that would be the case, and what the implications are — we get it just by seeing how the story unfolds. (And again, though it wasn’t explained, his kiss with Desmond reset the timeline to what it should be because that is what he had sought to change from the start by breaking up with him — which was also clear).
While “Legends of To-Meow Meow” did acknowledge “Elseworlds” by saying the team had missed calls from Barry, Oliver, and Kara (Ray even says “must be the annual crossover!”), Legends is really better off distancing itself from those shows. Yes it began with characters from almost all of them, but it also started off with the Hawks and Vandal Savage. The Flash also recently retconned a Legends event by resurrecting Reverse Flash, who was zapped out of the timeline by Time Wraiths (using, I think, the same horrifically good special effects that were used for Desmond when he was consumed by hellfire). Splitting Legends off from “Elseworlds” was the right call for the Flarrowverse and for the Waverider crew. There doesn’t have to be a hard line drawn in the sand over it, but it’s clear that Legends is on its own wonderfully eccentric and entertaining path now. Their raison d’etre is to continually go back and fix the past, including their own. And they have gotten very, very good at doing it.