Hello campers and welcome to your Legends of Tomorrow recap!
That’s right, fam, this week, we’re going to camp. Now, I didn’t go to summer camp as a kid, but I did watch A LOT of Salute Your Shorts, so I feel pretty confident in saying that this episode really nailed the ’90s camp vibe and I loved every minute of it.
We open in a classic 90s thriller vibe, with two teens making out by the lake. The girl says she hears something, the boy gaslights her into thinking she didn’t just so he can get some, the girl is right, a monster appears. CLASSIC.
But then the monster pauses. Or rather, is paused. By Sara. Because this scene is actually from a movie Sara and Ava are watching together in bed.
At first, Ava thinks Sara might be scared, which DELIGHTS her, but Sara scoffs at the idea of being scared of a movie called Swamp Thaaaang. Her reason for pausing is because she’s sure she’s watched every scary movie from the ’90s and this ain’t one. So they look up the description and it’s based on real life events from a summer camp, which is setting off Sara’s weirdo-o-meter. Turns out it set of Gideon’s literal magic detector too, because she calls Sara and says something odd is going on with some missing kids in Maine in 1995.
Ava is sad that their time together is being cut short, but Sara thinks this might be a fun adventure for Ava to come on, too. Ava isn’t so sure camp is for her, but Sara fucking LOVES camp and pinky swears Ava will like it, too. Besides, they’ll be together.
The gals get back to the ship and Ava sees Amaya and is surprised at first but quickly realizes from the scowl and the, well, cage that it’s not Amaya at all. They explain that it’s a shapeshifter stuck with Amaya’s face and Ava wonders aloud why they would be keeping her instead of sending her to hell… then decides on her own it must be to use her as a resource to gather intel. Sara and Zari think that sounds like as good a reason as any.
Sara tells everyone about the next mission and Ray. is. PUMPED. He proudly boasts about his nickname “kid counselor” but even Constantine knows that wasn’t meant as a compliment.
Sara pairs everyone off: Zari and Mick will stay on the ship and watch Charlie; Nate and Constantine will buddy up and come with her and Ava to the camp. They even manage to bully Constantine into dressing like a proper camp counsellor. Everyone looks absolutely perfect, especially Sara in her perfect lil’ french braids.
A living Ken Doll named Chad gives them the Camp Counselor 411 and Ray is in heaven. Constantine looks like he wants to die. Sara and Ava could do without Chad’s line of questioning and when asked about her special skills, Sara just deadpans, “Martial arts.”
Sara excitedly takes Ava to the cabin they’re going to lead and I swear to Beebo this is fanfic come to life. Sara gets the girls amped up and says they should make up a secret handshake and the girls couldn’t be happier about this plan. But Ava doesn’t think bonding is the right approach because their TINY LIVES ARE IN DANGER so she whips out her whistle and starts Von Trapping the kids back to their beds.
Sara is starting to realize they have very different parenting techniques, and this whole situation feels like it’s right out of a dream I had. Or a fanfic. It’s perfect.
That night, Sara and Ava stand watch over their cabin and Sara feels bad that they’re ruining the Camp Experience for these kids. She loved camp, and was even color captain the summer after eighth grade. And it’s these brief and rare moments that I remember that Sara Lance wasn’t always the sassy assassin we know and love. Before she almost drowned to death on the Queen’s Ransom back in the pilot of Arrow and trained by the League of Assassins, Sara was just a regular girl. A girl who didn’t know how to fight with a sword or that time travel exists. A girl who hadn’t experienced much life at all, let alone the pain of losing a sister, of watching her father die, of dying herself. She was just a girl who loved summer camp.
And so now she’s really enjoying being back in this simpler time, even if it did involve time travel and a literal monster.
While Sara and Ava are talking, one of the girls sneaks out of the window of the cabin and meets a boy in the woods. They’re about to have their first kiss when the kids are snatched up and disappear into the darkness.
In the morning a bugle plays and the Legends meet up and realize their campers are missing. Ava is SHOCKED and can’t imagine WHY ON EARTH these youths would SNEAK OUT of their cabins in the NIGHT. Sara, in a very adorable and ’90s way, says, “To make out, DUH.”
The woman who runs the camp isn’t worried because kids always sneak out but they always come back, proving again this is the ’90s because if this was 2018, there’d already be a social media campaign trying to find them.
Sara knows the kids know something and wishes she could get them to open up. So the teams split up again to try to do just that. Ray wants to start a trust circle but Constantine decides to hypnotize them instead. Sara wants to have a hair-braiding slumber party to get the girls’ secrets, but Ava wants to interrogate them. When it comes down to it, Constantine learns the most, and finds out that the missing boy went to go to “a baseball field” because he said he wanted to go to first base. Sweet child.
Meanwhile Zari is eating a donut while on guard duty.
But Zari’s sweet treat is interrupted when it appears that Charlie has knocked herself out trying to break through the barrier. And Zari falls for this, the oldest trick in the book, takes down the barrier and goes to check on her, getting her own self actually knocked out as Charlie escapes.
I’m not sure where she thought she was going to go, but Charlie is soon stopped by Mick, who is none too pleased to see her out of her cell.
Charlie tries to talk to Mick, prisoner to prisoner, and ask him how he can live with himself, keeping her captive here, knowing what she’s been through.
Back at camp, the Legends are realizing that the girls are too guarded and the boys are too unaware to help them. Sara is frustrated, she wishes she could just BE a 12-year-old girl so she could better infiltrate these 12-year-old girls. Constantine thinks he can help with that.
Ava is stressing when a little girl comes up to her and Sara and tells them the story of the Lake Beast, a creature who has haunted the lake ever since a prank went wrong and a kid died. This sweet, innocent little face tells Ava that the only way to make it go away is to go to the dock and say its name three times, and Ava appreciates her honesty and is proud that her militant ways seems to be effective after all.
That night, Ava goes to the dock with her team watching from the bushes. She says Lake Beast three times and then a CPR dummy comes floating out of the water and Ava screams and falls into the lake. The team hears a cacophony of little girls giggling and realize it was nothing more than a prank. (Which the girls must have been THRILLED about. What other counsellor would have actually gone to the lake to try to stop a Lake Beast?)
Sara pulls Ava out of the water, and she looks a little like an angry, half-drowned cat.
The next morning, they find that two more kids are missing and they’re getting desperate. The boys head to the woods while the ladies keep watch, and Ava is having a hell of a time, being called Lake Beast by the girls.
Sara tells Ava she got a potion from Constantine to turn them into kids but Ava is frustrated. She says she’ll be no good at being a kid because she’s never been a kid. All of her childhood memories are fake.
That sound you heard is my heart breaking. Sara’s, too.
In the woods, Constantine and Ray find the skin of a shtriga demon, which Constantine tells them is a vampiric demon who sucks the life out of littles. But it takes a few days, so there’s still time to save the missing kids.
Meanwhile back on the Waverider, Charlie and Mick share a drink and talk about their time in the clink, and the importance of finding a crew inside. Also, as a shapeshifter, Charlie was good at surviving, and sounds like she’ll have intel about all kinds of creatures, meaning Ava’s idea was as good as it originally seemed.
At camp, Sara finds Ava making her (well okay fine just pretending to make her) an apology bracelet because she didn’t mean to snap at her girlfriend. Sara apologizes too; she hadn’t considered the fact that Ava wouldn’t know how to be a 12-year-old.
Sara tells Ava that she still really thinks that becoming kids is their best way in. Sara promises to be with her the whole time, guiding her. Ava wants Sara to pinky swear it’ll be okay. It’s so cute I kinda wanted to die.
So Sara and Ava sneak into the cabin and take the potion. At first it doesn’t seem like it’s working, but then there are twinkly lights all around them and POOF! They’re little kids!
Sara fits in with the other girls pretty quickly but Ava is just as much of a (very cute) square as she is as an adult. Sara covers for her best she can and, after learning from Constantine that shtrigas hate cayanne pepper, devises a plan that will kill two shtrigas with one dare.
Adorably, despite the perfect set-up, at first Ava picks “truth” when asked “truth or dare?” but Sara gently corrects her and then dares her to break into the mess hall.
Ava sneaks out and when she comes back, she has ice cream for the other girls, and cayenne pepper for her and Sara. Sara is so proud of her girl for improvising a way to make the girls happy.
This is all it takes for the girls to start trusting these two newbies. They start talking about how they’re worried about their friends, who snuck out and followed a rope for their first kiss, but never came back.
Finally having the info they needed, little Sara and Ava follow the rope and come face to face with the leader of the camp. The girls assume this is the shtriga so they toss cayenne pepper in her face, and she reacts like… a woman who got cayenne pepper thrown in her face.
Meanwhile, something that maybe should have happened a few hours ago, Zari and Mick learn that the shtriga she knew from the prison wasn’t the traditional old hag, but a handsome young fella… it’s Chad! (It’s always Chad.)
The girls hear this just as Chad finds them in the woods.
Chad tries to fight the girls and they try to fight back but they’re so smol so it takes them a while to figure out how to make their tiny bodies as effective as their tall, strong bodies are. Ava almost gets the little life force sucked out of her, but Sara saves her.
On the other side of woods, Ray and Constantine find a cabin with cages where the kids are being held. They start to do a spell to return their energy and then Brad gets his youth stripped from his very face and he’s back in his monster form.
He’s the Swamp Thaaaang.
Then little Avalance do some really frickin’ cute coordinated fighting, complete with a cheerleader stunt of a final blow. Sara is delighted.
Also Constantine, not wanting to lose “another kid,” gives of his life force to save the last kid, who didn’t wake up after the spell, and he’s in rough shape the rest of the episode.
Little Sara and Little Ava hold hands and walk through the woods, enjoying their last few moments of being kiddos. Ava thanks Sara for giving her day full of awesomely awkward childhood memories of her very own, and asks if they can end it with a kiss. They lean in and the twinkly lights swirl around them and it’s the queer YA fairytale we’ve all dreamed of.
By the time their lips touch, it’s our full-grown gals, and it’s sweet and lovely and perfect.
When the team gets back to the ship, Sara notices Charlie isn’t in her cell, and it’s because Mick let her out… to let her give herself a makeover. If she’s going to help the team fight magical creatures, she’s at least going to look the most like her she can with Amaya’s face.
She’s sassy and bossy and Sara can’t help but smirk at her. I think it must be a little like when a person is a mischievous teenager and then someday is a parent with a mischievous teenager of their own. They can’t help but be somewhat amused that they’re basically looking at themselves in the mirror.
According to Gideon, Constantine is dying, and Sara thinks magic can save him. Ray knows someone who can help and no one can guess who he’s talking about JUST KIDDING SHE’S LITERALLY ALL HE TALKS ABOUT. But the thing is, he doesn’t know how to find her.
We, the audience, find her, however, and she’s working as a witch at a Ren Faire. And a bad one at that.
I kind of can’t wait for the Waverider to scoop her up again.