“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 406 Recap: Happy Birthday to Us

Hi hello how’s your breathing? Mine’s not great for all kinds of reasons, some of them asthma-related, but most of them are Avalance-related at this point. But once I regained consciousness this was, overall, a really fun episode, so let’s get into it!

Previously on Legends of Tomorrow, Nate’s dad (Hank) was revealed to be one of the big wigs in charge of the Time Bureau; Nora Darhk turned herself in much to Ray’s chagrin; Charlie got stuck with Amaya’s face and Mona the Delivery Girl proved herself more useful than ever imagined when she displayed an extensive knowledge of magical creatures.

We open with Mona showing up for her first day of work with a box of knick-knacks for her desk that Ava immediately deems unsafe to have around magical fugitives.

Ava looks Serious

“I got new rules, I count ’em.”

Ava leads Mona to the containment center to show her around; Mona’s job will be feeding the beasties. Mona starts to tell Ava what kind of habitat each creature might like but Ava said they’re not here to make them comfortable, just alive and contained. She’s all business and doesn’t want Mona to get any ideas about befriending her charges.

The most recent “acquisition,” of course, is Nora Darhk. She does have a futon and a lamp but she’s just as much a prisoner as anyone else in her one-way containment field, and looking like she’s having about as much fun as you would expect.

Nora looks serious

But looking fine af with that beautiful mirroring camerawork. :chef’s kiss:

Ava hisses some insults about her being dangerous while Mona tries to tell Nora that since she’s the most verbal of her charges thus far, she can ask for anything she needs. What Nora needs, however, is peace and quiet. Ava is pleased that Nora helped her prove her point about Mona keeping a safe distance without even meaning to.

Ava goes back to her office to work when she gets a special visit from Sara in a trenchcoat. And listen if I learned anything from South of Nowhere it’s that girls in trenchcoats are a gift to unwrap, which is exactly what’s happening because apparently today is Ava’s birthday and Sara has arrived with a gift for us all.

SARA IS IN LINGERIE

IS IT HOT IN HERE OR IS IT JUST CAITY LOTZ

I’m sorry did you not catch that? Should I just? I… here.

Sara points in her lingerie

I thought she gave up being an assassin but here I am VERY DEAD

Sara closes the blinds and makes her way over to Ava’s desk and it seems like they’re about to get into some MISCHIEF.

Sara sits on Ava's desk

SEXY MISCHIEF

I MEAN, THERE WERE NECK KISSES.

Sara kisses Ava on the neck

The writers love us, this I know, for this screenshot tells me so.

When fucking HANK shows up. Sara uses her assassin skills to swoosh into hiding and in a hilarious bit, she avoids being seen by Hank as he tells Ava about the Legends and their expenses and how they need to cut down by a lot. Hank says the exorbitant budget makes him think Ava is in bed with the Legends, or that Sara is screwing her. Of course, he means ripping her off, but when Sara is under the desk caressing your leg, it’s hard to not think of the phrase’s double meaning.

Sara is under Ava's desk and smirking

Look at her goddamned SMIRK. I CANNOT.

Hank wants her to justify the numbers, and when it’s safe for her to come out, Sara says she’ll talk to her team. Sadly, for now, playtime is over.

Hank takes his rage-fest to his son and Nate think it might help his father to see what the Legends are all about, so he decides to take him on a tour of the Waverider.

Sara and Ava look shook

This is fine. (Narrator: It was not fine.)

Sara tries to catch a ride in their time portal but misses, knocking over a cake and having to find her own way back to the ship.

Sara yells over her comms that Nate is on his way to the ship and can’t see Charlie wearing Amaya’s face while his dad is there.

Sara talks over her comm

Honestly it’s probably better she didn’t catch a ride through that time portal considering what she’s wearing.

But Charlie is jamming out and not listening to Sara so it’s going to be up to the rest of the team to make it happen.

Ray and Gideon are the first to greet Nate and Hank, and really the whole thing is kind of a mess because Nate is trying to make the Legends sound fancier and more professional than they are while the Legends are trying frantically to keep Nate and Hank from finding Charlie.

By the time Sara finally finishes getting dressed and finds Nate and Hank on the timeship, it’s too late, and Mick leads them into the lab where Charlie is dancing around with Amaya’s face. Hank is amused, and dare I say delighted, to meet his son’s ex-girlfriend, but Charlie isn’t so keen on being hugged by a strange man so she clocks Nate cold.

They introduce Nate and Charlie and frankly he takes it better than I thought he would. It’s a little wild but he understands; CLASSIC shapeshifter-is-stuck-with-my-ex’s-face shenanigans. Sara is impressed he didn’t totally lose his cool.

Sara says that they can’t have Hank find out they’re harboring a fugitive, so she wants Charlie to pretend to be Amaya for just this one mission. Oh also they’re taking Hank with them. She thinks this will help them get Mr. Heywood off their backs for a while.

So Sara theatrically gathers her team and says they’re off to Paris, 1927 to stop a mythical monster. Hank thinks they have way too many people for this mission, but Sara explains that half the team stays back to direct from the ship while the rest of them go in the field. To “Gay Paris” is what she says. (Mick adorably wonders if that’s not PC even though Sara Lance can call anything gay she damn well pleases.)

Hank has his concerns but Sara intimidates him into understanding that she has things under control. In fact, she even gets him to call her “ma’am” without even having to ask.

Sara smiles at Hank

10/10 would enjoy being punched by Sara Lance

When they get to the 20s, Nate tries to give some history, as he’s wont to do, but Hank doesn’t care. Mick wants to drink so Sara plays it off like they should blend in and they all scatter a bit.

Sara looks classic

Caity Lotz has that Abigail Spencer skill of being able to seamlessly fit into any time period. Most people would look so stupid in this hat.

But then Nate’s dad sees Ernest Hemingway and gets all excited; Hemingway was always Hank’s idea of what a Real Man was. Nate is annoyed because of how often he had to hear about good ol’ Papa.

On the Waverider, Ray is giving Charlie some Amaya lessons but Zari tells her it’s useless. They weren’t really left behind to drive the mission from afar, they weren’t deemed Hank-facing members of the team. Which I’m not sure is true. Sure, that’s why Charlie was left behind, but Mick is more of a loose cannon than Zari or Ray. But maybe Sara just figured he’d be the kind of person Hank would trust, since he’s so “manly” or whatever bullshit.

Anyway, Ray takes Zari at her word and takes the jumpship to the Time Bureau to ask Ava if he can go visit Nora. To which the answer is a resounding “no.”

Ava gives ray a good no face

“If I’m not getting any, NO ONE IS GETTING ANY.”

He begs her, says he just wants to check in on her, but Ava is firm. No coddling the prisoners. But as soon as Ava is out of sight, Mona appears looking like a cartoon with hearts for eyes and saying she loves love and will happily deliver a letter for Ray.

Back in the roaring 20s, Sara eavesdrops on Hemingway rambling away at Hank.

Sara drinks desperately

Me whenever men are speaking.

Nate and Sara want to use a drawing from Salvador Dalí to try to find the monster they’re looking for, but Hank is having too much fun so he TELLS HEMINGWAY ABOUT THE MONSTER. And he accuses the Legends of being bad at their jobs. Hurrumph. So Hemingway goes marching off with Hank close at his heels and Nate running after them. Sara is beginning to look like a kindergarten teacher at the end of her rope.

Sara looks dumbfounded

“Did you all get stupider for the day or what?”

Back at the Time Bureau, Mona goes to Nora’s cell to give her a book, and to Nora’s surprise it has a letter from Ray inside. Nora is vehemently against this idea, pushing the envelope across her lil desk toward Mona, but Mona insists. Nora gets so worked up about it, she accidentally shoves her hand through the containment barrier, setting off an alarm.

Mona runs around the cell trying to remember how to stop the alarm going off and Nora looks genuinely sorry but when Ava comes in, she finds the letter, and she is less than pleased.

Ava looks pissed

“This better be a formal written confession.”

Similar to her girlfriend, she’s also having a frustrated teacher moment, demanding to know where the letter came from like she found her students passing notes in class. Also similar to a teacher, she threatens to read the letter out loud, which causes Nora to panic and accidentally blast Ava across the room with her powers.

She genuinely didn’t mean to, but it doesn’t matter, because she broke the containment room and now the three ladies are stuck. One of my favorite tropes is when people who don’t get along are trapped in a room together, so I was very excited about this situation.

Back in Paris, Sara leads the boys through the catacombs, where they find a Minotaur. (Intercut with this scene is Charlie saying that contrary to the common myth, the Minotaur she knew was rejected by his father and chose to stay in the maze.) The men are trying to outdo each other with their guns but Sara thwarts them all and goes for hand-to-hand combat. Like a smart leader, she knows when to quit, so they fend the beast off long enough to retreat, though not before Hank gets axed. (Don’t worry, Gideon fixes him up but good.)

Back in the Mona-dubbed Friendship Incubator, Ava is stressed, Nora is bored, and Mona is bubblegum personified. She tries to cheer Ava up by presenting the cake Sara left behind earlier, but Ava is embarrassed, and Nora is amused by her embarrassment.

Nora looks amused

Better than live theatre.

Ava implies that Mona will be fired as soon as they get out of the cell, so Mona hangs her head and says she guesses she’ll just HAVE to go to Yale to be a lawyer like her parents wanted. Ava thinks this is a great idea, because what even is she doing here if she could have a more stable future? But Nora doesn’t think Mona should sacrifice what she wants to listen to her parents. Ava’s logic is all analytical, Nora’s is all fear- and regret-based.

Then Nora and Ava get into a sort of hilarious-but-sad “whose life is worse” competition. Nora was a demon vessel who escaped a death cult, Ava is a clone from the future whose memories were mostly fabricated. They’ve both got baggage, basically. Mona is fascinated, and also she has wine.

Nora looks intrigued

I love me some boozy bonding.

Back on the Waverider, the Legends come up with a plan: attract the Minotaur with some lady-musk, then lull it to sleep with a lute, so they can take it back to the Time Bureau. Charlie is surprisingly supportive in this moment, because she likes that it doesn’t involve hurting the beastie at all.

In the Friendship Incubator, the wine is helping things along and Ava has her jacket off, her shirt untucked, and is sharing her story.

Ava looks relaxed

“I’m not a regular warden, I’m a cool warden.”

Nora is doing the same, and they once again start the grass-is-always-greener comparisons, but also realizing they’re maybe not so different after all. Mona steps in to be the voice of all of us: They’re two of the coolest women she’s ever met, sordid pasts or not.

Mona loves nora and ava

This little bubblegum heart just bonded them together.

Ava decides they should crack into the cake to celebrate their new trio.

The Legends are ready to put their Minotaur plan in action but Hank thinks the plan is boring and not the Heming-way. Nate tries to assure him they know what they’re doing, and Hank thinks he’s just being stubborn because of their relationship, so he looks to Sara for backup, but Sara’s siding with Nate on this one.

She promises him this is a good plan, and even says that if it all goes to hell, Hank can fire them all and have his budget back.

So the team heads to the bar to fight the Minotaur, and Nate almost has the beastie to sleep when Hemingway Hemingways it up and goes to shoot it. He misses thanks to Sara’s swift intervention, but it startled the Minotaur awake and caused such a ruckus Nate’s lute broke. So Hank distracts while Nate bullfights as they try to scramble for a new solution.

Our prison gals are working with a good buzz and a solid sugar high when Ava decides that she likes Nora enough to bend a rule for her, offering up Ray’s letter.

Ava gives Nora the letter

Wouldn’t it suck if after all that it had been like a Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off coupon?

But Nora still doesn’t want it. But now she’s feeling open enough to explain why instead of blowing something up: she thinks that since she’s a prisoner, it’s pointless to hope for things in the future. But Ava says that Nora doesn’t know she’ll be in this prison forever, so why not do just that: Hope.

So the three of them huddle around to open Ray’s letter.

Mona Nora and Ava opent he letter

WE’RE THE THREE BEST FRIENDS THAT ANYONE COULD HAVE

And there is no letter. Just Ray Palmer, all itsy bitsy and stuck to the envelope glue like the giant dork he is.

Mona Nora and Ava find Ray

“Wait you weren’t listening when we all told the story about the first time we kissed a girl were you?”

Nora calls him stupid and sweet and Ava calls him annoying but convenient and demands he use his suit to get them out.

Ava nora and mona wait for ray

“You’re lucky yelling at you would be like scolding a puppy.”

The Minotaur Problem is not so easily solved, though after a kerfuffle and some sweet serenading from Hank, they get the job done.

The next morning, Mona is doing her rounds and saying hi to everyone, bringing Nora a special hangover cure. (I hope they had more than the one bottle of wine we saw because if Mona got hangover-drunk off 1/3 of a bottle of wine… actually that’s impressive and cost effective, you do you girl.)

Nora nervously asks Mona to deliver Ray a letter she wrote (a real letter) and Mona would truly love nothing more than to do exactly that for her new buddy Nora.

Out in the hallway, Ava catches her with the letter, and at first Mona assumes she’s for-real fired, but Ava surprises her by saying that she sees Mona’s point of view better now; just because these creatures are prisoners doesn’t mean they have to be totally miserable.

Ava smiles at Mona

“I’m a clone, not a robot.”

Also not totally miserable is Hank! He ended up having fun on his mission after all, and he finally understands the value of the Legends. He heads back to the future, but Nate stays back a little while longer. He tells Sara that he had a great time, but he belongs back at the Time Bureau now. Sara is proud of him for knowing what he wants and says he’s welcome back any time.

Sara smiles

And who could stay away from this face for very long?

He’s also welcome at their pizza party before he goes back. At the party, he thanks them all for helping him figure out who he is and becoming a better person, and tells them to enjoy the ride. He then steps aside to tell Charlie that she might feel like a bit of an outsider right now, but she’ll find her place before she knows it.

Charlie listens to Nate

A smart, funny, badass, attractive lady easily annoyed by the folly of man? You’re in good company.

Next week, spooky dolls in New Orleans! Can’t wait! If you need me til then, I’ll be rewatching a certain scene from this episode…

Just a nerdy, TV-loving, Twitter-addicted Hufflepuff who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 161 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Valerie Anne…how many tropes do you have a thing for? I know of at least 2…is there something you want to tell us? LOL

    I stopped watching LoT circa episode 4 of season 1 (found it boring) but the Earth X crossover last season had me binge watching every episode. Best. Decision. Ever. This show is a gem that makes me laugh more than most comedies and care about all of the characters so much so that I actually missed Gary this episode.

    My one gripe about this episode is that the writers didn’t have Sara go back to finish what she started. I mean it was Ava’s birthday after all.

  2. This episode was great. That Avalance bit was damn. Legends is probably my favorite show on right now because it is hilarious and so casually queer. Constantine and Gary both seem to go either way. Sara’s bi and Ava’s gay. It’s pretty great that they go for story over a constant sense of no-homo or like Supergirl’s one-homo only situation.

  3. One of my favorite little things of the episode was Ava saying “No shipping the inmates” and Nora being all confused because she has no idea what shipping means.

    I started this show because I wanted to see Sara Lance make out with people across time, but it has become my favourite show atm. I want what they smoke in that writers’ room.

  4. Want proof that Sara is the deadliest ninja assassin of all time? Watch this episode. She kills you without even lifting a goddamn finger. Ava’s reaction basically echoed all of ours except she somehow managed to not pass the hell out in the face of such insane hotness. I on the other hand cannot remember what else happened in the episode after Sara untied that sash because my brain short circuited and DIED.

  5. Despite me needing to yell at Hank every five minutes, this was a really fun episode! Sara looked lovely in the trenchcoat birthday surprise scene, but honestly, I never found her hotter than when she was her rolling her eyes and generally trolling Hemingway.
    Also, Mona is adorable and I love when people bring out Ava’s softer side.

  6. The opening scene was hot, yes, but my favorite was the “No Exit” Friendship incubator. I am totally down with this trio of women hanging out on a regular basis. And can I just say that the writers have done an incredible job of incorporating new characters without losing the the best parts of this show? I am very happy that Nora Darhk has become more three-dimensional and that Constantine hasn’t taken up too much space. The showrunners obviously love us, and we love them right back.

  7. This is the best superhero comedy the CW has right now (Black Lightning being its best superhero drama). Frankly I’m glad both are not in the crossover. Sara Lance killed me dead at the beginning of this episode. Also glad they don’t stick with the There Can Only Be One gay person rule because I am definitely shipping Charlie/Zari.

    Weirdly proud of Mick for calling himself an author too

  8. Sara’s face when Men is the best face ever.

    Thank you for the recap Valarie. I just really need to highlight that after her sexy birthday present Sara was having a cake delivered with LOVE HEARTS on it. If that’s not the fucking cutest thing.

    I love this show. I love Nora and Zari and Sara punching Hemingway and the way she spoke to Hank. I have so much respect for the writers and how they handle all the characters and their storylines and personalities and growth. Like they got me to care about two white dudes and their friendship and love lives, all I want is for Nate and Ray to be happy? That is some serious talent. Until this show I didn’t know it was possible to have so much nuance with such a big cast.

  9. I rewatched Sara’s trenchcoat reveal like three times before I could continue the episode. Happy birthday to us indeed.

    It can be really hard for a new actor/character to join in on season 4 of a show but Mona just blends seamlessly into the ensemble. I truly love her, and I feel like other than Ray the show doesn’t have someone so light and upbeat. It’s really added to the dynamic and she’s one of my new faves.

    I wonder if Nate will leave the show after this season. It seems like they’re gently phasing him out (I know some of that is due to the actor having a newborn who needed serious medical care for a few months). The original conceit of the show was to have a rotating cast and I wouldn’t mind a shake-up since it seems like his character arc is done.

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