“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 501 Recap: Journey to the Past

Previously on Legends of Tomorrow, oh so many months ago, Heyworld imploded and Zari got replaced by her brother in the timeline, Mick came out as romance novelist Rebecca Silver, Sara and Ava were cute cute cute, and honestly nothing else really matters because this show is beautiful chaos and every day feels like a brand new slate.

We pick up post-Crisis, in 2020, where the Legends are a bit famous. After their Heyworld fiasco, they picked up some notoriety, with Nate in commercials, toys based on their superhero personas, Mick Rory presenting an Oscar, etc. And now, a man called Harris is filming a documentary about them called Meet the Legends. To kick them off, Harris asks Ava to introduce herself.

ava smirks at the camera

Sara and Ava being able to look directly into the camera/my soul was A LOT to handle on this first episode back.

It is… awkward. But in a cute way. And the reason they’re even letting this documentary happen is that, in order to get the budget they would need to keep the Waverider in the air timestream, they have to employ some transparency about what they do and why they need the money. And so, here we are. Well, some of us. The other half of the team is off on a mission.

Nate has become even stranger amidst this fame, really hamming it up for the cameras, but admitting that something doesn’t quite feel right. He doesn’t know why yet, but we sure do, when Behrad, Zari’s brother, strolls in talking about being a future man from 2044 and how he went to see his newborn self in the hospital the other day. (Making him 22, I guess. Which I think makes him the baby of this team.) And it all feels a bit like when Dawn showed up on Buffy and everyone is just acting like it’s normal when you know damn right it’s not.

When it’s Charlie’s turn to be interviewed, she realizes she’s no longer a prisoner, and also she would hate little more than to talk about herself or her past, so she buggers off in the jump ship, which is only concerning because Gideon glitched right before she took off.

Charlie leans nonchalantly before deciding to bugger off

“Gotta go find my girlfriend since these dopes don’t even remember her.”

In the months since we last left the Legends, Mona became Rebecca Silver’s agent, channeling every mean agent you’ve ever seen in the movies, but with an added dash of were-kaupe.

Gary introduces himself as “fully forgiven,” though the text below his screen says, “former villain.” And while I think he’ll be feeling the consequences of his actions for a bit, I do so love that we have our old mononippled nerd back. He’s been Constantine’s apprentice, which ol’ Johnny seems to be taking relatively in stride. That is to say, Gary still seems to have all his teeth, so it can’t be too miserable a time for either of them. (PS. I highly recommend calling the number on the business card and listening to their outgoing message.)

On the Waverider, Harris asks Ava how her girlfriend feels about them filming a Legends documentary, and she admits she hasn’t told Sara yet.

ava stares off into the middle distance

“When will my wife return from the war Crisis?”

Which is why they have set up a surprise party during which no one is to mention her fallen friend Oliver Queen, lest they upset the Captain. When they come back, Sara, Ray, and Mick are welcomed back with shouts and cameras. Ava hugs Sara and quickly explains what’s happening.

Ava looks hopeful, Sara looks dubious

She doesn’t seem down to be on a reality show, but if this was a Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Sara would absolutely SLAY.

Sara is mildly horrified. The last thing she seems to want after a five-episode Crisis is to have a strange man shove a camera in her face. She tells the camera that her girlfriend has lost her mind, and is ironically the only one so far who has managed to speak normally in front of it.

Sara looks annoyed

“What if I had shown up in my trenchcoat with even less underneath it this time???”

Ray starts listing off the heroes that guest-starred in the saving of the multiverse, and looks around, landing on Behrad and saying something is missing. But he quickly decides it’s Charlie, who we’re reminded jumped ship and hopefully is not stranded in Jumanji or anything. Ray is excited about this documentary because he could use a little rebranding; see, when the Earths all merged, Earth Prime kept the memory of Neuron possessing him instead of him sharing a face with Superman.

The Waverider hits a timequake that they trace back to St. Petersburg in 1917, and Glitchy Gideon takes them there before Sara gives word, and she is none too pleased about having time traveled with a camera crew.

Sara looks OVER IT

“Starting to wish I’d traded some of these idiots for Kara and Barry, at least they listen to me.”

Sara is feeling overwhelmed as everyone overacts for the cameras, Ray trying out bad catchphrases and Nate trying (and failing) to knock off her patented fingerguns. Ava offers a supportive word and Sara knows all they can do is what they always do.

They all dress the part and head toward the source of the quake and find themselves at Rasputin’s funeral. Nate spouts off some facts about the notoriously hard-to-kill advisor to the Romanovs, Grigori Rasputin.

They head back to the ship to regroup, and Sara loves this; going into full Captain mode will help distract her from ALL THE FEELINGS, so she starts doling out assignments like we haven’t had an eight-month hiatus. It’s beautiful.

Ava is worried about Sara but she’s still worried about bringing it up to her, so she asks Ray instead. He admits that Oliver’s death was hard on her, and she admits she doesn’t know what to do. Mona tells Ava it might help to write her feelings down, and since Ava is a very relatable useless lesbian, she takes this advice from the hopeless romantic and decides to write…a condolence card.

Ava makes a dissatisfied face at the camera

I do this “face to camera” thing all the time IRL but there is never a camera.

Oh and by the way, despite Ray and Nate’s suggestions of Evil Do-Overs or Villa-agains, Mona steers them toward the more succinct suggestion of calling these repeat offenders Encores. And so it is written.

Down on Earth in 2020, Constantine and Gary go to exorcise a demon out of a little boy who is scaling the walls, but Constantine ends up knowing the demon, so he takes the kid out for a drink instead.

Back on the ship trying to regroup, Behrad and Sara have a bit of a heart to heart about how weird everyone is being. He asks how she’s doing post-losing Oliver and she tries to brush him off. He has a gift for her. She says she hopes it’s not a condolence card because those suck and Ava Leslie Knopes her way back out of the room in the background. Instead of a card, Behrad gives her a Lord Mesa cartoon of her, Oliver, and Laurel all together. It’s super cute and as someone who knows how big of an Arrowverse fan Lord Mesa is, and as someone who owns some Lord Mesa fanart herself, I was delighted about this meta moment.

Lord Mesa drawing of Oliver, Sara, and Laurel having a tea party

“Perhaps it’s because I’m the one of us to survive.”

Ava does a confessional interview, where she reads the card which is awkward and hilarious and very bad as far as condolence cards go.

Ava makes a "what?" face

“What? Arrow hasn’t been very good lately anyway.”

She decides letters aren’t really her and Sara’s love language anyway, and decides the best way to show Sara she cares is to fix the Rasputin situation for her.

So a bunch of Legends head off to enact their own plans for how to stop Rasputin. Nate and Ray by protecting Yusupov, a man who helped assassinate him. Mona by distracting Rasputin with a fake love letter from the tsarina Alexandra.

Ava by killing him dead and making it stick.

Ava has a big gun

“Sara’s love language is death…Right?”

But, no one’s plans go as they would have liked. Yusupov is already dead when they get there, Nate and Ray block Ava’s sniper so they can talk to him more, Mona is intercepted by Mick, who gives her notes on her love letter. Eventually Nate convinces Rasputin to look into the cameras, and being a horny fame-monger, he obliges. Rasputin tells Nate some mysterious things about a hole in his heart, so Nate lets the notoriously evil man who just rose from the dead hypnotize him. And he’s supposed to be the smart one.

Back on Earth, Constantine is chatting with the demon who is inside the wee child and they talk about how Astra released a bunch of the worst souls from hell but their chits are still in hell so they can’t really die again? It’s a bit confusing but I’m sure that won’t be important or anything… Constantine doesn’t really want to be involved so he finishes his exorcism and tells Gary to get the boy home.

Up on the Waverider, Sara catches the cameras spying on her while she’s trying to have a peaceful moment.

Sara in an armchair with whiskey and her doodle

It’s cute how he thought he could sneak up on someone trained by the League of Assassins.

She snaps and starts to give her confessional, looking directly at the camera and telling it how much she hates the idea of the documentary, hates being a celebrity, etc. Before she can start smashing glass, though, Behrad comes in and tells him he thinks he knows what’s wrong with Gideon. But Sara doesn’t want to deal with that right now, she just wants to drink her feelings away.

But then Constantine and Gary call and tell them about the chit-ty situation re: the Encores and interrupts her fun.

Next page: Avalance smoochin’! 

Meanwhile in Imperial Russia (lol what is this show), Rasputin hypnotized Nate and helps him remember bits and pieces about the love he forgot. But before Rasputin can tell him Zari’s name, Ava finds a good angle and shoots the zombie mystic… to no avail. He plucks the bullet out as easily as a Revenant shot with a non-Peacemaker gun and a fight breaks out. Realizing they’re outmanned and outnumbered, they rush back to the ship to regroup.

Upon learning that her team went rogue on her, Sara is pissed. She explains what she can about the chit souls and tells them that she’s has quite enough dead loved ones on her hands and would appreciate it if they all stayed alive. While she’s ranting, she snaps that no one even asked how she was doing, and Ava tells her that she asked them not to bring it up to remind her, and Sara points out that she doesn’t need reminding. The pain is still new, and constant, and mentioning Oliver couldn’t have made it worse.

Sara throws her hands up in frustration

“I didn’t come back from the dead 93 times to be disrespected like this.”

Sara starts to talk about what happened during the Crisis and Ava realized that even though they had all been pretty flippant about the crossover, in reality, Sara’s been Through Some Shit. Sara says, “You can see why I wanted to talk to my friends about it.” She doesn’t want cameras or to ignore her feelings. She wanted comfort and support from her family. And she said as much out loud. How far our little assassin has come.

Sara's eyes fill with tears

Also, how far Caity Lotz herself has come.

Realizing she handled the situation all wrong, Ava starts to stress clean the Waverider and tell the cameras about bad reviews she’s written about herself and how she just doesn’t know what to do to make things right with Sara.

Ava rage-scrubs the microwave

“Why. won’t. my. problems. wash. away. with. this. stain.”

But first, they have to make things right with the camera crew. That they left behind. With Rasputin.

Sara is mad at everyone though, so she decides to just take Behrad, the only one who’s been acting normal to her all day. (Which is hilarious since his mere existence is not normal to the rest of us.)

Sara and Behrad go undercover, her as a waiter and him as a guard and learn that Rasputin is going to kill the Romanovs by way of tea cakes.

Sara looks frustrated

“Those are not cakes! WORDS MEAN THINGS!”

Sara and Behrad look out for them, but without Nate the history buff around (or Zari the treatmaster) they don’t recognize them and the Romanovs almost eat the poison treats. Sara panics and slaps them out of the tsar’s hand while Behrad wind-totems them out of the son’s.

The Legends see all this happening from the ship and Ava is torn; on one hand, her girlfriend is no damsel in distress. On the other, they’re stronger together.

Ava looks torn and her hair looks magical

I’d like to interrupt our regularly scheduled program to say: HAIR.

Rasputin hypnotizes his guards, including Behrad, to attack Sara, but she takes them all down with a HA and a HI-YA. As another wave of guards descends, they’re interrupted by Anastasia coming down the stairs. But it’s not the lost princess at all, it’s Ava, and she’s ready to throw down. As the Legends descend upon the enemy, Sara looks up in delight; her family has her back after all.

During a lull in the battle, Ava tells Sara that she wishes she could say the perfect thing but expressing emotion is hard for her. All she wants is to be there for Sara. (During this conversation, they take little breaks to easily take down approaching enemies, barely breaking eye contact, aka one of my favorite tropes of all time.) When they finish a tandem-takedown of the last approaching baddie, Sara says that hearing that Ava wants to be there for her is all she wanted; knowing she wanted to say the perfect words, even if she didn’t know exactly what they were, is all Sara needed.

Sara goes in for the sweeping post-fight kiss…

Sara almost kisses Ava

Look at those lil curls! Sara looks like a dapper prince who just hopped off her horse and saved the damsel from her tower but it’s better because they saved themselves/each other.

…but then Ray interrupts.

The rest of the Legends are also hypnotized, so Ray shrinks and Sara tosses him into Rasputin, where he embiggens from within and splatters him across the room. Not one to leave unfinished business, Sara then steals a glance to the camera, sweeps her girlfriend off her feet, and makes sure the curtains close on a kiss.

sara dips Ava for a kiss

This is what all those years of salmon laddering were for. To be able to dip her girlfriend, no matter how tall.

Then gives the camera a super cute thumbs up. A charming dork, that Sara Lance.

As the documentary voiceovers the final montage, the team puts Rasputin bits into mason jars, Nate tries to make a composite of what Zari looks like, and the Legends celebrate a job well done (and a hiatus finally over.)

Then we pan to an audience, who just finished a screening of the documentary, and an uneasy group of Legends awaiting their panel. Harris tells them to act heroic but Sara and Ava aren’t so sure this is the right path for them.

Sara and Ava look unsure

“Eh we watched Batwoman and the whole town knowing about her and expecting things from her seems kind of exhausting? We work better when no one knows what we were SUPPOSED to be doing, so when we do it wrong it doesn’t matter, as long as it works out.”

Sensing her girlfriend’s discomfort, and knowing that her actions speak louder than words, Ava grabs the mic, says everything was fake, and everyone backs her up, much to the director’s horror. Sara is pleased as they declare themselves a bunch of frauds and happily jaunt off stage.

Sara smirks, pleased

“They may be idiots, but they’re MY idiots.”

The crowd boos them as they leave, but the Legends are thrilled to go back to zipping through time with a cloak of anonymity. They don’t need funding anymore, because Mick is back to his thieving ways, and Mona is taking over the Rebecca Sugar mantle. (Also she decides to go live out in the world to have experiences that will make her a better writer. I kind of hope she’s really gone for a while because she was becoming too much of a cartoon character, even for this show, and this will give her an excuse to come back a little bit… different.)

Constantine busts into the Waverider, much to Ava’s horror, makes himself a magic circle, and chugs a jar of Rasputin, much to everyone’s horror.

He tells them he’s going to hell until “the sigil is complete” and Sara, used to his antics by now, tells him to be safe before waving off that truly insane move.

Then Ava, with only one of many self-burns this show had this episode, says that the events of the Waverider would be really hard for an audience to follow. To which I say, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

sara and ava stand tall next to each other

I say, “Power,” you say, “Couple!” Power! Couple! Power! Couple!

Sara quietly takes Ava’s hand, and I must say, I really love all the little, natural, understated, long-term girlfriendy moves they make.

In the fast-paced world of television, it’s not every day we get a nice, long-standing couple who can do cute things like put their hands on the small of each other’s backs or throw in a stray “babe” here and there and lil tiffs that never make you fear for the fate of the relationship. It’s not the first or only by any means, but it’s still very lovely to behold.

Meanwhile on the ship, Nate and Behrad figure out that Gideon has memories from two timelines jumbling her brain and fix her glitchiness. And one thing I picked up on is that all of Gideon’s glitched-out words aren’t just random Legends-related things. They were specifically related to Zari. First Gideon says the word “totemed” out of context. And as well all know, Zari was linked to the wind totem. Then she says “time loop” a few times, mimicking the time Zari got stuck, and Marion Ravenwood, Zari’s undercover alias. Later, when Sara is fiddling with her innards, Gideon starts repeating, “Wickstable” and “Captain Cat” – references to Zari’s baby dragon and her feline transformation. When Constantine calls, she says she has an incoming “Bollywood,” another Zari-centric plotline. Maybe this was very obvious to everyone right away, but I didn’t realize it until I was rewatching and I got chills about it so I thought I’d share. This show might be ridiculous at every turn, but that doesn’t mean it’s not clever.

Before Gideon finishes erasing the incongruencies, though, she plays a video Zari left for Nate, begging him to find her. But in that moment, Gideon finishes her memory scrub, and the video is gone.

And that’s all she wrote. Can you even believe our weird little show is in its FIFTH season? Can you believe how perfectly Legends this entire episode was? I’m so happy these absolute looney tunes are back and up to their old tricks; can’t wait to see what they get up to next.

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd 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 333 articles for us.


  1. – OMG! @LadyintheTV was on “Legends of Tomorrow”.
    – I hate these documentary style episodes. Everybody always acts so cringe.
    – Have to admit, I do kind of like Behrad.
    – That was a nice picture.
    – Is Rasputin that guy from “Wynonna Earp”?
    – I loved Ava’s condolence letter.
    – “I wrote that evaluation.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
    – Loving Ava this episode.
    – I agree with Sara. Watching John drink Rasputin made me want to hork.
    – I’m disliking the Zari storyline (so far). It seems to be all about Nate when it should be her storyline.

  2. The newspaper clips an little stuff at the beginning were amazing. 30s in and I was already laughing:
    – You said hair? Well, there is one of the new’s paper with Ava, hair fully on display, on its cover and under the headline is written “Mystery yanks save the day” & “Who does their hair?”
    -“Later, Neron”
    – Sara & Ava holden hands next to the obamas (which also match the continuity)
    – Mona and the Beebos
    – “Ryan Reynolds to star in Detective Beebo live action film”.
    – “‘Dragon girl’ still trending #1 across social media platforms” (look like little Zari got herself a moment of internet fame)

    I just saw they put clone on Ava description in the documentary. How is that public Knowledge?

    Ava passing out/falling after Sara kisses her right before Sara thumbs up. xD And This waiter outfit did make Sara look like a prince.

    Why does Behrad have a different last name than Zari had?

    Nate trying to make a Zari out of paper pieces was horrifying. It’s so creepy. Watching Constantine chug a raspuntin jar was more pleasant than that.

    You wrote Rebecca Sugar instead of Rebecca Silver and it’s amazing.

  3. Favorite screenshot + caption: 5
    – lol, what is this show indeed. It’s great entertainment with two femme powers coupling that’s what it is.
    – Agreed on tropes!
    – Preach on Mona!
    – Notice how Sara calls Behrad, B. Like she called Zari, Z. I reaaaaallly like Behrad. Shouldn’t get attached though.

  4. Ten points to Hufflepuff for quoting Bartok.


    Emily Andras’ twitter commentary on this episode was pure gold.


    Avalance have such amazing verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Especially since they do the audacious thing (for a CW show) of actually talking to each other about their problems.

    Would that all our ships sailed so smoothly.


    The kiss was improvised.

    Beebo be praised.


    Now that all our favorite lesbians are on the same Earth, how soon until we get a BGB (Big Gay Brunch) with Alex, Ava, Kate, Kelly, and Sara?

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