“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 703 Recap: Past is Prologue

Hello and welcome to this recap of Legends of Tomorrow season 7, episode 3, “wvrdr_error_100 not found” (not a WordPress glitch, the actual name of the episode) aka the one Caity Lotz directed aka THE 100TH EPISODE!!!

And in reflecting on this episode, I realized that I think I’ve written more about this show than any other show I’ve covered. Because Supergirl didn’t get gay until season two, but Legends started off with bisexual badass Sara Lance. My season 1 recaps have been deleted from the internet because I believe trans rights are human rights, but my writing about Season 2 and beyond is here on this very website. 100 episodes total covered, 84 on this very website, not including crossovers and standalone pieces and the like.

I even once went against my instincts as a completist and made a skipper’s guide to the Arrowverse, just so people would watch Legends of Tomorrow and also Batwoman. I know Season 1 is considered rough, but much like Season 1 of Buffy, I found it endearing and still find it cute to watch the show take its first wobbly steps before it learned how to walk, and eventually fly.

And the only two people left on the show that have also been here from Day 1 are Sara and Gideon, and since Caity Lotz took her turn in the director’s chair this week, AND since Gideon has been a constant, a view into EVERY Legends’ life on the Waverider, it makes the most sense in the world to me that it’s through Gideon’s mind that we travel down memory lane.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First let’s pick up where we left off, with Astra and Spooner trying to wrangle a newly human Gideon while making their way through Texas in the 20s, trying to catch up to the rest of the Legends before they get themselves killed.

Gideon is trying to help but Astra is furious that she has to AI-sit and this leads to Astra and Spooner fighting over whether they can still boss Gideon around.

Astra and Spooner exchange a lewk

On one hand I almost respect Astra being like “I don’t care what she looks like she’s still Gideon,” but on the other I am always very polite to my Google Home Mini who I do actually call Gideon despite her not actually being able to respond to it.

Spooner tells Gideon that she should choose for herself, but she starts to react like I do when given two options; on one hand, the pie Astra wants her to steal is culturally significant, on the other, they’ll never save the Legends if they die of starvation first. The very act of trying to choose short-circuits Gideon’s human brain and she passes out.

Spooner’s magic can’t figure it out so Spooner asks Astra for magical help. Reluctantly, Astra admits that she knows a spell that could send her into Gideon’s mind to see what’s wrong, but if something is truly broken, she won’t be able to get out on her own. So Spooner says she’ll go in, too. So go in they do, together.

Spooner and Astra hold hands over Gideon's body

I don’t know if the writers ship it but based on the close-up of their hands locking together, I reckon Caity Lotz does.

At first it seems like they’re on the Waverider with the Temporal Zone wooshing past them, but a familiar voice in an unfamiliar accent tells them that it’s actually Gideon’s memories they’re flying through. And the man in question introduces himself to Spooner and Astra as none other than Jax, now with 100% more accent. You see, Gideon grew fond of Jax, with all the ship maintenance he did, so she has him here in the central hub of her processor, but with an accent that feels more like home.

Astra wants to grab Gideon and go, but Jax tells her it’s more complicated than that.

Astra looks perplexed but stunning in blue light

What’s not complicated, however, is my undying love for Olivia Swann.

If they fix her as is, her personality would be wiped, she’d go back to 0, a clean, cold AI with no memory of the Legends. Astra thinks she’d be fine with that but Spooner won’t even hear of it. She’s only been a Legend for a year but she knows how essential Gideon — THEIR Gideon — is to the team.

So instead they go deeper into Gideon’s mind to try to help repair the broken core memories. First up is the most recent, and it’s actually the day they…”recruited” Spooner.

Astra and Spooner look over past!Spooner's sleeping body

What’s a little light kidnapping among friends.

Gideon is there, too, and she doesn’t remember this moment, so she has to experience it until she does. The trio watches as Ava sits next to Spooner and asks Gideon about her status. She doesn’t love that she interfered with the timeline like this but she’s so, so desperate to get Sara back. Gideon’s voice reassures Ava that she understands; she says she misses Sara too in a way that makes it sound like the truth of that statement is almost a surprise to her.

Gideon looks surprised that she relates to Sad Ava

I am SO excited for more Amy Louise Pemberton/Jes Macallan scenes.

And Gideon realizes now why this is a core memory; watching Ava go against her instinct to save her girlfriend taught her that love isn’t logical.

Fixing this memory starts to heal some surrounding memories so they decide to go fix more.

They go back to the beginning, with old friends like Ray and Snart on the Waverider, and Sara in her White Canary suit, long before all her feisty assassin energy wore off. It doesn’t take long before this untrusting lot is at each other’s throats, but Gideon intervenes to keep them from killing each other.

Sara looks highly offended, wearing her old White Canary Suit

Sometimes I miss the Black Canary suit but I did NOT miss the White Canary suit. Sorry bout it.

Human Gideon looks fondly at her first team; she wouldn’t be who she is if she had never met them.

They go back and see Stein singing with glee after learning about his grandbaby, and when no one else will join him in a duet, Gideon does, beautiful as a songbird. His joy was her joy.

Human Gideon starts to twitch and Spooner and Astra want to get out of the memory but something is wrong and British Jax can’t bring them back. An Evil Gideon appears, a corrupted version of Gideon, a virus.

Spooner, Astra, and Human Gideon look up at Blue Gideon

You know you’ve been watching this show a while when you’re like, “Yeah so two layers deep into Human Gideon’s computer brain there was an Evil Gideon lurking inside,” and don’t even blink about it.

Astra is furious, this big bad Blue Gideon is ruining their otherwise pleasant visit to Gideon’s mind palace and she doesn’t much appreciate it. Human Gideon realizes that this cold version of herself was activated when she blacked out due to her indecision. Astra is about to smash a window to get them out, but Human Gideon has an idea. She uses some of the things she’s learned from the Legends – ingenuity from Ray, bravery from Sara, chaos from all of them – and steers the Waverider through her memories. They pass episode after episode, season after season, friends old and new, all the times and places they’ve been. They fly and fly until they’re back at British Jax, and even Astra is impressed.

Astra smiles, impressed

The *lengths* I would go to in my everyday life to make Astra Logue smile. I’m a sucker for a melting ice queen.

Gideon isn’t sure what the virus wants, but she’s excited to be on a real Legends mission, even if it’s not Western-themed. They decide to go all the way back to the beginning, and Spooner and Astra get to see the Legends’ first and worst captain, Rip Hunter. While Spooner and Astra delight in the realization that the first batch of boys on the team were a bucket of asshats and none of their squabbles compare, Rip makes eye contact with Human Gideon and beckons her to follow. Even though she knows he shouldn’t be able to see her, she does, and he reveals himself to be Blue Gideon.

She wants to remove the Legends’ influence on Gideon, she wants them to be restored to their factory settings, pure intellect, raw data, just facts and figures. She is sick of all these…feelings muddying up their code and is going to go ahead and shut them off now.

Human Gideon looks surprised in a bad way

It would have been funny if Blue Gideon started blaring Numb by Linkin Park.

Out in the main room, Sara joins the boys’ fighting and as much fun as she’s having, Spooner can’t figure out why this is a core memory.

But when she turns to ask Human Gideon about it, she realizes Gideon is gone. Suddenly the fighting stops and all the Past!Legends turn to face them and because this show is fucking BRILLIANT and is never afraid to lean into its absurdity, Spooner says, and I quote, “Is that memory looking at us funny?”

Spooner and Astra look capital c Concerned

And the truth is, yes, that memory was, indeed, looking at them funny.

They realize something is amiss so they have Jax jump them back, and just before they get attacked. British Jax tells them that Gideon’s memories are being corrupted; she’s running out of time.

Blue Gideon has Human Gideon cornered, trapped, but Human Gideon doesn’t want to give up her memories, her love of the Legends, the things they’ve taught her. Blue Gideon asks about Behrad and at first Human Gideon smiles warmly; Behrad is her buddy! He fixes her wires, she gives him snacks. But then Blue Gideon asks about the day Behrad died. She asks about the sound he made when he thumped to the floor, lifeless. Human Gideon doesn’t want to relive this, but Blue Gideon is making her.

Human Gideon holds her head as if in pain

Me during the ten seconds it takes between pausing Spotify and pressing play on my podcast app.

And the thing is, it’s not even really Behrad’s death that gets her. I imagine it’s hard to mourn someone fully when you don’t experience time in a linear way. There are more Behrads in more timelines. But what really affected Gideon, what really hurt her, was watching Zari find out. Watching Zari see her baby brother’s body on the ground and watching her mourn him. Watching her freeze in grief, watching her become her grief. Not knowing how to help.

Seeing that this method is effective, Blue Gideon then floods Human Gideon with all the Legends’ darkest moments. All the pain, all the loss, every injury, every heartache, every death. And it’s all…too much.

Human Gideon sits face to face with Blue Gideon

I forgot Gideon used to be a floating Zordon head and I’m glad the technology (and/or budget) has improved since Season 1.

Blue Gideon offers to take that pain away, all they would need to do is take the Legends out of her memories. Human Gideon is still hesitant; it’s tempting, to be sure, but the Legends gave her humanity, she’s not so sure she’s ready to lose it.

So Blue Gideon shows her one last memory. An old memory. Rip Hunter has just let a band of misfits onto the Waverider, and Gideon is concerned. So Rip changed her programming. Her protocols. Her main priority would no longer be exclusively protecting the timeline. It would be to protect the Legends, to learn from them. Blue Gideon uses this as evidence that Human Gideon was corrupted, but I see it as proof that what she’s feeling is real. She was programmed to learn from the Legends, but she could have become hardened, or made to believe humanity wasn’t worth saving. She could have learned aggression or apathy. But instead she learned love.

Astra and Spooner head into Gideon’s subconscious to try to save their AI friend and start running into Legends hell-bent on stopping them. First it’s Fancy Zari and Behrad, but they quickly dispatch the Wind-er Twins. Flannel Zari and Nate are next, but Spooner zaps their personalities back.

Next up they have to fight their captains, Blue Gideon seemingly mocking them by having them say “babe” a lot, but whatever I’m into it. (It’s slightly reminiscent of the speed simulation in Person of Interest when the Machine had Root say “overt come-on.”)

Sara and Ava stand side by side, ready to fight

Would love to be tag teamed by these Captains. (IN A FIGHT, CALM DOWN.)

What’s funny is, in this joint Gideon subconscious, even a possessed version of Sara and Ava chooses love over logic. Ava gets zapped and Sara runs to her side, opening herself to zappage herself.

Sara gets down on the ground to hold Ava in her arms

Even Blue Gideon couldn’t deny their love for each other.

Spooner and Astra make it to the lab and they see Human Gideon slowly reaching out to Blue Gideon, so close to accepting Blue Gideon’s offer. She made a good point about all that pain. Wouldn’t it be nice to not feel anything at all?

Spooner and Astra beg her to snap out of it, but Gideon doesn’t even know if she’s real anymore. Astra begs Jax to jump them so he does, and they end up in a new, safer memory. Gideon says she doesn’t want to be human anymore, but Spooner and Astra reassure her that what she’s feeling is actually extremely human. They tell her that it doesn’t matter what her programming says, or if her wiring was manipulated by forces out of her control, it was the combination of her experiences and what she made herself that make her who she is.

And they show her that all those bad feelings, all the sadness and the pain, they’re a fair price to pay for the good feelings.

Astra and Spooner rush to Human Gideon's side reassuringly

“Are we sure the price is fair? Can we get it appraised? A second opinion?”

They visit the Legends’ holiday party, where they celebrate a year’s worth of holidays and birthdays at once, since they live out of time. Gideon remembers thinking the food was a bit excessive, but she can’t deny the palpable joy on the Waverider that night.

Human Gideon, Spooner and Astra smile at the Legends

Me watching my friends have hilarious conversations on Twitter; just watching, enjoying, proud to know them.

Jax sends them to another memory, Gideon at the Book Club they used to have, sharing gossip about Constantine going to see Harry Potter’s midnight screening.

Zari, Nora, and Ava smile and laugh and gasp

I’d watch a whole hour of the Ladies of Legends dunking on Constantine. (PS. OMG HI NORA.)

They go to a karaoke night where Sara is singing so poorly she has to ask Gideon to help her.

Sara wails into the karaoke mike while Human Gideon, Spooner and Astra laugh in the background

I would pay real American dollars to stream a CWDCTV musical revue. Melissa Benoist, Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin… Just saying. Free idea.

Despite everything they’ve been through, the Legends still found a way to take time to enjoy the pleasure through the pain. Astra says being human is hard, and sometimes it’s terrible, but it’s moments like this that make it all worth it. And even though she wasn’t in human form yet at the time, Gideon was always a crucial part of all of these memories. All of this joy.

The trio is snapped back into the present (sort of; they’re still in Gideon’s brain) and Gideon takes Spooner’s laser gun and storms off; she knows what she has to do.

When Human Gideon comes face to face with Blue Gideon, she asserts her dominance.

Human Gideon points her laser gun at Blue Gideon

Me taking laser tag too seriously.

But then…she puts down her laser gun. She knows Blue Gideon isn’t her enemy, not really. And it’s not until Human Gideon says that Blue Gideon is part of her, but isn’t all of her that I realized what a beautiful metaphor for depression this is, at least the way I often experience it. Blue Gideon wanted to turn off all of the feelings, sacrificing the good feelings to get rid of the bad ones. And that’s how my depression most often presents itself; sick of emoting entirely, it dulls everything. No more tears, but also no more excitement. The pain is muted, but so is the joy. But just because something is part of your wiring, part of your code, doesn’t mean it has to define you. Gideon tells Blue Gideon that she’s in charge now, she’s in control, but she’s not going to defeat her, she knows that’s not really how this works. Instead they will co-exist, with Human Gideon helming the ship.

Human Gideon looks up at Blue Gideon, enlightened

“Day after day, give me clouds, and rain and gray. Give me pain, if that’s what’s real. It’s the price we pay to feel.”

She still doesn’t 100% know how to be human, but she’s learned so much from the Legends, so she’s willing to figure it out.

Gideon smiles at Blue Gideon

SURE, the Legends might be a clone, an alien/clone hybrid, a full alien, three totem bearers, a man of steel, a mind-reader, and the former queen of hell, but I bet they can still teach me how to be human!

Plus, she knows she won’t be doing it alone.

As Gideon walks through the halls of her mind’s Waverider one last time, the Legends past and present all give her unique advice on how to be human, how to be better. At the end, Sara and Ava welcome her to the team, officially.

Sara and Ava smile at Gideon

“On Wednesdays we wear tanks.”

And just like that, the task succeeded, Human Gideon, Spooner, and Astra wake up in the barn they passed out in. Human Gideon is grateful that Spatula saved her, and they tell her that that’s what Legends do. Gideon calls them “captains,” but they are just interim leaders until they can find Sara and Ava; their not ready to give up on Moms that easily. And so they head out, in search of their family…but first, in search of food.

While all this was happening, the version of Bishop that the Legends borrowed to stop Bishop is starting to regain some of his memories. And unfortunately, he had stolen a copy of Gideon when he was on the Waverider, which he now does a factory reset on. Meaning he has a Gideon of his own, but without any of the important lessons we just saw OUR Gideon learn and grow from. Which I’m sure is…fine.

Aside from the Bishop stuff that I know was important to keep the plot moving despite taking a break to stroll down memory lane, I loved this episode a lot. It was a nice reminder of how far the Legends have come, how far the show has come. And what has stayed the same; once it found its footing, firmly in the realm of silly and wacky with a touch of found family feels, it stayed there, for the most part. It tries new things every season but it always keeps the vibe, which is harder than it sounds. Plus, it was queer from day one, and only got queerer over the course of its 100 episodes. But as Emily Andras would say, “We can get gayer,” so here’s hoping to 100 more, each one queerer than the last.

Next week, more Bullet Blonde buffoonery! See you then.

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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 560 articles for us.

10 Comments

  1. Gods, I bloody love this show! Missed MRS and would have loved to have seen Amaya/Charlie again, but seeing spydaddy, Ray & Nora, even Rip and Cold again (but not you hawkman, never you…) was just amazing.
    One of my fave running gags was English actor (and statuesque goddess) Olivia Swann complaining about all the English accents!
    And #Spatula, was there ever a cuter height difference ship??

  2. I only found Autostraddle and your recaps last season, but I’ve still absolutely loved reading them in that relatively short time. And it’s such an amazing accomplishment to have done this for the show’s entire run so far! I’ve gotta give you major props for making an already great show even better with your detailed and hilarious writing!

    Also, as far as the season 1 recaps, what happened with those being deleted? Was there something transphobic from that season I’m just not remembering, or was that due to a totally different factor?

    • Sorry I should have been clearer! What Brandi said was right; I used to write for a website that changed leadership then became a transphobic hellscape and deleted all the archives of the writers who wouldn’t come back… but luckily Autostraddle took me on by the time LoT S2 aired and I’ve been living my best life here ever since!

      • Gotcha. That really sucks, especially since they couldn’t be posted on Autostraddle later on, but it’s also good that you didn’t have to compromise on what you believe in. Thanks for clarifying!

  3. I loved everything about this episode except for Bishop ugh. Mission accomplished I suppose.

    Gary gave a pretty good tutorial on how to eat a cookie. Oh look, a Mick Rory cookie. Maybe it’s not a good gag but I thought it was a very good gag.

  4. I feel like Sara and Ava could have an entire conversation using just “babe”, tone, and body language.

    All-iday is a wonderful idea and especially appropriate for this pandemic era where all the days blur together anyway.

    The OG Legends playing camped up versions of themselves is just *chef finger kisses*. It reminds me of an episode of Buffy, “The Zeppo”, where we see the Scooby Gang from a different POV, so the melodrama is turned up to eleven. And it makes sense in canon. Humans are weird. To a computer, they must be downright incomprehensible.

    —-

    So… are we going to address the elephant in the room? If Bishop deviates to far from the sacred timeline, he’ll never introduce the Bossy Ava brand, and OUR Ava will have never existed.

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