“Legends of Tomorrow” Episode 601 Recap: Close Encounters of the Gay Kind

Hello and welcome back to Legends of Tomorrow recaps! Today we will be covering episode 601, Ground Control to Sara Lance. Before we get into it though, a quick disclaimer…

In November, around the time of the election, Caity Lotz made comments in tweets (and doubled down on them in her replies/kept them up) about how you shouldn’t hate people for hating you and more tone policing privileged hippie nonsense about how love will cure racism/homophobia/etc. It was harmful and upsetting, especially WHEN she was tweeting these things, especially with her huge platform, especially as someone who is a prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ nerd community, even if she’s not part of it herself. And I can’t speak for everyone, but going into this season, it feels a little like someone poured slightly expired milk all over a bowl of my favorite cereal.

Like, I’m going to eat it, because it’s delicious and I don’t want to waste it, and the milk wasn’t TOTALLY spoiled, but every delicious bite leaves a bit of a yucky aftertaste. Unless she does something new worth discussing (which someone will have to bring to my attention because I unfollowed her on social media) I don’t plan on bringing this up again, but I just wanted to address it, both to let you know where I stand on the matter (you don’t owe any oppressive majority anything; not your time, not your kindness, and certainly not your respect) and in case my feelings about Caity bleed onto my feelings about Sara. I’m going to try to keep them separate because the writers have been so good to us and Sara Lance has always been a great character, but I’m only human. Plus, there are SO many other wonderful people involved in this show, and I don’t want one misguided person to steal our joy.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it, shall we?

Previously on Legends of Tomorrow, Original Zari got locked in the totem, Charlie decided to live a Legend-less life, Astra joined the land of the (mortal) living, and Sara Lance got abducted by aliens.

Mick returns to the Waverider, presumably the morning after we just left them, and finds it trashed by what looks like one hell of a punk party. (My favorite piece of graffiti just said GO FATE YOURSELF.) Mick picks his way through the mess and eventually finds a very hungover Ava using the Waverider’s only toilet as a pillow.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Ava Sharpe looks hungover in her punk look.

Live footage of me re-emerging into society now that I’m vaccinated.

Ava doesn’t get how Mick is standing up right now, and he tells her that he left the party early to get his daughter to bed. Ava realizes then that normally Sara would have made sure she ended up in bed and not on the floor so she sets off to find her gal. Ava knows where to look next like the back of her hand…no wait, sorry, she knows where to look because it’s WRITTEN on her hand. So off they head to the hotel where the supposed after after party was going to be.

Unfortunately, Ava didn’t have said hand over her eyes when she entered the hotel room in question, so she got an eyeful of the very confusing Zari/Constantine situation happening. She immediately starts throwing up, which is hilarious, and the duo doesn’t know where Sara is, but they also have a clue. This clue doesn’t lead them to Sara either, but their tumbleweed catches more Legends as it goes, this time catching Astra before she gets herself in trouble for absolutely cleaning up at a casino. Next they find Behrad, who is having a one-sided conversation with a member of the Queen’s Guard.

Astra, Ava, and Zari in their punk getups.

One last moment of appreciation for everyone’s punk looks.

Behrad leads them to Nate, who is talking to David Bowie, but Ava doesn’t care who this glam rocker is because he’s not Sara. Though as they start to walk away, Bowie starts singing a song about Sara, so Ava takes his Super 8 film and his memories and they continue their quest for their captain.

Back on the Waverider, the team watches Bowie’s video of meeting Sara, and Ava can’t help but smile when she sees how thrilled Sara was when she saw the Starman and they find out that Sara had planned on proposing to Ava that night. She had a ring and everything.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Ava covers her face in joy as she watches the footage of Sara talking about proposing.

Happy Ava = Happy Me

The video ends with Sara being abducted by aliens, which sends Ava into a bit of a spiral, and she spins right out of the room while the Legends do their best to debrief without her.

When Sara wakes up, she’s in a too-small space, in an unfamiliar place, but she manages to escape the pod before it makes her a Lancicle.

Sara wakes up in a pod.

You’d think they would have turned on the cryo freeze while she was unconscious but that’s just me.

But when she looks around the ship and sees Earth outside the window instead of the Time Stream, she knows she’s not on the Waverider anymore.

In Sara’s absence, Ava takes on her role as interim captain, and hands everyone Save Sara binders, and holds firmy to her clipboard. One by one she gives an order that is promptly defied, and one by one she checks off a list of the things she knew her team would do no matter what she said. She knows her team, and she knows her team works, so she lets them do what they need to do. Ava trusts the process.

Ava also believes in calling for help, and she knows just who to call to deal with aliens: the DEO. Nate asks her if it will be weird to talk to Alex Danvers, and I scream I DON’T CARE I WANT IT ANYWAY, and Ava says no because they weren’t together at the time so it’s not like she cheated, and Ava knows damn well that Sara slept her way across time and space before they started dating. “Sara doesn’t like to be alone.” Ava understands Sara in a way few before her have. (And Ava has likely seen Alex Danvers and thus is not surprised.)

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Ava puts a hand up to stop Nate from creating fake drama.

“I would sleep with Alex too if we were both single at a wedding, what’s your point?”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in space, another cryo-pod opens and Sara Lance finds herself face to face with Spartacus. (Oh how I missed the wacky sentences this show makes me write.)

Sara looks at Spartacus skeptically.

“I hear you have a friend named Mira who looks a lot like my ex-girlfriend.”

In his magic mansion, Constantine has been trying to use his psychic connection to Sara (that is either real or imagined, it’s unclear) to find her, but when that doesn’t work, Zari turns to Astra; surely she knows someone who could help. Astra isn’t sure how she can be of any use in her newly human form, but Zari knows the value of a solid social network.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Zari smirks at Astra.

I will forever miss OG Zari but Zari 2.0 has 200% won me over. It’s like if Alexis Rose was an actual genius.

When Ava calls the DEO, she learns a few things all at once. A) Landlines are very durable. B) National City has been slacking on rubble cleanup in Supergirl’s absence, and C) next time she should just get Alex’s number so she can go right to the source.

Ava looks incredulously at Nate.

“You know, maybe I SHOULD start that CWDCTVLGBTQ club. We can meet in Gotham at The Hold Up.

Ava is starting to freak out a little because that was her Plan A and as a Type A she was really counting on her Plan A, but Nate tells her that they were already on Plan B the moment Sara went missing, so Ava has to start thinking like the Captain of the Legends, not like the director of the Time Bureau.

And Ava has already set herself up for success on that front by letting the Legends be themselves, and she’s immediately rewarded when Behrad comes back from a smoke break with a tabloid article about a girl named Esperanza who got abducted by aliens when she was younger and has been able to communicate with them ever since.

Ava thinks this might be a dead end but is willing to try anything to get Sara back, so she sends Behrad and Mick to find the grown-up version of this girl and talk her into helping them.

On the mystery ship, Sara is following Spartacus, who is very much not listening to her, including about how maybe they should check the contents of the mechanical sarcophagi before opening them. But of course he does what he wants anyway, and sure enough, instead of letting out another conventionally attractive fighter, this pod releases a very large and pretty angry looking alien.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Sara looks in awe and mild horror.

Toxic masculinity ruins the party again.

Sara immediately goes into fight mode while Spartacus just…watches. Literally doesn’t even flex a pec to help her, even though this is all his fault. Sara can handle it on her own, of course, but it’s the principle of the thing!

She asks him what the hell he was doing and he said he was strategizing; watching and waiting to see how things played out, and if the alien killed Sara, he would have avenged her death. In a very hilarious DC-vs-Marvel dig, Sara says, “Being an avenger is stupid.”

Ava points her weapon down at Spartacus.

“The Preventers” sounds like a parody superhero movie and I’m kind of into it.

She says that she prefers to prevent death altogether (and also defy it, but that’s just a Sara thing) and tells him to join the Preventers with her. Annoyed, Sara leads the way this time, and he wisely follows.

Behrad and Mick follow their information to the middle-of-nowhere, in a pretty classic looking conspiracy theorist bunker. Behrad just wants to ring the doorbell and politely ask for Ms. Cruz’s help, but Mick is as impatient as ever and shoots his way in. Esperanza sees this happening on her security cameras though, and she and her knife get ready to greet the intruders.

Sara and Spartacus make their way through the unfamiliar halls and end up finding the aliens in the control room of the ship. Once again, Sara tries to tell Spartacus how to best approach the situation, but despite watching her single-handedly take down the alien he let loose, he decides his manly man brain knows best, and charges the aliens, getting fully consumed faster than you can say, “Feed me, Seymour.”

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Sara looks like she's glad it was Spartacus and not her that got eaten.

I’m going to miss this choker when it’s gone.

The two aliens look like they have a bit of a fight, and one of them heads back in the direction of the pods, so Sara slinks after it. When the alien notices that there’s a second open pod, it seems to become distressed, and then when it turns around, finds itself face to face with the business end of Sara’s stick.

Sara holds the alien at pipe-point.

I love an improvised weapon.

Sara demands to know why she was taken onto this ship.

Taking Zari’s sage advice, Astra has gone through her metal rolodex and remembered that there was a man in hell named Aleister Crowley who used to talk of alien encounters in his Book of the Law. Constantine says that he summoned that man and trapped him on Earth (fun fact: this is a real man and a real book and also it makes sense that Constantine was the one to summon him since, like Constantine, Aleister was bisexual) but worry not, Constantine has the book right here in the manor. When Constantine notices the book isn’t where it belongs, he yells Gary’s name and storms up to his apprentice’s room. Unfortunately when he gets there, it’s not only the book he finds, but also a cocoon. Perhaps more upsettingly…an empty cocoon.

Sara helps us put two and who together when she watches the alien in front of her put glasses on and transform into the one, the only, Gary “Demon Nipple” Green.

Back on the Waverider, Ava is stoically surveying the Legends and Nate can tell she’s bottling up her emotions.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Ava gives Nate A Look

Also me when someone tries to get me to process my feelings before I’m ready. (Spoiler alert: I’m never ready.)

He specifically mentions the proposal, but Ava says there will be plenty of time for feeling her feelings when they get Sara back. Until then, she has to stay focused.

When Behrad and Mick enter Esperanza’s house, they are immediately hit with tranquilizer darts, and I am immediately hit with Cupid’s arrow.

Esperanza Cruz in a cowgirl hat, lookin cute as heck.

Consider my heart lassoed.

Esperanza straps them to tables and Ava can hear it happening through the comms, and her stress levels rise and more and more Legends go missing, and she blames Nate for making her lose focus by having to justify using the Lena Luthor method of compartmentalizing.

Though her little boxes are threatening to collapse under the weight of this day when Zari, Astra, and Constantine bring her the news that Gary is an alien, complete with proof by way of his spare glasses.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Astra and Zari 2 present their findings.

The fact that I’m already shipping these two even though my Zarlie heart is still not fully recovered is proof I am truly slash trash.

And it’s almost too much information for one clone woman to take.

On the alien ship, Gary admits that he did in fact abduct Sara. He says he was sent to find the “quintessential human” but then fell in love with the Legends. I have to imagine Sara Lance wasn’t his original target though, that he went down to find someone else like John Diggle or something, and just got caught up with the Legends, because I’m not even sure Sara Lance can be considered 100% human anymore considering how many times she’s died and been brought back to life, not to mention the fact that she’s the wielder of the Totem of Death and she’s also the Paragon of Destiny. Even if she IS human, she is certainly nowhere near the most typical, and with her history as an assassin, she also is nowhere near the ideal human either. So either Gary really misunderstood the assignment, or Sara wasn’t his original target. But he did kidnap her today, because his boss told him to, but he also is the reason she was able to get herself out of that pod. Sara frankly doesn’t care all that much about why she’s here, all she knows is that she wants to get back; she knows how Ava worries.

Sara looks annoyed.

I do appreciate that neither Ava nor Sara really care who these aliens are or what they want as much as they care about getting back to each other.

Gary hadn’t even thought about how this would affect his former idol and boss and is horrified by the thought of causing her pain, and offers his life up to Sara right there on the spot. Sara doesn’t want his life though, she just wants to go home. She asks him to tell her about the ship, and he starts telling the story of Avalance, which honestly is relatable, because I can’t tell you how many times someone at work will say something fairly mundane, and I assume it’s a pop culture reference, and say as much, and am wrong.

Behrad and Mick learn that Esperanza actually goes by Spooner, and she is indeed a wee bit…well, paranoid isn’t quite the right word, but she’s definitely been alone for too long. She finds the comm in Behrad’s ear and digs it out, and as she tunes it to her radio, she hears Ava saying they’re bringing the ship to their location, and Spooner thinks the aliens are returning for her.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Spooner talks into her walkie.

I would watch the movie this shot would be the poster for.

The Waverider starts to land near Spooner’s house but she runs out with a laser gun and tries to beam them down Scottie. Desperate, Ava uses her teleport watch to go down on the ground and stand face to face with Spooner, promising she’s not an alien, and trying to explain the situation. She finally lets out all the feelings she’s been bottling up, and begs this strange woman holding a laser gun to her to help them find the aliens who abducted the woman she loves so she can accept the interrupted proposal.

Ava pleads with Spooner

I can’t tell if Spooner thinking Ava was trying to manipulate her with her big gay love story is proof she’s queer too or if I just assume everyone on this show is queer until stated otherwise.

Unfortunately, Spooner wasn’t as moved by this show of emotion and is about to shoot Ava anyway, but Behrad and Mick got out of their restraints just in time and return the favor of tranquility.

On Gary’s alien spacecraft, Sara changes from her punk costume (boo) into a jumpsuit (yay!) and tells Gary the plans to commandeer the ship, open a wormhole, and go home. Step one is to get Kayla the Alien Captain out of their hair, which Sara plans to do with the same distraction technique she used to capture Gary. But Kayla is smarter than everyone else Sara has encountered on this ship so instead of being able to trap her, Sara has to fight her.

Gary tries to open the wormhole while Sara fights, but Sara ends up the one trapped in a pod, and this one wasn’t jailbroken by Gary to let her open it from the inside, so instead she just has to stand there as the cold slowly seeps into her bones.

When Spooner wakes up on what seems an awful lot like an alien spaceship, she’s ready to punch her way out if she has to. It’s actually pretty adorable. Have I mentioned I already love her?

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Spooner has her lil fists up like she's ready to fight.

Big Scrappy Doo energy.

Ava promises to help her take out whatever alien tracker is in her head if Spooner will just use it one last time to help them find Sara. So they give Spooner a green smoothie with a shot of Gary Chrysalis in it, which she downs like a champ, and tosses Ava her tinfoil-lined cowgirl hat.

Constantine does some magic and links Spooner up with Gary, and she can tell that he’s trying to help Sara.

Spooner closes her eyes to focus and she just has a really good profile okay?

She’s been here for five minutes and she’s already been more useful than Nate was all last season.

Constantine realizes he can’t concentrate on holding this spell and also astral project onto the ship, so Ava decides to do it instead. She steps in the middle of the sigil and finds her consciousness in the cryo-pod with Sara, who is on the brink of consciousness.

Ava calls to Sara and says that she better survive, because as soon as she gets back, she’s going to say yes to Sara’s proposal. She tells Sara she loves her and hopes it’s enough as her mind is returned to her body.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Ava's astral projection teary-smiles at Sara.

“I know forever don’t exist, but after this life, I’ll find you in the next. So when I say ‘forever’ it’s the goddamn truth. I’ll keep finding you.”

Sara, both inspired by the will to fight for her girl and also reminded of the engagement ring in her pocket, uses the diamond to cut her way out of the pod just in time.

Sara fights Kayla again and this time ends up knocking Kayla and some occupied cryo-pods into the timestream, which surely will be fine, but regardless of what comes of that, for now, Sara survives.

Sara looks relieved to be alive

“Gotta keep cheating death so Landon Kirby doesn’t beat my record.”

Back at the mansion, Constantine wakes up from a magic hangover nap to see Zari delivering him a recovery smoothie, now with 100% less alien goo. After she leaves, Astra comes in to tease her new roommate about being whipped by Zari. She also wants to thank him for giving her the chance to have a hand at being a regular gal for a while. She doesn’t want to keep getting roped into Legends’ hijinks, not yet. She wants to learn to love the world enough to want to save as much as they do.

Legends of Tomorrow recap: Astra smiles. She's so pretty.

It’s cute how she thinks she doesn’t already care about the Legends to want to save them when she has already yelled at Constantine for not trying hard enough to save Sara.

Up on the ship, Behrad asks Spooner if she wants to stick around, but she just wants to get her chip removed and get back to living her life. However, when Gideon scans her, she doesn’t find any chips. Before anyone can take Gideon up on her (a wee bit too enthusiastic) offer to dissect Spooner’s brain, Spooner hears the aliens entering the timestream. They look outside and see that she’s right, and Ava can’t help but smile. She recognizes this mess because she’s seen it on the floor of her bedroom; this is her girl’s doing. Sara is alive.

Ava smiles proudly.

“That’s my girl.”

And it’s true, Sara is alive and back to yelling at Gary (who was engaged to Kayla, apparently) about the wormhole. They zip toward it as fast as they can, but it closes before they can get through. So, not unlike Kara in the Phantom Zone, it seems like yet another petite blonde protagonist is stranded in space away from her team.

Next week: Doublemeat Palace. 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 564 articles for us.


  1. – David Bowie was treat.
    – It just occurred to me that Behrad and Zari were fine after the night of partying because they don’t drink.
    – Not here for Nate’s manpain.
    – Speaking of…why was he being best friends with Ava this episode when that’s Zari’s thing?
    – I loved Ava’s checklist.
    – When do we get to see Lita again?
    – If Ava and Sara get married this season, next March Madness should be best wlw wedding.

    • because they’re making zari’s story just revolve around the men in her life unfortunately

  2. I laughed at the “Her name was Zari, I’m worried I’ll never see her again. Oh hi Zari!” joke, but I’m hoping that we get Nate the friend this season instead of another Nate romance. Neither of his romances worked for me, and always bring out the worst in his character. I liked his time bureau team up with Ava in season 4 (pre-Zari romance) and loved his friendship with Ray, so I’m hoping we just get his sort of little brother energy this season.

    The Gary alien retcon to me doesn’t quite fit with the unicorn biting off his nipple and his hook-up(s?) with Constantine (I love Legends for making that sentence make perfect sense), BUT I’m happy to roll with it because “falling in love with humans and then failing at his job” does feel very in character.

    I love aliens and space opera and I’m excited to see Legends have fun with the tropes this season. Thank goodness it’s back!!

    • *Maybe* Gary’s body was more human back when he lost his nipple (and virginity)? The chrysalis implies some kind of physical transformation. But then, why the glasses?

      • Maybe every time he takes off his glasses, his hell nipple also morphs back into alien form?

  3. By my count, “Space Girl” is the fourth diegetic song in Legends of Tomorrow. “Tiny Robot Man” does not count because it was only referenced at Trivia Night, never heard.

    I, for one, look forward to the annual CWDCTVLGBTQBYOBBBQ

    Once again, Covid robbed us of a crossover opportunity.

    I love how every season of Legends has been a natural consequence of the previous. At this rate, in season 10 the Legends will have to stop themselves.

  4. We want the first LESBIAN WEDDING on Arrowverse!
    Avalance is the best!!! Sara and Ava scenes were adorable!

  5. As a queer black woman who also has lesbian parents I absolutely adore Caity Lotz. My family has always said despite the racism and homophobia we’ve experienced never waste your energy on hating people who hate you. Love may not cure everything but it can bring peace to the soul and Enemies to friends is something thing my grandmother used to say. To be honest I’d rather have hippy nonsense then anything else these days. Anyways awesome recap!!

  6. BTW, if reports are to believed, Kayla’s human form will be played by none other than Aliyah O’Brien. (Shout out to the Officer Lunchbox/Golly fandom)


  7. I’m so late to the party. I didn’t realize Legends was back! Lisseth Chavez was so great in Chicago pd. I’m glad she’s going to be on legends this season.

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