It’s time to unmask the Legends of Tomorrow 603 recap, The Ex-Factor.
Last we left the Legends, Sara Lance found herself on a mystery planet with her alien abductor Gary and got bit and poisoned by Amelia Earhart, and Ava was leading the Legends, including newbie alien hunter Spooner, on a mission to save their captain.
We open with another of the alien escapees that has landed on Earth, but this one in the year 2045. He demands to know the world’s leader from some very scared regular humans, and sees a tabloid that calls Zari’s ex DJ S’more Money the king because he won a reality show last year.
It doesn’t really sound like a thing we need to care about, until Zari gets a message on her future-phone from her hilariously-named assistant Les-lay about DJ S’mores getting eviscerated by an alien.
This call interrupts Zari’s makeout session with Constantine, as well as Constantine trying to get Zari to do relationshippy stuff with him and Zari changing the subject to the punk song singing about falling in love with someone you shouldn’t. I normally wouldn’t even mention such a thing here because I personally think Zari deserves better but it does become relevant later, so stick that macaroni in your hat for now.
The Legends get the information from Gideon (who once again is alarmingly delighted about evisceration… should we be worried about her?) and figure out from the interaction that probably the robot alien thought DJ S’mores was a leader of sorts.
Ava starts to hand out roles for the mission, and asks Mick to show Spooner the ropes, but Mick just stomps off as usual. Spooner is surprised because Ava seems to command more respect than that, and Nate tries to write it off as Mick being upset that Sara’s gone. But he’s barking up the wrong lesbian if he wants that to excuse his bad behavior.
Nate tries to make up for his insensitivity by reassuring Ava that Sara is probably fine, kicking butt and taking unpronounceable names on some other planet like her fellow bisexual badass, Valkyrie.
But the truth is, when we go back to see how Sara is doing, she’s not doing so hot. Gary tries to get her to rally, but she’s too weak from her gnarly alien bite so she tells Gary he’ll have to fight. Gary waggles his noodle arms at her and asks how exactly he’s supposed to do that but she reminds him that his true form is an alien body that has a gaping maw in its chest. Gary is hesitant to just gobble people up all willy nilly, but Sara is in full assassin mode now and says sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do just to survive, just to get to the other side. And she says Ava is her other side now, and she’ll do anything to get back to her. So Gary has to alien up and do the same.
The Legends go to Hollywood, 2045, where the Rock is president and reality competition shows are the only reason network TV still exists. The singing competition on question, Da Throne, is down to its final few contestants, but much like this season of The Masked Singer, there will be a wild card contestant thrown in. (Don’t ask me why I know that.)
Zari channels her inner socialite and the Dragon Girl makes an appearance on the red carpet, causing enough of a buzz to allow Ava, Behrad, and Nate to sneak inside.
After patiently waiting his turn, an alien we will call Lord Knox takes the stage to announce he’s here to slay the king. But before he can do that, the Legends jump in and fight him, which everyone thinks is just part of the show. And when he wins the round and DJ S’mores tells him that he’s one step closer to earning the crown, Lord Knox accepts these terms and goes peacefully backstage.
Back on the Waverider, Spooner holds Mick’s beer hostage while she asks him what his entire deal is. He tells her she shouldn’t bother unpacking, and she realizes he might be bitter that he’s the last of the Old Guard left now that Sara is missing. He grumps off but one thing is becoming pointedly clear: Spooner isn’t going to sit back and take his shit like everyone else on this team.
In Hollywood, Ava once again gets to put her acting chops to the test as she pretends to be a handler for the show and manages to escort Lord Knox right into the Waverider’s holding cell. Once he’s safe inside the barrier, Ava asks him about Sara Lance, but all he knows about her is that Ava’s heart rate increased slightly when she mentioned her.
Lord Knox explains that he was abducted and when he crashed here he decided to just carry on his primal objective of world domination. He has technology that even Gideon can’t compete with, and accuses them of not fighting with honor. But they realize he’s a baddie they can actually rationalize with so they convince him that the only way to be king is the compete in the singing contest, and after spending only a brief time with humans, he understands that this is exactly the kind of idiocy humans would use to determine their leaders so he buys it.
After making her grand re-entrance into society, Zari sits down with Les-lay and learns that her business has been tanking in her absence. It turns out it’s hard to be the face of a company when your face isn’t plastered all over every screen. But it’s telling that, as upset as Zari is about this news, her mind is still on the mission first and foremost. She asks Ava for the go-ahead to try something and Ava gives it without question; a formidable little duo, those two are becoming.
So while Constantine distracts DJ S’mores, Zari finds a camera to talk into and declares herself the wild card for the competition.
Spooner, used to being a team of one, watches Ava gracefully maneuver her team into place and using all her players to their strengths and she’s impressed. She settles in next to Ava and they watch as Zari sing.
Zari’s song is about being an international nasty girl and would make Girls5Eva proud, winning the hearts of America and earning her a spot in the final round.
On their mysterious planet, Gary takes Sara’s advice and starts tentacle-whipping a little horde of uniformed guards that come marching toward them. He starts gobbling them up while Sara wanders off after what seems like a hallucination of Ava.
But when Gary goes to peek under the helmet of the last guard he didn’t feast upon, he realizes it’s an Ava clone. In fact, it’s beginning to seem likely the whole planet is full of Ava clones. And that means Sara is meandering right into danger.
Backstage at Da Throne, Les-lay and the boys decide to give Constantine a makeover so he can make an appearance in Zari’s behind-the-scenes interview to up her chances of winning with a dash of romance. As he gets shuffled off to hair and makeup, Zari’s mom comes wooshing in, demanding to know why Zari is on her favorite show and no one told her. They have a conversation about her mom’s expectations and if I’m being honest it felt like a vessel for getting Constantine to overhear Zari calling him just a fling when really I wish this emotional moment was just about their mother/daughter relationship, and not about him, but I’ll admit my bias on this one.
Either way, Tala Ashe acted the hell out of the scene and even though hearing a mom say “you look tired” made my eye twitch in a very familiar way, it was a nice addition to this episode-long reminder about what the life Zari left behind was like.
The on-air interview goes about as well as you would expect with Constantine involved; he can’t spend five minutes doing something for someone else, and immediately is overwhelmed by his own feelings, and of course decides they’re more important than Zari’s feelings, or the mission, and he storms off.
When Zari catches up with him, he accuses her of being fake, and she’s confused why he’s making this sound like news. He knew about her Dragon Girl persona, why is this a surprise to him? He also knew where she stood re: their relationship. In fact, she was under the impression it was where they both stood. Constantine clearly disagrees but instead of using his words, he storms off again.
DJ S’mores waits til Zari is alone and offers her power ballad for her final performance, to prove she doesn’t need a man to win, and since I imagine she didn’t have very solid plans anyway, she accepts.
On the mysterious planet of mysteries, Sara is still trying to follow Ava but the poison in her system is spreading. When the Ava she’s following turns around and looks at her and doesn’t answer Sara’s question about where they’re going, Sara knows something is wrong.
As soon as Ava turns her back, Sara clocks her, saying, and I quote, “You think I don’t know my own Ava?” And it’s very sweet.
During Lord Knox’s backstage interview, he describes an alien that kidnapped him called Kayla, describing her in detail while Ava and Spooner (and presumably most of America) watch intently.
Mick stumbles out of his room and decides to go rogue, pointing Gideon’s lasers at the Hollywood studio, despite Ava’s protests. I’m not sure why Gideon isn’t programmed to have Ava’s commands override anyone else’s, but before Mick can shoot said laser, Lord Knox calls for backup and dozens of alien spaceships appear in Earth’s atmosphere. Ava gives Mick her sternest “you fucked up” voice and Mick realizes that maybe this time he took things too far.
But like a lot of people do when they realize they messed up but are too proud to admit it, before he backs off, he doubles down. When Ava confronts him about his bad attitude, first he points his fire blaster right at her. He tells Ava that if she were the one kidnapped, Sara would have found her by now. And Ava doesn’t disagree.
But of course, Sara being missing isn’t all on Mick’s mind. Lita is in college now and isn’t answering his calls as much as she used to. She’s growing up and doesn’t need her dad like she used to, but you know who does still need him? No really, do you? Because Ava says the Legends do, but I personally am not so sure.
Ava tells Mick to shape up or ship out because if they’re going to save Sara, they have to at the very least stop getting in each other’s way.
Les-lay slinks around backstage looking like nun-murderer Katy Perry and up to about as much good, cornering Constantine and trying to get him to pose with here for scandalous posed photos of him cheating on Zari. Turns out, Les-lay is a fake friend and only cares about Zari as far as her money and fame are concerned, and she thinks Zari’s unhappiness sells better than her contentment.
Constantine starts to realize what Zari has been up against in this world she was thrust into at a young age and quits his job as Les-lay’s puppet.
In a nearby dressing room, DJ S’mores offers Lord Knox the same girl power ballad he offered Zari, which Lord Knox doesn’t mind because his alien race doesn’t adhere to binary gender roles. So while he cannot relate to the song in question, he certainly isn’t offended by the thought of singing it. So he synthesizes the most popular vocalists in history and prepares to sing like something churned out of the Disney boy band factory.
The boys of the Legends realize that DJ S’mores gave them both the same song too late to stop Lord Knox from singing it, and Ava and Spooner are enthralled by watching this seemingly stiff metallic man groove to the pop power ballad.
The song even mentions being a Dragon Girl but Lord Knox isn’t here to be moving and emotional, he’s here to be technically good so he can win. Zari is upset and she thinks her plan backfired; she assumes this means she’s lost the competition. No matter how well she sang the same song, it would look like she’s just copying the crowd favorite.
Constantine decides that right now is the best time to air out his issues with Zari calling them a fling, and he says he wants more with her, even if they both have a history of relationships blowing up in their faces. Constantine asks if they can be something real, and in response Zari goes out on stage and sings a soft, slow version of the punk song they were listening to earlier in the episode. Constantine grabs his guitar and joins her so they can punk it up, and even though I still think Constantine is a selfish git and that Zari deserves better, this moment was admittedly very cute.
Zari wins and Lord Knox bows to the true and rightful queen. Once they get back on the ship, Ava smiles proudly at Zari; she never doubted her for a second.
Zari thanks the whole team and, now that the battle is done, Lord Knox exits his metal exoskeleton to reveal he’s actually quite itty bitty. He’s about to tell them more about their highly advanced race of aliens that honestly probably has really efficient ways of tracking missing ship captains but before anyone can ask, Rory smooshes him beneath his big stupid foot.
Mick is sure that they already have all the information they need from the artist formerly known as Lord Knox because he has a police sketch of the alien named Kayla he described in his backstage interview. He thinks that Kayla is the key to finding Sara.
Though they better hurry because as Sara stumbles into a room on this mystery planet, where the song Space Girl is playing, she finds a man that seems to know exactly who she is…even though her face is turning a sickly purple.
This show continues to be a truly wild ride and even though it is keeping us from some sweet lady kisses I love that the whole driving force between this whole season is two queer ladies just trying to find their way back to one another.
Next week it looks like the Legends are off to almost cause and then prevent World War 3! See ya then.