DC’s Legends of Tomorrow season 5 episode 3 review: More filler than thriller

Legends of Tomorrow -- ÒSlay AnythingÓ -- Image Number: LGN503a_0395bc.jpg -- Pictured: Courtney Ford as Nora Darhk -- Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Legends of Tomorrow -- ÒSlay AnythingÓ -- Image Number: LGN503a_0395bc.jpg -- Pictured: Courtney Ford as Nora Darhk -- Photo: Jeff Weddell/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Legends of Tomorrow’s “Slay Anything” is a harmless and, at times, clever episode that doesn’t commit and ends up feeling like an ’80s slasher-themed filler as opposed to a meaningful or necessary episode. 

Up until this point in the seasonDC’s Legends of Tomorrow has had a strong track record. But we’re sorry to say “Slay Anything” is the first dud of the season. The episode follows the Legends as they attempt to track down and incapacitate the most recent “encore,” a prolific serial killer from the early 2000s who murdered a group of his former classmates at a high school reunion. The Legends believe the killer to be a young man (creatively named Freddy Myers) seeking revenge on his classmates for being shunned, so they return to his high school prom in 1989 to prevent him from going bad.

“Slay Anything” marks Nora’s return to Legends of Tomorrow, which is one of the episode’s few high points. Although in the past it’s felt like the show has been unsure of exactly how to use her now-reformed character, it was nice to see Courtney Ford get her time in the spotlight — especially considering Ray and Nora (a couple both onscreen and in real life) will be leaving the show soon. Giving her a chance to shine feels like the lead-up to a fond send-off.

Nora befriends teenage Freddy and uses her fairy godmother abilities to create the perfect prom night for him, successfully preventing his devolution into a murderer. The plot is sweet and relatively harmless, but it holds very little consequence on the show’s narrative as a whole.

Normally, when a time-travel plot on Legends of Tomorrow lacks relevance, it’s supplemented by the more crowd-pleasing aspects like fun costumes, lingo, or whatever other trappings come with the time period, but the show’s version of 1989 doesn’t pop nearly as much as it should, given just how much ’80’s nostalgia has been in media lately.

What makes this even more surprising is that, as the title implies, “Slay Anything” is pulling double duty as a horror/slasher parody and an ’80s teen film parody, which means it should have double the source material to draw from (as Nate says, it goes from John Hughes to John Carpenter). However, the show ends up doing neither very well. Even more disappointing is that the show has already done both concepts in prior episodes, and much more impactfully (3×04 for the ’80s tribute, 4×04 for the slasher homage).

As for the rest of the Legends, they also do shockingly little in this episode — not a single member of the main mission makes any ground when it comes to stopping the “encores”, and the team member who is actually trying to solve their problem (Constantine) is relegated to a few minutes of screen time instead of what should be a full B-plot. The Constantine plot is also the first time we’ve seen Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) this season, and there is so little substance for the two of them that we assume an entire story was left on the cutting room floor.

The one other cast member who does get his time to shine, though, is Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell). Rory is given so little screen time during the series as a whole that it’s shockingly easy to forget that he’s been a mainstay since the pilot. (Remember when the time lords tortured him and turned him into a time-traveling bounty hunter named Chronos? The show sure doesn’t.)

Other than a side plot that cast him as a romance writer, he rarely does much other than grunt and light things on fire when instructed to do so by another crewmember. It’s a shame because Purcell is still 100-percent committed to the role and is an incredibly capable actor, who (for whatever reason) has remained on the show despite being given virtually nothing of substance to do.

“Slay Anything” is a refreshing change of pace for Rory, who reignites with an old flame (har har) in 2004, when it’s revealed that the high school Freddy Myers attended was also Rory’s high school (but he neglected to mention it to the other Legends because he skipped the team meeting). The reveal is one of the episode’s funniest moments, and Purcell goes all out in the comically intense makeout scene at the end of the episode once the day is saved.

As for the rest of the main cast, it’s difficult to say exactly what they were doing, because the majority of the episode was spent running, screaming, and getting thrown into walls by a reincarnated telekinetic serial killer. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that such a promising premise ended up the jumbled mess that is “Say Anything”, so we were relieved when the credits rolled with the promise of a French revolution-themed romp on the horizon for next week.

Next. DC's Legends of Tomorrow season 5 episode 2 review: A tribute to film noir. dark

Are you a fan of ’80s teen movies? What’s your favorite slasher film? Sound off in the comments below.