Legends of Tomorrow season 5 review: The best Legends has ever been

DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- "The One Where We're Trapped on TV" -- Image Number: LGN514b_0459b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary and Jes Macallan as Ava Sharpe -- Photo: Jack Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- "The One Where We're Trapped on TV" -- Image Number: LGN514b_0459b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary and Jes Macallan as Ava Sharpe -- Photo: Jack Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Legends of Tomorrow episode“The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” is far and away the most ambitious (and entertaining) hour the show has ever produced. 

Given the tumultuous relationship we’ve had with the Legends of Tomorrow season 5 so far (the show frequently hops between churning out duds and releasing  modern classics) we weren’t sure what to expect going into “The One Where We’re Trapped on TV”. The episode, after all, billed itself as one of the show’s wildest installments yet (if that can be believed).

However, after a fast-paced, tightly-written hour of genre-hopping full of laugh tracks and William Shatner impressions, we’re convinced that “The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” is actually the best episode Legends has ever released.

Picking up after the events of last week’s episode, which saw the Fates take control of the Loom and Charlie seemingly betraying the Legends (again), the hour begins on a 1984-esque doom world where the Fates control society and all humanity lives to slave away in a factory, donning grey jumpsuits and eating only suspiciously colored bowls of mush for sustenance.

We meet Mona – or this timeline’s version of her, anyway – who is forced to use her literary talents to “sanitize” history. But when she comes home from work one day and flips on the TV, she discovers that the crazy crackpot Gary spouting nonsense on the street may not be as insane as he seems. Her only form of entertainment is a TV network (written by the Fates, of course) which is host to a gaggle of shows – all of which feature the Legends, who have been trapped there, memories erased.

From the second that the communist, Fates-themed opening credits began to roll, we knew we were in for one heck of an episode, but we had no idea just how crazy it would get. Ever since the show switched gears and embraced its sillier side back in season 4, Legends has been touting itself as the most insane show in the DCTV Universe, but it hasn’t always lived up to that promise. Either that, or it over-relies on craziness and forgets to take care of its characters – but “The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” turns things up to the max on both sides.

The first show we visit is “Best Buds”, a pot-themed parody of Friends starring Nate, Behrad, and Zari. Complete with 90s costumes, a recreation of Rachel’s apartment, and some obnoxiously bad laugh tracks, “Best Buds” is a pitch-perfect parody, but it quickly grounds itself with some serious stakes when the original Zari (who we’ll call Zari 1.0) possesses Zari 2.0s’s body.

We were shocked to see Zari 1.0 back so suddenly, but not as surprised as she was to find out that her brother Behrad had grown up, or that he and Nate had no memory of her, other than as their co-star on the show. Luckily, Zari’s quick thinking gets them one step closer to finding a way out – they travel to a Downton Abbey parody called “Highcastle Abbey”. There, the trio meets a hilariously buttoned-up and slicked back version of Constantine, who serves as the Abbey’s butler, a well as Astra and her mother.

As we later find out from Charlie, she engineered Highcastle Abbey specifically to fulfill what she thought Constantine and Astra wanted – Astra would have her mother back, and Constantine would finally get to see Astra grow up happy instead of in hell. However, just like Nate and Behrad, they don’t have their memories and instead speak and act within the constraints of their show, which gives Matt Ryan an amazing opportunity to show off his comedic chops as an Alfred-type with a starched collar and a stuffy British accent.

However, slicked-back hair or not, this version of Constantine still has his powers, and Zari convinces him to use his abilities to portal them to Sara – who happens to be in “Star Quest” which is, you guessed it, a Star Trek parody.

After an amazingly macabre twist on the familiar opening spiel of the Star Trek intro (Oh,  did we forget to mention? Each time the characters hop from one show to the other, we get a parody version of the theme song), we see Sara and Ava, who are manning a ship eerily similar to the enterprise.

Sara, of course, is captain, and Caity Lotz is either a huge Trekkie or studied hard, because her William Shatner impression is spot-on. She makes a hilariously believable Kirk, and we’d be the first to sign up for an entire season of Star Quest just for more of her impression. At her side is her trusty first officer Ava, who is also a pretty blow-for-blow parody of T’Pol, the bowl-cut bearing Vulcan from Star Trek: Enterprise.

When the rest of their crew arrives it’s as the alien “Gromulans” (guess which Trek species they’re ever-so-creatively based off of), and although Kirk/Sara originally wants to blast them out of the sky, Zari beams them aboard to her ship, and the gang is back together (for the most part).

Lest we forget, but the entirety of this is playing out in front of the 1984 citizens of the Fate’s world just as it is for us, and Mona and Gary figure out that the Legends have lost their memories. Together, the two of them find a way to rewrite the narrative of the episodes, and after placing the  Legends in Mr. Parker’s Neighborhood (a show we haven’t visited since Ray was around) they change the script so that the Legends all have their memories back.

Zari and Nate have an amorous reunion, as to Sara and Ava, but they don’t enjoy things for too long, because Charlie discovers Mona and Gary have been messing with the show’s plotlines and isn’t having it. We’re still not sure where Charlie stands – initially we thought she was just pretending to align with the fates, but in last night’s episode, she seemed like she really didn’t want the Legends coming back.

Nonetheless, Charlie sends all of the Legends back to their respective shows (via a musical number about repressing your emotions, because of course), but our heroes quickly realize that all they have to do to be reunited is die in their show or get it canceled, which they all successfully do. Reunited yet again, the Legends begin planning to find a way out, but Charlie begs them not to mess things up.

She reveals that being trapped in the TV shows was her compromise with the Fates to prevent the Legends from being killed and that she put them there for their own good. She even tries to convince Nate and Behrad to comply by splitting Zari into two people – Zari 1.0 and 2.0, both of whom are glad to see Nate and Behrad, respectively.

However, even with Zari split in two, the Legends still aren’t content to go back to a life of mediocre television acting, and resolve to rewrite history (yet again) by taking control of the Loom of Fate. It’s quite the premise to build next week’s season finale on, and although we have no clue how Legends could top this week’s entry, we can’t wait to see what direction the show takes after such a stellar episode.

In the end, “The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” is without a doubt Legends of Tomorrow‘s best episode ever – filled to the brim with loving homage to classic shows while also keeping a strong sense of self through it’s wonderfully developed characters, and never forgetting to add a key dash of Legends-brand insanity.

Next. We're getting the Star Trek Captain Pike spin-off we deserve. dark

What did you think of last night’s episode? What was your favorite parody show? Sound off in the comments below.