Spoilers ahead for “Abominations,” the latest episode of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow!
The short version: A rogue time ship escape pod crash-lands in the Civil War, releasing what is essentially a zombie virus. The gang battles zombies in the 1800s, while Jax and Vixen go undercover as slaves.
The good: Jax takes on slavery, zombies, the ship-set horror movie
The big, blaring headline for this episode was “CIVIL WAR ZOMBIES!,” and with good reason. A rogue time ship (possibly piloted by a time pirate) crash-lands in the time stream and ends up in the Civl War era in the heart of Mississippi. He’s carrying a zombie virus, which immediately infects a ton of Confederate soldiers. The entire story behind the virus, apparently called TX-90, is glossed over fairly quickly. Which is actually pretty great. This show knows what it is, and it’s not the kind of show to get caught up in the minutiae of how this crazy stuff happens. [Insert McGuffin Here], then zombies. Fair enough. It sets up a lot of wild action scenes, as the team slugs it out with dozens of undead soldiers.
But easily the best arc in this episode was the story that sent Jax and Vixen undercover as slaves, after a zombie attack kills a Union spy who turns out to play a pivotal role in providing intel for an upcoming battle that could win the war (oops). Jax has always had a big heart, and seeing him try to navigate this brutal world of slavery was difficult (in a good way) to watch. He makes the heartbreaking call early on to not help a woman being beaten, for fear it would mess up the timeline (though they have no problem mowing down zombie Confederates while they wait for a cure to be developed, buy whatevs). But after finding itself face to face with a plantation owner who treats him as a slave, Jax realizes the time stream is already screwed up — because slavery is terrible, and the fact that human beings could even have to endure this is the real aberration in history. He finds hope in the dignity and hope the slaves maintain, against all odds. It’s a powerful moment, especially considering it came in an episode where you’re mostly just wanting to see Mick punch a zombie in the face.
Speaking of Mick, he gets himself infected by a zombi bite — leaving Ray and Stein on the ship to try and cure him. Mick of course turns and gets loose in the ship, and those this little C-story is fairly predictable if you’ve ever seen a horror movie, it’s still fun. They even use some classic horror movie cinematography just to give the little vignettes a different vibe. It also gave Ray a brief follow up story to really move past the loss of his Atom armor. It’s about the man in the armor, not the armor itself.
The bad: The B-story with Sara and Nate left a bit to be desired
The episode was solid, but this B-story was a bit hard to swallow. Yes, it was a fun juxtaposition to have Sara and Nate hanging out and strategizing with General Grant. But to have never even fathomed the idea of a zombie, Grant and his men don’t see to phased by the insanity. Even more, Grant decides to immediately trust Sara and Nate and allows them to help strategize his regiment’s next move. A bit more shock and hesitance would’ve been more believable. Yes, the show is a big silly romp, but this story just seemed a bit too far down that rabbit hole. They did blow up Nick Zano, though, so it wasn’t all bad.
Ray and Mick have been bonding a good bit this season, and when Mick is facing potential zombification, he puts his hope in Ray — and Palmer doesn’t disappoint. Just as Ray begins to accept his new role as the genius without a super-suit, Mick pulls out a shocking surprise. He’s been hoping onto Snart’s old cold gun, and he gives it to Ray. Along with the gun, he also offers up his partnership — meaning Palmer could be taking up the ice gun in Captain Cold’s stead. It’s taken Mick a while to get there, but his evolution from angry criminal to legit anti-hero has been a great one. This moment with Ray really felt earned, and we can’t wait to see Palmer sporting the cold gun.
Sara continues her evolution into a team leader, and does an excellent job of managing all the craziness this week. This is proving to be an excellent, subtle story to weave into the season.
Lines of the night:
“On the other hand, if you are dead, please stay dead.” - Stein
“I am covered in zombie guts.” - Nate
Up next: The Legends head to the 1980s, but Mick does not like the music.