The team finds itself in a 2042 police state in the latest Legends of Tomorrow

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Mar 26, 2021, 11:00 AM EDT (Updated)

The Legends of Tomorrow have mostly been the buffoons of today this season, but the team finally gained some traction this week by getting back to basics — and even brought a new, fledgling hero on board to join the adventure.

Spoilers ahead for "Zari," the latest episode of The CW's Legends of Tomorrow, which aired Tuesday, October 24!

Legends of Tomorrow has built its reputation on being the biggest, silliest, and most fun show on television the past two seasons, but this year it started stumbling into being a bit too goofy for its own good. The Legends are trying to clean up a time-breaking mess they made, but haven't shown they have the skills, brains, or even common sense to indicate they're even remotely capable of fixing it. At least not until this week. In "Zari," we see the team finally starting to operate like it can handle these timey-wimey crises. Yes, it was still big and silly — but it wasn't big and silly at the expense of the team looking completely inept.

Like some of the best episodes from the show's entire run, the mission this week found the team not just trying to fix a time anomaly, but trying to right a wrong. The mission drops the Legends in Seattle circa 2042, where we see a future that has become a police state run by ARGUS. Of course, ARGUS has been a player on The Flash and Arrow for years now as a clandestine law enforcement group, but it seems all it takes is a few decades for the super-spies to go super-evil. The team rescues a young woman, Zari, who is supposed to wind up in an ARGUS prison to be experimented on, but not surprisingly, that's not something the Legends can let stand. Timeline wonkiness or not.

Going back over the first two seasons, Jax has always been the heart and conscience of this team. The stories that leaned into that also made for some of the best episodes of the show's young life, and that's the case with "Zari" as well. We finally get to see some separation from the Time Bureau, reminding us the Legends aren't just trying to set the timeline right — they're also trying to do what's right. Jax sees these prisoners and lets them all loose. Not because it fixed the anomaly (it made it worse, actually), but because it's the right thing to do.

These are the types of stories this show has almost always gotten right, and this time was no different. It's taken a bit longer than usual, but it seems the Legends are finally getting back on track for Year 3.

To that end, the team actually hold their own against the formidable baddie Kuasa, aka the Water Witch (who looks to be Amaya's estranged granddaughter, at least judging by that "kill you and kill myself" line). Sure, it's still zany, but this time around you at least believe these folks could save the world in a pinch. Instead of, you know, being captured by a carnival barker while arguing among themselves.

Assorted musings

*One of the best things about this show is how it gets to play around with the timeline, and it's always interesting to get a peek at a potential future. It's used as a plot device here, but it makes you wonder: Is ARGUS really destined to turn evil? Also, in this future, metahumans have been outlawed by the 2020s. Fast-forward a few seasons, and that's conceivably an era we could see play out on in the Arrowverse.

*The creative team had promised this season would be more mystical in nature, and that's already playing out in spades. We have not one, but three magical totems in play at this point, while a major plot point focuses on Amaya's malfunctioning totem. Turns out, her totem is getting stronger, but only because it knows she'll be facing adversaries in the future that will require that extra juice.

*He doesn't get a lot of narrative focus, but it's clear Mick has grown into a member of this team and actually wants to be there now. It's been a long journey, and he may claim he's not a superhero, but c'mon. He just needs somebody to shoot for the greater good.

*Also, it's brushed off with the police state stuff, but religion is also illegal in this dark alt-future. Yikes.

*Time Bureau Agent Gary continues to be the best.

*Amaya and Nate's vision quest was vintage Legends at its best. Having Nate tripping balls in the middle of all this insanity was hilarious and a lot of fun. Nick Zano was clearly having fun in those scenes, and it shows that when this show hits its stride, it can be one heck of a romp.

*We'd already heard Zari would be sticking around as a new team member, but tying her to the totem story and giving her that connection to Amaya was an organic way to keep them both in the fold that doesn't feel forced.

*There were a lot of funny lines in this one, but surprisingly, the line of the night went to the ship's AI Gideon. In reference to Agent Sharpe: "What a b**ch."

Next week: The Legends do Halloween, and it looks like a whole lot of fun. The story following the young version of nerdy Ray Palmer, who basically runs into Pennywise in a sewer? Or something? Whatever, we're totally there.