Monday, February 19, 2018

"Here I Go Again" Moves Beyond References Into Something Wonderful!

The Good: Wonderful performances, Interesting character explorations, Good direction, Decent plot twist near the end, Good balance of humor and heart
The Bad: Somewhat derivative plot
The Basics: "Here I Go Again" plays the time loop conceit on Legends Of Tomorrow . . . surprisingly well!

Legends Of Tomorrow is having a third season that is made more weird than by its air schedule. The show has had two essential characters depart, a new character added, the brief return of an alternate-universe version of Leonard Snart, and the return of one of the most familiar villains in the franchise as support for the season's primary villain. "Daddy Darhkest" found Sara Lance starting to explore feelings for Ava Sharpe, despite having a fling with John Constantine. Throughout this season, the show has not had a lot of time to explore and grow the new character of Zari Tomaz. The attempt to rectify that is made in "Here I Go Again."

"Here I Go Again" follows on "Daddy Darhkest" (reviewed here!), which had Mallus tormenting Damien Darhk's daughter. "Here I Go Again" also begins with the Legends Of Tomorrow now having a quest of their own; Mallus appears vulnerable to the totems used by Amaya Jiwe, Zari Tomaz and Kuasa.

Zari Tomaz is attempting to alter Gideon's programming when the rest of the Legends return to the Waverider. While checking the results of the mission, Gideon crashes and Sara Lance gets furious with Tomaz. Zari indicates she is trying to hack time to alter the flow of history to prevent her Earth from becoming a dystopia and when she tries to fix the Waverider, it blows up. Time reboots and Tomaz is frustrated and confused by returning to a conversation in which Lance gives her a dressing down. Within an hour from the conversation, the Waverider explodes and Tomaz is thrown back in time.

As one of the loops progresses, Dr. Heywood tells Tomaz about Groundhog Day and the next time through, Tomaz hunts down Heywood and enlists his aid. Together the two try to figure out who might have blown up the Waverider and why.

Despite the allusions to Groundhog Day, "Here I Go Again" plays much like the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause And Effect" (reviewed here!) on the plot front. "Here I Go Again" is fun and there is a lot of joy in the moment when Ray Palmer actually references the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode.

More than simply being a plot conceit, "Here I Go Again" uses the repeating time loop to explore the characters of Legends Of Tomorrow and Tomaz especially. Zari Tomaz came from a dark and miserable place and has not truly integrated with the crew. So, putting her at the core of the conflict where she has to try to win the trust of her teammates and save the day is interesting.

Tala Ashe has a chance to truly shine in "Here I Go Again" and she runs with the opportunity. While it is hard not to see Tala Ashe when she is used as windowdressing, to fill a niche to make viewers think of Morena Baccarin, "Here I Go Again" allows her to step out with an incredibly diverse performance. Ashe gets to play heavily dramatic, incredibly funny and wonderfully earnest at various points in "Here I Go Again" and she rises to the occasion each and every time. Ashe's performance is matched by Dominic Purcell's wonderful deadpan and the best on-screen sexual chemistry between Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Nick Zano.

More than simply a rehashing of Groundhog Day or "Cause And Effect," "Here I Go Again" races to a surprising, clever and original climax. Director Ben Hernandez Bray makes "Here I Go Again" feel fresh and original and some of the editing telegraphs the end, but that only makes the episode feel smarter and better-constructed than it originally does.

The result is one of the best episodes of Legends Of Tomorrow.


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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