Their latest experiments to free Professor Stein from The Firestorm Matrix result in Stein and Jax switching bodies. Unfortunately, the team has no time to fix the problem. Tracking an anachronism to 1930s Hollywood, The Legends are surprised to find two film studios warring over the most beautiful woman in history, Helen of Troy! They are also surprised by the arrival of an old enemy...
Various body-swapping comedies, particularly Freaky Friday (which Ray mentions by name) and the legends of The Trojan War (Helen of Troy, Sara uses a Trojan Horse to enter the mansion were Helen is held)
Given that Troy was located in what is today the nation of Turkey, it seems unlikely that Helen of Troy would be a pale, blond-haired woman.
No explanation is given for why a bisexual woman like Sara Lance isn't as taken aback by Helen of Troy's beauty as the heterosexual men around her. (Perhaps Helen truly is cursed and the curse is heteronormative?)
While it's possible that things are different on Earth One in The DCTVU, in our world Hedy Lamarr was signed to a contract with MGM in 1938 after being discovered by Louie B. Mayer in Paris in 1937. As such, she would not have been at liberty to film a Helen of Troy movie at Warner Brothers and would hardly have had to resort to working as a phone operator in the studio office!
Wonder Woman lore purists may complain that it should be impossible for The Waverider to fly to Themyscria as the whole island is meant to be magically enscrolled by The Greek Gods. (Given the role The Greek Gods had in messing with The Trojan War, however, it's likely they either looked the other way or Zari - being a woman - was allowed to breach the barriers.)
Franz Drameh and Victor Garber do a fine job playing one another's respective regular roles.
The costumers and set designers did a great job capturing the feeling of 1930s Hollywood.
The editing between the twin battles of Darhk/Sara and Kuasa/Amaya is fantastic.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The episode opens with the usual narration being read by Amaya.
The series usual title-card is replaced with a black-and-white number.
The episode title is a play on the name of actress Helen Hunt, who is most famous for winning The Oscar for Best Actress in 1998 for the movie As Good As It Gets.
Legend has it that Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman in history. Said to have "a face that launched a thousand ships", her abduction by Prince Paris of Troy from the home of her husband, the Spartan king Melenaus, sparked a ten-year conflict known as The Trojan War. This was due to a contest held by various rulers as to who would marry Helen and an agreement of all the participatory nation-states - The Oath of Tyndareus - that they would aid one another in battle.
Opinion is split between Historians as to whether or not there ever was a real battle that inspired the legends of The Trojan War. Indeed, until fairly recently, there was some argument as to whether or not The City of Troy ever existed. Some believe the Troy of legend was a town located in what is now modern Turkey.
The actress whom the real Helen of Troy replaces in the role of Helen of Troy is Hedy Lamarr. Once called "the most beautiful woman in film" (a title that was used for one 2012 biography), Lamarr had brains to match her beauty (as Stein notes) and invented the Spread Spectrum technology that led to the invention of modern wireless communications.
While Hedy Lamarr had not made any American films in 1937 (in our reality, her Hollywood premiere was the 1938 film Algiers), she was far from the desperate actress we see in this episode. After fleeing to Paris to escape her abusive husband in Austria, she was signed to a contract with MGM by Louis B. Mayer, who brought her to America in 1938. At the time she was still well known in Europe for her role in the 1933 German film Ecstasy, which is mostly remembered today for featuring a then 18-year old Lamarr swimming and running in the nude.
Hedy Lamarr did later play Helen of Troy (among other roles) in the 1954 Italian film The Loves of Three Queens.
The island of warrior woman Zari drops Helen of Troy off on is confirmed to be Themyscria. Also know as Paradise Island, Themyscria is the island home of the Amazons in the DC Comics Universe. This marks the first confirmation of Themyscria and The Amazons existing in The DCTVU.
Using Professor Stein's research, Ray develops nanites which should latch onto the Firestorm Matrix within Professor Stein. This, coupled with a polymer Ray constructed, should allow him to transfer that into Jefferson.
Hedy Lamarr theorizes that what has Jax and Stein mixed-up is a case of quantum entanglement, where the particles in one body are mirrored in an atomic companion.
(Upon learning that Jax and Stein have switched bodies.)
Sara: Must be Tuesday.
(The team finds out they have to go to Hollywood in 1937.)
Jax: Maybe now I might actually get to meet some celebrities.
Stein: And how would you even know? The oldest movie you've ever watched is some ridiculous farce called Police Academy!
Nate: Helen, and her lover, Paris, set off a ten-year war that launched thousands of ships and sent tens of thousands of men off to their death. All in the name of her beauty.
Zari: You make it sound like it's her fault. Men always find a reason to fight. That's not on her.
Rory: Depends. How hot is she?
Nate: (trying to sound non-nonchalant) I mean, she's alright. (whispering) She's really hot!
(Sara finds out that Damien Darhk has positioned himself to become Helen of Troy's agent.)
Sara: What the hell are you doing here?
Darhk: (innocently) Aside from collecting my 15%?
Helen: Please don't take me away.
Sara: I'm sorry, but this isn't your home, Helen.
Helen: Do you have any idea what it's like on the plains of Troy? This land of Hollywood is far from perfect, but at least these men aren't killing one another in my name.
(Several cars pull up in the driveway as men emerge carrying guns.)
Amaya: Not yet, anyway.
Helen: I don't want to overstep, but may I ask what gods gave you such incredible powers?
Zari: Uh - the gods didn't give us powers. Well, they maybe kinda did for Amaya and me but the Captain is a self-made woman. Sara trains ever day. She's a total bad ass.
Helen: She's a captain too? It gives me hope knowing that you come from a time where women have the same opportunities as men.
Zari: Yeaaaaaah. I wouldn't say that.
(Sara challenges Damien Darhk to a duel)
Darhk: You do realize I don't need magic to kill you.
Sara: Funny. That's what Oliver Queen said right before he killed you.
Darkh: (To Hedy Lamarr) Oh, I assure you, I am something far more ruthless than a Hollywood agent. (grins and whispers) If that's possible.
The two studios fighting over Helen of Troy are Warner Brothers and K&G Pictures.
Jax is a fan of the Police Academy movies. Stein is not.
In the altered timeline, Helen of Troy goes on to star in Casablanca and The Philadelphia Story.
Hedy Lamarr was Martin Stein's boyhood crush.
Kuasa reveals herself to Amaya as a totem barer. She says The Water Totem has now merged with her.
Upon hearing the name Kuasa, Ray seems to recall his encounter with her during Season 2 of the Vixen animated series.
Clarissa Stein and Martin Stein gave each other a "pass" on their marriage vows - i.e. one acceptable affair with one person of their choosing, in order to spice things up. Clarissa chose Jean Claude Van Damme. Martin, thinking the whole thing silly, chose Hedy Lamarr.
With her career path changed by the anachronism, Hedy Lamarr never develops the technology which goes on to inform the technologies that power The Waverider.
Madame Elanor - the psychic from 305 - is confirmed to be Nora Darhk, Damien's daughter. She is revealed to have the same death-touch power and telekinesis he exhibited during Season 4 of Arrow. She also has the ability to catch and redirect the energy of Mick Rory's flame-thrower and the blasts from The ATOM suit.
Kuasa reveals herself to Amaya as her granddaughter before being stabbed and driven off by Helen of Troy.
Sara is placed in a coma by Gideon following Nora Darhk's attack. She is expected to recover fully, however.
Ray tries to tell Amaya about Kuasa but she asks to remain ignorant of everything regarding her. She says she knew nothing about Kuasa's existence - not even that Mari had an older sister.
After reading that the historical record said that Helen disappeared halfway through The Trojan War but that it didn't change anything, Zari drops Helen of Troy off on Themyscria in the same time period.
Hollywood - 1937 AD
Themyscira - 1253 BC
The Fridge Factor
Averted with style, as the ladies among The Legends do all the heavy-lifting to save the day.
The Bottom Line
Compared to last week's episode of The Flash, Helen Hunt delivers its feminist message with subtlety and grace. It's still hugely problematic, built as it is on stereotypes of men being unable to function around a pretty face, even with the suggestion (but no confirmation) that it is all due to a magical gods-given curse. The flubs regarding Hedy Lamarr's life in the script somewhat undercut the care taken elsewhere to get the period details right. Still, for the sake of confirmation that The Amazons exist in The DCTVU and a portrait of Hedy Lamarr that focuses on her importance as a scientist rather than merely being "The Most Beautiful Woman In The World", it suffices.