Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 4, Episode 2 - Witch Hunt

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here


With a new magic-sensing time-seismographic set up on The Waverider, The Legends travel to the time of the Salem Witch Trials in search of a magical creature. As Zari promises to save one innocent mother from being burned as a witch and the rest of The Legends deal with a rogue fairy godmother, Ava and Nate must prove that magic is real to the Department of Defense to maintain the funding of The Time Bureau. Unfortunately, the military official making the decision is Nate's estranged father.


Disney's Cinderella (the general appearance of the Fairy Godmother, the singing, her making reference to the song "A Dream Is The Wish That The Heart Makes", the fairy godmother almost says Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo)


Despite great play being made about how burning at the stake wasn't used at the Salem Witch Trials, the townsfolk still try to burn Zari and Jane Hawthorne at the stake.

The entire episode makes Nate into a complete idiot man-child for the sake of its humor. Nate is absent-minded enough to not have currency good in 2018 when he takes his dad out to dinner. He is not stupid enough to try and pay for a bill with Athenian coins. And he should not be stupid enough to try and convince his dad magic is real using a pig he claims is his transformed best friend, in the hopes that he will change back any moment now.

Wouldn't using a Time Courier to take Hank on a trip in time be much better way to convince him The Time Bureau isn't a bunch of nonsense?


Jane Carr is a laugh riot as The Fairy Godmother.

Tala Ashe gives an outstanding performance here. You truly feel Zari's pain at wanting to find a way to save Jane Hawthorne as a substitute for saving her own mother, who she can't save from unjust execution from a future fascist government.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

As Mick Rory of all people points out, The Salem Witch Trials did not involve burning people at the stake. With the exception of one farmer who was pressed to death under heavy stones, all of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials were hanged.

Mick also points out that The Catholic Church banned burning people. This would have had no effect on The Puritans, however, who were a Protestant sect.

While The Catholic Church banned burning people to death for church crimes, various civil courts in Europe still allowed death by burning for offenses such as treason, sodomy, bestiality, minting false coins and (ironically enough) arson. Even when death by fire was considered a legally acceptable punishment for witchcraft, hanging was still the preferred method of execution during witch trials in England.

Ray asks about paying his restaurant bill with notgeld. Notgeld (German for "emergency money") is a catch-all term for currency printed by an institution during times of economic crisis. The term is more specifically applied to specific notes issued by the German and Austrian government during WWI.

This is not the first time Jane Carr has played a Fairy Godmother. The highly talented voice actress also played the role of Cosmo's Mother in Fairly Odd Parents.


Ray integrates the knuckle bones of a martyred saint into the Time Seismograph, reprogramming it to detect magical creatures across time.

Aswangs are, as Ray notes, an evil, cannibalistic shape-shifting spirit with a proboscis like tongue from Filipino folklore. There are many legends about Aswangs - so many that cultural archaeologists have had trouble tracking the stories to a single point of origin. Varying tales describing aswangs can be compared to the stories of vampires, were-beasts, ghouls and witches. The is some debate, for instance, if aswangs are beasts that assume the shape of men or men who take on the powers of beasts. All the legends agree that aswangs are best avoided.

John uses the food replicator on The Waverider to recreate some organic items he needs for his apothecary bag. The first item he asks Gideon to make is a pinch of possum's tail with three ounces of frogs' testes.

John says that spells have a verbal component to them, so a gagged witch would not be able to work her magic.

According to John, fairy godmothers are parasites who feed off their hosts. They develop a connection to their hosts so that if they are sent to Hell, the charge goes with them. Fairy godmothers can only work magic in relation to their hosts wishes and the only way to depower one is for the host to willingly reject the fairy godmother's help.

A host rejecting a fairy godmother undoes all the spells a fairy godmother cast while bonded to that host.

Sara programs Gideon with a "narc mode" that tracks the rest of the crew.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Ray has just finished explaining what an aswang is to the rest of the Legends assembled.)

Ray: I've been doing some research, just in case.
Zari: I thought that was why we had Constantine.
Sara: Yeaaaaah. About that. Constantine is-
(Cut to John, who is behind them, dragging a large steamer trunk onto The Waverider.)
John: Tired, hungover and in need of a stiff one!
(John stops pulling the trunk, which thwunks loudly as he releases the end he was dragging.)
John: Dealer's choice as to what that's a euphemism for.
(John drops his backpack onto the chest as he sits down.)
Sara: He's... here!
John: Yeah. You know, I meant what I said about joining you lot, but then I pictured that same lot squaring off against some of the manky buggers that I've come up against. And I thought, "Yeah, you know what? You're right. You're all bloody doomed without me." One aswang would take you all down without breaking a sweat.
Ray: (beaming in triumph) Ah-ha!

Sara: Well, I hope you're feeling morally superior, because we are getting our Puritan  pure-it-on!
(Sara smiles and poses making gun fingers at everyone. They just stare at her.)
Sara: That was too much right?
(John Constantine blinks, stunned silent for once. Even Ray looks embarrassed.)

(A flock of crows begin flying down upon the town as Jane Hawthorn is taken away.)
Crows. That's ominous.
Ray: Despite the Gothic association, the American Crow is actually a very-
(One of the crows flies down and attacks the face of one of the townsfolk, pecking at his eyes.) Ray: ... never mind.

(John is working as spell to reveal the demon he thinks is bound to Prudence.)
John: Agent of the Damned, show yourself, you fetid creature! Show yourself, you cursed beast! Reveal your hideous form!
(The fog rolls in and a shape forms from it. Suddenly a kindly looking old woman in a blue dress with a wand is standing before them.)
Fairy Godmother: (cheerfully) Hello!
Sara: What in the Disney hell is this?!

(Nate has just realized his dad is the D.O.D. official he has to schmooze.)
Nate: I can't go in there, Ava. I will make this worse.
Ava: Nate, you're family. How bad could it be?
Nate: Oh...the last time I saw him I insulted his life's work and literally said "I don't need your money."
Ava: Oh. Okay. That's bad.

(Jane Hawthorne refuses to escape from prison when Zari tries to help her.)
Jane Hawthorne: They are afraid. And fear brings out the worst in all of us. Therefore I must forgive them. For they know not what they do.
Zari: Well, at least one of you Puritans gets the point of that book.

Fairy Godmother: Before Prudence, all the girls I helped would just take, take, take! (mocking voice) "I want a new dress, Godmother." "I want to go to the ball, Godmother." (back to her normal voice) So I gave and I gave! No matter how absurd the request! I mean, who would ever choose to wear glass slippers?! Imagine the blisters! And what did I get in return? A thousand years locked away in a dank and miserable dimension!

(Hank Heywood asks for proof that magic is real.)
Gary: (opening his shirt) Here's proof! A unicorn ate my nipple!

(Sara is trying to find Zari.)
Gideon: Miss Tomaz gave me explicit instructions not to tell you that she was leaving the ship.

Gary: You sure I can't interest you in a coffee? Tea? Fizzy water?
Hank: Just the validation.
(Gary leans in close to Hank.)
Gary: I think you're doing a great job.

Fairy Godmother: (To Zari) You come from the future. Can you honestly tell this child that the hearts of men change in all that time?
Prudence: Do they?
Zari: (sighs) No. They don't. People always fear what they don't understand. And that fear turns them into monsters. But we can't let it turn us into monsters too. We have to be better than them.


Ray uses the enchanted knuckle bones John left in Ava's apartment in 401 to program the time seismograph to detect magical creatures.

Ray has been reading up on evil magical beasts since John refused to join The Legends.

John insists that he is not joining The Legends and is only acting as a consultant. He insists on full benefits, no costumes and two weeks paid vacation.

John is informed that The Legends do not get paid and there is no formal vacation time structure.

The Legends decide to call the magical creatures they're hunting "fugitives." instead of Ray's idea - "mythteries."

Sara makes reference to how she once visited Puritan New England. This happened back in 201, when she was sent to Salem in the year 1693 by Rip Hunter's emergency ejection from The Waverider. Sara was almost hung as a witch due to her seduction of several young women.

Nate has a credit card that expired in 1953. This may be one of the first Diner's Club Cards, which was established in 1950. He also carries Athenian tetradrachm in his pocket from a previous adventure as well as a notgeld note.

Jane Hawthorne is a widow in Salen with a daughter named prudence. She is accused of witchcraft by a man whose advances she spurred.

Gideon is capable of using the food replicator to create organic items John needs for his spells, such as a pinch of possum tail and three ounces of frogs testes.

John has a spellbook bound in human skin. It becomes quite rank if he doesn't regularly wash it in water - a task he works on in the bathroom, much to Mick's annoyance.

John enjoys Marmite crumpets as a snack when he watches football.

According to Gideon, Jane Hawthorne died on October 29, 1692. Her execution by hanging kicked off what became known as The Burning Of Salem - an incident where the entire population of Salem spontaneously combusted, burning the town to the ground. This incident also confirmed the existence of witches to the world at large.

Nate takes refuge in The Time Bureau, having no place else to live with The Waverider gone and no money or credit good in 2018.

Nate uses coconut oil on his hair, claiming it makes it more buoyant.

Ava is working on a budget presentation to the Department of Defense. She needs to ask for more money to fund an imitative to hunt magical creatures across time.

Ava says she is no good as schmoozing. Nate says he is great at it.

John has never encountered in a fairy godmother before.

Beebo gets a cameo in the form of a Candy-Crush style game called Beebo Blow.

Sara says that Jane Hawthorne died in the original timeline before the fairy godmother showed up.

John discovers that it was humans who locked away The Fairy Godmother.

Ava refers to the dinosaurs that appeared in Los Angeles (217) and a telepathic gorilla trying to kill a young Barack Obama (317). Gary also sums up the events of Season 3 (i.e. the battle with Mallus) and the set-up for Season 4.

Gary refers to how a unicorn bit off his nipple in 401.

Hank does not believe in Ava and Gary's presentation and decides to shut down the whole Time Bureau.

Zari can use her Totem to draw the air from a person's lungs. She relents, however, after she sees how she is horrifying the women of Salem by attacking their men.

Zari and Jane Hawthorne are sentenced to burn at the stake.

The fairy godmother turns Ray and Mick into pigs and takes away John's mouth.

The Time Bureau's operating budget is $4.2 a year.

The gold of Zari''s amulet is melted by the fire of the pyre, leaving behind only the ruby. She is still able to use that to control wind.

Jane and Prudence Hawthorne and leave Salem to start a new life elsewhere.

John offers to become the new host of the fairy godmother. She declines, knowing who John is, why he wants her help and preferring Hell to pissing off the person who is coming for John by siding with him.

John sends the fairy godmother to Hell.

Sara offers to talk to Zari about her family issues and the urge to change history to save a loved one if she needs to vent.

Nate tells his father about all his adventures as a legend, concluding with the creation of "Voltron-Beebo" in 318. Hank finally admits that Nate has not wasted his life and found a use for his history degree.

Ava offers Nate a paying job at the Time Bureau office.  Nate decides to take it, but tells Ray he's still a Legend and will join them for the next mission.


Washington D.C. - 2018
Salem, Massachusetts - October 29, 1692

Untelevised Adventures

Nate apparently had some adventure in Ancient Greece, requiring him to have a large amount of Athenian tetradrachm. He may also have been in WWI Germany, as he asks if he can pay his bill at a restaurant with notgeld.

The Crisis Factor

Nate is dumbed-down in order to increase the humor of the Time Bureau sub-plot.

The Bottom Line

There's a really great, funny episode here about a fairy godmother running amok and John Constantine having to cope with something truly out of his league. Then there's a bunch of nonsense where Nate is made into the world's biggest idiot to drag out a subplot involving The Time Bureau that tries way too hard to be interesting. One can see the strings to write Nate out of the show already or at least severely curtail his Citizen Steel time.  It's not a bad episode overall, but the comedy is forced. As John Constantine might say, "It's more fun when you don't try as hard, love."

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