With Astra firmly committed to releasing Encores upon the Earth, Constantine starts seeking an alternative means of fighting the undead. As he, Sara, Ray, Ava and Mick travel to the Golden Age of Hollywood to deal with the return of infamous gangster Benjmain "Bugsy" Siegel, Nate travels with Behrad for a visit home to his parents... and his annoying older sister, Zari.
Film Noir gangster movies, with a specific shout-out to Chinatown and the music of Bell Bev Devoe
If mortal souls in the service of demons are capable of turning anyone they kill or corrupt into a new recruit for their demonic master, why aren't more demons sending armies of serial killers back to Earth? (It isn't a widely known fact or most demons would rather horde the souls they have than risk losing them.)
Mickey Cohen is depicted as a rival of Bugsy Siegel. In the real world, Mickey Cohen was one of Siegel's subordinates and had worked with him on establishing the Flamingo Hotel. (It could be they were rivals in Earth-Prime. There's also a theory that Cohen might have undertaken the hit on behalf of the other mafia families due to Bugsy's skimming off of the properties meant to be managed to the benefit of them all.)
Ava apparently lost her apartment in Washington DC and all her belongings are now in a single duffel-bag. Given how controlling Ava was, it's a little hard to believe she wasn't similarly meticulous regsarding her finances and didn't have money put aside for emergencies and is now, in her words, a vagrant, who has to live on the Waverider.
It's a minor point but where was the real Moore of "Webb & Moore" while all this was going on?
Tala Ashe slays as the new Zari. She's not a completely different person, showing plenty of the steel and intelligence we associate with the character, but she's different enough in her seemingly vapid persona to her followers and her general demeanor for it to be startling. The low-cut top and mini-skirt she seems to favor would have been all but impossible to imagine on the more Tomboyish Zari from pre-Crisis.
It must be said that Caity Lotz plays the femme fatale quite well and she'd do quite well in an actual Film Noir thriller.
The VIP performance of the episode has to go to Jess Macallan, who gets a chance to show off her singing skills and steals the scene with her dream sequence and the comedic aftermath. Yet she also gets some great pathos conveying Ava's clear discomfort with the loss of control she's feeling as a member of the Legends in the wake of losing her job with the Time Bureau.
The sequence in which Ava sings a torch-song version of "Poison" is a perfect blending of light, blocking, setting and costume. You almost forget how impossible it is for a 1940's band and back-up singers to know the song up until the gag
The costuming overall is quite good.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
This was the first episode to feature a new animated title-card sequence showing the core members of the Legends
This also marked the first episode where a new font was used for the credits.
The title of the episode is based on a lyric from the song "Poison" by Bell Bev Devoe, which Ava sings in the episode.
The detective office which Sara, Ray and John investigate belongs to Webb & Moore. The name Webb could be a nod to actor Jack Webb, who made a career of playing detectives and lawmen in Los Angeles, most famously as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet. The name Moore could be a nod to John Constantine creator Alan Moore.
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was one of the gangsters who founded Murder Inc. and held considerable influence in the Jewish Mafia, the National Crime Syndicate and the Ameican Mafia. One of the most famous of the so-called celebrity mobsters, he's been depicted in a number of popular films and television series; most famously in the 1991 film Bugsy, where he was played by Warren Beatty.
Though most of the media portrayals of Bugsy Siegel focus upon his time as a crime-boss, most of his criminal career was spent working as a hitman or hired muscle for other bosses. Known for being handsome and charismatic, he worked as a bootlegger in New York during the Prohibition era. When alcohol was legal in the USA once again, he headed west and began running his own rackets in Hollywood while taking a hand in establishing Las Vegas.
The character of Jeanie Hill seems to be partly based on Virginia Hill; a female gangster and one-time girlfriend of Bugsy Siegel, who never went by the name Jeanie in our world. Once described by Time Magazine as the "queen of the gangster molls," Virginia Hill was an equally legendary figure in the history of the American Mafia, having been romantically connected to many men in the Chicago Mob, for whom she also acted as a courier and a spy.
Virginia Hill eventually settled on Charles Fischetti, a cousin and bodyguard of Al Capone, but was dispatched to New York where she became involved with Joe Adonis in order to spy on the Luciano family. It was here that she met Bugsy Siegel, with the two openly becoming a couple after they both wound up in Hollywood years later.
In our world, Bugsy Siegel was killed on June 20, 1947, at the Beverly Hills home of Virginia Hill. It is believed that Hill was warned about the hit, as she took a sudden trip to Paris four days before Siegel's death.
In the Arrowverse, things play out differently, with Hill being present for Bugsy's murder and it apparently taking place somewhere besides her house, as she makes reference to Bugsy coming by her place later being perfectly fine.
The Arrowverse version of Bugsy Siegel secured his place in Hollywood using blackmail material, often entrapping his victims, make and female, using Jeanie Hill as a honey pot. While there is no record of Siegel operating in this capacity with Virginia Hill, it can't be completely discounted given their pasts, as Siegel did depend heavily on extorting various movie studio bosses and would not have been above using his moll to arrange for incriminating photos to be taken.
One notable difference between Jeanie Hill and Virginia Hill is that Jeanie Hill makes reference to being from Shaker Heights, Ohio and heading to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a mvoie star. Virginia Hill was from Lipscomb, Alabama and played at being a Southern Belle from an old money family when seducing her marks in Chicago and New York before she made her way west.
Virginia Hill also did not die because of a car bomb in California in 1947. In 1950, she married Austrian professional skier Hans Hauser and spent the rest of her life after 1954 in Europe in order to avoid charges of tax evasion in the United States. She died of an apparent drug overdose in 1966, but some believe she was murdered and it was made to look like an accident for fear of what she knew.
As Sara is trying to lure Bugsy Siegel out to where she and Ray can subdue him, she and Bugsy are attacked by men Bugsy says work for Mickey Cohen; boss of the Cohen crime family and a major player in the Italian American mafia through the 1960s. Curiously, Cohen had worked under Siegel during most of the 1940s and one Mafia legend says he attempted to kill the men he believed were responsible for killing Siegel before being scared off by the arrival of police. It is believed he was honestly avenging Siegel's murder rather than trying to cover the tracks of the hit himself.
Clayton Chitty, who plays Officer Sullivan in this episode, previously played Vigilante on Arrow.
Ray attempts to search Bugsy on his way out of the LAPD precinct office, citing the authority of Police Chief Wiggum. This is a nod to the bumbling police chief from The Simpsons.
By the laws of Hell, any human killed or corrupted by a damned soul released upon Earth goes to the demon that owns the chit of the damned soul.
John has a magic spell that allows him to track Encores by detecting magical energy and infernal residue.
Ignis Inerni is the Latin term for hellfire.
John can identified the victim of a hellfire attack by tasting their ashes.
Hellfire cannot be generated by mortal mages - only by an infernal being or an object made by demons.
Bugsy Siegel is revealed to have a pistol infused with hellfire. Siegel also seems to have some degree of telepathic control over the bullets the gun fires, as he is able to wound four gangsters with a single shot as the bullet weaves around to strike them all. The body of a mortal struck by the hellfire bullets disintegrates into a pile of ash and their soul is sent to Hell. A damned soul or demon struck by a hellfire bullet is permanently killed.
As powerful as the hellfire gun is, it does require compatible ammunition from Hell to work. This becomes a factor later when John storms Astra's club later with a limited number of shots.
According to John, only a weapon born of Hell can eliminate the Encores.
(John appears in the circle of ash on the Waverider, seemingly only moments after he disappeared. Ava and Sara are still there. John coughs as the two women crowd him.)
Ava: What happened down there?
(Gasping for breath, John straightens up and steels himself. He then pushes his way between Sara and Ava.)
John: I need a drink.
(As John says the words, Sara mouths them as well and shrugs triumphantly at Ava as if to say, "See? I told you I knew how this would go.")
(Sara. Ray and John go chasing after the female silhouette they saw in the hallway. They find a woman holding a pistol.)
Jeanie Hill: Don't come any closer!
Sara: All right, easy. You can put the gun down. We're here to help.
Jeanie Hill: Where's Webb?!
Ray: Uh, we are the "and Moore" of Webb & Moore. We work with Moore. (correcting himself) Webb.
Jeanie Hill: (looking at John) You must be Moore.
John: (speaking in an American accent) Suuure, that's me. Johnny Moore. Sara is my secretary.
(John points to Sara, who briefly makes a face suggesting there will be hell to pay for this later.)
John: (looking to Ray) And this fella here-
Jeanie Hill: Has got a cop face.
Ray: (not realizing that's an insult) Oh, thank you! (chuckles) Sergeant Palmer at your service. (winks) I'm undercover.
Jeanie Hill: Tell Webb to call me when he's back.
(She turns around as it to leave but stops when John starts speaking.)
John: He's, uh, on holiday vacation, which leaves me handling your case, Miss...?
Jeanie Hill: Hill, Jeanie Hill. I hired your partner to protect me from my boyfriend.
Ray: Oh, well, you're in good hands, ma'am.
Jeanie Hill: Oh, give me a break, Johnny Law! Half the PD is in Bugsy's pocket!
Sara: (recognizing the name) Bugsy as in...
Jeanie Hill: Benjamin Siegel. Doesn't like it when you call him Bugsy. But here's the kicker, He died last week.
John:And now he's back from the dead.
Jeanie Hill: And he's more dangerous than ever.
(Bugsy Siegel approaches Sara after she goes walking past his table.)
Bugsy: I couldn't help but notice you, and I gotta tell you, I like the way you walk.
Sara: I learned to do it all by myself, Mr. Siegel.
Bugsy: Oh, please, Benjamin.
Sara: Hmm, Sara Lance, at your service.
Bugsy: Lance, huh?
Sara: What's the matter, you don't like it?
Bugsy: Well, I don't know yet, just trying it on for size. You know, even if it fits, I'm a little curious about the price tag.
Sara: Well, if you have to ask, it's probably too expensive.
Bugsy: (chuckles) I take what I want.
Sara: Does that make you a thief, Mr. Siegel?
Bugsy: I am a lot of things, Ms. Lance. And I am especially a thief.
Sara: Well, then let's stop all the tiddlywinks and get straight to the big reveal, shall we? Now, I'm a reporter for a new gossip rag, and I've got some dirt on half the city councilmen and the new archbishop. It's in my car. What do you say we go out back and you can take a peek what's in my trunk?
Bugsy: I say, you keep talking like that, I just might follow you anywhere.
(Ava sighs as she gets off the comms with Sara, having been told to sit tight and watch the bar.)
Ava: Hmm? (laughs) You wouldn't understand.
Mick: That you were the boss of a massive government organization, and now you do diddly-squat?
Ava: Wow, take it back, Rory. You just summed up my life perfectly.
(Ava looks depressed at this realization and downs her drink in one shot.)
Ava: (to the bartender) Can I get a double?
(John is sitting in the office of Moore & Webb. Jeanie Hill comes inside. John smiles as he puts on his American accent, clearly relishing playing a private eye, trenchcoat and all.)
John: So you got my message.
Jeanie Hill: Look, if this is about the money your friend gave me, I already spent it.
John: I knew you were on the grift from the moment I laid eyes on ya.
Jeanie Hill: And I never once fell for that Yankee accent of yours.
John: (laughs and goes back to his normal voice) Well, all right then. Well, now that we've dropped the charades, tell me, what is your angle?
Jeanie Hill: I wanna take Bugsy down. Free this town from his sway. The only way to do that is to destroy his blackmail stash. Webb said he'd found it, but I'm guessing Bugsy killed him for snooping too close.
John: Well, that's bad news for Webb and good news for me, because I know where the stash is.
Jeanie Hill: (smiles wide and steps in closer to John) Well, aren't I the luckiest girl in the world. What do you want in exchange?
John: (inhales deeply) I want Bugsy's gun.
Jeanie Hill: You lookin' to ice Bugsy?
John: No, that bloke's not worth it. I'm aiming at the person who brought him back.
Jeanie Hill: Then we have a deal. You get your guy, I get my freedom.
John: Now, how exactly are you planning on stealing Bugsy's prized weapon, eh?
Jeanie Hill: When we kiss I'll press my hand against his chest.
(She steps closer and runs her hand along John's chest.)
Jeanie Hill: And then I'll run my hand all the way down his body, and then I'll grab it like this.
(John grunts as Jeanie grabs something that is definitely not a gun. She presses her lips to his and he grabs the back of her head as he spins her around. They sink to the floor as jazz music swells as we hear the sound of furniture crashing.)
(Bugsy Siegel comes into the Blue Iguana to see a drunken Ava singing.)
Bugsy: What is all this? You bring me all the way down here just so I can watch some no-name dame humiliate herself on stage?
Sara: First of all, she is not a no-name. That is my girlfriend. And second, she is not humiliating herself.
Mick: (deadpan) Yes she is.
(Nate is in a sitting room by himself. He is looking at a framed copy of Mini Traders Magazine. The cover story is ZARI TARAZI IS DRAGON GIRL!" and shows a picture of a young Zari taming the dragon at Heyworld. Zari walks in.)
Zari: So embarrassing.
Nate: Dragon girl. Is this when you became famous?
Zari: Yep, first agent when I was 11. He was a real piece of work. Eventually, I took control of everything.
Nate: Can I ask you something?
Nate: When you first saw me, did you feel like we met before?
Zari: Maybe. I meet a lot of fans.
Nate: No, I mean, we met in another life.
Zari: Oh. Yeah, I totally got that vibe.
(Zari rushes to Nate and kneels on the couch opposite him.)
Nate: Oh, so it's not all in my head! I feel like I've been living out this Taylor Swift song, but it feels crazy good.
(Zari takes Nate's hand)
Zari: We're definitely connected somehow, but something feels off. I think the you I remember wasn't a professor.
(Nate hesitates, clearly not wanting to blow his friend's cover.)
Zari: (rolling her eyes) Come on, I know Behrad's been lying to my parents about business school for years. I only wanna make sure that he's been taking really good care of our family's totem. Which he has been, right?
(Nate mutters something indistinct as Zari leans in close. Naturally, it is at this moment that Behard walks in.)
Behard: Yo, dude, we're cutting the cake, and they're asking for the special guest.
Zari: Come on. Chill, B, your friend and I were just talking.
Behard: (guiding Nate out of the room) Sure you were. Let's go.
(Jeanie is holding John at gunpoint, stopping him from burning Bugsy's blackmail stash.)
John: You told me you wanted to destroy that stash so that you and everyone else in the town could be free.
Jeanie Hill: Yeah, but I figured why destroy it when I could just use it for myself? I'm sick and tired of people taking advantage of me. With this briefcase, I'll finally have some real power around here.
John: Look, I understand your anger, but as soon as you touch Bugsy's dirt then you'll have a target on your back just like him. But if you leave now, you can start over, have a new life. Look, you don't have to do this, Jeannie. Just walk away.
Jeanie Hill: Walk away? Do you really expect me to give up this power after being so powerless my whole life?
(John looks at her. He knows what it is to be powerless and he can't say that she's wrong. Though it's clear he's also thinking about another powerless woman lashing out now that she has real power that he was trying to stop for his own selfish reasons.)
John: You know what? You're right. (picks up the briefcase and hands it to her.) Who am I to tell you what to do anyway?
Jeanie Hill: See? It's working already.
(John looks at the burning car, knowing there is no way Jeanie Hill survived. Ray walks up.)
Ray: They killed her!
John: Forget it, Ray. It's Burbank.
(Sara and Mick have Bugsy in the Waverider brig. John and Ray enter. John is livid. )
John: I should blast you straight to oblivion, you damn bastard. You made Jeanie's life miserable and now she's dead because of you.
Bugsy Siegel: (smirks) I may have corrupted a wannabe starlet. But you? You created a real monster. Astra Logue.
(There's a long moment as John regards Bugsy. He then grins wickedly as he pulls a bottle from his pocket and begins forming a circle on the floor.)
John: You know what? It's funny that you mention her. I was just about to go and see her.
Sara: John, if you're about to do what I think you're gonna do, then you'd better be sure.
(John nods as he steps into the circle. He looks to Mick, who is still holding Bugsy.)
John: Hand him over, big man.
Mick: (pushes Bugsy into the circle) Go on.
John: Yeah, that's it, big boy. See, you're my ticket to Hell.
(John pistol-whips Bugsy across the forehead with the hellfire pistol. It draws blood. John sticks his fingers in the wound and applies it in two vertical marks under his eyes before sucking his fingers clean and taking a deep breath. Ray looks disgusted.)
John: (chanting) Flesh become my flesh, soul become my soul. Hades, firstborn of Cronus and Rhea, I call upon you. (John looks up to Mick) Light her up, big man.
(Mick, for once looking disturbed, pulls out his heat gun and ignites the circle. The flames immediately go blue as John and Bugsy disappear.)
(John enters into Astra club, hellfire gun drawn, pushing the bound Bugsy before him.)
Astra: You just can't stay away, can you?
Bugsy Seigel: Careful, he's still got one bullet left.
Astra: Oh, I appreciate your concern, Benjamin, but I'm not worried about him. We're old friends, aren't we, Johnny? So why don't you tell me what you came all the way down here for?
John: I came all the way down here to tell you....
(John holds the gun on Astra and looks at her. He lowers the gun.)
John: That I'm not giving up on you. And even if it takes me till the end of my days, I promise you that I will find a way.
Astra: Another meaningless promise made by the great John Constantine. You've gone soft.
(Astra laughs wickedly and Bugsy joins in. John smiles sheepishly for a moment before his bastard grin emerges.)
John: Not that soft. This one's for Jeannie!
(John draws the gun and fires it directly into Siegel's heart. He has just enough time to look stunned before screaming and disappating into a cloud of green fiery smoke. Astra honestly looks surprised.)
John: I'll be seeing you around, love.
(John throws the gun to the ground and walks out.)
Ray: Hey, whatever really happened back there with Astra, I'm sure it wasn't easy.
John: What are you talking about, big man?
Ray Just so you know, if I had taken care of Nora back when we all thought she was evil, we wouldn't be happy and together right now.
John: Oh, I had the chance to pull the trigger, to end all this. (sighs) But I couldn't do it.
(Ray just nods and smiles widely.)
John: What's all your grinning about?
Ray: Just happy there's still good guys out there. Even if one of them is a master of the dark arts.
John: You know, you're wrong about me, Ray. But I will save Astra, and you should know it's just as much for me as it is for her, all right?
Astra refuses to bring her souls back to Hell when John asks her to do so nicely. She says the only way she'll ever stop is if John kills her, but points out that's pointless as she'll just wind up in Hell again.
Astra has taken control of Masher and is punishing him for squealing on her to John Constantine.
Nate is now seeing flashes of Zari when he looks at Behrad.
Ray suggests that Astra could be redeemed but John says that her lust for power has overtaken whatever humanity she had left.
With no better plan for containing the Encores, Sara says they'll keep them on the ship until they can figure out a way to send them to Hell permanently or stop Astra from sending them back to Earth.
Behrad asks for shore leave to visit his father on his birthday. Nate agrees to come along and pretend to be one of his business school professors.
Gideon detects a time quake in Los Angeles in 1947 just as Nate and Behrad are leaving.
Sara, John and Ray head into LA to investigate the disturbance. Ava and Mick QB from the ship.
According to Mick, QB means stay on the ship and do nothing.
Behrad and his parents speak Farsi.
In the new timeline, Zari is a social media influencer who became world famous after the incident where she tamed the dragon at Heyworld in 2019. She built that fame into a social media empire
Zari has an entourage that includes one media person and two people to help her with hair and make-ip touch-ups.
Zari has 51 million followers on-line.
Nate recognizes Zari as the woman from the video in 502. She has no idea who he is, however, and he thinks he's a creep based on how he stares at her.
Nate tells Behrad about the video he found in Gideon's memory. Behrad is skeptical, however.
John tracks the Encore to a detective agency belonging to one Webb and Moore. He goes on to impersonate Moore, using the name Johnny Moore, after finding a pile of ashes on the floor he figures was Webb.
John finds a matchbook for the Blue Iguana club on Moore's desk. It has a sequence of numbers written in it, along with the word Elysium.
John is capable of faking a reasonable American accent.
Ray impersonates a plainclothes police detective, saying he is Sgt. Palmer.
Sara, to her annoyance, has to play the role of John's secretary.
Webb was hired by Jeanie Hill to act as a bodyguard and protect her from her boyfriend, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. "Johnny Moore" agrees to take over the job.
Apparently, Bugsy Siegel died a week earlier but came back from the dead. This sets the episode sometime in late June in 1947.
Bugsy Siegel just took over a club called the Blue Iguana on Sunset Boulevard. John finds a matchbox for the Blue Iguana on Webb's desk in his office.
Ray gives Jeanie the money to get out of town. John thinks she's playing him for a sap and is proven right when he finds Jeanie on Bugsy's arm later, though she justifies this saying that she wasn't able to get out of the city since Bugsy has eyes everywhere.
Ava and Mick go into the Blue Iguana undercover as customers, separately Sara and John.
Ray continues to pose as a policeman, but this time in a standard uniform, outside the Blue Iguana.
Jeanie Hill claims she wants to get all the blackmail photos she posed for before she gets out of town to save her reputation and ruin Bugsy.
Sara tries to seduce Bugsy, playing at being a gossip reporter who can help him with getting information on blackmail targets.
Bugsy kills four of Mickey Cohen's men who were sent after him.
Ray arrests Bugsy almost immediately, but a different group of cops take over the scene immediately.
Zari manages a multi-platform, multimillion dollar brand and is about to put out a line of dressy sneakers.
It is immediately clear that Zari and Behard do not get along. Behard sees Zari as annoying in flaunting her success. Zari is jealous of the attention Behard gets as the baby of the family and how her parents don't seem to care about her accomplishments compared to his going to college.
Behard's parents want him to settle down with a nice Persian girl and worry about him being too enveloped in his studies.
Behard's parents have a painting of the Zambesi Air Totem in its original form as a necklace.
Behard's parents think the Air Totem was stolen, being completely ignorant of Behrad taking it to become a superhero in the new reality.
Ray determines that Bugsy really does have the LAPD in his pocket, with the cops bringing him a gourmet lobster dinner and wine and questioning him about the shooting in a nice office rather than the cell block.
Ray befriends a seemingly honest cop named Sullivan.
John contacts Jeanie Hill and convinces her to help him steal Bugsy's gun. The two wind up having sex in the Webb & Moore office.
Ava has turned in the keys to her apartment in Washington DC and sold most of her belongings. Everything she owns now is in a single duffel bag.
Ava is able to clear out the Blue Iguana with her drunken singing.
Zari knows that Behard has been lying about going to business school and suspected that he took the Air Totem.
Based on the information in the matchbook, John determines that Webb hid the blackmail information he stole from Bugsy Seigel in a graveyard. Due to his spending a lot of time in graveyards, he knows that Elysium is a common name for graveyards (after the Elysium Fields of Greek Myth) and from there it was a simple guess to figure out the numbers referred to a grave marker.
Webb hid the blackmail information in a graveyard in Burbank.
Jeanie double-crosses John and plans to run off with the blackmail material. She does, however, keep her word and gives him Busgy's gun, telling him there are five bullets left in it.
Officer Sullivan turns out to be crooked and turns on Ray, after he refuses to go along with the plan he and some other mobbed-up cops have to kill Jeanie Hill and destroy the blackmail material with a car bomb. They also plan to frame Ray for the killing.
Jeanie Hill dies when the car explodes.
John takes Bugsy back to Hell and destroys his soul with the hellfire gun in front of Astra. He then leaves the gun in Hell, telling her that he is not giving up and will find a way to save her.
John lies and tells Sara he lost the gun after being overpowered by Astra's minions.
John later confesses the truth after Ray calls him on it and admits he couldn't kill Astra. He does, however, deny that he's the good man Ray thinks he is and says he's just as concerned with easing his conscience as he is saving Astra's soul.
Mick recorded Ava's singing. Sara bribes him to lose the recording.
Zari recognizes Nate as the superhero in the star-spangled outfit at Heyworld when she was a girl and tamed the dragon. She also recognizes Behrad from a video of the incident.
The episode ends with Behrad sending Zari through a time portal into the Waverider to stop her from telling their parents about what he's been up to (even though she's not sure what he's up to.) and Zari having a breakdown on the deck of the Waverider.
Los Angeles - 1947
Washington D.C. - 2044.
Burbank - 1947
The Bottom Line
An instant classic, there's not a redundant storyluie or subplot for the first time in a goodly while. Putting John Constantine in the role of a private eye is a brilliant idea, as John was one of the first detective heroes in the now overdone urban fantasy genre and the production team perfectly captured the feeling of 1940s Los Angeles and the film Noir genre.