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Living life as an adult mortal is more difficult than Astra Logue anticipated and John Constantine is of little help in getting her acclimated to life on Earth. A new friend promises to help her but Astra's taking the easy way out could have dire consequences for the team. Meanwhile, Sara confronts the man responsible for her abduction and tries to find allies among her fellow captives.
Thor: Ragnarok (Bishop's general attitude mimics the Grandmaster, his presentation to Sara parodies the introduction to Sakaar), Disney animated movies, particularly Fantasia (The Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence and Crowley's entrance in the animated sequence resembles Chernabog from the Night on Bald Mountain scene) and Beauty and the Beast (people being turned into inanimate objects by a curse, one of them being a candlestick), the Harry Potter films (talking paintings, spells based in Latin, the learning magic sequences mimic the classroom scenes) and The Picture of Dorian Grey (base concept of an evil magic painting hidden in an attic.) Bishop seems to be a parody of Elon Musk and other celebrity entrepreneurs, only his obsession is with genetics rather than space travel.
Matt Ryan has a fun turn playing Aleister Crowley in Constantine's body.
Jes Maccallan also plays against type as the submissive Nurse Ava.
The animated sequence is fantastic and perfectly mimics the style of 1990's hand-drawn Disney animation.
Caity Lotz once again proves herself to be as gifted a director as she is a performer.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
Caity Lotz, who plays Sara Lance, directed this episode.
This is the first episode to not feature the character of Mick Rory in any capacity.
While being forcibly restrained in Bishop's medical bay, Sara is encouraged to binge all 15 seasons of the show Wynonna Earp. This was apparently a payback for that show making mention of Sara Lance in an episode that aired in August 2020. Sadly, in our reality, Wynonna Earp only ran for five seasons and came to an end in 2021.
Aleister Crowley mentions a magical artifact located in outer space, called the Fountain of Imperium. The Imperium were an alien species in the Justice League animated series, who were responsible for destroying all of the Green Martian race, save for J'onn J'onzz. Unlike many things from the DCAU, the Imperium were never introduced into the comics, presumably because they were inspired by the White Martian race that already existed in the comics.
John knows a purging spell, but it requires him to prepare his stomach first. He does this with an unspecified potion.
Hell apparently has Wi-Fi which is run through a service called Demon Data. Unfortunately for Astra, it does not work outside of Hell.
John knows a spell, which is in Japanese, which helps to find lost objects. He uses this to find his emergency back-up cigarettes.
The Amelia Earhart creature that poisoned Sara in 602 is identified as a Zaguron.
Transformation is the cornerstone of the dark arts, according to Aleister Crowley.
Permuto is a spell that changes one thing to another or exchanges one thing for another. Astra uses it to change a feather into a fountain pen.When used to exchange things, Permuto is permanent unless reversed with the same spell. Astra uses the spell in this way to trap John Constantine in a painting and Aleister Crowley's soul in John's body.
Crowley teaches Astra two spells that require chants in Ancient Egyptian. One changes a pile of garbage into a pile of money and riches. The other changes the appearance of whatever clothes a person is wearing into however they wish to appear. These spells are temporary glamours, however, and the gold eventually changes back into garbage.
Crowley mentions a magical artifact, out in space, called the Fountain of Imperium, and says with Astra helping him he shall finally find it. The Fountain is apparently an unlimited source of magical power, unexplored and untapped.
The ingredients in John's magical lab include ferret liver extract and gangrene oil.
Crowley instructs Astra on how to create a magic amulet that can amplify the powers of its wearer. However, to sustain its power, it must first absorb a live human soul from a still-living body.
Natalie Logue created a cleansing spell, in the form of a song, which can drain the magical powers and knowledge of a magician. While this does not eliminate their knowledge or inherent talent, it does rob them of whatever storehouse of continual spells they had memorized. John Constantine describes it as an enema for magic.
The capsules Bishop uses to place his captives in suspended animation also extract their DNA.
(Astra enters the mansion, having just had a bad morning. John is in the inner foyer, mixing up a potion.)
Astra: Oh, there you are. I have got a list of things I need you to fix, starting with punishing your racist neighbor.
John: You'll have to be more specific, love, and I'm on the clock.
(Astra is on the phone, yelling at a power company employee.)
Astra: (into phone) You try getting a job when your last employers were the Triumvirate of Hell! Just give me my power back, or I will have your blood drained to fill my swimming pool!
(Astra hangs up the phone, throws herself on the couch in frustration and sighs.)
Astra: (quietly) I miss my blood pool
Bishop: How's our patient this morning, Nurse Ava?
Sara: Pissed off and calculating the different ways she can kill you.
Nurse Ava: Back to her old self.
(Astra is plotting to tap her racist neighbor's soul to power her amulet.)
Behrad: Think about what you're doing, Astra. That guy is a human being!
Astra: He is a jerk. His soul is gonna end up in Hell anyway.
Behrad: I'm not worried about his soul. I'm worried about yours.
Princess Astra: (singing) Why, oh, why must I be forced to sing?
Princess Astra: (singing) Your very harsh words They hold no sway Sure, you can run But you won't get away!
Crowley: (laughing) And are you going to stop me all by yourself?
(Princess Astra looks thoughtful and waves her hand, magically unlocking a cabinet. The Legends hop out, ready to fight, albeit as animate objects.)
Princess Astra: (singing) Annoying Legends I tried to hide. So glad they're here. And they'll fight by my side!
Spooner: Why was I a fork?
Astra goes shopping for food in the village near John Consantine's house, but forgets you need money to get things on Earth. This leaves her only able to buy a single loaf of bread and leaves her walking home when she can't afford to pay for a cab.
One of John's neighbors is an older white man named Robert Truss. He owns a small dog, collects Bethany lamps and is incredibly racist, assuming that Astra is either a saleswoman or a housekeeper because there is no way she could possibly be living in a neighborhood this nice.
Astra confronts John about his house's spotty Wi-Fi as he is returning from the events of 602, with Zari anxious to get out of her meat-scented worker's uniform.
John does not own a washing machine, having enchanted his clothes to clean themselves whenever they feel like it.
Astra is a US Citizen, which makes it hard for her to find work in Northumberland, despite her mother being a local.
Astra is also legally only 15 years old, with relatively few years having passed since she was sent to Hell on Earth compared to how she aged.
During the events of 603, the sink in the house's kitchen broke and John (en route to Astra's final performance on Da Throne) still has not fixed any of the issues with the Wi-Fi or helping Astra provide for herself. After he leaves, the power is shut off.
Astra once owned a swimming pool full of blood while in Hell.
While going through the attic looking for things she can pawn, Astra finds sterling silver cutlery, European enamelware, 100 year old designer luggage and a Bethany lamp. She also finds her mother's diary, which has a song transcribed in it.
Astra never learned how to read music.
Aleister Crowley, whom John mentioned trapping on Earth in 601, is revealed to be in a painting in John's attic.
Crowley has heard of Astra, describing her as the woman who clawed her way to the tops of Tartarus.
Astra claims there are no real rules in Hell.
Crowley offers to teach Astra some simple spells that could make both their lives easier.
The man who abducted Sara, who first appeared at the end of 603, identifies himself as Bishop. He gives Sara an antidote for the venom she was injected with and introduces himself as the man who is going to save all of humanity.
Sara is treated by an Ava clone who is identified as a Nurse and wears a classic white nurse's uniform.
Bishop is revealed to be the head of the AVA Corporation, which started selling clones of Ava Sharpe in the year 2213 in 316. He is described as a pioneer in bio-engineering and the designer/creator of the AVA Clone. He had the idea that the problem with humans destroying the Earth was not the finite resources of Earth; it was that people were inherently flawed.
Bishop's plan is to genetically engineer an upgraded version of humanity with a body that can withstand the harsh conditions of the destroyed Earth and a spirit to adaptive and thrive under any circumstance. This has led him to start kidnapping some of the greatest people from Earth's past and various aliens to start splicing their DNA together in a bid to create the perfect organism.
Bishop didn't kidnap Sara to get her DNA; he abducted her to get her to train his perfect species to be warriors and survivors.
Bishop claims that the Ava Sara fell in love with, whom he calls "Bossy Ava," was one of his greatest accomplishment and that all AVAs have affinities and weaknesses programmed into their DNA.
Sara is set up in a hospital bed and is made to binge-watch all 15 seasons of Wynonna Earp.
Nurse Ava says Season 2 is her favorite. She is also a Wayhaught shipper.
Astra switches John and Crowley's souls, letting Crowley walk free in John's body for 12 hours to continue teaching her, as John becomes trapped in a painting.
Astra learns a few basic spells and masters them immediately, but is informed that as a novice magician the only spells she will be able to master at first will produce temporary effects, like glamoring garbage to look like money.
Sara tries to get Nurse Ava to help her find a powers source for her ship to escape.
Nurse Ava says it isn't in her DNA to disobey Bishop. Sara pleads with her to believe she's a real human being with her own soul that is hers.
The Legends arrive at John's house. It took them a while to find it, as nobody knew the actual address of John's house.
Astra transforms the Legends into various inanimate objects. These include a binder (Ava), a candlestick (Behrad) a cheese wheel (Nate) a filp-phone (Zari) and a fork (Spooner).
Astra still possesses several soul coins from her time in Hell. These include the souls of Christopher Columbus and serial killer Ed Gein.
Astra invites Robert Truss to her home under the guise of selling him the Bethany lamp she found in the attic, intending to steal his soul to power her amulet. The Legends try to talk her out of this, eventually succeeding.
Nurse Ava returns to Sara and claims her words about being an individual stirred something and she wants to help her escape. She gives Sara what she claims is a fuel cell.
Crowley double-crosses Astra, taking Robert Truss's soul and her amulet for himself. The new amulet protects him from her Permuto spell and enables him to transform her into a traditional Disney princess, who can 't stop singing about her problems.
Astra and the Legends try to fight Crowley but he banishes Astra to the attic and plans to use their souls to increase his own power.
Astra looks at her mother's journal and realizes the song she wrote is a spell that drains the power from magicians. She is now able to read it because all fairy tale princesses are able to sing and read music.
Spooner knows how to pick locks.
Astra is able to remove Crowley's power with her mother's song and restores everything to normal, with everyone restored to their human bodies and Crowley once again trapped in the painting. Also, everything stops being animated. She also restores Robert Truss' soul and kicks him out of her house.
Astra's spell also removes most of John's magical power, meaning he can no longer just magic his way out of everything. He offers to teach Astra the basics as he's going to need to start from the bottom and build himself back up again.
Crowley once again speaks of the Fountain of Imperium and tells John it could restore his power. John ignores him, but does look pensive when Astra speaks to him of being her study buddy and relearning the basics of magic with her.
Nurse Ava reveals that she wasn't really betraying Bishop and the "fuel cell" is actually a fancy nightlight. Bishop had Nurse Ava "help" Sara escape so he could find where his ship and the rest of the cargo went.
In addition to the "live samples" on the ship, the ship also contains DNA samples from all of Bishop's captives, extracted through the capsules that kept them in suspended animation.
Bishop has some ability - either genetic alteration or advanced science - which saves him after his neck is snapped, as the episode ends with Sara waking up in his quarters after having been tranquilized after she killed him.
Northumberland County, UK - 2021
An Unknown Planet - Time Unknown
The Bottom Line
Immediately a top-ten contender for the series' best shows, thanks to some imaginative sequences, callbacks to earlier in the season, several members of the ensemble getting to play dual roles against type and some solid direction all around. Also, ye gods, the animated sequence! Can't wait for the promised Beebo Christmas Special in the same style.