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The Legends' latest time jump takes them to Seattle at the height of WWII. Sara, Ava, Astra, Spooner and Gideon take jobs working alongside other "Rosies" in an airplane factory to get the parts they need to repair the time machine, but Astra rebels against the racism of the era and tries to build a better tomorrow. Meanwhile, Behrad and Zari 2.0 give Nate a crash course in Persian culture and etiquette in anticipation of his moving in with Zari 1.0 and their ancestors, only to have their hospitality abused by Bishop.
I Love Lucy (Ava's battle with a sped-up conveyer belt pays tribute to an infamous I Love Lucy episode.) and the movie Hidden Figures (theme of Black women working in vital roles without credit.)
For all this episode does to combat sexism and racism and point out the role that non-white women played in World War II, it's a little screwed up that the head janitor played by Kimleigh Smith isn't given any name in the script beyond "Female Worker."
Raffi Barsoumian has another outstanding turn as Bishop, managing to make the hapless wannabe hero surprisingly sympathetic even as he's playing Sheridan Whiteside to the Tarazis' Stanley family.
Jes Macallan proves an able Lucille Ball impersonator.
The episode's use of period music in setting the mood is fantastic.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The McDougle Jemison factory is named in honor of two Black women who had prominent roles in the the American space program. Sharn Caples McDougle was the first Black woman to serve as a spacesuit technician. Mae Jemison was the first Black woman to travel into space.
Ta'arof (or Taarof) is an ancient Iranian custom which forms the backbone of modern Persian etiquette and hospitality. It is meant to even the playing field in a heavily hieratical culture and dictates the proper way of how to behave as a guest and a host, with hosts offering their guests whatever they want with the expectation that the guest will not be greedy in regards to sharing food or drink. The custom of allowing a social better to enter the room first but making a show of allowing them to pass before you is another part of Ta'arof.
Gideon says that the odds of someone being injured by a toilet are 1 in 10,000.
Operation Blind Man's Bluff is a maneuver the Legends have developed to distract people. It consists of playing Marco Polo while running around whoever they are distracting.
Fixing the time machine this time requires rebuilding 18 aeroimpetus stabilizers. They can be assembled using corrugated metal, 2 inch I-beams, copper wire and a standard welding station.
The tradition of ta'arof demands a guest deny a host's offer three times before finally accepting it. It also requires a host to offer something to a guest as a gift if they like it, as when Bishop admires Zari 2.0's "retro" phone.
The factory has an injection molder, which makes custom metal parts, that keeps breaking down. Once fixed, it can be used to make the aeroimpetus stabilizers far faster than Spooner can assemble them.
Spooner accidentally casts a spell which paralyzes Mr. E. Staples in place.
Bishop builds a navigational device for the time machine made out of Zari's phone and a Speak-and-Spell. He calls it a neural communicator and says that, when worn by Gideon, it should help her steer the time machine.
Bishop: I'm on your side, I swear. There is a soon-to-be bad Bishop who's actually a replacement robot clone of me, but I'm the good Bishop.
Ava: So which Bishop blew up our Waverider?
Bishop: Well, that was me.
Zari 1.0: And who sent the robots after us?
Bishop: Also me.
Nate: None of this fits the definition of "good."
Bishop: In my defense, I thought you kidnapped me, but then I learned the truth. You're the good guys. Only it was too late. Gideon went rogue.
Bishop: (hearing the familiar voice and freezing up) Oh, no.
Astra: She's harmless.
Bishop: Wait, this is astounding. A living, breathing Gideon? A true deus ex machina among us?
(Bishop reaches out to touch Gideon but Astra slaps his hand.)
Astra: She's neither a god nor machine. She's human. So who the hell are you talking about?
Bishop: I stole a copy of Gideon's OS when I was on your ship, restored her to factory settings, and then built my own Waverider.
Spooner: Oh, no, Evil Virus Gideon.
Gideon: That seems a bit harsh. How about misunderstood Gideon who's just trying to keep the timeline intact?
Behrad: By killing us?
Nate: Evil Gideon it is.
(Sara sees Bishop at the dining room table.)
Sara: Why is he down here?
Nate: I'm learning about Persian culture so I can win over cranky uncles.
Behard: Bishop's my teachable moment.
(Sara glares at them for a second but then sighs.)
Sara: You're lucky I love you two.
Nate: Aw, I love you. (hands her a bread basket) Here's some complex carbohydrates.
Bishop: You eat food? How human are you?
Gideon: Biologically, I'm 100% human.
Bishop: Well, so then, how computer are you?
Gideon: Also 100%, which is confusing mathematically, but accurate metaphorically.
(The head janitor just discovered the paralyzed E. Staples.)
Female Worker: You ordered the integration?
Astra: I couldn't have them treat us like second-class citizens or worse. I just--I didn't think that all those women would walk out.
Female Worker: I am pushing the same mop you are. Young ones like you think it's all about now. It's not. We are all just branches on a tree. There are some below us, some yet to come. This war gave us a chance to finally wake this country up. But that doesn't happen overnight. Slow and steady progress, that's sustainable progress.
Astra: You don't stick a knife in a man's back nine inches, and then pull it out six inches and call it progress. It's torture.
Female Worker: What good is change if it doesn't last? Without those women, the plane won't get finished, and the DOD will pull our contract.
Astra: So your team can't finish the plane?
Female Worker: I didn't say that. I mean, maybe we can. Maybe if we work around the clock, maybe if someone brought meals, coffee, some cots for breaks.
Astra: Maybe, huh?
Female Worker: Heh. We can do it. But what's it matter? Once top brass finds out, they're going to fire us anyway.
Astra: You take care of the plane, I will make sure you keep your jobs. Deal?
Female Worker: Probably the straight dumbest thing I've ever said yes to. Deal.
(Bishop is trying to explain his neural interface to Dr. Davies.)
Dr. Gwyn Davies: You dropped a toilet on my time machine. I don't have to talk to you.
Bishop: Look, you have a problem. Your machine can travel. You just can't tell it where. But with this, Gideon can navigate it. All she has to do is think where she wants to go, and... The device can read all of Gideon's thoughts.
(Bishop places the helmet on Gideon's head and it begins to speak.)
Interface: That shirt really brings out Gary's eyes. And those pants accentuate his butt.
(Gideon pulls the helmet off hurriedly.)
Gideon: Now I think I understand why humans keep secrets now.
Behrad: That's called shame. And there's no shame in the game. Those pants do accentuate his butt.
(Gary has been silent this whole time, but smiles a bit at Gideon.)
The Legends crash land in a forest and discover Bishop among the wreckage of the time machine.
The Legends distract a group of American military police away from the time machine wreckage using the Blind Man's Bluff maneuver.
The Legends escape into the mansion dimension using the key in a woman's outhouse.
Bishop explains how he copied Gideon's OS, built his own Waverider, created the Robo-Hoover to maintain the timeline and accidentally created the Evil Gideon that is trying to destroy the Legends.
Bishop is put in John's bedroom in the mansion dimension.
Dr. Gwyn Davies asks who John is, apparently having not been told about Constantine yet.
Ava and Sara discover they are crashed near an airplane manufacturing plant that is in the middle of holding a hiring fair for female workers, since most of the young men who would normally work factory jobs have been recruited as soldiers.
Zari 1.0 returns inside the Totem reality.
Nate says he will move in with her once they get the team back to the present.
Nate tells the rest of the Legends that he and Zari are moving in together.
Nate makes it clear that he is not quitting the team - he will just be commuting from out of the totem every day.
Nate agrees to let Gary have the helmet from his Steel costume, which he almost never wears anymore.
Spooner knows how to weld.
Ava and Sara are recruited for the assembly line. Gideon his hired on as a secretary after saying she can process one million words a minute.
Astra and Spooner are hired on as janitors, as the factory manager refuses to allow non-white women to work on his floor.
The McDougle-Jemison factory produces one bomber every 48 hours.
Astra rankles at being made to clean, but Spooner points out that their position allows them to easily smuggle out what they need because nobody is watching the janitorial staff.
Zari 2.0 returns from the totem dimension with the news that Uncle Amoo Arjomand, who was the totem bearer 400 years earlier, is displeased about the idea of Nate moving in.
Zari 2.0 recovers her phone, which she lost in 704.
Behrad decides to treat Bishop as a "guest" in order to teach Nate about the Persian custom of ta'arof, so that Nate can impress their ancestors with his good manners.
The head janitor informs Spooner and Astra that they created a secret workshop they use to repair the machines that are thrown out and they've become as good as any of the white "Rosies" working the real factory floor. She says they are welcome to use it, provided their other work gets done first.
Zari's towels are 600 GS Egyptian cotton.
Bishop says he prefers a denser towel - at least 800 GSM.
The First Lady, Elanor Roosevelt, is said to have called the factory several times about seeing it in action.
Astra tried to forge a work order to get the aeroimpetus stabilizers made, but is caught by the factory manager, Mr. E. Staples. She accidentally freezes him with a spell as he's in the middle of firing her.
Astra plans to take over doing Mr. E. Staples job, in order to keep the factory on-schedule, so that evil Gideon doesn't detect them doing anything wrong.
Zari plays a game on her phone called Pastry Smash.
Zari is forced to give her phone to Bishop.
Astra is able to arrange for the time machine to be transported into a disused hangar, where Dr. Davies and Gary can work on repairing it in private.
Gideon does not understand why humans keep secrets from one another.
Astra starts making the factory run more efficiently by installing a complaint box, learning what the workers want fixed and doing it. This includes offering coffee and setting up a radio in the break area.
Astra goes one step further by ordering the workplace to be racially integrated. This causes roughly half of the white workers to quit.
The head janitor discovers the frozen Mr. E. Staples and Astra explains she was what happened as an opportunity and had been running the factory in his place.
Astra makes a deal to protect the women's jobs if they can get the plane finished in the next day.
Nate and Behrad make lunches for all the workers.
Behrad tells Astra how much he admires her assertiveness, even if it has gotten them into trouble.
Astra says she admires how giving Behrad is, but says he also uses his traditions as a way to avoid conflict. She encourages him to stand up to Bishop.
Staples' fingers begin to move after Astra and Behrad talk.
Behrad confronts Bishop on his rudeness. This leads him to reveal that he'd been working on building a neural interface that will let Gideon steer the time machine.
Behrad agrees to be friends with Bishop.
Mr. E. Staples revives just after the latest bomber has been completed, in anticipation of a visit from Colonel Dawson. He's about to fire all the Black workers when the Colonel arrives, with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who has come to congratulate the workers on the job they've been doing. She's accompanied by a photographer with Time Magazine.
Astra got the idea to invite the First Lady from Behrad, taking is idea that "a good guest can make a good host" to a literal extreme.
The Colonel says the plane looks as fine as any he's ever seen as Mr. Staples insists it can't be any good and Elanor Roosevelt says his integrated factory will be a model for the industry and the the reporter for Time says they'll be sure to be on the cover.
The Time team take a photo of Mr. Staples with his integrated workers in front of the plane.
Dr. Davies allows Bishop to install his neural interface into the time machine.
Zari 2.0 comments on how Dr. Davies looks like John Constantine. Behrad and Nate don't see it, with Nate saying he looks more like Rip Hunter than anyone.
Based on what Astra did with the factory, Elanor Roosevelt pushes Congress to integrate al factories two years before it originally happened in the original timeline.
Evil Gideon corners the Legends inside the factory, but Bishop and Gideon are able to deliver the time machine to them.
Bishop sacrifices himself to distract the gunmen so the Legends can escape in the time machine.
When Gideon asks where to go, everyone says "Home." We do not see where they jump to.
The gunmen are revealed to be a group of robots who resemble Behrad, Spooner, Nate and Sara. It appears that Evil Gideon has made a team of Robot Legends to replace the real Legends. The Zari and Astra robots were killed in the fight.
Seattle, Washington - 1943
The Bottom Line
A little heavy-handed and mixed in its messaging but the comedic moments more than make up for it. January 12th, 2022 can't come fast enough.