Joanna Vanderham

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e13 – I Am Legends

Did you know you needed a “Legends vs. Zombies” episode of “Legends of Tomorrow”? Because I did not know I needed such a thing. I also didn’t realize I needed to see how much range Adam Tsekhman can exhibit on the drop of a… carrot. I’ve always liked Tsekhman but in a comic relief sort of way; they’re underutilizing him. They really need to bring in tough Tsekham.

And give him Amy Louise Pemberton as a partner.

But Pemberton and Tsekham in a bit.

Following the disappointing Animal House 2020 episode they did, the Legends find themselves stuck in England because hellspawn Olivia Swann had to betray them out to evil sisters Sarah Strange and Joanna Vanderham.

The Legends only have 24 hours of immortality to get to the ship and stop the sisters, only they’re stranded in Constantine Manor and Matt Ryan doesn’t believe in cars. Bumming rides is his thing. You’d think he’d know a teleportation spell.

Anyway, on their way to London to a time bureau safe house (weird but welcome Rip Hunter mention this episode), Vanderham figures out what they’re doing and sends zombies to destroy them.

So the episode’s the Legends fighting their way to London, figuring out how to do it without enough gas, Ryan and Tala Ashe argue-flirting, and Tsekhman trying to save the day with Pemberton’s help.

Pemberton, who usually just voices the ship’s computer, gets to do an in-person performance and she and Tsekhman and perfect together. Also more bi-inclusivity for “Legends.”

But it then turns out Sara (Caity Lotz) has been lying to co-captain for life Ava (Jes Macallan) about not seeing the future and the Legends are in real trouble. Can they defeat Swann, Vanderham, and Strange not to mention a swarm of zombies?

On one hand, they’re the Legends, on the other hand, it’s the second-to-last episode of the season and there is some required dramatic tension.

Really good episode. Makes up for Animal House 2020 flopping so hard.

Perfect cliffhanger too. Oh, and the costumes. Great costumes.

And whoever thought to put in the George A. Romero zombie.

And the Trash (from Return) zombie. Just wonderful touches.

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e09 – Zari, Not Zari

It’s an unexpectedly strong episode. Not everything goes off without a hitch—teaming up Jes Macallan and Dominic Purcell as they go through time trying to make it seem like Purcell was a present dad ought to be a great comedy subplot but instead just seems rushed.

And, despite some really good acting from Maisie Richardson-Sellers, the main plot involving she, Caity Lotz, and Matt Ryan looking for a missing relic (again) so they can fix the universe (again) while running from Richardson-Sellers evil god of a mean older sister, Joanna Vanderham. Vanderham’s not a great villain. Not so far. She’s not a bad villain, but she’s not a great one.

The relic is hidden in the British Columbia woods and, while there, the good guys stumble across a “Supernatural” episode filming. No star cameos—in fact, it appears to be a prop cameo—but it’s fairly cute, albeit draggy. There’s some obvious twists and turns you’d think at least Lotz would see coming, given they’re familiar “Legends” tropes.

Where the episode excels—before the third act, where even the Vanderham stuff excels—but where it excels throughout is Tala Ashe. She’s now sleepwalking herself into bed with alternate reality boyfriend Nick Zano (alternate reality to the show, but not to the viewer), so brother Shayan Sobhian suggests she go into their family superpowers totem and talk to the ancestors.

Only when she goes in, Ashe finds the alternate universe self waiting to talk to her, which turns out to be a far better scene than it ought to be, given the goofiness level. It’s because Ashe can pull it off because Ashe is so good. When the show’s stars are at their best, they’re not just selling the silly mix of supernatural and superhero, they’re making it believable. Ashe does it times two this episode (versus Richardson-Sellers’s times one). Plus Ashe then has an absolutely phenomenal resolution to her eventually tragic subplot.

The emotional weight of the episode helps it get over the laggy sections… plus the five minutes it feels like we’ve literally seen the same turn of events before (from a couple seasons ago).

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