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Recap / Legends of Tomorrow S3 E2 "Freakshow"

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The Legends try to clean up an anachronism at P.T. Barnum's circus — a sabretooth tiger.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Villainy: B'wana Beast as P.T. Barnum's strongman, willingly helping Barnum to shoot Commander Steel, and then facing Amaya so she can't free Commander Steel. The version from the comics (and other adaptations) is a hero.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • B'wana Beast in the comics has super strength and speed, plus fighting and tracking abilities, none of which appear here. He can also fuse two animals together to make a monster, but there weren't enough animals to show this off anyway.
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    • P.T. Barnum is depicted as a villain almost in the same style as those who appeared on Batman in the 1960s; in real life, of course, Barnum never engaged in acts of kidnapping.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Nate has too many drinks to cope with seeing Amaya again, and ends up blabbing to Barnum all about the Legends' abilities. Lo and behold, Jax and Ray get kidnapped to perform in the circus.
  • All Part of the Show: Barnum passes off the Legends' presence at his circus this way.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Agent Ava Sharpe, who already appeared in the first episode, is skilled enough to fight Sara to a draw.
  • Back from the Dead: Mari's evil sister Kuasa is brought back from the dead by a female hooded figure to serve Mallus.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Barnum encaging Nate and Amaya, threatening her in order to get his cooperation, and later shooting a visibly tired Nate just for fun in front of Amaya; it almost gets him mauled to death when she finally escapes.
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  • Continuity Nod: Laughing off the idea that there's some greater threat out there, The Legends wonder what could be worse than an immortal Egyptian demigod (Vandal Savage) or an evil speedster (Reverse-Flash).
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Amaya left Nate on his own birthday so he would hate her, so it would be easier for both of them to get over each other.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Nate tries and fails to turn to steel, which he blames on being dehydrated:
    Nate: This never happened to me before, I swear.
    Amaya: Where have I heard that one before?
    Nate: Not from me. She never heard that from me.
  • Epic Fail: Instead of miniaturizing the sabretooth tiger, Ray ends up enlarging it, making the aberration go From Bad to Worse.
  • Foreshadowing: Stein refuses to go onto the Titanic, saying whoever built the ship should be shot. Well, Stein's actor played the ship's builder in Titanic, and in the later crossover, Stein himself gets shot.
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  • Hidden Depths: Prof. Stein can not only properly apply clown makeup, but can also make balloon animals.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Gary, the incompetent member of the Time Bureau sent to spy on the Legends gets spotted pretty easy by Sara.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: P.T. Barnum, circus owner and professional showman, is the episode's main antagonist. To save his circus' declining popularity, he is willing to kidnap individuals with extraordinary abilities to serve as new attractions. He's also ready to torture or intimidate them in case they don't wanna cooperate. Historically, P.T. Barnum was a con man who was unapologetic about his greed, but there's nothing to indicate he kidnapped or tortured anyone.
  • Immunity Attrition: Nate's immunity to bullets while in his steel form is shown to have its limits. When he is tied up and repeatedly shot at, it appears to strain him and by the end he's begging for it to be over.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Quoted word-by-word by Barnum as his idea for Ray's new circus name.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ray has built Molecular Hyper-Compressor, not a shrink ray.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Sara and the Legends find out about Mallus — except they don't know its name, or even what it is.
    • Amaya tells her teammates that whenever she's using her powers the animal spirits are controlling her instead her controlling them.
  • Karma Houdini: Aside from nearly getting killed by Amaya, P.T. Barnum receives no comeuppance for his crimes; obviously, this is justified due to him being a vital part of history.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: When Nate's powers don't work because of the hangover, he says that it has never happened before. Amaya remarks that she heard that from him in a different situation...
  • Mythology Gag: Barnum describes Nate's metallic form as The Man of Steel and notes that it's catchy.
  • Naked on Arrival: When Kuasa is resurrected, she is completely naked. Of course, due to the show's rating, we don't see anything.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Several examples.
  • Not So Stoic: Unlike Sara, Agent Sharpe (understandably) freaks out when seeing the sabertooth tiger growing back to its normal size.
  • Panthera Awesome: The sabertooth tiger.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Amaya left without saying goodbye to Nate, thinking he would get over her faster if he hated her — it didn't work.
  • Power Incontinence: Turns out Amaya has begun to lose control over her animal totem powers whenever she activates it.
  • Precision F-Strike: From Gideon to Sara about Ava Sharpe.
    Gideon: What a bitch.
  • The Reveal:
    • Amaya went back to her own time after seeing news footage about her granddaughter Mari; she didn't want to put her future at risk any longer.
    • Amaya did not want to kill those Belgians last episode; she was just going to scare them away but the spirits took control of her and went on a rampage instead.
  • Saying Too Much: Agent Sharpe lets it slip that Rip thinks the Legends are the best hope against Mallus, without actually naming it. Sara presses her for more details, but she refuses to offer more.
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: Once shrunk, the sabretooth was actually pretty adorable.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sara says that the sabertooth tiger will embiggen in 24 hours.
    • Prof. Stein saying that whoever built the Titanic should be shot.
    • Mick alludes to It while talking about his fear of clowns.
    • Sara calls Ray and Jax "The Hardy Boys".
  • Shrink Ray: Or Molecular Hyper-Compressor, as Ray insists it is called. Ray needs to consider several factors when using it on a living being, otherwise it can have the opposite effect.
  • So Proud of You: Before going back to 1942, Amaya went to Detroit to see her granddaughter in action to see if she was amazing as people said — it was all true.
  • Tempting Fate: The Legends are decidedly unimpressed by the upcoming threat of Mallus. Then we see Kuasa getting resurrected.
  • Visual Pun: When we see Amaya lose it and go berserk, she's under the influence of the Bear totem spirit. The term "berserk" comes from the berserkers, Viking warriors who followed a shamanistic bear-totem rite.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Mick is afraid of clowns.
  • The Worf Effect: P.T. Barnum and a circus strongman take down 4 superheroes who were made to do humiliating circus acts. To be fair though, two of them didn't have access to their powers.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Since they can't have P.T. Barnum use the trademarked phrase "The Greatest Show on Earth", this episode is set while he's still workshopping his circus's tagline, trying out "Greatest Show on the Planet" and other variations.

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