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Recap / Legends of Tomorrow S4 E4 "Wet Hot American Bummer"

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The Legends travel to a 1990's summer camp to find a child-eating monster.


Tropes:

  • Adorkable:
    • Ray, as per usual; he's distracted from a mission by bird-watching (that a time-travelling tech genius superhero bird-watches at all qualifies for this), cheerfully teaches survival skills to the campers, and as a child, took the nickname "Kid Counselor" as a genuine compliment, which he still hasn't understood as an adult.
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    • Ava, after she's been de-aged, claims to have gotten in trouble with a counselor for getting caught reading after lights out, chooses "truth" while playing Truth or Dare, and generally needs Sara to coach her through acting like a normal twelve-year-old girl. Justified, since she's a clone and all her childhood memories are fake.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Constantine tells Ray he had a friend like him and died during an adventure. He could be talking about Chas, Zed, or even Gary Lester.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Or in Ray's case, "Ooh, birdie!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: The final scene briefly suggests that Norah is up to her old tricks again, brewing magical potions. In reality, she's just making soup while playing a tavern wench at a Renaissance fair.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Shtriga hides in the form of Totally Radical camp counselor Chad Stephens.
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  • The Bore: Initially, the kids are not excited about learning survival tricks from Ray.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Downplayed. Ava has a point that the most important thing to do is to ensure the kids' safety rather than try to make friends with them but Sara's attempts at befriending the kids are more effective than Ava's Drill Sergeant Nasty techniques, which only cause the kids to hate her.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nora Darhk makes her first real appearance this season, working at a Renaissance Fair of all places.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The "boring" survival skills Ray taught the kids at the beginning of the episode actually save the day when the boys find Ray and a drained Constantine and their still shell-shocked missing friends.
  • Combination Attack: Ava and Sara use one to defeat the Shtriga: Ava boosts Sara up in the air, then kicks the Shtriga's feet out from under it, allowing Sara to come down and stake it.
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  • Comically Missing the Point: One of the kids John interrogates about the whereabouts of their friend Zack tells him that Zack went to making it to first base with a girl...and then wonders why somebody would play baseball in the dark.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mick tells Charlie about the time he was imprisoned in a Gulag.
    • Losing Astra is still a major motivation for Constantine, as he refuses to let another kid die and risks his life saving the boy.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: John tells Ray that the reason he is such an ass is because people like him just bring misery to everyone around them.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Sara calling for Gideon while she is with Ava in their appartment.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: How Ava acts in her role as a counselor.
  • Fountain of Youth: Sara and Ava take a potion made by Constantine in order to de-age themselves into 12-year-olds to be able to masquerade as campers and infiltrate their cabin's clique to gain the other campers' trust and find out more about the children who went missing.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The director of Swamp Thaaaang is David Geddes, a cinematographer (and occasional director) on Legends of Tomorrow.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ava doesn't know the first thing about kids nor connecting with them because she literally never was one.
  • Friend to All Children: Sara and Ray are both great with the kids, even if Ray's efforts are a bit boring at first. Constantine is more of a downplayed version; he's predictably apathetic while posing as a camp counselor, but when it comes down to it, he goes to every length to save the kids, at risk to his own life.
  • Hypno Pendulum: John uses one to get information out of the kids over their missing friends.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Thankfully, the Shtriga kills its prey slowly, so John and Ray are able to save them all.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Turns out the director of a camp is a bit of a hardass, but not the Shtriga, as first suspected.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Downplayed. The girls' cabin plays a prank on Ava and then refuse to let her live it down but this was because Ava was excessively strict to them: forcing them to go to bed in the daytime, refusing to let them partake in activities they want, etc.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Zari notices The Power of Trust look between Charlie and Mick that was really only for the audience's benefit.
    Zari: What was that? What was that eye thing?
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: AV Club's review of Swamp Thaaaang is taken from an actual Legends of Tomorrow review from its first season.
  • Lens Flare Censor: This show happily crosses lots of standard TV-fare lines, sometimes twice, but there was no way they were actually going to show two 12-year-old girls kissing on prime-time network TV.
  • Little Miss Badass: Even when reduced to the age of kids, Ava and Sara can still take down and kill the Shtriga.
  • Mythology Gag: The episode opens with Sara and Ava watching a cheesy camp horror movie called Swamp Thaaaang, the four a's apparently signifying it's the fourth in the series. The monster itself looks like a low-budget Swamp Thing, and Constantine later casually mentions working with the real one in the past.
  • Not So Different: Charlie and Mick bond over their similarities.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Monster of the Week is a Shtriga, a vampire-like creature of Romanian mythology that inspired Dracula.
  • Pungeon Master: The Shtriga under the guise of counselor Chad Stephens makes some pretty bad jokes, like saying "Point taken" when he hears that Sara prefers knifes and swords in a fight.
  • Red Herring: Who's the Shtriga preying on campers? The grumpy battle-ax director completely unconcerned about missing campers? No, it's the much nicer boyish handsome assistant instead!
  • The Reveal: Nora Darhk is working as a Renaissance Fair cook.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: Sara is alerted to a time aberration while watching a horror movie she, a self-professed horror buff, has never seen before which is the latest in a series based on true events that occurred at a summer camp in the nineties. Gideon calling shortly after to report it confirms it.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Inverted. The Shtriga is a man!
  • Sequel Hook: In order to help Constantine, Ray proposes they find Nora Darhk.
  • Shout-Out: The "Lake Monster" trick Ava falls for is a combination of the Bloody Mary folktale and Jason's backstory from Friday the 13th.
  • Skewed Priorities: When looking for the monster, Ray is more excited over the fact that he sees a Northern Saw-whet Owl.
  • Speak of the Devil: Immediately after watching the start of Swamp Thaaaang, Gideon calls Sara about the magical anomaly during the time period of the real-life events that inspired said movie.
  • Stealth Insult: Back when he was at Summer Camp himself, Ray was always called "Kid Counselor" by the other children there, which he took as a compliment. Sara's and John's looks on their faces are priceless.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Ava assumes that the Legends captured Charlie rather than sending her to Hell in order to use her as a source of information about other magical fugitives. Rather than admit that Charlie basically guilt-tripped them into sparing her, Zari and Sara agree that that was definitely the plan.
  • Take That, Us: The review of Swamp Thaaaang that Ava reads is copied word-for-word from the A.V. Club's review of "Last Refuge". Right down to the D+ rating.
  • Tastes Like Friendship:
    • Mick manages to bond with Charlie over a bottle of Vodka.
    • Child Ava endears herself to the other campers by stealing ice cream from the kitchen, allowing them to have the ice cream social that was previously called off.
  • Wham Line: Constantine casually mentions that Swamp Thing exists in the 'verse.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Charlie pretends to have knocked herself out against her cage. When Zari lowers the forcefield to check on her, Charlie knocks her out and makes a run for it.

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