The Top Five White Canary/Sara Lance Episodes of Legends of Tomorrow
Last week, Daniel Ryan Alarcon of The Mary Sue had an excellent piece about how the refocusing of Legends of Tomorrow’s second season around Sara Lance aka White Canary as its lead helped to vastly improve the show’s direction. I highly recommend it. It got me thinking about my favorite episodes so far of the show as far as Sara Lance was concerned. So here are my top five below.
5) “Destiny” – Season 1, Episode 15
This epsiode has a few key moments in it. First, it’s the first time, even if for a short period and because of the encroaching threat of the Time Masters surrounding them and holding Rip, that Sara takes control of the Waverider. This, of course, will lead her to being full fledged leader and official captain by the end of season two. Second, I think it’s important because it has some nice payoff for the Leonard Snart/Captain Cold and Sara Lance romantic storyline in season one. They’ve mostly danced around each other and had moments, but in this episode, we first have Sara face off against Leonard and call him on his utter crap that he’s still the same cold hearted killer and bastard he always was. She also, naturally, refuses to leave the rest of the team behind even at Leonard’s initial urging. It’s another way she really steps in to become the leader and living by the mantra of leaving no man or woman behind. Finally, as Leonard sacrifices himself to save the team, she and he share a kiss, a bit of what-if for a doomed relationship. As a bisexual, I appreciate that the show has been very clear that’s who Sara is too. Sometimes she flirts with or has relationships with women, sometimes it’s men, but there’s no bi erasure with her and it’s appreciated.
2) “Left Behind” – Season 1, Episode 9
Through an accident, Ray, Kendra, and Sara are all left stranded in the 1950s for two years. While Ray and Kendra fall in love, which clunkily set up a love triangle at the end of the season between Kendar, Ray, and Carter that felt unearned, Sara goes stir crazy and returns to the one home she knows is still there—The League of Assassins. Throughout the season and, of course, earlier on Arrow, Sara has struggled with her brutal assassin past and the increased bloodlust and violence she’s craved since her resurrection. This episode forces her to leave behind the league, but to also accept its training and her work with it as part of the woman she is now. I think it’s key that she tells Ra’s Al Ghul where to find her future self floating out in the ocean, thus ensuring she’ll become a part of the league and, eventually, White Canary.
3) “Night of the Hawk” – Season 1, Episode 8
I would place this episode higher on the list, but while it has noble intentions and a good idea, it comes off as slightly clunky and hamfisted. Basically, the team has to go back to the 1950s to stop their main nemesis of the season Vandal Savage aka Curtis Knox from doing inhuman experiments in a small town. While Dr. Martin Stein is excited to be going back to the era of his early childhood and sees everything through rose-tinted glasses, both Jefferson and Kendra are frustrated to go back to a time where mixed raced relationships were frowned upon among other things, and Sara’s as upset that her flirtation with a nurse is anathema there. Again, I think the episode serves as a good counter to what really is a white, cis, straight male fantasy of time travel and goes “Yeah, things really sucked for a lot of people,” but the execution wasn’t quite as smooth as it could have been. That said, the storyline with sara and Nurse Lindsay is a good subplot in a monster-of-the-week episode. We get to see the flirtation, the urge for Sara to help liberate someone she meets in an earlier time, and then Sara dig out her ninja skills to save Lindsay and be helped in return by the nurse. They leave their ersatz relationship on a kiss that makes you wish one day that Sara would return to the 1950s.
2) “Camelot/3000” – Season 2, Episode 12
The legends spend season two trying to track down pieces of the Spear of Destiny, the spear that pierced Christ’s side and is said to have mystical powers and the ability to rewrite the very fabric of reality. They’re desperate to recollect all the pieces and keep it out of the hands of the Legion of Doom. Part of their travels brings them back to the knights of the round table and Camelot. There, Guinevere is a loyal friend and dedicated soldier alongside King Arthur and his egalitarian movement, but they’re not actually lovers. Instead, Sara spends the episode falling for the queen. As with the previous episode, Sara can’t stay but this sweet, budding relationship and affection is nice to see. Also, Sara Lance got to make out with Quinevere, just saying. What isn’t there to love about that?
1) “Aruba” – Season 2, Episode 17
With time running out and one of their own already shattered literally into a hundred pieces, the legends have to break the rules of time and go back to fix a mission they already ruined, risking a paradox and breaking space-time itself. At the heart of all of this, is the culimination of the race for the spear, the only thing that can hope to start setting things right. When Sara Lance gets her hands on it, she’s scared to use it. The power, of course, can corrupt absolutely, and she’s always felt that as a former assassin and with her spotty history, she’s anything but the hero who can wield it safely. However, this episode has its climax not on the battlefield but in a quiet, limbo moment between Sara and her late sister Laurel, where she both gets forgiveness for not being there for her sister’s death as well as Laurel’s encouragement to use the spear just this once. It’s the fact that Sara’s arc is rounded out so well here. Even at the start of the series, we go from her drinking in a bar, trying to get lost in Tibet, to her being the tentative, unofficial captain of the Waverider to this moment where she’s the hero the world and all of reality need. I can’t say enough for this episode or that it’s a caring sister moment and bond that drives it all home.
Of course, this being Legends of Tomorrow, even though they save they day, they still manage to break time, complete with dinosaurs in modern day Los Angeles so I appreciate that even when Sara does a lot right, the risks she takes still have costs and consequences.
Honorable Mention – “Out of Time” – Season 2, Episode 1
This is really an ensemble episode as the scattered heroes are collected throughout time. However, I dig that Sara ended up “corrupting” the queen in pre-revolution France. As the series has progressed and lightened, she’s become a bit of a swashbuckling rogue or a Han Solo character, and I love it.
Also, starting Thursday October 11th after the Season Three premiere, Ivy Quinn will be doing weekly quick recaps on her blog. Come by and celebrate our favorite bisexual, swashbuckling time traveler. (Sorry, Captain Jack Harkness).