Spoilers ahead for the Season 4 midseason finale of Legends of Tomorrow.
Ever since moving away from the dark and gritty, Legends of Tomorrow has always managed to pack a whole lot of bonkers twists into one hour of primetime, and the Season 4 midseason finale may have been the most bonkers episode of the series to date. After Constantine kinda sorta broke time by saving the man he loved who was supposed be dragged to Hell by the demon Neron, the Legends were changed into everything from ruthless magical creature hunters to puppets.
The episode ended with the reveal that Hank Heywood is working with Neron, who has taken residence in poor Desmond's body. Yes, Nate's dad has seemingly made a literally deal with a demon to advance his cause, presumably with Project Hades. That would seem to point toward Hank as at least one of two big bads of Season 4, but Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Phil Klemmer warns that this might not be the case. Here's what Klemmer had to say:
Hank certainly started out the season not a cold-hearted bastard but he was certainly guilty of some of the things Nate accused him of, but from this point forward we're interested in seeing how Nate changes his father and how there's sort of reconciliation. There's the literal demon on Hank's shoulder, but we wanted to give Nate a chance to be [the angel], and we wanted to have Hank be conflicted.
Fans of Legends of Tomorrow had reason to dislike Hank Heywood from the very beginning, as Nate never had anything good to say about his not-so-dear old dad. His first interactions with Nate (and Mick, of all people) on screen indicated that he was as frustrating as Nate had always said, and he seemed like an altogether unpleasant bureaucrat.
Viewers didn't have many reasons to give him the benefit of the doubt when Legends first revealed Project Hades. Although Project Hades is still mostly shrouded in mystery, it's not like Hank named it "Project Heaven" or something less evil-sounding than "Project Hades." According to Phil Klemmer, however, Hank isn't beyond redemption, and that is thanks to Nate. Now that Nate is back to himself rather than a Custodian of the Chronology as he was in the midseason finale, he should have the mindset to try and talk his dad down from any evildoing.
Whether or not Nate will be successful is another matter entirely. The Heywood men have made progress with each other and even bonded during their Thanksgiving celebration, but Nate surely won't be able to talk his dad down from a deal with a demon with just an emotional appeal or two. While Nate may be the angel on Hank's shoulder, we shouldn't discount the power of the demon on his other shoulder. Neron is not to be underestimated, as Constantine would undoubtedly attest.
Phil Klemmer also revealed in his chat with EW that Legends originally planned to paint Hank as a "totally irredeemable scumbag," only to decide that Tom Wilson was too likable and his chemistry with Nick Zano as Nate was too great for Hank to be the big bad. That said, viewers shouldn't absolutely count on Hank seeing the light. According to Klemmer, nothing is set in stone yet:
Again, it's weird that it was easy on paper to imagine that Hank would be a purely terrible person looking to exploit magical creatures, but inevitably you fall in love with these people on your show and you want to make apologies for the reasons they do the terrible things they do, and then ultimately, you want to at least offer them a chance at redemption, right? It's not always possible, but I don't know, they just always become a little bit more real.
Although Hank Heywood is far from earning a spot among the heroes of the Legends, he does arguably have some endearing qualities. At the very least, he's a fun straight man for goofier characters to bounce off of, and he's not a half bad singer. That's not to say that his set of pipes and penchant to provoking humor are enough to offset his seemingly nefarious intentions for the magical creatures being held at the Time Bureau, but perhaps they're a sign that there's more to Hank that could indeed lead to some redemption.
Given how much Phil Klemmer seems to like Tom Wilson, we may want to count on seeing more of Hank's somewhat sympathetic side moving forward. The character has been painted as more of a bureaucrat focused on a bottom line and achieving a goal than downright evil, and he may get in over his head with Neron rather than 100% align with what Neron has in mind.
Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who played Amaya and now plays Charlie, has stated that Season 4's big bad is "completely unexpected," and that the big bad was only "beginning to come in" after they'd already shot almost half of Season 4. Does this point toward Hank as the red herring baddie from the first chunk of the season, with Neron taking over that role in the second half? We'll have to wait and see. During a recent visit to the Legends of Tomorrow set, members of the cast chatted with CinemaBlend and other outlets about how the Legends will uncover the truth about project.
Phil Klemmer is still keeping pretty quiet on what exactly to expect from Hank and Neron when Legends of Tomorrow returns, but he did tease this about why Hank got himself into his current situation:
Hank does evolve over the course of the season, but obviously when you're making deals with a demon for what appears to be the exploitation of magical creatures, I think we can all say that, at least for the time being, it's not for altruistic purposes.
Will Hank become more altruistic once he realizes just what he's gotten himself into with Neron, or does he already have a grasp on what Neron wants out of their arrangement? Only time will tell, and unfortunately, there's quite a bit of time before we get any new Legends of Tomorrow episodes. The second half of Season 4 doesn't premiere until April 2019, which will be significantly later than the other three shows of the Arrow-verse. Hopefully Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl will keep us entertained until then!
If you're in the market for some shows to watch while the fall series are on winter hiatus, be sure to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule for 2019.