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Spoilers ahead for the February 25 episode of Legends of Tomorrow Season 5, called "Mortal Khanbat."
Legends of Tomorrow used none other than Genghis Khan for its villain of the week in "Mortal Khanbat," and all members of the Legends team not dying of lung cancer or trying to comfort their dying friend headed to Hong Kong. That is, almost all members of the Legends team. For the second week in a row, Sara was almost entirely absent from Legends of Tomorrow. The in-show explanation was that Sara had some things to do in Star City, but fans have undoubtedly been wondering: is something mysterious happening with Sara?
Well, we can't rule that out considering this is Legends of Tomorrow we're talking about, but there's a reason for Sara's absence the last two weeks that is far from sinister. Legends leading lady Caity Lotz directed her very first episode for Season 5, and she needed a week to prepare and then the week to direct. Speaking with Variety, Lotz explained some of the challenges she faced during her time behind the camera:
There was this one really cool insert shot that I wanted to get, and it was from underneath — putting the camera underneath and the glass was going to break on top of it — and just to set up that one shot, it took an hour to set it up and to get it. But then you’re on set going, ‘Should I have done that? I lost an hour to that one shot.’ And your AD and everyone is like, ‘We’ve got to go, we’ve got to go,’ and you’re dropping shots left and right. The hard part is, you don’t just get to do your exact vision and the best version of it. Sixty-percent of the job is just being able to throw it all away, think on the fly and figure it out.
Working as an actor on a show is clearly very different from directing that show! Television moves quickly, and Caity Lotz had a lot to do very quickly as a brand-new director. Fortunately, she was with familiar people on a show she knew well, and she could envision that "really cool insert shot."
While Caity Lotz may not have gotten that vision on camera, I think the finished product was pretty sleek, action-packed, and goofy in that distinct Legends of Tomorrow way. The Legends ensemble is big enough that the past couple of episodes worked just fine without Sara. Ava was hilarious as substitute captain, Constantine's plot delivered plenty of drama, and Courtney Ford go to play Marie Antoinette with and without her head in one of her final Legends episodes!
Caity Lotz went on to share one production disaster she had to deal with right before the time came to start shooting:
I had to completely change the blocking and all the shot-listing for my giant action sequence. I had a giant crane, and at the new location, the ceilings were too low, so we weren’t going to be able to get a crane in there. So I had to re-plan all of my crane shots — and that’s the night before we started shooting. It gave me lots of empathy, not only for the director but every single department.
Luckily for Legends of Tomorrow fans who loved Caity Lotz's directorial debut with "Mortal Khanbat," the difficulties and newfound "empathy" from her stint as director haven't made her want to return to acting exclusively. Lotz is reportedly ready to direct again to do some things differently, including helm an episode that features her in front of the camera a bit more. Additionally, she has a goal to drop by the other Arrow-verse series as a director.
If Green Arrow and the Canaries gets a series order, I vote Caity Lotz gets a shot on that show! She was the Arrow-verse's original Canary, after all. For now, you can catch Lotz in new episodes of Legends of Tomorrow on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. Sadly, Legends is losing two series regulars in Season 5, including one of the few remaining original stars, and he didn't want to leave. Hey, at least Constantine didn't die!