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Why That Shocking Legends Of Tomorrow Death Had To Happen

Contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow season 5, episode 8 "Zari, Not Zari"

The young superheroes from the CW's Legends of Tomorrow are back from their month-long hiatus, and boy, did they make it count. The first episode back — the eighth episode of season 5, entitled "Zari, Not Zari" — was bookended by death; though certainly a shocker, the fatality at the episode's end was a necessary heartbreak.

When last we left the Legends, they were traipsing around Elizabethan London looking for a missing piece of the Loom of Fate. They discovered the shard secreted away in the form of a ring — and while it seemed safe for a time, Charlie's (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) horrible sisters appeared to turn everything upside down for our heroes.

The new episode's opening deaths came hot and fast, as we witnessed Charlie's bandmates murdered at the hands of one of her omnipotent sisters. They don't call Atropos (Joanna Vanderham) the "Goddess of Death" for nothing. Charlie's sister left a calling card so that Charlie would understand exactly who was responsible for all the carnage. It's a devastating blow for the character, and it's only the beginning of her losses over the course of the tragic hour, as the episode featured a shocking twist in the form of another death.

Maisie Richardson-Sellers, the actress who plays Charlie on Legends of Tomorrow, recently gave an interview to Den of Geek, during which she broke down the episode's high body count and the significance for her character going forward.

Charlie's dealing with the worst sibling rivalry imaginable

As Richardson-Sellers pointed out to Den of Geek, "[Charlie's] bandmates were the only other people she's been on a team with, except the Legends, since she lost her sisters. They were the only people that she felt at home with. She created this sweet world for herself even though it wasn't true because she was never honest about who she was with them. To lose that and to think that it's her fault is absolutely crushing."

Straight from the goddess' mouth, these deaths are Charlie's inciting incident on the latest Legends of Tomorrow episode, and they inspire the rest of her actions as the story plays out on its way to that tragic finale. "It definitely propels her into the episode with a lot of fear and anger and resentment," Richardson-Sellers said. Doesn't sound like the best mental state to be in when she confronts her evil sisters.

Viewers recently learned the truth about Charlie: she's in fact one of the Sisters of Fate. The characters are based on the actual Fates from Ancient Greek mythology, three goddesses who control the lives and deaths of mortal men. The Sisters of Fate on Legends of Tomorrow used to enjoy a similar power — that is, until Charlie smashed the Loom of Fate millennia ago, granting humanity free will. She's been on the run from her vengeful siblings ever since.

But while the death of her bandmates launches Charlie into the plot of the episode, it's the next death that will likely define her arc for the rest of the season.

The Legends have a new motivation to fix the Loom of Fate

Charlie's next enormous loss comes too soon, when her sisters arrive on the Waverider, a sequence that leads directly to the death of Behrad (Shayan Sobhian). Outside of her bandmates, Behrad was Charlie's best friend, and now he's gone as well. By the end of the episode, Legends of Tomorrow has established an entire new normal wherein Charlie has lost everything and everyone who matters to her. As Richardson-Sellers explained, "It really reminds [Charlie] just why she's doing what she's doing and just how dangerous her sisters are. I think it cements a mental determination to beat them and find a way forward where they don't win."

Although Behrad had become a bit of a fan favorite on Legends, his death was necessary to establish the stakes in the fight against the Sisters of Fate. If Charlie wasn't already committed to the mission, she certainly is now. She finally understands exactly what her sisters are capable of, and there's nothing holding her back from going in whole hog.

"It's tragic," Richardson-Sellers said. "But it's also necessary as a huge piece of her journey to staying true to who she is rather than being in any way tempted by the illusions that her sisters try and brainwash her with."

In addition to motivating Charlie, Behrad's death has set his sister Zari (Tala Ashe) on a collision course with John Constantine (Matt Ryan). If Constantine can help her repair the Loom of Fate, then there's a chance she can actually bring Behrad back from the grave.

Legends of Tomorrow keeps showing us why it remains a sterling example of must-watch TV. It was an action-packed — if heavy — return to the screen for the series. Though fraught with unexpected death, "Zari, Not Zari" charts a clear course for the back half of season 5. Let's just hope Charlie keeps it together long enough to stick it to her evil sisters.

New episodes of Legends of Tomorrow air Tuesdays at 9 PM ET on the CW.