The final encounter with Mallus is rapidly approaching for the Legends! With all of the totems accounted for, can the Waverider crew stop enough anachronisms to prevent Mallus’ jailbreak? If they can’t, can they prevent the end of history? Things are heating up!
Legends of Tomorrow – “Guest Starring John Noble”, Season 3, Episode 17
Airdate: April 2nd, 2018
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Writer: Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim
Based on the Characters of DC Comics
What You Should Know:
In the wake of Kuasa’s death last episode, Amaya has stolen the jumpship in order to return to Zambesi and stop it from being destroyed. On the bright side, the Legends are in possession of five out of the six totems needed to have a fighting chance of defeating Mallus, the demonic presence currently residing in Nora Darhk with the desire to end history. We also discovered last week that Ava Sharpe, the current director of the Time Bureau, is actually a clone from the year 2213 procured by Rip.
What You’ll Find Out:
A lot, honestly. The penultimate episode of the season was a busy episode indeed. Mallus, who has been sending the Darhk’s out to create anachronisms to weaken his prison, is only one anachronism away from freedom. That freedom, however, comes at an unforeseen (somehow) cost to Damien—Nora will no longer exist. This sudden revelation causes Damien to change his allegiance and seek the help of the Legends to prevent the loss of his daughter. He encounters the crew after they stopped Grodd from killing a young Barry Obama, preventing the final necessary anachronism, and eventually wins their (foolish) trust on the condition that Sarah is allowed to kill him when Mallus has been stopped.
Unfortunately for the cause of saving Nora, however, is the problem of Amaya’s mission to save Zambesi. Nathaniel and Wally follow Amaya to the past to talk her out of creating the final anachronism herself (I’m really getting tired of the word anachronism!), but instead, Nathaniel decides to help her out of love (and just possibly a hope that changing the past will enable a future for the star-crossed lovers. That notion is never mentioned but seems to be present in the subtext). All they need to do to break history… I mean… to save Zambesi is to convince Amaya’s daughter to assume the responsibility of the totem, which should be plenty of power to stop a gang of warlords from leveling the town. The succeed.
Back on the ship, the team plots to lure Nora to the ship and trap her while they attempt to find a way to sever her ties to Mallus. Mick’s Lord of the Rings marathon leads to the shocking revelation that Mallus’ voice sounds exactly like actor John Noble, so Ray goes back to 1999 and records Noble saying everything they need to convince Nora that Mallus is telling her to walk into a trap on the Waverider. No, I’m not making any of this up. Nora falls for it, and fortunately only asked questions that Ray had the recorded answers to and is trapped. The only problem (well, maybe not the only problem) is that Mallus appears to have already fully taken over Nora. New plan: free Mallus and use the six totems to just defeat him. I mean, what could go wrong? Oh, and if the plan wasn’t shaky enough already, Sarah agrees to give Damien the death totem after a heartfelt talk about love and loss. For those keeping score at home, the reason the totem bearers failed to kill Mallus in the past was that they were betrayed by the person bearing the death totem. Whomp Whomp.
Now in possession of the death totem, Damien comes face to face with Nora who informs him that she is not entirely gone. Naturally, that leads to Damien to betray the team by freeing Grodd to finish the Zambesi job in order to delay the freeing of Mallus. Nate stops Grodd using the earth totem, and Mallus is free. The end.
What Just Happened?
We just watched a team of time traveling superheroes, whose jobs are to travel through time correcting errors that will have catastrophic impacts on the time stream, do nearly everything wrong for a full 44 minutes. Create anachronisms? Check. Keep a miniaturized version of one of your deadliest villains in an unlocked jar in your home? Check. Hand over an ancient and powerful artifact to one of the most untrustworthy villains they’ve ever encountered? Check. Decide to use the totems to destroy Mallus, two of which have not been successfully used by anybody on the team yet? Check. The team is a mess, and if their decision making continues to be this dubious, I honestly can’t see a way for them to stop Mallus without the introduction of some sort of deus ex machina.
The episode, for all its faults, was not without a few bright spots (thankfully). Here’s a list of the reasons I was able to finish the episode at all!
- When Rip pops up to say that Grodd is going after Barry, Wally is unfazed because somebody is always coming after Barry (Allen). Rip’s response? “Not that Barry.” The young Barry Obama was played well, going so far as to suggest to Grodd that they try to find “common ground.” This episode certainly wore its politics on its sleeve, with Grodd announcing it is time to “Make America Grodd Again” and Sarah getting advice from Barry and telling him how much she misses him. I felt like all of these moments could maybe have done a bit more organically, but the overall silliness of them did fit the general tone of the show, so no harm no foul there.
- Sarah and Damien’s heartfelt talk about love and loss was well written and actually touching. As a father of two daughters myself, I can certainly understand where Damien is coming from, and for just a moment, I didn’t hate Damien. Only a moment, but sometimes a moment is all it takes. Not in this case, but sometimes.
- It was revealed in this episode that Ava is not the first Ava Sharpe clone employed the Time Bureau. When she prompts Rip to explain why he would implant all the false memories in her, it is revealed that she is the 12th Ava clone. He keeps repeating how special she is, which leads me to believe there is more to the story yet to be revealed. My personal speculation is that it will have something to do with the host DNA Ava is cloned from. Time will tell.
- Sarah finally uses the “L” word with Ava, which is a huge step for the character. Unfortunately, the brooding Ava simply responds with “There isn’t a me to love.”
- Ray’s scene with John Noble showed Noble in the most charming light. It was really wonderful, and maybe among the best scenes, this show has had in nearly three full seasons. If you were on the fence about watching before reading this review, just go watch that scene. You won’t be disappointed.
Final Thought: Blerg. I love all of these characters (except Damien. I hate Damien. Well documented fact). This season has had some very bright spots. This episode as a whole was not one of them. I really, really wanted it to be. If you’re curious about why the rating is a 5, it’s because I consider anything I can finish to be at least watchable, and therefore at least middle of the pack. That’s the best I’ve got this week. Tune in next week for the season finale!
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