UK TV recap: Legends of Tomorrow, Season 3, Episode 18 (The Good, The Bad and the Cuddly)
Matthew Turner | On 28, Apr 2018
Warning: This contains spoilers. For how to watch Legends of Tomorrow, click here.
Legends of Tomorrow has been firing on all cylinders this season, with only the Elvis episode falling slightly short of their impressively high standard. Perhaps that’s partly the result of having a slightly shorter season than the other Arrowverse shows (18 episodes as opposed to 23), but one thing is for certain – by fully embracing the time-travelling silliness, the show has most definitely found its groove, consistently delivering big laughs, exciting superhero action and strong emotion. The finale is no exception on all three counts, but what’s really surprising is just how many dangling threads they manage to resolve in the process.
The cliffhanger for the previous episode had Mallus finally taking full possession of Nora Darhk, shredding her body and emerging as a giant, winged CGI demon. Fighting alongside Damien Darhk (who wields the Death Totem), the Legends take on Mallus by shooting their various totem-powered blasts at him – earth, wind, fire, water, animal and, um, death – but it doesn’t seem to have any effect, contrary to the advice of Amaya’s ancestors. When Amaya is injured, Rip realises that the Legends need time to escape, so he takes the time drive from the Waverider and lets it explode as Mallus approaches, fully aware that a. his actions won’t kill Mallus, only delay him, and b. he will die in the blast. As noble sacrifices go, it seems a little pointless, not least because the Legends are pretty much all aboard the Waverider by that point anyway (plus, you know, Wally’s a speedster), but there you go. One should never say never when it comes to characters getting killed off, but judging by the elegiac flashbacks they gave Rip, coupled with some of his final lines (“I should very much like to see my wife and son again”), it seems likely he’s gone for good. In that sense, at least, it’s a good exit for Arthur Darvill, and also probably a good time for him to go, seeing has the show hasn’t really known what to do with him for a while now. He gets a nice goodbye with Gideon too, so that’s nice.
Fortunately, the Legends have a back-up time drive in the jumpship, so Zari quickly hot-wires the Waverider and they use that, jumping to the Wild West town of Salvation in the 19th century, because it’s a temporal blindspot and they figure they’ll be safe from Mallus there for a bit. Of course, they figure wrong. Instead, Mallus sends season guest stars Blackbeard, Julius Caesar and Freydis, along with an army of pirates, Vikings and Romans. They tell Sara to hand over the totems or pay the price, and, this being the Wild West, she’s given until high noon the following day. Sara, of course, refuses to go down without a fight, telling the rest of the team: “Today is the day that we earn the name ‘Legends’. Now, how do we sneak out the back?” Oh, and did we mention Jonah Hex is in Salvation too? Well, he is, and he and Zari take a bit of a mutual shine to each other.
Meanwhile, Ray has a plan to save Nora. He takes Damien in the Jumpship and they head back to Zambesi, just before Mallus takes possession of Nora, intending to knock her out and stop Mallus from taking control. That’s not really how demonic possession works, Ray, but never mind. It doesn’t quite go according to plan – after both Ray and Damien try to knock out semi-possessed Nora, Damien shoots her with Ray’s anti-nanite gun. Mallus scoffs at this ploy and takes possession of Damien instead, but he says he was counting on that and holds off the black-veined possession process just long enough for Ray and Nora to escape. It’s quite the episode for noble sacrifices – that’s two already and we’re only at the halfway mark.
On a more serious note, that’s basically it for both Damien Darhk (although, once again, never say never) and Neal McDonough, both of whom will be greatly missed. It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating – the turnaround the writers have done on Damien’s character is extremely impressive, bringing him to a point where his redemption through his love for Nora actually means something. Bravo, Legends writers (and McDonough). Bravo.
Meanwhile, back on the Waverider, Nate gets high on Lyoga root again and joins Amaya on another vision quest to commune with her ancestors and find out how to stop Mallus. It turns out that rather than just fighting with the totems, the totem-bearers (i.e. the Legends) need to activate them together to create a being of pure light that will fight Mallus. Nate: “Just like Voltron.”
The Legends put on their totems and give the being of pure light thing a go (Mick: “Are we making a baby? Seriously, are we making a baby?”), but the finished product isn’t quite as advertised – instead, it looks like a squishy mess of monster flesh, like something out of Brian Yuzna’s Society (Google “The Shunting”). So Mick promptly kills it with his fire gun.
For the moment, it looks like the Legends are back to square one, but then Ava (who has apparently completely forgotten the whole being-a-clone thing from two episodes ago) shows up with a trio of familiar faces in tow: Helen of Troy (who’s now basically a proto-Wonder Woman, thanks to her time on Themyscira), a shiny, happy version of Kuasa (who was never evil in the new timeline, thanks to the team saving Zambesi last episode) and, wait for it, Jax! Yay! Actually, it’s not quite the same Jax – this one’s five years older and is happily married with a daughter, which makes you really worried for a second that he won’t make it to the end of the episode, but, spoiler alert, it’s fine and he does. Oh, and Kuasa apparently shares the spirit totem with Mari in the new timeline, which potentially solves the unavailability of Megalyn Echikunwoke problem, if Arrow, The Flash pr Supergirl want to have Vixen as a guest star next season.
So, high noon arrives and there’s a fun fight scene with the Legends and their new allies facing off against pirates, Vikings and Romans (oh my), followed by a neat twist when it looks like they’ve won the battle and killed them all, only for Mallus to resurrect them, so now they’re fighting an army of zombie pirates, Romans and Vikings (oh my, etc.).
When the fight takes that supernatural turn, Jonah and the rest of the allies hold off the zombies while Sara and the totem-bearing Legends give the being of pure light thing another go. Sara’s a little worried that the Legends aren’t worthy of being totem-bearers, but Amaya convinces her that the coincidences they’ve been encountering all season (meeting their relatives, doppelgangers, etc.) have been a sign that they are, indeed, worthy and Sara is won over. Who thought they’d actually pay that coincidence thing off? We certainly didn’t. Anyway, during the totem-powered being of pure light creation process, they all try to think of something pure and good and, in a blatant steal from Ghostbusters, Nate ends up thinking of – yes, that’s right – Beebo, the cuddly Furby knock-off and brilliant running joke from the Beebo, God of War episode.
This is, of course, ridiculous, but incredibly, the show pulls it off. What’s really impressive is that what could have just been a big, silly joke is actually awesome. That’s because the writers, producers, director, fight co-ordinator and special effects people have really put the effort into the Beebo vs. Mallus fight – it’s almost as good as Giant Atom vs. Leviathian last season. The fight has everything – bicycle kicks, suplexes, Beebo doing the “bring it on” hand gesture from The Matrix and all manner of slams and punches. Best of all, the fight ends with Mallus effectively being beaten by the power of love (and furry blue cuddles), as Beebo body-slams Mallus from a great height and he explodes in a giant blue heart shape.
So, that’s pretty much it, apart from wrapping up a few emotional subplots. Jax gets to say another goodbye, Jonah and Zari share a little flirtation moment (he gives her his dirty hat), Ray gives Nora Damien’s time stone and says her father’s sacrifice has given her a second chance and she shouldn’t waste it, Ava and Sara basically get back together (the clone thing is almost completely ignored), and, last but not least, Amaya decides to head to Zambesi to fulfil her destiny, inspired by Kuasa’s transformation. That means saying goodbye to Nate, and the pair have a touching goodbye, where she decides not to wipe her memories after all and he walks away while trying not to look back. This would have a bit more impact if it hadn’t been revealed that Maisie Richardson-Sellers is still a regular cast member next season (make your minds up, Legends writers), but still, it’s an appropriate ending to their story for now.
A few side notes. Firstly, here’s hoping they bring Nora back – she’s the most successful sort-of love interest Ray has had so far and it feels like their relationship could stand to be explored a little further. Secondly, Helen of Troy (Bar Paly) is a lot more fun in this episode than she was in the Hollywood episode, and her fighting skills are pretty great. If the show wants to cash in on the success of Wonder Woman, having Helen of Themyscira as a reserve member of the team wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Thirdly, there’s a surprising amount of real chemistry between Zari and Jonah Hex and it has the effect of transforming Johnathon Schaech’s performance – he was a bit of a damp squib in his previous appearances (and is basically the only actor not to have chemistry with Caity Lotz), but he’s a lot of fun here, largely thanks to his interactions with Zari. No doubt we’ll be seeing him again next season too.
So, that just leaves the cliffhanger ending. The Legends take a leaf out of Mick’s book and head to Aruba 2018 for a spot of relaxing on the beach. They’re quickly joined by John Constantine and Annoying Gary, who’s dressed as Constantine for a cheap cosplay joke the show really doesn’t need. (Please ditch this annoying aspect of Annoying Gary please, Legends writers, along with all the stuff about him “shipping” Sara and Ava. He’s annoying enough as it is.) Constantine tells them all off for letting Mallus out his time prison and plonks down the severed head of what looks like a dragon, saying that when they released Mallus they released a load of other monsters too and now they have to help him track them all down. So it looks like next season we’re in for Legends of Tomorrow: Monster Squad. Hurrah!
Footnotes of Tomorrow
– Line of the episode goes to Mick for “Seriously, are we making a baby?” and also for referring to Hawkgirl and Hawkman as “the stupid hawk-people”. Because, let’s face it, he’s not wrong.
– There were tonnes of great moments in this episode, but the best throwaway gag was the reveal that Mick has memorised Ray’s song about Nate’s emergency codes from last week. Altogether now: “The code is 1-1-3, it’s off to the bridge for you and me.”
– Another brilliant running gag that shows just how self-aware the show is – the characters all arguing over the correct pronunciation of Mallus (“Mollus” or “Mallus”).
– Zari, Wally, Constantine and Ava are all confirmed as season regulars for Season 4, alongside Ray, Sara, Mick and Nate. That should be a lot of fun. Thanks for reading and see you next season!
Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 is available on Sky 1 every Wednesday. Don’t have Sky? You can stream it live or catch up on-demand through NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 7-day free trial is available for new subscribers.