This post contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow.
Check out the previous review here.
An episode that is basically about nothing should not be able to be a tear-jerker, and yet here we are. Legends of Tomorrow’s trademark nonsense is well represented in “Amazing Grace”, but something seems missing this go around. The team has to head back to Memphis in the ‘50s to save rock n’ roll, which goes as smoothly as any of their missions ever has, but they run into a surprise along the way. Turns out the young King of Rock had a little help early on in his career: the death totem.
That’s not quite as ominous as it sounds. Elvis wasn’t in the birthplace of rock n’ roll offing anyone who stood in his way, but he was getting a little bit of an assist from his brother. He needs it, too, because his uncle is a real piece of work. The stereotypical bad Baptist pastor has some things to say about his nephew and his devil music, and goes so far as to throw Elvis, Nate, and Amaya all in prison in response to his first recording.
The death totem gives the wielder power over the dead. Because of that, the dead start rising when Elvis’ song is finally played over the radio. They’re not of the zombie persuasion, but turns out the good “Christian” folk of Memphis, Tennessee don’t take to kindly to ghosts getting all up in their business in church. Mr. Presley plays the ghosts a nice little rendition of “Amazing Grace” and all is right back in the ‘50s. The King gives Nate the death totem the following day and goes on to popularize rock n’ roll as history intended, and all return to the Waverider nice and happy-like.
“Amazing Grace” drives the plot forward, it’s got humor, it’s got feels, but it also has a few missed opportunities. With the pastor’s early bigotry, it seemed as if there might have been a good conversation or two about faith. Instead we get “You and I might have different names for 'God', but I’m guessing we have a lot in common too,” which is great, but so fleeting. Legends of Tomorrow has never strayed from tackling rough issues while still being its entertaining self, but its choice to pass up both the difference in faith and the racial tension of the time seems out of step. It would have been fine if there was a lot going on, but very little of the episode drove the plot forward.
While the social issues fall by the wayside this time, we still see solid character progression. Zari and Wally bond over how annoyed she is by him, but most of the character focus belongs to Mick. Like most gruff characters, Mick Rory is a big softy underneath all that anger. The Waverider’s resident pyro doesn’t handle change very well, and the Legends have had more than their fair share as of late. In the midst of all of that change, Mick loses his beloved rat Axl. None of us should ever have to watch Mick Rory cry, okay? It’s inhumane. Don’t worry, Ray Palmer’s there to throw a strangely emotional funeral for the little dude. Because it’s Legends of Tomorrow, that funeral is interrupted by none other than Axl’s ghost, but those emotions resurface shortly after when his ghost fades for the final time and Mick’s left alone with a banana and peanut butter sandwich.
Amaya tells Nate she loves him, too. There’s no way that could possibly go wrong in the past, present, or future. There won’t be much time to be worried about it next week, though. Sara’s going to play with the antsy new totem, and in response it turns her into some sort of death monster. That’s exactly what you need leading a team when Mallus is trying to escape! You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode in the meantime.