This post contains spoilers for Legends of Tomorrow.
Check out the previous review here.
When your show’s backbone is “so crazy that it just might work”, the horizons are limitless. Since the premiere of their second season, Legends of Tomorrow has shown that not taking yourself too seriously and leaning into your own particular brand of crazy can create a show that isn’t just good, but somehow ends up being exceptional in its weirdness. Those limitless horizons also mean that they don’t have to make a big deal out of completely normal things that other media chooses to make a spectacle of, like being gay.
Ava’s sexuality is never made a story point. There’s no question of whether or not she’s into girls, making a needless point of contention in a relationship that has countless hurdles already. Instead, it’s just assumed that she’s gay in the way society tells you it’s normal to assume that someone is straight. It’s a big deal that she and Sara are on a date because of their careers, not because they’re women. Meanwhile, the story isn’t treated like some fairytale romance either. The show just lets a relationship between two women be what it is, a relationship.
It looks as if Sara and Ava might have finally found their forever partners, but Wally West is still coping with the loss of his first love. Well, that and the minor detail that he never really had a place on Team Flash even though his family loved him very dearly. Like any young Speedster, he retreats to remote China to meditate (what?). Because Rip Hunter can’t ever let anyone have nice things, he interrupts Wally’s walkabout for the same reason he interrupts everyone’s lives: he needs something. While the premise of Rip Hunter’s presence in the Legends universe remains annoying, he actually ended up having an okay episode when paired with Wally.
The two have a night out on the town, drinking their woes away. Wally points out that Rip is a douche, Rip agrees, they sing karaoke - it’s a grand old time for the two misfits. In between drinking, they steal Gary’s Time Courier, and go on their merry way. Unfortunately for Rip, his body doesn’t handle hangovers quite the way Wally’s does. All the same, Rip recruits another Legend despite no longer being a part of the team, and this time the writers may have found a decent character for him to play off of.
The bulk of “The Curse of the Earth Totem” takes place in the Bermuda Triangle. The Legends skip off to find the Earth totem while Sara and Ava are on a date and, predictably, things go sideways. As always, the antics are more of a vehicle to deliver whichever pairings they’re choosing to focus on that week. Legends of Tomorrow is lucky in the sense that every single actor on their show has great chemistry together. That can be difficult when you have such a large ensemble, but they manage to pull it off. While there will always be favorites, Mick somehow makes every interaction better. The combination of personal growth and maintained ambivalence make the character both layered and hilarious.
First Mick leads Nate and Ray in building up Amaya after finding out his opposite on the moral compass is having some personal issues. Getting Mick to sympathize with you is a feat, but Amaya always manages to pull it off. In their efforts to build her up, they create a feared pirate character that will eventually take on the one and only Blackbeard. This would matter a whole lot more if Blackbeard wasn’t a coward, but the building up of Amaya is wonderful, and the episode has another plot twist to throw our way.
That plot twist isn’t so much a twist as it is Damien and Nora Darhk showing up to ruin the party as expected. But their appearance does end up a little different than their other forays with the Legends in the sense that this time they successfully get Amaya’s totem. She doesn’t seem too broken up over the loss, but Ray does feel guilty for giving Nora a death sentence by shooting her with the nanite gun in order to save his teammate. Don’t worry! Superm… The Atom’s kill-free streak remains intact. Our darling dummy returns to the scene via jump ship to give Nora the antidote. He says he’ll trade her life for Amaya’s totem. Oddly, he doesn’t even finish his sentence before Damien has thrown the totem at Ray’s feet in order to save his daughter. Like a dope, Ray gets all up close, saves the girl, and gets all mushy when Nora remembers him. He gets slightly less mushy when she tries to murder him. Never fear, Ray! Damien will save you!
Yes, you read that right.
There’s a millisecond where you think that he was showing mercy because Ray saved his daughter. Damien’s a monster of a man, but he does have some honor. But not that much, it seems. Damien saves Ray as a bartering chip to get the other totems, which means that’s how we’ll be spending next week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow. Even with the classic villain move, “The Curse of the Earth Totem” has so much to love. It progressed the story on their hunt for Mallus, every pairing was exceptional, and it brings up solid questions of morality vs intellect, all in a forty minute block of time. Episodes like this give hope for episodes like next week’s. The base storyline is from the bargain bin at Tropes R Us, but with how out there Legends is, it will probably still find a way to be great.
If you had thoughts on the episode, you know what to do!