Monday, February 26, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 12 - The Curse Of The Earth Totem

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


As Sara takes some time off away from the team to go on a date with Agent Sharpe, the rest of The Legends go searching for The Earth Totem to prove they can manage things without her. Naturally, shenanigans ensue, as the crew finds themselves playing pirate while trying to steal the treasure of Blackbeard!


Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean movies, particularly The Curse Of The Black Pearl and the book/movie The Princess Bride.


Why did Mick let Ray go off to confront Damien Darhk alone? There's no logical reason for this to happen other than setting up the conflict for the next episode.


I think Keiynan Lonsdale was given more to do and Wally West more character development in this episode than in the entire past season and a half of The Flash. His chemistry with Arthur Darvill is fantastic and I could watch a series about the two of them having drunken adventures forever.


Though it is filmed far too-close, what little we can see of the fight scene between Amaya and Admiral Darhk's lieutenant is pretty awesome.

Whoever had the idea to include Careleess Whisper in the soundtrack as a song for Rip and Wally to sing together deserves a medal or a bonus.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

The title for the episode (and general adventurous pirate theme) is taken from the first film in Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise - The Curse Of The Black Pearl.

As Nate notes in the episode, La Concord was a ship stolen by Blackbeard and renamed The Queen Anne's Revenge. Originally built in Bristol, England in 1710 and named The Concord, it was stolen by the French a year later and renamed La Concorde de Nantes. Blackbeard stole the ship in 1717. Though it was only one of the ships in Blackbeard's fleet and he only held onto it for a year, it is by far his most famous vessel.

Why Blackbeard called his ship The Queen Anne's Revenge is unknown. The two most likely theories are that it was either a reference to Queen Anne's War (aka The War of Spanish Succession), which Blackbeard had fought in while part of The Royal Navy or in honor of Queen Anne of Britain, the last Stuart monarch. This episode suggests a third theory - that Blackbeard named it honor of his lover, a pirate queen named Anne.

The portrayal of Edward "Blackbeard" Teach as a coward who avoided conflict in this episode is oddly consistent with the historical record. While Blackbeard had a reputation as a fearsome pirate, the truth is that Edward Teach was a theatrical sort who counted on his reputation to scare other ships into surrendering without a fight. Far from the vicious murderer depicted in most fictional stories involving Blackbeard, the real Edward Teach was a cunning and shrewd leader who spurred the use of excessive force. Indeed, there is no record of him ever forcing another ship captain to severe under him as part of his fleet or having murdered a captive in his career. Indeed, much of the romantic view of pirates as gentlemen of fortune was inspired by Blackbeard's true behavior.

It should be noted that Anne, the pirate whom Blackbeard tries to make his queen in this episode, does NOT seem to be based on the famous female pirate Anne Bonny. In the first place, Anne Bonny did not become a pirate until 1718. Secondly, there's no evidence that she ever met Blackbeard or that they were romantically involved. The historical record indicates that Anne Bonny sailed with John Rackham (aka Calico Jack).  In the third place, Anne Bonny was a red-haired Irishwoman whereas Blackbeard's Anne is a brown-haired Englishwoman.

Wally West quotes the wisdom of Dom Toretto from the movie The Fast And The Furious - a fitting philosophy for a former street-racer like Wally.

Rip Hunter says that the last time he visited China was during The Opium Wars. These were a series of two wars between England and China that took place from 1839-1860.

In order to lure out Blackbeard, Mick begins telling tales about Amaya being "The Dread Pirate Jiwe." This is likely a nod to the book/movie The Princess Bride, which famously featured a legendary outlaw known as The Dread Pirate Roberts.

Rip Hunter claims to have drunk both "Hemingway and Van Gogh" under the table. This is a reference to writer Ernest Hemingway and painter Vincent Can Gogh - both of whom were notorious for their prodigious drinking.

The Lieutenant serving under Admiral Darhk who is determined to kill Blackbeard is identified as Robert Maynard. In real world history, Lt. Robert Maynard is credited with leading the squad that killed Blackbeard on November 22, 1718.

As Nate keeps reminding everyone, The Bermuda Triangle is also known as The Devil's Triangle.

There is a running gag with Blackbeard making sure to recover his Captain's hat after it is taken from him. This is a nod to a similar gag involving Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The song which Wally says is one of Jesse Wells' favorites - Careless Whisper by George Michael - is later sung by Rip and Wally at karaoke. Appropriately enough, we see them singing the second verse, which starts with the line "Time can never mend." It's also a song about betrayal and heartbreak, which seems fitting given Rip's recent actions and Wally's recent break-up with Jesse.

Damien Darhk's ship is identified as The HMS Fortitude. While there was an English ship by that name, it was not commissioned until 1780. It was a 74-gun third-rate that became a prison ship in 1795, a powder hulk in 1802 and was broken up in 1820.


Gideon suffers a Level 4 Systems Failure after being parked in the middle of The Bermuda Triangle.

Zari later determines that The Waverider's problems were caused by multiple unexplained malfunctions to the ship's electrical systems.

Dialogue Triumphs

Ray: We need to tell Sara we gotta get to Detroit.
Mick: Nope. She's off to Star City. She's been texting some guy. They're going on a date.
Ray: How do you know? What, are you looking at her phone?!
Mick: I look at everyone's phone. Helps to pass the time.

Nate:All those in favor of setting a course for 1717?!
Amaya: (resigned) Aye.
Zari: (unenthusiastically) Aye.
Ray: (enthusiastic pirate voice) Aye!
Mick: (bleary as he drinks from his beer) Aye.
Nate: Arrrrrrrrr!

(Rip tells Wally that he needs his help to save the world.)
Wally: Well, I'm sorry, my friend, but my days of "fwathooming" are over. Right now, I'm living life one quarter-mile at a time.
Rip: What that a Buddhist koan?
Wally: Dom Toretto. The Fast And The Furious.

Amaya: I want to change my granddaughter Kuasa's past, and... well, improve her future.
Mick: So do it.
Amaya: It's not that simple. What if I inadvertently change my other granddaughter's destiny?
Mick: So don't do it.
Amaya: And then there's Nate. I still have to go back to 1942 and marry someone else so that Kuasa and Mari are even born. We can never end up together. (shaking her head) I feel paralyzed. Every step I take, it just feels like it could have disastrous consequences.
Mick: Take a look around. (motions to the people in the bar with them) Do you think these people give a damn about consequences? Take the night off! A true pirate doesn't live for tomorrow. They only live for the moment.
Amaya: Thanks Mick... but I don't know the first thing about acting like a pirate.
(Amaya gets up and walks off.)
Well... I do. (takes a swig from his bottle)

Mick: If there's one thing pirates love more than treasure, it's a good story.

(A drunken Rip spies Wally's flask.)
Rip: Gimmie some of that.
(Rip approaches Wally and then trips. Wally grips his own flask protectively.)
Wally: No, this - this is not for you.
Rip: (dismissively) Please! I drank Hemingway and Van Gogh under the table.
Wally: Cisco gave this to me before I left Central City. It's the only way a speedster could get drunk is of of this... rocket fuel.
Rip: Rocket fuel?
Wally: Yeah!
(The two laugh at this. Suddenly, Rip lunges for the flask and grabs it while Wally's guard is down. He takes a swig from the flask and winces at the taste of it.)
God! Cisco is a rutting genius.
Wally: (sadly) Yeah, he is. So's Barry. And Caitlin. And Wells. Wait, maybe that's why I never fit on Team Flash? (Wally bursts out laughing at this.)
Rip: And here I was thinking you were roaming the Chinese countryside because your girlfriend needed more space.
(Wally goes quiet at that, clearly upset. Rip adopts a more sympathetic tone.)
Rip: Nah, I can do one better than that, mate. Both my favorite protegees conspired to have me put in prison.
Wally: Huh. What happened?
Rip: Well, I lied to Sara. In addition to accidentally aiding in the resurrection of the man who killed her sister. And Ava is angry at me for sending good agents to their deaths.
Wally: Woah. Sounds like you're a bit of a douche. (defensively) No offense!
Rip: Nah.  None taken, man. I intend to make it up to both of them. But first, I need the teensiest ... teensiest of favors...

Sara: (into her phone)  Please tell me that The Waverider did not just crash into Star City!
Zari: Star City? Is that where we are?
Sara: (over the phone)  Oh, you've got to be kidding me!
Ray: Well, the good news is the cannonballs didn't hit The Time Core.
(There is an explosion in the background. Zari sighs.)
Ray: And Nate made a beautiful landing.
Zari: Yeah.
Nate: Thanks, big guy. (forced cheer) So! Sara! How's the date going?
Sara: (sighs) It's over.

Ava Sharpe: We need to find Rip! He has a Time Courier, which means he could be anywhere, any time, causing a whole mess of problems.
(Cut to Tokyo 1992. A still drunk Rip and Wally are singing George Michael's "Careless Whisper" in a karaoke bar.)

(Blackbeard enters the tavern as Amaya and Mick are winning over his crew.)
Blackbeard: Mutiny? Is that what this is, then? You'd rather follow The Dread Pirate Jiwe than your own captain?
(Amaya draws her sword and levels it at Blackbeard.)
Then I'm bloody joining you!

Amaya: The totems draw on the life force of their bearer. So if Anne was as wicked as you suggest, the totem would have only amplified her worst impulses.
Blackbeard: It turned her into a monster!
Mick: How did you live to tell the tale?
Blackbeard: Well, I did the only decent thing any man would do - I put a musket ball in her head and buried her along with the treasure.


The Earth Totem of Zambesi features a giant emerald.

Blackbeard gave the Totem to Anne - his pirate queen.

According to Amaya, her research says there were only five totems of Zambesi with each of the five tribes being given one totem.

Ray runs down the list of totems. Amaya has the Spirit. Zari has the Air. Kuasa has Water. This leaves them searching for Earth and Fire.

Ray notes that the Fire Totem is smashed in the current age, per the events of Vixen: Season 2 and was last seen intact in a Detroit Museum in 2018. Ray also explains that the pieces of the Fire Totem are currently in the possession of Dr. Adam Macalester - an expert on the Zambesi totems and Mari McCabe's current boyfriend.

Sara leaves the team to go on a date with Ava Shape in Star City 2018.

Sara's drink of choice is a vodka martini, extra dirty, stirred. She believes shaken martinis are for lightweights who want their drinks watered down.

Sara refers to the events of 309 and how Ava helped her fight a group of Vikings and saved her from Mallus.

Zari has curled her hair. She doesn't like it, but Amaya thinks it looks nice.

Damien Darhk steals the Fire Totem before the Legends can get to it in 2018.

Nate is able to track the Earth Totem to the manifest of The Saint Lisette - the sister ship of La Concorde in 1717.

Rip Hunter was able to track Wally West through his MP3 player. He notes that Wally has replayed the George Michael song "Careless Whisper" a lot.

Wally says that Careless Whisper was one of Jesse Wells' favorite songs.

The last time Rip Hunter traveled to East Asia was during The Opium Wars. These took place from 1839-1860.

The most embarrassing event in Sara Lance's life was when the first time she had a weapon in her hand - playing Peter Pan in the school play at Starling City Elementary. She froze up and forgot her lines. She broke into a tap-dance before running off stage crying.

Sara can tap-dance.

Blackbeard says that he buried The Earth Totem on Grace Island.

Rip Hunter claims to have drunk Ernest Hemingway and Vincent Van Gogh under the table.

Wally West has a flask full of the same "rocket fuel" that Cisco Ramon distilled for Barry Allen when he wanted a drink since normal alcohol burns through a speedster's system so fast that it does not affect them.

Wally West is confirmed to be old enough to drink legally in the United States - at least 21.

Gary Green has a rivalry with another Time Agent named McNeil, who was just named Agent of the Month at the Star City branch of The Time Bureau.

Wally Wet steals Gary Green's cel phone and Time Courier. He also pulls down Gary's pants.

This is, Gary notes, the second time this has happened to him. The first time may have involved Sara Lance's lifting his ID, which she referred to in 301.

Wally also recovers Rip's trademark brown long-coat from a storage closet in The Time Bureau offices.

Ava Sharpe played paintball at her 15th birthday party. She wound up using someone else as a human shield.

Admiral Darhk's ship is the HMS Fortitude. It creates another anachronism when it gets into a fight with The Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of Grace Island in 1717.

The Earth Totem gives his bearer the power to control plant life. It can also continue to animate the bearer's body, even after their normal biological processes should have stopped.

Amaya recovers The Earth Totem.

Ray shoots Nora Darhk with his anti-magic nanite pistol.

Sara notes, with amusement, that her bottle of Captain Godfree Spiced Rum becomes Captain Jiwe Spiced Rum and the picture changes from that of a traditional pirate Captain to a portrait of Amaya as The Dread Pirate Jiwe.

Sara suggests that she and Ava fight Genghis Khan for their second date.

A terrible hangover for a speedster lasts three minutes.

Ray comes up with a cure for the anti-magic pistol. He goes back and promises to give it to Nora in exchange for Amaya's totem. Damien Darhk agrees to the bargain.

Nora remembers Ray from her childhood. This does not stop her from using her magic to drain his life to the point where he passes out.

The episode ends with Ray a captive of The Darkhs.


The Bahamas - 1717
Star City - 2018
Detroit - 2018
Yunan Province, China - 2018
Nassau, Bahamas - 1717
Tokyo - 1992

Untelevised Adventures

Damien Darhk steals the fire totem from Dr. Adam Macalester before Ray and Mick can steal it first.

Gary Green refers to having been pantsed and having his Time Agent gear stolen once before.

The Crisis Factor

Ray's decision to go deal with The Darhks without back-up is idiotic, even for Ray, and a prime example of how the geniuses of The DCTVU are frequently the most stupid people on the show.

The Bottom Line

A fun little episode apart from the last two minutes, at which point Ray is thrown the Idiot Ball in order to drive the plot forward a bit. Still, the bits with the pirates and Rip and Wally bonding make up for a lot.

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