When Ray's efforts at showing mercy to Nora Darhk end in his capture, he is put to work helping repair the broken Fire Totem. The two of them wind up traveling to 1960's East Germany, where the search for a scientist who discovered the secret of cold fusion leads them into an encounter with a younger version of Damien Darhk.
No Country For Old Men (the title of the episode, the general aesthetic, the hairstyle of a young Damien Darhk is modeled on Javier Bardem's haircut in the movie)
It's a little hard to believe that Wally never saw a picture of Nate and Amaya or learned the name of the "basic bitch" that broke his friend's heart given how close he and Nate apparently were.
How could the Damien Darhk of 1962 be unaware of magic existing given that he was almost 200 years old at that point and using The Lazarus Pit of The League of Assassins? (Technically, The Pit in the comics was powered by alchemy - not magic. Also, Darhk's surprise at his older self's use of magic may be because he is aware of magic's existence but never had encountered it in person before 1962.)
While the novelty of Damien Darhk's character wore off for me about halfway through Season Four of Arrow, I'm still amused by Neal McDonough's nonchalant yawning as he's telekinetically throwing Alan around. And his telling dad jokes. I can't explain why beyond the fact that the tone of it works so much better on Legends than it did on Arrow.
The chemistry between Brandon Routh and Neal McDonough is fantastic.
The transitions, camerawork and witty script do a perfect job of emulating a Coen brothers movie.
Trivia Of Tomorrow
The one match that Damien Darhk keeps getting on his Upswipez Profile is a red-haired woman named Carrie C. This is Carrie Cutter a.k.a. Cupid - the obsessive Arrow fangirl, who was later recruited for Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad. She was last seen in A514, teaming with Liza Warner and China White.
Cold fusion is a theoretical form of nuclear reaction that could take place at lower temperatures and levels of pressure than the standard hot fusion, which occurs naturally within stars. The term is a bit of a misnomer, however, as the only thing cold about cold fusion is that it takes place at a relatively much lower temperature than hot fusion and it is more properly called a "low energy nuclear reaction."
The Zambesi Totems can only be wielded by a person with a selfless reason for doing so. This is limited, however, in that an evil person can still use the totems if they have a good reason for needing the power. This is apparent as Kuasa was able to use the totems in the past, despite her own lust for power, as she was seeking justice for her murdered people. Likewise, Nora Darhk is able to use The Spirit Totem in order to save her father from his past self.
The bond between the Zambesi Totems and their current bearer is strong enough that, even across time itself, the Totems will refuse to work for someone wearing the Totem if the do not have the proper mindset to wield their power. This is why Nora Darhk is not able to tap the power of The Spirit Totem - it's bond with Amaya is too great and she only sees the Totem as a means of gaining power.
Despite this, the bond between the current bearer and their Totem is finite and the longer the Totem is in the possession of an evil being, the more corrupt it becomes. This corruption is reflected in The Zambesi Ancestral Plane, which goes from a beautiful jungle to a cold, dark hellscape the longer Nora Darhk possesses The Spirit Totem. It transforms completely into a dark place once Nora activates The Spirit Totem.
The Totems cannot be destroyed. Even the fragments have power.
Amaya is able to communicate with the Ancestral Plane and learn the location of The Spirit Totem by meditating, using Zari and The Air Totem as an anchor.
According to Ray, only cold fusion or the energy released by The Big Bang could generate the energy needed to reignite The Fire Totem.
Damien and Nora use magic devices called Time Stones to travel in time.
The ATOM suit has a voice-activation mode keyed to Ray Palmer's voice.
(As they are watching the message that Ray left for them about how he's been kidnapped.)
Zari: Hey. When we see him, do we tell him we didn't even notice he was gone?
Sara: Yeah. Definitely not.
(Ray puts down his phone and turns to Damien Darhk, Nora Darhk and Kuasa. Kuasa is holding an electric cattle prod.)
Ray: Okay. I've done as you ask. So, no more torture today, right?
Damien Darhk: (laughing) I really don't think you understand how this "torture" thing works.
(Kuasa slowly moves towards Ray with the prod raised.)
(Nate and Mick enter the bridge. They're both wearing tie-dyed shirts.)
Sara: Any sign of Ray?
Nate: Oh, no. Just another Grateful Dead end. (grins to Wally) I for sure got a contact high.
Mick: Yeah. And I managed to swipe Jerry Garcia's glasses.
(Mick holds up a pair of round-rimmed glasses with green-tinted lenses and puts them on. Wally is suddenly running across the room and back, taking them.)
Wally: One a thief. Always a thief.
(Nate clears his throat)
Nate: No, uh - we, we allow light to moderate theft on this ship. We like to call it souvenirs.
(Wally winces as Mick gives him a death glare. He holds up the glasses apologetically and looks to Nate.)
Nate: It's ok. It's ok.
(Wally cautiously walks back over to Mick, who continues to glare at him, even as Wally places the glasses in his hand.)
(Nora, Damien and Ray are confronted by Ray's old boss, Alan.)
Damien Darhk: Oh! You're the up-and-down guy? Me? I prefer side-to-side.
(Damien waves a finger and begins telekinetically throwing Alan against the walls, side to side.)
Alan: Our focus groups found up and down was more intuitive!
(Alan is thrown to the floor and then up against the ceiling. Then to the floor and the ceiling again.)
Damien Darhk: (grinning to Ray) You know, he might be right.
Alan: (in pain) We think it shifts the paradigm.
(Damien continues to amuse himself throwing Alan from the floor to the ceiling and vice versa. Ray winces as Nora hands him the broken pieces of the Fire Totem.)
Nora: You have your lab. Now get to work. Nerd.
(Ray moves to a work station as Damien yawns, still raising and lowering his hand as we hear Alan's moans of pain.)
Damien Darhk: (looking at his phone) Sweetie, do you think it's too early for me to... you know... get back out there? I mean, how long should I mourn your mother?
Nora: (tired) It's been 23 years on my end, Dad. I say go for it.
Damien Darhk: Thank you. (looking back at his phone) Trouble is, I haven't had a single match yet. I think this thing is broken.
Alan: If I may?
(Damien and Nora look up. Alan is still pinned to the ceiling.)
Alan: You might have more luck if you talk about your hobbies...
Damien Darhk: I just said that I enjoy destroying the world to remake it in my image! Oh! And I like trying new restaurants! (starts typing onto his phone)
Alan: Also, your profile says you're 199 years old.
Damien Darhk: Yeah - it, it wouldn't go any higher? Can you fix that?
Alan: Well, everybody lies about their age, brah.
Nora: (annoyed) Can you please stop fooling around?!
Damien Darhk: Nora-doll, what's the point of living if you can't have a bit of fun?
Nora: Well, I'm not enjoying myself. I'm annoyed.
Damien Darhk: Hi Annoyed. I'm Dad! (laughs)
Damien Darhk: Well, I guess I'm off to East Berlin to stop myself from killing Vogal. Should be fun. (To Nora) You watch the prisoner, and I'll bring you back some chocolate. Oh, who am I kidding?! I'm probably going to get a hat for myself too.
(Wally has prepared a dimly lit room with incense and peaceful music for Zari and Amaya.)
Amaya: Thank you for helping us.
Wally: (shrugs) Yeah.
Amaya: So how do you know Nathaniel?
Wally: I was kind of like his wingman back in Central City. Just helped him get over a broken heart, actually, because this basic bitch just dumped him on his birthday. (laughs) Can you believe that?!
Amaya: (cooly) Yeah... 'cause I was actually that basic bitch.
Zari: (dryly) Great vibe, Wally. I think we can take it from here.
Wally: (chuckling nervously) Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I'm gonna go.
(Wally runs from the room at super speed.)
Ray: Torture is not the answer!
Nora: Yeah, but it's fun either way.
Ray: It's high time you showed your dad what's really inside you... besides a demon.
Damien Darhk: Don't you know that I've only ever had your best interests at heart?
Nora: Was it in my best interests or yours when you pushed a scared little girl into the arms of a demon?
Damien Darhk: Yeah! To bring us back together!
Nora: To bring you back to life!
Damien Darhk: What has gotten into you?! I sent you off on one lousy mission by yourself, and suddenly the -
(Damien stops and looks at Ray)
Damien Darhk: Ohhhhhhh. Of course. I should have known that Ray Palmer would be a good influence on you.
Ray Palmer: Perhaps I should give you two some priva-
(Ray is cut off as Damien begins to strangle him with one hand telekinetically.)
Nora: You know what? I thought I raised my father from the dead but instead I see I just got a selfish man-child!
Damien Darhk: Man-child? Man-child?! Why don't you run along to your little hellscape and boo-hoo to Mallus? Because now that you're a demon's mouth-piece, it's obvious you don't need me!
(Nora just stares at him and storms off.)
Damien: Nora! I... Nora!
Nora: Leave me alone, Dad!
Ray: (choking) No, that's good! Just - just keep talking!
(Close-up on Damien as he makes his now familiar annoyed grunting noise and waves his hand as we hear Ray crash into the wall.)
Ray: If you really care that much about Nora, then maybe you shouldn't let her be a conduit for a primordial evil?
Damien Darhk: I admit, this isn't the life I wanted for her. World domination was supposed to be my gift to her - not her career path!
Ray: Then maybe you should tell her how you feel? She's under a lot of pressure, you know? And it's all to impress you.
Damien Darhk: Me?! I'm so proud of Nora. Obviously she knows that!
Ray: (incredulous) She only knows what you say to her, Damien! (pauses) Can I call you, Damien?
(Damien growls in annoyance and raises his hand to strangle Ray again when the phone rings.)
Nora: Give me the doll.
Ray: I'm sorry, Nora. I can't do that.
(Ray powers on his blaster.)
Nora: C'mon. You and I both know you're not going to shoot me.
(Ray stares her down... and then fires his blaster at The Berlin Wall in the distance, blowing up a small portion of it.)
Ray: You're right.
(Cut To: The Waverider Bridge. Sara and Rip grab at a console for support as Wally and Nate run in.)
Wally: What was that?!
Sara: It's a time-quake! Gideon, what's the source?
Gideon: An aberration has occurred in 1962. It appears that someone has blasted a hole in the Berlin Wall.
Rip: (looking out the front window of The Waverider) Which appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
(The rest of them follow Rip's eye-line, seeing a crack forming among the rolling green waves that normally make-up the Time Stream)
Wally: I'm guessing that's bad?
Rip: Hmmm? Oh, yeah. Those are tears in the fabric of time itself.
Sara: Gideon, plot a course for East Berlin - 1962.
(Sara turns to Wally.)
Sara: Allright, Kid. You're up. Let's see how fast you really are.
(Wally slowly smiles.)
Director Bennett: Make it fast, Agent Sharpe, because I have to stop Alexander Hamilton from seeing Hamilton: The Musical.
Ava Sharpe: How is it possible that everyone got tickets to that but me?
(Sara, Rip and Ava have just seen Director Bennett killed by Gorilla Grodd on a video link.)
Ava: Oh my God.
Rip: It's... Grodd, actually.
Sara: Ava, I'm so sorry. He was a good man. (pauses) I think.
Rip: Yes. Most unfortunate. (quickly) I believe that this tragedy makes you the highest ranking official at the Bureau. (pauses, looking up at a still stunned Ava) May I return to work... Director Sharpe?
Ava: (still in shock) Uhh.. yes.
Ava Sharpe stayed the night with Sara on board The Waverider.
Zari wanted to go see the Mt. Saint Helens eruption in 1980, for some reason.
Ray loves doing dirty dishes.
Ray puts grass-fed butter and MCT oil in his coffee. He believes it has neurological benefits.
As Kuasa notes, she was killed by The Fire Totem.
Ray likes runny, poached eggs.
Sara remembers Wally from Barry and Iris' wedding in S308.
Rip Hunter had not heard about the events of Crisis on Earth X.
Damien Darhk does not like The Grateful Dead or jam bands in general.
Alan, Ray's annoying manager from Upwipz in 301, makes an appearance. He confirms that Ray officially quit his job.
The adult Nora Darhk is confirmed to be from 2039, saying that it's been 23 years, from her perspective, since her mother died. (This occurred in Star City - 2016, in A422.)
Damien Darhk kills Alan.
According to Damien Darhk, Cold Fusion was invented by an East German scientist named Bernhard Vogal in 1962. He knows because he was contracted to kill him.
Wally West knows a fair bit about meditation thanks to his travels in China.
Apparently, despite becoming good friends with Nate in 2017 Central City, Wally never found out the name of the woman who broke Nate's heart or saw a picture of her, as he doesn't know Amaya was the "basic bitch" who dumped Nate on his birthday.
Wally refers to the events of 301 and Amaya dumping Nate.
Sara has a picture of Damien Darhk that she uses as a target for knife throwing. She finally destroys the picture as Ava reports her failure to find Ray.
The Ancestral Plane of Zambesi - seen in 303 - has become dark and cold, resembling Mallus' realm with more vegetation. The Ancestral Spirit Amaya spoke with says that the longer an evil person possesses a Totem, the more it is corrupted.
The Ancestral Spirit says that retrieving The Spirit Totem is not enough - Amaya must win Kuasa's help as well. The spirit says that she and Amaya will both need each other shortly.
The Ancestral Spirit explains that the original Totem Bearers worked together to trap a great evil - Mallus.
The Ancestral Plane exists outside of time. As such, Mallus can influence it, since time itself is his prison. His name should not be said in The Ancestral Plane as he can sense it
The more time is broken, the weaker Mallus' prison becomes. This is the reason why Darhk and his allies are creating anachronisms - to free Mallus.
The Damien Darhk of 1962 was unaware that magic existed or had never seen it up close.
Nora is able to activate the Spirit Totem in order to use its power to fly so that she can save her father. This turns the Ancestral Realm completely dark.
Damien Darhk is 257 years old.
The older Damien Darhk kills Bernhard Vogal in order to keep his perfect record.
Ray's use of The ATOM Suit to blast a hole in the Berlin Wall proves to be the straw that broke the camel's back, starting a time quake that begins to crack the fabric of time itself.
Wally steals the pieces of the Fire Totem from Damien Darhk's pocket.
Director Bennett of the Time Bureau is killed by Gorilla Grodd.
Rip is reinstated with The Time Bureau as an agent.
Wally elects to stay with The Legends rather than follow Rip to The Time Bureau.
Before leaving The Waverider, Rip Hunter tells Gideon to delete File 354-Z, saying that Sara cannot find out the truth about Ava Sharpe, whom he describes as "special".
Gideon addresses Rip as "Director Hunter".
Damien remembers that Nora likes hot chocolate with whipped cream and caramel sauce. She hasn't had one since Ray and Zari took her for a drink as a teenager in 310.
The episode ends with Nora screaming and her eyes glowing red, as black cracks begin to form in her skin, mirroring the cracks seen earlier in the time stream.
Upswipz HQ - Silicon Valley - 2018.
East Berlin - East Germany - 1962.
Nate and Mick go to a Grateful Dead concert in an effort to find Ray. They aren't successful, but Mick does steal Jerry Garcia's sunglasses.
The Bottom Line
A solid episode all around that give Nora Darhk some much needed definition and proves to be a wonderful comic turn while still pushing the plot forward.