Monday, April 2, 2018

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 3, Episode 17 - Guest Starring John Noble

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


With the timeline barely stable and Mallus about to break free, The Legends have their hands full. As Wally and Nate try to stop Amaya from changing her own future, the rest of The Waverider crew will recruit a most unlikely ally in the battle against Mallus after thwarting Gorilla Grodd's attempt to assassinate a young Barack Obama.


The Lord of The Rings (references to the movie and the whole plot does center around the retrieval of magical jewelry to stop the release of a great evil who takes possession of people.)


Grodd is oddly resistant to fire, surviving two point-blank blasts from Mick Rory's Heatwave gun.

The old age make-up used to turn Maisie Richardson-Sellers into "Old Amaya" is pretty lousy.


There is something about the way Dominic Purcell says "Boss?" when he's questioning Sara as to whether or not he should just kill Damien Darhk when everyone except Sara is giving him reasons not to. While it's understandable that Mick would ignore Ava as an authority figure and Rip as someone who has betrayed him more than once, that one word speaks volumes about Mick's respect for Sara and his acceptance of her as a leader.

Caity Lotz and Neal McDonough steal this episode. Usually their individual performances will be the best aspect of any given episode buy the way they play off of each over is smooth as silk.


The special effects work for Grodd is top-notch for television quality.

Trivia Of Tomorrow

John Noble is an Australia actor and director, best known for playing the role of Denethor in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. He has provided the voice for Mallus throughout Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow, but appears in this episode playing himself on the set of The Lord of The Rings in 1999.

This is not John Noble's first time appearing in a DC Comics related production. He also provided the voice of The Scarecrow in the video game Batman: Arkham Knight and voiced Brainiac in the animated movie Superman: Unbound.

Ray tells a terrified Barack Obama to "Run, Barry, Run."  This is a callback to a repeated line from The Flash, where Barry Allen is told to, "Run, Barry, Run."

Zambesi is described as being 14 km west of Mount Kilimanjaro. In our Earth, this would place it the middle of north-eastern Tanzania. This matches the description of Zambesi given in Animal Man #10, which said that Zambesi lay in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The exact location of Zambesi has changed throughout comics history. It is generally described as being in Central Africa, but has also been described as being in West Africa along what was called "The Slave Coast". Confounding matters is the fact that there is a real world Zambesi River which flows through Zambia and Zimbabwe in East Africa. Further complicating things is that the mythology behind The Anansi Totem is based around the legends of The Ashanti - a people based in West Africa - but the name of Vixen villain Mustapha Maksai is Swahili - a language based in East Africa!

Originally, Vixen's home country was called D'Mulla in her first appearance in Canceled Comics Cavalcade #2. It was later changed to M'Changa in Justice League of America #234, with her tribe being referred to as The Zambesi Nation for the first time in Animal Man #10 and eventually just being called Zambesi. The Vixen animated series reconciled this by saying M'Changa was the name of a province within Zambesi.

John Noble tells Ray to tell Peter Jackson that he is sick of eating chicken, having eaten four whole chickens that morning. One of the more famous scenes of Lord of The Rings has Denethor eating chicken rather messily while Pippin sings for him.


John Constantine gave Ray instructions for a magic spell that could be used to contain a hostile magician. It requires a magic circle with an ankh. One of the ingredients needed is bat spleen.

According to Damien Darhk, The Death Totem was drawn to Sara because she had died and come back from the dead. He says that he can wield The Death Totem for the same reason.

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon.

Water is crucial to life on Earth.

The human body is made up of 60% water.

The Earth Totem does allow its bearer to reshape the ground around them. Previously, we had only seen it being used to control plants.

Dialogue Triumphs

Nate: Code 1-3-1?!  Come on, guys! I wrote a whole memo!
Sara: Yeah. Nobody read it.
Ray: I did!
Nate: Thank you, Ray!
Ray: Pancakes for breakfast!
Nate: (frustrated) No! 1-3-1 is not... (suddenly uncertain) Is it?!
Ray: Yeah. (pauses) Does this mean no pancakes?

Nora Darhk: (gasping)  I can feel his arrival.
(Nora begins to move around the altar, making the kind of moans that a father does not want to imagine his daughter making, much less hear, as Damien Darhk stands in the background looking horrified and disgusted.)
Damien Darhk: (sarcastically)
Oh goodie.

(Barack Obama looks up at the stunned Grodd, clearly terrified.)
Ray: Run, Barry, run!

Rip: I must say it has been such an honor, Barack.
Barack Obama: Oh, I go by Barry.
Sara: I really like Barack.
Barack Obama: Well, Barack is what it says on my birth certificate.
Sara: Yeah... you might want to hold on to that.

Sara: The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was let Darhk live. And now he's back. And it is taking every ounce of self-control not to kill him. And I keep asking myself... why?

Rip: Where are you going?
Sara: To go talk to someone who can think straight when the world has gone crazy!
(Cut To: Barry Obama's dorm room.)
Barack Obama: So, what you're saying is... you won't aid the man who killed your sister, even if it will prevent Mollusk from escaping-
Sara: Mallus
Barack Obama: - from escaping an inter dimensional prison. And wreaking havoc across time?
Sara: Yeah, when you put it that way it DOES sound kinda petty.

Sara: (smiling at Barack Obama) I really miss you.

Sara: I want you to listen to me carefully. I don't believe for a second that you've changed. You're still the same cowardly son of a bitch that put an arrow in my sister. But I will work with you to defeat Mallus under one condition. After this is over, I'm putting you back in the ground where you belong.
Damien Darhk: Deal.
(Sara scuffs the chalk marks of the magic circle. Damien offers her his hand and they shake.)

Ray: What if we just ask Nora nicely? I did have a bit of a connection with her in Berlin.
(Damien growls at Ray while glaring at him.) 
Ray: Not that kind!
Sara: All right. Maybe she'll listen to her dear old dad?
Damien Darhk: Not anymore. Nora only listens to Mallus now. He's always in her ear.
Ray: That's it! What if I get inside Nora?!
(Damien growls at Ray while glaring at him.) 
Ray: Not like that! What if I shrunk down, flew into her ear, and pretended to be... (puts on a deep scary voice) Mallus?!
Damien Darhk: New guy on the team here. Is that a joke plan or a real plan?
Ava: We are so screwed.

Damien Darhk: Nora's gone. It's just Mallus now. You must be enjoying this, seeing your nemesis with a broken heart?
Sara: I didn't know you had a heart to break. (pauses) Where was it the night you murdered my sister?
Damien Darhk: Look, what I did was unforgivable. But back then I hadn't loved anyone enough to understand the pain that I caused. Not that it's any comfort, but if I could take it all back... I would.
Sara: We all have regrets. But we can't undo the things that we've done.
Damien Darhk: True. But even the worst of us can be made whole again. You, for example. From League to Legend. Killer to Captain. That's not a bad makeover, is it?
Sara: It's not good enough.
Damien Darhk: Why? Because you put on The Death Totem and almost killed your entire team?
Sara: Yes!
Damien Darhk: But you didn't, did you. And you know why? The same reason I'm spilling my guts out to a woman who has imagined my death a thousand times over!
Sara: (quietly) More like ten thousand.
Damien Darhk: Love, Sara! Because without it, people like us? We're left alone with the darkness. (pauses) That's not good for anyone, is it?

Nate: You couldn't be selfish if you tried. See that boomin' granny over there? (nods to the older Amaya) She doesn't remember me. Or The Legends. You know why that is?
Amaya: I must have erased my memory...
Nate: And why would you do that?
Amaya: Because if I chose to came back here, after everything we've been through, then... erasing you would be the only way that I could be the protector my people deserve. Otherwise, I'd always be split in two. And part of me would be in love with you. 

Ava! Please! Just trust me.
Ava: You don't understand! This plan breaks every rule in every book and all I have right now are the rules. Okay?
Sara: You have me.
(Sara kisses Ava passionately.)
Ava: What are you doing?
Sara: I'm admitting something that could save us both... I love you.
Ava: ...there is no me to love.
(Ava steps through her Time Corridor, leaving Sara alone.)

Damien Darhk: (To Sara) You literally stabbed me in the back!
Sara: It only seemed fitting. You're lucky I wasn't aiming for your heart.

Dialogue Disasters

Grodd: Time to make America Grodd again!


Mick is in the middle of marathon-viewing The Lord of The Rings movies as the episode opens.

Nate wrote a series of codes for The Legends to use in a crisis situation. Only Ray read the memo and he composed a song to help people remember the codes. Despite this, even Nate can't remember whether Code 131 means "all hand to the bridge" or "pancakes for breakfast."

Code 111 means "Mallus has escaped the time dungeon."

Zari uses her Temporal Simulator to try and find a loophole that will help Amaya save her family but keep the timeline intact. She fails to find one.

Mick makes reference to 307 when he confronts Grodd, saying he should have killed Grodd in Vietnam.

Ray makes reference to 302, saying he thinks they still have some chew-toys on the ship from when they had the saber-tooth tiger, after shrinking Grodd.

Nate uses the alias Andy Watkins when he visits Amaya's village in 1992, claiming to be a PhD student doing history research. Wally is Darren Applebottom - a talent scout for The New York Knicks.

Code 222 means "We're screwed no matter what we do."

Damien Darhk gives The Legends The Water Totem as a gesture of good faith and consents to be locked inside a magic circle. Sara still gives Rory the order to kill him in spite of this.

Amaya discovers that her daughter, Esi, rejected the right to become a totem bearer and take up her role as the protector of their people in 1992.

Wally refers to the events of F301 and how Barry Allen changed the past, creating the divergent Flashpoint timeline when he stopped his mother's murder.

Sara refers to 217 and how the hardest thing she had to do in her life was restore Damien Darhk to his proper place in history, knowing he would go on to kill her sister.

Damien makes reference to The Time Bureau's failed plan to take down Nora Darhk before she got the power upgrade from Mallus in 305.

Ray refers to his brief bonding with Nora in Berlin in 313

After hearing the voice of actor John Noble as Mick is watching Lord of The Rings, The Legends go to New Zealand in 1999 to get John Noble to record some convincing dialogue for Ray's Mallus impression.

Old Amaya has no memory of her time with Nate or The Legends. This suggests that her memory was erased before she returned to Zambesi in 1942.

Rip reveals that he has recruited several Ava clones for The Time Bureau. He says that Ava Sharpe is exceptional, but Ava does not give him a chance to explain why.

Ava Sharpe is the 12th Ava Clone recruited for The Time Bureau.

Sara suggests letting Mallus break free so they can use The Zambesi Totems to kill him, reminding everyone that Constantine said the only reason the Totem Bearers couldn't kill Mallus and had to settle for trapping him in time was because The Death Totem betrayed them.

Damien Darhk is given The Death Totem.

Rip is fired from The Time Bureau.

Nate takes up The Earth Totem.

Nate watched all of the Planet Earth series on Blu Ray while stoned.

Ray takes up The Water Totem.

This makes the roster of Totem Bearers...
Earth: Nate
Fire: Mick
Air: Zari
Water: Ray
Spirit: Amaya
Death: Damien

Damien has a vision of Nora saying that Mallus hasn't killed her yet and it's not too late to save her.

Damien releases Grodd on Amaya's village. This destroys the village, keeping history intact despite Esi stopping the warlords.

Nate saves Esi from Grodd, managing to get The Earth Totem to let him create a wave of Earth that knocks Grodd flying several hundred feet.

The older Amaya recognizes Nate after taking a blow to the head after being hit by Grodd.

Sara stabs Damien in the back allowing Ray to take The Death Totem from him.

The episode ends with Mallus breaking free, manifesting as a large bat-winged monster.


Occidental College - Los Angeles, California - 1979
Zambesi - 14 km west of Mount Kilimanjaro -  1992
New Zealand - The set of The Lord of The Rings - 1999

The Crisis Factor

The only reason Damien is put in a position to betray the team is because Sara manages to put her hatred and rightful distrusting of Damien aside long enough for him to get to that position.

The Bottom Line

A fitting penultimate chapter for the season, silly and touching in equal measure with most of the meta jokes working well. The Nate/Amaya subplot seems to get buried under everything else, sadly, but the Sara/Damien conflict is so strong you almost don't mind Sara's apparently out of character decision to trust Damien with The Death Totem. (Personally, I think she was just looking for an excuse to kill him and figured that if he upheld his end of the bargain, she got to kill him and if he double crossed them, she got to kill him slow.)

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