Legends of Tomorrow: Third Time’s the Charm
Main Cast: Caity Lotz, Neal McDonough, Dominic Purcell
White Canary: [opening voiceover] “How will we be remembered? Will it be for saving the world twice? Nope! We’re the team who broke time. That’s right, history has been torn to shreds. Which means it’s up to us to put it back together again, piece by piece. Fixing these so-called anachronisms before we get torn to shreds. So please, don’t call us heroes. We’re Legends.” – “Aruba-Con” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Legends of Tomorrow has grown from a spin-off featuring side characters from the Arrowverse into that franchise’s best show.
Despite time travel and a constantly changing cast, this group of C-listers surpasses shows starring bigwigs like The Flash and Supergirl. Can Legends keep it going for another season or will time not be the only thing broken? Let’s find out.
Zari: “Bet you thought time travel would be seeing Woodstock, saving Shakespeare, and having ethical debates while standing over a baby Hitler. Trust me, it takes time to get used to–”
[Wally cleans the entire kitchen and dining area at super-speed.]
Wally: “Cool. So what’s next?”
Zari: “It’s gonna take time for me to get used to life with a speedster.” – “Amazing Grace” (Season 3, Episode 14)
A new season means new additions to the team. The third season’s first major addition is Zari, a hacker from the future, played by Tala Ashe. She is a reimagining of the DC heroine Isis, renamed for obvious reasons. She joins the Legends for protection from the season’s villains and learns a necklace she wears gives her superpowers.
Wentworth Miller returns to Legends following the crossover “Crisis on Earth-X!”. He plays Citizen Cold, an alternate version of his character Captain Cold from a world where the Nazis won World War II. He only appears in a few episodes before leaving the Arrowverse, seemingly for good this time.
Victor Garber and Franz Drameh exit Legends partway through the season, leaving a hole that is filled with two recurring guests. Keiynan Lonsdale reprises his role as Kid Flash from The Flash. He joins towards the season’s end and will not return in Season 4.
Finally, Matt Ryan reprises his role as sorcerer John Constantine from the show Constantine. He appears sporadically throughout the season to help with demonic threats. Constantine joins the team full time in Season 4.
Nora Darhk: “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.”
Darhk: “Hi, Annoyed. I’m Dad.” – “No Country For Old Dads” (Season 3, Episode 13)
Legends’ third season has old and new threats for the team. The primary antagonists are The Cult of Mallus, a time traveling organization pledged to an ancient evil. The Cult is lead by Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), a warlock who has tangled with Green Arrow and the Legends on multiple occasions.
Next up is Damien Darhk’s daughter Nora played by Courtney Ford. She joined the cult to resurrect her father, who had been killed by the heroes. Over the course of the season she becomes Mallus’ avatar. She also falls for The Atom, ironically played by Courtney Ford’s husband Brandon Routh.
Tony-winner Anika Noni Rose plays Kuasa, one of the heroine Vixen’s descendants. Nora resurrects her because of her connection to the season’s macguffins, a set of six Totems connected to the elements. Kuasa bears the Water Totem, which empowers her to turn into water. She’s not bad as villains go, but most of her backstory requires fans to look up the web show Vixen.
The final cultist is Gorilla Grodd, a psychic, time traveling, CGI ape voiced by David Sobolov. And if that doesn’t tell you this show’s tone, nothing will. Grodd appears the least of the cult, appearing to try and turn the Vietnam War nuclear and when he tries to assassinate a young Barack Obama. His goal? He wants to “make America Grodd again.” I’m not joking, Grodd actually says that is his goal. What a waste of an interesting character.
Ava: “Gideon, patch us through to Director Bennet, please.”
Bennet: “Make it fast, Agent Sharpe, cause I’ve got to stop Alexander Hamilton from seeing Hamilton the musical.”
Ava: [exasperated to Sara] “How’s it possible that everyone got tickets to that but me?” – “No Country For Old Dads” (Season 3, Episode 13)
The Legends managed to defeat Season 2’s villains, but heavily damaged the time continuum in the process. This caused countless people, places, and things to appear when they aren’t supposed to. P.T. Barnum might be showcasing a sabre toothed tiger while Hollywood producers wage war over Helen of Troy. You even get an army of Vikings worshiping the local equivalent of Tickle Me Elmo.
The anachronisms give Legends of Tomorrow plenty of fodder for future episodes.
Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Kids!
Sara: “We got a new problem. Rip has been hiding something from us. There’s a greater evil coming. Something even the Time Bureau is afraid of.”
[There is dramatic silence. Then, everyone bursts out laughing.]
Jax: [amused] “What could be worse than an immortal Egyptian demigod?”
Stein: [also amused] “Or an evil speedster?”
Ray: [shaking his hands in mock fear] “I’m afraid of the Time Boogeyman.” – “Freakshow” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Arrowverse shows tend to get darker as they continue. Arrow had violent vigilantism turn into all-out assassin wars and revenge schemes. The Flash featured an idealistic hero become worn down by villains that were faster, smarter, and seemingly invincible. Even Supergirl has grown more cynical with romantic drama, overly politicized plots, and apocalyptic adversaries.
Then you look at Legends of Tomorrow, where time traveling superheroes fight demonic cults, a psychic gorilla tries to assassinate two US Presidents, and the team saves rock and roll by teaming up with Elvis. Legends is a breath of fresh air compared to DC’s current policy of “everything has to be as dark and gritty as possible.”
Kuasa: [talking about Nate] “He’s not my grandfather. Every moment that you spend with him is a threat to our entire family’s future.”
Amaya: “How can you be so selfish?”
Kuasa: “You’re the selfish one. Our family’s destruction looms in 1992. You promised you’d save us. And yet you continuously search for ways to abandon your family and Zambesi.”
Amaya: “I have done everything in my power to try and redeem you. And in doing so, Mari got hurt. She understands that being a totem-bearer means protecting all people, not just our own. It’s no wonder this totem ended up with Mari and not you. You’re beyond redemption.” – “I, Ava” (Season 3, Episode 16)
Legends season 3 borrows heavily from the web series Vixen. Most fans have not seen that show, so it proved confusing to have Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Kuasa fight over events viewers knew nothing about.
To make matters worse, there is frequent angsty drama about how Vixen has to return to fulfill her destiny, but doesn’t want to so she can be with Steel (Nick Zano). The worst part is how Legends retcons Vixen by the end of the season, making most of the angst and arguments pointless. Vixen may as well have never happened.
In a sea of gritty and realistic superhero shows, Legends of Tomorrow remembers why people love superheroes. It doesn’t revel in broken bones or shove politics into your face, but provides excellent sci-fi, fiendish villains, and heroes who act like heroes.
It’s worth your time, no matter when you travel.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.