REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow, S310 – Daddy Darhkest

Legends of Tomorrow plunges into the Big Bad arc of the season in “Daddy Darhkest,” which gives viewers the best look at Mallus yet and makes a sympathetic character out of Nora Darhk. Not to mention, John Constantine (guest star Matt Ryan) charmed the pants off everybody – especially Sara Lance (Caity Lotz). So let’s get right down to the asylum shenanigans.

When Legends of Tomorrow rudely abandoned us for its midseason finale, Constantine showed up to let Sara know a possessed girl was asking after her. Turns out the young girl is none other than Nora Darhk and she’s possessed by none other than Mallus, who wants to torture Sara a little bit more. The team splits up into various subplots here, but they all tie back in some way stopping Mallus. The biggest issue for me is that we still don’t know what the demon wants and what exactly will result from defeating him, aside from no longer having creepy possession scenes of course. My confusion on this front at times creates a block to my enjoyment throughout the hour, because there are several questions with no answers that the show hasn’t even started asking yet.

A devilish duo.

But lack of direction has never stopped this show from being a barrel of fun before, and “Daddy Darhkest” pulls through at various times. Constantine and Sara are joined by Leo Snart (guest star Wentworth Miller) in trying to exorcise Nora, but all they get for their efforts is a free trip to the very same mental hospital in 1969. This is the strongest thread in the episode, as it deals with the metaphorical demons inside Sara just as she is fending off the very real one outside. She and Constantine bond over their damaged soul status, and even engage in a desperation-fueled shag which doesn’t detract from Sara’s ongoing attraction to Agent Ava Sharpe. Meanwhile, Leo finds himself about to undergo a lobotomy after he’s caught attempting to send a message to the Legends in present-day Central City. Shame that he had to wait to be rescued until Sara and John were done exorcising each other.

“Daddy Darhkest” blends genuine emotions with the offbeat humor that the show is known for, but this week the former hits a little harder in some places. One of the most surprising origins of that emotion? Zari (Tala Ashe) and Ray (Brandon Routh), who stay behind to work on an anti-magic gun while Sara goes after Nora but set out to investigate once their captain is gone for too long. They come across Nora in the present-day hospital and take her out to Jitters as a way of bonding, which of course only leads to something out of a horror movie. Mallus, excited to show off his prowess, possesses Nora once more in the middle of the beleaguered coffee shop and unleashes a reign of destruction in front of the tech nerds. For their part, it’s clear that Ray and Zari truly care about Nora and want to help keep her from the demon’s clutches. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that saving her soul now will prevent the darkest timeline that they’re currently living – but the concern with which they treat the young girl is touching nonetheless.

This is where two of the storylines blend rather seamlessly together: while Sara is channeling Mallus in order to travel back to the present (a very selfless choice on her part as well as a great showcase of Constantine’s skill as a magician), she is distracted by the cries of a distressed Nora. Both girls are trapped in the demon’s spiritual plane, and we learn that Nora her doesn’t want to hurt her new friends and is afraid of what havoc Mallus is wreaking. Sara passes on the words of wisdom she heard from Constantine, reminding Nora that she has the strength to fight the demon off as long as she believes in herself. It’s a beautiful and haunting moment, probably the best in the episode, and the best part is that it works. Nora shakes Mallus off and is restored to her body safe and sound, allowing Sara to continue her return to the present. But sadly the heartwarming power of the peptalk is short-lived, because soon after Damian Darhk himself shows up to take his daughter away. Considering that he has the power to freeze Zari and Ray in their tracks, they can do nothing to prevent him absconding with his daughter and setting her on the path towards becoming a living host for Mallus. If anything, “Daddy Darhkest” was truly the tragic tale of young Nora, who easily could have led a happier life and been a good person if not for a father who is literally willing to sell her soul to devil for a second chance at power.

Disciplining your ex’s granddaughter is hard.

The final major storyline of the night is also the least connected, but it hints at another way Darhk might be defeated. By the end of the hour, we learn that Zari is “one of the six,” and her totem allows her to burn demons with a single touch. This means that Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and her granddaughter Kuasa are also part of that special group, which makes it all the more important that Amaya reach her granddaughter and join forces with her. She and Nate (Nick Zano) run into Kuasa at the hospital, where she’s stationed in order to protect Nora. As she often does, Amaya hesitates to hurt Kuasa, which leads to Nate freezing her and dragging her to the Waverider. Amaya tries once more to speak with her granddaughter rationally, and through that conversation we learn the source of Kuasa’s rage: she blames her mother for abandoning her the day their village was attached and Amaya died. An emotional breakthrough is prevented by Nate barging in to play white knight once more, and in the end Amaya must agree to Kuasa’s terms to save her ex from choking on her granddaughter’s watery fingers. It’s a pretty gross but cool-looking trick.

So now that Kuasa and Amaya have a tentative arrangement, it’s possible that they can work together to stop Darhk and Mallus in the future. But again: what exactly are they stopping? Legends of Tomorrow is usually so much fun that it’s easy to ignore the moments where the plot doesn’t come together, but perhaps the sheer abundance of guest stars this week made the lack of cohesive structure more glaring. For example, “Daddy Darhkest” appears to be Leo Snart’s last episode, and he spent most of it about to be lobotomized before deciding to go home and propose to his boyfriend Ray Terrill (yay!). He and Mick (Dominic Purcell) share a sweet farewell, but why didn’t they have a plot together instead? All Mick did was watch football and bark orders that would allow him to continue watching in peace. It was hilarious, but it also wasted an opportunity to deepen their bond before Leo takes off.

Legends of Tomorrow currently airs Mondays at 8/7c on the CW.