REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow, S3E12 – The Curse of the Earth Totem

Legends of Tomorrow dives right back into the plot after last week’s Groundhog Day breather with “The Curse of the Earth Totem,” but still has time for first dates and karaoke nights in between the Mallus battles.

Mick lends Amaya his fiery spirit.

While Ray (Brandon Routh) and Nate (Nick Zano) pinpoint the locations of the known totems – since Zambesi only had five tribes, the sixth totem is a mystery – Sara (Caity Lotz) prepares to go on her first date with Ava. Not wanting to disturb their captain on her one night off, the team decides to follow the leads on their own. Zari (Tala Ashe) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) seem to have switched hairstyles early on and I’m not clear why, but the important thing is that Darkh already stole the fire totem. Thankfully Nate knows the Earth totem is on the pirate Blackbeard’s ship back in the Bahamas 1717, so the Legends put on their best marauder get-up and start threatening strangers like they were born to do it.

Mick (Dominic Purcell) uses this outing to get Amaya to open up about her conflicted feelings regarding the future of her granddaughters and her romance with Nate. The two of them bonded so beautifully last season, so it was nice to see them do so again in “The Curse of the Earth Totem” after their friendship fell by the wayside this year. He points out that beating herself up over potential consequences won’t get her anywhere, so why not live for the moment like a pirate? He even drives the point home by declaring her to be the the Dread Pirate Jiwe and using her as bait for Blackbeard, a gambit which works wonders and pays dividends throughout the episode. She gets to punch out Ray and Nate, for one, and makes a fearsome duo with Mick.

The fun and games end for the new Pirate Queen when Damian Darhk and his daughter show up and use their magic to steal the Spirit Totem right off Amaya’s neck. Meanwhile, the Waverider is parked in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, which causes interference and blackouts for Gideon. They need to jump away to restore the ship, especially now that Darhk and his followers are firing cannons at them while Amaya and her pirate crew try to break free of his navy’s clutches.

All dressed up and no one to fight.

Meanwhile, Sara and Amaya meet up in Star City wearing some killer dresses in order to have a ‘normal’ date with no Legends or Time Bureau talk. Westallen already tried this last season, and “The Curse of the Earth Totem” made it clear that attempt wouldn’t work out this time either. But the two of them do trade some sweet childhood stories, some of which provide a nice look into Sara’s happier past, until they’re interrupted by a worried voicemail from Gideon. Sara chooses to let it go and continue on her quest for a normal date, but then Ava is interrupted by a frantic Gary and the Waverider literally crashes before Sara’s eyes. Some things just aren’t meant to be, and Sara going on a normal date is one of them.

Being ditched for the Legends The girls break out into a yelling match that unleashes all of Sara’s insecurities and finally results in the makeout session fans everywhere have been waiting for. Guess Ava didn’t want Sara to be normal after all, thank God. Soon enough they’re fighting stray pirates side by side, which is the perfect first date for them. Once again, Blackbeard and his cohorts are impressed enough by all the battle-ready ladies they’ve met to be cured of misogyny for the next few decades.

But Darhk doesn’t go down as easily as his minions, and his daughter Nora nearly kills Amaya before being shot by Ray. The sweet bean inevitably feels so guilty for his actions that he returns to the scene of the crime and offers a cure in exchange for the return of Amaya’s Spirit Totem. Speaking of Amaya, her brush with death and the loss of her totem gives her a sense of freedom, allowing her to actually enjoy a moment with Nate without weighing all the options. Ray’s conscience, on the other hand, just gets him knocked out and potentially kidnapped by the Darhks.

The final story line of the night is easily the silliest: Rip (Arthur Darvill) tracked Wally’s (Keiynan Lonsdale) MP3 player all the way to China, where our favorite baby speedster has been listening to “Careless Whisper” by George Michael nonstop because it was Jesse’s favorite song. His heartbreak has him finding himself and inexplicably using his powers less, which doesn’t quite feel an organic leap from the last time we heard about him battling alien starfish in Blue Valley.

Rip and Wally wind up drowning their respective sorrows in alcohol, seeing as they both feel like outcasts within their respective teams. Once again my bitterness rears its ugly head, and I’m compelled to point out that there’s never been an indication that Wally feels like less of a “genius” than Cisco, Barry, Caitlin or Wells – nor should he. Engineering is his major and previous seasons have shown he’s excellent at it, so I hope this momentary loss of confidence will be a learning curve rather than an instance of Legends of Tomorrow assuming Wally doesn’t have a scientific mind. All of this complaining makes it sound like I hated Wally and Rip’s time together, but in fact their scenes were some of my favorites of the night. Specifically, Wally pantsing Gary in the process of speeding away with his time courier and the two of them singing “Careless Whisper” at karaoke together brought a smile to my face and exemplified the show at its best.

 

While “The Curse of the Earth Totem” is chock full of plot twists and fun interludes, it doesn’t quite gel together as well as the previous two weeks have. But Wally’s introduction to the team next week promises even more Legends goodness than normal.

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