REVIEW: Legends of Tomorrow, S3E13 – No Country for Old Dads

“No Country For Old Dads” does more to solidify the threat of Mallus and humanize the Darhks than Legends of Tomorrow has done all season, and the change comes not a moment too soon. While Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) is getting acquainted with the crew on the Waverider, Ray (Brandon Routh) is forced to work with Nora (talented guest star and Routh’s wife Courtney Ford) to further Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) master plan.  It’s a lot to take in, and that’s not even counting what Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Zari (Tala Ashe) learn about their totems and connection to Mallus. So let’s dive right in, shall we?

No one tell Ray they didn’t notice his absence until they saw the dishes in the sink.

The most prominent story of the night actually didn’t have much at all to do with the Legends themselves, although Ray did play a large role in it. Despite the very real torture that he was experiencing offscreen, the majority of his abduction by the villains was played for laughs – and it surprisingly worked. Nora and Darhk bickered nonstop about how to handle their hostage as well as how much danger Nora herself would be able to handle, because Damien still treats his daughter like a little girl and she wants to be seen as an independent woman in this fight for world domination. The zaniness of two demonic beings, one of which is literally possessed by a demon, arguing about mundane parental troubles is really at the heart of “No Country For Old Dads,” and I’m confident it’s a balance that few other shows would be able to pull off. But amidst all of this silliness, Kuasa informs them that a totem will not switch owners until the new one uses it for a selfless purpose, which means Nora’s out of luck until she gets an attitude adjustment. And Darhk can’t use the fire totem until it’s been pieced back together, which is why Ray is trapped with them for the time being.

Things get even weirder when Ray actually starts offering advice to both daddy and daughter on how to better handle their relationship, almost like he’s genuinely invested in their feelings and their dynamic, despite refusing to help with the totems. But once the Darhks threaten his mother, he reluctantly agrees to accompany Nora on the mission to get the formula for cold fusion before a younger Damien assassinates the scientist who came up with it. The only reason it’s believable that Nora and a hostage would get along as well as they do is because Ray is such a ball of sunshine that can’t be stopped by anyone, but Routh and Ford’s chemistry makes it an easy pill to swallow. There’s also a ton of younger Darhk in an atrocious wig and Nora showing Ray how to lie in a German accent, the latter of which is far more interesting than the former. But older Darhk trying out dating apps and dad jokes all while seeking therapy from the corpses of his victims in the background is probably what most takes the tonal whiplash Legends of Tomorrow has perfected to the next level.

In the end, Ray helps to heal the breach between Nora and Damien and nabs the key to cold fusion for himself, which is a win for the good guys even if poor Dr. Vogel died without seeing his family again in the process. On the other hand, the Darhks’ final scene together is sweet enough to make you root for them until Mallus’ possession of Nora takes hold a little more and leaves her with some terrifying cracks across her skin. But at least Damien shows enough progress as a father to worry more over his daughter’s wellbeing than over the fact that a speedster stole his totem.

Speaking of Wally, “No Country For Old Dads” didn’t do all that much for him in the way of bonding with new team members. He did get to pal around with Nate (Nick Zano) and reminisce about their adventures in Central City, as well as chit chat about Westallen’s wedding with Sara (Caity Lotz) and mistake Mick (Dominic Purcell) for a thief, but there hasn’t been significant forward movement yet. Though his presence was mostly used as a device to save Ray and take back the fire totem, it was a nice callback to Wally learning the team likes to grab ‘souvenirs’ from their missions.

Meditation Against Mallus

I don’t mind Wally not being fully integrated yet, as he’s already getting more screen time than he used to on The Flash, but there were a few moments in the storyline that didn’t quite land. While preparing Amaya and Zari for their meditative journey to the land of her spirit totem, Wally refers to Nate’s ex as a “basic bitch.” This obviously offends Amaya, which in turn makes Wally feel embarrassed and decide he doesn’t belong on the team – although no worries, Sara pep talks him right back onto it – but it came across a little forced. It might have been better to save the clashing of energies for a later episode rather than make Nate look like a jerk by proxy for a throwaway line that will probably never be brought up again. Then again, Nate also responds to Ray’s claims that Nora is a real person by asking, “Do you have the hots for her?” So maybe he is a jerk and should stop influencing the otherwise innocent Wally.

The biggest takeaway from the plot on the Waverider is that Amaya finds out from her ancestor that “the Six” are the original six totem owners who trapped Mallus in the void, from which he cannot escape until enough rips in the fabric of time occur. Which is exactly why Darhk has been creating so many anomalies, and why it wasn’t the best move when Ray created one more to alert the Legends to his whereabouts. In fact, the new cracks on Nora’s face probably reflect how much closer Mallus is to emerging from his imprisonment, and it’s gonna be a real horror show when he does.

Other things of note? Sara and Ava were totally adorable during their morning after, but Rip (Arthur Darvill) poured some cold water on that when he referenced “the truth about” Sara’s new boo. Oh, and let’s not forget Grodd suddenly killing the Bureau’s previous Director, leading to Ava’s promotion and Rip’s pardon. Great timing!

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