[Review] Legends Of Tomorrow Episode 3×12: “The Curse Of the Earth Totem”

written by Kate Spencer


What’s a pirate’s favorite letter? You’d assume “R”, but no, it’s the “C” that’s their first love.

These are the jokes, kids.

The Bahamas, 1717. Blackbeard and his crew are burying their treasure. Fun fact: this really was more legend than truth. Only a few pirates actually buried treasure and usually not for very long. One famous example is Captain William Kidd, who buried millions in gold and jewels, got captured by the authorities, his treasure was found by said authorities, and then he was hanged. Yay, pirate stories! Anyway, Blackbeard’s lady tries on a glowing green jeweled necklace and then gets wrapped up in vines. I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of any of that.

Amaya doesn’t know anything about a sixth totem, but Ray at least knows where one of the six is: the fire totem is in pieces in Detroit, so they’re going to go after that…minus Sara, who has a daaaaaaate. She’s meeting Ava at a fancy restaurant where they try the whole “let’s be like normal people and have normal small talk like people do” and it’s adorable. Look, LGBTQ women don’t get scenes like this on TV very often; let me gush.

On the Waverider, Amaya is pondering her granddaughter (“the good one”) Mari. Ray/Nate have bad/good news: the fire totem was already stolen by Damien Darhk, but the earth totem is with Blackbeard in 1717. Hang on, why can’t you go back a day earlier and steal the fire totem before Darhk? You have a time machine! And don’t give me any of that “the clock in San Dimas is always running” nonsense; time machines are time machines! They briefly debate telling Sara, but decide they can handle it on their own…no, I’m not giving that “Nothing could possibli go wrong” clip any more views.

Meanwhile in China, Rip talks to Wally, noting he followed him by tracking his mp3 player which plays a lot of “Careless Whisper” since that was was his ex-girlfriend Jesse’s favorite song. Wally is content to spend his days meditating and looking for inner peace or something. Rip offers to share a drink with him before leaving and they get hammered. Rip tries some of Wally’s special speedster-booze that lets people with superhumanly fast metabolisms get drunk and uh…dead? No seriously, when that was first introduced in The Flash Season One it was said to be something like 1,000 proof or 10,000 proof, I can’t remember. The point is, Rip should be very very dead.

In 1717, the Legends are drinking and having a good time undercover as pirates, making known their intentions of joining Blackbeard’s crew. Amaya is sad-drinking, though. She wants to change Kuasa’s past, but worries that will change Mari’s future. She’s also thinking about how she has to go back to her time and marry some guy who’s not Nate. Mick tries to cheer her up by talking her up to the crowd in the tavern as a fierce pirate queen, the Dread Pirate Jiwe! First Mate Will Ackshuwalee chimes in to say he’s never heard of any lady pirate. Really? Because I’m terrible at history and I know of at least four from specifically your time.

Amaya punches out Nate and Ray and puts on a fake (or possibly Maisie Richardson-Sellers real) accent to sell the story. Blackbeard is intrigued. The nerd-bro duo heads back to the Waverider, which is suffering ill effects from being parked in the Bermuda Triangle. The ship goes dark. In the tavern, Blackbeard doesn’t want to give up the earth totem just yet, but the deal is interrupted by the authorities as well as Nora and Damien Darhk, who steal Amaya’s totem. This is going well!

Back in good old New Nassau 2018, Sara and Ava are still on their date at a fancy tavern, wondering why the wenches are now serving them rum instead of martinis. Okay, I made that part up. They’re having a lovely time sharing childhood stories like the time Sara froze in her elementary school play and instead of playing the part of Peter Pan she tap danced offstage. Awww. Oh, she gets a voice mail from Gideon telling on the other Legends.

AVA: “Everything okay?”
SARA: “Yeah, totally fine. Normal, in fact.”

Sara honey, your eyes are screaming.

One of the Royal Navy guys, Lieutenant Robert Maynard, boasts that he’ll be promoted once he has Blackbeard’s head swinging from the bow of his ship. See, this is when we need Nate around to go “No you won’t. You’ll get that promotion years from now for unrelated reasons.” Blackbeard is happy to give up the location of the earth totem to Darhk.

Wally lets slip that he feels inadequate around geniuses like Cisco, Caitlin, Wells, and Barry. Wait, wait…Wally is smart too! He designed a new type of engine! Did we just forget that? Rip laments that his two favorite protégés (Ava and Sara) now hate him and explains why. Wally says he sounds like a bit of a douche. He’s also a terrible babysitter. Also a bad influence, because he then talks Wally into mugging Agent Gary at superspeed, stealing his phone and his time travel watch and pantsing him. Wait, the Legends stole one of those watches at least ten episodes ago. How many problems have they had since then that could have been solved with an extra time machine? Anyway, Wally also steals Rip’s coat back from the Time Bureau. Then they sing “Careless Whisper” at a karaoke bar in Tokyo in 1992.

Between the lesbian date, Zari looking extra adorable with curls and a leather jacket, badass Dread Pirate Jiwe with dat accent, and now wacky karaoke, I’m questioning whether this episode is real or if I’m imagining it. Beebo, what do you think? …Yeah, I agree, we should claim the Arby’s down the street in the name of New Nassau.

Amaya, Mick, and Blackbeard escape execution at the hands of Maynard. Amaya shows Maynard mercy by knocking him out, to Blackbeard’s dismay. Mick tells him they saved his neck, though. I mean yeah, like…for a bit. You know, Blackbeard is having a rough 1717. I bet he wishes it were 1718 alrea–oh. Ooooooh. Oh well, cheer up Eddie, maybe Mick can teach you a new form of crime – ARRRRRson!

Beebo thinks I’m funny.

Damien Darhk and his men are bombarding The Waverider with cannonballs, so the Legends are forced to time jump back to 2018 Star City. Ava is recounting the tale of when she used someone as a human shield in paintball when Agent Gary runs in. She goes off to speak with him in private without Sara noticing. That’s fine; Sara is busy watching the Waverider crash out the window. Eh, I’ve had worse dates. She drops some money on the table and runs off.

The Waverider is trashed. Again. You know, for a place that serves as their home, their only means of transport, and the way they do their jobs, they’re bad at taking care of that ship. Sara isn’t happy about how her date ended and decides this is a sign she can’t have a normal life.

SARA: “I don’t know who looks more ridiculous, you guys in your pirate britches or me in this stupid dress.”
ZARI: “Definitely them.”

Not sure if a compliment to Sara or a burn to Nate and Ray or both, but well done, Zari.

Amaya and Mick board Blackbeard’s ship and try to mutiny after he refuses to go back to the island where the totem is. Amaya gives an inspiring speech that convinces not only the crew, but Blackbeard himself. You know, I’m for Amaya keeping that accent and outfit. They don’t even have to explain it, she’s just a pirate now. I’d go with it.

The Waverider crew finds an anachronism in 1717 – Blackbeard was in a naval battle with an admiral resembling Damien Darhk. But with the Waverider down, they’re not going anywhere until Ava arrives, accusing Sara of standing her up. Um…that’s not standing someone up. That’s not what that means. She did show up. Then she says that Sara takes the phrase “dine and dash” to a whole new level and that’s not what that means either. I can forgive it, she’s mad. Sara turns it back around on her, saying she saw Agent Gary show up with Time Bureau business. Once again Sara thinks she can’t have a “normal” life because she’s never going to be normal. Ava doesn’t want her to be normal, she likes her the way she is. And kiss. *ahem* Excuse me for a moment, I have to step outside.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: actual footage captured outside Kate’s house at that moment]

Sorry about that. Where was I?

Blackbeard tells the full story of what happened to his lady friend, Annie. The vines wrapped around her, they buried her and then she climbed out of the grave as some zombie plant monster. Wait…”Annie”? As in Anne? As in Anne Bonny? Anne Bonny wasn’t Blackbeard’s girl; she was married to James Bonny, ran off with Calico Jack Rackham and maaaaybe was involved with Mary Read? Like Rackham thought they were involved but Anne told him that Mary was a woman, but that’s not exactly a “no”. The point is, she wasn’t involved with Blackbeard. And for that matter, she was imprisoned in 1720, sentenced to death, had a stay of execution because she was pregnant and then disappeared from historical record, and Blackbeard was long dead by then. *shakes fist at comic book time travel shows and their sketchy history*

What? Oh yeah, plant monster. The Darhks dig her up, she does some Poison Ivy stuff, and then gets killed by Damien with that telekinetic neck snap he never uses against the Legends because plot armor. Amaya is bested by Darhk until Nate and Ray use Ava’s time watch to appear with a “Heeeeey you guuuuuuys!” This is just a show about badasses and dorks saving history, and I love it. Amaya tries to get her totem back, but Nora goes all Mallus and tries to drain her life. Ray saves her by using his anti-magic nanite gun on Nora. Damien tends to Nora while the Legends flee with the earth totem.

Meanwhile, Blackbeard and his crew have found the time portal Ray and Nate came through. They use it to board the Waverider in an attempt to take the ship, Sara, and Ava for their own. That goes exactly how you think it would.

Nate tries to apologize and comfort Amaya over the loss of her totem, but she actually feels liberated from the responsibility of her birthright. Wut. Then she goes pirate queen on him in a bit of roleplay and they start making out.

Sara and Ava celebrate over rum floats, and the bottle changes to “Captain Jiwe’s Spiced Rum” leading Sara to note that “sometimes we screw things up for the better.” Oh, just paint it on the side of the Waverider already! They decide they’re more of the “fighting pirates” girlfriends than the “fancy restaurant” girlfriends. Then Ava asks if Sara has a room on the ship. I gotta go explode into rainbows again.

Wally and Rip sober up. Rip convinces Wally he needs to get back in the game and suggests joining the Legends. I don’t know if I like where this is going. Rip seems to be using Wally to get back in with the Legends. Either as “Here, I brought you a speedster. BFFs again?” or “See? Your old pal Wally vouches for me.” It sounds a bit too much like old manipulative Rip.

Mick goes to hang out with Ray, who’s feeling down because the anti-magic nanites are going to kill Nora. Dude, don’t act like you haven’t killed before. I remember you shrinking down and flying through the chest of a guy like a bullet back in Season One. Oh, he’s upset because he knew Nora and tried to help her when she was a kid. Or he wants to save his wife (Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford are married). Whatever the excuse, he goes back to 1717 to right after they left because the clock in San Dimas does whatever the hell it wants. Ray saves Nora and instead of gratitude, he gets captured. Ray’s heart will always be his greatest asset and greatest weakness…like last season when Thawne pulled it out of his chest. Seriously though, I like that about the character.

We’ve had some pretty great episodes since the show came back from mid-winter hiatus, and this one is no exception. The slow build to the Sara and Ava romance finally paid off, we got some good old fashioned pirate adventure, and Amaya got to really embrace a different side to herself and let her hair down a bit. While it may spell disaster for the timeline and for the fight against Mallus, the loss of her totem and her reluctance to embrace her destiny was actually what brought that out of her. I kind of hope we see more of that side of her.

Next time: Goddamnit, Ray.

Legends Of Tomorrow airs (temporarily) Mondays on the CW at 8 ET/7 CT. Kate can be reached on Twitter @WearyKatie.

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