Superheroes, Totems and Rock & Roll
The loss of Rock and Roll, what a nightmarish world the latest time aberration brings. Legends of Tomorrow does that thing it does so well this week and brings in a historical figure as part of the latest mission, this time going with the King himself, Elvis Presley. Elvis turning out to be a totem bearer whose guitar playing drove Memphis insane and led to the death of Rock & Roll seems about as on par as most of the other missions that the team has had the last two years. The mysterious sixth totem stands revealed within a guitar, the Death Totem. Not ominous at all.
Compared to most of their more madcap episodes, this one is just as out there as most but is also more subdued in a way. Turns out that Elvis’ music was helped at the start by the ghost of his long-dead twin brother Jesse thanks to the Death Totem within the guitar. Once the team takes the guitar away (thanks to Wally’s speed) they realize that the time aberration can’t be fixed without letting Elvis use that guitar to record his first single as the loss of the Totem connection disconnects him from being able to find the music within. Of course, things go wrong once Elvis’ religious uncle barges in and steals the record, to destroy it, and has Elvis, Amaya, and Nate arrested. Thanks to Wally and Zari though, the music is played as they are able to convince the uncle not to destroy the record.
While things take a ghostly turn, what really worked in the episode is that there was no making things worse by the writers just tossing in the Darhk’s or Mallus to up the ante. The team was just able to solve the mission and save the day, using Elvis (playing Amazing Grace of course) and his music to soothe all the ghosts that his record and the Death Totem ended up raising. Having this somewhat lighter, but still very full, episode before things start to get darker and more urgent with the finale around the corner was nice.
Amaya & Nate’s relationship takes a spotlight again in the episode and while they have nice moments as they try and figure out their musical connection, it also is a bit annoying. Because it’s been clear since the start that this relationship is likely doomed since Amaya has to return to her village at some point to start a family that leads to her two granddaughters Mari and Kuasa and their heroic and villainous paths in the future. So the closer that the two get, the more doomed their relationship becomes.
The Team’s New Kids Must Stick Together
After being benched in the latest season of The Flash, Wally West is finally getting a chance to cut loose as a chaaracter now that he’s on the ship. Speedsters might be common in Central City at this point and something many have gotten used to, but those on the Waverider might not be as into the whole one person running in to save or change things in the blink of an eye. Pairing Wally up with Zari, the last new person to the crew, was actually a pretty good move. Since she got her Groundhog’s Day episode Zari has better fit into the team and her connection with Wally felt real. That she was able to help him realize that sometimes you just need to slow down and use your words instead of speed was nice. Already Zari is being a better mentor to Wally than his former team.
Wally’s talk with Elvis’ preacher uncle was really great, as it gave us insight into him and his relationship with his father and Team Flash. With only a few episodes under his belt when it comes to Legends, Wally is getting a chance to really shine already. Let’s keep him here and never let him go back to the other show that couldn’t figure out how to use him.
Embracing Death & Change The Mick Rory Way
Mick Rory has been used a lot this season as the sort of bit on the side, having fun while the team is doing the dangerous things. It has worked in most episodes, like his watching a live football game, at last, a few weeks ago, and worked this week as well. That’s because while it seemed to be a fun bit at first with him just trying to spend time with his rat Axel (now Josh Groban after the time changes to Rock and Roll) it went deeper than that. This team has lost a lot this season with Professor Stein dying and Jax leaving and gained a lot in some new members. These changes are beginning to bother Rory, and through the unexpected death of Axel, he is brought to realize that changes are going to happen because Ray is a good friend that holds a funeral for the fallen rat because he knows that Mick needs this.
It’s an odd moment that is fitting with the tone of the series, but also very serious because it helps Mick adjust. It hits home even more once the Elvis Death Totem adventure affects things and causes Axel’s ghost to rise, allowing Mick that final moment of closure in the episode. Every relationship, even one between a man and a rat can be moving and powerful.
Legends’ delivers another fun episode this week, diving into the world of music and death at the same time. What really makes the episode work & strong is how it dipped into the great character development that makes this dysfunctional family team shine. Wally already fits well, getting far more development here than he’s gotten in quite some time on The Flash.
Score: 9 out of 10