Photo: The CW

This week’s Legends Of Tomorrow has a giant telepathic gorilla attacking a young Barack Obama in order to free an ancient evil from its time prison, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to outlandish plot points in “Guest Starring John Noble.” Yes, that is the actual title of tonight’s episode, which has the Legends seeking the aid of actor John Noble in a last-ditch effort to contain Mallus, the big bad voiced by John Noble. There are some major developments in the overarching plot this week—Zambesi is saved, Mallus is freed, Damien Darhk teams up with the Legends—but I cannot stop thinking about this gloriously ridiculous twist with Noble and what it says about the series as a whole.

I imagine the Legends Of Tomorrow writers spend a lot of time laughing while they craft each episode, and I can just see everybody cackling when someone brings up the idea of having John Noble help the team out. It’s hilarious in the moment and they probably brush it off, but then they realize that they’ve already done plenty of crazy shit on this show, so why not bring in Noble for a quick physical cameo after voicing their main villain all season? This is the penultimate episode of the season and the stakes are extremely high, but the writers still decide to go with this very silly plot point because they realize the appeal of this show isn’t doom and gloom. Legends improved dramatically when the creative team decided to let loose and have fun with this over-the-top concept, and the writers have soared to new heights this week.

Grodd’s attack on young Obama takes up a small portion of this episode, but Barack makes another appearance later in the episode when Sara Lance returns to his dorm to ask for guidance with her current predicament. She desperately wants to kill Damien Darhk, who has handed himself over to the Legends in hopes that they’ll help him save his daughter, but she’s also stressed out about her relationship with Ava, which has only gotten shakier since the clone revelations last week. Ava wants Sara to follow bureau rules to complete the mission, but Barack convinces her to use unorthodox methods to defeat a foe that doesn’t play by any rules.

Photo: The CW

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It doesn’t get more unorthodox than going to one of the show’s actors to stop the character he plays, but that’s what the team decides to do in order to lure Nora Darhk onto the Waverider. Ray suggests that he fly into Nora’s ear and do a Mallus voice, but then Sara hears Mallus’ exact voice coming from the room where Mick is watching John Noble in The Lord Of The Rings. Ray is sent to New Zealand, 1999, where he poses as a P.A. bringing new lines to Mr. Noble’s trailer, and as they read the drivel, Ray gets the dialogue he needs to trick Nora into coming on the Waverider. I was in hysterics for this entire scene, marveling at the audacity of the writers for going in such an unpredictable, delightful direction. It’s a high point in a season I’ve already been enjoying immensely, and it makes me very happy that The CW kept this show around after a lousy first season and gave the writers the opportunity to build a superhero show with such a refreshing sense of humor.

While the rest of the team figures out what to do about Mallus, Nate and Wally go to Zambesi to stop Amaya from damaging the timeline even further. Amaya realizes that the village is destroyed because her daughter, Esi, refuses to accept the spirit totem, so she goes to give Esi a pep talk while Nate grabs the totem from the elderly Amaya. Wally’s experience with Barry Allen and Flashpoint makes him especially nervous about major changes to the timeline for personal benefit, and he’s afraid of what saving Zambesi will mean for the rest of history. Nate is more concerned about what will happen to him and Amaya’s relationship, and it becomes clear that Amaya wipes her memory in order to return to Zambesi without the personal ties she’s created with the Legends. Their breakup seems inevitable no matter what, and even though Zambesi’s tragic fate is avoided by the end of this episode, Nate and Amaya’s romance is still very much in jeopardy.

Photo: The CW

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I’m impressed by how this episode ties the Zambesi and Mallus stories together, and when Sara is faced with the choice of letting Zambesi be destroyed or freeing Mallus, she goes with the latter because she believes that the Legends can stop Mallus with all of the totems. This plan is complicated by Damien Darhk’s totally expected betrayal, and when there’s a slight possibility that Nora’s soul can be saved, he releases the miniaturized Grodd to destroy Zambesi and uses the death totem to beat up the rest of the Legends. But Sara is ready for this and comes equipped with a big knife to stab Damien in the back, giving Nate enough time to activate the earth totem and take out Grodd, saving Zambesi and delivering the final blow to the timeline needed to free Mallus. The episode ends with Nora’s body transforming into a giant monster that is basically the Chernobog from Fantasia, and now that Mallus is free, the Legends have to figure out a way to take him out before he wipes out all of existence.

Stray observations

  • Legends Of Tomorrow has been renewed for a fourth season, which means John Constantine is about to join the cast as a regular character. Here’s hoping that Wally sticks around too!
  • Amaya’s old age makeup is rough. It would have been so much easier to just cast a different actor as 1992 Amaya.
  • Zari gets sidelined in this episode and that’s no fun.
  • This is a great episode for Ray Palmer being adorable, especially when he sings his song about all of Nate’s different emergency codes. I want to hear the entire thing! (Maybe The CW can release a special video of it online?)
  • Sara takes a big step in her relationship with Ava by saying “I love you,” but Ava is so rattled by the clone news that she’s in no place to reciprocate that affection. The romance of Sara and Ava has been interesting, and I would like to see it continue past next week’s season finale.
  • A big missed opportunity for a “Thanks, Obama” after Sara’s dorm room conversation with Barack, but I do like that it ends with the line, “I really miss you.”
  • “Barack Obama. It will almost be an honor to kill you.”
  • “The rest of us, we’re on Obamacare.”
  • “Time to make America Grodd again.” This line was dumb in the promo, and it’s dumb in the episode.
  • Barack: “Well, Barack is what it says on my birth certificate.” Sara: “Yeah, you might want to hold on to that.”
  • “Tell Peter Jackson no more chickens, huh?”
  • Wally: “Short version: Nora’s on the ship, trippin’ on Mallus juice. Damien Darhk gave us the water totem after they saved Barack Obama. And we are hear to help you create the anachronism so we can release Mallus and then we can kill him.” Ray: “Oh! And I met John Noble!”

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