Photo: Jack Rowand (The CW)

Back during season one, I never would have predicted that DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow would be my favorite superhero show on TV. Eventually the writers realized that this is a show about superheroes traveling through time, so it really shouldn’t take itself too seriously, and the series became all about fun and humor and friendship. Once it switched to this new track, it only got better and better. No modern superhero show has embraced the goofy, imaginative, thrilling spirit of Silver Age comics like Legends Of Tomorrow, and season three has been a source of excitement and joy that I would recommend to anyone who just wants to see superheroes lighten up and have a good time.

“The Good, The Bad, And The Cuddly” has the Legends fighting an interdimensional devil to save the entire universe, but the astronomically high stakes don’t get in the way of the delightful tone. There are some serious dramatic moments, starting with Rip Hunter sacrificing himself to give Sara and the rest of the team time to escape, but the episode wastes little time getting back to the comedy after Rip’s death. (We also don’t see his body, so it’s possible he’s still alive.) Nate once again gets really high on Lyoga root when Amaya is communing with her ancestors to figure out how to use the totems to defeat Mallus, and Nate’s high sticks after they find out that they have to focus all of the totems’ powers together to create the perfect being of light that can save the day, which Nate refers to as Voltron. When the team first tries to combine the totems, they end up creating a disgusting slimy creature that looks like a pile of entrails, and it’s a hilarious punchline to the scene that reinforces Sara’s worry that the team isn’t equipped to use the totems.

Photo: The CW

The team hides away in Salvation, North Dakota, because they think Mallus won’t be able to find them in this temporal blindspot, and even though that strategy doesn’t really work, they decide to stay in Salvation because a big climactic fight in the Wild West is pretty cool. Mallus is injured thanks to Rip, but he sends three lieutenants to confront the Legends and demand the totems: Blackbeard, Julius Caesar, and Leif Erikson’s sister. They’ve each brought armies of pirates, Romans, and Vikings, respectively, and the Legends need reinforcements if they’re going to survive. They have Jonah Hex at their side, and Ava shows up with help when she sees Sara’s distress call, bringing Helen of Troy from Themyscira, Kuasa from the new timeline where she’s sharing the spirit totem with her sister, and the team’s old friend Jax, who has aged five years and is happily married with a daughter.

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Photo: The CW

While the rest of the team is trying to figure out the totems, Ray is trying to find a way to get rid of Mallus and save Nora Darhk in the process. He goes back in time with Damien Darhk to the moment before Nora transforms into Mallus, and they try to stop the process by knocking her out. They’re able to break Mallus’ hold over Nora, but the villain takes over Damien’s body instead, which doesn’t solve the Legends’ problem but does relieve Damien of the guilt he has regarding giving his daughter up to a being that killed her soul and body.

Photo: The CW

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This series has been pulling from cinematic influences all season long, and Ghostbusters is the major reference point for the epic final fight. In that movie, Gozer takes the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man because Ray is thinking about it when the villain is psychically choosing its next form, and in Legends, Nate thinks about Beebo when the team is creating the ultimate warrior that can destroy Mallus. This third season has all been building up to the battle between a demon and a gigantic Furby rip-off, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turns out.

There are so many amazing moments in the Beebo/Mallus fight, and I was cackling with glee from the moment Beebo jumped through the roof of the saloon to reveal itself. Beebo charges into battle against Mallus, and this showdown actually features some of the show’s best fight choreography because it doesn’t rapidly cut through the action. There’s liberal use of slow motion to highlight just how ridiculous this entire sequence is, and it’s clear that a sizable portion of the budget went into making sure that the execution of this fight lives up to the promise of the idea. The creative team put a lot of thought into making this sequence as entertaining as possible, and these are my favorite moments:

  • Mallus performing a suplex on Beebo.
  • Beebo performing a bicycle kick on Mallus.
  • Beebo squeaking and bulging out its eyes when Mallus jumps on its chest.
  • Beebo doing the “bring it on” hand gesture from The Matrix.
  • The giant heart explosion when Beebo delivers the killing blow by body-slamming Mallus from hundreds of feet in the air.

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The end of Mallus also means the end of Damien Darhk, and the show successfully gives him a redemption arc that made him a more layered, empathetic character. Rip and Damien are the two big casualties, but the team also suffers a major loss when Amaya decides that it’s finally time for her to return to her original time period and start building the life in Zambesi that she was always supposed to have. Seeing a heroic Kuasa is the thing that really compels her to go back, and she needs to do what she can to ensure that her family’s heroic legacy stays intact. She decides to keep her memories of Nate instead of wiping them, and I have the feeling that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Amaya, who may need to reach out for the Legends’ help at some point in her future.

There’s an open spot on the team with Amaya’s departure, and John Constantine steps in to fill it in the final scene of this episode. The Legends are all relaxing in Aruba after saving the world again, but as always, their actions have created new problems. Constantine shows up with a bag containing a severed dragon head, and when they let Mallus break free from his time-prison, they also let other fantastic creatures into their world. It looks like the Legends are monster hunters now, and while I have no idea what to expect from next season, I expect it to be a wonderful, wild ride.

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Stray observations

  • Going into next season, the regular cast of this series is Sara, Ray, Mick, Nate, Zari, Wally, Constantine, and Ava. I really like that line-up.
  • Mallus is actually pronounced with a hard a so it sounds like “Malice,” which leads to some fun arguments as the characters correct each other.
  • I am shipping Zari and Jonah Hex so hard. I would very much like to see a storyline where Zari travels to the Wild West for a booty call.
  • What are the chances of a non-Wonder Woman Amazon from the comics showing up on the show next season? Probably pretty low, but I’d love to see someone like Artemis meet the team.
  • I was really nervous Jax was going to die when he showed his picture of his daughter, so I’m happy that didn’t happen.
  • “You really think this is the best time to go on a psychedelic vision quest? Who am I kidding, never a bad time to go.”
  • “They beat him with the Care Bear Stare!”
  • “Don’t worry. You turn into a witch bitch, I’ll kill you.”
  • “Are we making a baby?”
  • “Today is the day that we earn the name ‘Legends.’ Now, how do we sneak out the back?”
  • “That’s a Roman nose.”
  • “Beebo want cuddle.”
  • “Worst orgy ever.”
  • “Beebo is our one true god.”

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