Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 12 Review: The Curse of the Earth Totem

One of the busiest episodes of Legends of Tomorrow ends up being one of its most fun.

This episode review of Legends of Tomorrow contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 12

I feel like trying to diagram the plot to this week’s Legends of Tomorrowwould look like a football play. Normal network or network-ish shows will run an A plot and a B plot, the main story and a sub-tale that adds into the main show. Sometimes they’ll get bold and throw in a third storyline. Legends,perhaps sensing that they’ve built up a stack of goodwill with their viewers, decided to throw caution to the wind and go for a full five interweaving stories. And you know what?

It was great.

To the writers’ credit, despite everything that was going on, it never felt like the show was trying to do too much, or that anyone was getting really shortchanged. 

Ad – content continues below

The team, in their quest to defeat Mallus, moves on the only solid lead they have and tries to get their hands on the unaccounted-for totems: the fire totem in 2018 Detroit, and the earth totem in 1717 Nassau, Bahamas (reminder: the other three are Zari’s air totem, Kuasa’s water totem and Amaya’s Tantu Totem). They strike out on the fire totem, and rather than bother Sara (who’s on a date with Ava Sharpe, FINALLY), they head back to Blackbeard’s day to find the earth totem. Meanwhile, Rip and Wally are getting their groove back by getting hammered, bullying Gary Bullybait, and doing a “Careless Whisper” duet at a karaoke bar in 1992 Tokyo. And all the while, Damien Darhk and grown up Nora are working to stop them.

Rip and Wally’s story is the only one that never really intersects, so it’s not entirely fair to count the other four as separate storylines, but they are all distinct things done very well. Sara and Ava’s date is delightful: a little rote in a couple of places, but full of character touches for almost the whole thing, and after a season’s worth of exasperatedly shouting “JUST KISS ALREADY” at the TV, even the rote parts are charming. The fact that they could fight so well together at the end of the episode after starting their date with ENORMOUS, Mrs. Coach Taylor’s wine-sized martinis was also impressive.

Even Amaya’s story, which as you know has not been my favorite, took a turn for the better here. We start to see the ending telegraphed: she’s probably going to take Nate back to 1942 with her, and her shift in attitude from ball of anxiety to DGAF pirate queen was the first step. The rum brand changing to match Amaya’s exploits was an important second one.

The show succeeds because we get character moments for everybody but Zari. Amaya and Nate inch forward; Sara gets more vulnerable; Ava gets more human. Hell, even the villains get some character development – the speed and carelessness with which Darhk throws the Tantu Totem at Ray at the end

Ray stays the show’s moral core, while Mick more explicitly becomes its heart. Mick spends the episode telling Amaya to stop worrying and live in the moment, something she has a problem doing, but eventually accepts and succeeds at. Ray shoots Nora with the nanite gun he’s been working on, but returns to 1717 before she dies so he can give her an antidote. He then gets captured for his integrity, but that should be resolved next week. 

As packed as it was, this week’s Legendsstayed so true to each character that it ended up being another delight to watch. 

Ad – content continues below


– I’m not sure what made me happier: Nate and Ray’s “You’re doing great!” thumbs up at Amaya, or the fact that we have a “pirate” topic tag.

– There are a lot of references to the Vixenanimated series. The doctor who has the fire totem is from the show, and it’s almost implied that the team’s attempt to retrieve the fire totem should be animated at some point.

– Speaking as someone who successfully tricked a woman into marrying him coupled and settled down: the way you get a girl to stay with you forever is to give her a giant softball-sized rare jewel that she can wear on her neck with the antique bike chain you use for home protection. Blackbeard’s girlfriend’s anger upon her resurrection is justified: that totem belongs on a much more demure display mechanism. Like two boxes worth of large-ish paperclips you stole from the office. Or rope.

– You know, in high school I knew like, three people who wore tons of leather, were great at computers, and always had a lighter on them. One used to get suuuuper high, one was just a weirdo, and the third liked to start fires. Which one do you think Zari is? 

– Speaking of smoking drugs, more like Damien Narc, amirite? OF COURSE that dude would pose as a British officer.

– Speaking of smoking drugs, when did Amaya learn how to pilot a tallship?

Ad – content continues below

– Speaking of smoking drugs, did Sara beat up a bunch of pirates with a flute?

– This was an oddly colorful episode – the earth totem was bright green, Amaya’s pirate outfit is purple, Nate’s blue and red matches his costume, Sara’s in red. Is that code for something? Normally when that much color just appears, there’s a narrative reason for it. We’ll see, I guess.

– Next week! Darhk makes Ray scream “NOT LIKE THIS” a few times.


4.5 out of 5