This review contains spoilers.
3.13 No Country For Old Dads
I’ve had a regular comics pull list for about seven years now. Week in, week out for 300-plus weeks, I’ve headed to the comic shop, picked up my books, and read them all by Friday. In that time, I’ve bought my share of limited series, but I also have a bunch of books that have been on there for a while, and some have been on in some form or another since I started buying weekly books. And any book that lasts long enough is going to start to disappear into your pull pile: books like East Of West or Black Science, without ever seeing a dip in quality, eventually get taken for granted because of the high level of sustained execution.
This is relevant to this episode review because I have a confession: my attention wandered during this episode. I don’t think it was because of anything the show did or didn’t do: I definitely have asides about how great lines or story points are, but I wasn’t rapt with attention for the full hour. When I pulled back and really looked, it wasn’t anything the show did or failed to do. It just kept doing what it was good at, well, for a full hour.
There are definitely little things in the episode that are cause for concern. Since Jax and Stein left, the show has leaned on absurd comedy a little more than before, like they miss Victor Garber and Franz Drameh as the emotional core, but they’re covering up their hurt with jokes. It can be a touch glib from time to time, in a way that wouldn’t happen with a stronger emotional anchor. And there were a couple of points in this episode that were just openly absurd, to the point where it felt like the show knew it and didn’t really care, but nothing that stuck with me for emore than a second. These are minor quibbles, though.
Legends succeeds on its characters either being well-adjusted or becoming so over the course of the show, and this episode took a different tack with the same result: Damien and Nora Darhk developing their relationship into something that could pass for a normal, nice father-daughter relationship. If, of course, you set aside the fact that one is a reincarnated mass-murderer with mystical powers, and the other is posessed by probably Mordru a demon and the big bad of the season.
No Country For Old Dads was pretty light on the big plot movements, especially considering we’re a month to the season finale. We picked up where we left off last week, with Ray, the Tantu totem and the fire totem in the anti-Legends’ custody, and nobody knowing that Ray was even missing. Damien wants Ray to get the fire totem working again, so they jump around first to Upswipz, then back to 1962 where Nora and Ray need to save the man who invented cold fusion from being murdered by young Damien Darhk and his magnificent mod eurotrash wig. Rip and Kid Flash rejoin the Legends on the Waverider, and eventually help rescue Ray from the Darhks (and Wally steals the fire totem from Damien). Nora successfully corrupts the Tantu totem, so it’s an even fight until someone finds the earth totem. And Director Bennett gets killed by Grodd, leaving Ava Sharpe in charge of the Time Bureau.
We also got more relationship development between Ray and Nora, and it feels a little like they’re setting up a redemption arc for her. Ray’s insistence that she’s got a point is a very Ray thing to do, and also helps to morally centre him in the story. Ultimately, though, they’re either setting her up to turn as or after they defeat Mallus, or to pointedly not turn and break Ray’s heart. The writers are too good to not be doing this on purpose.
This was another fun episode of Legends, but it was a little fluffy when we should be rolling downhill. We’ll see what happens next week, but I’m not terribly worried about its quality.