Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 16 Review: I, Ava

Legends of Tomorrow has progressed pretty totally into its own thing, and that's great.

This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 16

When it first started out, Legends of Tomorrowreveled in its ties to DC Comics, delighting in the convoluted backstories of Vandal Savage and the various and sundry Hawkpeople in the cast. That shifted in the second season, from its ties to DC Comics to its ties to the rest of the Arrowverse: the highlights of last season were its villains, each pulled from one of the other DC TV shows.

Season 3 has been different. Aside from a couple of hiccups, it’s been the most consistent of the three seasons. And instead of using its ties to the comics or to the rest of the CW TV shows as shorthand to build its plot, season 3 is building its own mythology. That construction process hasn’t been without its bumps, but like any well-structured show, it’s all paying off as we get close to the end of the season.

This week was a plot-heavy episode – usually when the team gets split in three, we’re going to focus a lot on the things that are being done, rather than the people doing them. Anachronisms are popping up everywhere, but Sara, still reeling from her time as the Death Totem wielder last week, decides to step away from leadership of the Legends. She leaves Amaya in charge, but before she can leave the ship, she’s cornered by Gary, who pops in worried that Ava’s been missing for a bit (since before they broke up, actually). So they head back to the Time Bureau snoop.

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Meanwhile, Mari McCabe, present day Vixen, has become part of an anachronism. She lost her powers because Amaya lost her totem to the Darhks, but she didn’t lose her desire to be a vigilante. She is injured in a fire, and Nate and Wally head to 2018 Detroit to try and stop her from continuing her vigilante career. There they find Kuasa in the hospital.

Amaya, being left in charge, tasks Zari (fasting for Ramadan) with teaching Mick (definitely not fasting) how to use his new Fire Totem.

The episode is really well paced. The first two stories speed along: we discover that Ava’s parents are actors, and she is actually one of thousands of clones (AVA is actually an acronym for Advanced Variant Automaton) from Vancouver in 2213. And then Ava discovers it, and Ava, Ray and Sara kick the hell out of a gaggle of Ava clones. Wally and Nate discover that Kuasa is actually trying to protect Mari and guarantee her existence by “turning on” the Darhks, then double crossing Nate once she has the Anansi totem back, then turning on the Darhks for real to make her grandmother happy with her.

Nate, betrayed by Kuasa, is held and lightly tortured by Damien Darhk until he inadvertently opens up to Nate about his concerns for Nora, who looks like Mallus-infested hell. The third story mostly exists as background filler, a chance to build a relationship between two totem builders and to give us a breather from the blitz of the other two stories. 

The biggest character developments from this week are probably Sara and Ava getting back together-ish and figuring out that Rip is hiding Ava’s past from them; Amaya deciding at the end of the episode to go back to the 1992 massacre in Zambesi that killed her; Damien Darhk’s new concern for his daughter’s well being; and Kuasa lampshading her own parentage. It seems like we’re heading for a finale where Rip’s shadiness eventually pays off and the totem bearers team up against Mallus to reimprison him, but the show injected a tiny bit of doubt into the “Nate’s going to go back to 1940s Zambesi” theory, just enough to make me doubt my predictive abilities.

This week wasn’t a standout episode, but in a show full of them, it’s hard to do. It was, however, a solid, plot-heavy, fun hour.

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– Gary ships Ava and Sara, but what is his ship name for them? Sava? Arra? Probably the former, but if next week’s preview is anything to go by, the latter isn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility.

– TIME TRAVEL SUCKS UPDATE: Zari is fasting for Ramadan. Ramadan 2018 is in May. Why can we see Gary’s breath in Fresno in May 2018? I’m just going to let this whole “Vancouver” thing go.

– Line of the night: it’s all in the delivery. Ray’s stern “Sara” when she pulls a knife on Ava’s fake parents is MINT. Close runner up is Wally’s “Get your hands off that hard body.”

– Something to keep an eye on: AVACorp says they “created Ava from the best genes from around the world.” Whose genes? That’s got to be a thing. Also: “We have the best genes.”

– Damien Darhk was terrible on Arrow.Why is he so great on Legends?His “Safe Space” bit with Nate is one of the best scenes in this show.

– The “Upswipz is more intuitive going up and down” joke is a great running bit. I feel like many of these writers have similar tastes to mine.

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– “This is the second worst attack of the clones I’ve ever seen.” Well played, Ray Palmer. 

– I am certain the totem sound effect used tonight is from an old superhero cartoon. I think it’s from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.It’s not the star wipe from Superfriendsbut it sounds a little like that.

– NEXT WEEK: Gorilla Grodd demands to see Obama’s college transcripts so he travels through time to check them out. Will he Make America Grodd Again? TOO SOON GUYS.


4 out of 5