Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 5 Review: Return of the Mack

Legends of Tomorrow goes light on character to move the season's plot forward.

This Legends of Tomorrow episode review contains spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 3 Episode 5

A couple of times a season so far, Legends of Tomorrowhas to put away the jokes and dial back the melodrama to move the ball down the field. Usually they’re…elegant isn’t the right word, because you can’t really call an episode that has Heat Wave wearing his reading glasses while he rereads Stoker’s Draculawhile Commander Steel is strapped to a table humming “Return of the Mack” next to a glowing coffin. I think it’s smooth? Usually they’re fairly smooth about it, and this week was no exception, moving the focus away from the Waverider crew’s relationships for the most part to drop some big reveals.

We were promised vampires last week, and the most disappointing part of the episode is that they’re less Vlad the Impaler and more Pete Thiel. Rip is doing his best Sherlock Holmes impression on the streets of 1895 London, investigating a dead body drained of its blood with two puncture marks in its neck. Meanwhile, on the ship, Nate is all hopped up on coffee and reworking the map of the anachronisms to figure out where they should head next. As 1895 London is outside of the greater pattern he discovered, they decide to head there and start looking into the vampire killings. They find a coroner about to perform an autopsy who’s sitting on a Palmer watch from 2017 that starts playing the titular Mark Morrison song, which sets them off on some old-fashioned investigating.

Ray and Jax study the watch on the ship (with a guest appearance from 2017 Mr. Terrific), while everyone except Stein uses Nate as vampire bait. Nate ends up captured and strapped to a table in a London secret society headquarters, where they’re gathering people for the “blood red moon” for some sort of ceremony. The team finds Nate and fights their way in (after Zari gets taken for a ride by a mystic named Madame Eleanor who clearly wants to steal her totem), where they discover the vampire is just a regular old dead body that this secret society of occultists wants to resurrect for Mallus. The regular old dead body of Damien Darhk. Sara wants to stop the resurrection; Rip wants to let it happen and use it as bait to draw out Mallus; so obviously Rip betrays the Legends to force a confrontation. All he manages to pull off, though, is he gets a bunch of Time Bureau agents killed.

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Madame Eleanor has stolen Zari’s talisman, and she channels Mallus’s super dope voice and uses the talisman to whup some Time Bureau ass. Darhk is successfully resurrected, and he sings some Mark Morrison while he also whups some Time Bureau ass. Eventually the Legends arrive and turn the tide, and Vixen gets Zari’s talisman back for her as Eleanor and Darhk escape into the timestream. As punishment for Rip’s off-books catastrophe of a mission, he’s sold out by Sara and taken into custody by the Time Bureau.

That’s about the extent of it for the week. There is some character growth for Jax and Stein as Jax works with Ray to figure out a way to split the two halves of Firestorm. There’s also some work done on the idea that Vixen and Zari’s talismans (talismen?) are linked, so they’re destined to become friends. It feels a little forced, a little like the show is telling us they have to be friends rather than showing us become friends, but Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Tala Ashe are charming enough that it’s not really a problem.

And the Mallus mystery finally became interesting. More speculation in the time bubbles. Don’t go down there if you don’t want to watch me guess and probably be wrong about things!


– Zari’s way of unwinding on the Waverider after a mission is by playing Mortal Kombat 1 and she’s definitely using Liu Kang. Mad respect. If she wanted to win, she’d be Sub Zero. If she wanted to do easy fatalities, she’d be Scorpion. She’s clearly someone who understands both the game and her approach to it.

– Let’s talk about the biggest plot hole in the episode: org charts. Why would Rip start a new group of timecops that he wasn’t completely in charge of? If he’s got such trust issues, why would he put two people as his equals in commanding the Time Bureau? And if you were going to do something like that, why wouldn’t you make each head in charge of a discrete portion of the agency, thus making Agent Sharp answer only to him? Maybe Rip’s biggest weakness isn’t his inability to trust. Maybe it’s a lack of adequate bureaucratic paranoia.

– SPECULATION CORNER: I’m laying odds on who Mallus ends up being. I’ve got 6:1 odds that Mallus is a stripped down version of Extant, the time-travelling supervillain form of Hawk from Hawk & Dove. Stripped down is the key there – they can’t actually make him have all the same convoluted bullshit that the comics version does because that would be stupid.

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I’m laying 2:1 odds, however, on the Time Trapper. I’m sure Mike is sitting on a “Who is the Time Trapper?” explainer, so I’m not going to steal his thunder, but as a means of brief introduction: the Time Trapper is a Legion villain who has had all of the Legion’s continuity problems pinned on him at one point or another. He has power over time, and in the comis, he’s been like, 4 different people. With the Legion starting to roll into these CW shows, I find it hard to believe (still) that the Arrowverse would have a show about time travellers that doesn’t somehow touch on the 31st Century’s greatest superteam. So this is where I’m putting my money.

– Next week: Firestorm swaps places


3.5 out of 5