Legends of Tomorrow
has tackled a lot of genres with its malleable time-traveling action-adventure dramedy format. The winter premiere of season 3, titled "Daddy Darhkest," not only brings John Constantine into the fold but also goes the full horror movie route (with an obvious time-traveling twist). "Daddy Darhkest" does tend to be a little bit more confusing and busy than it needs to be, but it still functions as a great character piece, especially for Sara, Amaya and John Constantine.
Sara Walks on the Dark Side (Again)
Constantine has sought out the help of the Legends because he's learned of a young girl who has been possessed by the demon (and season 3's big bad) Mallus. This would be enough of a hook, but it's revealed that the girl in question is none other than the young Nora Darhk. (This is before she grew up and traveled in time to resurrect her daddy dearest.) Nora is currently a child of the state and living in an asylum.
The image of young Nora is slightly interesting, especially for Arrow fans, as the show never explained what happened to Nora after her appearance in season 4. Yet Nora is just a vehicle for an isolated adventure between Sara, Constantine and Cold (and really just those first two). As should be obvious to anyone who has watched a Legends of Tomorrow episode, the plan to exorcise Mallus from Nora goes incredibly wrong. Mallus takes over Nora's body and banishes Sara, Constantine and Cold back in time, in the asylum, to 1969.
Stuck in the '60s when the asylum is much more threatening, Mallus torments the trio but mainly Sara. Since Sara has been magically resurrected, Mallus can possess her, which does explain his (or its) preoccupation with her so far. Mallus taunts Sara and pulls out all the horror tropes. Mallus "haunting" Sara is effectively creepy, but the thing that makes this part of the episode really work is the interaction between Constantine and Sara.
Assassin Meets Magician (And Shags)
Sara and Constantine are basically the same person. They're sarcastic, flirt with everyone regardless of gender and have deep, dark sides that torment them. Sara feels the call of Mallus and the peaceful oblivion he offers in possession. It's up to Constantine to talk Sara away from the edge.
It's remarkable how intense and natural the chemistry is between the two. It's nothing short of a delight, where their emotional pep talks with one another result in them quickly sleeping together in a closet. (Sara's story arc won't feel complete until she sleeps with every hero in the Arrow-verse.)
Armed with her connection with Constantine and her own arc over the years, Sara decides to face Mallus head-on. She allows Mallus to possess her in order to save Constantine, Cold and herself from the past. Yet once they are back in the present, Sara breaks free of Mallus, though Constantine warns (to Ray and Ray only) that the demon still lurks deep underneath with Sara and will eventually resurface. It's an ominous tease and a good one because Legends of Tomorrow obviously won't kill Sara, but some of her greatest material is in dealing with her dark side.
Strangely, though, the most compelling story in the episode is the one least related to Mallus. When the Legends go to find Nora for the first time, they encounter Kuasa guarding her. This results in Amaya fighting with her future granddaughter and eventually having Kuasa be taken prisoner on the Waverider.
The imprisonment allows Amaya and Kuasa to talk, and it's so extraordinarily welcomed. Kuasa finally explains her backstory for everyone but those five people that watched the Vixen animated web series, and it's surprisingly sympathetic. Kuasa, at a very young age, was abandoned in a war-torn country and did whatever she needed to survive. It's heartbreaking and explains Kuasa's actions but doesn't take away any of her threat level. There's also this very weird but highly engaging grandmother and granddaughter relationship between Amaya and Kuasa developing, particularly because Kuasa remembers Amaya when she was much older.
Legends of Tomorrow has been building to this point, where Amaya tries to redeem Kuasa, for quite some time. Yet it finally arrives here in "Daddy Darhkest" and in a way that keeps thing ambiguous enough to be interesting. Kuasa isn't quite taking Amaya's help but also doesn't make Amaya seem like a total idiot for trusting her granddaughter. It's a relationship that will only be brought to the forefront more, as it's revealed that the only things that can hurt Mallus are totem bearers, which includes Kuasa.
The Predictable Exits
Tacked on to the episode, though, is some very predictable material with Nora. It's obvious that Legends of Tomorrow isn't going to erase the season arc so far and have the Legends rip Nora completely from Mallus' control. Yet the episode still tries to act like that's a possibility and has Zari and Ray spend time with Nora, teaching her that life doesn't have to be so dark, pun much intended.
Yet, of course, Damien Darhk shows up to break up the bonding. He tells Nora that the Legends are lying to her. The only way that they can reunite as a family is if she will embrace her powers and work with Mallus. Nora obviously listens and turns her back on the Legends, and history is set to play out as it has so far in season 3.
There's, of course, a chance that this time with the Legends might come back with adult Nora in the rest of the season, much like Mallus possessing Sara will evidently be a big plot point in the future. It's all just a guessing game, though. And considering how little Legends has used adult Nora so far, seeing more of her has very low odds.
Even stranger, though, is that at the very last second, Legends of Tomorrow throws out that Citizen Cold is leaving to go back to his Earth with very little fanfare. If this is the end of Wentworth Miller in the Arrow-verse, it's a deeply disappointing one.
What did you make of the episode? Were you surprised by where Nora ended up at the end? How do you think Sara will deal with her literal inner demon? How do you think Constantine fits in with the Legends? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
(Image courtesy of The CW)