Legends of Tomorrow season 3, episode 12 recap: The Dread Pirate Jiwe

Photo credit: DC's Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR
Photo credit: DC's Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR /

After last week’s plot-lite episode, Legends of Tomorrow refocused with an episode that advanced the Mallus arc.

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While I really enjoyed last week’s focus on Zari (Tala Ashe), it was good to see the show get back to business with “The Curse of the Earth Totem.” This episode did a great job of advancing the Mallus plot, bringing characters together and raising the stakes of this year’s conflict. This episode also paid off some of this season long-simmering subplots in grand fashion. Once again, Legends of Tomorrow has established itself as the Arrowverse’s best show.

This week’s episode opened in the Bahamas in 1717. Blackbeard (Jonathan Cake) and his cronies buried some treasure and the pirate’s paramour was consumed by what appeared to be the Earth Totem. On the Waverider, Ray (Brandon Routh) explained the Legends needed the Fire Totem to stop Mallus, which was held by present-day Vixen’s boyfriend. Sara (Caity Lotz) decided to sit the mission out to finally go on a date with Ava (Jes Macallan). The group found that Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) had already stolen the Fire Totem so they decided to pursue the Earth Totem, which was in the possession of Blackbeard in 1717.

Photo credit: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR
Photo credit: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR /

In China, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) told Rip (Arthur Darvill) he wasn’t interested being a superhero anymore. Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) told Mick (Dominic Purcell) that she wanted to change Kuasa’s (Tracy Ifeachor) past but was worried about playing with the timeline. Mick talked up Amaya’s reputation as the Dread Pirate Jiwe to attract Blackbeard’s attention. The ploy worked but the team was intercepted by the British authorities and Darhk, who took Amaya’s totem. The Waverider’s systems shut down due to it being parked in the Bermuda Triangle. Rip got Wally drunk and convince him to steal a Time Bureau courier.

“James Bond never had to fight a horde of Vikings”

At Blackbeard’s execution, Amaya launched an insurrection and freed the pirate. Darhk ordered his minions to attack the Waverider and the Legends were forced to leave half the team behind.  The badly damaged Waverider made a crash landing near where Sara’s date in contemporary Star City. Simultaneously, Time Agent Gary (Adam Tsekhman) told Ava about Rip’s theft. Sadly, Sara ditched out on the date before Ava could explain that she also had to leave. Rip and Wally used karaoke to salve their emotional wounds. Amaya won over Blackbeard and his crew and got them to take her team to the Earth Totem.

While I generally enjoy the way Legends depicts various historical figures, Blackbeard was especially delightful. This cowardly, up for whatever version of the infamous pirate was just a whole lot of fun. In a way, it makes a lot of sense that someone who exists outside the strictures of traditional morality would be so flexible. Also, Nathan Cake’s performance, which vacillated between dangerous rogue and spineless quisling, was incredibly fun. Hopefully, the character will make a return appearance before the season is up.

I also really dug how this episode handled the Rip/Wally material. “Earth Totem” could’ve put them in a 40-minute long argument about the necessity of heroism, but what it actually did was a lot more interested. Wally and Rip have had a rough go of thing lately and their bonding over their sorrows made a lot more sense shoehorning them in a contrived dramatic subplot. Really, all superhero media could benefit from letting its characters be human. Dark knights and people of steel are a lot more compelling when they have inner lives.

Photo credit: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR
Photo credit: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow/The CW by Jack Rowand/The CW, Acquired via CWPR /

“If you really like that mean time bureau lady, you shouldn’t give up on her.”

Sara was annoyed that she ended her date due to the other Legend’s screwing up. The Earth Totem animated corpse of Blackbeard’s old lover and it attacked both villains and the heroes. Sara and Ava did the whole arguing-turns-into-a-passionate-kiss thing and accidentally let Blackbeard and his crew onto the Waverider. Predictably, the pirates proved to be no match for TV’s new power couple and were returned to their own time.

The Legends escaped with the Earth Totem, but Nora (Courtney Ford) was critically injured in the fray. Amaya told Nate (Nick Vento) that she was going to chart her own destiny. Despite the chaotic nature of their lives, Ava and Sara agreed to keep dating. After sobering up, Rip asked Wally to join him in reuniting with the Legends. Feeling guilty, Ray gave Darhk the cure for the anti-magic nanites that were killing Nora in exchange for Amaya’s totem. However, the pair kidnapping Ray after the deal was complete.

It was so gratifying to see Sara and Ava finally get together. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy their whole slow burn courting, but that subplot needed some resolution. Now that Rip made his intentions to rejoin the team clear, I’m curious to see how it will affect the ladies’ relationship. I could see Ava objecting because she wants him to return to time jail. I’m also curious to see if Ava’s decision to date a Legend will affect her standing with the Time Agency. Romance always makes things more interesting.

Next: Legends of Tomorrow season 3, episode 11 recap: Time loop turmoil

I’m curious to see why Mallus wants all the Totems. I can’t imagine it’s just because they can hurt him. I’m thinking there’s some kind of Infinity Gauntlet style shenanigans at play whereby the combined totems will give the holder ultimately power. Given the elemental nature of the totems, I’m hoping to see something akin to Damian Darhk turning into Captain Pollution. Neal McDonough could do beautiful things with this accent. Whatever ends up happing, I was happy to see the show put the focus back on its Big Bad. This episode’s developments gave the season a renewed sense of urgency, which it needs heading into this year’s big finale.

Next week, the Hunt for Ray Palmer!

Legends of Tomorrow airs on The CW Tuesdays at 9 p.m.