Legends of Tomorrow season 3, episode 14 recap: Mediocre Rockin’ Tonight

DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- - Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- via CWPR
DC's Legends of Tomorrow -- - Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- via CWPR /

An underwhelming episode of Legends of Tomorrow saw the team uncover the Sixth Totem and team up with Elvis Presley.

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One of my favorite things about Legends of Tomorrow is that, as opposed to most of your TV shows, does not take itself very seriously. While its characters frequently save the world, they tend to deal with life or death scenarios with more humor than angst. Also, its breezy approach to plotting means that the series spends more time deepening characters rather than world building. Unfortunately, its ambling approach to storytelling sometimes results in episodes that feel insubstantial and undercooked.

“Amazing Grace” is one such episode. It’s fun, but not fun enough to offset the fact that it tried to stretch 30 minutes of story into one hour of television.

This week’s episode opened with a young Elvis Presley buying a guitar that once belonged to bluesman and Faustian bargainer Robert Johnson in 1954. The sudden appearance of eerie flickering lights suggested the presence of something spooky. This subtle foreshadowing soon confirmed as Gideon noted that something happened in 1954 that left Memphis, Tenn. devastated and Elvis stuck in an insane asylum. Upon investigating, the Legends learned Elvis’ guitar contained the sixth Totem. After switching out the guitar for a non-magical copy, the team discovered the Totem connected bearers to the spirit realm.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — – Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — via CWPR
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — – Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — via CWPR /

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Before explaining what I didn’t like about this episode, I want to touch one of the few things I really enjoyed. Namely, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) repeatedly using his super speed to solve problems almost as soon as they arose. At one point, Zari (Tala Ashe) chided him for rushing into situations with having all the facts, but the episode itself made the case that zipping in, fixing the issue of the week and leaving without being seen is actually a really good strategy for time traveling superheroes. Or for the resident superhero of a bustling Midwestern city. Those kinds of tactics wouldn’t make for good television but I appreciate that the show’s writers addressed the supersonic elephant in the room for once.

“The Darhks. The only people evil enough to want to destroy rock and roll.”

Following a disastrous performance, Elvis explained that his guitar connected him to the spirit of his dead brother Jessie. After teleconferencing with Constantine, Sara (Caity Lotz) learned that the sixth Totem gave the user power of death itself. The Legends reunited Elvis with his guitar and he cut a killer record at Sun Studios. Unfortunately, Elvis’ rock-hating uncle, a local reverend, confiscated the record and had Elvis, Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) and Nate (Nick Vento) thrown into jail. Wally later convinced the rock-hating reverend to let Elvis’ music be played on the radio.

Unfortunately, Elvis’ mystically enhanced tunes raised all the spirits at the local cemetery. Acting quickly, Elvis performed “Amazing Grace” to quell the many restless spirits. In the process, the King made peace with the ghost of his brother, who looked like mid-‘60s Elvis, despite the fact that he died as a child. Amaya told Nate she loved him but he didn’t hear her because he was pretending to like Zambesi music. Also, Mick’s (Dominic Purcell) pet rat Axel died and the Legends gave him a sweet but absurd funeral.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — – Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — via CWPR
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow — – Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — via CWPR /

“Alright Legends, put on your Sunday best because we are going to church.”

So, onto the negatives. The actor portraying Elvis didn’t have much to work with, but his performance was nevertheless underwhelming. The material involving Mick’s was funny but it went on too long. The reverend having the ability to call for the arrest of random citizens was unexplained. Memphis had a lot of racially integrated public spaces for 1954. And while I realize this material will be covered later, it was disappointing that Nora Darhk’s possession and Rip Hunter’s scheming weren’t followed up on. Especially since the episode was so plot-lite.

Next: Legends of Tomorrow season 3, episode 13 recap: Darhk family values

Still, if this episode is the worst this season has to offer, that’s okay. Most of its jokes landed and it was nice to see Amaya and Nate’s relationship hit an understated milestone. I also enjoyed the pairing of the overly enthusiastic Wally with the perennially dyspeptic Zari. They have a fun Daria and Kevin vibe going on that deserves further exploration.  And in the series’ best season yet, one bum entry isn’t the end of the world.

Next week, Constantine returns and Sara turns into a Liv from iZombie when she gets really hangry.

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