Damien Darhk and his daughter Nora kidnapped Ray Palmer and took him on an adventure through time that shed some light on one of the Arrowverse’s most compelling baddies — and humanized them a heck of a lot in the process.
Spoilers ahead for “No Country For Old Dads,” the latest episode of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow!
Neal McDonough has turned playing Damien Darhk into a full-blown career the past few years, and for good reason. He made the character into a fan favorite on Arrow through sheer force of will, and bringing him over to Legends of Tomorrow has provided a renaissance for the magical baddie who was technically killed by the Green Arrow a few years ago. But hey, this is comics (well, comics TV), and no one is ever really dead. He’s funny, relatable and still pretty darn evil — and “No Country for Old Dads” provided the perfect balance of Darhk family dysfunction while also moving the plot forward in some big ways.
Having Ray as a resident hostage allowed the writers to turn the spotlight on the bizarre relationship between Damien and Nora Darhk, and as expected, offering up your daughter to be possessed by an ancient evil demon does do some damage to a father-daughter bond. Nora is still dealing with the fact that Damien used her to orchestrate his own resurrection in the past (gotta love that time travel), while trying to prove she can be just as formidable as dear ol’ dad. On any other show this all might come off as forced and cheesy, but it's just the type of weird tone that Legends thrives on.
Courtney Ford’s Nora has been fairly one-note up to this point, despite the fact that the team actually met her as a child in the present to try and save her from Mallus’ possession in the first place (again, time travel), but teaming her up with Ray and sending them off an adventure was the perfect foil to actually find some humanity under that Force choking exterior. And humanity it did find — she might be evil, but Nora still struggles with the same issues as any other estranged daughter. She’s just trying to prove herself by kidnapping and killing people, but still, proving herself nonetheless.
We also got to see a fresh side of Damien as he grapples with how to reconnect with Nora after sending her off for more than 20 years and hiding her in a cult. As always, McDonough is hilarious all the way down, talking out his parenting issues with a choking Ray and the corpse of a techbro. Yep, it was as gloriously weird as it sounds.
*Having a speedster on the team looks to be a very handy addition. After being recruited to help out a rogue Rip over the past few weeks, Wally West finally shows up on the Waverider and swoops in to save the day and grab Ray once they track him down in the 1960s. Kid Flash looks to be an excellent fit as far as the team dynamic is concerned, and after running in place most of the season (pun intended), Wally looks to have finally found a place where he’s needed and can fit in. He’s also made a hilariously terrible first impression with pretty much everyone, but luckily he can run away really quickly when it get awkward.
*We learned a whole lot more about how the totems fit into the Mallus situation, as the original totem bearers used their combined power to seal Mallus away in a time prison. Hence all the anachronisms the Darhks have been causing to weaken that prison. With the team a long way from assembling all the totems (and the sixth totem still a complete mystery), it seems the next few eps will be all about totem-hunting. Well, and getting into trouble, of course.
*Nora finally unlocked the power of Amaya’s totem this week, tapping into her immense animal-channeling abilities. That gives the Darhk’s a powerful new weapon, and leaves Amaya powerless. The board is shifting, and not in favor of the Legends.
*Rip is back! After spending some time in time jail and on the run, Rip Hunter is looking to rejoin the Legends to make amends for getting a boatload of agents killed on a failed mission to stop Mallus. He’s the founding leader of the Legends, but this team left him behind years ago. It’ll be interesting to see if they can once again find a place for him in this cast, perhaps as a liaison between the Time Bureau and the Legends?
*In Grodd we trust: So, the Time Bureau just got a major shake-up thanks to a rogue, super-smart gorilla. Ava Sharpe is in charge, which should make for one heck of a change as we head toward the home stretch of the season.
*Also: There’s a fresh mystery with Ava, as Rip tells Gideon to delete a file (“354Z”) that has some type of secret about her that he doesn’t want Sara to know. That almost certainly can’t be good.
*Just as Nora and Damien start to bond, it seems Mallus is breaking through and taking her over. Possession looks to be a very ugly thing.
Next week: The team has to save rock ’n' roll, as the Darhks try to kill Elvis Presley. Have we mentioned they’re very, very evil?