The great character actor (and voice of Mallus) helps save history. No, really!
Oh, Legends. You sure love your Tolkien.
In this case, though, it’s more about Respected Character Actor John Noble — hey, maybe someone on the writing staff’s a huge fan of Fringe? Good for them! — than it is about the Lord of the Rings. And Noble’s not the only fun addition to the adventure this week: The hour begins with some of the Legends heading to 1979 to save a young Barack Obama, while the rest of the team must stop Amaya from saving her village in 1992 Zambesi. (They’ve discovered that she took off to change history, but if she does, she could allow Mallus to finally escape his prison.)
But first, Barry. Gorilla Grodd has arrived in 1979, and he’s intent on killing Obama before he ever becomes a politician. (Grodd uses the line “Make America Grodd Again,” and if you listen closely, you can hear an entire writers’ room cackling to themselves. I’m guessing someone stopped them from giving Grodd a red hat and all.) Just as Grodd is about to choke the life out of poor young Barry, the Waverider arrives, and Mick shoots Grodd with fire, while Ray shrinks Grodd enough to fit him inside a jar. They then wipe Barry’s memory clean, and back to the overarching plot they go!
And that overarching plot has really heated up. Mallus’ cage has begun to break, and it’s showing: Nora can feel his arrival, but when Damien faces her, we see from her shadow that she’s taken a new form, into something grotesque and huge and with wings. Nora’s barely holding on to herself — Grodd’s failure meant that Mallus’ prison couldn’t completely open — and seeing how he’s losing his daughter, Damien grows worried. His doubts take over, and soon enough, after wishing her farewell, he switches sides, appearing on board the Waverider to plead for help.
Meanwhile, over in Zambesi, Amaya is rejecting help. Nate and Wally try to appeal to her, but Amaya says that she needs to prevent the genocide of her people at all costs. She wants to get rid of the warlords, and she tells the men to stay away. Later, Nate and Wally see the older Amaya of 1992 being celebrated by her people, and preparing to pass on her totem to her daughter. But when she prepares to do so, her daughter never appears: Instead, Kuasa appears to tell her that her daughter Esi won’t be coming, and the older Amaya sadly announces that her daughter has rejected her destiny.
Well, maybe not so fast. The young Amaya is still around, and she’s sure she can talk Esi into accepting her fate. It’s a struggle Damien’s also having: He set a huge plan into motion, and now he’s unwilling to accept that the end of the road means the death of his daughter. And so, on board the ship, he offers the Water Totem as a gesture of good faith (and in a way, an F.U. to Kuasa…) and explains that they now have a common enemy. Sara’s not so sure and even tells Mick to kill Damien on the spot, but Ray, soft-hearted as always (and in particular for Nora), shuts that plan down, telling them they should think it over.
And Sara does. She speaks with Ava, and says that the hardest thing to do is to let the killer of her sister live. (She also advises Ava to talk to Rip about the fact that she’s a clone, but for now, Ava’s “prioritizing the mission.) Without any others to turn to, Sara seeks out Obama again, hoping for more insight. He advises her to remember that they’re all human, and after she wipes his memory clean, she returns to put a plan into action.
Sara gathers the team and tells Damien that she’ll help him under one condition: After it’s all over, she’ll kill him. He agrees, but now what?
Now…enter John Noble. Ray comes up with a slightly insane Legends-only plan, to visit actor John Noble on the set of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand in 1999 and have him record lines as Mallus that he’ll, in his shrunken Atom suit, deliver inside Nora’s ear. Yeah, this is the show getting as meta as it can: Noble voices Mallus, so of course when Mick watches Lord of the Rings, Ray notices how similar Denethor (as in, Noble) sounds to Mallus. Don’t overthink it. (Next: “This is crap”)