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The great character actor (and voice of Mallus) helps save history. No, really!

April 03, 2018 at 02:54 PM EDT

John Noble’s not too thrilled with the proposition when Ray, dressed as a PA, arrives to have him record his lines. But he does so anyway, only after chiding the script for being “crap.” And Ray, armed with the lines, accompanies Damien to visit Nora, flies into her ear, and plays the recording, which amazingly convinces her that she has to talk to the Legends. Sort of. She eventually figures out it’s a trick, but once she’s on the Waverider, Damien traps her and strips her of her magic, at least for the time being. When he speaks to her, he apologizes for failing her, for leaving her alone after his “death,” and for realizing too late that his plan, well, sucked. But it’s no use: Mallus simply tells Damien that Nora is as good as dead.

Damien then has an even tougher conversation with Sara. He tells her that he regrets everything he’s done, that he wishes he could take it all back. He even apologizes for killing Laurel, because back then, he didn’t know what love meant. He even compliments Sara, telling her that she overcame all that darkness to find love again.

If only he know how much of a struggle that love has been. Right at that moment, Ava’s finally talking to Rip about being a clone, only to grow even more dismayed when Rip lets slip the fact that he’s used other Avas before because he’s needed good agents. In fact, she’s the 12th Ava he’s used. And perhaps won’t be the last…

Over in Zambesi, the younger Amaya has a heartfelt talk with her daughter, explaining that while bearing the totem is a lot of pressure, she can handle it just as those before her have. Everyone has wavered in their role as the totem bearer, Amaya explains, and finally, Esi accepts that she must bear her totem after Amaya and therefore protect the village. Nate and Wally, though, have a different idea: Nate decides they have to grab the totem themselves, but when he tries to steal it, the older Amaya wakes up and stops him. She doesn’t recognize him, but he’s able to show her pictures proving their relationship and his story of time travel. With that revelation, Nate realizes that the older Amaya must have at some point erased her memory — a sad truth Amaya says is the only way she could possibly have left Nate behind.

After all that, though, they still haven’t come any closer to preventing Mallus from escaping. In fact, on board the Waverider, Zari tells Sara that she can’t find any loopholes at all, and that the village still has to be destroyed — sorry Amaya! — or else Mallus will be freed.

That’s when Sara comes up with yet another insane idea, though this one has much greater consequences than having John Noble record a few lines: She explains that perhaps the only way to defeat Mallus is to do it face-to-face, which means they have to let him out of his cage (where he’s been feeling just fine, gotta gotta be down — SORRY) and use their six totems to fight him. Rip immediately bristles at the idea, because the last time this happened, Mallus wasn’t defeated; instead, the death totem betrayed the rest of the bearers. Hasn’t fixing history taught them to learn from it?

But Sara’s intent on following through, especially after Damien says he’ll wield the death totem and ensure their success. Ava, rightly, points out that this makes it all an even worse plan and, realizing no one else agrees with her, not even Rip, she leaves on her own to go back to the Time Bureau. Sara tries to follow her and tell her she loves her, but Ava rejects her and her love and her crazy idea…and leaves.

Now all they have to do is make sure Zambesi falls and to arm themselves. Esi waits for the warlords, while Ray and Wally inform Amaya and Nate of the plan. On the Waverider, they split up the totems, with Nate taking the Earth Totem and Ray taking the Water Totem. And Damien visits Nora one last time with his Death Totem in hand, and this time, she says she’s made a mistake and begs for her life, telling him that she’s still fighting Mallus. But Damien, that’s not Nora…not anymore.

Still, Daddy Darhkest can’t help himself when the hour comes to help the Legends in their final step. They bring Nora to Zambesi and wait for Esi to defeat the warlords and ensure Mallus’ release, but when nothing happens, Sara asks Rip to find out what happened. He discovers through headlines that Zambesi was still destroyed — but not by warlords. It was destroyed by Grodd.

Yup: Damien released Grodd because he thought that might help him save Nora after all and perhaps keep Mallus from taking her over completely. But again, it’s all too late. After Nate uses the Earth Totem to save Esi from Grodd, Damien releases Nora, only to be literally stabbed in the back by Sara, and to lose the Death Totem to Ray. And now that Nora’s freed, so too is Mallus. As the entire crew runs outside, they watch as Mallus takes his true form, with poor Nora ruined.

Though the hour required one too many minds being changed on a dime, it’s still a devastating ending that once again backs the Legends into what seems to be an inescapable corner just before the season finale. I’m excited to see how they get out of their mess this time — and I’m guessing Ava will be back soon enough. Stay strong, Sara!

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