In its third season, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow succeeded in getting a lot of things right, but they never managed to accomplish establishing Mallus, its primary villain. Therefore, it didn’t come off as a surprise when this became a sticking point in the finale. Yes, there were some excellent moments during the way, but the final episode didn’t succeed in building up the urgency it required. Last week, the show dashed any hope that Mallus would turn out to be something more than just another generic CG villain with a great voice with the reveal of his true and fleshy form.
You could blame this on lack of imagination or a limited budget, but Mallus seemed to come from the God of War game and was nothing more than a mid-game boss. Between his complete lack of motivation and comically bland appearance, Mallus was the most flat appearance this season. In fact, his motivations were so typical that they almost made us wish for the likes of Vandal Savage. Due to the villain’s lack of impact, the entire conflict of the season finale suffered. It was a pretty nifty idea of the Legends having to face an army that included Viking warriors, pirates and Roman centurions.
However, there was not a moment where it felt as if our heroes were ever really in danger or were outmatched at any point. Also, there was no feeling of time hanging in the balance, which was one unlucky side-effect of confiding the fight to the Wild West town of Salvation. The battle that ensued didn’t seem as if it was worthy of the finale of the third season. But, fortunately for us, where Mallus and his final plan failed, the Legends were able to fill in and they picked up the slack after the villain’s lackluster performance.
The emotional element of this episode was less about the Legends battle against Mallus’ army and more about the team members overcoming their emotional hurdles in order to finally live up to their name. There were plenty of strong emotional moments spread throughout the episode from Amaya and Nate finally choosing to part ways, Sara embracing her role of a leader and familiar faces like Doctor Sharp and Jax stopping by to give them a helping hand. In this regard, the show succeeded in providing closure for the character development that had happened during the season.
The two major deaths that took place in the finale couldn’t be ignored either. Both Damien Darhk and Rip Hunter make their heroic and grand sacrifices in the final episode. While it would have been better to make Rip the focal point of his season, especially when he was going to die, it still managed to have a strong impact. The only reason Legends was formed was because Rip had been desperate to save his family from being killed. Therefore, to hear him be happy about finally being able to reunite with his family was definitely going to resonate with everyone.
As far as Darhk is concerned, this episode in capping off an amazing character arc for a man who was once regarded as one of the most sadistic villains to be found in the Arrowverse. He died the only way he could have; choosing to sacrifice himself for saving his daughter’s life so she could have the chance to live and become a better person that he was never able to be. It was impressive to see what the writers managed to accomplish with this character in this season. They were able to fine layers of a character that had already headline a show in the Arrowverse twice in a row.
The theme of redemption that was being driven through the story was reinforced by Darhk’s sacrifice. Hopefully, it means that the Arrowverse will let the character rest for a while as his death needs to have some affect. While it cannot be confirmed until the full season four cast is revealed, it seems that this was farewell to two characters; Jax and Amaya. The latter had to return to her own time sooner or later and it is better that the character leaves on such a strong note. As for Jax, he will be missed, but his presence is not the same without his other half.
Nonetheless, they managed to give his character a happy ending and he was able to be a father and husband in a way that Professor Stein only managed to taste. There were also some fun developments in this episode. Helen of Troy returned as an Amazon warrior and it is the closest that the Arrowverse will come to be able to tap into the mythology of Wonder Woman. Another fun wrinkle to the overall conflict was the sexual tension between Jonah Hex and Zari. Zari’s addition to the team is new, but the last few episodes have made her feel like a natural team member.
Plus, it is always a good thing to see more of Beebo. It was also a good thing that the writers found a great way of eliminating a villain as dumb as Mallus. The finales of the previous two seasons managed to be quite strong episodes of their respective seasons, but the same cannot be said for the finale of the third season. It was not exactly a stronger installment and it also failed to create any momentum leading into the fourth season. Yes, it was nice to see Matt Ryan get set up for his role as Constantine as a series regular, but a severed head of a dragon doesn’t just translate any urgency or present any major danger to the time-stream. Since Mallus was a very lame threat, anything that spins out of this one couldn’t have created a lot of excitement.
Hence, even though the finale was able to offer some great character moments and had some inspiring character sacrifices, it couldn’t make up for the fact that Mallus just wasn’t a good enough villain.