‘Legends of Tomorrow’ (Season 3): Darhk Delights

Legends of Tomorrow is a show that has found success by fully embracing an “anything goes” storytelling structure, prioritizing fun, light-hearted storytelling over grim atmosphere and strict adherence to any set of time-travel rules. This isn’t to say the show is incapable of telling solid dramatic stories when it wants to – it’s done fairly well by its characters the past year-and-a-half honestly – but it works best when it focuses on what will serve to make the show its best self.

And so it is, for the third year in a row, Damien Darhk has returned to terrorize the Arrowverse. Following his death in season four of Arrow and his time-displaced Legion of Doom membership last year on Legends, it’s starting to seem that nothing can ever truly take Darhk out, as he returns from the grave with the help of his now-grown daughter Nora. However, instead of proving an unwelcome presence, Damien Darhk continues to work as the most entertaining villain these shows have ever seen.

The lion’s share of the credit, of course, goes to actor Neal McDonough, who seems to be having the time of his life as the over-the-top mystic menace. McDonough has frequently shown his talent for chewing the scenery in previous roles, such as Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America and Jacky Vincent in Call of Duty; with Damien Darhk, McDonough gets to really let loose and go for the laughs.

Still, as funny as Darhk can be, he also brings a genuine sense of menace. He’s not only a former member of the League of Assassins, but this season has fully restored his mystical powers, giving him the ability to rewrite the rules of an encounter on a whim. And with Kuasa and Nora at his side, he actually has a solid group of magical assistants to up his threat level.

Sure, we’ve seen Darhk beaten twice now, but it helps that we’re not expected to see him as the true Big Bad of the season; instead, he’s a servant to the larger, still unknown threat of Mallus. So, instead of seeing him as the be-all, end-all, he can exist as a mid-level heavy, and a true rival for Sara directly; here’s to her finally getting true revenge against him for killing Laurel.

In the end, I’m just not sick of seeing Darhk in the Arrowverse. He’s a delightful presence, whether he’s laughing at the thought of Jax and Stein switching bodies or absolute crushing a choreographed battle scene set to “Return of the Mack.” One day, it’ll be time to shut the door on Damien for good; for now, I’m happy to revel in the Darhkness.