‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ Season 3 Winter Finale: One Christmas and A Viking Funeral

The war on Christmas is real! Go figure.

After the slam-bang achievement that was the special event crossover mini-series “Crisis on Earth-X,” one could forgive “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” and the rest of the shows involved for ending things on a high note. However, each of the shows opted to have one last go at things, and in the case of this show, at least- I think it was a wise move. (I haven’t watched the others yet, as I don’t review them, so I tend to binge-watch them after the fact, save the aforementioned mini-series, of course.)

After all- big-time spoiler alert for those not caught up- we lost one of the OG Legends last week, and it was a character that existed on “The Flash” before “LOT,” Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber), so it certainly stung. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely got a little weepy when it happened, and that doesn’t happen that often on shows like this, which are typically too cartoonish to tug at my heart strings.

Though the death was expertly handled and given the full weight it deserved; nonetheless, it was sort of abrupt and it felt like something was missing, though I couldn’t have said exactly what. With this episode, I got my answer: we needed a better sense of the fallout of Stein’s death among the core crew of Legends, and we needed a little more closure.

Thankfully, this episode rose to the occasion by delivering the goods on both fronts, and doing so both with great heart and good humor, which the show can excel at in the best of circumstances. Rest assured, it’s no easy achievement balancing the two. Lord knows the show has faltered on precisely that front not only in the past, but in this season to boot- no pun intended.

Sometimes it’s almost too silly, with one too many easy gags and in-joke references; other times, it’s way too self-serious for a show with some admittedly broadly-drawn characters that often veer on the wrong side of caricature. To be fair, though, the show was always intended to be this way from the jump, meaning this aspect of the show has long been a struggle, and an uphill battle to overcome- one which it hasn’t always managed to do successfully.

For instance, look at- or listen to, rather- the way both Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) and Leo Snart (Wentworth Miller) talk. They’re almost like parodies of the stereotypical measured or even “gruff” type of voice that, say, Batman uses or you hear in some of the animated versions of various superhero-based comics adaptations, which is to say, very cartoonish and verging on silly.

Here, we got a heavy dose of that right up front in the episode, “Beebo The God of War,” as Snart took it upon himself to serve as an armchair psychiatrist for the Legends to help them work through any issues they might have with Dr. Stein’s passing. To help, Snart actually used a puppet to help everyone “speak” to Dr. Stein to say anything they might not have gotten a chance to before his untimely passing.

Jefferson - DC's Legends of Tomorrow

It was, of course, meant to be ridiculous, but it was also clever in that it exposed how each of the Legends were dealing with their grief, as shown in their overall reactions to the puppet itself. Some dismissed it out of hand- “I hate puppets,” grumbled Mick, as he beat the cartoonish thing repeatedly, which Snart initially thought was Rory expressing anger at Stein’s premature demise- while others didn’t need it in the first place to express themselves, such as, naturally, Jefferson (Franz Drameh), whose relationship with Stein was the very definition of intimate, being as how they often existed within the same body.

But then we were introduced to the whole concept of Beebo, an insanely cute blue stuffed animal critter that functioned as a sort of avatar for the likes of a Cabbage Patch Kid or a Tickle Me Elmo, which is to say a much-in-demand would-be Xmas gift, complete with a “Jingle All the Way”-style intro, featuring a younger iteration of Martin Stein (Graeme McComb), as he tried his best to land one of the much-sought-after creatures at a Toys ‘R Us-style department store.

Using science, naturally, he manages to snag the last one, only to find himself zapped into the past, way back into the Viking era. Young Stein only evades certain death because of, ironically, said doll, Beebo, which transfixes the Vikings immediately because of its ability to talk, which leads the stunned crew to begin to worship it as a small, furry, blue god.

Enter the Legends, who arrive to seek out the anachronism and set things right, only to find that said anomaly is none other than the recently-departed Stein, albeit in younger form. Needless to say, this is incredibly jarring to most of them, none more so than Jefferson, who naturally sees in this kismet event a chance to “set things right” by doing something to tip off Stein to his premature demise. But should he?

Another clever thing the episode does is to show that there’s been a method to the madness this season. As Ray (Brandon Routh) and Nate (Nick Zano) note, pretty much every aberration this season has had some connection to one of them: we saw Sir Henry Stein, Martin’s great grand-uncle; a young Ray Palmer; Rory’s father; and now, a young Martin Stein himself. There must be a reason for this, as they point out, but we don’t quite get it as of yet- but we do get a glimpse at the next one in line at the end of the show: a possessed little girl, whose demon somehow knows Sara (Caity Lotz) and requests her specifically.

More often than not this season, the writers have been on point, and this sort of thing seals it. They obviously did some major planning this season, and very little that has happened hasn’t been without a good reason, even if it seemed a bit off at the time. For instance, I noted in a previous review how weird it was that the show had opted to make Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) into a bit of a dick for some reason.

Now we see there’s a good reason for that- he’s basically Kevin McCarthy in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” yelling and screaming like a madman about the evil that’s approaching but no one quite believes him. As a direct result, he’s been suspended from the very Bureau he helped create, which has, in turn, fallen into disarray without his guiding presence.

It’s clear that Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) is a big reason for that- but a much-bigger one is the ever-looming Mallus, at this point still a sort of Eye of Sauron-type presence, voiced by sci-fi/fantasy mainstay John Noble, himself a vet of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the much-beloved “Fringe.” At one point in the episode, Sara herself has a run-in with the creature, a decidedly less huggable one than Beebo. As we discover, he’s lying wait in limbo, not quite able to emerge on his own, but he’s getting there, thanks to Darhk and his cohorts.

That, of course, nicely sets up the remainder of the season, pointing the direction for what will no doubt be the central focus of the series moving forward. Also, in the aforementioned final scene, we get a sense of where the show is headed in the immediate future, as Sara is contacted by none other than John Constantine (Matt Ryan), who helped save her life once upon a time, and is now back hoping she’ll return the favor by helping to defeat the demon possessing a little girl that seems to know her all too well- might the demon also be Mallus?

All of that constitutes the heavier stuff, along with Jefferson coming to terms with Stein’s passing and realizing, as Stein himself does, even when given an “out” by Jefferson, that it’s not good to tempt fate. Stein accepts his fate, whatever it may be, taking comfort in the knowledge that he gets to live a full life full of adventure and love with both his family and the Legends, even if it does end in a somewhat premature death. And hell, he finally even manages to sneak in a viewing of “Back to the Future,” all the better to quote it, as this show is wont to do, from time to time- pun intended this time.

Meanwhile, we have a lot of much more amusing shenanigans with the crew’s run-in with the Vikings and the role played in it by the irrepressible Beebo, who very nearly gets Rory killed, though Mick eventually gets his revenge on the pesky puppet, flambéing it to a burnt crisp with his trusty flamethrower gun. Poor Beebo.

Beebo does arise from the dead, though, amusingly resulting in “Beebo Day,” a would-be Christmas substitute that doesn’t quite “sit right” with the visiting Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan), who helps out on this particular mission after things get a bit out of control, as they tend to do with the Legends. Note the potential sparks that fly between her and Sara for future reference, as it may well resurface later on in the season. First Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), now Ava? Someone’s having a good year, near-death coma notwithstanding!

Speaking of which, Sara gets her revenge somewhat, when she likewise puts Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) into a coma when her and her father crash the Viking party and pose as gods themselves, with Damien adopting the guise of Odin, deposing the “false god” that is Beebo. With Ava’s help, the Legends handily defeat the two, albeit only in the short term, making up for their previous defeat in “Helen Hunt,” which nearly cost Sara her life.

I did like that the Legends- and the Time Bureau, for that matter- were smart enough to know how formidable a foe Darkh and his crew were, and plot accordingly and methodically to that end. We saw several different “takes” on what the outcome might be if the Legends adopted a certain gambit to defeat Darhk and his daughter, with some leading to certain death- we see Sara summarily killed off altogether in one, a frightening, jarring image- and others leading to at least enough of an impasse for Darhk to flee, which is what ends up happening when Nora is injured and nearly killed by Sara, only saved by the interference of Mallus.

I enjoyed seeing the Legends merrily interact with the Vikings, and, of course, this all dovetails nicely with the recent return of the show “Vikings,” which I am currently also reviewing for this site. Naturally, their initial comradery is short-lived; having been helped along by booze early on, it later comes undone because of it, namely Rory’s trying to “steal” some from the offerings made to Beebo after Snart challenges him to go without alcohol for two days to prove he isn’t addicted.

Interestingly, Snart opts to let Rory off the hook for his obvious addiction, noting that he isn’t one to talk about how each of the Legends deal with their respective demons, however iffy that approach might be. He also comes to terms with the fact that, just as he’s not the Leo Snart that was once Rory’s partner-in-crime, neither is this Mick the same as the one that was Snart’s own partner-in-fighting-crime. This is a different world, in other words, and he’s just a visitor in it.

Thankfully, Christmas is eventually restored, as is the brief transformation of America into a Viking-led land, complete with a shield-bearing Statue of Liberty. As ever, the Legends manage to set things right in the end, despite all the constant obstacles in their path. We end the episode with a Christmas celebration, complete with toasts and the like, sending off the show until next year brings more time-related mayhem to our TV screens. Not a bad way to go, all things considered.

I look forward to the second half of the season- so far so good, as far as I’m concerned. While the show hasn’t been without some missteps, notably “Return of the Mack,” which was a bit heavy-handed and disappointing, as well as its tendency to rely on easy in-jokes from time to time, all in all, it has been an enjoyable season thus far. I will certainly miss Dr. Stein- RIP- but the show certainly did an admirable job of sending him off, that’s for sure. Ditto Jefferson, for that matter. I’m also excited to see the show join forces with Constantine and what that may hold.

What have you thought of the current season of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” so far? How does it stack up to the past seasons? Are you liking the reshuffling of the deck, character-wise, bringing back some old faces, while letting go of some of the others and adding new ones? Which new character are you most excited about, including Mallus and the other villains? Were you excited to see Constantine? What do you make of the demon in question knowing Sara’s name? Any predictions moving forward?

Let me know your thoughts and comments down below, and thanks for reading!