Legends of Tomorrow: 3.14 Amazing Grace
Ghosts and rock ‘n’ roll get The Legends of Tomorrow all shook up!
Everyone loved those episodes of Quantum Leap when Sam jumped into the best friend of someone famous like Marilyn Monroe or Buddy Holly, right? They’ve become just as big a part, if slightly less cringy, of Legends of Tomorrow and I’m frankly surprised its taken the show so long to get round to Elvis.
The episode opens with a young man (obviously Elvis but we wait patiently for the big reveal moment pre-titles) acquiring what appears to be a cursed/haunted guitar. Of course we know its just decorated with an Infinity-Totem-McGuffin-Stone-Gem.
We get a fun scene showing that Nate and Amaya are basically trying to pick missions based on what would be a good date. The level to which these two are prepared to jeopardise all of time and space just for a chance to shag is incredible. The team start to realise something is wrong when Rory’s pet rat’s name changes from Axl to Josh Groban and Nate’s hair gets floppy and dull. This is a fun way of showing something is wrong – the something being that rock and roll never happened – even if it doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny.
The key plot revolves around Elvis being prevented from recording his first single because his home town went through some kind of mass hysteria event. A bit of digging shows that it was because his totem encrusted guitar summons ghosts who tormented the town. Obviously. So Team Legs have to bust the ghosts and make sure Elvis records his debut and teach his religious uncle that rock and roll is cool AND get the totem back. Just a usual day in the lives of the Legends.
I had hoped this might turn out to be one of the shows stealth social commentary episodes, dealing with a darker issue in America’s recent history but it never really goes for a deep message. It is however a very sensitively and gentle, emotionally presented story. They don’t give us an over the top comedy Elvis or a holier than thou musical genius Elvis but we do get a solid, sweet and humble performance from Luke Bilyk who is very likable in the role of young Elvis.
After a failed attempt to swap his totem guitar for a replica, the team realise Elvis needs his magic guitar, at least for his first recording. This is because it holds the Death Totem and when he plays, the ghost of his dead brother appears by his side. This was sweet and sad, though I would have maybe liked to see it explored a little more.
Of course Elvis records his single, restoring his confidence and even convinces his religious uncle that rock and roll isn’t bad but then OH NO GHOSTS! But after some panic and action, it turns out the ghosts are just lonely and again, we’re treated to a low key and melancholy finale that left this whole episode feeling kind of warm and cosy.
There is a funny but touching side plot with Rory and his rat. After Axl/Josh Groban escapes he eats a chemical Ray is working on, resulting in Rory mourning over his little dead buddy and a funny funeral scene where Ray convinces Sara to say a few words of goodbye. Rory has developed as a character more than anyone else on board and watching him get upset by his dead rat is quite sad, especially when Ray offers to get him a new rat and Rory replies with an angry sure “what’s one more change on this ship?”. Its nice to see the show referencing the constant change on the ship and having Rory, usually so stoic and silent, be the one to get upset by it works very well.
When the ghosts start rising and Axl/Josh Groban’s little rat ghost rises up and Rory has to say goodbye to him, its both hilarious and heartbreaking in the way only Legends of Tomorrow can pull off. After spending the whole episode trying to teach her about his favourite music, there is a lovely scene of Amaya showing Nate some of her tribe's traditional music, which he claims to love. I may not totally like the way the show has handled these two but at times they do offer up some sweet, romantic moments and this is one of them.
This wasn’t the biggest, loudest or even craziest episode and in the grand scheme of things its probably one of the more forgettable stories the show has presented but I really enjoyed it.