Monument Point Plot Summary:
When Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) starts launching nuclear missiles, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) enlists her criminal father Noah Kuttler (Tom Amandes) to help stop them.
This is a dangerous time of year for Arrow and I don’t just say that because season finales always bring death to Star City. The show is typically very good at finales (though last year’s admittedly tried to do too much), but often does a lot of inelegant table setting in the episodes leading up to them. Season 2’s 21st episode, “City of Blood,” is one of the worst hours the show has ever produced for that very reason. The writers have learned a lot since then and while this episode wasn’t necessarily the greatest, it still deftly set up the season’s final beats while also hinting at where the characters might be going next season.
Make no mistake, this episode achieved things too. Felicity killed tens of thousands of people, for one. Not on purpose, mind you, but in order to save the much larger city of Monument Point from a nuclear explosion. As Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) reminded her and us, a lot more people would have died if not for Felicity’s quick thinking, but that’s going to be tough to get over for such an empathetic character. This episode was actually tough all around for Felicity.
Before she nuked a city full of innocent people, Felicity was forced out of Palmer Tech by the company’s greedy board members. I have little doubt this plot device won’t last, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pretty pissed anyway. Felicity Smoak is the best CEO Palmer Tech née Queen Consolidated has had in years. When news gets out that the board forced her out because she wanted to make the revolutionary technology that helped her walk again affordable for everyone, they are going to have a PR nightmare. That stock is going to plummet so fast they’ll be begging her to come back. And realistically, she’s the only member of Team Arrow who still has an income or frankly, an employable skill set. Who else is going to make enough dough for Oliver (Stephen Amell), Thea (Willa Holland) and Diggle (David Ramsey) to be full-time vigilantes?
Perhaps Felicity’s most trying personal moment, however, was listening to her mom brag about how good her dad was in the sack. OK, the nuked city is obviously worse, but Felicity not flinging herself off the balcony of her apartment at that revelation was a testament to her strength. Speaking of Noah Kuttler, he returned this episode to help Team Arrow stop total nuclear holocaust. Arrow loves nothing more than a redemption arc and the fact that he took a bullet for Felicity at one point means he’s well on his way to being forgiven for being a terrible father. The other best thing he did, though, was make Oliver realize exactly why Felicity was so mad about his lying.
This episode did nothing if not show that Noah Kuttler’s history of lying did a number on the Smoak Girls. Donna (Charlotte Ross) was about two seconds away from breaking up with Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) for even thinking about lying even it was to save his job. More importantly, it was always pretty obvious that a big part of what made Felicity feel so betrayed by Oliver’s lies was that he essentially turned her into the one thing she never wanted to become: her mother. Despite all efforts, Felicity had fallen in love with a man who only told her the truth when it was convenient. Noah’s conversation with the Green Arrow (who he doesn’t explicitly know is Oliver, but he has eyes and a brain so…) about dual lives and lying was as close as the show has come to making that point explicit.
Oliver has spent about half a dozen episodes regretting his choice to lie and while watching multiple characters emphasize his mistake has grown a little tiresome, it is endlessly satisfying to see him actually learning from it. In the past, if Diggle pointed out that Oliver might not be the best source of relationship advice, he would have walked away and beat himself up in silence. But here, he actually had the emotional maturity to say, actually, that mistake makes him uniquely qualified to give Diggle advice about not keeping secrets from a loved one. And who knows, maybe if John can see Oliver learned his lesson, maybe Felicity will too. There are two episodes left, after all.
Arrow Death Watch Redux
Alex (Parker Young): 100%
Did I call that or what? I adored Parker Young on Suburgatory, but he just never worked here. Willa Holland has never really had chemistry with anyone but Colton Haynes and now that the actor is in a good place in his personal life, I’d love to see him come back so Roy can woo Thea again. Otherwise, Thea had some weirdly strong chemistry with Anarky (Alex Calvert). I felt things when he said her last name is Queen for a reason. Things admittedly got kind of weird when he called her “mommy” later, but we can work with it. Thea’s clearly got some parental issues she needs to work out anyway.
Island Girl: 100%
Please Jesus Lord grant me this one request. I don’t think a character has ever done this little for the show.
Thea Queen: 20%
I still think there’s a major death coming and she’s the best choice narratively. However, the hint this episode that she’s going to actively start fighting against being a pawn in the games of powerful men is really promising and feels like set up for next season.
Noah Kuttler: 50%
Maybe the best way for the Smoak Girls to expel their trust issue demons is for the dude who caused them to die. It’s a totally Arrow move to have this guy redeem himself by saving the world only to die immediately after. I can already see the scene where he dies in Felicity’s arms and tells her not to punish Oliver because he was a bad father.