As Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) search for a magical means of defeating Darhk (Neal McDonough), Diggle (David Ramsey) hunts Andy (Eugene Byrd) in order to avenge Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) death. Meanwhile, Thea’s (Willa Holland) vacation with Alex (Parker Young) may not be as benign as it appears.
After taking a moment last week to mourn Laurel’s death, Arrow wasted no time this week in getting back to saving the world (or at least Star City) and setting up the plot lines that will take it through the end of the season.
Ever since Thea lost her post-Lazarus bloodlust, Team Arrow has needed a way to defeat Darhk and we finally got the answer: magic. While Oliver originally thought he’d have to learn dark magic, it was a pleasant surprise when the sassy, totally fun immortal shaman told him that he would have to channel the light inside himself instead. Oliver’s biggest flaw has always been his tendency toward darkness. He’s repeatedly confronted that fact in the last few episodes and while tying his character development to defeating Darhk is a little inelegant, it’s also a smart way to force him to evolve. Not to mention a rather clever way of tying his triumph as a superhero to winning Felicity back.
Oliver said himself that thinking of Felicity’s words helped him fight off Darhk and it’s easy to understand why after this episode. The couple hasn’t spent much time together since their break-up, but seeing them interact again here–especially in their heart-to-hearts–was a reminder of how well they work together. Without Felicity, Arrow is just a touch too humorless and Oliver is just a mopey, unemployed pretty boy with a twisted hobby.
That’s actually sort of true of Diggle and Lyla’s dynamic too. And like Felicity with Oliver, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) spent the episode reminding John he’s a good man—even after killing his brother to protect his family. One of the bigger flaws of the superhero genre is the refusal to just kill a villain every once in a while. How many times does the Joker have to destroy Gotham before Batman realizes everyone would be better off if he were dead? Morals are one thing, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Andy had his chance to reform and he made it clear he would never change. He had to die. Still, John will likely never forgive himself for killing his little brother and hopefully the fallout lasts longer than the finale.
Speaking of the finale, we finally learned Darhk’s endgame—and through Thea and Alex of all people. There was a strange dream-like quality to all their interactions and the reveal that they were in some sort of underground
Noah’s Darhk’s Ark was one of the show’s best moments ever. Admittedly, it strains credibility that they’d reached the out of town vacation stage of their relationship considering they’ve barely shared any screentime or chemistry.
Regardless, this whole nuclear fallout dome situation is larger and more ridiculous than Arrow usually goes and there’s something fun about how comic book-y it is. The threats Star City has survived in the past have just been variations on the theme of mass violent deaths. This time, there’s an element of strangeness, of diabolical Bond villain extravagance. Like its hero, Arrow is finally embracing its lighter side. Well, as light as you can be when nuclear missiles are involved.
Arrow Death Watch Redux
Much like the characters themselves, this section couldn’t stay dead. We may have found out who was in the grave, but the end of the season always means death on this show. So….
Wouldn’t that just beat all? It won’t happen, but it would give Malcolm (John Barrowman) yet another reason to be the Big Bad next year.
Damien Darhk: 98%
Given what happened to Andy tonight and what Felicity said to Oliver post-Laurel’s funeral, the show looks like it’s getting ready to justify killing him. Still, Arrow is notoriously bad at letting villains go *cough* Malcolm Merlyn *cough* and Darhk is such an enjoyable snark monster that they just might keep him around.
Island Girl: 100%
Listen, there’s a reason she showed up in Oliver’s montage of bad memories. Also, again, she’s the worst.
There’s wheat and then there’s chaff and he’s the latter.