Series Issues: Arrow 4×09 – Dark Waters

Spoilers might just hang from the cliff right at the end.

(Source: The CW)

(Source: The CW)

We’re back in Darhk territory for this week’s mid-season finale with Arrow 4×09: Dark Waters. The plotline of this episode is really simple. Nobody is doing a secondary quest, unless you consider Felicity and her mom, Donna. Or Donna and Quentin Lance. Or John Diggle and his brother Andy. Or the whole flashback to the island. But to be honest, none of these distract us from what is basically a Darhk vs Queen war. The whole point has throughout this season has been to survive a villain that in the end has more people, more ammo and to top it off mystical powers to fend off arrows.

But we’d better get right to it. Mayoral candidate Oliver Queen sponsors a clean up at Star City’s Bay, resulting in an attack via chopper drone with machine guns. Felicity hacks and disables it, but some people got hurt. Oliver decides to strike back and, after consulting with the whole team, talks to the press and reveals Damien Darhk as the man behind the Ghosts. Damien can’t have that and strikes back during Oliver’s holiday party at his campaign headquarters. Oliver is put thrown through glass while Darhk rounds up Felicity, Thea and John as hostages.

Oh and by the way, Donna Smoak found Oliver’s ring for Felicity. She’s happy to share the news with her daughter. It takes an unrelated convo for Felicity to realize Oliver almost proposed back eight episodes ago when their blissful time was interrupted by Thea and Laurel. Now Felicity can only hope he’ll propose again. Unfortunately, the war against Damien Darhk takes center stage.

It’s one of those by the numbers duels where each combatant telegraphs each move loud and clear. Of course Oliver decides to trade his own life for his friends. He doesn’t expect Damien to honour the deal but takes a nano transmitter from Malcolm Merlyn’s to radio his position back to Laurel. Darhk is still a strange character. He speaks about Nazis and gas chambers, and how they were monsters. And then he uses a gas chamber to try to kill Oliver’s friends. Laurel and “Green Arrow” appear right on cue, with the Canary scream helping fragment the gas chamber open.

It’s Malcolm underneath the mask this time. He’s good at it, at least enough to win first distraction against Damien. Not so much when Darhk Vader uses the Force on the new Ra’s Al Ghul. Oliver comes to the rescue, but ends up needing some rescuing himself. Fortunately, Damien is distracted so Malcolm can pin him down with arrows and leave behind a explosive one to apparently end Damien. Then again, bad guys don’t like to stay dead.

How does it end? On cue. Oliver lights up the tree, proposes to Felicity, and they’re happily engaged. Damien Darhk explains to his associates at HIVE that everything is on schedule as he reveals an underground plantation of corn. Corn. The market is already saturated with high fructose corn syrup. Where is this going? He’s also dispatched a few ghosts to take out Oliver and Felicity’s limo. Under a barrage of bullets that kills their driver, Oliver manages to crawl to the front seat and step on the accelerator. Once safe, he goes to check on Felicity. She’s been hit.

Highs/Lows/Propositions:

  • The old give-and-take dance between Damien and Oliver is made worse when the future mayor of Star City gives a name to the rampant crime in the city. Yes, they can all take care of themselves – in anonymity. Not with the massive spotlight they just shone on Oliver and everyone around him.
  • We get some moments with Laurel and Quentin Lance taking control of the rescue operation. Laurel has some fine moments in this episode.
  • I was glad that finally they came out and celebrated Felicity being Jewish. It does feel a little corny coming from Donna, specially since she has that Santa hat while she’s saying it.
  • If you were paying attention, Oliver hid that ring inside a bowl of sparkly stuff. Just the ring, not the box. Donna finds the box and the ring. Sorry to nitpick at a continuity oversight, but someone has to do it. Unless I miss a scene somewhere where he picked it up and put it in the box again? Did I miss that? Let me know.
  • Felicity wishing she could un-see Donna and Quentin together at the party.
  • Andy Diggle not listening to John. Is there some reason for this? Without mind control, is there some further depth for Andy’s loyalty to remain with HIVE?
  • Damien Darhk is an annoying enemy. There I said it. His whole psychic powers is already overkill. On top of that he’s positively bipolar. He goes from elegant mastermind to brutal killer from one episode to another. Now they’ve shown him with a woman and a child in a Hallmark postcard moment. Can we make up our mind of type of villain he is?
  • Oh yeah, the flashback story! It sucks. And Oliver gets bitten by a shark.
  • And finally, Felicity unconscious and bleeding does not paint a pretty picture. However, this looks very much like a misleading scene to make us believe she will be the one in the grave at the end. That’s very unlikely. I have the feeling that if Felicity were to exit the show, they’ll give her something of a future beyond the series. Killing her is a little too Darhk.
  • Until next year, Team Arrow.

That will do for now.

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