In the wake of Haven Rock’s destruction, Team Arrow is determined to stop Damian Darhk (Neal McDonough). As Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Diggle (David Ramsey) infiltrate his underground dome ark to save Thea (Willa Holland), Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Curtis (Echo Kellum) and Noah (Tom Amandes) fight to stop him from regaining control of the world’s nuclear weapons.
Last week, I was lukewarm on an Arrow episode that was clearly little more than set up for the finale. While I still think the 3-part finale structure is terrible (see Season 2 for proof), this episode ramped up the excitement and kept the story moving at a brisk pace.
While Team Arrow effectively shut Dark out of Rubicon at the end of last episode, he enlisted a familiar face to break back in: Cooper Seldon (Nolan Gerard Funk). Arrow was definitely renewed for another season, but the way they’ve been parading the Rogue’s Gallery through the last two episodes really makes it feel like the show is reminding us of its greatest hits before disappearing forever. Regardless, Cooper is a formidable–if obnoxious–foe and Felicity had to call in not just her father for help, but Curtis.
It’s not easy to make people typing furiously in front of computer screens look exciting, but thanks to the chemistry amongst the three geniuses and the disdainful snark of Donna Smoak (Charlotte Ross), these scenes were the best parts of the episode. It’s sort of fascinating that in the last two episodes, the most important person on Team Arrow has been Felicity Smoak. First, she saved the world from nuclear holocaust and made the tough decision of sacrificing a smaller city to save a larger one. In this episode, she thwarted Darhk while the titular hero and his costume-wearing friends ineffectually ran around an underground dome. And she did it all while navigating family drama.
Speaking of Oliver and Co., they mostly served to stretch out the narrative for another episode by getting into a couple of great fights. That said, there were some nice moments. Oliver did what he always does at the end of a season and questioned why he dons the hood and then shocked Thea and Diggle when he said that he fights because he has hope. Diggle, on the other hand, revealed how much killing his brother is beginning to rot his soul when he threatened innocent if misguided people. The most interesting character work, however, came from Thea. She spent the first half of the season fighting her post-Lazarus Pit bloodlust, so it was satisfying to see her fight the brainwashing pill Malcolm (John Barrowman) fed her and be a hero. It’s only been an episode since Anarky (Alex Calvert) pointed out that she has a tendency to become a pawn in the games of powerful men, but it’s nice to see her actively breaking that pattern already.
Despite not achieving much this episode, the masked part of Team Arrow was witness to the implosion of Darhk’s Ark, which is honestly surprising. I don’t know what the writers are planning for the finale, but they’ve already blown through so much story in the last two episodes that I can’t possibly imagine how they could top it. I don’t think they’ll actually nuke the world, but now that Darhk’s got Felicity in his clutches, anything is possible. After all, she’s the most powerful person on Team Arrow.
Arrow Death Watch
Ruvé Adams: 100%
I’m actually sad about this. Janet Kidder gave a really cold, vicious performance and I’d almost argue she was a more imposing villain than her husband. Even so, her death is great motivation for Darhk going into the finale. Speaking of….
Damian Darhk: 95%
This dude is just too nuts to not get killed off. Still, as Malcolm noted, Oliver and this show have trouble loosing the bow string.
Noah Kuttler: 40%
Donna seemingly convinced him to leave town, but that was just way too easy for a character who’s played a pretty big part this season. I still think there’s a chance he’ll come back and prove to Felicity he can change only to be killed for the effort (think of the Olicity parallels), but I’m not so sure anymore.
Island Girl: 80%
Oliver will most certainly head to Russia in next season’s flashbacks and the fact that this worthless character is both from there and currently filled with dangerous magic makes me worry that she’s the reason he joins the Bratva.
Oliver’s Secret Identity: 60%
I know Oliver secretly being the Green Arrow is kind of the whole point, but hear me out. The preview for the finale showed Oliver sans-hood giving Star City’s citizens a rousing speech about hope. This whole season has been about Oliver reconciling his secret and public personas. He’s obviously not going to give up the hood, so why not eliminate the need to separate them altogether? What could give the city more hope than to see a man who’s done very little for the city publicly reveal himself as its protector?