Warning Contains Spoilers
Alright so Laurel is still gone; I guess the creators are keeping their word. It should be time to get over it, but I still can’t. I will just have to find a way to keep going. I never give up on shows once I’m invested. So I watched again this week and I’m not sure if I’m happy or upset that I kind of enjoyed this episode. I don’t want to enjoy an Arrow without Laurel, yet here we are post episode and there is a glimmer of joy. I’m not saying episode 20 was perfect by any means, but it had me entertained. It was the beginning of the end of season four, for sure this time.
The episode begins with Darhk and Merlin paying a visit to the members of HIVE who let him rot in jail. Darhk gives a speech about how he didn’t need them anymore and then kills them. So there’s action right off the bat. Darhk has no need for small talk, and I like that about him. He said they can finally begin the final phase of “Genesis”, hence the name of the episode. “Genesis”, if you recall, is Darhk’s evil plan to destroy the world and build a new one. Arrow kind of tabled this plan while their filler episodes went on, so I’m glad they finally brought it back to the forefront. I don’t really understand why Merlin is there, though (he kind of just stands there looking evil). I guess they are just laying groundwork for Merlin to be a bigger bad next season, at least I hope. Arrow loves to drag out their follow through.
We meet the Team at the bunker and Felicity is back at the computers. I knew she’d be back– there’s no point in having her on the show if she’s not on the team. It just seemed rather sudden, but I guess this is her way of coping with Laurel’s death. Where does that leave Curtis though? He was bumped up to a series regular for next season, so I wonder what his role will be in Team Arrow. Oliver mentioned that he finally got a hold of Constantine, and like usual I’m like “Please oh please tell me he’s on tonight’s episode!” Sadly, he once again was only there by name. He is such an amazing character, and I love what he brings to the table, and I wish he could just be on the show more often.
Constantine put him in touch with someone who could teach him magic. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Oliver is going to Hogwarts! I wish, and so does Thea, who mentioned her love for Harry Potter and asked the question I’m still asking: Shouldn’t they all be learning magic? I mean wouldn’t that make sense? The Team works best together– not with Oliver doing everything himself. But Oliver being Oliver says it’s too dangerous, so he goes alone and tells everyone else to take some time for themselves while he’s gone. Felicity, however, forces Oliver to bring her with him.
Are we back to Olicity again? Please tell me no. Arrow, you took Laurel away, please don’t bring Olicity back. This is such a weird thing. Felicity broke off their engagement and walked away from Team Arrow in one of the strongest moments I’ve seen from her. She was back for not only two seconds before she’s back to following Oliver. I guess grief brings people together, but I hope it’s to where they were before they started dating. Maybe Felicity was just bored and wanted an adventure, or she didn’t want Oliver to do something stupid– those reasons I will take. So they end up at a casino where Felicity starts playing blackjack and gives this woman next her some of her chips. The woman turns out to be the one they were looking for. She is Esrin Fortuna, an immortal shaman who deems Oliver worthy of her magical vision quest, or as Diggle called it, the “Magical Mystery Tour”.
Esrin took them underground to a different “plane of existence” as she called it. Oliver learned the trick to deflecting Darhk’s magic, or Darhk arts, was using light. I used to think Oliver never had any light in him, but last week I kind of saw something similar to that, so I was intrigued. I was also ready for a montage of trial and error of Oliver learning magic and hanging out in this beautiful underground lair. Instead, Esrin just jumped right in. Apparently with magic you have to channel it: you don’t use it, or really learn it. Oliver tries to deflect the darkness and succeeds at first, but when she pushes further he has visions of all of his horrible dark memories, including Laurel’s murder. He couldn’t deflect the darkness and Esrin gave up and said there was nothing she could do. We get what seemed like only five minutes with this Shaman and she just leaves. I guess when you know, you know– and she’s a shaman so she would know. I was just ready for more to happen in this segment. Oliver was so defeated and Felicity called him out on it, which I thoroughly enjoyed. She told him he always throws a pity party when he has a setback, which is so true! He basically gave her the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech but about magic and that she is the light in his life. Barf.
Back in Star City, Diggle’s idea of taking time for himself is going after his brother. When he finds him, they start shooting at each other (no surprise there). I don’t understand what Diggle expected when he confronted his brother. His brother betrayed and lied to him and is working for Darhk. He wasn’t ever going to just have a sit down and exchange brotherly love and advice. Diggle wants to bring his brother to justice but he keeps acting like a lunatic and, according to Lyla, acting like the man she divorced, not the one she married. Darhk had a plan that Diggle would fight Andy, get captured and tortured… and then think he escaped on his own. However, he would have a tracker attached to him so they could find the mobile safe house where Lyla and Sara are. I mean really Diggle, you didn’t think that was ever a possibility? I thought he was smarter than that. His judgement is clouded by the fact that Andy is technically family. But I still was into this scene, because it had action and relationship development all in one scene working together to push the story forward. There was energy and suspense and I felt like we went somewhere.
Darhk and Andy catch up to the safe house. Lyla tells Diggle that he can blame himself after they are out of this. Lyla knows him so well. I love their love, theirs is the one relationship in this show that I can get behind. Lyla realizes that Darhk wants her, not Diggle, and he reluctantly rides off on his motorcycle with Sara attached. Andy follows Diggle and Darhk immobilizes Lyla with enough time to pull a chip from her wrist before Oliver shows up as The Green Arrow to save Lyla. Darhk tries to use his magic on Oliver… but somehow, between leaving his magic quest and returning to Star City, he had figured out how to channel his light and use it against Darhk. I was happy with this because it made his magic journey worth it. Arrow had something pay off within the same episode, that’s a rarity. He channeled his light by hearing Felicity, Laurel, Thea and the rest of Team Arrow in his head, because they are his light. I didn’t barf at the cheesiness, because Oliver, in a way, didn’t work alone, he worked with a team. He channeled everyone’s hope and it gave him hope.
While this was going on, Diggle was once again fighting with his brother and his own emotions. He knew that his family would never be safe if Andy was alive. They could capture him but he would just escape again and someone else might end up dead. I love when a fight has different levels of who is fighting who. In this case, Diggle was fighting himself while also fighting Andy. Diggle finally kills his brother. This was inevitable and I stand by Diggle’s choice to kill Andy, as it was an act of defense. Andy hadn’t been a real brother to him in quite some time. Diggle didn’t really kill Andy, he killed a member of HIVE and that’s how it should be left. The choice I can’t get behind is the one where he chose to lie to Lyla about how he killed his brother. He made it seem like it was self defense rather than a choice. He told her that Andy reached for his gun, but he just kept emotionally abusing Diggle until he pulled the trigger. Diggle chose to kill his brother. It wasn’t a matter of if, it was when.
Meanwhile, Thea went on a weekend getaway with Alex. She woke up feeling woozy and not remembering how they got there. The whole time she couldn’t relax and was paranoid that something wasn’t right. I don’t blame her– with the life she’s had I would always take happy situations with a grain of salt. They went on a walk and she noticed the sounds around her were on a loop. I thought she just wasn’t used to letting go of stress, but as things progressed I started to believe her. I actually thought for a moment that Thea was going to have a “Groundhog’s Day” situation but alas not the case. Remember earlier in the season when Damien Darhk gave his men yellow pills that made them easier to control? Well Thea spilled Alex’s vitamin bottle on the table and those yellow pills came out, given to him by Ruve Darhk herself. Thea runs out of the house and finds herself stuck under a dome!
HIVE put her in a dome like cage that resembles a neighborhood, drugged her, and controlled Alex to keep her calm. So Thea finds herself in her own Under the Dome plot. I wonder why they chose Thea– maybe they thought she was the weakest? They underestimated how smart Thea is and how she would never believe she would actually have a nice normal weekend getaway with her boyfriend. Things like that don’t happen to Thea, so of course she would be suspicious. I also wonder how they were able to create such a thing under a major city without anyone knowing. I guess it pays to have control-pills and magic. Interesting turn of events… we’ll see how this pans out.
This chip that Darhk extracted from Lyla is called the Rubicon. It’s a device that prevents any country, including the US, from setting off nuclear weapons. This means that in Darhk’s hands he can manipulate it to do the exact opposite and set off weapons all over the world, destroying it. We learned what the final phase of “Genesis” actually was: a nuclear war. That sounds really awesome. I just wish they didn’t have to wrap that up in three episodes. Top secret plans that involve nukes getting into the wrong hands deserves more than three episodes.
I enjoy episodes of Arrow with a lot of action and storylines that surprise me. There were plenty of action sequences that made sense and flowed, and I was not expecting the Thea stuck under a dome plot– that is new and refreshing. With a possible nuclear war on their hands, it looks like this season is going to end with a bang– or well the prevention of one.