Arrow S04E23 “Schism” Review

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We made it to the finale of season four of Arrow, and the world did not end. It wasn’t like I really thought it would; I just hoped. This whole season tried to be about light versus darkness and holding onto hope to combat that darkness. However, they only really dealt with that in the beginning of the season and in the end; the theme got lost in the middle. This finale felt more like a series finale to me than a season finale. It just had a sense of finality that I’ve only seen in series finales. “Schism” accomplished its job as a finale: closed up the season and set up for the next one. It doesn’t make up for the mistakes (i.e killing Laurel) and lack of consistency of season four, but it was pretty exciting.

The episode begins where last week’s ended: Darhk arriving at Felicity’s apartment and attacking them. He now harnesses the power of the tens of thousands of deaths he caused and is more powerful than he ever was! He flings Curtis across the room without a second thought and literally tries to suck the life out of Donna. Oliver crashes through the window to try to stop Darhk, but he’s just too powerful. Darhk then tries to kill Oliver. Thea arrives with a knife to Darhk’s daughter’s throat, threatening to kill her if he doesn’t let Oliver go. Thea really has changed; she would have never done something like that before. It works though. Darhk let’s Oliver go and disappears with his daughter and the laptop with the Rubicon override codes. Darhk is now able to set off the 15,000 nuclear bombs around the world—giving Team Arrow only two hours to stop it.

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Now, it’s time for the emotional goodbyes because, let’s face it, there isn’t a way to stop 15,000 nukes in just two hours—realistically. This is Arrow though–nothing is realistic. Lyla and Diggle say goodbye to their daughter over the phone and Felicity sends Quentin and her mother out of town to safety. No one seems to have any of that hope nonsense. Felicity brings up the fact that Oliver couldn’t use his light magic to combat Darhk’s magic like he did before–light magic that the show touched on a few episodes ago and has since forgotten about. Oliver says that the hope Felicity gave him is not enough anymore. Ouch. It’s true, though. Darhk has tens of thousands of souls fueling his fire; one person’s hope is nothing.

The Ghosts attack the lair just as Felicity is getting back control of Rubicon. It seems like everyone has to be saved at the last minute in this fight. Diggle hesitates with a Ghost—he sees Andy in him—and Lyla has to jump in to save him. Thea has a close call of her own with a Ghost, and, out of nowhere, of course Malcolm arrives to save her. The lair is once again destroyed. They really should do something about the structure. Diggle finally confesses to Lyla that he killed Andy and that it wasn’t self defense. She, of course, understands. She was always going to understand, which is why it was so weird that he lied in the first place.


All hope seems to be lost here in Team Arrow until Curtis drops another truth bomb. He tells Oliver that the Green Arrow’s speech—from all the way in the beginning of season—inspired him. This gives Oliver the right amount of inspiration to run into the rioting town of Star City and deliver another speech—as himself. He stands on top of a cab and tells the town that they need to rally together to take the city back. I don’t understand why anyone stops to listen to him–it’s just Oliver. Did he forget his costume or was that a conscious choice? Everyone listens though and his speech is broadcasted all over town. Quentin even hears it and comes back to help. Oliver’s speech inspires hope in everyone, I guess.

While this is going on, Felicity and Curtis find where Cooper Seldon is hacking his way into destroying the world for Darhk. He has a bullet making its way into his spine and this is controlling him to keep working; if he stops, Darhk will make him die in a very painful way. Felicity clears the room, so it is just her and him. She uses her feminine wiles and their past relationship to persuade him into stopping his hacking. Darhk knows he did this and kills him using his powers. Felicity and Curtis are then able to hack their way into rerouting the missiles into space, and all is well on that front.


Back on the battlefront, Oliver has a large amount of hope guiding his light magic this time around: the town of Star City, Quentin, and Team Arrow. He is able to combat Darhk’s magic and a street fight erupts between both sides. Quentin protects the civilians while Diggle and Lyla fight the Ghosts. Everyone has their fare share of action in this fight. The real fight, however, is between Oliver and Darhk. They fight hand to hand and, for a moment, I wasn’t sure who was going to win. The moment comes that Oliver has been waiting for since Laurel’s death: the chance to kill Darhk once and for all. Darhk doesn’t think that Oliver could go through with it since he didn’t kill Slade in season two when he killed his mother. Oliver says he had a choice then, but he doesn’t have one now. He stabs Darhk with an arrow, the same way Darhk killed Laurel. It is the greatest justice he could get for Laurel.

So the missiles are stopped, Darhk is dead, the world is saved–this calls for celebration! Team Arrow don’t want to celebrate though because the band is breaking up. Quentin tells everyone that he is taking Donna and leaving the city for a while since he is off the police force for good. This prompts Thea to say she’s quitting Team Arrow because she doesn’t recognize herself anymore; we don’t recognize her either. She says that Laurel would have been disappointed in her, that she is her father’s daughter and she needs time to find herself again. It’s down to Diggle, Oliver and Felicity—the original trio—and all seems okay. Andy’s death is still weighing on Diggle though, and he also needs time to truly deal with all of that, so he leaves Team Arrow, the city and his wife and daughter too. Oliver has an emotional goodbye with Diggle saying that he’s never done this without him. I miss the good ol’ days of Diggle and Oliver being the only ones on Team Arrow–those were good times.

Oliver pays a visit to Laurel’s grave to tell her that she was always better than him (understatement of the century). Felicity arrives to tell him that what he is feeling isn’t darkness, it’s a schism. Yes, they mentioned the name of the episode. I love when that happens. Oliver has to constantly find his light to keep the darkness at bay. Then, in a complete weird turn of events, Oliver gets a call to become the interim mayor. I honestly thought we were done with that whole mayor thing a long time ago. Oliver’s speech was that inspiring I guess, so he is now mayor of Star City. In the last shot of the episode we see Oliver taking in the wreckage of the lair and the abandoned costumes. Felicity walks in, surprising Oliver, and she says, “you thought I was leaving, too? Not a chance.” Then I rolled my eyes because this was basically telling us they are getting back together. They will be the only two there, how could they not get back together? This is a nice final moment for Oliver this season, looking at the empty costumes, thinking about all that is gone, and they had to ruin it by adding Felicity. I just want them to leave well enough alone.

Season five is going to look a lot different than what we are used to. Team Arrow is no longer a team; they are a duo. Oliver is going to have a lot of work as mayor; will he even have time to be the Green Arrow? Season five will most likely be about Oliver rebuilding: his home, his relationships, and especially himself. The one thing I hope for season five is that they maintain consistency. Season four was all over the place and had to scramble at the end to tie everything up in a way that made sense. I want them to stop backtracking on their character development and have a theme throughout the entire season that gives structure. Consistency is all I ask, and well, maybe that whole time travel idea I had where they save Laurel, but that won’t happen. I’ll settle for consistency. This season had some nice moments, but I’m ready for a new start. I’m ready for season five.  

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