Arrow: 4.22 Lost In The Flood
There was something really fun this week about seeing Green Arrow and Spartan sneaking through the suburbs in their superhero gear, a surrealness that is rarely seen on Arrow. So much of the show (certainly the present day stuff) is based amid tall skyscrapers and dark roads at night, so to have several scenes set in a bright sunny residential area was a rather strange but amusing contrast.
And there has been a rather surreal change this season. Magic has entered the show in a big way; escaped metahumans from Central City are the least of Team Arrow's problems. Now they have a villain that can suck the life force from his victims and totems and resurrection spells have become the norm. It is a noticeable change from days of Slade Wilson and Mirakuru being the most powerful element in the show. Not everyone has appreciated the change - and indeed Arrow hasn't ever topped its epic second half of season two - but I for one have enjoyed much of this season, in no small part to Damien Darhk.
Ra's Al Ghul was certainly a disappointment last season, but I have enjoyed every minute of Neal McDonough's wonderfully OTT villain. Sure there has been some ham but it has never ventured over into cringeworthy. And because of this OTT villain we have a OTT end of the world game plan for the final run of episodes of season four. After Felicity and her father narrowly stopped global nuclear armageddon, this week offered a breather before the finale as Oliver and Diggle went off in search of Thea in the underground dome and Curtis joined in the fun to stop Felicity's uni hacker ex Cooper from helping Darhk regain control of world's nuclear weapons.
I was worried that pace would falter after the dramatic events of last week that saw a small US town obliterated in a nuclear blast and while there was none of the global political fallout I was hoping for it was interesting that it didn't stop Darhk from fighting back. In fact the most fun was had as Curtis, Felicity and Noah fought a cyber war against Cooper and Donna and Noah finally had the fallout that had been years coming.
There were things that didn't work though. The flashbacks continue to offer nothing. They should drive the story, offering a fresh perspective on the current day events but they have utterly failed and have become an irritating distraction. I no longer care what happens to Taiana. The cliffhanger of a super-powered Darhk confronted by Oliver and Diggle was over before it started and the unnecessary plot with Lonnie Machin / Anarky was dragged out far longer than it should have been. He never felt like a credible threat to Darhk's plans and yet he was able to single handedly take on Thea, Oliver and Diggle and destroy the dome.
The fight scenes were spectacular though and I was glad Thea was able to break free of the mind-controlling pill fairly quickly. The final showdown in the dome's head quarters as they fought Anarky while Ruvé and her daughter were held hostage was rather thrilling and Darhk's wife got a satisfying, brutal death. I have enjoyed Janet Kidder's slightly more subdued, cold and calculating performance - a nice contrast to McDonough's Darhk.
The episode ended with Darhk on a revenge-fuelled rampage for the death of his wife, ready to destroy the entire world in his wrath. The ending was a little silly and even more OTT than before but it sets things up nicely for the finale. There's a lot to cover next week and I'm not convinced Arrow will be able to pull it off, but I'm eager to see this season through to the end. I'm certainly more invested than The Flash - and I appreciate that this isn't necessary reflective of the wider fan base - and I'm enjoying the high stakes drama, even if it feels a little ridiculous at times...