Arrow: 4.14 Code of Silence
The focus was back on the war against Damien Darhk this week after the recent conflict with Nyssa, Malcolm and the League Of Assassins. Though as tends to happen with a 23-episode season arc, the story progression was a little slow. Darhk's wife went head to head with Oliver in the mayoral debate while demolition experts hired by HIVE tried to destroy the event, killing Oliver and his team and leading Mrs Darhk (aka Ruvé Adams) the sympathetic survivor and the only surviving candidate to rule Star City.
It was a solid premise and Arrow should be applauded for trying something a little different. The demolition team also proved to be worthy fighters, giving team Arrow a run for their money. Particularly the guy with the sledgehammer taking on Diggle! The final battle in the theatre as the heroes attempted to destroy the detonators was a lot of fun.
But at the same time, it felt like the show was treading ground. Damien Darhk's league of evil was teased (now with added Malcolm Merlyn - though interestingly he didn't reveal that Oliver was also the Green Arrow). But the cool scene where he did a 'Vader' and choked the man abroad to death from his office aside, it didn't develop any further. And I like what we have seen of Adams, but I really wanted to watch what happened when she was forced to go into the debate with Oliver. The fact that the episode cut to the post-debate observations was rather frustrating. If nothing else it would have been a chance for Oliver to demonstrate his leadership qualities to the general public as well as his superhero team.
The side-plot with Donna and Quentin could easily have been silly and frustrating but both delivered warm, engaging performances and I quite enjoyed seeing these two people finding love years after they thought it was all over for them. Charlotte Ross has been a surprisingly good edition to season four as Felicity's mother takes on a more prominent role and it was nice to have something with Paul Blackthorne Quentin, who has felt sidelined for much of the season.
One thing I am totally bored with no are the flashbacks. After recovering from his lashing / cold, Oliver started to dig a hole and then offed Conklin. That's about it. I'm afraid after season three, the return to the island has only served this side-plot so far and am now starting to offer very little to the show.
Code of Silence wasn't a bad episode but it did suffer with progressing the season forward very little. Oliver is still running for mayor. Darhk is still plotting in the shadows - though he does now have Oliver's son William (Cue angst over keeping his secret from Felicity). And on the island, Oliver is...doing very little at all. Honestly, the little side-trip with John Constantine aside, has there been enough story to fill an episode? But after last week's surprise ending, perhaps it was too much to ask that Arrow kept up the pace.