Sometimes it’s just too expensive to have all of the characters in a show on screen at the same time, so we ship them all off to their own plotlines for a hot second. Case in point: this week’s episode of Arrow.
Oliver needs to learn enough magic to defeat Darhk Vader, so he calls Constantine for a lead on a Hogwarts private tutor. He doesn’t particularly want anyone to seek out trouble while he’s out of town, so he tells everyone to take a bit of a breather. Digg goes to spend time with his family in their tiny bunker, while Thea heads out of town to get in some quality boyfriend time with Alex. Felicity thinks Oliver’s quest sounds a bit too dangerous for him to take on by himself, so she commandeers the company jet and tags along.
Oliver is supposed to meet his new tutor in an underground casino, but it takes Felicity’s Vegas background to decrypt Constantine’s instructions and make contact with Esrin Fortuna. She magics them out of the casino and into a “nexus chamber” like the one on Lian Yu and the one that’s hidden underneath Star City, as well.
Fortuna tells Oliver that in order to beat Darhk, he has to counter his dark magic with the light of his own soul, which is somewhat problematic for Captain Broodypants. She shows him how to do it, but warns that if the darkness in his soul outweighs the light, he’ll only strengthen Darhk instead of repelling him. Oliver is only able to get a handle on it once before all of the bad things that have happened over the last four seasons catch up with him. Fortuna says there’s nothing more she can do for him and leaves Oliver and Felicity to head back to Star City.
Meanwhile, Digg is visiting Lyla and Sara in the ARGUS bunker, which turns out to be a heavily fortified tractor trailer that stays on the go. When Digg steps out to pick up supplies for Sara, he finally gets a ping on Andy. Digg gives chase and follows Andy straight into a trap. Digg escapes after a fair amount of bruising and stabbing, but it turns out that that was Andy’s plan all along. He’s tagged John with a tracker that leads HIVE straight to the ARGUS truck, where they launch an all-out attack.
Lyla tells Digg to grab Sara and get out, saying that if he were Darhk’s primary objective, he wouldn’t have been able to escape in the first place. After a good, long chase sequence that had me recalling everything I know about stunt driving (that I learned from the now-defunct Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Spectacular at Disney World, Digg is cornered by Andy and a couple of goons with no way out. At least until Felicity uses her favorite “hit ‘em with a van” move and saves that particular part of the day. Digg sends her off with Sara while he goes after his brother yet again.
Back at the truck, Darhk is using his magic to pull something tiny out of Lyla’s arm. Before he can kill her, Oliver swings in to take him out. Darhk tries his chi-sucking dark magic, but Oliver manages to find enough light inside himself to repel him.
Digg catches up with Andy and gets the upper hand once more, but Andy starts taunting him that he won’t be able to keep Lyla and Sara safe forever. He keeps threatening Digg’s family until John finally pulls the trigger and kills him. He’s still pretty torn up about it when Oliver finds him just a few minutes later.
Back in the Lair, Lyla tells Team Arrow what it was that Darhk managed to extract from her arm. It’s a chip called Rubicon, and it was designed to keep anyone, even the U.S., from firing a nuclear missile. However, it can pretty easily be reconfigured to LAUNCH everyone’s nukes, wiping out most life on the planet.
Who will be safe from Darhk’s nukes? Probably Thea. Her idyllic weekend away with Alex seems just a little too idyllic. Thea notices pretty quickly that she and her boyfriend are in a weird, empty little Stepford town. She confronts Alex about it, only to find out that the “vitamins” he takes every day are actually Darhk’s mind-control pills. I got the impression he didn’t know exactly what he was doing, but the end result is the same. Speedy’s trapped in an underground suburb with only Alex and HIVE to keep her company.
Three episodes away from the season finale now! I’m rather guessing that Malcolm Merlyn is going to turn his coat one more time, because honestly, it’s just what he does. Thea won’t be tractable enough for Darhk, Darhk will threaten her, Merlyn will go back to Team Arrow (-ish) to defeat him and try to find a way to step into that power vacuum himself. Rinse and repeat towards the end of next season. I’d love for the Arrow writers to find something else to do with the character. I adore John Barrowman, but Merlyn’s Heel-Face Revolving Door is getting a little tired to me.
On a more positive note (because my ‘ship knows no shame), Oliver and Felicity definitely seemed to be moving towards a reconciliation. The writers were NOT subtle with the throwbacks to “happier” times. So much so that this episode felt like a weird combination of plot and clip show.
Arrow 4.20 Episode Recap and Review
- Damien Darhk: “Thanksgiving at your home’s going to be so interesting this year.”
- Felicity: “I don’t mean to apply logic to the bad guy’s plot here…”
Things to Ponder:
- I feel like Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn have been watching too much Under the Dome. Just saying…
- How much crossover is there on the tech crew between Arrow and Supernatural? Oliver’s magic-using eyes looked an awful lot like a certain demon.