Despite two tiresome subplots dragging it down, the third and most important one kept the strong final arc of Arrow’s season rolling with some major developments and reveals.
It was disappointing to hear Constantine wouldn’t be returning to help Oliver learn a defensive spell or two to combat Darhk’s magical edge. Matt Ryan’s appearance back in Haunted was one of the highlights of an otherwise very inconsistent first half of the season.
While Oliver was set to begin his training, he gave the team a mini-break. Despite their own break, Felicity decided she’d tag along solely because with all things important in this show, Felicity has to be a part of them. It was Felicity who found Constantine’s magic ally and convinced her to help train Oliver thanks to her awesome blackjack skills. At this point the only thing Felicity can’t do well is go back to being the great supporting character we all enjoyed back in Season 1 and 2.
Felicity’s shtick was even more annoying tonight as apparently her grief for Laurel was only good for a week. Oliver, Diggle and Thea seem very affected by Laurel’s death, but having Felicity cracking jokes and generally being inappropriately goofy really undercut the significance of losing a dear friend.
Fortunately that was not the case with the episode’s meatiest subplot. Diggle was on diaper duty when Andy randomly pops up on his tracker GPS. Clearly, Diggle’s emotions are getting the best of him because man it’s pretty obvious …
After a little production to make it look good, Andy lets Diggle escape so he can lead Darhk to Lyla. Darhk was really fun this episode. First, killing off the H.I.V.E. leaders who didn’t try and break him out of prison and just from Neal McDonough’s perfectly pompous performance. This is a guy who is loving playing the bad guy and he adds such a refreshing twist on the standard big bad trying to destroy Star City plot.
Fortunately Felicity is here to save the day (ugh). She knocks out Andy’s backup with her truck while Diggle goes after Andy. Oliver saves Lyla from Darhk and even manages to counter Darhk’s magic by focusing on the power of hope and love for Felicity…and the rest of those losers. Olicity had its chance. It didn’t work and it’s just time to move on. Another season of will they/won’t they would be excruciating.
Again, the focus on Diggle kept the episode afloat. Diggle chased down Andy, who kept goading Diggle and threatening to eventually get Lyla and baby Sara. In a wonderfully unexpected moment, Diggle shot and killed Andy. There was no other way and Andy was well past the point of redemption. Still, this was a big development and how Diggle deals with murdering his brother should prove interesting going forward.
Finally paying off what viewers have long since guessed — Alex wasn’t just some dashingly suave campaign assistant, but a card-carrying H.I.V.E. goon. He’d whisked Thea off to a surprise getaway that looked more like a suburban neighborhood. That should have tipped Thea off faster than the sound effect loop. Who gets away to a house? Thea falling for an undercover assassin or henchman has become such a go-to staple for the writers that it’s hard to take any potential love interest seriously at this point. It would have been a bigger twist had Alex just been a good guy that genuinely liked Thea before getting killed off. With her awful dating track record, it’s hard to imagine Thea not chasing down Roy since he was her only stable relationship.
Darhk did get what he wanted from Lyla though. Access codes to a device that controls nuclear devices and Darhk wants to go biblical on the planet. One massive nuclear strike to wipe out the planet while he and his selected few are safely deep below Star City’s ocean in a protective dome. As far as end game plots go, that’s pretty good.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Had this episode just focused on Diggle it would have been one of the season’s best, but Felicity’s return to form and silly Thea drama significantly held it back.