Arrow Schism review S4,Ep23

Arrow Season 4 limps to disappointing end

Arrow’s season finale gave viewers a lot to take in. Remaining consistent with the season there was some good, some bad and some bizarre moments that ultimately failed to provide a satisfying conclusion.

It’s probably not a good thing that I’m more hopeful that the events from The Flash’s season finale have more of an impact and will fix all that’s currently ailing Arrow. With a major letdown in the climactic battle between Damien Darhk and HIVE and a disappointing final act, Season 4 was the weakest finale of the series.


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The island flashbacks got more time tonight than they’ve received in a month, but the payoff couldn’t deliver. That was asking a lot for a storyline that was stretched too thin and never found a compelling angle. Reiter had his big showdown with Taiana over the totem with Oliver caught in the middle. In the end, Taiana began draining Reiter’s life force, which gave Oliver an opening to kill him. Taiana barely could restrain the darkness overcoming her from the totem and asked Oliver to kill her.

Without giving it much thought or considering some other way to help her, Oliver obliges and snaps her neck. Considering her proximity to the totem, it was puzzling that she didn’t immediately shake it off or get resurrected. Amanda Waller returned with Argus to clean up the island. Why exactly Waller let Oliver handle all of that without providing any additional assistance is a question for another time. Oliver isn’t going to sign on with Argus though as he has to honor his promise to Taiana and tell her family about her death. So Season 5 will explore Oliver’s trip to Russia and possibly explain why he landed back on the island a third time.

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In the present day, Team Arrow stops Darhk from making off with Felicity and her nuclear missile prevention laptop. Thea goes gangster and threatens Darhk’s daughter. It was a bit surprising this ace up their sleeve was revealed so quickly. Arrow’s super magic defense didn’t work this time as no one was feeling especially hopeful. In the battle with HIVE goons, Darhk steals the laptop and has Cooper redeploy the missiles. Because clearly destroying the device that would unleash a nuclear attack would have been too sensible a plan. And after all the buildup, Felicity’s father really did just roll out to no point?

To ensure they stay off Darhk’s trail, HIVE attacks and severely trashes the Arrow Cave before getting beat by Team Arrow and Merlyn. I need a program to keep track of all his heel/face turns. During the course of the fight, Diggle freezes when he sees a HIVE goon as he’s having Andy flashbacks. In a first for the show, Diggle doesn’t have to get caught to tell the truth and tells Lyla he had to kill Andy. She gets it because we all know Andy was super crazy, Diggle!

Arrow Schism review - Curtis and Felicity-minAs word leaked about the nukes, Star City is coming unglued with riots breaking out. Oliver somehow manages to calm the crowd by climbing on a car and rallying the city. This seemed like a more important moment for Green Arrow since the whole theme of Green Arrow inspiring Star City was the original point of this season. Darhk launches the nukes, effectively ending any possible way for Arrow to save the day.

Thankfully the real hero, Felicity, and her sidekick, Curtis, come up with some sort of device to turn the Star City nuke back with computer hacker magic. And the other nukes are politely taking the scenic route to their respective destinations allowing Argus to send the hack code to repel the nukes.

Arrow goes to confront Darhk one last time and the battle immediately goes to the streets. Like he’s been all season, Darhk was the MVP of the episode with his incredulous attitude that Arrow would continue this losing approach. This time, the citizens of Star City cheer Arrow on. It was set up to be this breakthrough moment of Green Arrow finally gaining the support and admiration of Star City, but since the season was wasted on goofy things like resurrecting dead characters, Smoak drama and Palmer Tech board room drama it felt hokey instead of well-earned.

We get a big battle in the streets of HIVE vs Star City, which was ridiculous because guns > good intentions. Darhk battled Arrow and after getting a brief advantage, Oliver stabs Darhk. Darhk getting killed via a simple arrowhead to the gut was a completely uninspired way to kill off this season’s best character. And the screwy magic rules that have been inconsistent all season returned. Surely a crowd of hundreds wasn’t enough for Oliver to overcome Darhk’s supposedly enhanced power after the nuclear fallout from Havenrock. Also why wouldn’t Darhk keep the totem that could keep him invulnerable close by?

Arrow Schism review - Damien Darhk-minWith the battle won and the Arrow Cave in ruin, Team Arrow starts crumbling as well. Lance says he and Donna are leaving to get away for awhile. After losing one daughter and his other daughter off time traveling there was really little keeping him here, but the show is going to be all the poorer if Paul Blackthorne doesn’t return next season.

Thea also departs, but bizarrely there’s no hugs or emotional goodbyes. It’s not like Thea said she was going upstairs to watch a game with this really nice ninja assassin mind-controlled puppet guy upstairs. Diggle is also leaving saying he needs to wrap his head around what he did to Andy. Rejoining the military seems like a pretty strange way to get perspective on killing a terrorist to save countless others…

Arrow Schism review - Lyla and Diggle-minOliver gets a call from the City Council. They were impressed by his speech and want to make him interim mayor. Well, guess all the other candidates are dead so may as well. Mayor Queen does not sound especially intriguing.

I love how that of the 58 members of Team Arrow literally the one member most of the fan base loathes is the only one that’s still around. Streamlining the team was a great idea, but keeping Felicity was a terrible decision. She makes crimefighting too easy for Arrow. She overcomes paralysis and a nuclear missile attack with no sweat. Oliver will continue to be able to shortcut his way through problems with her help.

Rating: 5 out of 10

It was asking too much that this finale could fix all of Arrow’s current problems. The teased direction for next season isn’t exactly inspiring a lot of confidence at this point either.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

  • Revamped Team Arrow with Felicity and Curtis . The team got bloated but these two are no Catelyn and Cisco. We can all only hope Felicity goes back to being a veeeerrrryyyyy limited, six shows at most, sidekick next season. It is amazing that Felicity went from everyone’s girl crush to the ex we want to stop hanging around our crew.

    I agree that Oliver’s speech surely wouldn’t have the magic to knock everyone into good vibes when they know a nuke is heading straight for their town. And isn’t 10k deaths> then a couple 100 hopeful people? I’ll was about to give them a pass on the whole Darhk totem-less death but didn’t Rieter survive death in the caves with the totem further away?

    And the flashbacks They were worthless this year since they didn’t help Oliver figure out how to stop Darhk and it built to nothing. Can’t we just leave well enough alone and actually have Oliver spend a couple years on this hellish island versus the couple weeks the show is giving us now?