Arrow 1×22 – Darkness On The Edge Of Town

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It’s crazy how effectively this episode ticked off all the requisite boxes of a pre-finale hour. Not that I can fault such systematic storytelling, as it has me remarkably pumped for next week’s finale.

The writers pulled off an excellent misdirection making us think that the Dark Archer kidnapped Ollie and Moira. Having Diggle interrogate Moira while disguised as Arrow was a stroke of genius, as it finally allowed Mama Queen to lay all her cards out on the table in front of her son. Towards the beginning of the year, Moira was being painted as a full-on villain at times, so it’s refreshing (albeit not very brave from a writing standpoint) to wholly position her as Malcolm’s puppet. Of course you can never really tell what this vengeful Momma has up her sleeve so there’s always that.

Oliver’s notion that he could quit being Arrow after he foils The Undertaking’s plot felt like a very contrived attempt at forcing drama right before the finale. Obviously there would always be more evil in Starling City and it feels out of character to have Oliver so short-sighted. I guess they needed an excuse to finally get him and Laurel together in an admittedly touching and satisfying scene. However, this was really ruined by Tommy WATCHING the two from the STREET. Honestly there could not have been a soapier and more groan-worthy twist. I’m sure the writers could have accomplished this without resorting to such cheap methods. Ugh.

This week, the island flashbacks revealed Fyers’ plan to destabilize China by shooting down planes and using Yao Fei as the face of these terrorist acts. The villain succeeds in framing Ollie’s mentor (although he hasn’t brought down the aircrafts yet) and then proceeds to plant a bullet in his head. It’s all remarkably unexpected, and I’m immensely intrigued to see how the island saga will conclude this season.

The episode’s finale scene was indeed outstanding. In one of the most epic moments of the year, Malcolm catches Oliver’s arrow in midair and proceeds to kick his ass in a pretty thrilling fight scene. Not only does he break Arrow’s bow (a great symbolic touch), he finally unmasks the vigilante. I was more intrigued by Malcolm’s reaction: that “Oh no!” wasn’t very sinister super villain-like, as he seemed genuinely surprised and heartbroken. This should be good.

Bits & Arrows

– The teaser was quite effecting with the Dark Archer massacring a lab-full of scientists.

– How great was the reveal that the guy Ollie didn’t help in the cave was in fact one of Fyers’ agents? Nice to know our hero’s instincts were always accurate.

– Fyers punching Ollie, then shooting Slade and Shado was a shocking move.

– Thea and Roy still aren’t doing it for me. I do hope the latter becomes Arrow’s sidekick soon. I could care less about whoever he “lost”.

– Favorite Detective Lance moment of the year: him admitting to his daughter that Oliver has indeed changed. I guess he’ll be getting killed off soon.

– Ollie, Felicity and Diggle’s infiltration of Merlyn’s Headquarters was perfect on every level. From the burger delivery disguise to Ollie pushing the pervert’s files out the elevator, to all the various distractions including Malcolm and Thea. The whole sequence just felt very Alias-y to me. More please.

– Tommy and Ollie’s talk was over much too quick.

– Felicity’s fist-pumping? Epic.

– Walter’s return felt very much like Ollie’s return from the island. And I loved him handing Moira the divorce papers and leaving her in tears (but not before hugging Thea goodbye).

– So Lance now knows about Felicity. That can’t be good.

– Fyres’ boss is a woman. Hmm? Sarah?

Starling Quips

Felicity: Are you okay?
Oliver: My mom and my best friend’s dad are involved in a conspiracy that may have dire consequences for the city and I’m pretty sure they murdered my father. I’m not planning on using the word “okay” again any time soon.

Thea: (to Ollie) I’m really sick of us having to “go through a lot” you know.

Agent: The arrows are black not green. It’s the copycat archer.
Lance: Psychopaths are color-coding themselves now, that’s helpful!

Lance: Who the hell is Felicity Smoak?

Agent: We’ll need a warrant.
Lance: No we’ll need a judge who owes me a favor.

Oliver: Felicity hold on to me tight.
Felicity: I imagined you’ve be saying that under other circumstances. Very platonic circumstances.

Must Download Tune
Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

Conclusion
An effective and exciting penultimate episode of Arrow.

 Nad Rating
B+

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