With all the Legends of Tomorrow heavy lifting from the Flash crossover behind us, Arrow was able to get back to the business of dealing with Damien Darhk this week. Or should we say, Darhk got back to the business of dealing with Team Arrow.
Major spoilers ahead for Arrow! You’ve been warned!
We were wondering what the creative team would cook up for the midseason finale after spending a decent bit of the first half of the year setting up the new spinoff series. But this episode was a clear reminder of why Arrow is the granddaddy of The CW’s DC universe. When it gets back into the meat of its characters, it can still pack a wallop.
There’s obviously a lot to unpack, but for Olicity fans, it all came down to one moment — the proposal. This storyline was bumped to the back burner when Oliver and Felicity decided to move back to Star City and resume their superhero-ing ways, but when Felicity’s mother stumbles upon the ring Oliver was going to propose with, Felicity gets insanely awkward and finally spills the beans and confronts Oliver.
Thankfully, they didn’t spend three episodes fighting, and hemming and hawing, over the moment. Instead, Oliver opted to make a very lovely and public proposal, which finally provided some emotional payoff for what has become one of the best relationships on television. The producers have been talking up their efforts to lighten the tone of Arrow this season (everyone is looking for that Flash-y medium, after all), and the heart of this relationship has been key to that effort.
Oliver has embraced his role as a hero, taken on the Green Arrow moniker, and is turning into a semi-well-adjusted individual. Felicity is the reason for all of it, and to see him finally put a ring on it was a Christmas miracle. If only the episode had ended there …
Is Felicity in that mystery grave?
Has there been a more heart-wrenching midseason finale than this one? I’m still tense from watching that mob-style hit on Oliver and Felicity’s limo, in which a gaggle of Darhk’s goons surrounded the car and turned it into Swiss cheese with machine gun fire. That closing moment, with Oliver holding a bleeding Felicity in his arms, was custom-built to rip out your heart.
It’s worth noting that the tease from the show’s 2016 return seemed to show her in the hospital, so it seems there’s at least an effort to save her life (meaning she ain’t dead yet). Of course, we already know Oliver will be mourning someone’s death at the end of the season, so is Felicity in the mystery grave? Maybe, but if you ask me, probably not.
There’s also the fact that it would cheapen years of character growth that has stemmed from this relationship, and most certainly piss off a ton of the fans in the process. In the Arrow-verse, Felicity is almost certainly Oliver’s true love. Sure, others have come and gone, but the brunt of Oliver’s love life has been built around Felicity. At this point, it’s as much her story as it is Oliver’s. I just don’t buy it.
If she dies now, it’ll almost certainly come too early in the timeline to be the “Six Months Later” death. Plus, this show has rarely killed a character who is left hanging on a cliffhanger (see: Oliver’s adventure being stabbed and thrown off a cliff). When they kill someone, it’s typically been definitive in that moment. Here’s hoping they don’t start trying to pull a Walking Dead on us (did anyone see a dumpster nearby?) this late in the game. I also doubt they would telegraph it this much if Felicity is really in that grave. It doesn’t fit Arrow’s style. Not to mention, do you kill off your comic-relief character while making a push for a lighter tone? Not likely.
Damien Darhk is out for blood
Seriously. Wow. By publicly exposing Damien to the people of Star City, Oliver seriously pissed off the mystical madman. Darhk wasted no time getting his revenge on Oliver, and it’s refreshing to see a bad guy actually act like this. Magic or not, Darhk is arguably the most believable villain to date on Arrow. He wants to hurt Oliver, so he immediately kidnaps his loved ones and plans to kill them. If not for the Canary and Faux-Arrow’s daring rescue, that would’ve been the end of it.
When that doesn’t work, Darhk waits a few hours and sends an ambush for Oliver’s limo. This makes sense, and tries to avoid the typical wheel-spinning of a plotting villian. Darhk is a bad guy. Oliver gets in his way, so he sends a dozen guys to mow him down in the street. It’s brutal, but truly believable. For a midseason finale, it was a perfect story that upped the stakes but didn’t really leave anything resolved.
If anything, both Oliver and Darhk will be a whole lot more motivated to kill one another when the show returns. Bring on 2016!
Malcolm is an excellent Arrow backup
You can’t have too much John Barrowman, and making him the new Ra’s al Ghul was a bold move that has worked out perfectly. It gave Malcolm the resources to play a role on Team Arrow, and his super-weird relationship with Thea gives him a believable connection to be involved. Plus, Barrowman continues to be deliciously perfect in this role. He’s still kind of evil, but you can’t help but freaking love the dude.
Seeing him suited up and fighting Darhk’s soldiers as the Arrow was fantastic, and he also got a chance to match wits with the big bad and get the upper hand for a moment (trick arrows FTW). They’ve been sneakily expanding his role this season, and it’s been an excellent addition. Here’s hoping the back half of the season will bring a whole lot more Merlyn.
Mayor Arrow: Even with the terrorist attacks on his gatherings, Oliver’s mayoral campaign seems to actually be going really well. But how has no one noticed that his speechifying is eerily similar to the Green Arrow’s addresses? Hmm.
Capt. Lance: He got a lot to do this episode, and stole just about every scene he was in. He dove into the deep end finding out Merlyn is actually alive, helped saved the day in the end, and seeing the dawning horror in Felicity’s face when she realized he was dating her mother was priceless. Priceless.
Minions: Malcolm loves having minions. Of course he does. Heehee.
Family: The final moment was arguably the creepiest, as Darhk seemingly returned home to celebrate the holidays like any normal guy with his wife and child. Hmm. Do you think Oliver will be angry enough to go after his loved ones next month?