TV – Arrow Season 4, Episode 22

Arrow

Is Steve Taylor-Bryant as Lost in the Flood as the rest of Star City? Unfortunately not. Here’s his thoughts on the penultimate episode of this season's Arrow...

Today was to be Christmas and I woke up to a lump of coal. Is it because I've been naughty this year?

Wow! So the relentless pace that this season has followed went up another gear this week leaving lots to love, ponder, enjoy, smirk at and loathe. Damien Darhk’s power is building after the tragic loss of life due to nuclear Armageddon last week and his toying with Green Arrow and Spartan instead of just killing them is about to bite him in the arse. After sending algorithms and other such tech terms into somewhere tech sounding, Noah and Felicity can start to concentrate on finally eradicating the threat from Rubicon, with help this week of the always welcome Curtis, and the constant heckling from Felicity’s not so tech savvy parent, Donna. Whilst Felicity and Noah hack away at Darhk’s empire, he himself brings Felicity’s ex (she has a few it seems), Cooper Seldon a.k.a Brother Eye, from his prison to his headquarters to hack back and lock Felicity and Noah out of Rubicon leaving Darhk to unleash his dastardly plan for hell on earth.

Green Arrow and Spartan find their way underground to the Orwellian nightmare that contains a now drugged and compliant Thea and Malcolm Merlyn being, well, Malcolm-ish. Whilst Green Arrow is fighting his sister and Spartan is has a shootout with HIVE Ghosts, Lonnie Machin/Anarky manages to sneak into the underground town's headquarters and kidnap the now ever so evil Ruve Adams and her daughter, taunting Darhk with threats of who he will kill first. Felicity and Noah, with help from Curtis, manage to take Rubicon completely offline, electrocuting Cooper in the process, and Donna finally gets Noah to walk away from their daughter. Lonnie causes a massive disaster which kills Ruve and leaves Thea, Oliver and Diggle escaping with a scared child, Darhk’s daughter. There is now a massive hole in Star City where once the underground civilisation existed and Malcolm managed to escape too, reporting back to an angry Darhk that his wife is dead and his daughter’s whereabouts are unknown. Darhk decides it’s time to visit Felicity et al and demand their help.

This was quite an action packed episode with a lot happening and the dialogue seeming to move as fast as the cameras which kept the excitement and tension at a high level. We are left with an emotionally wounded demi god in Darhk, which is sure to lead into an epic finale next week, and all the pieces have positioned themselves for one final showdown. The interactions between Noah, Donna and Felicity were obviously steeped in a bad family history but never became too much to bear as Curtis, as always, provides some excellent light relief. Amell as Oliver/Green Arrow was as impressive as always and even Thea Queen wasn’t that annoying this week, although there was yet another kidnap/rescue situation (please writers, try and do season 5 without the damsel in distress routine? It’s very tired now) and Barrowman’s Merlyn is again highly watchable. The cast of Arrow excel at Superhero television and they are the reason that the show goes from strength to strength. However, this week, there was one performance that completely stole the show for me and that was Alexander Calvert as Lonnie Machin/Anarky. Considering Machin is written as a slight annoyance compared to the all-powerful Darhk, played by the wonderful Neal McDonough, Calvert manages to channel Heath Ledger’s Joker and is genuinely a cut above the rest with his twisted, irrational portrayal of Machin. I can’t actually remember the last time an actor in a superhero television series impressed as much as Calvert did this week.

Going into the finale I would normally try and second guess what was going to happen but this season I just can’t. I can hope for more Lonnie Machin/Anarky, I can hope that McDonough signs off as Darhk in brilliant style, I can hope that, with only one episode left, the flashbacks will finally be relevant/interesting/needed but, most of all, I hope beyond all hope that the frenetic pace the season has maintained doesn’t drop, not even a little bit. Bring it on!

Image - IMDb