TV – Arrow Season 4, Episode 23

The Arrow finale is here, is Steve Taylor-Bryant happy or sad? What are his thoughts on the episode and the season? Can he even spell Schism?...

What does a guy have to do to end the world in peace?

Why do they have to use titles for these shows that send my dyslexic brain into meltdown? Why not call it ‘Division’ or even ‘Split’ instead of skis...shcsi…scish… I give up!

As a season finale there was quite a lot to like but some disappointing moments as well, which is a shame due to the relatively strong nature of the season so far and the build up to this final chapter. The good first and it’s the fact we don’t have to worry any more as there won’t be a nuclear holocaust any time soon. This marvellous news was brought to you by the words ‘Hope’ and ‘Teamwork’ and that was the core message I got from this 23rd and final episode and a subject that has loosely run throughout the entirety of the season. Teamwork in the form of not just the usual subjects, TeamArrow, but Malcolm Merlyn and Curtis Holt and the entire population of Star City. The end of the world can bring out the worst in people and there was indeed looting, a mini riot and some citizen on citizen violence but there was also Curtis’ optimism which led to a passionate Oliver atop a car calming the residents of his city and getting them hopeful that, once again, they can survive the doom that apparently faces them. Curtis and Felicity worked together to stop the nuclear missile headed right for them and then Felicity put some hopes and dreams back into her ex-hacker boyfriend Cooper who, with his last living act, allowed her and Curtis to stop the worldwide attack.

Oliver went to face Damien Darhk alone but soon found he had a team backing him up as the residents all transcended their own fears and joined the Green Arrow in facing their foe. With the support of Quentin Lance, Diggle/Spartan, Speedy/Thea and Lyla, Darhk was defeated, killed in cold blood by Green Arrow himself. That wasn’t the end of the episode though, no, it continued with the almost dismantling of everything that Oliver had spent years building. Quentin decided he didn’t want to return to his police job anymore and the death of Laurel weighed heavy on him. He and Donna, Felicity’s mother, left Star City to have a life somewhere else. Thea decided she was too much her father’s daughter and decided to hang up Speedy’s hood whilst she rested and tried to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. And Diggle realised he was no longer the man that started all those years ago with Oliver, having to kill his brother, Andy, had been too much and he needed a change to find himself again which involved re-enlisting in the Armed Forces. There was change for Oliver as well though. Yes he has a shic…skhcs…schms… CONFLICT within himself over the good and the bad he contains but he took the good and became Mayor of Star City and, with Felicity not going anywhere, it appears we will start season 5 with just Green Arrow and Overwatch on the team.

The story wrapped up nicely. All the various strings that had been working from the start of the season came together well and it’s nice to see that hope wins for a change. Stephen Amell has been superb throughout and has grown over the years into possibly the greatest television superhero ever. Neil McDonough as Damien Darhk was a revelation. I’d never seen the guy this good in anything before and, whilst the season had to end as it did for story sakes blah blah, it would’ve been nice to have a glimmer of hope that McDonough would be back but, alas, I fear he is actually dead. The supporting cast have also impressed. Willa Holland was great as Thea, a character I knocked for being a bit lightweight for the first three years, Emily Bett Rickards was a joy to watch and endlessly quote this year, the addition of Echo Kellum as Curtis was a blast, John Barrowman lit up the screen every time he was on it and Paul Blackthorne is, as always, highly watchable. The writing was of a consistency not had before on Arrow and most episodes hit their mark. There was also some great direction experiments throughout and the episodes had a more cinematic and glossy feel to them which really helped the feel of the show. However…

Yet again the constant flashbacks weren’t great and this year didn’t even end with much relevance to the present day story. We could have had the Damien Darhk story without watching the Baron Reiter and the idol stuff every week, which is a real shame to have to write as I was quite excited when I heard Jimmy Akinbola had been cast in the show. Unfortunately though he was completely wasted. Hopefully going forward we will leave the island of Lian Yu for good as I think returning each season is becoming somewhat tiring. Talking about tiresome storylines, STOP KIDNAPPING THE WOMEN! It’s getting really old now and shows a lack of imagination. I am expected to buy into Willa Holland as a superhero fresh from the Lazarus Pit and with a thirst for violence and then as a weak little girl who gets tied to a chair with relative ease? Come on! Season 4 was by far the strongest season yet and was 90% brilliant week on week, fix these rather small gripes and too easily used story strands and season 5 could be epic television. Either way I will be watching for sure.

Image - IMDb
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