As with The Flash this week, it was a big sigh of relief to watch Arrow and not be overrun with Legends of Tomorrow crossover/story line building that put the shows real plot threads in the background. Damien Darhk came out to play and then some and of course, we were treated to one of ‘those’ mid-season break cliffhangers. While many will not really believe what transpired in the final minute of the episode it will still hang out there, a huge question mark until the show returns at the end of January.
The episode begins with Oliver doing a nice mayoral photo op at the beach until the crowd is attacked by a machine gun wielding drone. As the casualties come in, Team Arrow decides that not only was Darhk probably behind this but it is time to take the fight to him. Oliver takes their idea to the press and well….let’s just say Darhk isn’t happy.
Yet another mayoral get together is interrupted by violence but this time Darhk himself shows up to take charge of things himself. He knocks Oliver silly and takes Diggle, Felicity and hostage, which of course means only one thing. That Malcolm will se how up at the Team Arrow hideout again, stepping out of the shadows like he basically now has his own key.
The actual rescue plan is a bit different and fun and at the end there is a tree lighting ceremony, a nice speech and a not so big surprise by Oliver thanks to some rather clumsy foreshadowing earlier in the episode. Still, you knew all the good feels were going to go up in smoke with the way the final sequence was shot (no pun intended) and that creepy Christmas song playing in the background.
What was really strange was Darhk finally giving us a glimpse of why he is really in Star City by giving a tour of his little underground bunker that was filled with rows and rows of corn just waiting to be harvested. Yeah, sounds strange but it will make more sense once you watch it, and if you come to the same conclusion I have you will appreciate the evil and psychotic nature of Darhk on a whole new level.
The episode also gave Diggle (David Ramsey) some more good dialogue to chew on concerning his brother and we watched with utter glee as Neil McDonough continues to have a great time as Darhk and the wonderful lines the writers are giving him to spit out. Having a central bad guy and not a revolving door of villains week after week is really serving Arrow quite well this year.
Overall, this was a good episode that left the Arrow fan base with a lot more questions than answers as it leaves us for awhile during its winter break. Although I wasn’t really thrilled with the ending, Arrow has now done enough things right in the last month to really peak my interest in how they will proceed in the second half of the season.
Three and a half stars out of five
- Neil McDonough continues to kill it as Damien Darhk
- Good pace and solid story lines
- David Ramsey gets some more long overdue camera time
- The cliffhanger ending. It's not fooling anyone.
- Malcolm and his continued now you see me, now you don't appearances at Team Arrow's hideout