Arrow Joins the Long List of Shows That Are “Killing” Characters: Who Is It …

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

“Dark Waters” Review: Darhkness Reigns.

Attacking children, destroying a Christmas party, and almost killing half of Team Arrow — Damien Darhk makes the Grinch pre-heart growth look like an absolute angel. As the show’s fans know well, there’s always an event, a cliffhanger, a major bombshell, and, in special cases, a death that sends fans into a spiral of emotions.During Arrow’s fall finale, Oliver (Stephen Amell) decidedly went public with Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) true intentions, hoping it could unite the city to take the villain down.After focusing so much attention on paving the way for Legends of Tomorrow and bringing other DC heroes into the fold, Arrow really needed a “back to basics” episode that re-focused the conflict on Damien Darhk.

Yes, Damien Darhk checked off more than a few requisites in the maniacal villain handbook during “Dark Waters,” which saw Team Arrow putting themselves in the line of fire out of their normal costumed brawls. In Season 3’s fall finale, Ra’s ran a sword through Oliver and kicked him off a mountain, and while I cracked wise about the show rebranding itself as A.T.O.M. at the time, I don’t think that any of us really believed the show would kill off Oliver. No pointless filler (unless you’re the type that despises romantic drama), just a good, old-fashioned showdown between Team Arrow and their gleefully maniacal foe.

And while The CW’s promo department really wanted me to think that Felicity was dead and in that grave, I’m in the same situation, just with bullets instead of swords and a mountain. I mean, there’s a chance I’ll be eating crow come January 20 when Arrow returns for Episode 10, and we discover that the show has legitimately killed off Felicity—TO MAKE ROOM FOR SAMANTHA, OBVIOUSLY—but I have a hard time taking this cliffhanger too seriously. At one point, Thea, Diggle and Felicity — the characters fans widely believed to be the frontrunners in the Arrow Death Pool — even found themselves trapped in a chamber quickly filling with deadly gas. Neal McDonough has been terrifically entertaining in every episode he’s appeared this season, so it pretty much goes without saying that he was the highlight of this week’s big Christmas holiday conflict. While the promo for the show’s return seems to indicate she is, here’s why we think she’s not: As revealed in the premiere, the funeral takes place six months after the events of the season opener.

They don’t know why Damien cares about the bay so much, and Oliver wants to be sure of what they’re taking on before he retaliates in any fashion. Whereas the show’s other overarching villains did what they did either because they saw themselves as being in the right or just out of a thirst for revenge, Darhk enjoys being the mustache-twirler. It’s also too bad because apart from the cliffhanger (and the narrative gaps required to make it work; people just got abducted and now they’re driving around in a limo without any security?), “Dark Waters” was a pretty solid hour for Arrow. Oliver valiantly attempted to shield his fiancée and then took charge and snuck into the driver’s seat (even pushing aside their driver’s body to do so) and drove them the heck out of there. As David Ramsey previously told EW, “I just can’t see them messing with that relationship.” Oliver finally just proposed and he’s gotten everything he’s ever wanted, which seems like an apt time to take it all away.

Like with last night’s The Flash midseason finale, I do think that my responses to both episodes were influenced by the fact that both shows got to do their own things this week, freed from the shackles of excessive franchise-building. Shows build credit with their audiences, and they can’t build that credit if we’re not swayed by what came before, or how well a series handles tricky, often self-inflicted, situations. So Oliver does, speaking before the press and publicly revealing Darhk as the leader of the Ghosts and HIVE, as well as HIVE’s intentions to kill the city. He would just be so broken.” The actor is referring to the closing scene of the premiere, in which Oliver swears to make “him” pay while standing over the grave, likely referring to Damien Darhk.

Some of you may’ve thought this to be a foregone conclusion since the episode spent a lot of time with Oliver in candidate mode, and I’ve made no secret of enjoying (and having expectations) for this plotline. Even with a murderous mystical madman attempting to lay siege to the city, a few hours away from the frightful weather spent by the delightful fire can’t hurt them, right? Part of this, I imagine, was motivated by the demands of resurrecting Sara and other franchise-building efforts, so the show didn’t want them to lose any momentum regarding Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E. This emphasis on Darhk and the emphasis on Oliver’s activities as Oliver Queen means that episodes don’t feel particular padded out, or that there aren’t many stories that don’t matter all that much.

But her slip-up leads her to ask how Curtis and his husband were engaged, which gets the gears in Felicity’s head turning all the way back to their time living outside the city. Damien, flanked by his Ghosts, steps into the party, snapping up a glass of wine and delighting in the spotlight as he condemns Oliver for going against his wishes. (The scene, purposely or not, evokes the Joker’s arrival to Bruce Wayne’s party in The Dark Knight, though Damien has the good sense to not waste the alcohol.) Rather than directly hurting Oliver, however, he plans to hit him by threatening those he loves most. With what amounts to a force push sending Oliver careening through the room, Diggle, Thea, and Felicity rush to his aid, giving Damien three ideal captives. Instead, the engagement fiasco injected a little extra entertainment value into the episode as Felicity struggled and failed to pretend she didn’t know. Yes, there’s the Samantha and William stuff (euuuughhh), but there’s also figuring out what the hell is going on with Andy Diggle (David Ramsey is so happy to have really meaty stuff, and it comes through in his performance), there’s Thea’s relationship with Alex that I do actually want a little more of since it means more Parker Younger.

Suited up as the Green Arrow, he tears through the city, pummeling Ghost after Ghost for some information on Darhk’s location, but he comes up empty-handed. There’s some other threads, like Malcolm and Nyssa, but I’d be willing to let those just fade away, but then who could help out Team Arrow with exposition or quick Green Arrow stand-in work? While Quentin seems most shocked, which tracks after he did not have a role in the crossover, Malcolm’s appearances there and at Thea’s apartment feel like they insinuate he wasn’t just in town helping the crew take out an immortal villain.

The action in this episode didn’t quite live up to the standard set by recent episodes (especially the stellar “Brotherhood”), but at least Ollie and Malcolm’s battle with Darhk stood out. He brings him to a facility with a gas chamber and speaks of how the Nazis perfected such a device and that every now and then the world needs a bit of a reset.

Which are something that continue to exist. – I really can’t get over how much fun McDonough is having. “If it’s blondes you like, I can have one to your house in 20 minutes! The Andy subplot has been a welcome chance for David Ramsey to flex his dramatic muscles a bit, while also offering some insight into the bond between Darhk and his faithful Ghosts.

It’s still a bit annoying how quick and choppy these scenes are, but this week we got to see Ollie return to the wreck of the Amazo and come one step closer to uncovering Baron Reiter’s true plan. Laurel left Quentin behind at base, mirroring Felicity’s speech about not needing him to help her because she decides when she needs protection. (It’s a good, strong moment for Laurel and Quentin, who so often are saddled with incredibly melodramatic material. But even if this moment could have been presented a little better, it was just the sort of dramatic twist the show needed to carry it into the new year. I say that both because she’s too vital to the show to kill off so abruptly and because the trailer for the next episode is a little too blatant about trying to connect those dots.

Coupled with some good relationship drama and a fun superhero team-up between Malcolm Merlyn and Laurel Lance, and the series offered plenty to tide viewers over until 2016.

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