Arrow Season 4 Episode 9 – TV Review
Thank you, Arrow, for following suit.
TL;DR Oliver publicly goes after Damien, resulting in some temporarily kidnapped friends and a shot-to-pieces fiancè; Oliver proposes to Felicity beforehand, obv; Damien still doesn’t know Oliver is the Green Arrow somehow; Diggle makes no progress with Andy; flashbacks show Oliver retrieving something from the derelict tanker in the Lian Yu bay.
What would we want more than obtuse flashbacks to Lian Yu? Why, that would be retreads through previous seasons’ flashbacks to Lian Yu. Duh.
So Oliver’s out on the campaign trail this episode when he and a group of volunteers come under fire from an attack arranged by Damien. Oliver appeals to Diggle to get some kind of intel out of Andy, but Andy won’t budge. With few other options available, Oliver, with the Super Friends’ blessing, publicly outs Damien Dahrk as the leader of the Ghosts and an agent of HIVE intent on destroying Star City. Damien’s rebuttal is swift, as he abducts Diggle, Thea, and Felicity from a campaign Christmas party that everyone insisted would be fine to throw. Some tactical surrendering from Oliver and cavalry-rousing from Laurel and Quentin get everyone out safe, and Oliver, buoyed by his apparent victory over Damien and HIVE, proposes to Felicity at a press conference. Then the Ghosts promptly pump their limo full of machine gun fire, and Felicity gets fucked up. Santa evidently received my letter. Meanwhile, Laurel and Quentin build some bridges over their continued bickering about vigilantism; Malcolm poses as the Green Arrow to try to kill Damien; Andy doesn’t budge for Diggle at all; Quentin and Donna are Facebook official; and Damien shows off some giant underground corn field to some visiting HIVE executives. And back on Lian Yu, Oliver swims out to grab a map or something from the broken tanker ship, to aid in his and OSG’s treasure hunt. But Supervisor obligatorily shows up to twirl his moustache.
And his assault rifle.
Well, with the Legends of Tomorrow setup finally out of the way, it was high time to get back to Arrow’s business as usual.
I can’t say I’m glad that Arrow brought back the delayed marriage proposal. And I definitely can’t say that I enjoyed Felicity’s acceptance.
But I can say that bullet holes suit her better than any diamond ring could.
Why I hate this episode:
We don’t get confirmation of her death, which means I can’t dance on her grave until Arrow returns. But I’m lacing up my tap shoes in eager anticipation.
Laurel’s joyous smile of approval during the proposal is absurd. That’s your man, baby.
I don’t know why Damien bothers to use his gas chamber to kill Thea, Diggle, and Felicity. He makes the classic supervillain mistake of using a death trap to murder his prisoners, when a hail of bullets would do just fine (he evidently learns that lesson by the end of the episode, though). Unsurprisingly, Laurel and Malcolm arrive just in time to bust the trio out. Weak, Damien.
I also have no clue what his big underground corn field is for. The whole reveal just seems weirdly wacky for a show that is usually so deathly serious.
The gun drone from the opening scene is also on the bad side of wacky. It’s designed like a mini helicopter, and is unintentionally funny. Which I don’t think they were going for when it was almost mowing down children.
The Super Friends’ stupidity in defaming Damien is baffling. They think they can just go on with their civilian lives after announcing their telekinetic, supervillain nemesis is Public Enemy Number One? It comes as no surprise when Damien just blasts into the Christmas party and wrecks Oliver’s shit. What did you think would happen?
The flashbacks offer nothing exciting. I got a tiny tremor of recognition when they showed the ship, but then I realised that I didn’t care about it at all.
I’m surprised the HIVE executives are so open with their frustrations with Damien, considering how well he treated the last suit who bitched at him.
Laurel is stuck manning a tip line, so she doesn’t get to attend the Christmas party. Rude.
Laurel is also oddly unmoved into action after Damien abducts Thea, Diggle, and Felicity. She shows no haste whatsoever in helping Oliver find them. Rude.
Oh, and it turns out Damien’s plans for the Star City bay had nothing to do with anything fun like weapons smuggling or new recruits. No, he used it to cultivate evil algae, which I think is what he makes his poison gas from. He’s a farmer at heart.
But it’s not all bad:
The gaggle of HIVE executives gives me some hope that we’ll see this organisation beyond just Damien’s little gang of Ghosts. If they’re ambitious and resourceful enough to just take over a city for the fun of it, I want Arrow to show them as such.
And while it proves to be outrageously foolish, I admire that the Super Friends decided to just out Damien to the entire world as a supervillain. It’s anyone’s guess as to why no government backup (or even ARGUS) has been sent to help Star City. Maybe HIVE has its claws in those places, too?
The highlight of the episode is the gunning down of Oliver and Felicity’s limo. I was laughing at how Oliver managed to not even get nicked by a single bullet, climb over the divider, and drive the limo away. But my incredulity was soon put to rest as Felicity flopped out, blood streaming from her slack jaw. What a beautiful way to send us off.
Laurel’s back in with a chance, baby.
Laurel and Quentin finally put their animosity to bed this episode. Laurel isn’t too stoked when she finds out Quentin has been working for Damien (and that Oliver has been keeping it from her, too), but they come to a mutual understanding over family and justice and all that crap. Laurel makes a mighty entrance with her Canary shriek to save the kidnapped trio, and Quentin even brings in the cavalry to escort everyone to safety.
Laurel’s hero moment is hilariously shared with a Green Arrow suit-clad Malcolm. And Malcolm isn’t shy about trying to straight-up murder Damien, so that was refreshing.
The compliance drug has now worked its way out of Andy’s system, but he refuses to divulge anything to Diggle. In contrast to Oliver’s insistence to never give up on family, Diggle gives the fuck up on Andy and turns his back on him. Earned.
Felicity encounters Donna and Quentin canoodling at the Christmas party. They make a cute couple.
Donna wears a blue Santa hat in an earlier scene (I think because of Hanukkah?), and I absolutely want one.
Afrojack attends the Christmas party with his boring husband. That’s one small step for compelling characters, but one equally small step for LGBT characters in the Arrow-verse. The police captain over on The Flash is better.
The flashbacks feel even shorter than usual. And I’m not complaining.
We see Damien enjoying Christmastime with his apparent wife and daughter. Targets acquired, Super Friends. Or at least Malcolm, right?
Oh, and what better way to spend the holidays with your family than to watch Oliver’s potential one get shot apart?