Arrow, Season 4, Episode 20 “Genesis”
After the “death” and burial of Laurel Lance, Arrow returned to its old self in a lot of ways. The team is in separate corners but everyone manages to get a fair amount of the spotlight. The action sequences were crisp and plentiful. Plus there was moments of heavy emotion mixed with levity.
Following Laurel’s funeral, Team Arrow has hit a dead end. Ollie has to go out of town to learn a few magic tricks that might defeat Darhk. That gives the whole team an opportunity to split up and take some time to get their heads together before the last push against Darhk and HIVE.
The Big Deal
Diggle is on duty even when he’s on vacation. The break does afford Diggle the opportunity to see his wife, Lilah, and daughter, who are riding around the streets of Star City in a rolling bunker that is not suspicious at all. Even through it’s been a few days, Digs is still obsessed with tracking down his brother, Andy. Knowing Diggle will ignore every bit of his training that doesn’t involve a gun, Andy sets a series of traps that Digs falls for easily. Chasing Andy without backup? Check. Pursuing Andy into a tactically terrible situation? Check. Attempting to escape after getting captured? Not checking for tracking devices after being knocked out? Heading straight back to his wife in the rolling fortress after escaping? Check, check and you get the picture. There’s some taunting and banter between the brothers to break up this by-the-numbers pursuit to Andy and Darhk’s true target, Lilah. As head of Argus, Lilah has access to a computer chip (Rubicon) that can halt the launch of any nuclear weapon. She’s embedded it in arm for safe keeping. Darhk wants to modify the chip so it launches every nuclear weapon in order to enact the villain’s plan from Kingsmen: The Secret Service. Digs and Lilah aren’t thinking that far ahead, because they go to straight protect the family mode. Diggle daringly escapes on a motorcycle with his baby strapped to his back. After a rendezvous with Felicity to hand off the baby, Diggle tracks down his brother for what proves to be a final confrontation. Diggle wants to bring Andy to justice, but Andy taunts there will be no justice from him. In a fit of rage and reflex Digs shoots and kills his own brother to protect his family.
On the Side
Darhk and his magical abilities are more than a quiver of arrows and a steely attitude can counter alone. Luckily, Ollie has been in touch with Constantine – the guy from the Halloween episode – to help him find someone with the right magic. There just so happens to be that kind person in Hub City, and Constantine sets up a clandestine meeting in a casino. The getaway also an opportunity for Ollie and Felicity to get some time alone together, although Oliver does need a “don’t talk to me like I am other people” from Felicity first. After making a small fortune in blackjack, Ollie and Felicity meet their shaman, Esrin Fortuna. She guides the pair to a pocket dimension that looks a lot like that cave we saw during the Island flashbacks this season. The tattoo Constantine transferred to Ollie’s abs earlier in the season has enough power to battle Darhk’s magic. All Ollie has to do to counter this evil magic is – and I kid you not – think happy thoughts. The first try works, but when Esrin turns up the power, Ollie’s mind immediately goes to dark places because he’s all moody and haunted and stuff. Esrin sees no point in going forward and Olicity goes back to Star City to lick their mystical wounds. They come back in time to save Lilah’s bacon and see Oliver square off against Darhk. The dark magic seems to be winning out as expected, but Ollie rallies to magically counter Darhk’s evil. After, Oliver said in that crucial moment he thought of Felicity’s voice led to a chain reaction of hope that filled him with the light to counter the dark magic – aww.
Observation and Speculation
*Let’s not forget about Thea, who took her sexiest sparkly Golden Girls shawl with her on her weekend getaway with Alex, the poacher of eggs. From the time she wakes up, Thea thinks something is amiss in her suburban wonderland. After she discovers the rhythm of the “natural” soundtrack and that her boyfriend is popping HIVE mind control pills, she rebels. She runs to the edge of her Truman Show dome before getting captured by HIVE goons.
*The existence of Hub City opens up the possibility of a future guest spot from The Question, a faceless crime fighter with a conspiracy theorist bent. If they use The Question anything like he was written in the Justice League animated series, it would be a lot of fun.
*For an evil mastermind, Damien Darhk sure lets his enemies take breaks. It makes you wonder if he’s a member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent from The Venture Bros.
*Of course Constantine owes Esrin Fortuna money. I’d bet Constantine owes people money in every plane of existence.
*It was so nice to see people smiling on this show again. There really needs more moments like Diggle’s reunion with his daughter and Felicity’s glee while beating the house at blackjack.
*Little baby Sara isn’t so little any more, which is so great compared to Judith on The Walking Dead, who has been six months old for about three seasons now.
*Every chase Diggle was a part of involved a ton of gunplay, except conveniently enough when he had the baby strapped to his back.
Words to Live By
“Woah! It’s been a while since I’ve hit anybody with this thing.” – Felicity, about her superpower: Hitting henchmen with a van.
“Genesis” might not have been a home run episode, but it was a stand-up double the show desperately needed. There were no Island flashbacks to interrupt the narrative flow. All the characters were involved and most importantly the story moved forward for the first time in what feels like forever. If Arrow can capitalize on this narrative momentum, the series should end the season on a high note.