I lack the imagination to picture a world in which a nuclear missile decimating an American city and extinguishing tens of thousands of lives would be answered with attempts at witty humor and much folding of clothes. Even more unfathomable is that this behavior would be exhibited by the very people who were unable to stop the attack from happening. Surely there should be some guilt, some urgency, some emotion on the part of these otherwise well-meaning heroes, but no. Any semblance of reality has waved bye-bye to Arrow.
And yet this is a show that spent an entire hour allowing the cast to mourn the loss of one of their regular crime-fighters, so there’s clearly an intent to establish emotional attachments. The worst part is that the writers could have used this horrific and tragic event as the impetus to put a stop to Darhk’s machinations once and for all. Instead, we got more daddy issues from Felicity and Thea, a continuation of the useless flashback sequence, and an example of what is quite possibly the crappiest fictional end-of-the-world cult scam ever.
Let’s get the flashbacks out of the way, shall we? This penultimate episode has set the stage for Oliver, an idol-powered Taiana, and an idol-withdrawal Baron Reiter to finish each other off. Reiter is clearly no good so he’s gone; Taiana has given herself over to the obsession of the death idol so she’s out; looks like Ollie’s the last man standing! Obviously. Also I’m pretty sure Oliver had a flashback memory to him killing Taiana in her powered state on an earlier episode.
The only slightly promising moment of this episode was witnessing Darhk’s newfound powers thanks to the idol channeling the death energy of tens of thousands of lives into his body. He appeared god-like and could easily have snuffed out the lives of Green Arrow and Spartan … but he didn’t. He wanted them to live to “see their skin melt” during the eventual armageddon. One of the major faults of this show has been the reluctance of its heroes to take a life in order to save countless other lives; when that misguided rule begins to apply to the show’s villains, you know you have a problem.
Oh hey, by the way, remember Thea’s brief romance with Alex? Yeah, that’s over because he’s dead, apparently. This fact was left open to interpretation in the previous episode, but since Thea barely reacted to his death, I assumed he was just unconscious. Nope. Straight-up dead. And you couldn’t even blame Thea’s nonchalance on the “vitamins”/yellow pills that her own father forced on her to make her more compliant since she took them after the fact. This daddy drugging led her to temporarily betray her own brother and Diggle when they came to rescue her, but the little misdirection didn’t last long. Apparently Thea’s mental faculties are stout enough to fight off the affects of the pharmaceuticals though; good thing for Spartan.
One decent aspect of this episode was the inclusion of Anarky, even if his bizarre antics were ultimately wasted. It made little sense for the character to show up here last week, other than the fact that he was eager to kill Damien Darhk, but since he was there in Tevat Noah last week, they might as well use him on the follow-up. He lived up to his name, kidnapping Darhk’s wife and child, killing Ruvé, and essentially causing the explosion that brought down the entire doomsday dome. Speaking of that, was this not the most shoddily constructed bomb shelter in existence? Yes, its core structure was made of dwarf star alloy, the same material that Ray Palmer’s A.T.O.M. suit is composed of, but somehow that made it highly explosive? So Ray’s flying around in an explosion waiting to happen? If I had signed up for this cult like the weirdo family who chose to follow a magical madman into an underground cardboard bunker instead of just, ya know, moving to another city, at the very best I’d want my money back. At the worst, I’d probably be dead under tons and tons of collapsed concrete, steel, and earth.
Meanwhile, following the recent nuclear strike on an American city, Curtis Holt paid Felicity and her father Noah a visit just to chat and occasionally do some light hacking. This was complicated by the return of Felicity’s former boyfriend Cooper Seldon, now (briefly) in the employ of Darhk. While the super-hackers attempted to keep Darhk from accessing the remaining nukes using Rubicon, Donna Smoak inexplicably showed up to cause havoc during what should have been a tense, do-or-die, life-or-death situation. Instead, they took time to literally fold clothes, pass a beer around, and reveal that it was Donna who kicked Noah out all those years ago. This was done simply to draw a parallel between Donna/Noah’s relationship and that of the tumultuous romance of Felicity and Oliver. Not the time, guys. Not even close to the time. I actually hoped that Darhk would wipe out Felicity and Donna when he showed up at their abode by episode’s end. The fact that he did not was just another of this hour’s disappointments.
“Lost in the Flood” as a title was a great descriptor for the aimlessness of tone, direction, and plot in this hour, an unforgivable offense after a season that started off strong and went on to fizzle after its midseason return in 2016. Our heroes have come up against ridiculous odds and have been found wanting, which would normally be a compelling decision from a storytelling standpoint, but I’m finding it harder and harder to root for Team Arrow or even care about their meager successes. Once you’ve allowed a city to be nuked, perhaps you should hang up the hood and let a better hero take over.
Rating: ★ Poor
Darhk: “I turned steel arrows into dust and you thought lead would do the trick?”
Curtis (to Felicity, after finding out about her parentage): “You make so much more sense now!”
Quentin Lance is pretty much the only person reacting appropriately to a nuke wiping out an American city…
Malcolm Merlyn’s fancy hand is killing me!
That Kovar name drop means we might be seeing Red Star next season, though how the character will be handled remains to be seen.
My favorite moment of this episode was the dog running free in Tevat Noah. Five stars.
Decent little stunt sequence with Green Arrow and Spartan running through the suburbs, just too little, too late.
Thea: “Drug me again and I will kill you, you son of a bitch.” Please just kill Merlyn already, he’s had so many chances.
Malcolm: “We can discuss my parenting philosophy later.”
Anarky: “That’s my mommy! Isn’t she pretty?”
Spartan, please put the child down. She. Looks. Terrified.
What kind of shitty doomsday sanctuary is made out of a material so explosive that one blown-up gas tank can bring the entire thing down and presumably kill everyone inside it?
Darhk: “There’s no place left on Earth that’s safe. Let it all burn.”
Felicity: “Go to Hell.” Darhk: “Why bother? I’m bringing it to us.”