While a lot of elements of this episode were pretty good, it was also a bit all over the place. So in an effort to bring order to the chaos, I'll rename this episode, The Tale of Three Families.
I'm not sure we needed this much family drama. Sure, Donna needed to find out about Felicity's night job, but it could have been done a long time ago without coupling it with Noah's reappearance. Now, don't get me wrong, none of the interactions were bad. In fact, I liked almost all the Smoak family drama. But perhaps priorities should have been a factor for the writing of this episode. I mean Noah, Curtis, and Felicity were trying to stop global Armageddon. I think they could have focused on that a little more.
Now, there were some interesting developments in regards to the Smoak family. Specifically we learned that Donna was the one that ran away from Noah, not the other way around. This actually does a couple things to the family dynamic. First, it makes Donna a far stronger character than we've realized. Second, it opens the door for Felicity to accept Noah as a parent again. It's a strong writing choice, and was definitely worth exploring for dramatic reasons.
The Merlyns and Queens
Malcolm is a bad father. I don't mean that he's a bad guy (although he is that), he just has no idea how to be a good parent. Drugging his daughter and ordering her to kill her own brother was probably the worst thing he could have done (although he has done something similar before). She was already pretty much hating him, and I can't imagine he's going to be able to mend bridges now. Unless he does something redemptive in the finale that shows he isn't a totally evil bastard.
On the other hand, I loved how Oliver was able to talk Thea down from the yellow pill of mind control. It showed how much trust and love the two have managed to build over the last few seasons. When the series started, Thea and Oliver were barely on speaking terms. She was rebellious, unstable and addicted to drugs. Now she is a powerful hero with a very strong and stable relationship with her formerly estranged brother. That's pretty cool.
Random Family in the Ark
Yeah, I bet you thought I was going for the Lances. No, the whole plot point that centered around Oliver and this random family who chose to side with Darhk, morals be damned, was kind of fascinating. They weren't brainwashed, they were complicit in the murder of billions. In a lot of ways they were just as evil as Darhk, but at the same time they were basically non-violent innocents. How do you deal with people so morally bankrupt, but who are unarmed and nonthreatening? Killing them made no sense, and letting them die in the crossfire seemed immoral too. So what's the answer?
For Oliver, it was like walking a serrated tight rope. Let them go and the family would tell the Ghosts where he and Diggle were hiding. Kill them and you have committed murder, however morally justifiable given their complicity in global genocide. So he had to just guard them and protect them from the crossfire. Maybe prove to them that heroes can change things. What I like is that there were no black and white answers here, and the family didn't renounce Darhk's plan at the end. That kind of ambiguity is one of the show's strengths.
Okay I'm really tired of the almost painfully short, incremental progress on the Island. This time it mostly focused on Tiana's new magical powers and how the Idol can corrupt a person's soul almost instantly. She went from a good person to a monster in zero seconds flat, consumed by the need to fight Reiter and take back her home town from the people that have seized it. While her motivations were grounded in a desire to do good, they have been twisted into a need for revenge and power. Darhk is suddenly looking less like a villain, and more like a victim to the magic he embraced, same as Reiter. Of course Darhk was probably evil in the first place.
So, Darhk just wants to watch the world burn. I think he has kind of gone off the deep end into loony town. Why would H.I.V.E. follow him to their own deaths? I get creating a nice sustainable dome that you can ride out the nuclear winter in, but to just let Darhk destroy everything feels a bit too much to me. No henchman is that brainwashed.
We got a cliffy with Darhk showing up at Felicity's flat. So I'm guessing Noah is going to sacrifice himself for Felicity by the end of the next episode.
Curtis had some great moments in this episode, and he could easily become the Arrow version of Cisco.
So another big section of the city is gone, having collapsed in on H.I.V.E.'s ark dome. I bet the Glades are still in the process of rebuilding, and now another giant section of the city is rubble. Star City is basically screwed at this point.
These last few episodes have been a greatest hits of one-off villains past. This time it was Felicity's evil ex-boyfriend Seldon Copper.
Diggle mentioned Mount Weather, which is a big deal on another CW show.
Alex is officially dead. Oh well, I never liked him for Thea anyway.
And so is Ruve!!! I like Darhk, but his wife was the kind of evil that makes you want stab her, just like Anarchy did.
Darhk: "I turn steel arrows into dust and you thought lead would do the trick?"
Curtis: "Noah Kuttler, huh? You know, it's funny because there's this super hacker who's wanted by the FBI whose name is also Noah Kuttler. He's kind of a big deal on the dark web."
Noah: "Honestly, I thought they could have used a more flattering photo for the Wanted poster."
Curtis: "Wait, you're the Noah Kuttler? And if you're Felicity's dad, you were married to Donna, and you make so much more sense now." (motioning towards Felicity)
Darhk: "Not that it's not scintillating to watch you type, but when exactly will I have Rubicon back?"
Cooper: "Hacking isn't as easy as waving your hand."
Darhk: "Point taken."
Good, but not great.
2 1/2 out of 4 Little Yellow Pills
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.