Tonight’s episode opens with Felicity in physical therapy, being cheered on by Oliver and helped by Curtis’s fiance (who I cannot remember if we already knew he was a physical therapist). Apparently it is Felicity’s first attempt at walking since the surgery to implant her new chip, but unfortunately, her legs have not gotten the memo yet. She fails but is given a pep talk by her physical therapist, who tells her of his meeting Curtis, and struggling to make the man understand that therapy is all about healing, not expecting immediate results. As a dejected Oliver and Felicity leave the facility and head back to their car, they are met by the man of the hour himself, Damien Darhk. Darhk proceeds to threaten Oliver by showing him a live feed of the kidnapped William, demanding that Oliver hold a press conference to end his mayoral campaign and throw his support behind Ruve Adams. And of course, at the end of the scene Felicity is left wondering, who is William? And after Oliver tells her, we know that this is going to be a serious problem for a number of reasons.
The team convenes with everyone learning about Oliver having a son, and the knife being twisted in Felicity as she learns that Thea, Barry and Merlyn all knew about William before she did. Samantha arrives and demands to know what Oliver did, and where her son is, so Oliver reveals his identity as the Green Arrow to her, and takes her down to the Arrow Cave to convene with the rest of the Quiver Crew. In formulating a plan, Felicity insists they cannot keep hitting Darhk with the same tactics (that way lies insanity), so Oliver decides to recruit Vixen for the team, having met and teamed up with the Detroit hero last year in the animated companion pieces to the main ‘Arrow’ continuity. Vixen arrives and uses William’s The Flash action figure to get the boy’s scent, then proceeds to work with Team Arrow to track down William.
Vixen leads them to one of Darhk’s hideouts, but as the team engages the Ghosts, Oliver and Vixen swoop in to save William and find only Darhk waiting for them, claiming he saw them coming and moved William to a new location. He easily bests Vixen and Oliver, and then tosses Oliver out a window. Fortunately, Vixen catches Oliver in time, but Darhk escapes and then calls Oliver Queen, whom Darhk supposedly still does not know is the Green Arrow. Because of Team Arrow’s interference, Darhk demands that Oliver drop out of the race immediately. Oliver, without a choice, does as Darhk demands, letting down Alex and the rest of his campaign crew as he steps down and throws his support to Ruve Adams. Alex demands to know why Oliver made that choice, but Oliver cannot tell him the truth, a moment Felicity oversees and comments on, realizing that the lies truly are a character flaw of Oliver’s that he cannot fix. She speaks with Samantha about Oliver’s lies, and Samantha attempts to convince Felicity that this lie was her fault, that she forced the decision on Oliver. Still, Felicity feels that no matter what, Oliver should have told her.
Thea meanwhile, has had a house guest this episode, as Merlyn has been hanging around her place in the shadows. It is apparently father and daughter’s first conversation since Thea was saved from the blood-lust and Malcolm lost his hand, and both have harsh words for one another. Thea is pissed that Merlyn prioritized the League of Assassins over her, and Merlyn is annoyed that Thea always thinks the worst of him. (in this case, she is clearly right though, as the whole William debacle is Merlyn’s fault). At the Arrow Cave, Samantha is angry that the team failed, and Oliver takes it hard that they still do not have William. Vixen pulls Oliver aside and discusses being a good parent with him, pointing out that bringing William into his world now might take away the boy’s childhood, and while Vixen grew up in a foster home without her parents, she will always be grateful that they gave her the chance for a normal childhood away from the superhero world.
The team discusses Darhk’s powers, and Vixen states that most magical beings she knows have a totem to channel their power from, and Detective Lance points out that he saw just such a thing with Darhk in the past. He draws the item for Vixen, and the team realizes what kind of Totem it is, and that it relies on ley lines to power up. Using a map of ley lines and their previous encounters with Darhk, they figure out where he is holding William, and Oliver now has a choice. Wait until the appointed moment to meet with Darhk and hope Darhk gives back William, or ambush the villain at his new hide-out and take back William by force. He gives the choice to William’s mother, and Samantha tells them to go get her son back.
The team storms Darhk’s proverbial castle, the Quiver Crew taking on the Ghosts while Vixen flies and crashes through Darhk’s ceiling into his living room, facing the villain once more. While he thinks he can easily dispatch her with his magical choke hold, she activates her Totem and calls on the speed and agility of a puma so she can grab Darhk’s totem and flee the room. Once outside, Vixen calls upon her Totem to give her gorilla strength, and she destroys the totem, just in time too, for Darhk, in a rage, has gone outside and was in the process of killing Thea, Ollie and Laurel with his choke hold. When the totem is destroyed, his powers are gone, and Oliver pummels the man, leaving him unconscious on the ground when the police arrive, all while William watches his new hero save him from Darhk.
At the police station afterward, Lance learns from William that he was actually taken by a man missing a hand, and everyone realizes Merlyn’s part in the plot. Samantha is reunited with William, and when she hands him his Flash toy he claims he now wants a Green Arrow toy, which makes Oliver smile slightly.
In tonight’s flashbacks, Reiter claims that it is finally time to go through the hole in the prison wall and meet destiny or something, but when they approach the wall, a spirit exits with Conklin’s body, but with white-walker eyes and a demonic voice, speaking a tongue that no one understands (though they made the odd choice of subtitling the dialogue, so the audience knows what demon Conklin is saying, but no one else on screen does). Reiter’s men open fire on Demonklin, but the bullets pass right through him. Reiter orders a retreat, but actually just gets his men out of the room and locks Oliver, Taiaina and the other prisoners inside, trusting to a hunch that Oliver will be able to get past the Demonklin. At that moment, the tattoo that Constantine gave Oliver starts glowing bright red, and Demonklin recognizes it and says Oliver is worthy to enter, then disappears into thin air. Reiter returns, pleased that his hunch was right, hands Oliver a flash light, and then sends him and Taiana into the strange cavern to find…. who knows what. We will have to wait till next episode to find out.
In the episode aftermath, Thea and Malcolm have it out, Malcolm claiming that his love and assistance to Thea has only ever been met with anger and spite, while Thea throws it in his face that Robert Queen was a better father, and demands to know how Malcolm could claim to be helping her by endangering William, choosing to try to hold onto leadership of the League of Assassins instead of saving her, and generally lying to her for years now. Malcolm claims that Thea does not know what they are truly up against, and could never see the big picture, and they part ways, clearly going to stay at odds for some time. Oliver heeds Vixen’s advice about William and sends both him and Samantha to an unknown location (even to Oliver) and sends a message along that Samantha will not give the boy until after his 18th birthday, explaining that Oliver is his father, leads a double life as the Green Arrow, and let him go so William could have a normal childhood. Felicity overhears the end of the recorded message, which cements her decision. She hands Oliver back his ring, tired of his lies and making decisions without ever bothering to consult her, insinuating that her opinion is not as important as his. As she breaks things off, her foot twitches, and suddenly she finds she can walk again (the symbolism was not lost here, as it was pretty heavy handed). She gets up and leaves Oliver alone in the apartment with her wheelchair, leaving both of her handicaps behind.
– Constantine is literally in hell? How can you throw that line out there with no explanation?
– Seems like kind of a cop-out to send William and Samantha away. Like it was a plot-line the writers did not really want to move forward with at the moment…
– So…. Laurel being upset about Oliver and Samantha sleeping together behind her back all those year ago seems, to me, to be a bit of foreshadowing that she still has feelings for Oliver, and with Felicity out of the picture now, I wonder if they are finally laying the groundwork for the Laurel/Oliver romance from the comics.
– Coffin Clues? None this episode, so my money remains firmly on Captain Lance.
– Soooo, any chance Felicity’s new chip might give her some kind of super-powers? It is a comic book show after all.
Not a bad episode, though it was much darker than the rest of the season has been, delving back into the angst that characterized the first 3 seasons of ‘Arrow.’ I’m hoping that we get some more levity now that Darhk has been arrested, though I doubt that was the last we will see of the villain this season. See you back here after the brief hiatus!