Arrow – Season 4 Episode 22
“Lost in the Flood”
The end of Arrow season 4 is almost upon us and Damien Darhk steps up his campaign to start the world anew with the rest of H.I.V.E. behind him.
Darhk suffered a little bit of a setback last week when Felicity and Noah managed to lock him out of the control he had over the Nukes but not before one struck a well populated town. You’d think that would be a big deal and have wider implications for the world the show belongs to.
Alas it doesn’t, broadly speaking it’s treated as if it’s just another thing that’s going on in this crazy world. There’s a news report that talks about it and Curtis seems a little overwhelmed by it all but no more than he usually is. This event should have shaken the show to its absolute core but it’s treated as something that is fairly inconsequential which completely negates the shock value it had last week.They were onto a good thing here by raising the stakes to brutal levels but the opportunity is missed.
It could be argued that Felicity doesn’t seem to care either but my thinking is that the gravity of it hasn’t hit her yet because she has to keep her mind focused on not letting it happen again. I completely understand her need to not slow down and think about this as it would derail everything she has to do and her role is a very important one here.
That’s all well and good but I can’t really understand why this doesn’t also apply to the Smoak family drama. In fairness to Felicity she isn’t really involved in it but Noah and Donna are bickering away as if there’s nothing else going on and it feels completely out of place. There is definitely a history between the two of them but there is a time to explore it and this isn’t it.
Despite that, Tom Amandes and Charlotte Ross have really good chemistry and it’s a lot of fun to watch them argue because they come across as so passionate when they do it. There seems to still be feelings between them but not to the point that the Smoak family will become whole again…at least I hope not
There are some interesting revelations about Felicity’s past such as Donna telling her that she took her away from her father because she was afraid of what his criminal activities could invite. It seems fair enough on the surface but when you consider that she got on her high horse about Quentin lying to preserve his career last week it’s a bit hypocritical for her to do that when she has been lying to Felicity her whole life. She does the same here when she tells Noah to leave and doesn’t explain to Felicity that she did that.
Felicity’s scenes were surprisingly great this week considering most of what she was doing was sitting typing. Having the Donna/Noah drama happening in the background helped break this up a little bit and I liked that Felicity remained focused on the task at hand. Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Amandes brought urgency to the situation through their performances and I don’t usually notice camera work but it certainly helped make the whole thing seem far more frantic.
Bringing Cooper back as an antagonist for her was a nice touch. We already know how good he is and that he might even be better than Felicity which makes the game of hacking ping pong with nukes as the ball really tense. One thing the detonation from last week does is make it happening again a possibility so seeing Cooper almost regain control in order for Darhk to continue his plan becomes really compelling.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Diggle storm Darhk’s Ark, Tevat Noah, so that they can save Thea. Upon arriving they notice all of the brainwashing and the whole plot starts to feel a little surreal. This continues through the action sequences that are set in suburban daylight. It may be fake suburban daylight but it does the job and it feels strange for this show as most of the action takes place at night on the streets of Star City. Seeing Oliver and Diggle hop over bushes and run down a street filled with houses in -what looks like- the middle of the afternoon is visually strange but in the best way. I like that the show switches things up visually for this episode as it makes the action more memorable and I was hooked throughout.
I mentioned before that Tevat Noah was a little bit like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Seeing Oliver and Diggle in costume only adds to that comparison since nobody takes any notice of this strange image in the middle of the street. I would love to see Arrow do more surreal things like that next season and beyond.
Thea being brainwashed and easily overcoming that brainwashing didn’t really work for me as it was established how powerful the effect was. It didn’t ring true to me that it would wear off after a few sentimental phrased. Having Oliver deal with his brainwashed sister was a solid idea but having it over so quickly was disappointing. The episode also didn’t make enough of the fact that Malcolm willingly took away her free will again. Considering how horrible an experiences that was for her last time I’m surprised that it didn’t become more prominent.
Having Oliver and Diggle talk to the family who were there entirely by choice added some real depth to Damien Darhk’s plan. Up until this point I was under the impression that his control extended to everyone and it never occurred to me that there would be enough nuance for people to actually choose to follow him. Now that I give it some thought it makes a lot of sense since people come in all shapes and sizes and Darhk’s natural charisma would be enough to win some people over. Above all that the father clearly just wanted to ensure the safety of his family and can any of us really say we wouldn’t consider going along with something that might guarantee that when the alternative is complete annihilation? It’s a complex idea and I wish we had seen more of Darhk’s truly loyal followers over the course of the season.
Despite Anarky’s lack of resemblance to his comic book counterpart, having him around proves to be wonderfully unpredictable. Calling Thea his “mommy” is still a bit much but I love the way he can enter a situation and tear it apart. In this case he rigs the Tevat Noah for easy destruction and makes it clear that either Ruvé Darhk or their daughter will be killed and he’s willing to make everyone sweat while he decides. Oliver, Thea and Diggle showing up forces his hand and Ruvé makes her exit from the show but up until that point I wouldn’t have put it past him to murder a child. It would probably never happen on this show but believing that Anarky is capable of it was enough for me.
Another thing that works well about Anarky is that he provides an effective counter to Damien Darhk. Darhk is meticulously organised and plans everything down to the last detail but Anarky is very much the opposite. His commitment to absolute chaos is a great contrast and definitely something the show needs. The fact that Darhk’s plan is partly brought down by someone he wasn’t really paying attention to is a nice touch.
I have to mention them even though everyone knows what I’m going to say. The flashbacks are as dull and drawn out as ever. Taiana becoming corrupted by the Idol is interesting in theory but the execution is failing miserable. Nothing about the corruption feels earned or organic and it only seems to be happening because the plot needs it to. Oliver’s final confrontation next week has to mirror his conflict with Darhk so we have a magical villain corrupted by the magic that she has. It doesn’t help that Elysia Rotaru’s performance is so hammy that it just seems ridiculous but she doesn’t have much to work with. The flashbacks are always awkwardly placed in the episode as well and derail the impressive pacing built up in the present day storylines. I’m not sure how the writers lost their touch for these as in season 1 and 2 they were very much the spine of the show.
With Ruvé dead and Darhk’s Genesis plan all but defeated the stage is set for a finale that has the potential to be something really unpredictable. When Darhk shows up to confront Felicity, Curtis and Donna it’s clear that he has become unhinged and is almost capable of anything. Essentially he has become more like Anarky so it’ll be interesting to see a Damien Darhk with nothing left to lose and all this raw power to use on anyone that gets in his way. He knows he’s going down and wants to bring everyone down with him. It’s beautifully simple and I can’t wait to see it.
There are also other threads that may become important. I don’t believe that Felicity’s father being called Noah as well as Darhk’s underground habitat being called the Tevat Noah is an accident. The title of the episode “Lost in the Flood” also ties into this idea and Darhk mentions bringing in another hacker to counter Felicity’s work. Could it be that Noah is playing both sides to ensure his own survival or has some other agenda at play? Is it possible that I’ve read too much into this an I’m seeing connections where none exist? Find out next week. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel!
A great episode that juggles two exciting plots really well for the most part. Felicity’s hacking plot was oddly compelling and the Smoak family drama wasn’t all that irritating but still felt a little out of place. Oliver and Diggle’s rescue of Thea was visually interesting as well as being nicely surreal. Anarky was a great presence and proves to be an effective counter to Damien Darhk. Some aspects of the episode didn’t work such as Thea easily shrugging off the brainwashing that the sidestep of the issue of the Nuke blowing up a town but Darhk being brought to the point that he has nothing left to lose is an interesting development and sets the stage for an interesting finale.
- a compelling hacker plot
- memorable daylight action in an interesting setting
- interesting setup for the finale
- Anarky as a counter to Damien Darhk
- the Smoak family drama feeling out of place
- sidestepping the issue of the Nuke killing tens of thousands of people