After three years of build-up, the revelation of Oliver’s secret son William blew up into a fantastically busy episode of Arrow, that also managed to be a mini-crossover with The CW’s animated series Vixen. With no other options available, Team Arrow had to use everything at their disposal to come at Damien Darkh and save William.
Nobody likes being put between a rock and a hard place, a situation where there are nothing but two bad choices. Just as Oliver had to make his decision near the end of the Flash/Arrow crossover last year to keep William a secret from everyone in his life, here he was thrust into an equally tough situation as Damien Darkh made him choose between his mayoral campaign or to save his son. In a way, this decision was reflective of Merlyn’s choice to either save Thea or keep his lead of the League of Assassins. Where Merlyn took the greedy choice, Oliver cast aside his aspirations for office in favor of doing everything he could to save his son. While this made for an excellent conflict of interest, I’m genuinely bummed out that the mayoral issue is no longer in play. Perhaps after Ruvé and Damien are defeated he will go back to it and re-join the race? The idea of Oliver Queen combating evil as opposed to solely the Green Arrow was an exciting new status quo for the series to take, and it’s a shame to see it thrown away like that.
Needing to bring the fight to Darkh and knowing how that’s gone in the past, Team Arrow needed other options. The reference to Constantine being too preoccupied to assist as he was quite literally in Hell was a delightful little line, despite reminding me how cool this season could have been if he had been a more regular character. Considering Diggle just came from Central City after helping out with King Shark, why not just call The Flash? They even did; they had Barry tell Samantha to head to Star City. But why couldn’t Barry help fight Darkh? Sure he’s got magic powers, but The Flash can throw goddamned lightning bolts at people. Opting for the more supernatural option and bringing Vixen to live action is still definitely cool, just feels like there were more options available.
Seeing Vixen fly through the sky of Star City is a far cry from the grounded days of Arrow’s first season, and seeing just how much more comic booky this universe has gotten is delightful. Given that on the island, Oliver seems to have encountered some spectral representation of an eldritch abomination (what the fuck is honestly going on in the past scenes anymore,) it does seem a bit odd that it took so long for us to see more of the supernatural in the present day. Vixen’s powers translated surprisingly well to live-action, and seeing her go toe-to-toe with Damien Darkh was a treat to be sure.
Despite all the drama with the kidnapping and the mayoral threats, the emotional core was directly within Oliver. With William in danger and trying to figure out just what role he will play in his life, he had two separate and unique voices of input. Diggle gave advice from the side of the parent, and spoke of how he sees his daughter every day, and he always knows where she is. He keeps her close enough to protect her, no matter what happens. Mari came from the side of being a child and not knowing who her true parents were or the fate tied to her talisman, and how her blissful ignorance of all this allowed her to live a full childhood without bearing the weight of this knowledge. It not only kept her safe, but it kept her free. These two viewpoints on the same dilemma from two different sides, as well as one being from Ollie’s right hand man of years and the other from a more distant acquaintance, truly cemented just how hard of a decision this was for him to make.
Then there was Felicity. Her anger, confusion, distrust, and just about any emotion you can imagine are completely justified here. She seemed increasingly devastated with each person she found out already knew this large secret, which is understandable because she was one of if not the only person who should also know this. Oliver felt like it was possible to lie about something like this in such a deep relationship, due to having lied to so many people for so many years, but this is different. At the very least, Felicity is having cold feet about the engagement, if not completely calling it off here. It could be a bait and switch. But if not, is there relationship over just like that? Who knows?
For my review of the last episode of Arrow, “Code of Silence,” click here.