TV Review: Arrow - Season 4 Winter Finale "Dark Waters"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of ARROW. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 9: "Dark Waters"
Synopsis: After the city is attacked again, Oliver makes a bold move against HIVE. Malcolm checks in on Thea and leaves her with a warning. Things take a horrible turn when Damien Darhk retaliates in a brutal manner at Oliver’s mayoral holiday party.
Review: This time last year, the mid-season finale of Arrow left our collective jaws on the floor with the apparent death of Oliver Queen at the hands of R'as Al Ghul. Clearly, there was no chance that the title character would be killed off mid-year, so the tension wasn't as powerful as it could have been, but it still took most of us by surprise. At the start of this season, we were teased by a flashforward of a character's death that seemed to profoundly affect Oliver Queen. There have been no further references to it this season, until tonight. While we still do not have confirmation as to which character is dead, it seems based on the final scene that it is who fans have been theorizing all season long.
The episode opens with Oliver Queen holding a campaign event at Star City Bay which is interrupted by a drone opening fire on the crowd. Felicity is able to disarm the drone, but Oliver and team are confident it is the workings of Damien Darhk. Oliver makes the decision to call Darhk out on television and reveals that the villain is the man behind the attacks in Star City as well as his involvement with H.I.V.E.. Darhk does not take kindly to being called out and plots his own acts against Queen and his loved ones. Of course, since he has a flair for the dramatic, Darhk is going to make a big splash at Queen's holiday party. While preparing decorations, Felicity's mother, Donna, stumbles across the engagement ring Oliver was going to give Felicity in the season premiere which, of course, leads to some comic relief from the bumbling blondes.
At the Queen party, Felicity tells Oliver that her mother found the engagement ring. Oliver says he never changed his mind about proposing, but he had to think things through when they returned to being heroes. Felicity tells Oliver she knew what she was getting into, but they are soon interrupted. No, not by Quentin Lance and Donna Smoak cuddling and kissing. Darhk does drop by and criticizes the wine selection before throwing Queen through a window and taking Thea, Diggle, and Felicity hostage. When Oliver comes to, he meets with Laurel and Malcolm Merlyn. Merlyn is afraid of what Darhk's powers could hold, but Oliver decides to go and turn himself over to Darhk in exchange for his friends.
Darhk, of course, is a bad guy. He even says so himself as he references the Nazi regime and their prowess with gas chambers. Darhk has nicely developed into one of the best villains Arrow has had and rivals some foes on The Flash as well. His ability to turn a phrase and Neal McDonaugh's piercing gaze and smarmy delivery definitely hide his evil side which comes out in full force this episode. Darhk backtracks on what he told Oliver and puts Diggle, Thea, and Felicity in his gas chamber and pumps it full of fatal gas. At that moment, Merlyn arrives dressed as Green Arrow along with Laurel and they manage to break the chamber and rescue the three inside. As they try to escape, Merlyn battles Darhk. Darhk gets the upper hand and chokes him and before he can kill, Oliver tackles Darhk.
As everyone escapes Darhk's compound, Merlyn shoots arrows into the villain to keep him pinned to the ground. He and Oliver set a timed bomb arrow and detonate it, exploding the entire building with Darhk inside. Presuming him to be dead, Oliver heads to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. In front of Star City residents and media, Oliver professes his love for his family and friends and then proposes to Felicity who says yes. With everyone happy and enjoying the season, we get hit with the season's biggest bombshell. As Darhk heads home to his wife and daughter after demonstrating Phase 4 of his plan for Star City, including a massive underground farm whose purpose we still do not know, we see Oiver and Felicity's limo surrounded by ghosts. They open fire and Oliver barely drives them to safety. He goes to check on Felicity who is unconscious with blood streaming from her mouth.
Now, the teaser for the next episode (airing January 20th) shows Felicity at the hospital as we hear Oliver's voice over from the premiere episode scene at the mysterious gravestone. It seems logical to assume Felicity dies. But, with virtually every death on this series reversed to this point (Sara, Thea, Diggle's brother, and Oliver twice), I wouldn't think one of the show's most popular characters will be gone for good. Overall, this was one damn good hour with Damien Darhk once again proving how strong of a bad guy he is. You may have noticed I didn't even recap the pointless flashback scenes this week (Oliver recovers maps/charts from the sunken ship at Lian Yu only to be caught by Reiter's douche mercenary. Boring). Diggle also had some unkind words for his brother, but that plot element still doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. This hour was all about Oliver and Felicity with a brutal ending that will keep us guessing for the next month. Could Felicity really be dead? Never say never.
Next on ARROW: New episodes return in January 2016.