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ARROW Review: The Stakes are Raised in “Lost in the Flood”

By on May 19, 2016

Pictured (L-R): John Barrowman as Malcolm Merlyn and Willa Holland as Thea Queen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

I’m going to be very sad when this season of Arrow ends next week.

I’ve been loving Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk, who has proved to be a perfect foil to Oliver over the past seven months. I’m honestly not sure where the show can go from here as far as the villains are concerned. The man has spent so much time hamming it up as the ultimate imposing villain that it’s hard to think who could follow in his footsteps. I bring this up because even though he doesn’t get to really show how powerful he is after last week, I found myself wishing he was in more of the episode. He does good with the time he’s given here, and his upgrade from “he can kill us all without much effort” to….okay, the show doesn’t actually show us how much more powerful he is, but his early exit is a nice enough twist on the “I’ve got the heroes in a position to die, but I won’t kill them just yet” trope.

Darhk playing “nice” with Oliver and Diggle leads the two to staging a rescue attempt for Thea, still in Genesis and sick of dealing with the double dose of headaches provided by her dad Malcolm and the surprisingly competent Lonnie Machin. It’s looking more and more like Thea is going to kill Malcolm next week, especially now that he’s gone and drugged her to be a compliant soldier. The odds are definitely stacked against her performing patricide, which I’m frankly in favor of. While I like John Barrowman in this role, this year has also made it clear that he should’ve been dead by now, but the show has kept him around for good family drama and snark. Since he’s doggedly committed to siding with Damien, it’s only fitting that he should go down with the villain (that, and drugging your daughter is seriously not cool).

As for Machin? If nothing else, it’s definitely interesting to see him go from drone to full-on villain in his own right in four or five episodes. It’s actually somewhat surprising to see how capable he is and just how much of a thorn in Damien’s side without feeling like the show is bending over backwards to justify his inclusion in these episodes. The guy’s already messed up as it is, and it stands to reason that his hatred for Damien is enough to keep his eye on the ball and do what he does. If Oliver has a nemesis this year in Damien, then it’s safe to say that Machin is Thea’s nemesis, just one who also doesn’t mind trying to murder a child for the second time in a year.

The first time we got to see what Genesis was, it was presented as a slowly unraveling mystery, not unlike the first Maze Runner movie, with Thea trying to figure out just what was off about her new surroundings piece by piece. This time, it’s more of a constant chase, with Oliver and Diggle trying to fight against a town that has no reason to want them alive. It leads to some cool moments, like an actual chase scene wherein Oliver jumps over a bush and turns and shoots a HIVE drone with an arrow in midair (I played that part back twice because it looked awesome), and a pair of fights inside suburban houses. The final battle where Oliver, Thea, and Diggle go up against Machin inside an exploding facility is well shot and directed, and it helps Machin make good on his promise when he kills Ruvé .

While hell breaks down in Genesis, things are slightly better outside in Star City. Dropping a nuke on the town seems to have no real effect on Felicity and her dad aside from a very brief moment in the beginning, but it’s also not like they’ve got time to process it when Felicity’s actually-not-dead ex-boyfriend (not Ray, but the evil hacker. Remember him from last year?) puts the two good hackers through the ringer. In comes Curtis and Donna, both on hand to provide some levity during an otherwise stressful situation. Curtis is pretty hit or miss (I’ve heard some say that he’s basically just Felicity as a guy, and that sort of holds true here), but Donna gets more to do.

She’s not just on hand to provide some laughs (I found it way too funny to see her just standing behind Curtis, Felicity, and Noah talking tech stuff while she’s casually drinking a whole bottle of wine), but also some drama among the Smoak family. The family stuff, where we learned that it was Donna and Felicity who walked out on Noah and not the other way around, works without being too much of a distraction from the main plot. In fact, Donna even tells Felicity that their family issues can wait until the world isn’t in threat of being wiped out, just to drive the relatively low stakes home even further. It’s easy to see just what made Donna decide to leave her husband, but the show doesn’t try to paint her as a villain (in fact, all things considered, she ended up being fairly right in doing so). There’s no clear winner here; Noah seems to have left again, but Felicity also now realizes that her mom has been lying to her for decades.

Does “Lost in the Flood” do anything different? No, not really, but it succeeds in setting the deck for a finale that’s going to involve Darhk just saying “forget it” and deciding to nuke the planet anyway out of pure rage. All things considered, that’s a good place for the season to be in during its last episode for the season.

 

Additional Notes

  • Dahrk: “So, you and Felicity? How’d that go?” Ex-boyfriend: “She was…different.” “…I don’t see it.”

  • You know, when you think about it, Ruvé had probably the best mayoral streak of anyone on this show. And she’s lasted longer than recent ones, so there’s that, at least. (By next year, I fully expect Thea to point out how being mayor is the city’s Defense Against the Dark Arts position.)

  • The flashbacks continue to exist, and I’m not all that sure why. I’m not even sure I could tell you anything beyond the broad strokes this year.

  • Those uniforms the Genesis denizens have to wear look so bland, it’s almost an eyesore.

  • Not gonna lie, when Diggle said the words “Mount Weather,” my mind immediately went to the second season of The 100.

  • “Looks like the real estate value of the Glades just went up…it’s called gallows humor.” Good delivery, maybe not the best time, Thea.

  • There are a freakishly high amount of lens flares during the Genesis sequences, and it’s disturbing.

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