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Arrow: Schism – Season 4 Episode 23

Darhk’s plans are in shambles and all that’s left is to try to burn everything down.

Recap

Felicity refuses to help Darhk, but he Darhk launches an all out attack on Felicity’s loft. Speedy is able to stop Darhk by revealing that they have his daughter and threatening to kill her. Darhk stops his attack in exchange for his daughter, but he steals Felicity’s laptop before he leaves. The laptop allows Darhk to regain control of Rubicon and launch all the missiles. The team has two hours before doomsday and they are scrambling. Lyla sends an ARGUS team to city hall to try to stop Darhk, but that only ends with them being slaughtered and Darhk growing more powerful. Felicity is able to find the laptop but, before she can do anything, the Arrow Cave is overrun by Ghosts. The team is able to fight them off with a surprise assist from Merlyn, but the cave is left in ruins.

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When news of an imminent nuclear attack hits the streets, a public panic follows. With the city descending into a panic, Oliver is regretting coming back. He feels like it was arrogant to try to come back to the city and offer hope as the Green Arrow. About that time, Curtis wakes up and tells Oliver that the Green Arrow does offer hope and he encourages him to try again. Oliver takes his words to heart and goes into the middle of the city to deliver a speech to the citizens to give them hope. Oliver’s speech reaches the people just as the missile starts to reach Star City. Curtis and Felicity come up with the idea to use a line of sight hack on the missile now that it’s close enough. Their idea works and they’re able to disarm the missile. They are also able to back trace Seldon’s position.

Oliver sends Merlyn and Speedy to protect Felicity and Curtis as they deal with Seldon. Despite Speedy and Merlyn’s poor working relationship, they’re able to fight their way through some Ghosts. When Felicity and Curtis find Seldon, he’s sitting at a keyboard bleeding. Apparently, Darhk lodged a bullet in him and would slowly move it towards his spine in order to force him to work. Felicity is able to remind him of how they used to want to save the world. He finally makes a heroic move and lets Darhk kill him instead of finishing the work.

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Oliver decides that he’s going to go after Darhk by himself. He reaches Darhk in his lair, but Darhk’s powers get the better of him. However, when Darhk starts to throw the Green Arrow around the streets, the public lashes out at Darhk. Their show of force and hope is enough to help Oliver counteract the effects of Darhk’s magic. The two square off one-on-one before backup arrives for both sides. A full on brawl ensues between the citizens and the ghosts with Spartan, Lyla, Quentin and the Green Arrow dead in the middle of it. The Green Arrow eventually gets the upper hand on Darhk. When Darhk reminds him that he won’t kill, Oliver tells him that, this time, he doesn’t have a choice. Oliver plunges an arrow into Darhk, ending his reign of terror.

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In the aftermath of the attack, Team Arrow dissolves. Quentin has gotten word that he’s been permanently fired from the force and is going to leave town with Donna. Speedy, coming to grips with the fact that she just threatened to kill a little girl, wants to step away from her alter ego. Diggle has also decided that he’s going to take some time to figure out how to get himself back on the right track after the business with his brother. At the end of the episode, we see that his way of doing that is by re-enlisting in the army. With everyone leaving, Oliver starts to wonder if maybe his darkness infected his friends. Felicity points out to him that what he’s feeling is a schism between the light and dark halves of himself. Before he has too much time to think about that, Oliver gets a call that tells him he’s being appointed the interim Mayor of Star City after his recent speech during the city’s crisis. After being sworn in as Mayor, Oliver finds out that the one person who isn’t leaving his side is Felicity.

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The Island / Flashback

Taiana and Reiter fight after Reiter uses his powers to blow up a plane filled with escapees. Reither reveals that the runes on his arm keep him sane, while Taiana has no such protection. Even so, Taiana is able to overpower Reiter long enough for Oliver to throw a knife into his back. Taiana regains control of herself long enough to beg Oliver to kill her. He resists at first but, eventually, he concedes to her request and breaks her neck. He manages to complete his mission and Waller arrives at the island to retrieve the idol. Waller gives him the option to go back home or continue to work for her. Instead, he decides to keep his promise to Taiana and head to Russia.

Favorite Moments

  1. Thea threatens to kill a kid
    I know that Thea wasn’t thrilled about it, but I thought this was an awesome moment. Someone needed to take the situation into their own hands. I also thought that it was a little surprising that Darhk actually believed she would do it.
  2. A brawl in the streets
    Big action scenes are a treat that we get from Arrow once or twice a season. Even if the scenario might’ve felt a little like it was born out of a Michael Jackson video, the fight between the public and the Ghosts kind of worked.
  3. Oliver Kills Darhk
    Glad that there was no hemming and hawwing about this. Darhk needed to die and Oliver was the guy to do it.

Commentary

This episode took the prize for trying to speed through it’s beats. If I were to talk through the episodes beats, they sound great. You get to resolve a lot of the threads that have run through the season and beyond and build to some very climactic moments. Unfortunately, seeing a lot of these things play out doesn’t add much more than just hearing/reading what those beats were.

With so many things going on, I don’t know how it could’ve avoided going too fast. There were some things that we probably didn’t need to see. I don’t think the episode needed to have Darhk kill off those ARGUS agents. I also don’t think we needed the scene with Seldon dying. That was really only poignant if you could recall he and Felicity’s relationship from earlier in the show and it was hard to do that while everything else was going on.

Oliver establishing himself as the leader of Star City as both Oliver Queen and the Green Arrow was a similar situation. Conceptually, it was great and I totally liked what they were going for. However, the scenes themselves seemed very implausible and unexplained. At the point that a random crowd of citizens faces off with a crowd of Ghosts, who just suddenly appeared, I just had to convince myself to suspend my disbelief for the sake of getting through the episode.

Even the dissolution of the team suffered from this. It makes sense if you’ve been following how the events of the season have affected everyone, but it’s just so sudden. Everyone peaces out in the last 4 minutes of the episode. Amazingly, Oliver and Felicity are the only ones left. The irony of this is that it’s the exact opposite of where the season began. Felicity and Oliver were happy together outside of Star city, now everyone else is leaving and they’re left, with a wrecked relationship and a wrecked Arrow Cave.

This is going to be an interesting place to pick up from for season 5. I can’t say that I’m “excited” about it because I feel like the show has taken a bit of a downward turn in the back half of this season. Even so, it’s not nearly bad enough for me to even consider not watching. I really like these characters and the rapport that they’ve developed. After 4 years, that’s more than enough for me to forgive a sub-par half of a season.

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