Arrow: Dark Waters – And the Best Villain Award Goes To…

If awards were given out for the Best Villain in a television it could almost be a tie between the two DC shows on CW, Arrow versus The Flash. In Dark Waters, which should have been called “Darhk Waters” (missed opportunity chaps) Damian may just edge out Mark Hamill’s villainous The Trickster on that other DC show.

Barry Allan and Oliver Queen

If awards were given out for the Best Villain in a television it could almost be a tie between the two DC shows on CW, Arrow versus The Flash. In Dark Waters, which should have been called “Darhk Waters” (missed opportunity chaps) Damian may just edge out Mark Hamill’s villainous  The Trickster on that other DC show.

Both shows had a pretty grim seasonal offering, Barry Allan besieged by Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre) as well as The Trickster (Hamill) but it looks like Captain Cold (Wentworth Millerwill bat for the good guys. While the defection of one of the bad guys could help turn the tide, the episode was still fairly glum overall. A real change of pace for the lighter side of superheroes.

On Arrow (just a point here, should not the old title now be modified to match Oliver Queen’s new moniker on the show, just a thought…) Ollie decides to “out” Damian (Neal McDonough) as Star City’s current “big bad” and Darhk is not too overjoyed, suffice to say that Queen will not be on the “holiday” card list this year. 

After his naming and shaming stunt, Merlyn (John Barrowman) stops by to warn daughter Thea (Willa Holland) and at the Christmas/Holiday party, Felicity provides some comic relief, but only a little, when she catches her mother in a clench with Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). 

Afterward she confesses to Oliver that she and her mother found the engagement ring and as she questions why Queen never finished his earlier proposal, Darhk gatecrashes the party, and kidnaps, Felicity, Thea and Diggle (David Ramsey).   Malcolm helps Queen, along with Laurel’s dad Quentin and for a split second, it looks like Damian has been eliminated with extreme prejudice. 

Of course this is Damian Darhk and his muttering of some, obviously evil magic words, means that the head of HIVE is alive to be naughty another day. Before the big bang, we are treated to the more violent version of Queen, where he beats up a few ghosts  to learn where Damian is hiding out with his loved ones.

There are some standout moments. For instance Felicity’s response to Oliver during their talk at the party:

“You are not the boss of me.”

Felicity Smoak doing what she does best, the words, the attitude and the expert delivery.

Diggle gets a memorable line when talking to his “ghost” brother:

Diggle: “I did, until I met your cult leader, Damien Darhk.

Andy: [Scoffs] “It’s not a cult.”

Diggle: “The man has people, regular people, honest people, I’m thinking, so brainwashed they’re willing to die for him…Cult.”

Malcolm Merlyn also gets a shining  moment when he explains with one sentence how he got a HIVE phone:

“I’m Ra’s al Ghul.”

Of course the biggest moment is that “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” death of Felicity Smoak.  Shocking? Yes.  Although there is at least one “duh” moment. The car that Felicity and Oliver are in  is stopped by a load of ghost vehicles. Before the minions of Darhk shoot the car to rag doll ribbons, Oliver asks “What’s going on?”

Granted, he has just gotten, arguably, the hottest girl in the geek-verse to say she will marry him, but really??  Shouldn’t his “Green Arrow senses been tingling?”  Okay a little facetious, but the point is, even the news that the girl he should have known was never going to say no to the big question saying yes, should not have made him that unaware.

Complaints aside, after the initial reaction of seeing a bloody (very little actually) and seemingly dead Felicity (points to consider, it is embarrassing to suddenly shout “No” in a crowed fast food business even if it is half empty) in Oliver’s arms, common sense took over.  While the show’s makers may decide to kill off Smoak, it is highly unlikely.

Apart from Thea, and discounting Laurel who becomes less attractive each and every time she does the Canary thing (mouth wide open and head swiveling from side to side)  Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is the big pull.  Posh totty, geeky crumpet, or fill in phrase of choice here, Rickards emotes that intelligent naivety and nerdy excitement at being part of the world of superheroes that makes her beyond endearing. 

So it makes no real sense to kill off Felicity.

Back to Damian Darhk;  he is easily the best thing about this season.  Mainly because this grand villain is being played by the brilliantly disturbing McDonough, but also because Damian is bad…to his core.  Dark Waters ends with Oliver holding a “dead” Felicity and Darhk entering silently in a room full of Christmas cheer.

Smiling, in what passes as tenderly for this award winning villain, he moves into the room and greets the woman and little girl who have been decorating the tree. A few other sites have opined that this means that Darhk has a weakness.  The only problem with that theory is that one gets the feeling that the HIVE leader would give up that family in a heartbeat.

Both The Flash and Arrow were suitably dark this week.  Mark Hamill’s The Trickster was marvelous fun, in that very sick and twisted way that the villain has, but this is a reprisal of sorts. Hamill is a master at these theatrically spectacular baddies, and he has been The Trickster (as in the voice of) in the Justice League (2002-2006) and actually played the villain in the first The Flash in 1991.

While not taking any points away for a potential “lack of originality” The Trickster is, after all, The Trickster as Mark Hamill plays him, regardless of which stage he is on. McDonough as Darhk, however is playing the part for the first time.

Granted, the actor does specialize in a certain brand of “smarmy” evil and good-natured creepiness.  This may well be why his villain could just squeak past Hamill’s joking bad boy.  But, what do you think? Does Damian Darhk blow away The Trickster as villain of the year in Arrow?


Does Damian only really knock it out of the evil park in Dark Waters (not to beat a dead horse here, but it really should have been Dhark Waters…).

We have plenty of time now that both the shows are on hiatus for the season and will not be back until the new year.  Let us know who you think wears the big bad shoes the best…And try not to think about poor Felicity “dying” too much…

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

5 thoughts on “Arrow: Dark Waters – And the Best Villain Award Goes To…”

  1. I think the “use the Force to choke someone” is too much power. The ability to suck out a person’s life by direct contact is bad enough, but at least you can combat that by fighting from a distance. A Supergirl crossover would be helpful because “heat vision melts the face” for the win sounds fun!


  2. Bring back Katanna and have her lop off his head. Stick the head in a jar and bury in deep in a vault at S.T.A.R. Labs. Or send that head through the worm hole to Gorilla City on Earth-2 so Grodd can stomp on it,
    Or maybe Ray can use his A.T.O.M. suit to shrink super small and get in Dahrk’s head and expand. Grim, indeed, but it’s not like Dahrk’s going to go away on his own.
    And if they *do* kill Felicity, I’m going to smack the crap out of the show’s writers!
    Also, to answer your question, I still think Zoom is a scarier villain, but not by much. Trickster is plain nuts (“Deck the halls with body parts of a girl named Holly…” probably won’t catch on as a popular song), but not as intimidating as Dahrk.


    1. In my humble opinion, Zoom is scarier not just because he can run rings around The Flash, but he has a scarier mask…LOLOL Joking aside, Darhk is terrifying, his gleeful evil is scary, not to mention all that power…*shudder*


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