“Arrow” ended the fourth season with “Schism.” Damien Darhk was still quite earnestly trying to destroy Starling City, aka Star City, and the rest of the world even though his ark was rubble. Darhk (played brilliantly by Neal McDonough) rather pettily wanted to kill everyone, including his daughter, because Machin died last week.
The episode had the obligatory flashbacks to the island and we learn that Oliver killed Taiana (Elysia Rotaru) who was corrupted by the dark power needed to kill good old “what’s his name” back on the island. (We know his name was Baron Reiter played by Jimmy Akingbola.)
Meanwhile, the gang are overwhelmed when Darhk pays them a not-so social call to get the Rubicon laptop back and make some threats. While he was there, Damien had some ghosts shoot up the place. Getting his daughter back Darhk then departs for the final phase of his “bringing hell to earth” plan.
There was a good deal of angst in this season finale. Everyone was upset, depressed and had lost hope by the time that Oliver and the good citizens of Starling City took on Darhk and his ghosts. (To be fair, the scene where Mr and Mrs John Doe clash with the armed ghosts felt pretty epic, like “Gladiator” without swords, shields, sandals or Russell Crowe.)
“Arrow,” aka Green Arrow, has always been rather dark. Oliver Queen is morose, has to work hard at not killing villains and always has that “hangdog” look in his face. Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is the Pollyanna in the Arrow-verse, even her inadvertent killing of “tens-of-thousands” of innocents does not put too much of a damper in Smoak’s eternal optimism.
The finale had plenty of gun play, a bit of arrow play and loads of choreographed fights between pretty much everyone. Only John Barrowman’s Merlin was shorted in the department of fisticuffs, although he was able to save Thea (Willa Holland) with a well placed arrow of his own.
After a huge build up to the final battle where 15, 000 nuclear warheads are about to eradicate all life on the planet it is revealed that all Queen needed to defeat Darhk was…wait for it….hope. Yes, hope was the secret weapon all along. Somewhat akin to Tinkerbell being brought back to life by clapping, Darhk’s magic was rendered useless by a whole lot of hope.
(To be fair it did take an entire city of hope to bring about Darhk’s defeat…sort of like an entire theatre of children clapping wildly was needed to bring back Tinkerbell…Hmmm.)
As one website put it, “Arrow” just sort of finished this season after Oliver shoved his arrow into Darhk’s chest and killed him. But seriously? What did everyone expect? Darhk was the best villain ever.
Funny, pithy, glib, snotty, bigger than life and so acerbic. He was good-humored evil on two legs and he loved being bad. However his end came about, whatever happened afterward was going to be anticlimactic. With an entire episode of fights, shootouts, frantic keyboard pounding and the rise of a downtrodden city’s denizens, the ending was bound to be a little…Meh.
In terms of outstanding performances Neal McDonough should be pulling in some huge gongs for his work on this show. The actor just blew everyone else away whenever he was on camera and he did not have to say a word to do so. That look of evil glee was enough to overpower the other players.
“Arrow” finished without any help from outside agencies, like “The Flash,” or “The Legends of Tomorrow” or even “Supergirl” (we know, it is miles too early for that) but the tease of a huge multi-crossover event next season leaves all sorts of possibilities open. We are still hoping that a certain former Time Master manages to bring back Laurel.