All season, Team Arrow has fought to stop Damien Darhk, his ghosts, as well as his H.I.V.E. associates. This week Darhk declared war on Oliver Queen and everyone important to him and not everyone got out unscathed…
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
After watching numerous holiday themed TV shows over that last several weeks, it wasn’t any surprise that Arrow opened with Team Queen hosting a service project; several people turned out to help clean up the bay, a start to Queen’s revitalization of Star City. What was not expected was the attack by Darhk against the bystanders. This would be the first of many dark events throughout this entire episode as Darhk’s response to an uncharacteristic Oliver Queen outing him as the leader of the ghosts, even naming his connection to the shadow organization.
From that point on in this episode Damien made it clear that he had declared war on and Team Queen. His first act was to beat Oliver and kidnap Felicity, Thea and even John at the Queen Holiday party. It needs to be said that another feature of this episode was Ollie and Felicity working through their relationship when Felicity’s Mom found the engagement ring in the Hanukkah decorations. In fact, Ollie and Felicity were talking about their love for each other when Darhk stormed the celebration. With his sister, best friend, and love of his life in the hands of madman bent on killing his city, the Green Arrow returned to some former tactics against the ghosts looking for answers to where his family was held, yet with all of his rage and determination it was to no avail. Even though it was natural to see Oliver let his dark side out for a little bit, it showed why those old strategies would not be enough to overthrow Darhk’s influence over his ghosts.
In some ways, it felt like I knew the steps Oliver was going to take, after it was his go to operation when someone close to him is either hurt, or kidnapped or worse. It wasn’t surprising that after trying brute force, Oliver reached out to Darhk in order to give himself up to free Felicity and the others. He was willing to die to free them, but it was what happens next that shows Oliver adapting and trusting those with the same goals. By leading Oliver to Darhk, it also lead Malcom Merlin and Black Canary to Darhk and his ghosts. One of the best characteristics Merlin has is his love for his daughter, and when Darhk kidnapped her, he became Merlin’s enemy, at least for the time being. No one hurts Thea Merlin. No one! Even though he couldn’t bring the league into the fight, Merlin worked with Oliver to seek vengeance in the persona of Green Arrow, of all things, and I thought it was the best fight against Darhk this season. Merlin was able to stand toe to toe against him to allow demonstrating smarter fighting skills than even Oliver, and you could tell Malcolm was having fun the whole time.
Tonight some of the best scenes were between Malcolm and Thea, as well as Oliver and Felicity. For a long time, I wasn’t a fan of Malcom being her Dad, but it is such an interesting dynamic that keeps someone like Merlin grounded. Even with all that he has been given, tonight shows the importance of his daughter, and his willingness to protect her. I don’t want to leave out John’s conversation with his brother, Andy. John’s brother continues to be locked away, brainwashed to serve Damien. Each time John reaches out to Andy you can see it is more and more difficult for John to believe he will ever get his brother back. I believe Andy is going to be the key this coming second half of the season in freeing the other ghosts. I don’t know how it will be done, but I am calling now that Andy will sacrifice his own life in order to allow the other ghosts freedom from Darhk’s control.
The Olicity conversations were perfectly set up throughout the episode for the final scene. From their disagreement earlier, en route for them making up to Oliver asking her to marry him then… I didn’t see the attack coming, and even as it was happening my mind was going a million miles an hour, how were the ghosts going to be stopped? Was Barry going to make an appearance…. maybe Ray or even Sara? I couldn’t believe that we were going to be left with Felicity being shot and taken into surgery for the next episode in
January. I had read that “Dark Waters” was going to be a grudge match between Oliver Queen and Damien Darhk, but I had no idea this was going to be the outcome. Even though this plays directly into the scene between Oliver and Barry at the grave, I can’t believe Felicity will die. Either her death will be faked so that Oliver can protect her from Damien Darhk, or my bet is either Ollie’s son or Felicity’s Mom might die. Truly though, I can see Oliver faking her death in order to protect her.
“Dark Waters” was one of the best episodes of this season. It was about time Darhk got his hands dirty, and for the battle to become extremely real. The most interesting thing though is that Oliver Queen is more of a threat currently than the Green Arrow. I can’t wait to see how this plays out in 2016, and unfortunately we have to wait until January 20th to continue this dance between Darhk and his ghosts and Team Arrow/Queen.