Say what you will about the consistency of Arrow at times, but when the midseason finale comes around? You know things are about to get real. In fact, 3 of the now 4 midseason finales can easily be called one of the best of those seasons, and “Dark Waters” is easily one of the best of Season 04.
I won’t give into the ending just yet, because to do so would discredit everything this episode did. And oh, what it did.
From the very beginning, you knew this was going to be something big, and powerful. The attack on the beach was a quick reminder that though Oliver is trying to save Star City, Dahrk isn’t going to let that happen without a fight. What this lead to was an inspiring moment, as Ollie revealed to the world the true villain behind these attacks, Damien Darhk. While you might think this an obvious move, it’s actually very cool when you consider that Darhk loves to move…in the dark. Ollie exposing him to rally the city to his (and by extension their) defense was really cool. As was Darhk’s reaction to “becoming famous”.
But also, whereas in previous seasons Oliver would’ve gone to ground to prevent fallout from happening, the others reminded him that being the light means shining even when the dark (Darhk) is coming. And though we knew that would be a bad idea, it was refreshing to see him do it in regards to the “Holiday” party.
Now while the previews for the episode spoiled the whole “friends/family get captured and gassed” part, the scenes before and after that particular moment was great. Oliver and Darhk’s chats were really fun, and Neal McDonough is truly killing it as the villain for this season. He plays it like a comic book villain, with flair, evil, and a big smile.
But truly, the best moment was with Malcolm (dressed as the Green Arrow!) and Laurel arrived to save the day. Oh that was fun! I loved Thea’s reaction, “Is that my father?” As was Merlyn’s battle with Darhk afterward. And Merlyn “winning”? Classic.
Throughout all of this though, it was the character moments that shined through. Oliver’s rage and depression when the others were kidnapped was great. Diggle again trying to understand what happened to his brother was powerful. Laurel finding out about Quentin’s work with Darhk was also good. And yes, the scenes with Felicity and Oliver were great…right to the bitter end…
Before I talk twist, let’s talk about the bad stuff. Cause though “Dark Waters” was great, it did have cringeworthy stuff. Mainly, Felicity’s mother, MY GOSH THE MOTHER!!! I seriously hate it when she shows up. She does nothing for the plot! Oh, right, she “found the ring”…which was hidden in the decorations…why? What would’ve been wrong with Felicity finding it on her own? Exactly. My gosh…the mother…
Also, the flashbacks. It almost seems like there isn’t enough material for the entire season, so we get these sometimes meaningless bursts to show that they’re their. What did Ollie find on the Amazo? That should’ve been the reveal, AND THEN, he could’ve gotten captured. Oh well.
Finally, the ending. Yes, as was possibly very telegraphed, Felicity got shot, and possibly killed. I say “possibly” because as we’ve learned throughout the history of Arrow, no one is dead until you see their body in a casket…and even then! Could Felicity truly die? Absolutely! Will she? We’ll find out January 20th, won’t we? If not her, it will be Thea, I’m calling it now!
In the end, “Dark Waters” showed once again the greatness Arrow can achieve when all the parts are working well together. Great characters, great scenes, great villain, and some great action, all make for an excellent episode.