“Genesis” is not about a new beginning but sets up the turn for Damien Darhk’s final magic act; literally taking a page from the man upstairs. Team Arrow continues to work through their grief and suffer from the emotional repercussions of their fallen comrade, Black Canary. Between the Diggle family’s unsettling resolve and the final Rubicon tie-in this truly is “A.W.O.L” part two. The Arrow writers even include some sentimental Olicity moments, with Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) literally going on a “magical world tour.” Overall this episode contained a sense of familiarity from seasons past all the way up to those final moments showing Thea (Willa Holland) not quite in Star City anymore; well, now we understand why HIVE has been growing all that corn.
“I’ve seen it [Darhk’s idol] take good people and turn them into dark, soulless, almost inhuman,” explains Oliver to Felicity before heading off to meet a shaman in Hub City; Psst he’s talking about Taiana (Elysia Rotaru). Esrin Fortuna (Gabriella Wright) finally gives Oliver some magical advice about repelling his foe’s dark magic. He needs to channel the light within him to deter Damien’s tricks. Back in “Haunted” (4×5) through the Lian Yu flashbacks we learn about how the very tattoo Constantine (Matt Ryan) gave Oliver can serve as his own personal totem for channeling magic. This will eventually help protect him from Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) as well as counteract the darkness in present day. Really, all the small Arrow Easter eggs within this episode really kept me entertained. Often with this series the story is stretched so thin over such a long period that sometimes we overlook the endgame. Now in episode twenty there are small mentions that trigger the fangirl within me to cry out #ItsAllConnected! “Yes Lian Yu is a place of Nexus, just like your home [Star City],” explains Esrin Fortuna to her newfound magical students; so did Oliver ever really leave the island? All I really need now is confirmation that in “Lost Souls” (4×6) we really did see Darhk with a motherbox that he intends to use in Star City’s Nexus, just like Baron Reiter will do on Lian Yu in the flashbacks.
“Don’t talk to me like I’m other people,” snaps Felicity as Oliver attempts to brush off her concern during the opening scenes. In large part the familiarity found in “Genesis” stems from this pairing going off on a mission together, as partners, plus seeing them undercover in a casino stirs up those “The Undertaking” (1×21) memories. Now in my “Blood debts” (4×10) review I talk about the paralleling relationships within this season and how the brilliant overall Olicity relationship arc stretched across the season. Listen to Scene N’ Nerd “It Puts You in the Mood” for more on that Arrow season four analysis. All that being said, this episode heavy-handedly illustrates Oliver Queen’s own journey to become both a light for others, but more importantly for himself. Felicity may be his light, “That is the way it’s always been with us Felicity, you are the one who brings the light,” but post-breakup he needs to learn how to harness that light inside him and defeat Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). I am so excited for the long-anticipated interactions between Oliver and Papa Smoak (Tom Amandes). Oliver will learn to recognize the hope within himself, and then be able to redirect Felicity into the light, after possibly getting caught up in her father’s games next season.
“The only reason why you’re still breathing is because one of us is still human,” yells John Diggle (David Ramsey) at his younger HIVE drone, Andy Diggle (Eugene Byrd). The drawn out Diggle family reunion comes to a very surprising end; unless your Everett Harn, hear his prediction on our Arrow Hiatus 2 podcast. This week on Arrow we learn about some significant changes for the Diggle family following both Andy’s unforgivable betrayal and Laurel’s death in “Eleven Fifty-Nine.” Both Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and baby Sara have been staying in a moving safe house vehicle; while Diggle continues to hunt down his own brother. “Bravo John you played the script put perfectly,” says Andy after capturing his brother for “preparation,” because the real plot is for Damien to steal the Rubicon codes from Lyla. Now back to the Diggle family drama, again this storyline really stands out with those mentions of their past military service. Andy is still a soldier under orders from an evil dictator, while Diggle is reluctant to cross the moral line that separates the good guys from the bad guys. “He was never going to stop,” says Diggle to Lyla after returning from the bunker and killing Andy out in the field. Shout outs to both David Ramsey and Eugene Byrd for their incredible performances during their final scene together. Now we can’t dwell on Andy’s death too much considering Damian Darhk has complete control over the world’s nuclear stock pile and intends to rebuild Star City after setting off a flood; well he certainly fancies himself a god.
HIVE has a bio dome hidden beneath Star City and Thea is trapped inside, the perks of Malcolm being a member of Damien’s posse. Well, Noah had an ark so in this biblical retelling we have an underground Pleasantville, Damien did promise his wife a new beginning in “Blood Debts.” Next week we will also see Anarky’s return to the fold following his disappearing act earlier this season. In the trailer I even saw Danny Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) from “Uprising” (3×13), I suppose the floodgates are also opening up at Iron Heights too, with so many familiar faces. Only three more episodes remain in Arrow season four, as our heroes prepare for a flood, viewers prepare for a drought.
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