Review: ‘Arrow’ Gives a Sloppy ‘Genesis’ to Season 4’s Endgame
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Genesis”:
As I’ve said one time or another, so much of Arrow Season 4 has been spent padding the grave mystery, it’s absurd to think that only two hours ahead of the finale does “Genesis” finally reveal its titular endgame, as well the outlying puzzle pieces teased as far back as December. There’s every chance that the renewed focus can drive Season 4 toward an effective end, but the corners “Genesis” cut to get us there felt ludicrous, if not outright repetitive.
Last week’s jarring flashforward return spelled out that Oliver at last needed a counter to Darhk’s magic, and since another Constantine appearance was out of the cards, that meant carting he and Felicity off to Hub City for a quick tutorial from one of the demon-fighting detective’s off-brand associates. The resolution itself doesn’t feel particularly thought out, boiling down to an on-the-nose imposition for Oliver’s inner light to outweigh the dark, a test to repel Darhk’s magic he fails at first, but apparently manages to curb in another showdown with the man himself.
At the very least, cementing Felicity as the source of Oliver’s happy thoughts helped flesh out her insistence on accompanying him to Hub City*, and there’s certainly something to be said for their relationship renewal going forward. If nothing else, the casino scenes themselves were reasonably cute, calling back to Felicity’s gambling prowess from the first season, and the kind of push-pull dynamic the two have long-enjoyed.
*Hub City is alternately known as hometown to DC’s The Question, a vigilante previously rumored to pop up on Arrow, but one only overzealous publications would have you believe appearing tonight with zero forewarning.
“Genesis” spent far more time focused on Diggle, again hammering home the familiar concept that Oliver’s brother-in-arms gives into bias when confronted by his brother, and again letting Andy endanger his entire family. That conflict came to a fairly surprising end tonight, Diggle opting to put his brother down in cold blood, rather than endure any further threats on his daughter’s life, but Season 4 still hasn’t established any particular ground rules for Darhk’s unending sway* over his men. There isn’t any clearer answer as to whether Andy was ever truly beyond redemption, a problem that managed to feed Season 4’s need for a swerve weeks ago, but didn’t have any meaningful solution in the end.
*As far as the influence of Darhk’s pills go, it is ludicrous that Oliver would okay Thea taking a vacation with Alex, someone now knowingly in Ruvé and Damien Darhk’s employ. The particular twist of Alex’s possession justified an otherwise uninteresting c-story designed to establish Darhk’s “Ark” (heh), as well the bargain Malcolm made for his daughter’s life, but makes little sense against the team’s current alert level.
It’s of interest that for all Season 4’s emphasis on magic, the final endgame again boils down to a rote distruction of Star City (or technically the world). Arrow never fully embraced the character’s lefty stance of the comics, though it at least felt like early seasons had some footing in in reality, to correct Oliver’s family mistakes and help the helpless of Starling City, and I hope Season 5 can find that kind of specificity going forward.
I don’t doubt that the final three episodes of the season can wring some solid set pieces out of Darhk’s destructive efforts, but even after Laurel’s demise, it feels harder and harder to identify any personal stakes to this final showdown.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Forgive me for not relishing the image of a towheaded tyrant murdering any subordinates that question his grand vision to make [H.I.V.E.] great again.
- What exactly happened to the backup Lyla was supposedly sending in Diggle’s direction? It isn’t as if Andy moved him anywhere.
- I’m guessing the repeat emphasis on Constantine (even an impression!) underscored the original hopes to actually return the character.
- Thea wakes up alone in a strange bed, hears threatening noises nearby, and seasoned warrior that she is, reaches for a … tiny robe.
- No flashbacks tonight, but does the shot of a possessed Taina confirm her as a goner?
- Looks like that Suicide Squad embargo is still up and running, that the Deathstroke costume can appear, but no mention of the name or voice.
- H.I.V.E. couldn’t spring for a nature sounds tape lasting longer than ten seconds?
Arrow Season 4 will return May 11 with “Monument Point,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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