This is it, the final stretch. Only two more episodes to go, and wow!, did “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” really set things in motion for next week’s finale. It’s almost as if this is the episode we’ve all be waiting for because, finally, all of Arrow‘s tangent plot lines are coming together. Things kicked off at breakneck speed with the Dark Archer, Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) attacking Unidac Industries and killing every scientist who had anything to do with the seismic device “the undertaking” is using to destroy The Glades. And I was immediately struck by how distraught I’ll be when Barrowman’s villain meets his inevitable sticky end.
I’m guessing we’ll see his undoing this season, with Tommy (Colin Donnell) taking his place as head of Merlyn Global and The Hood’s arch-nemesis. I do hope I’m wrong, because bad guy Barrowman is too much fun to give up, but the police drawing a connection between the Dark Archer and Merlyn Global so quickly can’t be good sign. At least there’s plenty of promise Malcolm’s not going down without a fight.
On the other side of things, Oliver (Stephen Amell) finally believes Diggle’s (David Ramsey) suspicion of his mother. I mean, how can he deny Moira’s (Susanna Thompson) involvement when he catches her in the middle of a late night meeting with Malcolm? Determined to get the truth from her, Ollie and Diggle hatch a pretty sick and twisted plan. Have The Hood abduct both Moira and Ollie, using Ollie as leverage forcing Moira to confess the true plans of “the undertaking.” In this scenario, Diggle is The Hood and he has, maybe, a bit too much fun beating Oliver in front of his mother, but the plan works beautifully, with Moira spilling all the beans.
Armed with this knowledge, Team Arrow stages an infiltration of Merlyn Global in order to hack their servers and learn the location of the seismic device. It’s easily the best sequence of the episode because we really get to see Team Arrow functioning like a team. It’s a fairly smooth operation, and every slight hiccup is handled effectively and even humorously. The relationships between Ollie, Diggle, and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) are some of the most well-developed on the show, and the arc we’ve followed them on is paying off. Which is more than I can say for the relationship between Ollie and Laurel (Katie Cassidy), and Arrow isn’t letting us forget about these fated lovers anytime soon. Something that’s probably irritating Olicity shippers, a faction of Arrow fans I only learned of today, because the rapport between Oliver and Felicity is far more compelling than anything between him and Laurel. And I’m not saying I necessarily see Olicity as a viable, romantic option, but they’ve been given better, more realistic interactions throughout the season. I feel ya, Olicity shippers, I feel ya.
But, I can’t help but draw comparisons between their swing across the elevator shaft and Luke and Leia in Star Wars. And while at the time that looked like a possible romantic outcome, we all know it didn’t pan out that way. For obvious reasons.
There wasn’t only a bunch of plot progression in the present – because if you hadn’t noticed yet, this episode was all about plot progression – but back on the island things are moving very quickly. Oliver, Slade (Manu Bennet), and Shado (Celina Jade) witness Fyers (Sebastian Dunn) putting his final plan in motion. Using Yao Fei (Byron Mann) as his scape goat, Fyers plans to fire on a domestic flight entering China – a Ferris aircraft, in yet another clever wink to DC’s vast universe – in the hopes of destabilizing the Chinese economy. After Yao Fei makes his traitorous announcement, Fyers kills him, surprising the hell out of everyone, myself included! Yao Fei’s death will surely change the dynamic of their struggle on the island, as will the reveal Fyers is taking his orders from a pair of good lookin’ legs.
Of our remaining tangential plot lines, Oliver convinces Tommy to try and reconcile with Laurel, which only becomes hilariously complicated when Ollie realizes he and Laurel could have a future once “the undertaking” is defeated and he leaves The Hood behind. And I mean laugh out loud funny, because when Ollie and Laurel and hookin’ up in front of the window – like you do – Tommy spies them from the street, giving his best “Oh-this-is-so-the-moment-I-turned-evil” look. Roy (Colton Haynes) finally gets to meet the vigilante, he just doesn’t know it’s Thea’s (Willa Holland) brother who quickly kicks them out of Merlyn Global where they were hoping to catch The Hood. And Walter (Colin Salmon) divorces Moira, because’ he ain’t dumb! The man knew things were weird, that’s what got him abducted in the first place.
And it’s at this point, I wonder if I’m watching a superhero soap opera? Which, I guess I am, and that’s all right, as long as they follow it with the likes of the dramatic showdown we got at the end.
That’s right, after getting his ass kicked by the Dark Archer earlier this season, The Hood gets his ass handed to him again by Malcolm. Their fight at end of this episode is thrilling! Not only because it’s one of hell of a fight, but because it’s full of revelations abound. First there’s the obvious, clearly the Dark Archer and Malcolm are the same man. Something we’ve known all along but comes as a shock to Oliver when his best friend’s dad catches an arrow mid flight. But then there’s the surprise of Malcolm lifting the hood to reveal his son’s childhood friend! What’s a guy to do when your son’s bestie turns out to be the one man thwarting your plans of destruction? That’s for us to find out next episode.
Next week is Arrow‘s big finale! Don’t miss it, 8pm on the CW!