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Arrow Review: Mushroom Clouds Have No Silver Linings

Written by  Published May 20, 2016 07:26
The last entry in our episodic journey into Arrow was two weeks ago. As with Flash this week I withheld my review last week in order to do a thematic side by side comparison with this week’s episode. All season long, dear readers, you have helped me explore the tropes, themes, devices and narrative of not only Arrow but Supergirl and Flash as well. All season we have focused on these things rather than the content or the wish list of every fan of the show. I have intentionally avoided the whole “too much Olicity” cries of the internet because I felt that all season it was important to look underneath the whimsy of details, (after all, what is preference but whim?) and take what the creatives gave us. Besides, how can you critique for content until all the content is given?

So as we have done since long before Felicity and Ollie were engaged we will compare episode 21 Monument Point and episode 22 Lost in the Flood where the main theme of Oliver’s commitment to the light being tested to facilitate his no kill policy. When we last left the group Thea discovered she was living in Hive’s Genesis haven underground, the worlds nukes had been commandeered by Darhk and John had lied to Lyla as to the situation around the murder of his brother by his own hand. No plot point recap again in the Arrow column as we have so much to discuss. So you might want to catch up first.

The next two don’t improve the argument for leniency and light.

So let’s get this monkey smoking…

 

**************SPOILERS LIKE MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE AT MARDI GRAS*****************

 

The SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.comArrow 4x21 9
Season 4
Episode 21
May 11, 2016
Monument Point

Felicity realizes she needs to ask her father, Noah Kuttler, for help when Team Arrow learns what Damien Darhk's next move is going to be. Meanwhile, Noah and Oliver have a heart-to-heart talk that leaves Oliver rattled.

Season 413235769 10205957754893129 663693114 n
Episode 22
May 18, 2016
Lost in the Flood

Oliver and Diggle race to rescue Thea, while Felicity, Curtis and Noah join together to stop Darhk.

 

The BREAKDOWN

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For a show that set the modern tone for superhero shows on TV, even Arrow is thematically heavier than ever before. When Felicity changed Ollie’s mind in the second episode about killing and running toward the light instead of the darkness, it kicked off a series of events leading not only to the death of Andy Diggle and Laurel Lance but nearly ruined the lives of everyone Ollie loves. Over the course of 20 episodes we have seen Ollie never stray from the light despite these things. But since swearing to kill Darhk for Felicity and for Laurel, Ollie has yet to resort to that particular act. In episode 21 we see that he is the last one left standing clinging to the light. In episode 22, we see clearly as to why they are losing. Ollie, on his journey to the light lost focus of why it was so necessary. You see, the entire mayoral campaign and the entire reveal as Green Arrow was to give the people of Star City hope. But in his quest to change himself he forgot the people of the city.

In episode 22 we see that the residents of the hidden paradise are there by choice (save Thea) and that no pills were required because they were ready to burn the world out of hopelessness. But even more profound from its subtlety is the thematic reinforcement from the parallel metaphors of the supporting cast. Look at detective Lance who after falling in the darkness is being assisted back into the like by his new life mate. Or peer into the new John Diggle who is in a full downward spiral after killing his brother and how Oliver speaks to him about being better than lying to his wife.

Arrow 4x21 1

More pronounced still is the wicked back and forth of Felicity Smoak’s mom who in one episode is dedicated to light and in the next a woman very petty, jealous and over protective when she sends the Calculator away who she refuses to believe can change. Yet Oliver himself has not returned to the darkness because his transformation was true.

This creates a place for the others to be less judgmental of him because now they all have found a piece of the darkness for themselves. But it will also free Ollie if he can unite the city, instill hope in them and defeat Darhk without it being a violent and dark act. The finale seems set to payoff big time.

Tell the monkey to crush his butt…

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