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Arrow Review: The Revelation of Genesis

Written by  Published May 10, 2016 05:42
Barreling into the darkness at a rapid pace is never wholly comfortable, even if you are just a witness to it. With each installment of season 4 the creative team at Arrow seems to be doubling down on Ollie’s commitment to the light and with each installment the narrative demands that life kick mud all over the team – what is left of it.  We have explored in detail the thematic balancing act the show has maintained between the scripted and intentional narrative and the implications that serve as undertones for the thematic heart of the show.

While other columnists have chosen to critique content and preference I have (along with all of you) instead have taken a different approach insomuch that I wanted to explore less about creators’ direction and more about structure, trope and theme.  This is the crux of the season – the lowest of the low points. It is here heroes ascend and people fail, without this installment there can be no ultimate victory because here is where all the fortitude comes from. In Genesis we see that the themes of choosing light, trying not to kill and being open and honest reach all their natural culminations, good and bad. I broke it down.

So let’s get this monkey smoking…


*********SPOILERS LIKE TRAVOLTA AT A DANCE CONTEST***********************


Season 4,
Episode 20
May 4, 2016


Oliver and Felicity look for a magical solution to defeat Darhk; vengeance-driven Diggle gets a lead on Andy's whereabouts and heads off to confront his brother; Alex takes Thea on a vacation that quickly turns into a nightmare.

What They Didn’t Tell You

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Damien Darhk is free and his first stop is Hive HQ where he kills Milo and takes control back. He announces he is starting the final phase of Genesis. He is accompanied by his new posse Merlyn, Murmur and Andy Diggle. Meanwhile, at the Bunker, Team Arrow discusses how to stop Darhk and Oliver tells them he is going to Hub City to find a teacher that Constantine recommended. He then tells them all to take a break for the weekend until he returns.

Felicity demands to go with and he acquiesces. When they arrive in Hub City they wait in a casino for their contact to appear. While they do Felicity wins big at the tables and shares her winnings with someone not winning. The grateful gambler reveals herself to be Madam Fortuna who takes the duo to a secret chamber between worlds. There she explains and partially trains Ollie by explaining only the light inside him can destroy Darhk and that there is not enough light left in him. His darkness will feed Darhk’s darkness. She turns them away. When they get back Ollie has a run in with Dahrk and manages to repel him however briefly or minutely it was. It gives him hope.

John visits Lyla and the baby in a secret location. She sends him for diapers. He gets a hit on Andy’s location and is soon in pursuit. Andy tries to kill him taunting John as well as mocking the dead. It infuriates John. John pursues and finally catches him. But it is Andy who springs the trap and captures John. Andy tortures his own brother, and John escapes and overpowers him. Then John refuses to kill his own brother. After Andy and Darhk go after Lila though he has no choice but to kill him.

Thea goes out of town with Alex. But when she awakens in an idyllic town with no memory of arriving Alex convinces her she is tired. But she realizes soon that the world is too perfect and that the audio for the world is on a loop. She confronts Alex and finds he is taking the yellow mind control pills of Hive and that he drugged her and brought her to the world of Genesis.

Meanwhile Darhk is about to destroy the world and so far no one seems able to stop him. Especially not this broken, grief-stricken team.


The Breakdown


We have seen time and again this season the price of walking in the light. No character though has suffered like our hero Oliver himself. When we started the season with an ideal home life and love for Ollie and Felicity we had no idea we would lose Laurel, lose Ollicity, lose Oliver’s son, watch Thea break in half and not to mention the election, Detective Lance and all the horrid lies, betrayals and public identity hits. The truth is if the theme is our hero choosing light than the real villain must be his old nature and his willingness to fall back on it while it is convenient.

But we finally see the payoff around the corner. It is clear that it won’t be murder and revenge that finally defeats Darhk and stops Genesis. It will be the light inside Oliver. The light he has been earning and putting into practice all season. Overtly now the writers are cluing in those not sure where it is leading. In Felicity we see that light is eternal and in John we see what too much pain can do to a rational man. For 3 seasons John Diggle – The Spartan – was the voice of reason and calm for Oliver. But after the death of Laurel caused by Andy’s treachery and the overt attempt to kill his wife and child that voice of reason was silenced by fratricide.

Thea, ever the one who wants to believe the best in people is finally learning not to trust…like her brother did before her. Her journey from the darkness of the Lazarus Pit to the light of no bloodlust is in jeopardy because no one was looking out for the team…everyone was walking their own paths too much. They forgot the lesson of season one and Thea may be the victim of this.



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Thematically this show has always been heavy. But somehow the writes have upped the stakes while staying on point to the overall theme of light and darkness…and the balance of both. The introduction of Fortuna adds another character for a future Justice League Dark type of book along with Zee and Constantine. Not to mention Vixen.

If the season finale pays off like its promised not only will it be entertaining but meaningful too. Can’t ask for more than that.

Tell the monkey to crush his butt…

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