Arrow: “Dark Waters” Season 4 Episode 9 Review

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Arrow‘s fourth season has played a very strange game. The season premiere introduced us to Damien Darhk, as well as the fact that someone big will die this season. the seven episodes between then and now continued to effectively use Darhk, but mostly in the background as the show set up Legends of Tomorrow. Now that that’s done, we get “Dark Waters,” an episode that significantly raises the season’s stakes, and delivers one nasty cliffhanger.

After an attack on Star City’s citizens cleaning up the bay, Oliver makes one of his wars with Darhk public, exposing his face to reporters. Darhk answers by very publicly storming his campaign holiday party and kidnapping Felicity, Diggle, and Thea. It was exciting seeing Green Arrow out on his own after so much time having back up. But all his fighting gets him nowhere.

So this week, Team Arrow is Oliver, Laurel, Detective Lance, and Malcolm Merlyn (if you told me that in season one…). It was actually funny to see Lance pull a gun out on Merlyn, simply because the two haven’t interacted since season one. Merlyn of course responds, “I’m Ra’s al Ghul.” This show is kind of bonkers now.

The plan they come up with has Oliver turning himself over to Darhk, with Merlyn, dressed as Green Arrow, and Black Canary coming in for the rescue. How neat was it to have Laurel’s Canary Cry finally be used for something useful other than making henchmen temporarily cover their ears? Let’s empower Black Canary more often, writers!

The escape goes relatively standard, except Oliver and Malcolm end up saving each other from Darhk, which was a cool turnaround from their usual dynamic. But what happens after is what’ll have fans screaming at their television that the next episode isn’t on right now. First, Oliver proposes to Felicity in one of the cutest TV proposals I’ve seen in a while. But then, Darhk attacks, and Felicity’s just may be the tombstone Oliver is looking at a few months from now. It’s a deeply effective moment and a hell of a cliffhanger.

Regardless of Felicity’s fate, “Dark Waters” greatest accomplishment is how personal it just made the hero/villain rivalry. The rest of season four is set up now, and that’s a scary thing for all the characters, but an exciting one for us viewers. See you, and hopefully Felicity, in 2016. Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • “You just love having minions, don’t you.”
  • Darhk was all kinds of scary this episode, but know what isn’t scary? Corn.
  • Oliver’s marriage proposal was actually perfect. Arrow would have done a long, drawn out speech for it back in season one. But this short and sweet version for TV’s cutest superhero couple got the job done in style.
  • Down the road, at what lengths will Oliver allow the League to get involved in his war on H.I.V.E.? How desperate will they make him? And will that give Malcolm too much freedom?

By Matt Dougherty

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