Arrow: “Lost in the Flood” Season 4 Episode 22 Review

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Arrow is on a classic end-of-season roll right now, with episode after episode providing real consequences with the fight against Damien Darhk. “Lost in the Flood” did a wonderful job maintaining that momentum after last week’s masterful “Monument Point” by keeping the stakes high and the mood light. This show hasn’t been this good in years.

The episode opens right where we left off, with Green Arrow and Spartan facing off with a Darhk who’s exhibiting powers greater than he has all season. Most Arrow villains of the past were able to be defeated by martial arts and sharp objects, so Darhk displaying a power that genuinely makes us think “how the hell are they going to beat him?” gives the end of season four a surprising freshness, not to mention tension. But after the opening, Darhk steps back for two other warring villains to take over: his wife and Anarky.

The latter’s quest for revenge in Darhk’s giant suburbia ark ends up having more significance to this season’s endgame. As he hijacks the TV and threatens the new world order’s citizens, who we learn are not under the influence of drugs, there’s a sense that all these moving parts are heading to something big. Suddenly, Anarky has become one of this show’s greatest, most unpredictable villains.

But having Oliver and Diggle fighting in the ark has more rewards. The long set piece as they hunt down a drugged Thea in a well-off neighborhood was a ton of fun. Green Arrow kicking ass on porches and lawns in broad daylight is both amusing and has never been seen before. Plus, the stunt choreographers were at the top of their game for this sequence. I’m not sure Stephen Amell has ever looked more badass then that spin move he did firing an arrow behind him.

But as Anarky threatens to blow up the world’s one safe haven from Darhk’s plan, the team, rejoined by Thea, have to find him and stop him, leaving Malcolm behind to evacuate the residents. I liked that Arrow gave the residents some life to them, helping us understand why they’re game for Darhk’s new world. It deepens the conflict just enough that the show’s ideas, while fun, still feel fully formed.

The final fight in H.I.V.E.’s control room was rightfully eventful. Oliver managed to save Darhk’s daughter, but Anarky stabbed and killed his wife before getting away. Now the ark is destroyed, but with his wife dead, Darhk is still willing to destroy a world that he thinks deserves it. Even so, he’s already taken part of Star City with him, as a giant hole lies where the Glades used to be.

Meanwhile, above ground, Felicity, her father, and Curtis fight Darhk’s latest recruit, Cooper from season three’s “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak,” to shut down Rubicon once and for all. A lot of the episode’s comedy came from here. I loved when Felicity snatched the beer out of Curtis’ hands at the sight of her parents arguing. While it was great to see Felicity and her father working in tune with each other, some of the Smoak family drama that came out of it felt misplaced. Is now really the time for the intimate reveal that it was Felicity’s mom who ran away with her not her father who left them? For an episode with as many moving parts and high stakes as this one, the long scene at the end between Felicity and her mom felt out of place.

Similarly, the flashbacks are just in the way at this point. A showdown is clearly coming, but it’s difficult to care about with everything in the present. Not that the flashback storyline has built any momentum or tension at all this year.

Still, “Lost in the Flood” benefited from its sheer scope and willingness not to take itself too seriously. This was an episode where the end of the world was at stake yet a grieving Quentin Lance still found time to sass the team. That’s top form Arrow right there. This season has slowly picked up and is now rivaling the show’s best. Now it’s just a question of whether they’ll stick the landing. Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • There was a bit of a come down when Darhk invaded Felicity’s apartment at the end of the episode. At this point, there’s no way the villain’s plan to destroy the planet will succeed. But part of Star City was destroyed and a whole town was nuked. Sure, the impending finale may air on the predictable side, but you can’t say season four didn’t go big and real with its stakes.
  • One of my favorite things about the last two episodes is how many old villains Darhk called up to join the fray, along with those who are standing against him. While these villains aren’t nearly as iconic as Batman’s, Arrow has the feeling of an Arkham game right now. And for long form superhero storytelling with a massive cast of characters, no one has done it better than Rocksteady with their Arkham trilogy.
  • What was with Malcolm’s limp fake hand all episode? We’ve seen him use it in the past. It really stood out in an off-putting way.
  • So bets on Felicity’s dad coming through to save his daughter and ex-wife next week?
  • Looking at this season as a whole, Arrow has been consistently solid if not great pretty much all year. Of the 22 episodes that have aired so far, I’ve only given two a grade lower than B+, those being the season premiere and “Haunted.” Kudos to the writers for giving us a consistent and now just plain outstanding season.

By Matt Dougherty

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