Arrow: “Monument Point” Season 4 Episode 21 Review

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Arrow is a 23-episode per season superhero drama on the CW. That is to say, it isn’t perfect. But man, when this show is firing on all cylinders, it’s downright infectious. With a gaggle of villains, breathless action, and levity that doesn’t discount the dire stakes, “Monument Point” is what a perfect episode of Arrow looks like.

First, I have to give the show credit for calling me on my bluff. In last week’s review, I wrote that there was no way Darhk’s plan to nuke the world would result in any real consequences. Well, Arrow nuked a town this week, killing tens of thousands of people. Damn. How is this world going to react to that? Will Green Arrow and Flash zip over to the site of the explosion for a relief effort once Zoom and Darhk are dealt with? With two episodes left to go, Arrow once again proved that it isn’t afraid to let its villains take a little chunk of the world with them. Merlyn did something similar in season one when he destroyed the Glades. Until now, the show hasn’t quite regained that moxie.

But before this moment that suddenly lights the world on fire, raising the season’s stakes like never before, “Monument Point” was just great fun. Taking control the world’s nuclear arms, Darhk hires Brick and Murmer to kill the Calculator, Felicity’s father, so he can’t hack into Rubicon and prevent the missile strike. Oliver and Diggle rescue Noah in a well-choreographed battle with old foes in the woods. Meanwhile, due to inactivity, Felicity is fired as CEO of Palmer Tech and escorted out, leaving behind some valuable tech in stopping Darhk. Once the setup is done, the episode kicks things into high gear.

Arrow has always been better when the team is scrambling to defeat the villain toward the end of the season. Now with almost no resources, the team has to conduct a daytime heist into the company Oliver and Felicity both used to run. Has there been a more fun sequence on this show all season? Diggle helping Felicity, in the field for once, and her father as they banter their way through the building. Meanwhile, Oliver is around to kick some ass and hold up security when things get too tight. Throw in Lance as the getaway driver at the last minute, and you’ve got great uses for the whole team in a manner we’re not used to seeing. Felicity is quick to remind us that this is all to prevent a nuclear strike, keeping the stakes high while the jokes keep coming. It’s as pitch-perfect a sequence as you’re ever going to get on Arrow, one that could only come with the desperation that comes with the end of the season.

Once they have the tech in the hands of Team Arrow, it’s time to go to war. Brick, Murmer, and a small legion of Ghosts descend onto where Felicity and her father aim to stop the nuclear strike. Meanwhile, Oliver, Diggle, Lyla, and her own legion of A.R.G.U.S. soldiers prepare for a fight. The result is a fun but decidedly tense skirmish that only continues to make it really feel like the season is ending. That’s when just one nuclear missile escapes the grasp of the hackers and Felicity just barely manages to divert it to a smaller town than Monument Point. The look of guilt on her face is crushing. A full-on nuclear strike may have been prevented, but tens of thousands of lives were still lost. This is a big move that I can’t wait to see how Arrow deals with.

Meanwhile, inside the Ark, Thea is forced to face her own nemesis, Anarky. The drama here played second fiddle to everything going on above ground, but Anarky proved to be a solid enough villain earlier this season and the notion of supervillains trying to take down Darhk alongside the heroes is an interesting one. Albeit in their own villainous ways.

Also, the flashbacks had more action this week than they have for the rest of the season. They’re still problematic more so than ever this year, but at least some stuff was happening.

All in all, “Monument Point” was a good as Arrow has ever been. As past seasons have proved, this show is in top form leading up to the finale. Season four is no different, combining all the fun elements of this show with the dire stakes, and surprising consequences, that have been missing since season one. For the first time in a long time, I’m dying to see what happens next. Grade: A

Some Other Notes:

  • Vinnie Jones is hilarious as Brick. A perfect sub-villain to the real deal.
  • Speaking of the real deal, I’m starting to think Damien Darhk has surpassed Malcolm Merlyn and Deathstroke as this show’s all-time best villain. Neal McDonough has done a tremendous job hamming it up while keeping him intimidating. He also effectively nuked a freaking town.
  • I love how the Lance/Smoak romance has sort of just been developing in the background all season. We didn’t need to see every little detail, they get to just be cute and stuff.
  • It makes sense for Merlyn to follow Darhk’s path. His plan is just a much larger version of what Merlyn was doing in season one.

By Matt Dougherty

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