Arrow "Eleven-Fifty-Nine" (REVIEW)

written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Picking up right where last week’s episode left off. Malcolm Merlyn has reached out to Andy Diggle to help him rob a shipment of missiles from the military. From first glance, seemingly Andy is on Team Arrow’s side… having proven himself before when Lyla’s life was in danger. Oliver being the cautious one begs John to be wary of his brother, causing some friction among the team.

Oliver eventually reveals to the team that the idol Darhk draws power from is the same idol Baron Reiter attempted to retrieve during the flashback episodes. Outside the cape-n-cowl crowd, Ruvé Darhk wins her bid for Mayor and offers Laurel a promotion to District Attorney.

It’s an episode full of intrigue, one we haven’t had in a while and one that’s a stark contrast to the light nature of the last episode. Andy clues Team Arrow into a scheme Merlyn crafted to steal missiles which pulls half the team away from home base, allowing Merlyn to easily infiltrate the Arrow cave and steal back the idol. This begins to pull at the strings for Oliver, especially when he feels like the whole missile job felt “too easy” and it served to distract them from guarding the one thing that can give Damian Darhk his powers back.

Family plays a major part of this episode, John Diggle has to deal with his brother-from-another-mother accusing his blood brother of betrayal while Thea has come to terms with Malcolm Merlyn being her enemy… father or not. This also shows how terrifying Damian Darhk actually is when he can make Malcolm Merlyn tremble in his ninja-boots. Merlyn’s cooperation with Darhk comes at the cost of his relationship with his daughter, but his cooperation affords him and Thea clemency from whatever horrors this Operation Genesis of his will accomplish.

This has been the darkest episode we’ve had on Arrow in a while. Damian Darhk is the kind of villain who makes Ra’s al Ghul and Slade Wilson look like kitty cats. The last time an episode was this dark was the episode Slade Wilson murdered Moira Queen in front of her children. As far as the flashback scenes are concerned, Oliver hatches a plan to trap Reiter in a cave… yeah the flashbacks haven’t been exciting… when will they just stop with them?

The wheels of change are turning and the culmination of Damian Darhk’s plans are coming to a head. Oliver’s distrust in Andy places a deep wedge in-between Oliver and John Diggle’s relationship. Straining it to the point that John ends up choosing sides, adamantly standing by his brother despite anything Oliver had to say.

This also was a very Laurel centric episode. With the opportunity to become a District Attorney placed right into Laurel’s lap, she has a moment where she realizes that if she were to take the position to get closer to Star City’s newly appointed Mayor, she would have to hang up the mantle of the Canary… for good.

The episode’s climax has Darhk inciting a riot at Iron Heights. The idol Merlyn delivered to him was incomplete, Team Arrow had the foresight to separate part of it… rendering its power moot. When Team Arrow infiltrate the prison, everything changes… and we finally know who’s name is on the gravestone… a revelation that left me feeling empty.

The remainder of this review will delve HEAVILY INTO SPOILER TERRITORY. So if you haven’t seen it yet, feel free to stop reading now.

Andy was never on their side, he betrays Team Arrow… giving Damian Darhk the crucial piece of the idol to bring back his powers. After revealing that he knows the identities of the people behind the mask, he makes good on his original threat to Captain Lance and stabs Laurel with one of Oliver’s arrows. In her final moments, Laurel comes clean with Ollie and tells him how happy he is that he found Felicity, and while she has come to peace with knowing that she isn’t the love of his life… Oliver will always be the love of hers. This is heartbreaking, and as someone who has never been on board with the whole “Olicity” crap, I was hoping that eventually Laurel would be end game.

Since no one stays dead in the DC Universe, there is some hope for Laurel’s return; but with Katie Cassidy fielding interviews about her departure from the show, the reality of Black Canary being dead-and-gone feel more likely than my heart wants to admit. A Green Arrow without Black Canary just doesn’t feel right, they are partners both behind the mask and in their lives… the way this episode ended left me feeling empty, honestly this show will have to seriously pick itself up to make up for killing off the Black Canary…