Arrow Season 4 Finale: Solid if not Spectacular in 5 Slices

So the fourth season of Arrow came to an end last night with the finale episode. We had the long anticipated final confrontation between Oliver and the mystical Damien Darkh, the nail biting threat of nuclear annihilation and also quite a few goodbyes.

If you have not seen it yet consider this your SPOILER WARNING. Still here? Okay. Let’s do this thang. Here’s my review in five easy to chew slices:

Let me stop you right there
Let me stop you right there

#1 Darkh Vader

As with The Flash finale we get a quick season recap in the opening and see Darkh’s introduction, Laurel’s death and the Genesis plan. We then jump into Darkh threatening, choking and “soul sucking” Felicity’s mom. Zoom reminded me of Emperor Palpatine in The Flash finale but Darkh was full on Darth Vader here. 

I enjoyed Darkh showing off his boosted powers by stopping the exploding arrow mid-air. Which is kind of like what Kylo Ren did in The Force Awakens. Will the Star Wars nods never end? It was also a nice twist to have Thea threaten Darkh’s daughter, but of course she was not going to go through with it. This isn’t Game of Thrones people.

My favorite aspect of this season has been Neal McDonough’s performance as Darkh. He was a great improvement over Ra’s al Ghul last season and the latter left me underwhelmed. McDonough’s Darkh has been menacing and dark (no pun intended) but also charming and witty. The line he hits Oliver “I know you don’t live here any more but those were nice windows” is quintessential Darkh. It is a pleasure every time he is on screen and he delivers superbly in the finale.  

Look at my crazy eyes!
Look at my crazy eyes!

#2 Why flashback why?

So we had the conclusion of the flashback story in the finale. And, not surprisingly, it was disappointing. Baron Reiter (who all season long I though was “Rider”) blows up the plane with the escaping prisoners and then Diana and Oliver kill him. I did not care about the prisoners and Reiter was so one note that all this was very much going through the motions while I waited for the main story resume.

Diana begs Oliver to kill her so the darkness did not consume her and then he breaks her neck. What? That is what you do? Not at least TRY to find a way to save her? At least some of the prisoners survive and this entire thing was not without purpose.

It was nice to see Amanda Waller show up at the end and wrap things up. But now Oliver is going to Russia which presumably will be next season’s flashback story arc. Can we stop? The flashbacks stopped being good after Season 2. Now they only serve to drag down the main story. Let us hope Season 5 is the last.

Got a little mission for you boys. Not all of you will be coming back. In fact, probably none of you will be coming back
Got a little mission for you boys. Not all of you will be coming back. In fact, probably none of you will be coming back

#3 Abandon all hope 

We return to the main story and Darkh is ready to cleanse the Earth with nukes. War Games 3: Darkh’s Revenge. This is the first Arrow finale when it is more than just Star City at risk and this was a refreshing change.

We get the touching moment with baby Sara telling her parents goodbye. Sob. John finally confesses to Lyla about how he killed Andy and gets some much needed closure. Lyla sends in her A.R.G.U.S. troops to get slaughtered by Darkh. You can’t fight City Hall Lyla. You just can’t.

Then we had ghosts show up in the Arrow cave in a nice twist. We find out that Oliver is still blaming himself for Laurel’s death and Curtis steps in to bring some much needed hope and inspiration. He also shares a cool scene with Felicity taking out the nuke headed for Star City.

End of the line Damien
End of the line Damien

#4 The light Oliver rises

So the city descends into chaos a la The Dark Knight Rises. Dogs and cats mating in the streets and all that. Then out of nowhere Oliver delivers an inspirational speech which mirrors the one he did early in the season when he introduced Green Arrow. Everyone immediately stops trying to tear each other and the city apart and join hands and sing Kumbaya. Well it is a 40 minute show so we must speed things along.

Then, the moment we have all been waiting for, Green Arrow faced off against Darkh. He delivers another hilarious one liner – “what does a guy have to do to end the world in peace?” An impending apocalypse does not dull this guy’s wit a whit. Darkh goes Vader again and throws Oliver around like a rag doll. 

But his evil powers are apparently deactivated due to the unity of the aforementioned Kumbaya citizens. Like the singing New Yorkers at the end of Ghostbusters 2, only with more violent tendencies. So the semi-depowered Darkh shows off his League of Assassins training and we get a nice smack down. His death by arrow was satisfying if not as visually impressive as one would have hoped for the supernatural character.

Though we gotta say goodbye, for the Summer...
Though we gotta say goodbye, for the summer…

#5 Parting of the ways 

With Darkh dead and the nukes deactivated everyone decides they need to take a break from Team Arrow. Lance is off with Felicity’s mom, Thea goes on sabbatical and Diggle becomes a soldier again apparently. The last one was a little confusing.

But wait. There’s more! 

Oliver’s super-inspirational speech gets him appointed interim mayor . What a twist! We’ll how this plays out. That final image with Oliver and “OG” Felicity looking at Team Arrow uniforms was evocative and beautiful.

Final Slice

A thoroughly enjoyable finale though I did not find anything that took my breath away. I must say Season 4 was a vast improvement over Season 3 – thanks in no small part to McDonough – and I will be watching for Season 5.

So have you seen the finale? What did you think of it? Feel free to comment below.

For my finale posts on “Flash” Season Two you can click here and “Gotham” Season Two you can click here. And if you liked this post and want more you can follow me @suprememango012 for updates. You have not failed the post. l8rs


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