Television & Film

ARROW Kills It

Episode 122 “Darkness at the Edge of Town” and 123 “Sacrifice”

[photos: Jack Rowand/CW]

OK, OK. Tie me up and flog me a bit. Yes, this is terribly behind. Because life and such.


Let’s combine the last two episodes of the season, because they really play out like a two-part story, really. “Darkness” sets up the final few pieces of the Undertaking, while Oliver connects the dots and tries to figure out what Malcolm is really up to. In the meantime, the Dark Archer is leaving a swath of destruction in his wake, killing the Unidac scientists who have been working on his seismic generator — the thing that can generate an earthquake big enough to destroy the Glades.

It’s an ambitious plan, and gives us plenty of confirmation that Malcolm snapped a long time ago. Probably the death of his wife just put him over the last inch of the edge, but there’s reason to think he was on the way already.

Walter’s home, and he’s feeling out of sorts. Oliver confronts Moira about it, bringing up the fact that there’s that book. Oliver gives her an out, offers to help her without really telling her what’s going on. And to aid in this little inquiry, Diggle dresses up as the Hood and kidnaps them both, beating Ollie to get Moira to confess her involvement in the Undertaking. It’s an interesting sleight-of-hand, and it gets her to sing like a … canary.

Sorry. Had to do it.

Thea and Roy play Meddling Kids and try to track down the Hood. Doing a little detective work, Thea sticks around the police station and overhears Detective Lance talking about how the Dark Archer is somehow connected to Merlyn Industries. So, they trot over there to see if they can pick up the trail of the Hood. Lance is there picking up the pieces that Dark Archer left behind — a lot of dead bodies and fried computers. Merlyn is moving forward with his plan to level the Glades, and he’s taking out everyone who had a hand in getting him there.

Roy’s obsession with the vigilante lands him and Thea at Merlyn’s HQ just as Oliver is wrapping up his meeting with Tommy — in which he tries to play peacemaker between his former best friend and his former girlfriend — all the while Smoakin’ Felicity is hacking into Merlyn’s mainframe to see if Team Hoodie can locate the Transmooker Device Earthquake Generator. It’s a fun bit of back and forth watching all of the characters moving in and out like the Scooby gang in that hallway with the Portal doorways…

And those of you wanting to see Felicity get together with Diggle: yeah, I can see it. But I don’t think it’s going to happen. Just a gut feeling on my part. But it’s fun to watch Dig get Felicity out of trouble by pretending she’s a Tommy groupie and see her roll with it like they’ve been improvising together for years. There’s a definite comfort level between these two characters now, and it plays well. David Ramsey and Emily Rickards have a nice chemistry.

Felicity’s hacking doesn’t go unnoticed, as the police hacker traces her hack job as he’s hacking into Merlyn’s unhackable system, too. Got that? So Lance pulls Felicity in, thinking maybe she’s got some inside information on the vigilante.

Oliver has decided that stopping Malcolm is really what his mission was about all along, and now that he’s about to stop the destruction of the Glades — a bit over-confident, Ollie? — he goes to Laurel’s to see if maybe they have a chance. Of course, they do. Because… Green Arrow and Black Canary. Come on. But in this universe, we don’t know that yet, so never mind. The important take-away here is that Laurel leaves her curtains open too much. Tommy sees them. Tommy isn’t happy that he sees them. Tommy seethes, then.

See what I did there?

Oliver goes after Malcolm, hoping to confront him and stop him before it’s too late. And that’s when — dun, dun DUN! — Malcolm reveals he’s the Dark Archer. Captures Ollie, because Bad Guy.

And we pick up in part two with Oliver hanging shirtless (why? oh, CW… ) by chains while Malcolm monologues about his crazies. Of course, after Malcolm does his Bond Villain set and leaves, Oliver escapes — with Diggle’s help — and the two go after the Dark Archer

While Lance gets sent out to defuse the Unidac Earthquake machine. And I’ve got to give props to Paul Blackthorne for his phone call to Laurel. He does have a heart! It’s a great scene, because this episode — called “Sacrifice” — has all sorts of foreshadowing about a lot of characters maybe not making it out the other side.

Moira decides that things are getting out of hand, so she calls a press conference to admit her part in the Undertaking and to reveal Malcolm as the wizard behind the curtain, thus giving John Barrowman plenty of opportunity to chew scenery, and boy he does it with zest! Of course, this also puts Tommy in the awkward position of realizing that Dad’s crazy and Oliver was right all along and now suddenly what can he do to make things right?

Because during the big knock-down drag-out between Oliver and Malcolm, it’s winner take all. And while Diggle gets there just short of too late, Oliver makes the gutsy decision to stab an arrow through himself to get to Malcolm. Yeah. This episode is about everyone being in pain in every way possible. As Malcolm falls over, I’m thinking “OK, this is the last bit to send Tommy over the edge and become the next Dark Archer.”

Lance gets his mitts on the Unidac device, and we get the “red wire, blue wire” trope until he stops the machine. Because Felicity/Oracle talks him through it like a boss.

Aha! Zounds! Malcolm, though, has a second device. Bu-bye Glades.

The last five minutes of this episode change everything, as the CNRI offices collapse around Laurel. Her rescuer — Tommy, who doesn’t get out before the building comes down. Oliver gets there just in time to reassure Tommy that everything’s OK, and for Tommy to make things right with Oliver.

Then Tommy dies.

Did not see that coming.

The producers have already confirmed that Tommy is dead-dead and not comic book dead. And his loss will be felt by everyone on the show, in terms of character impact. Next season, we’ll have all sorts of fallout from this. But this leaves me with a “what the what?” feeling, because now if both Merlyns are dead, that leaves a gaping hole in the Rogues Gallery for Green Arrow. Leading me to conclude that Malcolm’s not dead, and Tommy’s death will fuel his Khan-rage even more.

Because we have to have a Merlyn.

[Official Show Site at CW]     [Previous Recap: “The Undertaking”]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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