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Arrow Review: Vixen Up The Dahrkness With Night

Written by  Published February 25, 2016 06:10
For three seasons Arrow was a very dark vigilante crime drama full of bleak Nihilism and little hope. But for 14 episodes, Oliver’s commitment to the light and hope of a hero has yielded new and fantastic results for his new life. But in his failures, since the dawn of the show’s first season, comes his hardest lessons. Now his earliest flaw of keeping secrets could change everything for the season’s direction as episode 15 “Taken” resets the Arrow Template that has been used to build so many successful shows since.

Each week we have been exploring the tropes and themes of the show along with the devices used to propel the narrative. But even to us, who break it down so well together, could hardly have predicted the level that the Arrow creative would take to ratchet up the jaw dropping in episode 15. In a single swoop they ended the Damien Dahrk arc, the son arc and a couple other very loose ends we will describe in this week’s breakdown.

So let’s get this monkey smoking…

 

**************SPOILERS LIKE OVERALLS AND THE INTESTINAL FLU*****************

 

The Synopsis from TVGuide.com
Taken
Season 4
Episode 15
February 24, 2016

Oliver enlists Vixen's help to battle Darhk. She uses her magical ability to summon animal powers and gets a lock on Darhk's location. Meanwhile, Thea has a heart-to-heart talk with Malcolm.

What They Didn’t Tell You

 cc8716cbf5728d87d5f8a255b6a868afFelicity learns of William’s existence from Dahrk and the secret that she was kept out of at the same time William’s mom arrives courtesy of Barry Allen. While burying her feelings she is forced to put William, Oliver and Samantha (the boy’s aforementioned mom) ahead of all of her struggles including learning to walk with the spine chip (ouch) Curtis made her. Real healing is required before she can walk with the chip and that means mental more than anything else.

Samantha is so rough on Oliver that he enlists Vixen’s help from Detroit and hopes her magic can stop Dahrk where his arrows and fists cannot. After a failed rescue attempt Dahrk makes Oliver drop out of the mayoral race and endorse his wife. Oliver complies, Darhk promises to deliver William but all suspect him to double cross and kill the boy. Laurel is still hurting by Oliver’s infidelity of so long ago when confronted with realization that Oliver has a child. Her dad comforts her.

In the flashbacks, what appears to be Deadman makes a cameo as Oliver’s rune tattoo allows him to discover and probe a cave for Ryder.

arrow season 4 photos 9 Meanwhile Vixen counsels Oliver to let William go have a normal childhood while Diggle counsels to keep him close. Both are real options to Oliver who forgets to include Felicity in his decision yet again.

Thanks to Detective Lance they find a way to track and beat Darhk by destroying the source of his power. Vixen manages to do this while the team defeats Darhk and saves William. It is revealed that Malcom Merlyn stole the boy for Darhk and Thea rages at him while revealing some hidden plans between the two of them. Oliver tapes a message for his son explaining why he won’t be seeing him for many years. This recording is going to be a problem later – because of secrets and this show of course.

In the final scene, Felicity breaks up with Oliver, returns the engagement ring then gets up from her wheelchair for the first time and walks out on him. Back into the darkness for Oliver.

 

The BREAKDOWN

arrow season 4 photos 13 jpg w 700

Fatherhood and parenting. It is a delicate topic to approach when the parents are not masked vigilantes but more difficult to convey realistically when they are. In Taken, the creative has done a near impossible feat in just one hour.

It has reset the entire series back to its roots without discounting what has come before it. The themes of not being able to escape who you are, or making the same mistake again and again comes to full clarity here. But unlike other shows where no real consequence occurs for these mistakes Arrow has always made sure that the stakes were real and the price often too high to pay. In what seemed a small hurrah for the big, bad Damien Dahrk (remember the secret cabal and the mayoral wife still are very much alive and employing Malcom) we also got what we needed more than anything else. A reminder that Laurel Lance is Oliver’s true love and Arrow and Canary are linked through time to each other in the comics.

In addition, the show paid off when none was expected and gave us a surprise ending for the arc – once again making Malcom Merlyn (his nemesis for life in the comics) the main threat. To wit – the template is fully reset. The narrative is coming from the past again, the villains are emerging from close at hand and only Diggle is the voice of reason while Felicity is the strong independent moral compass trying to reach the lost hero we know as The Green Arrow.

And Laurel is prime positioned to pick Oliver up from the wreckage of the Overwatch relationship and return to his main love interest. It was genius to whack all these threads all right here and give us a few remaining episodes of total surprise.

 

THE VERDICT

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Vixen is another example of the CW doing characters from the DCU very well. Not only has the creative team and cast transformed the show from what it once was they have now in the tail end of season 4 returned it to its roots. With Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash boldly being superhero shows up front the crime drama aspect of Arrow has now been reset for the conclusion of the season.

With Felicity and Oliver on the skids it remains open for the soul mate of Laurel to return as his only love as has been in comics for decades.

Tell the monkey to crush his butt…

Steve DAMM

DAMM is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. As one of ENR's founders and passionate comics' lover, he is committed to bringing you fair but passionate reviews as well as breaking news without the overreaction. A Colorado born curmudgeon, comic purist and pop culture crusader, he's on a mission to make new readers aware of the legends who came before in an in-depth way, how they changed comics and why the Silver Age is the most important era to modern American art (comic, commercial & fine). His opinionated style and audacious boldness making him a must read. As a reviewer, opinion columnist and con reporter his objective is the acquisition of truth, justice and the American comic book way, though he's been known to pursue foreign comics voraciously too. A champion for the creator-owned, a proponent for Indies and intolerant of towing corporate lines DAMM brings praise to those who deserve it and lays out the bad news without pretention.

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