Written By: Wendy Mericle & Ben Sokolowski
Directed By: John Behring
Series Episode: 78
Airdate: December 9, 2015
Guests: Andy Diggle ( Eugene Byrd ), Donna Smoak ( Charlotte Ross ), Curtis Holt ( Echo Kellum ), Alex Davis ( Parker Young ), Ms. Nixon ( Linda Boyd ), Mrs. Darhk ( Janet Kidder ), Milo Armitage ( James Kidnie ),
Flashback Guests: Taiana ( Elysia Rotaru ), Conklin ( Ryan Robbins )
Special Appearance: Damien Darhk ( Neal McDonough )
Oliver isn’t mayor yet, but he’s not wasting time on his environmental initiative. His campaign has organized a clean-up the bay outing that has a number of people cleaning trash along the shoreline. This allows him to get in yet another dig at his campaign manager Alex Davis’ expense over his earlier “crunchy” comment. Thea and Alex comment on Oliver’s political standing, how he’s trending up 10 points in an approval rating and really connecting with people. Elsewhere on the shore, Felicity and Laurel work with a group of kids. Felicity offers a big speech on environmental responsibility and is matched in fervor by a young girl who looks quite a bit like a young Felicity. Laurel remarks on it to, but the fun is interrupted by gunfire from a large drone helicopter hovering over the bay. Felicity uses her tablet to hack the drone. Oliver manages to save the young Felicity-like girl from being shot, and Felicity disables the drone, sending it lifeless into the bay.
Team Arrow watches the news paint the event as a disaster, with people being hurt from the attack. Thankfully, no one was killed, but the whole thing really stings Oliver, especially with kids being there. (Made all the more poignant by his discovery last week.) Thea gets word from Alex that the news agencies are all requesting a comment from Oliver but he’s not concerned about mayoral business at the moment. He needs the team to devise a plan to take down Damien Darhk before he’ll address the press as a candidate. They need to figure out what Darhk’s plan is and Oliver abruptly suggests Diggle talk to Andy to figure that out.
Diggle confronts his brother and shows him pictures of his family. He tries to figure out how he could let them believe he was dead, how lost Carly was and how Andy Jr. has had to grow up without a father. Andy protests that that is all on H.I.V.E., but John says he still could’ve let them know he was alive. He tells Andy about Darhk’s attack on the people at the bay and how he’s going to hurt more if they don’t stop him. John says Andy doesn’t have the neurotoxin in his system any longer to be Darhk’s “bitch,” which gets a rise out of Andy. He’s nobody’s bitch and saying it won’t make it true. Diggle presses him on the things about him running guns and drugs in Afghanistan were true, and Andy says he just had to survive. He asks Andy one last time what Darhk wants, but Andy is adamant that he doesn’t know.
At the loft, Felicity finds Donna sorting decorations to use at Oliver’s campaign Christmas party. She wants to make sure that Hanukkah is represented as well. Felicity goes to take a shower when Donna shrieks. She’s discovered Oliver’s proposal ring in the box of decorations. It would appear he fished it out of the marble bowl at some point and returned it to its case to hide. Felicity is, of course, stunned but elated. Donna is over the moon. Later, Oliver holds a presser at the site of the attack at the bay. With the team’s approval, he reveals that “the Ghosts” were behind the attack and that they are headed by Damien Darhk and run by a larger organization called H.I.V.E. He challenges the city to help take Darhk and H.I.V.E. down and announces the setting up of a hotline through the D.A.’s office to provide tips on the Ghosts to aid in that goal. At Darhk’s H.I.V.E. base, he watches the news in front of his H.I.V.E. partners, one of whom is Milo Armitage, the arms dealer who tried to use the prototype Markov earthquake device back in Season 2’s “Tremors,” where Oliver revealed his true identity as the Arrow to Roy to get his help to stop the device. Darhk isn’t thrilled with the reveal and his partners, they who think he’s all a bunch of parlor tricks, give him some business about it. He shorts the TV out with his power.
Back at the bunker, Laurel peels off to go monitor the hotline at the DA’s office. Oliver is baffled to see all of Felicity’s Hanukkah decorations and they all remind him of the campaign holiday party. Oliver being Oliver, he doesn’t think the party is such a good idea, but everyone insists that they have to carry on with their lives and not hide from Darhk, especially after such a public announcement. Conceding the point, the others leave to get ready, but Oliver takes a moment with Felicity. He kneels to ask her a question, which gets run through the classic Felicity filter and she assumes for a moment that he’s going to propose to her right there. Instead, he asks if they did the right thing by outing Darhk in public. She assures him that they did.
Malcolm Merlyn continues to practice his ultra-fancy creeper from the shadows skills and pops into Laurel’s place as Thea’s getting ready for the party. She don’t want no freaky trinkets of his affection or a smorgasbord of reprobates for her to kill to fend off the bloodlust, but he just wants to check on her. She claims she hasn’t felt any of the bloodlust since her encounter with Darhk and might be cured. (That moment she pincushioned Vandal Savage off of the balcony last week kinda spoke otherwise.) Malcolm had his “minions” look into things with Darhk. They take a moment to acknowledge/relish that Malcolm has an army of minions. He’s convinced and concerned that what happened between her and Darhk had nothing to do with Darhk’s experience with the Lazarus Pit but something far more sinister, a mystical element that scares the beejezus out of him. He just asks her to be careful.
At the party, Diggle has beefed up security immensely through his connections, enough for Curtis to note the armed forces parade like presence when he arrives with his husband, Paul. Felicity compliments Paul in her way and then shoves her foot in her mouth while slipping up with a comment about her and Oliver practically being engaged. Even Oliver has to give her the shaking stink face trying to figure out what she’s yammering about, but she’s save when Thea pulls Oliver away to talk to the Fire Marshal. She chats with Curtis and Paul about their wedding. Married five years now, Paul proposed by sinking the ring near the Great Barrier Reef for Curtis to find on a dive. Paul makes an offhand comment about how straight people like to put rings in desserts to surprise someone and Felicity suddenly recalls the soufflés Oliver made the night Laurel and Thea showed up in Ivy Town and convinced them to return to Star City. She hotfoots it to find Donna, who is getting very cozy with Lance, much to Felicity’s shock.
Donna introduces Lance as her “boyfriend Quentin,” and both Felicity and Lance are surprised to learn the connection. Donna is surprised they know each other. Lance gives them a moment, mentioning that Laurel doesn’t know. Felicity is trying real hard not to know herself. She mentions to Donna that Oliver was going to propose three months ago and wonders why he hasn’t since they’ve moved back to Star City. Donna wonders the same. Felicity wastes no time. She interrupts Oliver speaking with people but quickly turns away. He goes after her, wondering if she’s heard something about Darhk, but she launches right into knowing about the planned proposal months ago. Oliver is mortified. She explains how Donna found the ring and wonders why he hasn’t proposed, that maybe he changed his mind. He says he hasn’t but everything else changed and he needed time to sort it out. She’s not sure what he means and he launches into how their lives are dangerous and he’s unsure if they can maintain a relationship let alone a marriage in that. She counters that she’s fully aware of the danger and she chose this life.
So, of course, someone begins shooting at the party. Darhk and his Ghosts show up. He confronts Oliver, dropping any pretense, and reminds him that a price needed to be paid for not working with H.I.V.E. He’s not here for Oliver, though, and magic whammies the candidate through his office window. Instead, Darhk captures Felicity, Diggle, and Thea.
Donna stirs the waking Oliver and says they took Felicity, latching on to him for dear life like a Life Alert necklace. Oliver swears he will get her back. He stumbles into the campaign office bullpen and finds Lance. Lance wanted to stop Darhk but didn’t want to blow his cover. He’s not sure it was the right choice, but Oliver pets his head and assures him he’s a good boy. He has Lance search for Darhk’s whereabouts, then has Alex check on people and get the home or medical attention. He orders Alex to stall the police on this.
The Ghosts sure picked a bad night to clock into work. Green Arrow hits the city, attacking a bunch of Ghosts to find Darhk with no luck. At base, frustrated Oliver asks Laurel if she learned anything from the hotline. She’s got bupkus. Oliver starts to climb into his head and Laurel calls him on it, warning him not to lean on his “go to” place where he complains that everything is his fault. He insists that it is, but she says they all made the choice together. He says he ran for mayor because he could protect himself and thought the others could, too. Laurel assures him they can, even Felicity. That his inspiration fired them up all up. They don’t need inspiration tonight, he says. She gets a message from the DA’s office about a hotline tip she needs to see. He heads back out to crack more Ghost skulls.
Laurel visits her dad at the station after hearing the tip. She confronts him about working with Darhk. He stumbles through an excuse about Darhk threatening her life and needing to protect her. Cut the bull, she pushes, and he explains about originally working for Darhk and then working for Oliver from the inside for the last month. She’s surprised but not shocked to hear Oliver knows. Lance says Oliver was pissed but came to understand that he would do any and everything to protect his daughter. They both get beeped with messages from Oliver. They meet him at the bunker when Malcolm barges in for the umpteenth time over the last two weeks, surprising Lance at being alive. With Thea in danger, he wants to makes sure Darhk is found and tosses an encrypted satellite phone that H.I.V.E. uses to Oliver. Lance asks how he got it; he’s Ra’s al Ghul, you know how it goes. Oliver insists their only play is for Oliver to turn himself over to Damien — haven’t we seen this all before. The others think that’s not smart, but Oliver is dead set on it.
Darhk meets with the H.I.V.E. partners, who are not happy with him wasting time on his campaign against Oliver Queen. They want him working on Genesis, KHHAAAAAAANNNNN! He explains that Oliver’s work at the bay put their plans at risk, so back off, man. He gets a call on his sat phone from Oliver asking to meet at the bay. He’s surprised that Oliver is more resourceful than he would’ve thought and is sure Oliver is more than what he seems in public. Oliver makes a veiled threat, but Darhk reminds him he could kill those he captured. Oliver calls him on it and says he didn’t want to kill them but show Oliver a lesson. In best big soap opera face fashion, Darhk insists he shouldn’t be so sure. Cut to commercial.
Now escorted into the H.I.V.E. base, Oliver demands that Darhk live up to their deal and let the others go. Not so fast, he says. He gets all villainy about the Nazis perfecting the gas chamber and how the planet allowed them to because sometimes humanity needs an evil to reset things. Darhk shows Oliver a gas chamber they’ve developed and tells him it is what he’s going to help them build when they install him as mayor of Star City. Darhk uses one of his throng to demonstrate the chamber, which does its work in seconds. He says they were using the bay to cultivate and skim some algae used to develop the nerve agent in the gas, what he calls “the bloom,” to kill people.
At the bunker, Malcolm and Lance crack wise about Laurel in the Black Canary outfit — Lance talking about the weirdness of getting used to seeing her in it; Malcolm charming the room by calling it her “bondage outfit” — and Malcolm asks Lance where his mask is at. Lance wonders why Malcolm doesn’t bring in the League to help and Malcolm says pitting the League against H.I.V.E. would bring a whole host of other problems. Malcolm has pinpointed Oliver’s location to a warehouse outside Pennytown, using the same nanotech Oliver used to track Malcolm last year, undetectable by Darhk’s standard methods. Lance insists he’s going with Laurel, but she says he’d blow his cover. Lance is pretty certain his cover is already blown, but she won’t hear it. She knows he wants to protect her, but she gets to choose her own protection in this case.
Darhk shows Oliver a number of “true believers” caged in the facility and takes him to Felicity for a last words moment. She pleads that Oliver didn’t trade his life for their because “that would be Old Oliver.” Zing! He can’t deny it. She is baffled as to how Darhk is going to react when Team Arrow shows up and Green Arrow is not there with them. He says he’s got it covered and that it had to be this way. Mirroring Lance and Laurel, Felicity chides him for thinking she can’t choose to protect herself. She brings up his comments from the party about their relationship maybe not withstanding the dangers of their chosen life, yet here they are getting through it. The whole point of marriage, she says, is to get through the hard times together not inspite of them. He nods in agreement. She assures him that she would’ve said yes if he’d proposed.
The Ghosts bring Oliver and Felicity into the room with the gas chamber. Thea and Diggle are inside. Oliver gets fired up and demands that Darhk was supposed to let them all go if he turned himself over. The Ghosts wrestle him to the ground and drag Felicity to the chamber. Oliver screams about their deal, but Darhk insists it wasn’t ironclad, more an implied thing, and lays out the only reason he needs to give here: “Bad guy, remember?” Oliver declares that by killing them Darhk loses all leverage over him. Darhk counters, offering that he would be taking away his reasons for living and doing anything. Oliver gets free and runs to the glass of the chamber as Felicity looks on, horrified.
Gas starts to flood into the chamber as Oliver and the others desperately look for a way to open the box. Somehow, even after explicitly demonstrating how effectively the gas took down a man in seconds, these three manage to put up a fight. Diggle sees liquid seams around the glass and says the room might not be 100% sealed. As Oliver and Felicity share “I love yous,” Black Canary and Green Arrow show up. Canary uses her cry to get everyone out of the room. Then, she turns the cry on the glass, which Oliver finishes off with her billy club. With everyone free, Thea can see that it is Malcolm in the GA suit. As Darhk tries to get away, he’s confronted by Malcolm Arrow, who fires an arrow at the man. Darhk stops it with his magic but it’s a bomb arrow that explodes, knocking Darhk to the ground. Malcolm rushes to finish him off but Darhk is quickly on his feet behind Malcolm. He Force pushes, er, magic pushes Malcolm into the wall, then begins Force choking, er, magic choking Malcolm when Oliver tackles him. The others rush to get out and come upon the hall of cells. Felicity wonders if they should leave the trapped people there when the cells open. As “true believers,” they attack Team Arrow for Darhk’s cause. A Canary Cry doesn’t phase them, but Lance arrives with a squad to help out. They take down the baddies and all make a break for it.
Darhk begins wailing on Oliver, which he seems to allow. Malcolm gets to his feet and impales Darhk with two arrows, pinning him to the ground. He tells Oliver to get clear, then jams a C4 arrow into the ground next to Darhk. Darhk chants some magic mumbo jumbo, probably to safeguard himself, and then the place explodes.
Back at base, Felicity is pretty certain Darhk is not dead because no body was found. We’re pretty certain he’s not dead because there’s too much season left. Laurel asks where Merlyn is and Oliver says he had to attend to League business. He hates it but knows he owes Merlyn one. Laurel points out she helped, too, which Oliver acknowledges. Thea reminds Felicity that they have to go to a “thingy,” which Oliver asks about. Felicity says it’s a surprise.
Diggle visits Andy to offer a final time for him to break free from H.I.V.E. and offer up Darhk’s plans. Andy is defiant; he’s a Ghost and that’s all there is to it. Diggle washes his hands of it and says they will treat him like a Ghost. With no pomp or circumstance, the still very much alive Darhk meets with the H.I.V.E. partnership again. He leads them to a hidden grow room with vast fields of corn and the air purified by the algae from the bay. Phase IV of Genesis begins now, he declares, as the rest of us kind of shrug. The others wonder about Oliver Queen. A little Darhk smirk offers response.
The “thingy” is a Queen for Mayor rally at the bay. He pulls Felicity onstage with him to light a Christmas tree to symbolize the city’s ever-burning light to defeat any darkness. He’s thankful and grateful to everyone, but he singles out one person in particular: Felicity. He proposes to her in front of everyone. She says yes. They drive off in a limo. As “Little Drummer Boy” plays and Damien Darhk celebrates tree decorating with his own wife and daughter, Oliver’s limo is ambushed by Ghosts. They open fire, killing the driver and tearing through the limo. Oliver covers Felicity on the floor of the limo to shield her from any bullets. Knowing they can’t stay there forever, he climbs into the driver’s seat and speeds off in the limo. Free from the attack, he stops and runs to the backdoor. He pulls Felicity from the limo. She’s shot, unconscious, and losing a lot of blood.
Oliver and Taiana are hiking to a cove on the other side of the island at a feverish pace. She’s complaining about Oliver using her instead of trying to get back at Conklin and Reiter for her brother’s death. Oliver admits to using her because he needs her diving skills, but that it will be beneficial to her because they can take Reiter and Conklin down with it. They push on.
Oliver leads Taiana to a cliff overlooking the cove and the bay where the shipwrecked Amazo sits. He explains how the drug trade is both cover and funding for Reiter’s real plans to find some mystical artifacts on the island, and stresses again how he needs detailed survey maps of the island to make sense of Reiter’s map to find them before he does. They can get them on the freighter.
After only an hour of free-diving instruction from Taiana, Oliver gets ready to go on his own. She’s lost as to how he’s going to accomplish anything, but he insists that it’s the Lian Yu way. She wants to come with him but he says he knows the boat better. He dives on in. Oliver makes it into the Amazo and finds his maps with little problem. Swimming back to shore, though, a shark starts following him. Because, of course, shark.
Oliver emerges from the water, having survived the shark attack completely off-screen, but he’s wounded. Taiana helps him to shore, where they are both shocked to see Conklin and some of his men. Seeing her alive and that Oliver is working on his own things confirms to him that Oliver is a spy. Conklin insists he’s going to torture Oliver and enjoy it.
Three Quick Thoughts
• Why was there no mention of the confrontation between Team Arrow and Darhk that Barry broke up last week? And why no follow-up from Darhk about just what the hell he saw last week? (The episode seemed oddly divorced of the events of last week. So did The Flash midseason finale, for that matter.)
• Not that gas chambers aren’t evil by any means, but did that reveal and the reveal of Genesis grow project seem anti-climactic to anyone else?
• Even after they sideline her with the hotline stuff, Laurel gets some great moments in the episode.