Dismissing one theory and confirming another, Arrow returned last week (“Blood Debts”) to showcase the vulnerabilities in Damien Darhk.
As most fans predicted, the Winter Premiere of Arrow (“Blood Debts”) assured fans that Felicity is indeed, alive. Whilst the temptation was strong, I avoided watching the show for a few days, having faced my own surgery at the time it aired. Whilst my spinal block left me with the worst back ache, Felicity -as we have known from set photos – was left paralysed, but will thankfully remain alive, even after four more months have passed – and put another character in the grave. Enough to anger Felicity; who spends the present day urging Oliver to avoid becoming a killer once more, and the future encouraging him, our mystery victim still has us worried for her bottle-blonde future.
As the episode opens – cleverly using a cross-cutting montage between the hospital and Oliver’s hunt for Darhk – revenge and action carry the show’s momentum from the very start. Whilst hating that Oliver avoids staying with Felicity, It is an understandable necessity of framing the narrative of a superhero genre. Whilst I’d love more Olicity, the action couldn’t be put off for long in the height of Darhk’s warfare.
Awaiting the possibility that Ray returns to the present day; from his role in Legends of Tomorrow, with some future-inspired nano-tech to save Felicity’s spine, will Felicity’s return to her darker roots – literally – as seen in the promotional footage for the season, be an arc that plays into a flashback inspiring moment; or stem from the events following the funeral?
In its love of flashbacks, this season’s visits to Lian Yu are finally making sense – 10 episodes in. Whilst Constantine’s magical tattoo transfer seems to be saving Oliver on the island, will its magical properties prove to be of worth to Damien Darhk?
With more intrigue for Damien Darhk; whose obsession with botany and magic are just a little bit creepy, the midseason sizzle reel, shows us that Thea may not be safe. With her ability to hurt Darhk – in her past with the Lazarus Pit – will her foreseen injuries delay Darhk’s downfall? Also featured, is the return of Roy as Arsenal. With Speedy known to be MIA for at least an episode, will his return be permanent?
Also returning is Nyssa and Shado’s twin sister; Mei – or even Shado herself. With one of the characters in Oliver’s tattoo translating to the surname Yao – to which Shado and Mei belong – perhaps an ancestral army can battle the powers that Darhk suggests to have gained in death. It also seems that we will see more of Curtis in action; perhaps to bridge the gap between Felicity and Team Arrow (and her company) as she recovers.
Elsewhere, Andy begins to make some progress as Diggle swears to have Oliver’s back and get some answers. With an emphasis on Felicity’s goodness, Diggle learns from example; taking on the good cop routine to prove that he is worthy of befriending.
As Darhk wants to end the world, in order to create a new beginning, the season is more on edge and, up in the air than ever, in the vulnerability of our characters. Whilst all of Team Arrow seems to suffer an injury in the sizzle reel, Diggle is still unharmed. As Lila faces danger, will Diggle be the one who is ultimately injured? A Father himself, It has been argued throughout the season that the biggest clue lies within, this role.
Whilst Darhk’s headquarters have already been hit by Lonnie Machin aka Anarchy – his Ghost littered floor reminiscent of a game of Catan having been pillaged – the theme continues on. Whilst his actual plan to colonise the world remains vague, Oliver discovers that Darhk’s family is as much of a vulnerability, as it is a motive, in his plan.
As Oliver uses Anarchy to find Darhk, he saves his Wife and Daughter. With his appreciation, Darhk offers to refrain from enacting his plans for a few weeks – making room for Felicity’s character arc, and potentially; the arrival of her Father. With Oliver’s morals being tested once more, will the events four months from now, enable Oliver to entertain the idea of Family as collateral? especially as Darhk’s Wife takes up the mantle in the mayoral campaign against Oliver – perhaps leading to Darhk uncovering the Arrow’s true Identity.
Also, put to rest is the idea of Lance dying. Upon Laurel discovering her Father’s relationship with Donna, we are all but forced to witness Lance’s nonchalance at being discovered by Darhk as the Arrow’s spy.
As their relationship grows, the best way to hurt Lance at this point would be to hurt Donna.
Running with the assumption that Darhk is the one Oliver wants to kill; Donna’s increasing presence, and Felicity’s imminent character arc, has us fearing her Father. Rumoured to be the villain ‘the Calculator’, fans have been speculating at how Felicity would react; often forgetting Donna’s history with him. With her blonde origins stemming from a move to be more like her mother; her darker days a symptom of her paternity, Donna is shaping up to cement herself firmly within Star City – and will hopefully be spared.
As Machin declares the joys of being baptised by fire – as a victim to Thea’s bloodlust – the scene is set for our characters to enter the height of this chaos. As Donna is mad at Oliver for not being with Felicity, would Donna’s possible death, lead Oliver to a revelation regarding his secrecy? As Sara Lance gives up the mask in Legends of Tomorrow, Felicity also reinforced how important it was for Oliver to not sacrifice his life to, his cause. Perhaps it is his responsibility to let his identity as the Arrow be known to those he needs to protect.
Dismissed, is the idea that Robert Queen – of Earth 1 at least – is graveside. Whilst until the last few minutes, I was questioning whether someone had to have actually died recently, entertaining the notion of the reburial of Robert Queen’s remains, Felicity’s anger is enough to leave us more worried than before. Appealing, though, is the idea that Robert Queen; the Arrow of Earth 2 in the Flarrowverse , will visit Star City. Alike to the responsibilities Oliver took on with his Father’s first death, will the show’s greatly established theme of Fatherhood this season continue, for four more months?
Whilst together, the flash forward that concludes the episode, suggests some tension between Olicity, that is far from their reaffirmations of ‘for better or worse’ in the present.
Tonight’s episode sees Felicity struggle with her role in Team Arrow.
Arrow airs Wednesday at 8|7c on The CW!
[Featured Image Courtesy of The CW; Source Content for Gifs: Arrow, The CW, 2016]