Ooh, an “Arrow” character is in peril. Sounds like a midseason finale to me!

If you really think about it, was a wounded and mostly dead Felicity too much of a stretch? It’s the prediction I would have made since Oliver was the potential murder victim in last year’s midseason ender. I say it’s Diggle’s turn next year. But gee, talk about all the chances Darhk had in this episode! Felicity escaped the massacre at the pond, then the Christmas party attack, then the gas, only to be gunned down after she and Oliver stupidly left their public engagement announcement without protection? Did they not realize that Darkh had tried to kill them multiple times over the last day and he was still on the loose? Felicity even doubted he got away at the end.

Okay, besides that one little oversight, “Dark Waters” was a masterpiece. There was plenty going on, and the drama finally kicked up a notch in a very bad way.  For one, we got to see just how evil Damien Darhk is. He is reprehensible and without morals. I love it. None of this “conflicted” villain who thinks he’s doing things for the right reasons. Darhk is just plain evil to the core and he knows it. Granted, Oliver did kind of force him into going full throttle by outing him as the bad guy in public, but it’s not like he came out and denied it.  Heck, he even flaunted his diabolical ways after making a deal with Oliver to let his loved ones go and then tried to gas Diggle, Thea and Felicity anyway. “Bad guy, remember?’ We most certainly do.

But hey, let’s get to the TRUE awesomeness of this episode. I’ve been waiting since episode 1.16 for SOMEBODY to give Malcolm Merlyn a meaty plot. They gave him a meaty plot! Okay, maybe not super meaty with an extra side of meatballs, but it was damn good. This is Malcolm taking charge. He even did it while making a joke about Laurel’s “dominatrix” outfit, which is the wise cracking Malcolm we’ve been missing. You see, giving even Malcolm lines like this contributes to the lighter tone this season is supposed to have. Plus it suits Barrowman who is damn funny.  Malcolm’s presence even makes sense since Darhk is on the attack and Thea is right in the center of it. Can’t get his only living child murdered, especially since all he did was put his first child in harm’s way and it got him killed (still bitter about that).

I know some had issues with Malcolm donning the Green One’s suit, but I thought it was awesome. Blame my blind love for this guy. It carried on the mythos, that the Green Arrow and the Black Canary will save the day, even if the real Green Arrow is detained by said bad guy. They needed someone who could shoot arrows too since Diggle has proven not to be successful in this category. Plus Malcolm can certainly fight well, you know, being Ra’s Al Ghul and all that. Best of all, putting on that outfit took the suspicion away from Darhk as to who is the guy behind the mask. It can’t be Oliver. It’s clever.  

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Aside from all the crazy s*** happening around them, it is nice to see the relationship between Oliver and Felicity unfold in a mature, adult manner. I figured when Felicity’s mother found the ring and showed it to her daughter that it would be used by the writers as a contrived way to trigger a wedge between Oliver and Felicity. Instead, Felicity didn’t keep it a big secret and confronted Oliver about holding back his proposal in a rational, adult way. You don’t know how refreshing that is to see.   Felicity has been written all over the place in the past couple of seasons, and I think this season they’re finally getting her right (for the most part). She’s headstrong but loving, patient but she’s not going to back down either. She knows that it’s her job to drill these damned insecurities out of this damaged man’s head and she’s succeeding. She’s the only one so far that can protect Oliver from his worst enemy, himself. Well, judging by the end, that could fall apart by next episode when Oliver is left to his own devices. Hopefully Laurel and Diggle can reign him in. Felicity can’t die or this show suddenly goes back to lonely Arrow on a bender. Please don’t go there again show.

One thing for sure, H.I.V.E. seems like a pretty unstoppable force. I’m still not convinced we’ve seen all that they’re capable of, and we got a damn good sample in this episode. I’m sure that this entire chilling encounter has shaken Team Arrow to the core. No, they’re not going to shrivel up and surrender but they surely have to realize that they need to get smarter. They’re at a true loss over how to defeat these guys, and now it’s getting personal.   Plus, what sort of end game does Darhk have planned? Gas chambers cannot be a good thing. Is he truly planning on wiping out millions just for a reset? Who are the people that are paying him to make this happen? Or is it people? That mysticism isn’t around for party tricks. Maybe the flashbacks will fill us in someday about the mystery behind Darhk. Or, maybe they’ll continue to be useless. Plus, Darhk has a loving family? Wow, I wonder if they’re all evil or if he’s got his wife and child fooled. I really need to know more about this guy.

We even got some Lance family drama, but the kind where Laurel gets to show Daddy Dearest that she can handle herself. I’m very nervous for Quentin, because this whole Darhk situation just cannot work in his favor. I’m far more worried about him biting it than Felicity and he’s still my leading candidate for person in the grave. I do love that the relationship with him and Felicity’s mom is already out in the open. Those two are so cute together! I still he has more chemistry with Dinah but we all know she ain’t coming back. Ah well, it was nice to see him smile, if only for a moment.

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Okay show, good first part of the season. Keep it going. Better bad guys, more mature behavior from your characters, lighter tone, treating the whole cast as an ensemble and that they have brains, all the stuff that didn’t happen last season that weighed it down tremendously. Even the useless flashbacks are back on the island where they belong. I only had one “WTF?” the entire episode. This is a big improvement.

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