Arrow: Taken
February 29, 2016 9:58 AM - Season 4, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Oliver realizes he needs help battling Darhk so he calls in an old friend – Vixen. Using her magical ability to summon animal powers, Vixen gets a lock on Darhk's location and the team goes to war. Meanwhile, Thea has a heart-to-heart talk with Malcolm.

I don't know where this plot is going. I don't know who is writing it. If you are looking for a coherent HIVE motivation, I can tell you we have no idea. But what I do have is an investment in this season, a season which has suddenly dropped superhuman skeptical Oliver Queen into a flashback involving mysticism. A flashback that is a nightmare for people trying to believe in character continuity. If you keep watching and suspend skepticism, that'll be the end of it. You might enjoy the action and Neal McDonough in particular. But if you don't it will eat at you, it will bother you, and will make you pull your hair out to reconcile with the previous seasons.
posted by phearlez (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
That snarked, good on the writers for a very funny bit with Ollie saying that he and Vixen had a rather animated adventure last year.

I also liked there being two different perspectives presented on keeping William safe without denigrating either one as flat-out wrong. Not real advanced philosophy as life goes but more subtle than this show usually gets.

The last minutes were almost laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

"Hey we have to talk"
"Yes we do."
"This is a real problem marriage-wise and we need to suspend THIS campaign too"
"Well ye-"
[suddenly legs work]
[Well if I can WALK then FUCK THIS EXIT STAGE FUCKITYBYE]
posted by phearlez at 10:03 AM on February 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


Amusingly, this was the episode that got me back on board, at least a little bit. I liked Vixen, the flashbacks finally have something resembling a point, I genuinely don't know where Darhk*'s plot is going and while I have zero faith that it will make a lick of sense, I expect the ride to be at least vaguely entertaining. I've spent most of this season letting myself get behind on Arrow and catching up only when Flash demanded it, but I might be able to stay decently current for the rest of the year.

As a result of that getting behind, I somehow skipped the episode with Nyssa and Merlyn fighting over the League, so when he showed up with one hand screaming about things, I was deeply, deeply confused.

*My brain wants to spell that name is basically every way except the "right" one
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:07 AM on February 29, 2016


I had to check the animated feature to see if I remembered Vixen correctly. I guess the actress did not want to cut her hair or wear a wig. Not that's that's the worst continuity faux pas going on, it just really distracted me for some reason.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:14 AM on February 29, 2016


I still don't understand why they didn't try putting Thea up against Darhk. Last time she seemed impervious to his magic, even though this time she was affected by it (due to the lack of proximity? plotting continuity? who knows?).

I'd also prefer short-haired Vixen with a better suit.

Also I swear Amell's acting is starting to backslip to season one levels of terrible woodenness. Or maybe it's just the bad dialogue and nonsensical situations the writers keep dreaming up. You're absolutely right in your summary, phearlez.
posted by sardonyx at 11:02 AM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


You're absolutely right in your summary, phearlez.

My prioritization was on riffing on the episode title, but I did try to be cogent too. And I'm not really minding the season, overall. I don't care about the flashbacks but I don't find them unpleasant, though I like them better when they seem more focused on "How Ollie became competent in X" than when they try to plot out his character growth(regression?) like they seem to be into this season. That's just way too hard a rope to walk, trying to lead us up to S1E1 Ollie (the hardened killer) while showing up Kinder, Gentler Ollie of the current season.

Now, I think they COULD - were they better writers - have paralleled the two years by having our new nicer Ollie learn that sometimes you really should just kill someone (looking at you, Malcolm) and that opting for never-kill should involve you taking some responsibility for what happens next. But I have zero faith that they're doing that here.

Overall Arrow manages to be the fun superhero escapism I need and if I roll my eyes at it I do it with mid-level affection. A show like Agents of SHIELD does a better job at having an over-arching story and theme but I enjoy it less in the individual moments. I might care more if I didn't have a richness of comic shows to choose from now but as it stands I can just be polytheist and get what I need from multiple places.

My brain wants to spell that name is basically every way except the "right" one

Same here.

I still don't understand why they didn't try putting Thea up against Darhk. Last time she seemed impervious to his magic, even though this time she was affected by it (due to the lack of proximity? plotting continuity? who knows?).

I don't mind the idea that maybe he can't suck the life juice out of her but he can telekinesis her around just fine.
posted by phearlez at 11:20 AM on February 29, 2016


Yeah, despite my grumbling and my griping, Arrow is still one of those shows I'll prioritize watching. I don't usually get to see things as they air, so when I do have time to flip something on, Arrow and Flash are near the top of the pile, while SHIELD is always one of those ones near the end of the list that I pretty much have to force myself to watch to keep relatively current.

It's something about the DC shows that even when I'm frustrated by them not living up to their potential, I'm still willing to cut them a whole lot of slack. I don't know if it's just having a long history with their comic counterparts of it it's something about the shows themselves, but I usually find myself enjoying them, even when I'm groaning about the stupid choices the characters make or the plots that can't seem to resolve themselves in way that makes sense.
posted by sardonyx at 11:36 AM on February 29, 2016


I genuinely don't know where Darhk*'s plot is going and while I have zero faith that it will make a lick of sense

From the preview, we'll learn more about HIVE's master plan with that basement corn field next episode. And I guess Darhk is getting replaced in HIVE with Malcolm. Since Thea is disowning him again he probably has the free time to run it.

I liked that he stuck to his principle of "I'd rather have you hate me and live", he's so far been the most consistently horrible character in the show. Although the rest of the crew should really stop expecting him to change.

I'm guessing whatever mystical thing is on the island that Oliver is hunting in the flashbacks will be connected to whatever HIVE is up to.
posted by numaner at 12:10 PM on February 29, 2016


And I guess Darhk is getting replaced in HIVE with Malcolm.

Not permanently, though, right? They can't defeat the big bad by having a guest star destroy a McGuffin they just made up and then replace him with the villain from before, right? That would irk me significantly.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:45 PM on February 29, 2016


My dear hope, though I know it probably won't happen, is this is Malcolm's swan song, while Darkh is being positioned to survive the season.

There doesn't seem to be anything left to wring from Malcolm's story as there is no way any of the cast will put up with him further, and he has tipped from villain who loves his daughter (even as he exploits her) to villain who uses his daughter as an excuse.

Darkh still has lots of nooks and corners that I'd be interested in seeing explored (his power source, why he is with hive and how his personal plans relate to them, the genuine care his family expresses, etc.)
posted by humans are superior! at 8:28 PM on February 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Welp, at least they finally clarified this week why they can't get Constantine back. "He's in hell. No, I mean LITERAL hell. (I mean like, lawyer hell.)") So there's that, at least.

Overall, I liked the use of Vixen and busting Damien's totem, hated the rest of the plotline. The inevitable dreary breakup, the "seriously, I don't care about the kid" thing, the mayoral campaign....ugh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:38 AM on March 12, 2016


« Older Last Week Tonight with John Ol...   |  Justified: The Collection... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments