It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
So as you might remember, last week ended with Oliver and Diggle finding Damien’s nexus chamber just in time for the nuclear carnage at Havenrock (which will go largely unmentioned in this episode) to power Damien to god-like levels. Well things pick up right where they left off and despite Damien’s new god-like powers, Oliver and Diggle still try shooting him with arrows and bullets which naturally have no effect on him. Damien tosses them both around for a couple of minutes but decides not to kill them yet because he wants them to be alive to witness the apocalypse (and also because he’s kind of an idiot). This will be the last time in the episode Damien does anything remotely interesting with his powers.
Meanwhile at the dome, Merlyn finds Thea grieving over Alex’s body and Anarky is nowhere to be found. Angry over Thea’s failure to capture Anarky, Merlyn has a couple of Ghosts drag her away for a “timeout.”
Curtis stops by Felicity’s apartment to check up on her and ends up meeting Noah, which makes him geek out a little bit since apparently Noah is quite the legend in the hacker world. Once Curtis finally pauses his usual ramblings they tell him about Rubicon and he volunteers to help. The Rubicon plot will have to wait however since Felicity gets a text and leaves.
As it turns out, the text was from Thea (I’m still unclear how she was even able to send the text) which Felicity uses to trace the dome’s location and Oliver and Diggle immediately go on a rescue mission. They may too late however since shortly afterward Merlyn force feeds Thea H.I.V.E.’s yellow mind control pill. Since this isn’t even the first time Merlyn has essentially roofied his daughter, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Oliver and Diggle find their way into the dome pretty easily (I guess Team Arrow isn’t the only one with crappy security) and begin searching for Thea.
Felicity goes back to her apartment to find Noah and Donna loudly arguing while Curtis sits around and watches like he’s catching a basketball game at a sports bar. Unsurprisingly, Donna turns out to be less than happy to see her ex-husband again, so Felicity decides to tell her not only about Rubicon but her activities with Team Arrow (which I assumed she already knew given that she knew about Laurel but whatever). She of course is not thrilled to find out her daughter has been lying to her but at least decides that discussion can wait until the world isn’t in danger.
Beyond the Dome
Meanwhile at the dome, Oliver and Diggle split up and it isn’t long before Oliver finds Thea. Unfortunately, Thea is already under the yellow pill’s control and begins attacking Oliver and Merlyn shows up shortly afterward to provide backup for her. Luckily, Diggle shows up to save Oliver in the nick of time and they both manage to escape. The bad news is that H.I.V.E. is now on high alert for them and Ruvé even does a special bulletin for the dome’s citizens warning them to be on the lookout. Oliver and Diggle hide out in a random house which they find out too late is occupied by a family of three.
Felicity, Noah and Curtis’s efforts in dealing with Rubicon quickly prove to be an uphill battle since Damien has recruited a hacker of his own who is none other than Cooper, Felicity’s ex-boyfriend from her Hot Topic-esque goth days. Also not helping matters is Noah and Donna decide to argue some more (time and place, what’s that?). Eventually though they are able to outsmart Cooper and shut down Rubicon.
Back at the dome, a surprisingly bloodthirsty Diggle is tempted to kill the family so they don’t give away their position but Oliver insists they’re not in their right mind. This is immediately disproven though when the father freely admits that they and the rest of the people in the dome are willing participants of Genesis. He says that the world has become beyond saving and that Damien’s plan has given them hope for a better future. I would say “cry me a river” but giving all the flood and ark metaphors this episode makes, it feels too easy.
Back at Felicity’s apartment, she finds out there was more to Noah’s absence from her childhood than Donna had originally let on. As it turned out, Donna was the one who left Noah and took Felicity with her. Since the show has a perpetual problem writing characters consistently, Felicity instantly forgives her. Shortly afterward, Donna then tells Noah to get out of Felicity’s life and never come back which he reluctantly agrees to.
Back at the dome, Oliver and Diggle are spotted by the Ghosts, leaving Diggle to take on some henchmen while Oliver is forced to fight Thea. Fortunately, Oliver is able to snap her out of it surprisingly easy. They have little time to celebrate though since Anarky has now taken over the dome’s control room and also taken Ruvé and her daughter hostage. He makes a broadcast ordering Damien to come to him in twenty minutes or he’ll kill one of them. He then says that one minute after that he plans to blow up the dome.
Team Arrow goes to stop Anarky, while leaving Merlyn in charge of evacuating the dome in case they can’t stop him. Sure enough, despite the team’s best efforts, Anarky is able to get the place to blow up so easy you would think the control room was powered with nitroglycerin and also manages to kill Ruvé in the process. Team Arrow is able to save Damien’s daughter but once again Anarky gets away.
So yeah, for all intents and purposes, Damien’s plan has gone kaput and he is of course not happy. Rather than admit defeat, he apparently decides that now he’s going to blow up the world just for the hell of it. For some reason this involves taking Felicity, Curtis and Donna hostage.
Taiana continues to feel the effects from the idol as bullets prove to be ineffective against her and when Oliver kills a couple of Reiter’s goons, she starts to become more powerful. It doesn’t take long before she becomes seduced by the idol’s power and decides that she wants to use the power to save her home village from a guy named Kovar (this could be a set up for a season 5 plot but I’m honestly not sure). Oliver insists that they still need to get everyone off the island first. Of course, even that goes starts to go south when Taiana kills a badly injured worker to give herself more power. To make matters worse, Reiter has caught up with them.
I feel as if I have to to grade tonight’s episode on a curve again. This episode wasn’t as offensively bad as most of the post-Laurel episodes have been but that doesn’t mean this one was necessarily good either.
The most obvious problem is the amount of time spent dealing with Felicity’s family. I cannot stress enough how little I care about this subplot. Donna is starting to become just as annoying as her daughter and Noah is just not that interesting a character either. The fact that they use an impending apocalypse as the time to complain about their issues with each other is eye-rollingly ridiculous. To top it all off, Curtis even uses this as an excuse to point out the similarities their relationship and Felicity’s with Oliver because as you know the writers just can’t go one episode without mentioning Olicity.
As for the dome, I also had a couple of things nagging at me. For starters, it’s hard to ignore that Anarky has proven to be a more worthy adversary to Damien than anyone on Team Arrow. Blowing up the dome caused much more damage to Damien’s plan than anything the team has done all season. Even when they temporarily broke the idol, that was mostly Vixen’s doing. So for the second time this season, the writers have made Team Arrow look incredibly incompetent.
The other thing bugging me is why they tried to keep Anarky from blowing the place up in the first place. Letting the dome be destroyed would suddenly make Damien blowing up the world incredibly pointless, which under most circumstances would probably have delayed his plans for at least a few months. Even if they were worried about it killing civilians in the dome, again I have to ask why? If that one guy from earlier is to be believed, they were all apparently totally okay with Damien committing world genocide so really these people seem just as bad as Damien and Merlyn, except those guys are at least willing to get their hands dirty.
Tune in next week as season four comes to a merciful close in ‘Schism.’