Arrow Season 4 Ep 20-21, "Genesis" & "Monument Point" Recap & Review

Since we skipped reviewing last week, we have lots to go through, so let’s get right to it.

In Episode 20, “Genesis,” Oliver calls up his pal Constantine to ask how he can defeat Darhk, and gets directed to a shaman at a casino. No, really. So as Oliver and Felicity go scope out the blackjack game--which not surprisingly Felicity kills at--there’s plenty of other drama with the rest of the gang.

“Genesis” is mostly a Diggle episode, and we finally get a conclusion to his sibling drama. Personally, I was tired of Andy like halfway through the season. Mostly, I was tired of Diggle getting a recycled Oliver plot. Unlike with Moira Queen’s unsatisfying and undeserving end, Andy gets the finality he earned. After Andy goes after John’s family (with a rocket launcher, what the hell, Andy, that’s your baby niece!), John has had enough. I admit, John actually pulling the trigger was shocking. Arrow’s writers like to drag out this kind of drama and are usually unwilling to have the main characters make life-altering decisions like this.

But Days of our Arrows isn’t complete without trumped-up drama. When John goes home, he lies to Lyla about how it went down, out of shame.

Switching over to the magic plotline, Esrin Fortuna tries to train Oliver in Defense Against The Darhk Arts, but gives up on him pretty quickly because he has too much darkness in him.

Oliver, you have failed this Hogwarts class.
She was wrong, because later, when Damien and Oliver face off, the Green Arrow’s eyes go all yellow and glittery, and he fends off a Darhk attack. Oliver can do magic? Okay, you have my attention. However, despite this, Damien does manage to rip something from under Lyla’s skin before he runs off. More on that later.

Finally in this episode, Alex takes Thea to a pretty weird vacation spot, a suburban area full of empty McMansions. Thea feels that something is off, while Alex gaslights her and tells her she needs to relax. Eventually, Thea realizes that she is actually stuck in The Truman Show and everything is fake, so when she tries to run off, she ends up running into an invisible wall.

In “Monument Point,” Arrow’s writers again stun me with how far they were willing to go to up the stakes.

But first, family drama for all! Quentin and Donna have a bit of an ultimatum argument, because Donna discovers Quentin is about to sign an affidavit where he claims he didn’t know about Laurel being the Black Canary. This is the price to get his badge back. Donna tells him she simply can’t abide lies. Ultimately, Quentin decides to sign an affidavit that states the truth--that his daughter was a hero and that he thought what she did was awesome.

Speaking of lies, Oliver confronts John about his lies to Lyla concerning Andy’s death. Perfectly aware of the irony of the moment, the show puts it out there quickly that Oliver is speaking from experience. He’s totally learned his lesson about how lying lost him his lady love, so he encourages John to come clean to Lyla.

Meanwhile, we get the lowdown on what Rubicon is (way to go Amanda Waller, it was super smart to create something that has control over all NATO nukes). Damien is planning on blowing up the world to start over and literally ripped control of Rubicon out of Lyla’s arm last week. Felicity figures out that the only person who can possibly hack this nuclear nightmare away is her dad. Unfortunately, Darhk also knows that, so he sends goons to track the Calculator down and kill him. Team Arrow saves him and takes him back to base, where he’s perfectly willing to help Felicity hack down the nukes, because he cares about her, which she scoffs at. Still, they team up not only to hack, but to steal from her former company, because Palmer Tech’s board has had enough of their absentee CEO and she's been sacked.

Father and daughter bonding over a genocidal magician. Awwww!
Yet more on dads that suck: Malcolm shows up in Damien’s Ark to talk to Thea, still insisting that everything he does is to protect her. Also, we learn that Ruve insisted on brainwashing Alex. Before they can really get into it, Thea’s old pal Anarky shows up to destroy the Ark’s life support system. Thea and Malcolm deal with him, but not before he apparently kills Alex. Poor bastard was dating a Queen and his name wasn’t Felicity… he never had a chance. Shoulda run like Arsenal did, son.

So the big drama is that with Rubicon’s control firmly in his grasp, Damien has aimed a nuke at a populated area. Felicity and her dad feverishly try to stop it. Not gonna lie, I fully expected the show to do what every show does--get down to the wire and miraculously stop the threat. But the nuke is in the air, and I was genuinely sitting at the edge of my seat, wondering how the day is going to be saved now. Too bad Supergirl isn’t on the CW yet, because she totally could have stopped that thing!

As it turns out, Felicity “saves the day” but not. She tricks the rocket into changing course from Monument Point--a large metropolitan area--to a suburban area, killing thousands instead of hundreds of thousands.

I have nothing funny to say. Just... holy crap, Arrow actually did this. 
Color me stunned that Arrow actually detonated a nuclear explosion on the world. I truly was not expecting that to happen. And I’m shocked that Felicity had to make the agonizing choice between who lives and who dies. I’m going to guess the personal fallout for her is going to be tremendous, despite the fact that she made the best possible choice of a lose-lose situation. Still, I’m pleased that Felicity’s new drama doesn’t revolve around Oliver. Oh happy day!

Overall these were probably season 4’s strongest episodes, and “Monument Point” in particular was top notch. It doesn’t quite erase the bad taste in my mouth from the killing of Black Canary, but it was a start to ending a sagging Season 4 on a higher note.

What is with the drab uniform Damien makes his brainwashed Ark families wear? Does he play Fallout when he's not committing genocide? Because they kinda look like thrift store Vault dwellers.

I’d like to take a moment to wonder how pissed off Zoom would be if he knew that Damien Darhk was trying to blow up the world that Zoom is currently trying to conquer. If the Green Arrow and the Flash were smart, they would just sic the villains on each other and stand back. A sociopathic super-speedster versus a genocidal magician? Get the popcorn, I'm in. 

Best line of the season goes to Lyla: “The fate of the world is resting in the hands of an IT girl, a criminal, and two guys in Halloween costumes.” Oliver’s hurt response, “They’re not Halloween costumes,” was a nice little quip in an intense episode.

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.