Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor
With only two episodes left of Arrow this season, the hit CW show pulls out all the stops and delivers arguably its best episode this season. With equal parts heart, stunts and non-stop action, Arrow reminds fans why they fell in love with the DC TV show in the first place. In the latest episode entitled “Lost in the Flood,” Oliver (Stephen Amell) desperately tries to save Thea (Willa Holland) underground while Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) has a family reunion above.
Directed by Glen Winter and written by Oscar Balderrama and Brian Ford Sullivan, Arrow’s penultimate episode is one you don’t want to miss, especially if you are a long time fan of the show. Before The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and even Supergirl dashed, punched and flew their way onto fans TV screens, Arrow was already establishing The CW as a superhero network. Often forgotten amongst the critical acclaim The Flash receives, Arrow continuously holds its own with its writing and Emmy Award worthy stunts. The past two seasons may have been met with less than stellar fan and critic response due to a shift towards romantic plot lines and less action, however Arrow silences the critics with this episode.
When talking about Arrow, the best episodes, in my opinion, are the final three episodes of season two. In what was seen as a three-part finale, Arrow perfectly executed everything you want in a superhero drama: equal parts stunts and heart. Between the epic fight sequence between Team Arrow and Slade’s mirakuru army to the empowering speech Felicity gives Oliver in the clock tower, season two’s final episodes exemplify everything the show can accomplish. This latest episode of Arrow perfectly plays to its strengths, which continue to be the stunt sequences and more heartfelt moments, specifically involving Rickards. “Lost in the Flood” focuses on Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) impending world dominations as well as a Smoak family reunion fans have been anxiously awaiting.
It has been said in my previous Arrow reviews, but Echo Kellum’s Curtis Holt remains the breakout character of season four. Although absent in recent episodes, Kellum returns this week with some of his best comedic work that may give Rickards a run for her money. Thrown in the middle of the Smoak family reunion this week, Curtis handles the situation like anyone would: awkward small talk and drinking. Kellum’s portrays the quirky, awkward character with ease and has turned Curtis into the best new character. He will be a welcomed addition to the main cast in season five and fans cannot wait to see how he develops the character even more.
Kellum and Rickards continue to be the comedic duo to watch on Arrow, especially between moments of tension between Felicity’s parents. For a long time, Rickards was one of few characters that added humor to Arrow, but now Kellum has come in full force, ready to bounce jokes back and forth. The duo have proven to be great together throughout season four and this week continues that trend. Rickards and Kellum share more than one comedic moment in this week’s episode. Between Felicity snagging a beer from Curtis, Curtis commenting on her past relationships and the simultaneous “Oh Frack” moment, Kellum proves he can sling it with the Arrow queen of comedy.
The heart portion of Arrow this week comes in the form of a long awaited Smoak family reunion, although it’s not Rickards who makes the splash, but rather Charlotte Ross. Leading into this week’s episode, Ross teased at a monumental Donna Smoak episode and boy was she correct. The episode features the long awaited reunion of Noah (Tom Amandes) and Donna, a moment fans have been clamoring for since both characters were introduced. Ross brings her sexy charm to her scenes as she further proves why the role of Donna was tailor made for her. Her ability to bring both humor and heart to her scenes is something that has allowed her to stand out this season.
Before I break down the emotional revelations between the Smoak’s this week, I have to talk about one of the best moments between Felicity, Donna and Curtis. Arrow doesn’t waste anytime thrusting Donna into the thick of the Darhk debacle this week. With Team Arrow facing one of their biggest threats, Felicity decides it’s time Donna knew what her job really is. A typical scene in a superhero show, however this reveal leans more towards comedy. Felicity begins to set her Mom down for the talk and before she can utter any words, Donna jumps up and screams “Oh! I’m gonna be a grandma! I’m gonna be a grandma.” The scene doesn’t end there, Curtis quickly shows his excitement as well. As Donna and Curtis do a “victory” high-five, Felicity says, “I’m not pregnant… Is that the only news a woman can have?” A perfect moment of dialogue between the three characters and a good spin on a revealing moment Arrow has done more than once. Rickards, Kellum and Ross are arguably the three characters that deliver the most comedy and light hearted moments on Arrow and this scene is perfectly written for their comedic talents.
As previously mentioned, the emotional moments this week stem from past secrets Donna has been keeping from Felicity. Ross and Rickards mother/daughter chemistry thrives on Arrow this season. While watching their scenes together, it’s hard to believe Ross and Rickards aren’t really mother and daughter. Their relationship off screen makes these emotional moments all the better. In a moment that brings tears to Arrow fans eyes, Donna reveals to Felicity that Noah didn’t disappear on them, she took Felicity and disappeared on him. Ross delivers each piece of dialogue with such authenticity, it’s hard to distinguish where Donna ends and Ross begins. Rickards barely exchanges any dialogue in return, her reaction is enough. Rickards and Ross are the best mother/daughter duo on TV right now and their relationship is a welcomed addition to Arrow each and every week.
Although Ross’ scene with Rickards bring tears to our eyes, her scenes opposite Amandes this week are equally as powerful. Throughout the entire episode, Ross and Amandes exchange quips with such a fire that fans wish Donna and Noah had met sooner. Both actors bring a layered background to Felicity’s character and could not have been cast any better. Ross and Amandes biggest scene comes towards the end of the episode after Felicity and Noah successful stop Cooper (Nolan Gerard Funk), Felicity’s hacking ex-boyfriend, from re-launching Rubicon. Donna takes Noah aside and lays down one ground rule when it comes to seeing Felicity: don’t. Donna asks Noah to leave and not to come back. The request leads to an epic monologue from Donna that showcases Ross’ utter love for Felicity and even Rickards. Donna says, “You are every bit as dangerous to our daughter as the day I took her from you… She’ll survive, she’s strong, she’s my daughter.” Ross and Amandes are forces to be reckoned with and help paint a clearer picture of all Felicity has endured. Here’s hoping Smoak family reunions become more frequent.
Now that I’ve talked about the emotional moments this week, it’s time to get to something Arrow knows how to do best: stunts. This week, Oliver and Diggle (David Ramsey) infiltrate Darhk’s underground world in an attempt to save Thea. After finding Thea and learning Malcolm (John Barrowman) has drugged her, Green Arrow and Spartan are on the run. Although the Queen vs. Queen stunts are very good, they are ultimately overshadowed by one of the most jaw dropping stunt sequences Arrow has produced. Comprised of one long dolly camera shot and several intercut close-ups, Green Arrow and Spartan battle HIVE down a suburban street. The dolly shot allows fans to run right alongside the duo as they flip, shoot and dodge HIVE operatives. The action isn’t overly dramatic either, it perfectly fits into the world without trying to create a large spectacle. A massive undertaking for the Arrow stunt department and it’s executed with ease. James Bamford and the crew should give themselves a round of applause because this sequence showcases the star power of the stunt department, the actors and especially the stunt doubles.
Amell and Ramsey work effortlessly together and further exemplify their “brotherly” status on Arrow. While hiding out in a house, Oliver and Diggle learn that the residence of the community are there by choice. A harsh wake up call for Oliver and Diggle considering they assumed Darhk was holding these people hostage. This small moment where a former Star City resident speaks the truth is powerful. He says, “So many promises were made to save this city… We were the one’s left in the rubble.” This moment, although small in the grand scheme of the episode, touches upon something Oliver has always struggled with: is the Green Arrow truly making the city a safer place? Having this interaction adds a nice added layer to the episode.
Another major action sequence that happens this week is when Green Arrow, Spartan and Thea learn that Anarky (Alexander Calvert) has taken Ruvé (Janet Kidder) and Nora Darhk (Tuesday Hofmann) hostage. With the underground safe haven crumbling around them, Team Arrow goes to the command center to capture Anarky once and for all. In another incredible moment, the lair blows up around Team Arrow as Thea battles Anarky and Green Arrow tries to save Ruvé. Arrow stunt department gets to show off some epic explosions and crumbling buildings in this scene and it’s hard not to compare it to Tommy’s (Colin Donnell) death in season one. By comparing this scene to Tommy’s death, Amell’s growth of Green Arrow/Oliver shines through. Although Tommy was a brother and Ruvé was an enemy, a clear message stands out. Instead of being defeated by not saving someone, Oliver rises above and promises Ruvé he will save Nora. Whether the death scenes were meant to mimic each other remains to be seen, but Amell’s acting in both is remarkable.
Arrow catapultes into its season four finale next week with a penultimate episode that reminds fans why they fell in love with it. Between the heart from Ross and the action sequences from the stunt department, Arrow flexes its muscles and showcases its strongest assets. With Darhk busting in on Felicity, Donna and Curtis, (side note: Felicity stepping in front of Donna sent chills down my spine. She’s a true superhero) anything can happen in the season finale next week.