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‘Arrow’ Review: “Monument Point”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

With only three episodes left this season, Arrow delivers an episode that reminds fans what made them fall in love with the show in the first place. As Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) sets his plan in motion, Team Arrow needs all the help they can get in order to stop an all out nuclear war. With a standout performance from Emily Bett Rickards and the best stunt work this season, Arrow hurdles towards its finale with the latest episode entitled “Monument Point.”

“The president asked me if the fate of the world was resting in the hands of an IT girl, a criminal and two guys in Halloween costumes.” Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) sums up this week’s Arrow episode perfectly. Directed by Kevin Tancharoen and written by Speed Weed and Jenny Lynn, Arrow gets back to basics and fans get a reminder of why they fell in love with the show. Following Darhk stealing Rubicon, an algorithm that allows all the world’s nuclear missiles to be launched, Team Arrow springs into full out superhero mode. Felicity Smoak is at the center of the chaos, especially when she realizes she needs her father’s, Noah Cutter/The Calculator (Tom Amandes), help. Rickards further proves that she has chemistry with every actor that enters the Arrow universe. Armandes and Rickards create a wonderful father/daughter episode that further expands Felicity’s character.

Tom Amandes and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode "Monument Point." Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Tom Amandes and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Monument Point.” Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Felicity is a character that has been built from the ground up on Arrow and this season continues to give her character the multi-dimensional layers she deserves. Backed by the incredible Arrow writing team, Rickards delivers impeccable performances this season and this episode can be added to the list. With Darhk attempting to track down Noah, Felicity tries to reach her father first. After a few weeks of sitting on the sidelines, Rickards comes back with a fury. Her portrayal of Felicity in this episode reminds fans why they original fell in love with the plucky IT girl. Rickards work opposite Amandes helps provide more insight into how Felicity became the tech wizard she is today. Rickards shines in an episode that closely resembles some of her strongest, establishing moments in season one of Arrow.

Although her moments were small in the grand scheme of the episode, Charlotte Ross continues to prove her worth within the Arrow-verse. This week’s episode explored Donna’s relationship with Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) as he struggles to do what is right. Ross has been an explosive force on Arrow this season and her work opposite Blackthorne is above and beyond fans expectations. This week the couple took a big step in their relationship when Donna told Quentin those magical three words, “I love you.” It has been a beautiful character arc to witness as Donna begins to open up and find the love she has been searching for. Ross goes above and beyond and makes every scene she takes part in a memorable one. This writer is starting the campaign #RossforRegular right here and now because Arrow season four wouldn’t be the same without her and season five would thrive off a series regular status from her.

Willa Holland and John Barrowman in the Arrow episode "Monument Point." Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Willa Holland and John Barrowman in the Arrow episode “Monument Point.” Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

With chaos raining down in Star City, Thea (Willa Holland) continues to be trapped in Darhk’s underground safe haven. Of course, Thea runs into bad luck especially when Malcolm (John Barrowman) shows up and continues to spout this idea that he is doing all of this to keep her safe. Although Holland and Barrowman create amazing, action packed moments together, it almost feels like Arrow is running out of storylines for Malcolm. He has been running in circles with his “trying to protect Thea” mantle since season three and it’s getting a little tiresome. Barrowman is an incredible actor and has blossomed Malcolm into a multi-dimensional character, but the character is starting to move backwards. The character flip flops on whether or not to align with Team Arrow or be against them so much it’s hard to tell which side Malcolm truly wants to be on. It might have been better to keep him as Ra’s al Ghul for the rest of the season instead of simply latching him onto Darhk’s storyline. Barrowman, you are a force to be reckoned with, but let’s hope some new storylines come your way in season five.

Another diminishing point on Arrow continues to be the flashback sequences. Throughout the entirety of season four, the flashbacks to Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) return to Lian Yu are the lowest points of every episode. The storyline is not very engaging and it’s hard to see a reason why they are placed within episodes. Yes, there is a connection to Darhk and his magic, but the flashbacks ultimately pull focus from the stronger points of Arrow. This week Oliver continued to stop Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) alongside Taiana (Elysia Rotaru) and it just feels like we’ve been watching the same thing over and over. Hopefully next season will bring more engaging flashbacks (Bratva Oliver perhaps?) or the well established show will do away with them.

Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Monument Point." Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Monument Point.” Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

Felicity and Noah begin working, but not before needing a necessary piece of equipment stashed at Palmer Tech. A mere 45 minutes prior, Felicity is terminated by the board. This new development leads to Original Team Arrow staging a break in. This action packed sequence is very reminiscent of the season one episode “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The incredible stunt team at Arrow truly outdoes themselves with this episode. They deliver some of the best action sequences Arrow has accomplished this season. With Felicity and Noah trying to steal the processor, Diggle (David Ramsey) watching security cameras from the lair and Oliver donning a baseball cap sneaking his way through Palmer Tech, original team arrow is back and better than ever. The best action and stunt moment from the heist comes when Oliver runs into a security team in a stairwell. Following in the footsteps of Daredevil’s stairwell fight in season two, Oliver utilizes the tight quarters to deliver devastating kicks and punches. Arrow’s stunt department exceeds expectations and if this isn’t Emmy Award worthy then what is?

As Felicity so brilliantly puts it, this episode of Arrow featured “Last years greatest hits” for villains. Not only is Darhk running around with magic but Murmur (Adrian Glynn McMorran), Brickwell (Vinnie Jones) and Anarchy (Alexander Calvert) make appearances in this episode. Murmur and Brickwell are above ground helping Darhk stop Noah and Felicity while Anarchy is causing trouble underground with Thea and Malcolm. Once again, Calvert shines as Anarky and continues to play a role that seems to have been tailor made for him. He has the rare ability to make fans enjoy this villain’s presence in every episode he takes part in. Holland and Calvert work very well together and it shows once again in this episode. An examples of this is when Anarchy tells Thea, “Why are you always at the mercy of some guy? You can make your own decisions Thea. You aren’t a pawn, you’re a Queen.”

Willa Holland and Alexander Calvert in the Arrow episode "Monument Point." Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Willa Holland and Alexander Calvert in the Arrow episode “Monument Point.” Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

When Thea must stop Anarchy from crippling the environment underground, Holland and Calvert engage in an epic fight sequence that showcases the incredible power of the stunt department once again. Thea and Anarchy’s fight is juxtaposed with the fight happening above ground between Green Arrow, Spartan, ARGUS and HIVE. With two massive scenes happening at once, fans are thrust headfirst into one of the best choreographed sequences this season. Each kick and punch is so well synced with the other scene happening as the two fights seemingly merge into one. Between Thea and Anarchy dueling underground and Spartan/Dig running up flights of stairs to stop Murmur from reaching Felicity and Noah, Arrow’s stunt team gets a standing ovation from fans.

Although this episode is action heavy, smaller moments creep to the surface like Donna and Quentin’s interactions. Ross and Rickards are the queens of making small moments feel monumental in episodes. Although short, Ross and Rickards intimate scenes with their various scene partners and each other are some of the most enjoyable to watch. One of these moments occurs in the final moments of this week’s episode involving Rickards.

Audrey Marie Anderson, Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Amandes in the Arrow episode "Monument Point." Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Audrey Marie Anderson, Emily Bett Rickards and Tom Amandes in the Arrow episode “Monument Point.” Photo Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

As Team Arrow and ARGUS battle HIVE, Noah and Felicity race to stop the missiles launch. When Murmur breaks through and aims to kill Felicity, Noah jumps in front of the bullet to save his daughter. A small moment, but a grand gesture for Felicity and Noah’s relationship. This distraction causes them to miss stopping a nuke before its launch. Time is running out as the nuke hurdles towards Monument Point causing Felicity to make a monumental decision. In order to save millions, Felicity diverts the missile to Havenrock. Rickards acting goes above and beyond in this scene. The single tear down her cheek speaks volumes as Felicity makes the ultimate superhero choice: kill tens of thousands in order to save millions. Rickards has the natural ability to make fans feel everything her character is feeling. It wasn’t just Felicity who has the casualties on her hands, we all do. Rickards has taken Felicity from a simple IT girl to a fully formed superhero and although the loss is devastating, her superhero status rings true.

With only two episodes left this season, Arrow is getting back to basics and delivering episodes their loyal fan base is appreciative of. With a standout performance by Rickards and incredible stunt work, Arrow proves why it’s stuck around for four seasons.

Arrow airs Wednesday’s at 8/7c on The CW

Overall Grade: B+

Check out the trailer for next week’s episode “Lost in the Flood”:

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