Spoilers ahead for “Lost in the Flood,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow!
The short version: Oliver and Diggle track Thea to Dhark’s secret underground suburbia, as Felicity and The Calculator slug it out with Dhark’s forces to retake control of the nuclear launch system. But, Anarky shows up to cause some (you guessed it) anarchy, and leads to the destruction of the underground lair while also killing Dhark’s wife. Oh, and Dhark is coming after Felicity now. Season finale, here we come!
Felicity’s family reunion was great
It’s tough to build a compelling narrative around people sitting at computers and typing furiously, but putting a big focus on Felicity and her father’s efforts to retake control of the nuclear launch system was handled well. As the world hangs in the balance, we get a chance to see Felicity’s mother and father bicker and butt heads, filling in backstory gaps that actually proved to be fairly compelling. Plus, seeing those two go at one another was actually a lot of fun (and Felicity stealing a chug from Curtis’ beer was a great touch).
So, it turns out Donna actually left her father when Felicity was a kid — and she just let Felicity believe her father had run off and left them. Felicity takes the reveal in stride, though, and regardless it’s great to see her finally get a chance to bond with her old man. Even if he is a wanted felon (though, you’d think helping save the world with Argus might help knock a few warrants off his rap sheet, right?). As Felicity and Noah bond over their shared hacking skills, Donna feels left out (which admittedly comes off as a little petty, considering the world is literally hanging in the balance). But overall, it’s a nice story, and provided a good bonding moment between Felicity and Donna — while also helping mend some bridges between Felicity and Noah. Not a bad story to slip into a potential nuclear holocaust arc, right?
The episode also dug a bit deeper into the Baddie of the Week archive, pulling Felicity’s old hacker boyfriend Cooper out of jail to try and hack Dhark’s way back into the nuclear system (why all these criminals just blindly sign on to help Dhark is still a mystery, unless he’s giving them brainwashing pills, too?). But, Cooper is no match for The Calculator & Daughter, and they somehow manage to blow up his computer and knock him out… because, science? I guess?
One stray arrow takes down the entire Under the Dome lair
Oliver and Diggle bust into Dhark’s underground lair in search of Thea, and are shocked to find a Stepford-esque suburbia hidden deep below the Glades (how Dhark’s forces managed to build this undetected, even with some pull at city hall the past few months, is still mind-bogglingly unbelievable, though). Malcolm Merlyn is still (begrudgingly? Kinda?) helping Dhark, and pulls a brilliant (though truly despicable) move by brainwashing Thea and nearly forcing her to kill Oliver. Seriously, Malcolm: You have literally already brainwashed your daughter once and forced her to kill a friend, and you’re going straight back to that well again? If not for John Barrowman’s boundless charisma, it would be so hard to love-hate Malcolm.
But, it turns out Lonnie Machin, aka Anarky, is also still kicking around Under the Dome, and manages to sneak in and manages to single-handedly take control of the base’s command center. This guy is almost too formidable, right? Or is he just that much smarter than our central heroes, that he can sneak in and pull this off while Oliver and Diggle are stuck having some (surprisingly great) gun fights and brawls in the broad daylight of this freaky underground suburb. Oh, and for all the Angel fans out there, it finally hit me: This underground lair totally feels like that Wolfram & Hart mystical suburb prison, right? Or is that just me? Okay, moving on…
Oliver confronts Lonnie in the nerve center, and Anarky warns them that one errant arrow could make the whole place explode because it’s powered by the dwarf star alloy made famous by Ray Palmer. Well, one arrow later, and the entire underground bunker, neighborhood and all, is a smoking crater (though most everyone was evacuated, apparently). How is Dhark so dumb as to leave this seemingly critical design flaw? So, all someone had to do was accidentally knock over one of those pressurized canisters, and the entire facility would’ve been destroyed? Not a smart design when you’re building the only place that will survive a nuclear holocaust.
Other observations: So, apparently Curtis has decided to show back up and lend a hand this week, after being inexplicably MIA last week when Team Arrow could’ve certainly used his hacking skills. His absence, and arrival, just felt so random and was never actually explained. Sloppy bit of character-handling there. So Damien Dhark is a nigh-unstoppable force of magic nature now, but was pretty much sidelined this week. Sure, you want to save the big face off for next week’s finale, but it never really made sense why Dhark didn’t just pop down with his super magic and kill Oliver and Diggle once they became a problem (or, you know, when he literally had them dead to rights to open the episode). It was pushing the supervillain bravado to its most extreme.
Having the underground residents be there of their own accord was actually an interesting piece of story, and helped push Oliver to try and be more of an inspiration to the city (but it begs the question, why didn’t that family just move out of Star City by this point since the place is pretty insane?). Would’ve actually liked to see that explored even more. Interesting angle. Having Lonnie kill Dhark’s wife was also a nice twist, and I’m sure most fans were probably fist-pumping when she finally bit the arrow. Now Dhark is both super-powered, and super-pissed.
Next week: Dhark is apparently coming after Felicity to help him regain control of Rubicon, as Team Arrow will have its hands full trying to save the city (and the world) from nuclear armageddon.