Arrow Recap: Dark Waters

Season 4 / Episode 9 / The CW

And you say Star City!

Yo. Son. Queen. God. Fam. Have you noticed how much Flash has leapfrogged and left Arrow in the dust, when it comes to the entertainment aspect of things? Have you noticed that shit in Star City has been quite grim? Have you noticed that the Flashback story has kinda gotten boring as all hell? Yeah well, the writers have begun to take notice and give a damn about what their fans think. They took the crossover episodes as an opportunity to remind everyone who the OG of today’s TV superhero genre is.

Let’s get into this Mid-Season finale that saw that foreshadowing finally (hopefully, probably, most likely) come to fruition, in a heartbreaking cliffhanger.

The beginning and end of this episode are polar opposites and identical halves at the same time. We open up with a beautiful event at the Starling City Bay as Oliver Queen has asked the citizens of his home town to come out and lend a helping hand in cleaning up the clutter- and litter-ridden bay. Everything is going peachy until a mothalovin drone flies up and opens fire on all the volunteers!!

Safe to say Oliver is next-level pissed off and feels responsible for the injuries sustained by the innocent, kind-hearted victims and is getting to the breaking point with this cat-and-mouse game Damien Darhk has been playing. Thea, Diggle, Felicity, and Laurel aren’t sold on this being Darhk’s work, being the subtle maniac that he is, but Oliver can see through the cloud of doubt and officially has had enough with Sir Damien.

The Feels

Felicity goes though all the feels in this episode. Her Inside Out Disgust feeling is running the show from them minute she walks in her apartment door.

Her mother is grateful Felicity made it home after the drive fly by. Felicity allows Sadness to take the wheel as she gives zero fucks about decorating her place for the holidays. Mom has a few jokes on her Martha Stewart home decor skills then begins to rifle through some boxes to help Felicity da hack gawd get her place looking acceptable. Joy and Anger both vie for control of the feels once mom dukes opens up Pandora’s box and finds the ring that Oliver was going to use to propose to Felicity back on their getaway. She is happy to know that her man was ready to drop down on one knee, but highly upset that he must have decided to save the proposal for a later date. Her emotions fight to the death as she debates bringing this up to Ollie or going about her near death experience day like normal.

Diggle has his own internal battle in this episode. Oliver suggests he talk to his brother, Andy, now that he has been caged up for a few weeks. Stripping someone of their freedom can change them. Diggle goes in with the sympathetic approach. Andrew left his family to join H.I.V.E. and all this cat has to say is, “H.I.V.E. did it. They make our fake deaths look mad official.”
Diggle is livid and drops the low key bomb that Andrew isn’t even feeling the effects of Darhk’s mind control pills, but to no avail. Andrew reveals that he was the guns-and-drugs lord he is accused of being. Diggle tries with the nice guy approach one more time, but Andrew isn’t giving up the plans for the Bay.

Queen vs. Darhk

Shoot to the bay, and Oliver is talking to Team Arrow about his next plan of action against Damien Darhk. They done tried every damn trick in the book and seem to have come down to their last option: enlist the citizens of Star City for help in the fight. As the media has anxiously awaited the first comments from the mayoral candidates following the terrorist attack, Oliver heads right back to the scene of the chaos with an aura of unstoppable braggadocio. He struts up to the swarm of reporters and begins his verbal beat down of the cowardly man who hides in the shadows and has his Ghosts do his bidding. Oliver Queen goes on DC national television and straight-up accuses Damien Darhk of being behind all of Starling City’s problems, and requests everyone’s help to stop him.

The gang heads back to The Quiver (Yes, we’re gonna call it that. Omar dropped it in the crossover ep recap last week and I fux wit it.) to discuss the annual Queen holiday party. Oliver wants to cancel but the gang doesn’t want him to seem weak. Like a true former playboy, he goes forward with the party. It turns out to be a boozy, beautiful person-filled soiree where everyone is enjoying themselves. Everyone except Laurel, that is. Ollie puts her boring ass on the Quiver Arrowcave Hotline Bling. Dig got the crazy Marine-level security in case some shit goes down. Curtis parades his gorgeous husband around the joint as Felicity gives him the lusty eye and makes things awkward.

Then she ramps up her awkward level by saying he bats for the other team and she’s basically engaged aanndd did she just say basically engaged in front of Oliver? Yeah, she’s the opposite of a smooth criminal. She pulls Ollie to the side and reveals that her mother found the ring and she now knows homie was gonna propose…then they came back to Star City and EVERYTHING changed. Felicity wants both the crazy crime fighting life and the love life aaannnddddd SHOTS RING OUT. Damien Darhk and his henchmen roll up on the festivus gathering and start spewing venomous hate Oliver’s way. He spares the mayoral hopeful and instead opts for the far more cerebral approach — to harm those closest to him instead. Ollie gets the business and Darhk’s men take Thea, Felicity, and Diggle.

Ollie wakes up on the floor. The floor. He tells Lance to make himself useful for once because he’s been acting an awful like Laurel lately. Oliver Queen then tells his campaign manager to pay for everyone’s injuries, repair all the damage in the joint, and to use campaign funds to do it. HOLD UP. I know we in the midst of the most hostile single-handed supernatural takeover that Arrow has ever witnessed, but can we G check the insane amount of White Privilege that Oliver Queen just invoked?

I mean I know you can do what you want with your campaign money but he just threw that shit around like Jordan Belfort in Long Island in the 90’s. Ollie just threw thousands around like Mayweather, Adam Pacman Jones, and Luke Cage after Jessica Jones broke his heart, alllll up in the club making it rain on some monsoon shit.

Ollie is out here going fucking insane over the loss of every major person in his life! He’s unleashing the holy ghost on these Ghosts! He’s pummeling cats like Donkey Kong. He gets back to the Quiver vowing murder, torture, decapitation, dismemberment, disembowlment, and not a shred of ma’fuckin remorse. But you want to know the worst part about this for the homie Ollie? That the only person he can discuss this with, who wasn’t kidnapped is waaaaaccckkkkkk as fuuuuccckkkkkkk Laurel. So Ollie has his murderous decision making debate with her. She doesn’t help. At all. Ollie returns to his mission to make someone talk.

Laurel: But Ollie, the Ghosts have never given up their plans, Darhk’s location or anything besides some ‘Imma die for my cause’ type shit.

Ollie: Then I will take extreme pleasure in going full Ramsay Bolton flaying suckers.

Laurel presses Quentin because she received a tip that Lance is a dirty cop and he has to resort to his typical daddy was worried excuses. They get back to the Quiver and ask Oliver what he has.
Ollie: Bout 16 suicide notes and 22 dead bodies. BTW what do we do with all the bodies we pile up in this city? Ohh yea, that’s right. White Pri.”

EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS YET AGAIN!!! Is our favorite punchline incarnation of Ra’s al Ghul, but low-key calculated killer, Malcolm Merlyn. He comes through and hands a quick body session to Q. Lance and then delivers the team a Polyphasic-encrypted satellite phone that he’d been using to communicate, which may be used to track down Darhk. Lance asks him where he got it from and Merlyn shoots back the most emphatic self shine I’ve ever seen.


Shit. Was. Hilarious.

The Sacrificial Lamb

Ollie plans to give himself up so Darhk will release the team because the phone isn’t a definite.

Darhk is meeting up with his evil partners in super crime and they seem to be unhappy with the way he is handling things with the Bay. He was about to have the illll comeback until he gets a phone call.
“It’s Oliver Queen. I’ll bring the noise to yo ass.”
They meet up and Darhk threatens Ollie’s loved ones.
Ollie: I know you’re not gonna murk my homies, you just want to make a point. You made it. Release them.

Darhk: I haven’t made a single point all season, but you gon learn today. We out to my fortress of evil.

At the fortress, Darhk shows Oliver the drapes, wine cellar, and mysterious holding cells. He then begins getting mad cryptic about the Nazis perfecting the gas chamber and calls up some poor soul. He says that the bloom is active as the man enters the chamber and Darhk releases a gas that kills him immediately. Darhk then sincerely thanks Oliver for cleaning the bay. He needed a specific algae to synthesize his death gas and the clean water sped up his process.

Lance, Laurel, and Malcolm are back at the Quiver planning their attack. They ask Malcolm what’s really good with the ninja backup? He admits he don’t really hold any weight couldn’t risk the League on his personal mission. Malcolm had Oliver tagged and tracked so they head out to the Darhk Room, but Laurel forces Poppa Lance to stay behind. Why? I don’t know. The daddy issues this season are through the roof.

Darhk walks Ollie into Felicity’s cell and he leaves them to say goodbye on some mafioso shit. Felicity like, don’t sacrifice yourself for us. Ollie gets mad CW romantic as they discuss life and danger. Felicity tells him that if she was fictionally proposed to, she would’ve said fictional yes and been his fictional wife. Darhk retrieves them and pulls one on old Oliver and tells him that he is indeed still going to kill his would-have-been-wife, sister, and best friend! Oliver goes into a crazy rage and Darhk just smiles all smug reassuring him that they will all go painlessly. Silver lining Mr. Queen. Silver lining.


Team Arrow vs. H.I.V.E

Oliver bangs on the glass that clearly will not be shattered until his life dies before his eyes. An “I love you” gets dropped here and there. Tears come streaming down…then out of nowhere, Green Arrow and the useless one herself swoops in to save the day in dramatic fashion!!!

Laurel hits that Canary Cry so hard it clears the room, then she hits the cry another time to shatter the glass. They break the crew out and put the hurt on some Ghosts. Thea realizes that Merlyn is the one in the Green Arrow costume.

Darhk and Malcolm battle it out in a hallway. Darhk thinks he has the upper hand, but Damien Arrow has a few explosive tricks up his sleeve. He fares decently well the rest of the fight but…of course…Darhk overpowers him and hits Merlyn with the Darth Vader air death choke until Oliver comes sliding in from 3rd to take out the catcher killer.

Thea, Dig, Felicity, and Canary try to escape but get ambushed by dozens of prisoners released from their cells (where the hell is Darhk’s lair again?). Lance pulls up and lets loose a few shots for them boys with a handful of da boys as backup. He basically runs in, puts a bullet in a few bad guys, and poses like Viewtiful Joe as the calvary runs up.

Darhk is busy using Oliver’s face as his personal anger management pillow until Malcolm regains consciousness and uses dem bows the way Ollie would. Swift and deadly.

Malcolm runs up and plants another bomb arrow next to Darhk’s limp body. He pulls Oliver’s mashed potato face out of there before they go up with Darhk. “Kanjigar Septum Vohostrum” are the words that Darhk speaks before the bomb goes off. I think we all know what that means, after witnessing Vandal Savage and his beastly supernatural magic powers.

Late Episode Shockers

Back at the Quiver they actually debate if Darhk is still alive or not.

Ollie realizes he now owes Malcolm Merlyn a favor.

Diggle returns to see his brother, but realizes Andy is a Ghost through and through. It appears Dig is finally ready to wash his hands of this problem and treat Andy like Andrew the Ghost.

Damien Darhk and company walk out to a field of corn as they discuss the air breathing quality of the room and other science swag that I foresee having plenty of implications. Lots of questions are raised from this scene. It’s clearly the big picture reveal for this season’s nemesis, now to find out exactly what Darhk is planning…

Oliver Queen is finally acting like he remembers that he’s running for mayor and makes a late night speech after lighting the Starling City Christmas tree. He talks about not letting the darkness win. He thanks everyone for their help, then focuses his gratitude on Felicity Smoake. He drops down on his knee and hits her with that ring she’s been looking for.

Now we return to the parallels of the beginning and end of this episode. Following such a joyous occasion, Oliver and Felicity drive away and the limo is quickly surrounded by dozens of armed men that not only shoot it up but reload and continue to empty clips!! Ollie pulls some crazy evasive maneuvers to get to the accelerator and gets them away from the gunfire. He runs around to the back of the car to find Felicity slumped over…DEAD. Or DEAD? It’ll be a month until we find out if Felicity is the one that winds up in that grave that Ollie and Barry were standing over.

Flashback: Oliver has to motivate Taiana to push through as they make their way through the island jungle. They emerge and finally find the sunken submarine. In a matter of 2.6 seconds, Oliver decides he must learn how to deep sea dive AND WOULDN’T YA KNOW IT! Taiana used to be a dive instructor and can teach Oliver how to free dive so he can go retrieve some sunken treasure. Oliver gets back to land with a mean shark bite and what appears to be a map of sorts. Too bad, he won’t be able to look at it or do anything besides beg for his life as Conklin rolls up to spoil all his plans. He’s going to snitch to Baron Reiter and reveal the truth about who Oliver really is and why he’s on the island. See, told you the flashbacks were finally getting good.


Are you an Arrow fan? Fall behind in the episodes and looking to catch up? Read our other Arrow recaps for the season here.

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  • Ja-Quan is a NYC teacher and artist holding a B.A. in Sociology and History from SUNY New Paltz. On his journey to become Hokage, the Lord of The Speed Force and Protector of the Recaps can be found North of The Wall, chopping it up on Twitter @OGquankinobi

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