Were you ready to get your hearts broken? Because that’s what this week’s episode of Arrow was all about. Episode #4.15 “Taken” gave us reason to yell, to cry and to laugh. Basically, our emotions were all over the place.
The episode starts with Felicity in physical therapy, trying to start using her legs again. After Curtis’ biostimulant has been injected in her spine she was hoping for quicker results. Just as she is opening up to Oliver about her insecurities, Damien Darhk manages to ruin the fun by joining in on the conversation: “Oh you two just melt my stone-cold heart”. That is definitely something we can identify with. He walks into the scene, displays some serious sass before he cuts right down to the chase: He has kidnapped William, and if Oliver wants to have his son back he has to drop out of the mayoral race and endorse Darhk’s devious wife Ruvé Adams. But the kidnapping isn’t the biggest surprise but rather that Oliver kept his son a secret from his fiancé. Felicity is surprisingly calm as she processes the new information. Her reaction this time around is very similar to the one she had just a few months ago in the Flash/Arrow crossover, she even uses the exact same words, something that Oliver isn’t aware of though.
One thing that keeps upsetting us is the fact that Oliver uses Samantha’s ultimatum to justify his lies. Sure, she told him not to tell anyone about the child, not even Felicity, but the Oliver Queen we met in the first couple of seasons would have found another way, he always did. He should have remembered that there are no secrets between them, that Felicity told him about Thea being Malcolm’s daughter and she didn’t even think twice about it. Oliver made the conscious choice to keep William from Felicity, while plenty of other people knew about his son’s existence, and he should have been held responsible for it, too. People should have been more upset with him, especially Laurel, as Oliver had cheated on her back then and it would be more than reasonable for her to be angry, and Diggle because he has always been the voice of reason, the one who would guide Oliver on the right path. Oliver’s excuses shouldn’t have just been accepted the way they were.
William’s kidnapping also brings the baby mama herself, Samantha, to town and if we ever met an unlikeable character … She waltzes into the Star City precinct throwing accusations at Oliver and is generally unbearable throughout the whole episode. Oliver tells her about his secret identity to convince her that he is able to get their son back. He also realizes that he cannot face Darhk by himself and with Constantine stuck in literal hell, he asks another familiar face for help. The magically mystical Mari, better known as Vixen, joins Team Arrow to bring back William. We have met Mari and explored her origin story in the animated Vixen series that is streaming on CWSeed, and we could not have been happier to see her come to life on Arrow. She was undoubtedly the most exciting thing about the whole episode and we loved the special effects used to display her connection with the animal world.
Queen for Mayor?
With the help of Vixen’s powers the Team is able to locate William and get a lead on Darhk. Fighting Darhk and his magic isn’t as easy as the team hoped it to be, even with Mari’s support. As Oliver does not see another way to save his son he publically announces his withdrawal from the mayoral race at a press conference, which is probably the worst decision he has made in a while. The Oliver we saw fighting for a safer Star City in the light of the day was the one that was most inspiring and it’s sad to see this special kind of character regression happen over the span of five short minutes.
But as this is Darhk we are talking about, a picture-perfect bad guy, Oliver dropping out does nothing for William’s safety. It is Mari’s animal powers which ultimately help the team find the location of Dahrk’s very own totem, and they manage to destroy it. Without his powers Damien is nothing but a mediocre fighter and Team Arrow can not only save William but also put Dahrk away, at least for now. If this should be the end of Damien Darhk’s reign it would be a truly anti-climactic one. But fret not, the next big bad is already around the corner and it is one we thought had temporarily joined the good guys: Malcolm Merlyn. We’re not sure we like where this is headed. Malcolm is selfish and ruthless and absolutely unpredictable. If only we could keep Mari around to get rid of Malcolm, too.
After saving William, Oliver decides to cut his son out of his life. In a truly gut-wrenching and heart-breaking scene Oliver addresses him in a video message that William is supposed to receive on his 18th birthday. He tells him that he is his father and the Green Arrow and that he has distanced himself from him in order to protect him. We might not always agree with Oliver’s life choices but putting his son first might just be the most responsible thing he could have done. That monologue was also one of Amell’s strongest emotional performances on the show, undoubtedly influenced by his own experiences with fatherhood. Unfortunately Oliver has kept one too many secrets and in the final scene of the episode Felicity decides to break off their engagement. As she takes off Moira Queen’s ring she does not just free herself from the commitment, but literally walks out of Oliver’s life. Looks like a very speedy recovery.
Episode #4.15 ends with Oliver having lost everything he thought he would be able to protect by lying. He not only lost his son, but also his fiancé. He surely won’t go down without a fight, but to see him so completely broken is a stark contrast to the practically giddy man we met in the season four premiere. Now the worst part? We will have to wait a solid four weeks for a new episode.
“Hi, William. I hope you’re well, and I hope you’re safe. There’s something that I– I want to tell you. I wanted to tell you before, but… But this is better. I’m your father biologically, that is. As far as really being your father goes, I haven’t earned that yet. A father should be there for his child every day no matter what to make sure that they feel loved, that they feel safe, and a child should be able to rely on their father and go to him for– for guidance and reassurance. I have failed to do that for you… And now I’m–I’m gonna tell you why. I’m the Green Arrow, and my life is very dangerous, which is why… We decided to keep you out of it for all these years. What happened to you in Star City, that was my fault, and I can’t allow anything like that to happen ever again, and that’s why I’ve asked your mother to move you far away and to not tell anyone where she’s taking you, including me. It’s also why I asked her to wait to show you this message until after your 18th birthday. I wanted to give you a real childhood. I wanted to give you that gift. Good-bye, Son. I sure hope it’s not forever.” – Oliver
Arrow returns with new episodes March 23 at 8/7ct on The CW.
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