One notoriously be-wigged political figure has been dominating political coverage lately, so let’s turn our attention to another. Oliver Queen is running for mayor. If you had to judge from this episode, “Dark Waters,” would you vote for him?
Vote Yes: He’s Both Honest and Manipulative
This episode begins with twin stories: Oliver and Crew cleaning up the Star City Bay with a lot of volunteers, and Wigless Flashback Ollie and Taiana trekking through the bush on the island to somehow foil Riter’s plans.
Taiana is surprisingly weak and whiny for a person who has spent the last few weeks working all day as slave-farmworker. She can’t make the walk and wants to kill the guys who killed her brother (not knowing that the guy who did it directly, if only in self-defense, was Ollie). When she refuses to budge, Ollie at last flat out admits he’s using her for her expertise as a dive-instructor, but promises her if she helps him, the men will suffer.
Meanwhile, back in the present, when a reporter asks how Ollie managed to inspire people he says, “I didn’t inspire anyone. This is the city I remember!” Ooof, that’s oily. But that’s perfect. And that’s what’s going to get more people to help. This is exactly what you want from politicians. A line that makes people feel good costs nothing and might just work. He’s actually good at this.
Vote No: The Boy Cannot Use His Brain
A madman has been perpetrating acts of terror in order to destroy your city. He’s particularly asked you to stay away from the bay. What should you do? If your answer was, “Take a bunch of people, including children, to a wide open space to openly defy him, without telling any of the people that they’re openly defying him,” then your name is Oliver Queen.
Throughout this show, Ollie is just baffled by the fact that Darhk does exactly what Darhk has always done and what Darhk has actually told him that he’d do. At every point in time, he’s stunned by Darhk’s plan. It’s just amazing. It’s like the only purpose of his brain is to keep his eyeballs from falling backwards into his skull.
Vote Yes: He Could Have the Ultimate First Lady (And a Better First Mother-in-Law)
There is going to be a holiday campaign party at Ollie’s apartment. You know, the one with huge glass windows that at least two supervillains have burst through in the past two seasons. Mama Smoak is rooting around the decorations to get a menorah to represent Felicity’s Jewish heritage, which is not just a reminder, it’s plain good politics.
She finds the ring. I don’t know which I like best, Felicity’s excited, “MMMMMMM,” or Mama Smoak’s instant assessment of the value of the thing: “Three carats, princess cut, no cloudiness at all. I knew Oliver loved you, but not this much.” One sharp lady. And regardless of religious affiliation, we all need that Hanukkah sweater. Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! I made you out of wool!
And Felicity is quite smart as well, which is why she manages to figure out that Ollie meant to propose months ago, and changed his mind. (This comes after a conversation with Curtis and his husband Paul, during which they talk about how straight people hide rings in desserts.)
He Grabs a Picture of Damian Darhk and Spills It All on National Television: I Don’t know How You Should Vote
On the one hand, that was a bold move. It was honest. It subverted the show’s tradition of pointless cover-ups. People probably needed this information.
On the other hand, a serious politician holding up a man’s photo and saying he runs a shadowy organization that “wants this city to die” looks LaRouche-level nuts. I think only you can look into your heart and decide how you want to vote on this one.
Vote No: Seriously, He’s Just So Dumb. And So Are His Friends
Of course the gang demands Oliver keep the holiday. Of course Darhk attacks the party. Of course no one stops him. Of course when Darhk gives Ollie a gentle push through a window (Yeah, I know, but a fall through a window is nothing in this universe. I’m willing to bet Ollie does it to scratch himself when there’s an itch he can’t get to.) Thea, Dig, and Felicity all rush forward so Darhk can capture them.
No, Wait! Vote Yes! He Knows John Barrowman
And Barrowman, as Merlyn, is in Badass Mode. Enter with a cool line, throw someone over a table (no, not that way, though it’s not like anyone would object), take Quentin’s gun and then just give it back him because who cares? In the battle between guns and the commanding eyes of a conquistador, it’s the eyes that win out.
But more than that, in a world full of useless plans, he comes up with one that would work. More on that later!
Vote Yes: He Just Got His Churchill On
It turns out that Darhk wanted the bay because he was breeding toxic algae that he was using in a gas chamber on it. He thinks Nazis aren’t so bad because humanity “needs a re-set.” So Ollie, in fighting him, is a little like Charles De Gaulle or Winston Churchill. Never thought Amell would look better with a pot belly, but here we are.
Okay, he does it with what appears to be no more than gentle smacks on the glass of the gas chamber that is killing Felicity, Dig, and Thea. But not to worry, Merlyn is back. And he’s in the Green Arrow outfit, because dreams do come true. Laurel helps out by cracking the glass with her canary cry and the Arrow team live! They live!
Vote No: It Always Turns Bad
Back on the island, Taiana and Oliver get found out and captured by the bad guys, after Oliver retrieved the detailed maps of the island.
Damian Darhk has a weird underground cornfield. Is he going to turn us all into Morlocks?
The Arrow team try the holiday celebration again—with Oliver at a public tree lighting ceremony. And Oliver proposes, and Felicity accepts, and they drive away, happy, in a limo. Guess what happens? At the very least, the driver is shot dead. Felicity appears unconscious and bleeding, possibly with a bullet wound to the chest. No way she’s dead. Too little drama, and we’re three months ahead of schedule.
But I have to admit, intercutting the attack with scenes of Damian Darhk going home to his adoring family and placing a star on the tree? Very nice.