Arrow “Lost in the Flood” Review (Season 4, Episode 22)

The basic premise of this week’s Arrow was pretty straightforward. Felicity and Noah were above ground in Starling City attempting to find a more permanent solution to the Rubicon problem while Oliver and Diggle went underground in search of Thea. Naturally, neither of those missions were accomplished without some resistance, but they were accomplished nonetheless. The problem wasn’t the premise of the episode. It was the execution.

I understand that people handle stressful situations in a host of different ways. However, the dissonance between the situation at hand and the characters’ responses was staggering. For example, Felicity, Donna, and Noah’s family drama. Donna (understandably) has issues with Noah. Based on everything we’ve heard up to this point, he was a bad husband, an even worse father, and an overall horrible human being. However, in the here and now, he’s trying to help Felicity save the world. Literally. Whether or not his motives are pure isn’t really relevant. The fact remains that Felicity needed help and he stepped up to help her. End of story. Whatever decision Felicity reaches about their relationship going forward should be up to her, not Donna. And is NOBODY going to address the fact that Donna spent almost all of Felicity’s life feeding her lies about what happened with Noah? She told Felicity that Noah abandoned them, but that wasn’t the truth. She kicked him out and took Felicity. I’m sure she had a good reason, but the fact remains that she made the choice for Felicity back then and then proceeded to lie about it for the next 25 years or so. She also fed Felicity all her negative thoughts and feelings about Noah, and she’s just wrong for that. Her issues with Noah are just that. HER issues. It’s not right to put that kind of stuff on Felicity and, in the process, rob Felicity of the opportunity to come to her own conclusions about her father. Because for better or worse, that’s what he is. You would think seeing how Donna’s lies fostered a sense of abandonment in Felicity would’ve stopped Donna this time, but oh no. Her hatred and jealousy toward Noah was more important to her than allowing Felicity to decide for herself what kind of relationship she wants to have with her father.

This whole situation was about Donna’s attempt to maintain control in Felicity’s life, and it’s ridiculous. Granted, Donna may be correct that Noah hasn’t fundamentally changed. I don’t believe that people can fundamentally change who they are. At least not often. But people do grow up, and life experience has a way of changing our perspective and our response to certain situations. Who’s to say that that hasn’t happened with Noah? I don’t believe it has, but it might have. If Felicity chooses to accept Noah, warts and all, into her life, that’s her choice. And who’s to say that she wouldn’t be a positive influence on him and help him get on the straight and narrow? Felicity is an adult, and she doesn’t need Donna “protecting” her from Noah. The truth is, Donna’s ultimatum wasn’t about protecting Felicity anyway. Without Felicity, Donna doesn’t have anything. Not really. So if Felicity decides to bring Noah back into her life on a more permanent basis, Donna will have a constant reminder that Felicity is looking to someone besides her for advice and comfort. Not to mention that Felicity and Noah connect on a tech geek level that Donna will never understand, and she’s jealous of that. In addition, Donna’s behavior was awfully hypocritical. Donna made such a big deal in the last episode about Captain Lance lying about knowing Laurel was the Black Canary and now we find out that Donna has spent the last 25 years or so lying to her daughter. How is it she gets all up in arms about everyone else telling lies when she’s been lying (and would’ve continued lying) all this time? All of this was interesting story ground to mine, but it was out of place in this episode. The fact that the fate of the world was literally on the line wasn’t the time for Donna to stomp around berating Noah about his failures as a husband and father. It only made Donna look petty, selfish, and completely out of touch with reality.

While all of that was happening above ground, Oliver and Diggle were underground looking for Thea and attempting to avoid HIVE henchmen. That led to some pretty decent fight sequences, but it was mostly just more of the same from a character standpoint. Oliver and Diggle sort of took a family hostage while they were hiding from the aforementioned HIVE henchmen, and the dad revealed that he and his family haven’t taken any of Darhk’s special pills. They were there because they believed that the world was beyond saving. Which gave Oliver an opportunity to lament the fact that he hasn’t been able to give Starling City hope. I understand that’s the theme of the season, but how many times are the powers that be planning to beat us over the head with it? I get it. Oliver wants to give the people hope, but he doesn’t really know how to do it and everything he’s tried up to this point has failed. I would much rather the show assume that I’m smart enough to get it without them continually dropping anvils on my head about it.

Oliver also had yet another confrontation with Malcolm Merlyn while trying to rescue Thea. Father of the Year drugged Thea with Darhk’s special yellow pills, but Oliver was able to talk her down by convincing her to always keep fighting. Afterwards, Thea (yet again) informed Malcolm that he sucks and Oliver started barking about how he should’ve killed Malcolm. Malcolm fired back that Oliver is all bark and no bite. He’s not wrong. Oliver’s been singing the same song when it comes to Malcolm pretty much since season one. Oliver really needs to get some new material. As Malcolm pointed out, Oliver has already made it clear that he’s not going to kill Malcolm, so what’s the point? Meanwhile, Anarchy took out Ruve Adams. Good riddance. She was annoying and kind of superfluous to boot. What I did find interesting was how broken up Damien Darhk was over her death. It never ceases to amaze me how cavalier bad guys are about other people’s families but how personally they take it when someone hurts their own family. Darhk was no different. How many people has he killed in Starling City alone? How many families has he ruined and children he left orphaned? Yet he’s all broken up because his wife is dead. Give me a break.

Arrow has struggled quite a bit storywise this season, so this episode lacked some of the emotional punch it could’ve had if the show had told a more focused story. It took entirely too long to lay out Darhk’s plan, and as a villain, Darhk hasn’t been particularly impressive. Which is a shame because Neal McDonough is capable of playing a fantastic villain. It’s always nice for Curtis to pop up in an episode, but it still raises the question of why they didn’t call him last week. Especially since Curtis is the one who came up with the way to freeze Darhk out of Rubicon. I guess we’ll have to see how it all pans out since it looks like Darhk is planning to compel Felicity to unlock Rubicon for him. I guess we’ll have to see. What did y’all think of this week’s Arrow?

3 Responses

  1. ptjackson

    I just got around to watching this today. As far as bad guys, yeah, the bad guys on this show, and as you point out Oliver too, are stereotypical Bond villains – “I could kill you now, but I would rather tie you up and make you think about it for 30 minutes (or more) and then my ingenious device will do the dirty deed.” It is such a trope, but really the only way to keep some of the fun bad and good guys around. Malcolm is a pain, but I adore the character and actor, so I really do not want Oliver to end him!

    I do totally agree with you about Donna. Perhaps the writers for this show are all young, and do not have the perspective of age (yeah, I’m old) to get it that her histrionics were totally stupid – or maybe they were trying to add drama and tension and figured that would accomplish it. Either way, it made her seem dumb and selfish.

    • Jessica Breaux

      I agree with you that John Barrowman is wonderful, but my affection for him will only carry me so far when the show continues to sing the same songs over and over.

      In reference to your point about Donna, perhaps. The writing has been inconsistent at best this season, and this episode was a casualty of that. It would’ve made more sense to have this whole Donna drama take place after the world has been saved and Felicity decides whether she wants to let Noah become a part of her life.

      • ptjackson

        Yes, I agree – there is a time and place for personal tantrums, and when two people are working desperately to save the world is not one of them! But, then again, this kind of stupid drama occurs in other programs and movies!