Arrow, S4 Ep23 – Schism

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Arrow, once the flagship series for DC’s television universe and a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre, has severely diminished in quality this season and this week’s finale has only weakened it further. “Schism” pits the Green Arrow against Damien Darhk in their final battle, but with a weak plot line, several plot holes, an uninspired climax, and boring flashback sequences, “Schism” fails to impress.

Arrow Schism (1)

The not-so-poweful Damien Darhk

As far as finales go, “Schism” is much like previous Arrow finales. Star City is on the brink of destruction and Team Arrow has to rise up and defeat the bad guy. While all that is the same in “Schism”, the one twist is that the entire world is in peril as Darhk has taken control of Felicity’s anti-Rubicon software allowing him access to the world’s nuclear weapons. With his Genesis project no longer an option and his wife killed by Anarky, Damien has decided to let everything go and destroy the entire planet with him and his daughter as well. I’m not sure if it’s ever made clear if his underground cave and magic powers would spare him and his daughter from the destruction, but it’s possible.

This brings me to something I really despised about “Schism”. Damien Darhk is supposed to be super powered after the tens of thousands of deaths that occurred in last week’s episode from a nuclear explosion. Yet (and I’m jumping right to the climax here) he is easily thwarted in a fist fight with Ollie and the citizens of Star City. In an earlier scene, he completely decimates a faction of A.R.G.U.S. soldiers in seconds. A few more seconds, and he could have decimated that group of Star City citizens as well. Why is he pulling his punches? I could get how Ollie can resist Darhk’s power as it seems he is powered by the hope and determination of his people, but Damien has still had a little more time to play around with his magic. There really should have been a lot more death and destruction in the finale scene, all things considered.

The Ghosts were another issue. Much like in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, we are given a battle scene between the people of Star City and Darhk’s Ghosts. The Ghost have guns. Much like in said movie, rather than just shooting all of the Star City citizens charging them, the Ghosts decide to charge as well. Again, why are these villains not taking advantage of the power they have? Did anyone even die in that battle? It’s never made clear.

Damien Darhk was so powerful he could sense when his hacker, Felicity’s old boyfriend, stopped controlling the missiles. He was so powerful that he was able to end said hacker’s life from numerous city blocks away, yet he couldn’t do the same to at least a handful of the people around him?

I don’t even want to get started on the flashback scenes, but I know I have to. The flashback scenes have been the weakest parts of Arrow‘s 4th season, even more so than previous seasons. They concluded with Taiana (whose name I had to look up on IMDb) killing Reiter and afterwards being unable to control her new found powers, leaving Ollie no choice but to kill her. That’s it. A story that could have been told in one episode was stretched out to a whole a season and ended with an unsurprising twist. Amanda Waller returns, congratulates Ollie on a job well done, and then they make their goodbyes. That being said, Ollie still has one year left of flashbacks before his inevitable return to Starling City. So, Ollie makes mention of the promise he has to keep to Taiana, which was to contact her family in Russia to let them know about her and her brother. I’m guessing we’ll be seeing Ollie in Russia next season, which still doesn’t answer how he returns to Lian Yu once again and grows a full beard. Remember the pilot?

Diggle has a small, but satisfying moment in “Schism”, where he reveals to Lyla that he did not kill his brother out of self defense. The act has been weighing on Diggle’s conscience ever since it happened, and Lyla unsurprisingly completely understands why he did it. I like that this secret of Diggle’s didn’t go on for too long, and I like even more that Lyla understands why he didn’t come out with the truth in the first place and completely agrees with what he had to do. Still, Diggle is still feeling pretty bad about it and after everything is said and done, he decides to leave Team Arrow and Star City for a while.

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