Holy. Crap. The penultimate episode of Arrow Season 1 had so many OMG moments and shocking reveals that I’m pretty sure that this could have functioned as a season finale for any other series. But since this is Arrow, this was just a normal, action-packed episode. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
The first scene of "Darkness On the Edge of Town" is the one we released early, where Malcolm decides to "pay" seismologist Dr. Brion Markov for his services… only, not with money, but with an arrow to the chest. The Dark Archer killed all the Unidac employees, destroyed the lab and all their notes, covering up his tracks. When he does use the Markov device, there will be nothing to tie Malcolm to the “natural” earthquake that destroyed The Glades. Basically, the lesson here is never do a favor for Malcolm.
Back at the Arrow lair, Diggle and Felicity update Oliver on their tracking of Moira now that they know she is in league with Malcolm for The Undertaking, but so far she hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary. Oliver, however, doesn’t know how to process the fact that his family and oldest friends (the Merlyns) are behind all the evil he’s been fighting ever since he returned from the island. He decides it’s time to ask Moira, face to face, as her son, for the truth.
Before he can leave Verdant, he’s ambushed by Laurel who wants to discuss that little matter of Oliver confessing that he still loves her. She realized that she was ready to admit that she has feelings for Oliver, too. She caught Oliver when he was embroiled in an Arrow mission that only reiterated his belief that he can’t be with anyone thanks to his life. So, he lied and said he hasn’t changed, leaving Laurel confused and heartbroken.
Back at the Queen’s mansion, Walter finally came home! It’s hugs all around and a delicious brunch to welcome him home, but he isn’t exactly in the brunch mood. Something tells me he isn’t going to want to dive back into to the family life with Moira after his 6-month captivity, as evidenced by the kiss brush-off he gave her.
Thea and Roy are getting their Veronica Mars on, with a bit more of a criminal side. They’re still hot in their pursuit of the vigilante, but they haven’t found any real clues to lead them to the Hood. They did find out via eavesdropping at the police department that the copycat archer is connected to Merlyn Global.
When Oliver confronted Moira about Walter’s kidnapping, he started to drop his façade, and you could tell that Moira saw something different in her son that shocked her. But before he could get any real answers, they were both knocked out by tranquilizer darts. I bet the hooded assailant is Diggle in Arrow’s hood!
And look at that, I was right! It’s Diggle in the Arrow suit, just absolutely going to town on beating up Oliver in order to scare the truth out of Moira. As much as Diggle and Oliver made up last week, you can tell he’s enjoying beating up Oliver just a little bit after their fight over Floyd Lawton. Just don’t hurt Ollie’s face too much!
Their plan worked: Moira spilled the truth on everything. Unidac Industries. The Markov device. Malcolm’s plans to level The Glades. Robert Queen’s involvement with the plans before he died. Once they were sure she told them all she knew, Diggle cut Moira and Oliver loose, and left. Oliver couldn’t even look Moira in the eyes knowing what she had done!
Now that Team Arrow has new information, it’s back to the Arrow lair! Felicity looks up Unidac Industries – noting that Queen Consolidated acquired them seven months ago, the same time Felicity and Oliver met! Anniversary! – and figure out that Malcolm plans to level The Glades with a device that creates man-made earthquakes. They also figure out that since the other archer was the one responsible for what the media is calling the Unidac Massacre, that means the other archer works for Malcolm. Little do they know it’s actually Malcolm, but that will come later.
Since Det. Lance found a connection between the copycat archer and Merlyn Global, he asked to speak with someone at the company… and of course they sent Tommy. That’s just adding so many levels of awkward to the conversation, especially when Laurel walks in on their meeting. After Tommy leaves, Lance puts a tech guy on the job of snooping around their network… hey, isn’t that exactly what Felicity is trying to do? Lance and Laurel also got in some father/daughter bonding when she told him the reason she and Tommy broke up was because of Oliver. Lance’s two least favorite guys in all of Starling City, and his daughter has to date both of them. Poor guy. Silver lining? Lance has noticed the difference in post-island Oliver and gave his kind-of approval to Laurel. That’s a huge win, and also made Laurel realize that Oliver lied earlier about not being any different now.
Felicity wasn’t getting anywhere hacking into the Merlyn Global network, so Oliver figures out a way to get her inside the actual building to download the files they need to find the Markov device. Shenanigans ensue when some random paper pusher guy tried to get on the same elevator as Felicity and Oliver, and even tried flirting with her! But Ollie shut that down and knocked him right out of the elevator car. Was that a hint of jealousy from Ollie? #Olicity shippers, discuss!
While Felicity works her tech magic, Oliver uses his time to confront Tommy about Laurel. While Tommy came off as misogynistic, referring to Laurel as a consolation prize, Oliver put him in his place. He reminded Tommy that Laurel isn’t property, and makes her own decisions. She chose Tommy, and that should be all that matters. Oliver isn’t to blame for their break-up.
On his way out, Oliver ran into his sister, and finally got the chance to meet Roy. That handshake is going down as one of the scariest encounters ever. Oliver warned Roy and Thea away from pursuing the vigilante since everyone who gets close to the vigilante ends up dead. Oliver plays the disapproving older brother part well! Too bad it didn’t work on Roy: he’s still set on finding the hood, so he can teach Roy to be like him. Apparently, Roy lost someone a while ago and doesn’t want it to ever happen again. Thea made him choose, though, the vigilante or her, and Roy chose the vigilante.
Walter’s chilly demeanor when he first got home is finally explained: he knows that Moira had something to do with his abduction, and served her with divorce papers.
Det. Lance’s tech guy struck out trying to hack into Merlyn Global – duh – but he did notice Felicity Smoak had tried to do the same thing. Looks like part of Team Arrow is being brought in for questioning... again!
Back in the Arrow lair, Oliver had an epiphany: his father’s mission to clean up the city meant to stop The Undertaking. Once he did that, he’ll have cured the disease, and his work will be done. He could be done with being the vigilante, live a normal life, and could actually have a life with Laurel. Is there truly a light at the end of the tunnel? Oliver seems more hopeful than we’ve seen him all season!
It truly does look like Oliver thinks there’s hope for him and Laurel, since he went straight to her place. With a real smile on his face, he told her he’s ready to admit she’s the one who means the most to him, and cue the passionate sexytime! Too bad Laurel didn’t shut the drapes first: Tommy got quite the eyeful. This is officially the beginning of Tommy going dark.
Oliver went to confront Malcolm as the Hood, because the Markov device wasn’t where they thought it would be. When Malcolm refused to give it up, Oliver shot an arrow, meant to kill him… but Malcolm CAUGHT IT WITH HIS BARE HAND. Ollie’s wide-eyed surprise meant he understood now that Malcolm was the Dark Archer. Cue one of the greatest fight scenes Arrow has yet to show. In the ensuing chaos, Malcolm broke Oliver’s bow, and knocked him out to dehood him. When he realized the vigilante was Oliver, he let out a horrifed, “Oh no…”
In this week’s island flashbacks, we finally learn the entirety of Fyers’ plans: he’s following orders to shoot down any incoming and outgoing aircrafts near China, thus grounding all air travel in and out of China indefinitely. That would cripple China’s economy, especially once Yao Fei, a rogue element from China’s own military, took the fall – which he will, since Fyers shot both Slade and Shado. He does manage to slip Oliver a knife before donning his old uniform and recording a video taking responsibility for the destruction of all the aircrafts. We also got the glimpse of the high heeled feet of Fyers’ boss… who could she be? And after Yao Fei finished his video, Fyers SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD.
Once again, I say: whoa. While this could certainly have been a season finale, we still have one more hour left to go of Season 1. I could try to predict what’s coming, but honestly, all bets are off at this point. Who will survive The Undertaking? Will The Undertaking happen? Will Tommy go dark? Will anyone else find out Oliver’s identity? What will Malcolm do with Oliver? We’ll find out next week in the season finale of Arrow, “Sacrifice.”
The best quotes from “Darkness On the Edge of Town:”
Felicity: Are you okay?Oliver: My mom and my best friend’s dad are involved in a conspiracy that may have dire consequences for the city and I’m pretty sure they murdered my father. I’m not planning on using the word okay anytime soon.
Felicity: The last time the vigilante paid your mom a visit you got shot and I got to play doctor with you. Ugh, my brain thinks of the worst way to say things.
Thea: I’m really sick of us all having to go through a lot, you know?
Det. Lance: The arrows are black, not green.Police Chief: The copycat archer again.Det. Lance: The psychopaths are color-coding themselves now. That’s helpful.
Felicity: Let me get you an icepack for… everything.
Oliver: Felicity, are you hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe?Felicity: Hacking is such an ugly word, no… Yeah, totally hacking into the Merlyn Global mainframe!
Oliver: Anything?Felicity: Just for the record, I will pump my fists in the air and scream ‘Yes!’ if I get in.
Felicity, dressed as a Big Belly Burger delivery girl: I have a super deluxe big belly buster for a Mr. Andrews. I think he’s in security. He a good tipper?
Oliver: Don’t look down.Felicity: Too late! I should mention that I’m afraid of heights… which I just learned right now!Oliver: Hold on to me tight.Felicity: You know I imagined you saying that to me under different circumstances. Very platonic circumstances.
Felicity: This is my hack face. I always look like this when I’m about to hack.
Tommy: Why so serious?
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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It’s about time! After weeks of inching closer and closer to the truth only to be misdirected each time, Oliver finally realized his mother Moira was hiding something shady and took matters into his own hands tonight on Arrow. On came the hood, up came the bow and arrow, and out came the words, “Moira Queen, you have failed this city!” That’s right, Oliver targeted his mom to get to the bottom of her lies.
You see, after Felicity gave Oliver The List that Walter had, Oliver was still in denial that his mother had anything to do with the low lives and corrupt business people that he dedicated his life to taking down. Diggle didn’t have the same blinders on, though, and worked his hardest to prove to Oliver that Moira was lying. That involved tailing Moira, under the guise of being her driver. He happened to catch a bit of her conversation with Malcolm Merlyn about “the undertaking,” as well as that the Queen’s Gambit was sabotaged. Diggle played the recorded conversation for Oliver who knew the only way to figure out what “the undertaking” is was to confront her, hood and all.
But while all this family drama was happening, another woman close to Oliver was getting into a bit of trouble. Laurel was trying to put a just-released murderer, Cyrus Vanch (welcome to the Arrow universe, David Anders!), back into prison, but since he got off on a technicality, she needed to work outside the law to find enough evidence to put him away for good. Good thing she has that phone to contact the Hood! You remember, the phone Det. Lance bugged so he can eavesdrop on every call! Not creepy at all, right?
Because she was playing Maid Marion to Robin Hood, Det. Lance and his task force were able to crash Laurel and Arrow’s meeting. This didn’t accomplish anything besides Arrow giving Det. Lance quite a head shot and pissing off Laurel once she figured out her dad betrayed her.
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Arrow was still able to glean enough information from Laurel that she needed evidence that Cyrus Vanch was doing something – anything! – illegal so he paid the criminal a house call. Thanks to a handy recording device on an arrow, Oliver was able to get a recorded confession from Vanch that he was interested in filling the current power vacuum of Starling City since both the Triad and the Bertinelli group are still leaderless. Boom: evidence.
Unfortunately that arrow recording device was discovered by Vanch, who realized that taking down the hooded vigilante was the best way to gain respect among the criminal community. Turns out, Vanch also has a mole on Det. Lance’s task force, so he knew that Laurel was the way to get to Arrow. Some goons showed up at her apartment, and I have to be honest, here: I totally forgot that Laurel could fight! She was totally holding her own there until Vanch stepped in with a taser (cheater...).
Oliver knew he couldn’t take Vanch’s veritable fortified castle on his own, so he teamed up with the most unlikely ally: Det. Lance. Both men knew they had to put their differences aside to save the woman they both loved. And of course Tommy just sat around moping (at least he knows he’s got competition from Arrow for Laurel’s heart!).
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I got such a kick out of how much Vanch underestimated Arrow. The way the camera kept comically cutting between Vanch’s explanation of how there was no way Arrow could get past all the men he had stationed around the house, no way he could get past the sharpshooters on the roof, no way he could get into the house at all, and Arrow just being his regular badass self taking out every obstacle in his way like it was no big deal was all kinds of perfect. Vanch thought he finally had Arrow right where he wanted him when Det. Lance came in guns blazing. I think we saw a little bit of understanding from Det. Lance of Arrow, because for a second, he wanted to kill Vanch, regardless of the trouble he would get in from police. That’s exactly what Arrow does, because he’s not held back by the law. Could we be seeing a thaw in the ice that surrounds Det. Lance?
After Vanch was put away, Arrow approached Laurel and basically told her he couldn’t risk her life again, and that this was goodbye for them. We’ll see just how long that lasts, though. Oliver can’t stay away from Laurel, and Laurel can’t stay away from Arrow.
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And in this week’s island flashback, we see Oliver has followed Yao Fei’s map to… whoa, is that the plane from LOST? In the wreckage, we meet Slade Wilson (welcome to the Arrow universe, Manu Bennett!), who we all thought was Deathstroke, the guy who tortured Oliver – seeing as how he has the same face mask Deathstroke always wears – but it turns out Slade had a partner with the same mask. Slade and his partner are Australian Secret Intelligence, on the island to rescue Yao Fei, but Yao Fei was compromised. Now Slade will be Oliver’s mentor, training him to fight so they can take the airstrip together and get off the island.
Now, we know that Oliver doesn’t get off the island for five years, and he was alone when he was rescued. How did he get from working with Slade to get off the island to being all alone? There’s clearly a lot more to this story that we're going to see.
[Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW]
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
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