This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.
The stakes are raised in 'Taken' as Damian Darhk reveals the kidnapping of William to Oliver and Felicity in an attempt to derail his mayoral campaign, and the team turn to a friend for help.
One of the best things, or problems depending on your point of view, with Arrow is that a lot of bad stuff happens to Oliver, but the majority of the time it's stuff that he's brought on himself. Ever since discovering he has a son in the Flash/Arrow crossover episodes we've known that this particular storyline is going to blow up in his face, and it was time for that to finally happen.
With William in the possession of Darhk Oliver is given an ultimatum, give up his bid to be mayor of Star City and endorse Ruve Adams or lose his son forever.
As to be expected the revelation that Oliver has a son and has been keeping that information from Felicity does not go down well, but she at least puts most of that aside to help find William and stop Damian Darhk. Having been unable to stop Darhk in the past Ollie decides to call in another hero to help them take down the magician, the magic totem wielding Vixen.
For those unaware Vixen is actually the star of her own Arrow spin-off show (yep, there are four shows as part of the Arrowverse, not just three), with an animated series having begun last year. In a neat twist Megalyn Echikunwoke, who voiced the character in the animated series, reprises the role for the live action counterpart.
With the help of Vixen the team realise that Darhk must be drawing his magical powers from a totem in a similar way that she does, and using intel provided by Captain Lance are able to identify the object.
The team launch an assault on Darhks home and Vixen is able to steal the totem and destroys it, robbing Darhk of his powers. Oliver is able to defeat the villain and save his son, though loses the relationship with his fiance in the process.
For the most part 'Taken' feels like the culmination of a lot of stories we knew were coming, Felicity finding out about William, the breaking up of Felicity and Oliver, the downfall of Damian Dark. The only thing that really made the episode stand out and become something a little more interesting was the inclusion of Vixen in the episode.
With Flash and Legends of Tomorrow getting the live action treatment Vixen could have been one of those shows that could have very easily been forgotten and relegated to a one off, and most fans of the Arrow/Flash franchise probably weren't even aware of the Vixen spin-off, let alone having seen it. By bringing her into the live action universe we not only get reminded that her character exists, but it also gives us another potential addition to Legends of Tomorrow at some point (I'm hoping season two will include Connor Hawke, Constantine and Vixen).
Echikunwoke continues to play the character well, and is given plenty of opportunity to portray the character as a bad arse hero, delivering one liners as well as getting to show off the diversity of her powers. It's also nice to see someone who had provided the voice of an animated hero bringing them to life in live action (why hasn't Clancy Brown or CCH Pounder played Lex Luthor or Amanda Waller in real life yet?).
As good as Vixen is in the episode the rest of Team Arrow are fairly weak, leaving Vixen to not only carry a lot of the plot forward for them, but to do the heavy lifting (literally) and take out Darhks power source so that they can beat him. I can't help but feel that without Vixens help in this episode the team would have struggled to get William back at all.
The ending of Ollie's mayoral campaign is a bit of a shame, as like in the comics as Green Arrow mayor could have been entertaining to watch, but they we'd have to watch Ollie trying to juggle his job as mayor around being a super hero, and that would have gotten boring pretty quickly.
What does this episode mean for Darhk and the rest of the season though? Has Darhk been permanently depowered or does he have another totem as a backup? Or is Darhk going to be sidelined for the rest of HIVE to step in and prove to be a bigger threat for Star City?
The producer of the show have said that they were planning to do something new and unexpected with their villain this year, so maybe the foe who has plagued them for the whole season won't end up as their ultimate villain, the man who we see Felicity urging Oliver to kill in the flash forwards to the funeral scenes. Personally I think Merlyn is going to step in and take over HIVE and be the final villain for the season, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.