Friday, 6 May 2016

Arrow 'Genesis' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

Following the death of Laurel Lance the conflict between Damian Darhk and team arrow intensifies as Hive turn their attention towards the Diggle family before putting their final plans into motion.

Darhk's murder of Laurel seems to have had an effect on the series as a whole, not just the characters, as 'Genesis' gives us yet another episode that stands out as one of the best of the season.  Knowing that they have no real way of combatting Darhk's magic the team choose to take some time to regroup before trying to eliminate the villain.

Diggle goes to spend some time with his family, who are still in protective custody, whilst Thea leaves Star City for the weekend to have romantic getaway with Alex.  Luckily for the team Oliver is able to get in contact with John Constantine, who gives Oliver some advice on getting help resisting Darhk's magic, so he and Felicity head for Hub City to meet their magical tutor.

Whilst the story with Oliver and Felicity seeking out help is an important one to the overall story, it's not the most prominent part of this episode.  That falls to Diggle and Lyla.  The two of them, and their infant daughter, play a dangerous game of cat and mouse around Star City with Hive as first Andy and John get into a gunfight that results in John being captured and tortured by his brother, then as Darhk himself turns his sights on Lyla and some important technology that she possesses.

The fight between Andy and John through the back alleys are well orchestrated and shows just how far John has come in such a short time.  His willingness to try and save Andy is well and truly gone as he fights to kill his brother.  The loss of Laurel and the blame that he puts on himself for that have pushed him to a much darker place than we've seen him for a long while now and that really shows in this episode.

David Ramsey really stands out as the best part of the episode, the scenes where he's being tortured by his brother, the interaction between him and Lyla and the moment where he finally takes his own brothers life are all some of the best moments he's had in all four seasons.  The moment he kills Andy is one that clearly weighed heavy on him, despite what has passed between the two of them Andy is still his brother, and taking the life of his brother is something that will haunt him for a long time.

Whilst the Diggle family falls apart in Star City Oliver and Felicity meet their contact, an immortal sorceress that tries to help Oliver to control the light within himself to combat the dark magic that Darhk uses.  It's not the most imaginative magic training the show could have come up with and feels like something of a let-down for what could have been a really novel new area for the series to explore.

It also feels a little of a waste for not taking the chance to introduce a new magical character the the CW universe from the comic books, with Esrin Fortuna being completely bland and rather forgettable.  This would have been a great opportunity to introduce us to a television version of Madam Xanadu, Zatara or even the iconic Zatana, even if they didn't want to bring a new magical character into the universe (or possibly can't for some legal reason) they could have at least used Constantine a second time.

The 'training' basically boiled down to Oliver needing to get over all of his negative emotions and embrace the things in life that make him happy.  Whilst he may have failed in the training the lesson seems to pay off when he goes up against Darhk and surprises the villain by resisting his magic.  This seems less of a way for the hero to overcome the villain, and more of a move on the show's behalf to try and force Oliver to get rid of some of the angst and negative emotions he's been carrying around for the last four years.  I also wouldn't be surprised if the writers use this as a way of repairing the relationship between Oliver and Felicity.

The episode ends with Darhk's plan finally revealed as we learn that his attack on the Diggle's was just a way for him to steal a computer chip from Lyla that would allow him to take control of every nuclear missile in the world.  Full blown global nuclear apocalypse is definitely a big step up from what villains have tried to do in previous seasons and does raise the stakes for the team considerably.

It does however set up for a potentially silly scenario if team arrow are the only ones to try and stop Darhk in the finale.  Lyla is the head of Argus, a major government organisation.  If she doesn't end up using every resource available to them, plus getting other government and military agencies involved in an-all out war on Hive then it would seem a little ridiculous, especially as it's the fate of the entire world on the line rather than just one city.

We also discover that Hive has built a giant underground dome where its people in Star City will be able to survive the nuclear holocaust.  In a twist that I think absolutely everyone saw coming we also discover that Thea has been drugged and kidnapped by Alex and is inside the dome, though we have no explanation as to why, but I'm guessing Merlyn is behind it as he is once again trying to keep his daughter safe.

'Genesis' not only keeps up the momentum and the emotions from the previous episode, but manages to set up for the final few episodes as the villain's plans are finally revealed.  The episode is full of great action sequences and amazing acting from David Ramsey, though does let itself down a little on the mystical side of things.


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