Spoilers abound if you haven’t seen the latest episode of ‘Anyone-but-Arrow’… I mean ‘Arrow’.
Last week we found ourselves focusing on Laurel’s swan song and what Black Canary meant to Team Arrow and Star City. This week we get our first actual look at what “Project Genesis” is in an episode conveniently called “Genesis”. After an introduction that shows that Damien Darhk is fully powered and ready to move forward with the project without any bureaucracy (he kills to of the leaders), we find Team Arrow in full strategy mode to figure out how to stop this mad man. Oliver decides that he needs to fight magic with magic, and plans a trip to Hub City to visit a recommendation from John Constantine. Felicity insists on joining in on the journey so he doesn’t have to go alone, but at the heart of the story this week is the Diggle family.
John is still very much in vengeance mode and wants to avenge the loss of Black Canary by doing whatever he can to stop Darhk. He soon gets his chance after Andy decides to lure him into a trap which he escapes after a fair bit of torture from his brother. Little does he know that Andy let him escape at Damien Darhk’s orders so that they could find out where Lyla is hiding. As Director of A.R.G.U.S. Lyla has a lot of intel and the key intel that Darhk needs (called Rubicon) is implanted beneath Lyla’s skin in her arm.
An attack ensues on the Diggle Family, but Felicity and Green Arrow return just in time to save them from a Darhk doom. Oliver utilizes the very brief teachings of Esrin Fortuna (played by Gabriella Wright), to battle Darhk’s dark magic with his own “light” magic. Good news is that he manages to save Lyla and survive the dark magic attack, but the bad news is that Darhk still managed to get the intel. This intel, we discover, is something which Damien Darhk intends to reverse engineer to rain down his “flood” of nuclear weapons as the final blow of “Project Genesis”. The “ark” in this biblical project is an underground domed town which Thea has unwittingly become a hostage in thanks to the guise of Alex’s “vacation”.
If this seems like a lot to take in, it definitely is, but the best part of the show was the final confrontation that occurred between Diggle and his brother which I cover in the 5 Highlights below!
Darhk’s Power Play
If you had any questions about whether Damien Darhk had regained his power or not, the introduction quickly answered them. Following him into the secret enemy lair of “Project Genesis” were Murmur, Merlyn, and Andy Diggle and they were all witness to Darhk’s fantastic magical ability upon Milo Armitage and Phaedra Nixon. Stopping a bullet mid-flight and returning to sender, and then snapping a spine in half. Yes, I’d say he’s back and in full charge of “Project Genesis”. No more committees.
Dark Magic Dream Sequence
Esrin Fortuna (played by Gabriella Wright). Who? Yeah I thought we were going to meet The Question too, but it turned out that the clues led us to a red herring. Anywho! Oliver’s “Magical Mystery Tour” led him to meet with this referral from John Constantine. The best part about this entire portion of the show was the dark magic dream sequence that Fortuna brought out of Oliver. Cool to see Deathstroke again, and amazing to see how much tragedy Oliver has had in his life.
The Diggle Family
The spotlight of this week’s episode, and they all shined! With Diggle’s internal struggle at the heart of everything, David Ramsey put on a masterful performance of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Lyla, the Director of A.R.G.U.S., showed just how powerful of a woman she was both with lines like “This isn’t the man I married, this is the man I divorced” to get John to focus, but also in sending her family away after realizing what Darhk and his cronies were after, the Rubicon. Baby Diggle, Sara, even had a highlight for me as she very calmly escaped danger on the back of her father riding a motorcycle in a backpack. So chill!
The emotional climax occurred during John’s last confrontation with his brother, Andy. As Andy is pinned down one more time, and Diggle has a chance to put a permanent end to his brother’s antics, Diggle shockingly pulls the trigger! John Diggle tried everything he could to bring Andy back into the fold, but he always refused to play along. The final straw here was when he said that John didn’t have what it took to protect his family. Once again, David Ramsey’s face after he shot Andy was a look of pure terror and angst, and really sold the scene for me.
Under the Dome?
Thea’s storyline this episode was no doubt a little confusing and out of left field, but no doubt the reason it happened was so that we had a way of realizing exactly what Darhk’s “Project Genesis” was. Here we find out that she’s essentially been kidnapped for ransom and stowed away on what I’m going to call the “Darhk Ark”. As she tries to escape this Stepford-like dream city, she hits a force field and we see that’s actually a giant, domed underground town. This underground town will be the last safe haven for the citizens of Earth (whoever is chosen) after Damien Darhk rains down his “flood” of nuclear missiles, thanks to the A.R.G.U.S. Rubicon that Lyla had implanted in her arm.
Arrow airs on Wednesday nights, 8/7c on The CW.