Review: ‘Arrow’ Goes Nuclear in Way-Overstuffed ‘Monument Point’
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Monument Point”:
To borrow the parlance of another Warner Bros’ drama’s explosive climax: “Well, gosh.”
Obviously, Arrow is no stranger to consequences; its first season finale killing hundreds in the activation of Malcolm Merlyn’s earthquake machine, or Season 2 sending the city into super-soldier riots, but the idea of Russia inadvertently nuking the United States (and not even in a finale!) is a pretty big one. If anything, I’d guess the idea means to weigh those 10,000 deaths on Felicity’s conscience in Season 5, rather than deal with the immediate consequences here, but I’ll at least credit “Monument Point” with an abundance of commitment.
Consequences seem to be coming home to roost in these final episodes, as the re-purposing or “Rubicon” forced Felicity into an uneasy alliance with her “Calculator” father, while past threats like Vinnie Jones’ Brick, Amar and Alexander Calvert’s Lonnie Machin all bubbled back up to the surface with distinct grudges. Diggle too seemed pretty on edge in the wake of having to kill his own brother last week, a point only briefly addressed with Oliver questioning his partner’s decision to lie to Lyla, but an appreciated reminder of context nonetheless.
“Monument Point” was a spectacularly busy episode overall, adding in an entire B-story of Thea and Malcolm dealing with Anarky’s return in the underground community, dealing with Felicity’s tenuous grasp on Palmer Technologies, and even breaking midway through for a mini heist mission* to retrieve necessary tech to stop Darhk’s plans. Even then, that’s only the present, as the flashbacks zipped right through further conflict with Baron Reiter to an already-telegraphed point of Taina winding up possessed by the idol.
*Obviously, there’s good reason Echo Kellum’s Curtis will turn regular next season, as his absence this week significantly over-complicated the team’s ability to break into their own building to retrieve their own technology. And since when is Oliver paranoid about being spotted in costume in daylight?
When “Monument Point” did manage to sit still, it was nice to have Felicity on an odd keel with her estranged father, to constantly remind him that their mutual efforts wouldn’t act as a bonding exercise, even if he clearly relished the opportunity to join her inner circle. The Smoak family in general got top billing tonight, as Donna too snuck in some strong points by convincing Quentin to own up to his knowledge of Laurel’s nocturnal activities, even if it cost his career. The sentiment ended up a bit lost in the shuffle, but good on Arrow for at least keeping Laurel’s death a factor, for however much longer, anyway.
I’m curious as to why “Monument Point” threw everything in the rapid pace it did, given that “greatest hits” returns like Brick or Thea’s final showdown with Lonnie could easily have been shifted to earlier episodes. Overloading the hour clearly cost a bit of thematic focus, even if the dramatic nuclear countdown has seemingly been brushed aside for a more pointed conflict with Damien Darhk, himself supercharged by what damage the missile did accomplish.
Really, global nuclear annihilation was probably too big a threat for Arrow to reasonably deal with as a finale endgame, and hopefully Season 5 will explore a bit more of the consequences to such an eventful, if overstuffed hour.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Since the nuke in question was launched from Russia, might we take that as another sign Season 5 will be spending a significant amount of time in the former Soviet Union?
- Sure, fully pent-able robot hands. We’re curing paralysis, so why not?
- I … could do without the Holocaust imagery of Darhk’s captives all in matching jumpsuits. Again.
- Did Alex die? Was that made explicitly clear?
- If next week’s promos hadn’t suggested otherwise, I’d guess Machin’s “you’re a Queen” speech could set Thea to go solo next year. Not spinoff, mind you, just Red Arrow, perhaps.
- Look, I’m not 100% on how quickly nuclear missiles fly, but I’m pretty sure they’d have a little more time for a Russian launch to reach Star City. At least more than that animation was showing.
- Season 4 hasn’t been crazy consistent with Darhk’s power before, and I’m curious how they convey his increased abilities going forward.
Arrow Season 4 will return May 18 with penultimate Season 4 installment “Lost in the Flood,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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