The CW‘s Arrow Taken TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 15: Taken produced some major upsets and left us hanging. There was, of course, the welcome introduction of Vixen (Megalyn Echikunwoke) straight outta Detroit to help Team Arrow track and destroy Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). As lovely a collaboration as that was, nothing could distract from the depressive state that engulfed the episode, which examined the meaning of fatherhood. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) now knows Oliver has a son, and what hurt was that she was next to last to know. Darhk broke into an intimate moment between Oliver and Felicity with his usual off-putting nonchalance and announced he has taken William, played by the adorable Jack Moore, to force Oliver to drop out of the race. (I hope I am not the only one to notice that McDonough being clad in all black against a blacked out background in the parking lot made it seem like he was a talking floating head. It made the whole scene comically eerie.)
That awkward moment when all the women in Oliver’s life, Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Samantha (Anna Hopkins), and Felicity, past present and future, were in the same space made me think that Arrowverse would implode. It was refreshing to see these women handle the situation with poise. Everyone remained focused on saving William, which made for a docile exchange between three women who had excellent reasons to rail at each other. Nice, ladies, keeping it classy. Still, Felicity was finding it difficult to mask her upset. She stayed wooden the whole episode.
It was strange though, that Oliver was not more of a basket case knowing his son was in the hands of a mystical mad man. He appeared a little too composed in this one when I was expecting “beast mode” or something. Instead, the name Mari McCabe aka Vixen rolled off of Oliver’s tongue like the answer to everything. In some ways she was. Through Vixen we learned about the “dark magic internet” and Darhk’s connection to it. Like her, without the totem Darhk would become ordinary, mortal. What good is Darhk without his magic? This makes me more curious about his role in Project Genesis which looks to be an extinction level event that he was in charge of ushering in with the aide of his magic. Will it be plague, or energy, or magic, or something else that Genesis unleashes upon the earth?
Mari’s magic and wisdom were invaluable. Oliver deferred to her in many ways in this episode. Echikunwoke‘s portrayal of real live Vixen was quick-witted and regal. Her abilities were essential to defeating Darhk and the whirling graphic expression of her many animal spirits were beautifully crafted. I look forward to more Vixen. Meanwhile, her web series is streaming free at cwseed. It is really good and I think the character story is ripe for its own live action series, although, its animated format allows for more graphic storytelling.
There was a strong theme concerning fatherhood in this episode. Laurel confided in her father that she was still hurt by Oliver’s infidelity. He had such little regard for her when they were together that he cheated with her sister and her friend and fathered a son to boot. Diggle (David Ramsey) offered his advice on fatherhood, which was about keeping your children close. Mari, on the other hand, was thankful that her parents loved her enough to stay away from her and let her have a childhood without worry that their enemies would threaten her. All of these relationships and philosophies were underscored by a sweet montage showing what Oliver felt he could never be – a good father. He chose to let William go. It was heartbreaking, but wise.
Speaking of father of the year…Thea (Willa Holland) confronted Malcolm (John Barrowman) about his involvement in the kidnapping. Malcolm was the one who snatched the boy from his home in Central City. He claimed he did it to protect Thea. Yet, he all but admitted that preserving his own power is paramount in his mind. Malcolm’s earnestness can be so frustrating because by the end of their argument I still did not know Malcolm’s intentions. I can believe that in his own twisted way Malcolm’s plan to become the right hand of the devil (pun totally unintended), and then possibly usurping the devil – the devil being Darhk – will allow him to maintain his grip on power that would ensure he could save Thea from other evils, like Project Genesis perhaps. If not the greatest father, Malcolm is a survivor and his daughter would be the one he would want to survive with him.
This episode only got more heartbreaking, despite the fact that the child was saved, when Felicity broke off the engagement! There is the slap in the face that I was expecting. I just did not think it would be that hard of a slap. I really thought Felicity would have been more understanding, forgiving, sympathetic even? Truth is, Oliver and Felicity are perfect partners in every aspect of their lives. Except, in this one area, Oliver was unprepared to share his confusion about his son with her. He was more willing to discuss his son with Vixen than with Felicity. There was a serious disconnect there. So, Felicity walked away…literally. Miraculously, Curtis’ invention to help Felicity walk again worked, and the first thing she did was walk away. I am highly doubtful that this is the end of Olicity (yes, I actually wrote that word). I also think it was brilliant to undercut her miracle with heartbreak.
The flashbacks were generally uneventful, again. This time Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) made a big hole in the earth and we watched him marvel at it. What’s new? Conklin’s (Ryan Robbins) ghost stood as sentry to the hole, but Oliver’s glowing tatt marked him as a welcome visitor to wherever lay beyond the entrance. These flashbacks began as a way to gain insight into Oliver’s dark side, but more often than not they seem wasted, and this week the flashback actually left us hanging…in a dark cave. Taken left us with several cliffhangers, like Darhk losing his powers, am I am keen on seeing them all resolved. What did you think of Taken, Vixen’s appearance, and the broken engagement, among all the other developments?
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