The CW‘s Arrow Monument Point TV Show Review. Arrow: Season 4, Episode 21: Monument Point had Oliver (Stephen Amell) and friends facing nuclear extinction with all the brains and brawn they could gather, but in true Arrow form, it was an unsatisfying victory. If only the episode was not so crowded. I could say “Genesis” was a devastation akin to “The Undertaking”, but without the emotional impact, because nothing that happened in Monument Point really hit close to home.
Let us begin with the end. We lost a lot of people, making this episode feel just short of a victory for Team Arrow. Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) cyber smarts saved millions but failed to save thousands from nuclear destruction. Her reaction was as expected: shock and numbness was all over her face. She had not failed and she had not succeeded. She endured being close to her father, got fired from her job, and still could not save a corner of the planet. That was so much to process it left me numb too.
If that was not enough, those thousands of souls lost became evil energy that Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) could absorb to increase his mystical strength. One of those souls belonged to Alex (Parker Young). He lost his life because he was too drugged and compliant to comprehend he needed to run away from danger. As much as I distrusted Alex, he was not a bad guy. He was being controlled, which gained him sympathy. His death was sad, and I felt bad for Thea (Willa Holland), but we never really got to spend enough time with Alex to feel true loss. All his death did was light a fire under Thea – aka “Mommy” to Lonnie Machin (Alexander Calvert) – to get up and fight, and that fight with him was pretty weak. Why is Machin so much better than Thea? I mean, she was trained by Ra’s al Ghul.
Speaking of fighting, the fight scenes in this episode were only so-so. Many of the action scenes felt over-stylized. Granted, this episode was 80% cerebral gymnastics, but the action was still necessary to protect the brainiacs who held off armageddon. It would have been nice if we did not see each warrior throwing air punches. (Dear The CW, can we please invite James “Bam-Bam” Bamford back to direct the next action-oriented episode? He did great things in Code of Silence, Dark Waters and Unchained.)
Back to Rubicon… Amanda Waller’s (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) lovely fail-safe for nuclear war. In Darhk’s hands, it was the very algorithm needed to control and launch the world’s nukes. Noah Kuttler aka Calculator (Tom Amandes) was the only one who knew how to stop Darhk’s plan. Or so we were led to believe. Ultimately it was Felicity’s genius that saved the day…sort of, and she really played the part of Overwatch behind a bank of computers in the midst of a server farm.
She was not the only woman calling shots this episode. Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) handled A.R.G.U.S. forces for the masked heroes. She also acted as liaison between the President and the team. Her little quip about the fate of the world resting in the hands of an IT girl, a criminal, and two guys in Halloween costumes had me cracking up. It was not far from the truth since Felicity was stripped of her position as C.E.O. of Palmer Tech. That meant the only power player in this line-up was Lyla. Go figure?
Team Arrow had their hands full as Lonnie Machin aka Anarky, Murmur (Adrian Glynn McMorran) and Brick (Vinnie Jones) showed up to play, but not all for the same team. Darhk recruited Brick and Murmur to hunt Kuttler in order to take him out of the game. It was fun to see Vinnie Jones being his menacing self, but too short a time. Hopefully we will see more of him. Meanwhile, Anarky showed up in the sanctuary just to throw a wrench in Darhk’s plans. He was hunting Darhk for payback. Come to think of it, where was Damien Darhk?? He was omnipresent and non-existent in this show that was largely all about his plan. That brings me to my next point.
Monument Point juggled a lot of content besides the end of the world, like Diggle’s lie, Lance’s almost lie, and Kuttler’s woes about being a father. Okay, the Palmer Tech caper was a fun little respite from the impending doom in the episode. We saw Felicity try her hardest to avoid Kuttler’s earnest pleas for understanding. Kuttler just kept on talking but got very little in return. At the same time, that heart to heart with Oliver that was promised was not particularly earth shattering. Oliver showed a little chink in his armor when speaking about Felicity, which Kuttler clearly picked up on as Green Arrow’s personal connection to her, but it never felt like Kuttler got under Oliver’s skin.
Also, there was a short stolen moment where Oliver confronted Diggle about lying to Lyla. I agree with Oliver on this one. Not the best move for such an honorable man like Diggle to lie to his wife. There is too much to lose besides his pride. Oliver has been there, done that. Diggle should listen.
The unexpected – and frankly inconsequential – break in action that slowed the pace of the show was the conversation between Lance (Paul Blackthorne) and Donna (Charlotte Ross). We got a glimpse of how Lance is doing after losing his job and his daughter (which should have been addressed last week, I’m just saying). He seems desperate to feel relevant again, even if it means signing a false affidavit, saying he did not know Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was the Black Canary, in order to be reinstated. Okay, go for it.
Why not sign it? Lance has been lying and pretending not to know about Laurel’s alter ego for the longest time. So, where is the harm in lying now? Donna’s mandate to Lance urging him to “do the right thing” is about her personal feelings toward men who lie, namely Kuttler. She once fell for a meandering criminal, but that baggage is not for Lance to carry. Yes, he has to do what is right, but for himself. Of course, in the end, he braved the truth and did not deny Laurel’s identity. Who knows, maybe the truth will be a good thing, but the whole scene felt out of place.
Perhaps that was the underlying theme of Monument Point: telling the truth. All the men on Arrow were confronted with the lies they tell. Great, but the episode felt crowded with B-stories. I wish we could have focused more on the pressure cooking under the threat of nuclear annihilation. Maybe there could have been more discussion about Darhk’s dubious motivations for “cleansing” the earth. We see him, finally, ensconced in a cave absorbing the souls of the dead. That is clearly his true plan. The whole episode felt unfocused, sprinkling a million different genres into an hour. It was a miss for me. What did you think?
Leave your thoughts on this review and this episode of Arrow below in the comments section. For more Arrow reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our Arrow Page, our Arrow Google+ Page, and consider subscribing to us by Email, “following” us on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or “liking” us on Facebook for quick updates.