Arrow Season 4 episode 21 – “Monument Point”

The penultimate episode of Arrow’s fourth season is a rogue’s gallery madhouse with recurring villains Anarky, the Calculator, Brick, and Murmur – as well as their various competing agendas – all getting sucked into the maelstrom of Damien Darhk’s omnicidal plan. But nothing that has come before on the CW’s flagship DC Comics super hero show prepares for this episode’s shocking outcome.

It turns out that Darhk (Neal McDonough) was not the only high-profile criminal to escape Iron Heights during the events of Eleven Fifty-Nine, and the one that Team Arrow most needs to find is Noah Kuttler (Tom Amandes), the master hacker known as The Calculator and Felicty Smoak’s father. Despite his vicious betrayal of Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) he is their best chance at stopping the computer program that will detonate all of the world’s nuclear weapons in the culmination of Darhk’s master plan, Genesis. To do it, they’ll need a high-powered computer from the company Felicity owns. Naturally, the board picks the worst possible time to punish their absentee CEO…

Meanwhile, Thea (Willa Holland) is adjusting to her internment in Darhk’s “Ark” that will shield his chosen from the apocalypse. She gets in her usual verbal sparring with her father Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), and it’s an interesting moment that shows us that Merlyn has not really changed. He has grown to believe in Darhk’s mission to “cleanse the world” and sees it as an extension of his own plan to exterminate the crime-ridden Glades neighborhood years earlier.  It’s a brilliant, if brief, bit of characterization that makes up for the short shrift he received in the previous episode, Genesis. Unfortunately, any chance Thea has of taking her father to task or saving her brainwashed boyfriend are dashed when one of Darhk’s old enemies infiltrates the complex with revenge on his mind.

Arrow -- "Monument Point" -- Image AR421a_0024b.jpg -- Pictured: Alexander Calvert as Lonnie Machin/Anarky -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

As this episode races against an impending nuclear holocaust, it nails numerous tropes and does so apologetically. There’s a heist sequence complete a “download in progress” bar and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) kicking ass on some rent-a-cops in a stairwell. We get to see Malcolm Merlyn – the Green Arrow’s rival in terms of archery – fail to meaningfully injure an unarmored foe with an arrow across a space of about twenty feat so Thea can have a more meaningful confrontation with said foe minutes later. A hero gets shot… But it’s only a through-and-through and they’ll be fine. Meanwhile, a doomed love interest finally meets said doom. Oh, and it’s also got Vinnie Jones sneering like a lunatic, taking a beating, then getting right back up again just like Vinnie Jones always does. This episode is not trying to be groundbreaking or surprising in its storytelling and it’s good, messy fun all the while.

Until that penultimate scene. In shows and movies like this it’s a foregone conclusion what the outcome will be and Monument Point brutally subverts that outcome. Everyone loses something in this episode, and it just makes the stakes for what’s to come that much higher. The final confrontation with Damien Darhk is at hand and the death of the Black Canary now looks like a drop in the bucket compared to the crimes he must now atone for. It’s taken a long time across this season to get to the point where Arrow is consistently good again, but get there we have.

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