Tonight's episode of "Arrow" picked up right where last week's episode left off, with Oliver and Diggle face to face with Damien Darhk. Felicity continued to team up with her dad this week, much to the dismay of her mother, and Curtis returned to help Team Arrow again. Oliver and Diggle also found their way into the hidden ark city, but were met with opposition from Thea when they tried to rescue her. Malcolm Merlyn continued to play for multiple teams this week, always trying to serve his own best interest, and Anarky continued to seek revenge against Darhk and his family. It might be the end of the world as Star City knows it, but Oliver was still committed to giving the city something and someone to put their hope in.
Tonight's episode of "Arrow" literally kicked off with a bang, as Oliver (Stephen Amell,) and Diggle (David Ramsey) confronted Darhk (Neal McDonough) in his nexus of power. Surprisingly Darhk let them live, which is typical of villains who have a bigger end game to play, and Oliver and Diggle made it out just as the nexus was collapsing. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) and her father Noah (Tom Amandes) continued to deal with the fallout of dropping a nuclear weapon, which actually gave them some room to bond. Curtis (Echo Kellum) was also back for this episode, who provided some much needed comic relief, especially as he fanboyed over Felicity's dad being world-renowned hacker "The Calculator." With the world falling apart, Felicity's mom Donna (Charlotte Ross) came to check on her. She was surprised to discover her ex-husband in Felicity's apartment. This situation led to Felicity finally coming clean with her mom about working with the Arrow. This episode was actually a really fantastic look at Felicity's life and her relationship with her parents. Curtis summed it up perfectly when he said he was able to understand how Felicity turned out the way she did: mom with a bubbling personality and a keen fashion sense, father with fantastic technical and hacking skills. Donna wasn't the only one who learned a secret this week, as she had to come to clean to Felicity about lying to her about her father all those years ago. Apparently Noah never left them when Felicity was a kid; Donna took Felicity and left Noah. While Donna had good reason, she never had the heart to tell Felicity until tonight's episode. Donna even asked Noah to leave Star City and to never come back, because she couldn't trust that he was a healthy and reformed man. While that may mean we won't see Noah on "Arrow" for awhile, it's possible he could return in subsequent seasons, especially if Felicity needs his help.
Oliver and Diggle finally found their way into the ark city, but they were too late to save Thea (Willa Holland). Thea was unsurprisingly drugged by her father Malcolm (John Barrowman), who needed her to stay safe in the ark. Thea was swayed by the H.I.V.E. drugs and when Oliver finally found her, she held a gun to his head. This confrontation forced Oliver to fight Thea and the men she called in to protect her. Thankfully he was able to talk her down and remind her of who she really was, before she hurt him or anyone else. This was another classic case of Malcolm doing anything he could to protect what matters to him. While Malcolm was sure that Darhk's ark was safe, he did not account for Anarky. Anarky had broken into the ark in last week's episode, and he was almost put down by Thea. On this week's episode he was truly a loose canon who ended up killing Ruve Darhk (Janet Kidder) and bringing down the entire underground city. Oliver, Diggle, Malcolm, and Thea escaped with their lives just in time to save Darhk's daughter, but not in time to save everyone who was living there.
The episode concluded with Damien Darhk in tears as he realized that he had absolutely nothing left to live for. With his wife dead and his ark destroyed, Darhk is going to be 1,000 times more dangerous than ever because now he has nothing to lose. It's possible Team Arrow could leverage his daughter to get him to stop whatever he plans to unleash on "Arrow" in next week's finale. Anarky and Thea's boyfriend both perished in the ark, and Felicity's father did leave town. That only leaves the core members of Team Arrow to stave off Darhk in next week's finale, and Felicity will probably have to counter-attack her hacker ex-boyfriend again in order to regain access to the Rubicon codes. Seeing as Star City is threatened with total annihilation in every "Arrow" season finale, it's hard to say how next week's finale is going to wrap up differently than seasons past. One thing is for sure, Oliver is going to need either a whole lot of magic or a whole lot of hope to beat Darhk next week and save Star City one more time from being destroyed.
Next week "Arrow" season four draws to a close in "Schism." Apparently Oliver is going to team up with someone or something, but there has been no word yet as to who or what that force is. Could we see Oliver wield the true light magic of hope as he was learning from Constantine's friend Ersin Fortuna in "Genesis?"
SEASON FINALE ARROW "Schism" - (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) (Content Rating TBD) (HDTV) OLIVER TEAMS UP WITH A SURPRISING FORCE TO STOP DAMIEN DARHK - Oliver (Stephen Amell) teams up with a surprising force in an attempt to stop Damien Darhk (guest star Neal McDonough) and his magic once and for all. John Behring directed the episode with story by Greg Berlanti and teleplay by Wendy Mericle and Marc Guggenheim (#423). Original airdate 5/25/2016.
"Schism" airs Wednesday, May 25 on The CW at 8 p.m.