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REVIEW: Arrow 4×15 “Taken”

Well, that was slightly better. I mean sure, it isn’t like Arrow is going to all of a sudden become the Arrow we have known and liked once again, but this was a start. An anticlimactic drama soaked start. “Taken” for everything that happens relies on one sole idea, how do fathers interact with their children and what makes a parent a good parent. You see Diggle and Sara, Lance and Laurel, Thea and Malcolm, even Mari and her foster father help to define exactly what Oliver is looking to become for William. Was it heavy handed and overly dramatic sure, but it managed to bring something to the show that was missing in past episodes and needed to come back. Add on that we got the first live action appearance of Vixen and a solid if befuddling conclusion to Damien’s story and Ollie’s campaign for the moment, and there is some truly solid frame work to the episode.

First and foremost let’s talk about Vixen who was an excellent addition to the cast this week despite, much like Constantine early this year, never truly had an opportunity to interact with the team. I enjoyed watching Mari and Oliver play off each other and discuss exactly what Oliver could do to actually help William and make him a better man moving forward. It added some strong character to her as a whole that her journey helped her come to terms with who she should be as a person and a hero. She also managed to be pretty badass in the fight scenes taking on Darhk and making use of her powers in fun ways. It was not like watching Laurel or Thea as she actually took command of the situation and came up with a solid strategy to fight back against Darhk, something the team really hadn’t considered up to this point. Hopefully she won’t simply be a one off like Constantine as she proved to be plenty of fun and actually added something to the overall story.

I also especially enjoyed Oliver’s arc this episode and watching him come to terms with the actions he has taken. Stephen Amell did a very nice job of portraying a father who will literally go to any lengths to protect his son. Watching him sacrifice his campaign, and thus the future of Star City was a great moment, but ht big moment of Ollie’s video message to William was something special.Watching Oliver basically give up his son was absolutely heartbreaking to watch, especially considering all of the sacrifices he had made to even attempt to see his son in the first place. For Oliver to accept that this was the best possible solution to keep his son safe as of right now shows how much he has matured over the course of the series, as we know full well that season one Ollie would never have been as big a man as this one tonight.

The other exciting aspect was watching all of the different father daughter relationships and how each dad handles the trouble Oliver is facing. I especially loved watching Paul Blackthorne in his brief scene with Katie Cassidy as it shows that despite everything that has happened between them Lance will always be a father first to his daughter. I just hope we get to see more of how exactly all of this effects Laurel since she has had to put up with Oliver’s shit for such a long time. I would hope that this is not simply brushed under the rug and forgotten about by her. Another great moment was seeing Thea finally give up on Malcolm and tell him to get out. There has been far too much of Thea putting up with Malcolm’s bullshit and placing himself above her well being that is was just perfect to see Thea say enough is enough. The question now becomes what Malcolm will do to Thea if they ever meet in a fight as Malcolm tends not to show any type of mercy to his enemies, even those he somewhat likes.

My only real problem tonight is actual two fold Felicity straight up bailing on Oliver and Darhk being taken care of. I can understand why Felicity would be angry that Oliver did not tell her, but a ton of other people somehow know about William, but it was his choice to let William leave. She had no right to be mad at Ollie for making what is obviously a super tough decision and then all out abandon him in his time of need, it makes her appear like she has no sympathy for him and that she is misplacing her anger. Similarly with Darhk, he has seemingly been taken care of and not in spectacular fashion. I am left to wonder how exactly this season is meant to evolve in the final stretch as the big bad has been taken down and yet Hive’s plan is moving forward. I just feel Darhk deserved something more epic than this same way Ra’s went down kind of easy last year.

Overall it was a better episode but I am more confused about what happens moving forward.

Final Grade B

+Excellent work by Stephen Amell

+Great father/child dynamics on display

+Vixen was a great addition

-The ending with Felicity was way off note for the scene

-Darhk being taken off the board

-Ollie dropping out of the campaign

Extra Thoughts

-I am really beginning to hope Diggle’s new helmet makes him “grave proof” because his scene with Ollie helped to solidify why he is important to the show.

-So, Vixen pulls out a bunch of animals to break the totem yet doesn’t use the elephant or rhino. Wouldn’t those be good starting place?

-Constantine is in Hell right now. Good to know him and Oliver are keeping in touch, also please let him come back.

About the author

Scott Swartz