Lost in the Flood review – An episode of two halves

The season is nearing its big finish, with Lost in the Flood the penultimate episode – Darkh did his best to resurrect his nuclear ambitions, Team Hackers went up against him, while Oliver and Diggle sought to rescue Thea from under the dome.

It was an episode which typified the issues Arrow is suffering of late, lazy writing, focussing on the wrong things and flat flashbacks.

Under the dome

To start on a positive note, we were given one of the best action scenes we’ve seen in a long time on this show. Green Arrow and Spartan fleeing from the Ghosts was absolutely great. That is the sort of scene that hooked me onto this show in the first place. Oliver regenerated back into the parkouring, arrow firing badass he’d been in the first two seasons. Whereas a lot of action scenes these past two seasons have looked overly choreographed, this was Arrow back to its best. Fast paced. Arrows actually being fired. A rewatchability factor. It didn’t feel a scene going through the motions, it didn’t feel a scene thrown in there for the sake of having an action scene, it was honestly great.

The other elements under the dome weren’t quite as successful. Firstly, Willa Holland is a good actress. She’s shown that. Secondly, Thea Queen is an interesting character with a lot of potential. With those two things in mind, why on earth are we repeatedly recycling storylines for her? Her love interest dies or disappears. She’s brainwashed. On this occasion, it added nothing to the plot at all. It was done, dusted and resolved after a couple of scenes. What was the point? Having Thea trapped under the dome and held hostage was enough. The brainwashing element was massively unnecessary.

Continuing with Thea, her self proclaimed son popped up again and really, Anarky has grown tiresome. In his first appearance, there was something unnerving and scary as he broke Madison Danforth’s fingers. Now, he’s cheesy scary – which basically means he’s not scary at all, he’s just a little cringeworthy. The first time he called Thea ‘mommy’ was bad enough, to drag it up again was – being polite, let’s say it wasn’t all that preferable. He was a good character in his initial experiences, but he’s degenerated rather dramatically – I’ve got no qualms about keeping him alive, but let’s have him disappear for a while.

The climax of events under the dome saw Ruve die – again, a character who appeared pretty evil at first but has become rather annoying, pointless and won’t be missed – and the dome itself blew up, leaving a gaping crater in Star City. The city being destroyed. I don’t think that’s ever happened before. Overall though, these scenes were the stronger of the episode. This was the good half. So… Onto the bad…

Smoak family drama

I’ll start with a lone word. WHY?! Whereas the scenes under the dome, although flawed, packed a punch, every time we dipped back to the surface it slowed things down, frustrated me and made my finger waggle over the fast forward button. Now, it’s no secret Felicity Smoak is not one of my favourite characters – but Felicity and Noah alone would have been fine. I actually quite like how they handled those two. Curtis, without the bizarre tone shift he brought about, would have been fine too.

The problem in these scenes was yes, Donna. Donna Smoak – quite possibly the most pointless character on television. She’s fine, popping up from time to time, but she added nothing here. No, I stand corrected. She made herself appear a mammoth sized hypocrite and also further decimated the consistency of Felicity’s writing. Donna was the one who took Felicity away from Noah, she’d then proceeded to lie to her daughter for half her life – after taking a stand against lying with Quentin – Felicity was then fine with things – after scolding Oliver for not telling her about his son, who he was still getting used to himself and then not telling her he’d sent him away.

I could appreciate the deeper side of it – Donna’s stand against Quentin being because of her own guilt of lying – but the writing on this show has been torrid for such a while, I’m fairly sure they weren’t even considering that. As for Felicity? She just has no consistency to her character any more. There’s obviously a loud group of fans for Felicity, yet I feel the rest of us could appreciate her a lot more if the writing for her wasn’t all over the place.

Overall, it’s the end of the world (possibly), there’s been a nuclear strike and they’re laughing and joking. There’s family drama. There’s bickering. Simply, they were ridiculous.

Damien Dull

In the early episodes of this season, when we were plastered with Darkh left, right and centre, I had high hopes. He was good. McDonough was fun. The character appeared to have the potential to fill the big bad void left by Slade Wilson, after a tedious Ra’s al Ghul. Yet, his plan is ridiculous and more than that, he’s not come to the fore in the way I’d like. It’s the final few episodes. I want Damien at the front of things. He was super powered as we saw in the opening scene, why not have him out and about, and on the rampage?

He of course popped up at the end of the episode to nab Felicity – to get his Rubicon plans back on track. He wants to burn everything now his wife has died. Again, why can’t we just have him on the rampage rather than bringing up that plot for a third time to keep Felicity relevant for the finale? It’s a poor plan. It’s boring. There’s no stakes. It’s just plain disappointing.

A villain who promised so much, but as we come to the finale, he’s not delivered enough. I’m crossing my fingers he can redeem himself in the finale – and at least not go down as easily as Ra’s.

Observations:

  • Clearly Parker Young wasn’t called back to lie around, face down for an episode. Either that, or Alex had a rapid growth of hair in death.
  • Why was Ruve’s death framed exactly the same way as Tommy’s?
  • Donna Smoak doesn’t know how to fold.
  • What is the point of Malcolm Merlyn anymore? What does he actually do, apart from telling us he used to be Ra’s al Ghul? Will Oliver ever take his head?
  • There’s not a chance we’re going to explore the ramifications of the nuclear strike from 4×21, is there?
  • I couldn’t even be bothered to mention Cooper returning. He was bad on his first appearance and equally pointless here. Let’s have no more.
  • Hope. So much hope. Arrow tells, it doesn’t show. Does anyone have mild concussion from just how much we were told about hope, this week?
  • Flashbacks. They’re just bad. It’s evident there’s been very little story there, or effort put in by the writers – possibly both. The sooner we get to Russia, the better.

VERDICT: An impressive action scene aside, Lost in the Flood is riddled with issues with the Smoak family drama being the biggest problem. The stakes don’t feel anywhere near as high as they should heading into the finale. 5/10.

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