Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Eleven-Fifty-Nine

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


Andy Diggle tells Team Arrow about Merlyn's recruiting him to break Damien Darhk out of prison. John suggests turning him into their man on the inside, but Oliver wonders if Andy can truly be trusted. At the same time, Laurel is offered the District Attorney's post under the newly elected Mayor Adams - a position that will put her in a better position to spy on Darhk and his minions but will require her giving up being Black Canary.

In the flashback, Oliver and Taiana make their move to rescue the other prisoners and trap Baron Reiter in the caverns under Lian Yu.


Green Arrow: Year One
(The Lian Yu flashback sequence), Saw (the booby-trapped warehouse Andy lures Team Arrow into) and every single cliche involving prison break stories you can imagine.


Oliver says that Laurel had always dreamed of being District Attorney. Back in Season One, however, we were told repeatedly that her dream was to use her law degree to help the needy - hence why she worked with a legal-aid organization rather than as a prosecutor.

Laurel says that Oliver is the great love of her life. Nice to see that Thomas "Tommy" Merlyn still means so much to her after all these years. You remember? The man whose death drove her to drug and alcohol abuse back in Season 2? Because Laurel sure doesn't!


David Ramsey gets some great material here, torn between his belief that his brother can be redeemed and his trust in Oliver.  He winds up choosing poorly - ironically because of his belief in Oliver's ability to redeem himself, right up until the point that Ollie's suspicions break his faith in "his other brother".

This episode is also a great one for Willa Holland.  Thea's central conflict this season has centered upon her controlling her anger and not giving into her blood lust. Ironically, now she finds that she has successfully conquered it and her anger towards Merlyn... at the worst possible moment.

The final scene between Stephen Amell and Paul Blackthorne is some of the greatest non-verbal acting ever seen anywhere. Not just on this show but anywhere.


The fight scenes for the episode are all top-notch and very well choreographed.


In police scanner code, 11-59 is a warning that intensive attention should be paid to a high hazard area.

"Khushu" means "Humbleness" in Arabic.

Darhk makes mention of Homo Magi carving The Khushu Idol along with other magical artifacts.  In the DC Comics Universe, Homo Magi is a sub-species of humans who wield magic with natural ease. While any human can learn magic with time and training, Homo Magi are born to the art. The magical heroes John Zatara and his daughter Zatanna are both Homo Magi.

Darhk identifies the missing piece of The Kuushu Idol as The Ribulvei Stone. In the mythology of Shazam (a.k.a. Captain Marvel), Ribulvei was the name of one of the deities invoked by The Champion - an early champion of the wizard Shazam, who gained his powers by saying the magic word "Vlarem!"  Ribulvei's blessing was a blessing of Power. It enhanced the physical and mental abilities of The Champion as well as granting him physical invulnerability and resistance to most forms of magical attack.

The abilities granted by Ribulvei in the comics match up with the powers we've seen Damien Darhk manifest. Darhk has shown increased strength and durability and his telekinesis qualifies as an enhanced mental ability by most standards.


Homo Magi form their idols in the image of those whose powers they wish to channel. Attention to detail is essential and the idols will not function if a piece of it is missing.

Dialogue Triumphs

There's something I haven't told you guys.
Thea: (sarcastically) Shocker.

Thea: I’m going to hit the streets.
Oliver: Thea, no one is going to give up Merlyn.
Thea: Then I’m going to hit people on the streets.

John: (to a wounded Andy) Don't worry about it, man. We deal with this kind of stuff every week.

Merlyn: I don't think you appreciate what this cost me!
Darhk: Oh, come on. Stop being so high-handed.

Taiana: If he's found that idol, you won't be able to stop him.
(Oliver looks around and spies several crates full of C-4 explosives)
Oliver: We don't need to stop him. We need to trap him.

Andy: If I'm the man that you think I am then you know torture is not going to get me to say anything!
Oliver: I haven't started torturing you yet.

Oliver: John, you are the one who always tells me "Do not have a blind spot when it comes to your family."
John: And you're the one who told me to give Andy a second chance! You're the one who wanted to extract him from HIVE! You're the one who said he could come back from the darkness the same way you did!
Oliver: But I didn't. I've tried. I've tried harder at this than I ever have at anything. But at the end of the day, I am who those five years away turned me into. I'm what they turned me into!
John: So what, Oliver? Just because Felicity left you, I'm supposed to believe that all men are incapable of redemption? Not all men are like you, Oliver. Some of us change. Some of us grow. Some of us evolve! You are stuck, man! Stuck in your self-pity and your self-righteousness. And THAT is why Felicity left you.

Merlyn: (To Thea) You no longer have the drive to kill and it shows. You lost part of yourself when they cured you of that blood lust. And that is why you will never beat me.

Dialogue Disasters

Why does that thing (Darhk's idol) creep me out the way it does?
Laurel: Because it's creepy.

Laurel's whole dying speech about Oliver being the love of her life even if she isn't the love of his life. It's sickening to the fans of the Black Canary for the comics because Laurel is such a co-dependent wretch compared to the real Dinah Lance. It's sickening to the Laurel fans that she wishes Ollie well on wining back Felicity. And it sickens everyone that she apparently forgot about Tommy Merlyn in favor of the memory of the frat boy who cheated on her at least twice.


Oliver confirms that Darhk's idol - The Khushu Idol - was the same one Baron Reiter found on Lian Yu.

Tiana has a photo of herself and her brother, similar to the photo Oliver had of himself and Laurel.  At the end of the episode,

Sara tried to teach Quentin Chinese, but he only learned how to say "no, thank you".

Murmur works in the prison library at Iron Heights.

Darhk figures out the secret identities of all of Team Arrow. Not because Merlyn told him but because it was quite easy to piece together once he knew that Andy Diggle's brother, who worked for Oliver Queen, also worked for Green Arrow.

Darhk recovers his idol, flees Iron Heights with about fifty inmates and fatajly wounds Laurel Lance.

Oliver promises that if Tiana does not survive the escape attempt he will tell her family what happened. She makes a simialr promise to travel to America and tell Laurel what happened to him if he does not make it.

Laurel kept the same picture of her and Ollie in a pouch on her Black Canary costume that Oliver kept during his time marooned on Lian Yu.

Laurel Lance's time of death is 11:59 pm. She dies just before Quentin arrives at the hospital.


Iron Heights Prison, somewhere between Star City and Central City.

The Fridge Factor

Strictly speaking, Laurel's death doesn't count as a fridging because it was not done purely to give angst or meaning to a male character. It was clear from the first funeral scene at the start of Season Four that Oliver's reaction is not angst-driven and Laurel's death touches everyone directly, with Diggle and Thea perhaps having the strongest reactions as they both could have prevented this from happening through choices they made earlier.

That being said, Laurel's death bed speech is a blistering insult to the strong woman from the comics. Written properly, Dinah Lance was always her own woman. In her final moments, Laurel calls Oliver the great love of her life even if she wasn't the great love of his life - a line so utterly co-dependent I'm shocked Judd Winick didn't write it.

The Winick Factor

Honestly, the whole cast got downgraded for the Merlyn/Andy/Darhk scheme to work.

The Bottom Line

This episode was a powerful game-changer but for all the wrong reasons. We're supposed to be moved by Laurel Lance's death but the honest truth is that every other subplot in the episode  (John realizing his brother's betrayal, Thea's continuing fight with Merlyn, Ollie's struggle to keep the team united in the face of their own problems) is far more compelling and will have far greater effect on the end of the season than Darhk murdering Laurel.

It's a telling thing that, for hours after the episode ended when aired in the United States, #Oliver, #Felicity and #Olicity were trending on Twitter when various hashtags aimed at promoting Laurel and promising to never watch the show now if she died did not. In the end, Laurel Lance will be little more than a footnote in the character's history, on par with the infamous 1980's costume and the early 1990's butch biker bitch Black Canary comic. Laurel's fans may say that she deserved a better end than this episode gave her but the character of Black Canary deserved a better cross-genre translation than Laurel.

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