Thursday, May 12, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 21 - Monument Point

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


With Damien Darhk's plan exposed, Team Arrow and ARGUS will have their hands full preventing a nuclear catastrophe! Unfortunately, cracking the Rubicon Protocol is beyond even Felicity's talents. Now, Team Arrow must find The Calculator before HIVE does. But even if they manage that trick, can Felicity's felonious father be trusted? Meanwhile, in Darhk's underground city, Thea reluctantly teams up with Merlyn to stop Anarky from killing all of the city's inhabitants. And Quentin Lance makes a fateful decision regarding his job and his relationship with Donna Smoak.

In the flashbacks, Oliver moves to confront Baron Reiter as Taiana escorts the rest of the escaped slaves to an airplane off Lian Yu.


Green Arrow: Year One (the flashbacks on Lian Yu), the Fallout game series (Darhk's underground city is reminiscent of The Vaults), the film Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (centered around a doomsday device similar to Rubicon that could launch multiple nuclear missiles at once), the film War Games (centered around hackers averting World War III) and 24 (the continual ticking timer in the background, the global stakes, espionage  and continual shifting of focus throughout the episode)


This episode may be Willa Holland's finest turn yet as Thea Queen. She is fierce throughout the episode and my fears of her being turned into a damsel in distress for this final act proved totally unfounded!

The subplot with Quentin and Donna may seem unnecessary given the high-stakes in the episode's other stories. Still, it's a welcome moment of humanity that doesn't slow the pace of the action at all and Paul Blackthorne and Charlotte Ross play it wonderfully. In fact, I can't recall us ever seeing them interacting together alone ever since they became a couple and I now wish we'd seen more of it.


Great fight scenes throughout, as per usual.

The direction of the fight-scenes in the fifth segment, with Thea fighting Anarky intercut with the HIVE ghosts fighting Team Arrow is cut together perfectly.


Mention is made of the fictional DC Comics nations of Markovia and Corto Maltese, along the nations whose nuclear weapons have been taken over by HIVE.

Markovia has been mentioned several times before on Arrow, most recently in 416 as the home of Damien Darhk's alias, Kenneth Bender.  In the DC Comics Universe, it is home to the superhero GeoForce and located in Western Europe, between France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Corto Maltese has also been mentioned before on Arrow, and was the setting (and title) of 303. It is an island nation in the DC Comics Universe, located off the South American coast. Originally created by Frank Miller as the site of a rebellion that was backed by the US Government in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, it has become a catch-all location for shady dealings or stories requiring a modern-day Banana Republic

Felicity refers to Brick and Murmur as "last year's greatest hits." Both villains were introduced to the DCTVU during Arrow's third season.

Because Merlyn doesn't trust Thea with a weapon, he says she'll have to make do with Krav Maga when facing Anarky. Krav Maga is a martial art developed by the Israel Defense Forces that mixes elements of aikido, judo, boxing and wrestling along with realistic fight training.

The DEFCON level is primarily controlled by the Secretary of Defense and The President of the United States. It describes the levels of readiness for the US Military in a crisis situation. DEFCON-5 is the lowest. To give some perspective, The Cuban Missile Crisis was a DEFCON-2 event whereas The September 11th Terrorist Attacks were a DEFCON 3 event.

In the Justice Society of America comic written by Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim, Monument Point was a large Metropolis located within commuting distance of Washington DC. The town was saved several times by The Justice Society, who wound up adopting the town as their base of operations and the city council appointed the Jay Garrick Flash as their mayor.

The location of Monument Point as indicated on the map in the episode shows that it is in a similar location, just west of Washington D.C.


Rubicon uses fourier protocols - something Noah Kuttler practically wrote the book on.

A nexus chamber is a collector of magic. In order to take advantage of the deaths caused by even a single nuke going off, Darhk will need to be inside it.

Oliver deduces the nexus chamber in Star City it must be on a ley line (the wi-fi of the magic, as Vixen calls ti), but that still leaves too much of the city to search easily.

Felicity tracks down Calculators new lair by searching for a deep-trunk fiber-optic hookup with polymorphic encryption.

Calculator has a root directory on his system called Ravenspur.

Felicity develops a ley line algorithm to find possible hiding places for the Star City nexus room.

Green Arrow makes use of an explosive arrow to cover his and Spartan's tracks after the fight with Brick and Murmur in Cyprus Cove.

Noah claims he will need the quantum subliminal processor that Palmer Tech developed to hack Rubicon in twelve hours

Anarky targets the CO2 scrubbers of HIVE's city. This will render the atmosphere unbreakable.

Ollie uses an electronic lock-pick to open the door into Palmer Tech for Felicity and Noah.

An electro-magnetic wave-generator and a battery tender can be used to force the restart of an electronic lock.

Noah uses his sniffer device to copy the processor's operating code wirelessly, when Felicity is unable to open the case holding it.

Noah is only able to copy 90% of the code. It's possible for him to extrapolate the remaining 10% of the code to build a workable processor, but that will still require them to upload the override codes to every individual missile silo manually. This can only be done from a server farm.

When Felicity takes down the sub-node at the sever farm, this releases a tapeworm in the Rubicon code - an anti-hack fail-safe, created by HIVE. Noah is able to override it, but not before it broadcasts their location to HIVE.

Noah is able to set the remaining launch algorithms into an infinite loop. He guesses this will buy them 24 hours.

Unable to hack the controls on the nuclear missile, Felicity instead decides to "move Monument Point" using a GPS realignment. As a prank, Felicity once relocated a GPS satellite. This caused everyone on the Eastern seaboard to think they were twenty miles west of where they really were. This allows Felicity to redirect the missile to the smaller town of Havenrock, saving millions at the cost of killing tens of thousands.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Thea is sitting in the kitchen of the house she and Alex were staying in. Two HIVE guards are watching her. Thea is whistling along with the birdsong looped in the background. She gestures to the side as the dog is supposed to bark as Merlyn enters and says 'Woof'.)
Merlyn: I know. The predictability was a terrible flaw in the design.
Thea: Predictability is your flaw too. Every time my life starts to suck, you show up.
Merlyn: Leave us.
(The HIVE Guards leave them alone. Thea looks at Malcolm's new hand.)
Thea: Is that hand a present from your new best friend?
Merlyn: I'm not doing this for a prosthetic, Thea. I'm doing it -
Both: - to keep you safe.
Merlyn: Yes. To keep you safe.
Thea: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Like I said. Predictable.

Thea: (To Merlyn) Look, I am way, way past the point of telling you that you are crazy! I just want to see Alex. I just want to know that he's OK. I get it. I'm stuck here. But I can be stuck here and compliant. Or I can be a pain in your ass! So take me to him. Now.

Donna: You told me that you knew what Laurel was doing.
Quentin: Yeah.
Donna: Yeah. So... this is a lie.
Quentin: Yeah, but it's a complicated lie.

Oliver: I spoke to Lyla. She's worried about you because you said you shot Andy in self-defense.
John: Oliver, I don't want to talk about this.
Oliver: You just never said anything about self-defense to me, John.
John: Couldn't tell Lyla the truth and have her look at me the same way anymore.
Oliver: C'mon! You don't know that!
John: Oliver, you're the last person on Earth to lecture someone about lying to the people they love!
Oliver: I'm not lecturing. I'm worried. You're better than me at this. And you're hurting worse than I have ever seen. Don't compound that by lying to your wife. (pauses) The fact that I lied to Felicity does not give me less credibility. It should tell you that I know what I'm talking about.

Felicity: Let's make this simple. This isn't a reconciliation. This isn't a reunion. This is you helping me save the world.
Noah: And what makes you think I can?
Felicity: Damien Darhk thinks you can. That's why he sent last year's greatest hits to take you down. You're a smart man. I'm assuming you know what Rubicon is?
Noah: And I'm assuming it's under Mr. Darhk's control?
Felicity: We have twelve hours to stop it.
(Without a word, Noah sits down at Felicity's command console.)
Felicity: That's it?
Noah: You seem surprised.
Felicity: I was expecting a quid pro quo.
Noah: Felicity, I may be a terrible father-
Felicity: "May"?
Noah: But I'm not a monster. Terrible or not, I am your father. As long as you live in it, I have an interest in seeing that this world doesn't end.

Oliver: So, John's right. We'll go in and help you and your father boost it from...?
Felicity: (protesting) It's in Curtis' lab!
(Ollie just stares at Felicity.)
Felicity: You want me to help my father steal from me?
John: Well, it's not exactly yours anymore, is it?
Felicity: ... nope. Guess not.

(regarding Anarky's bomb)
Thea: Can you disarm it?
Merlyn: We'll soon find out.

Noah: I'm not the man my daughter thinks, you know?
Green Arrow: Don't tell me. Tell her.
Noah: I've tried. I tried explaining to me that there are two sides to me. The Father and The Hacker. She sees only The Criminal. I mention this because you strike me as someone with experience leading a dual life. Any insights you'd care to share?
Green Arrow: Yeah. It doesn't work. You leadint a dual life is why you lost her.
Noah: You sound like you're talking from some personal experience...

Lyla: POTUS and SecDef have taken us to DEFCON-2.
Spartan: Just 2? They're optimistic.
Lyla: They don't want to cause a panic. The President asked me if the fate of the world is resting in the hands of an IT girl, a criminal and two guys in Halloween costumes.
Green Arrow: They're not Halloween costumes...

Anarky: What is it with you? Why are you always at the mercy of some guy? You can make your own decisions, Thea. You're not a pawn. You're a queen. Get it?
Thea: Yeah. Yeah, I get it.
(The two close in to fight.)


Amanda Waller was the one who ordered the creation of Rubicon.

John refers to 415 and what Vixen said about ley lines being the wi-fi of the magical world.

Alex's brainwashing was Ruve Darhk's idea - not Merlyn's.

Brick was last seen in 312. He is now working as muscle for Damien Darhk in exchange for his release from prison, but is not happy about it.

Murmur is seen for the first time since 418. He escaped from Iron Heights along with Darhk and is still part of his team.

Calculator was last seen in 413. He was among the prisoners who escaped from Iron Heights but did not join HIVE in the aftermath.

Anarky was last seen in 410.

Oliver repeats Taiana's words from 414 back to her, regarding needing a monster to fight a monster.

Quentin signs a statement confirming that he knew his daughter was The Black Canary, despite it almost certainly meaning that he'll be fired from the SCPD.

Ravenspur was the name of a cabin in Cypress Cove where Noah Kutler and Donna Smoak used to go on vacation. It may have been where Felicity was conceived.

Felicity is fired from her position at Palmer Tech, following a vote by the Board of Directors.

The elevator from the old Arrow Cave into The Palmer Tech building was shut down following The Bug Eyed Bandit's attack in 417.

Noah recognizes Quentin as the cop who arrested him in 413.

Taiana saved Oliver's life from Baron Reiter. They flee for the plane together with Taiana carrying Reiter's idol.

Anarky kills Alex.

Noah takes a bullet for Felicity.

One nuclear missile is launched - a Russian one aimed at Monument Point.

The town of Monument Point was first mentioned in 417.

The Star City nexus room is located under Star City City Hall. It is revealed that this is why Darhk had his wife running for mayor - to ensure his access to the building.

As Tiana and Oliver are making their escape, she complains of feeling pained and drops the idol. Her eyes flash with the same gold light as Reiter's when the dark magic overtook him.

The episode ends with Oliver and John confront Darhk in the Nexus Room under Star City's City Hall.


The Missile Attack Warning Center in Kaliningrad, Russia
HIVE's underground city.

The Fridge Factor

Averted majorly with Thea, who holds her own in the fight with Anarky and stands up to her father. There's also a suggestion that she really was ready to help Anarky bring down the whole HIVE ark provided she had a wave to save her boyfriend in the process.

The Bottom Line

Greatness. The action doesn't let up for a moment in this episode. Even the short scenes with Quentin and Donna and the flashbacks don't slow the pace of this episode one bit. It looks like they've finally found their pace as the endgame begins.

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