[Warning: this recap contains major spoilers from Arrow‘s season four finale, “Schism.” This is a recap, after all. You’ve been warned!]
Arrow may have saved Star City (and the world) from nuclear annihilation in the season four finale, but Team Arrow may be irreparably damaged from the events that occurred in “Schism.” I can’t remember a time when the team was so fractured like this. Is there even going to be a Team Arrow when season five returns?
Wait, we’re totally getting ahead of ourselves. So much went down in the season four finale that we should back up and start at the beginning. “Schism” picked up right where last week’s penultimate hour left off, with Damien Dahrk breaking into Felicity’s loft to kidnap her and make her hack Rubicon for him. Dahrk almost killed Felicity’s mom and took Felicity until Thea intervened and threatened Dahrk’s daughter. She literally had a knife to the young girl’s throat. Whoa. Thea’s not holding back, y’all. But hey, it worked! Dahrk let everyone live in exchange for his daughter’s life (although Curtis was seriously injured in the resulting fight), but he stole the Rubicon equipment from the loft, giving him access to all the world’s nukes. And that was all he needed to launch 15,434 ballistic missiles, with less than two hours until impact worldwide. The nuclear apocalypse was officially here, and no one had any idea on how to stop it. Yay?
In the chaos after their initial fight with Dahrk in their loft, Felicity found time to ask Oliver why he couldn’t stop Dahrk’s magic, when he used to be able to counteract that magic with hope from Felicity (the light to fight the darkness). Oliver knew why right away: now that Dahrk was so magically charged from his first nuclear blast, Felicity’s hope wasn’t enough for Oliver to fight it. So Felicity freaked out, and told Quentin Lance to take her mother to the closest location within 100 miles that would be safe from the nuclear blasts. The ish was getting real, people.
Nukes and magic be damned, Lyla tried to send an ARGUS strike team to take out Dahrk in his nexus chamber below City Hall, but they were all immediately massacred while Team Arrow could only listen in horror over their comms, knowing all those deaths just gave Dahrk even more power. And to make matters even worse, just when Felicity broke through her ex Cooper’s firewalls to get back control of Rubicon, Dahrk’s ghosts attacked Team Arrow in their lair. Another finale, another lair destroyed. Sigh. There were so many close calls in the fight, like when Diggle hesitated to kill a ghost because he looked like Andy and Lyla had to save him, or when Thea almost got taken out by a ghost and Malcolm of all people showed up in the nick of time to save her. Even Felicity got into the fight, landing a punch of her own!
After the team (plus Malcolm) defeated the ghosts, Curtis gave a pep talk to everyone (since the team was seriously lacking in optimism or hope). That inspired Oliver to go out to the streets of Star City in plain clothes to pass that pep talk on to the citizens who were freaking out and rioting over the impending nuclear blast. While he gave hope to the city, Felicity realized that—though she couldn’t hack the Rubicon system directly—she could hack into the GPS of the nuke heading straight for Star City. Once it got close enough, she was able to reroute it and the nuke flew away harmlessly. One down, 15, 433 to go. Yikes.
But finally, a lucky break! Felicity and Curtis tracked Cooper’s signal, and Oliver tasked Malcolm and Thea with backing them up to take him down in person. Meanwhile, Oliver decided it was time once and for all to take out Damien Dahrk, and set out for City Hall with Diggle and Lyla as his backup. While they were suiting up, Diggle finally confessed to Lyla about how he killed Andy in cold blood and not self-defense, but she fully supported him because she knew he did what he had to do. She was a soldier, and she understood. Despite his wife’s unconditional support, Diggle still couldn’t forgive himself for that.
But the time for emotional conversations was over, since it was time to save the world. Oliver arrived at the nexus chamber, and Dahrk just laughed, and decided to teach him a lesson before killing him. He threw Oliver around like a rag doll, and things looked dire until the citizens of Star City took to the streets in Green Arrow’s defense. That’s when the tables started to turn! With Diggle and Lyla helping him, along with Quentin who had returned to help Star City after making sure Donna was safe somewhere else, Oliver was able to go mano-a-mano with Dahrk. Lyla and Diggle took on the ghosts, while Quentin was tasked with keeping the citizens safe from the chaos. It was sheer madness, and everyone got their fair share of the action.
Finally, Oliver got the upper hand in his fight against Dahrk. He landed punch after punch, and although Dahrk didn’t think Oliver could actually kill him since he didn’t even kill the man who murdered his own mother (oh hey, Slade Wilson shout out!), Oliver proved him wrong. He told Dahrk in a calm manner that since Dahrk killed a friend of his, along with tens of thousands of innocent people, Oliver didn’t have a choice anymore. He stabbed an arrow deep into Dahrk’s gut, just like the way Darhk killed Laurel. Poetic justice. And on the nuclear missiles front, Felicity was able to do what she did to the Star City bomb and hacked into all the other missiles and sent them flying harmlessly into space, where they exploded, killing zero people. Victory! Team Arrow should totally celebrate and be happy, right?
Wrong. Instead of taking the win, Team Arrow completely fell apart, as each individual member quit for personal reasons. After Quentin found out his suspension from the SCPD was no longer temporary, he decided to pack up and leave town for good with Donna, finding a safer place to call home with better, happier memories. He thanked Oliver for helping him get closure for Laurel’s death, and drove off into the sunset with Donna. Then Thea announced that she was also going to get out of this vigilante, dark lifestyle, after she realized that threatening a little girl’s life wasn’t who she was. She hung up her Speedy costume and went home to work on herself. So it was back to the original three of Team Arrow, right?
Once again, wrong. While Felicity was excited about getting back to the OG team, Diggle wasn’t ready for it. He needed some time to get over what he did to Andy, and that meant leaving Star City, his wife, and his daughter. He was last seen in his formal army suit, packing a bag and saying goodbye to a crying Lyla. Is he shipping out?
So what does this mean for Team Arrow? The final shot of the season four finale was Felicity and Oliver standing together, looking at the retired costumes hanging on the wall of the destroyed Team Arrow lair. Laurel’s dead, Diggle’s gone, and Thea quit. As for the Green Arrow? Oliver’s going to have too much on his plate as the new Star City Mayor to suit up at night. That’s right: after campaigning and losing, he was voted interim Mayor until a formal election could be held as a formality. Oliver didn’t think he defeated the darkness in himself, but Felicity helped him realize there was a schism, a war within himself of the light and the dark, and he needed to constantly fight for the light. He’s going to have to work on that, while rebuilding his home and his relationships. Season five is going to look a hell of a lot different, folks.
And in the island flashbacks (hopefully the last ones we’ll ever see!), Baron Reiter revealed that without the runes on his arm that he got from the island caves, his mind would go mad from the power from the idol. And he was right, because Taiana immediately started to be affected by the power, almost killing Oliver. When she realized how much it was taking control of her, she told him to kill her so she wouldn’t hurt anyone else. He didn’t want to, but once she started crying and pleading with him, he snapped her neck. He helped the remaining prisoners escape the island by finally using the radio Amanda Waller gave him and called for emergency evacuations by ARGUS. Waller herself even came to the island to commend Oliver on completing his mission, and to help him realize that sometimes killing is the only path to justice. She wanted to recruit him for more missions, but he remembered he had a promise to keep. He picked up his father’s journal and his bow and arrow, and the flashbacks finally came back full circle to the series premiere.
Do you think we’re finally done with the island flashback storyline (please say yes)? What do you think is going to happen in season five now that Team Arrow is seemingly destroyed? Tweet me your thoughts at @SydneyBucksbaum!
Images: The CW
Arrow returns for season five this fall on The CW.