Arrow – “Taken” Review

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Last week’s Arrow was a bit of an eye roller, but fortunately, it served as a great setup to this bitchin’ episode. Damien Darhk’s gleefully, arrogant villainy was on full display here, as he held Oliver’s illegitimate son, Will captive, making him do nothing but color the whole time, apparently. His demands were that Oliver drop out of the mayoral race and fully endorse Darhk’s wife. Team Arrow spends this whole episode trying to save the boy while also trying to figure out how to fight around Darhk’s magical powers. Enter Vixen, a confident, sexy crime fighter who has a magical totem that allows her the power to possess animal instincts and abilities. Ollie enlists her help in hopes her magic can counter Darhk’s.

Ollie’s former fling and Will’s mother, Samantha comes into Star City to ask Oliver if he knows anything about Will’s disappearance. Oliver reveals himself as the Green Arrow in an effort to assure her he’ll get their son back. Meanwhile, this turn of events causes friction with Ollie and Felicity’s relationship, being that he never told her about his son due to the ultimatum Samantha gave him, being, he couldn’t be a part of his son’s life unless he kept him a secret. While Felicity understands why Oliver kept his son a secret, she also believes he should have put more trust in her.

Thea questions her dear ol’ dad, Malcolm, asking if he told Damien Darhk about Oliver’s son, and why he tried to remain the leader of the League of Assassins when stepping down would have saved her life. Being the elusive bastard he is, Malcolm not only evades the question regarding the boy, but also tries to convince Thea his reasons were just. Later, it’s revealed he actually did kidnapped Will and handed him over to Darhk. Oh, Malcolm, you snake. How we love to hate you.

This episode had the usual great action, mystery and emotion, and it also made sure each character had something to do. There was a great moment with Oliver and Diggle on a rooftop just before attempting to take down Darhk. Diggle gave Oliver something to think about as he explained how he balanced out being a hero and a father. After that, they proceeded to kick some ass. Yay! The scenes between Thea and Malcolm were very well acted. Samantha, thankfully, did not come off as annoying. And since the gang couldn’t rescue Will in time, Ollie was forced to drop out of the mayoral race, which, in all honesty, I hope that subplot is dropped for good. I want happiness for Ollie, but can we drop that pipe dream, please?

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So the regular cast was great, but we gotta talk about Damien and Vixen. First, Damien Darhk. I’ve loved how Neal McDonough has played this character this season. I’m so glad he had a lot of screen time to chew up the scenery in this episode. Especially since lately, he’s appeared on the last batch of episodes too briefly. I enjoy seeing him toy with Oliver with his arrogance and cockiness. Now that he’s had his powers taken away and will be in custody, I wonder if his arrogance will be replaced with fear or concern. Can’t wait to find out how this affects him. As for Vixen… Oh, my, my, my, she fine! Can’t even avoid mentioning that because she has that “whoa” factor a character should have. Now putting her looks aside, she’s awesome! I am totally digging her as a character. I don’t know much about her comic book counterpart, but I instantly liked her in this episode. That “How ’bout I kick your ass like a woman” line is legendary, let’s be honest. It makes my sister cheer, haha. But yeah, I liked her witty attitude and her powers. I thought she had good chemistry to Oliver. I really hope she comes back for more runs on either this show or The Flash. She left a good impression on me.

This flashback in this episode was really boring. I feel like they’re just dragging the crap out of this magical power thing. Reiter is within reach of his goal after the prisoners have finished digging and found a cave. A magical power possesses the body of Conklin to tell Oliver he is worthy to enter said cave. Thankfully, the flashback scenes were short, but they just got in the way of the main story.

Overall, I totally dug this episode for a number of reasons. Not only was it a great improvement over last week’s episode, but it brought back a sense of urgency and fun, while still giving us plenty of emotional themes that continue to test the acting limits of the show’s actors. One of those themes involves fatherhood. Oliver’s conflict was weighing the pro’s and cons of being part of Will’s life. In the end, Oliver decides it’s safer for him to distance himself from his son, leading us to a poignant scene with Ollie recording a video message revealing himself as Will’s father and the Green Arrow. This final scene did have a awkward feel to it though. The episode began with Felicity trying to walk again via the help of Curtis’ chip. The episode ends with her being able to stand and walk away from Oliver after she breaks off her engagement with him for reasons I disagree with. It’s like, I wanted to be happy because Felicity can walk again – even though I didn’t expect it this soon, and would have preferred more of a struggle for this event to happen – but her putting “Ollicity” in jeopardy after all they’ve been through, just felt like a cheap stab to the heart.

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