On Arrow Season 4 Episode 4, Damien Darhk was making a whole lotta sense, but that still didn't make Oliver feel all warm and fuzzy when he spotted Quentin Lance making nice with the bad guy.
Below, the Arrow Round Table team talks about those moments, as well as the Arrow team and some head-scratching moments from the hour.
Join TV Fanatics Liz Estey, Lindsay MacDonald, Hank Otero and Caralynn Lippo by dropping your thoughts on Arrow in the comments. It's not as fun if you aren't a part of it!
Team Arrow felt very solid for the first time. How are you feeling about the team at this point?
Liz: Thank goodness. It was starting to get really frustrating. I think Arrow has always worked better when the team feels like a little family unit. Even though Oliver and Felicity's relationship has slightly changed the dynamic, it doesn't feel like they're being shoved in our faces as much as it has previously.
Lindsay: I might be alone in this, but I'm beginning to feel like the Arrow cave is a bit crowded. Especially with Mr. Terrific potentially on the way too. I wouldn't say I want to go back to the original trio again, but it's definitely hard to keep track of everyone in a fight scene these days...
Hank: You're not alone Lindsay, I'm right there with you. I actually prefer the moments when just the original trio is working together. Wasn't it great when Felicity commented on it? That's not to say the entire group isn't kicking butt. They've got it together now, but there are just too many characters to service. Hopefully, Mr. Terrific stays put at Palmer tech.
Caralynn: I'm liking the dynamic. I was getting annoyed with the team being at odds and separate. Now the Sara secret just needs to come out so Oliver can properly yell at Laurel for being a doofus, and then the air will be totally cleared.
For such a bad guy, Damien Darhk sounds really sane a lot of the time. What's your take on him?
Liz: I love him as a character. Exploring the gray area around what constitutes justice in an unjust system is what Arrow does best. Damien Darhk is far more interesting because he has some valid points. It's also much easier to see where Lance is coming from when Darhk says logical things.
Lindsay: I think he's going to turn out to be one of our best villains yet, and I hope they keep juxtaposing his tactics with Amanda Waller's. That parallel was something I loved in the premiere and something that could redeem these lackluster flashbacks.
Hank: I also think he's not only one of the best big bads, but very different from Merlyn and Ra's. Plus, I love the mystical element to the character. It makes him even more dangerous, despite the fact he operates by a code. So far, I'm digging Damien Darhk.
Caralynn: I really like him so far. His advice to Lance about how to take care of the Sara issue was totally sound. I found Lance's explanation for how he fell in with Darhk to make a lot of sense generally. ALSO – I definitely need to know who his daughter is. That line "from one father to another" was definitely not just a throwaway line.
Lance and Oliver had a come to Jesus moment (or two). React.
Liz: They had some much needed frank discussion. It would have been excruciating to watch Lance continue to judge Oliver given Lance's relationship with Darhk. The two of them have never had a good relationship, but Oliver and Lance are intertwined several times over. Although it's predictable, I'm curious to see how/if Lance will work as a double agent reporting to Oliver on Darhk.
Lindsay: That scene where Oliver yelled at Lance has become one of my favorites of the series. Those actors are just so talented, and that moment has been brewing for years!
Hank: Personally, I've been over Lance's righteous attitude for a while and I'm hoping the tombstone is his. I loved that Oliver let him have it. Stephen Amell doesn't get very many moments to shine, but boy did he nail that scene with Lance. Fans have complained about Amell's wooden acting since Arrow Season 1, but the guy has undeniably come a long way.
Caralynn: As Hank mentioned, Stephen Amell's wooden acting is such a thing and has been an issue for me throughout the series. This was a really fantastic moment for him. I'm not going to lie, I still don't think he's a very good actor, but the scenes were fantastic. Paul Blackthorne was particularly impressive as Lance throughout the entire episode and he really shined during the scenes with Oliver. Oliver telling Lance that he was partly Oliver's inspiration for running for Mayor (so he could prove to Lance what kind of man he really is) was actually pretty moving and heartbreaking.
What has you most intrigued: What's in the box delivered to Darhk, why Ray Palmer cannot communicate in some rational way with his tiny body (waving his little arms? stomping on the keyboard?) or why Diggle isn't wearing a full helmet and only a helmet-mask?
Liz: I'm most intrigued/confused as to why Ray is having such a difficult time communicating. He was established as having a genius-level intellect to so why is it so hard for him to convey that he is still alive? If they don't resolve the whole Ray's-not-really-dead thing soon I will have some trouble staying on board with the show.
Lindsay: If Ray is actually the size of an atom, then I'm willing to cut him some slack. No arm waving or keyboard typing for him. But I'm loving the build up all the same. If they just sprung it on us in one episode, it would feel cheap and gimmicky.
Hank: Diggle's helmet-mask is just too silly to even comment on. I'm all about Darhk, his powers and what's in the box. He's not only a cool villain, but the writers are doing a great job fleshing him out. I find myself wanting to know more about him, a feeling I didn't have with Ra's al Ghul last season. As far as Ray, we already know his fate. I'm ready to see him on Legends of Tomorrow.
Caralynn: I've given up even trying to figure out the Diggle thing. It's just so stupid. I find it hard to get invested in the tiny-Ray storyline because we already know what's going to happen there. As a sidebar, I understand why The CW wanted to do all that promotion for Legends of Tomorrow, but I think it would have been far more effective to leave out certain character reveals (like Sara and Ray). The shock value would have been unreal!
Instead, all of these Arrow scenes of Sara being a hot mess and Ray trying to communicate with Felicity feel like the show is treading water until we get to Legends of Tomorrow. I'm most intrigued by Darhk's storyline, because I have no theories for what's in the box.
Talk about another moment from "Beyond Redemption" that you loved or made you scratch your head.
Liz: It was a small moment, but representative of a larger trend. When Felicity is shown listening to Ray's last recording before he died, it gave a glimpse into her emotional state. Given her relationship with Oliver, and all of their Arrow activities she hasn't had a chance to grieve which is important for her character. It seems like they've given Felicity much more to do, particularly outside of Oliver and the Arrow cave, and it makes both her and the show more compelling to watch.
Lindsay: I loved the way Thea almost spilled the engagement beans when Felicity walked in without a ring on. It brings forth an image of Oliver and Thea gossiping like teenage girls about how and when he's going to pop the question.
Hank: The new Arrow lair and its introduction blew my mind! How cool was that you guys? Man, where does Cisco find the time? I also thought Lance's scene with Sara and Laurel was powerful. I'm beyond excited about Arrow Season 4 Episode 5, the Constantine episode.
Caralynn: This is an incredibly minor point, but did anyone else notice that Laurel walked into the room where Lance was pointing a gun at Sara already crying? She already had solid tracks of tears running down her face! That was really distracting and didn't make a lick of sense to me, because I don't think she heard him as she was walking up. She walked in and seemed confused/alarmed but was already crying. What?!
Here's a sneak peek at what lies ahead:
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.