‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 4, Episode 21: ‘Monument Point’
It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where grizzled Arrow watcher Matt D. Wilson and newcomer Chris Haley dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City. But for this belated installment, Agents of SHIELD recapper and even-newer Arrow newcomer Ziah Grace has stepped in to cover for Matt.
On this week’s episode, “Monument Point,” Team Arrow makes some questionable choices, Felicity and Captain Lance are both going to be looking for new jobs, and a returning villain calls Thea “mommy,” which weirds everyone out. Kevin Tancharoen directed the episode, which was written by Speed Weed and Jenny Lynn.
Chris: A few weeks ago Matt was called into action to help me cover an episode of ABC’s Disney’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD when Special Agent Ziah Grace was away on assignment, and this week, Ziah is returning the favor by filling in for Matt and giving us a complete outsider’s perspective on the many ways Oliver Queen has failed this city. So, first things first, Ziah, what’d you think of this week’s episode of Arrow?
Ziah: This was weeeeeeird, man. I came into it knowing there would be things I just wouldn’t understand because of the knowledge base I was starting with, but even with that, there was just some weird choices.
Chris: To say the least. Was this the first/only episode you’ve seen?
Ziah: Yep! Well, minus the crossover episode with Flash this year, but that was basically just another episode of The Flash. I’d heard that the tone of Arrow is way different, and that’s 100% true. For a show with a heist and Russians freaking out over having just lost a nuke, this was a strangely serious episode. Damien Darhk literally wants to explode the world to get stronger because he’s a magic death god or something? It was great, but the seriousness of it was a bit jarring.
Chris: Did it throw you off at all that the bad guy(s) on both of these shows we watched together this week are called “Hive”? Because it really jumped out to me more than usual this week for some reason.
Ziah: Not really. I kept forgetting what the bad guys were called so I just rolled with it. Still hoping for a Swarm appearance on AoS, though.
Chris: Do you hate me for suggesting you as Matt’s substitute this week?
Ziah: I could never hate you, Chris. You are the bright spot of reviewing these frequently mediocre shows.
Chris: One of these days we’ll get to watch a good show together again, buddy. One of these days. #RIPAgentCarter. Usually Matt is the one that’s having to explain things from past seasons to me, but since I’m the “grizzled Arrow watcher” of the two of us, have you got any immediate and pressing questions about the world of Arrow?
Ziah: Actually, I feel like I got most of it from context. Felicity’s dad is the Calculator, who is smart. Her mom is dating Laurel and Sara Lance’s dad who is a cop, and Diggle shot somebody and feels bad about it? The only thing I didn’t get is why all the fight scenes looked like the actors were moving slower than normal because they expected the editors to speed it up in post. Did you notice that?
Chris: I did not notice that. Because all of the fights pretty much just look like the fights always look on this show. Every now and then there’ll be an episode with a director who really puts a lot of effort into doing something special with the fight scenes, but for the most part this was a good indicator of what you can expect from the action scenes on Arrow. I’m not saying that as an insult or a compliment, just a statement.
Ziah: Well, that’s a shame. It felt like they were doing rehearsal fight scenes and then just ended up filming it. Or maybe I’m used to watching The Flash, which is… (wait for it) faster.
Chris: Priceless. So, let’s run through this week’s plot. Damien Darhk has gotten control of a technological doo-dad that is supposed to stop nuclear missiles from being launched, but he’s somehow using it to launch all of the nuclear missiles. That seems like a pretty serious design flaw. The president and the government agencies that worry about these kinds of events are very concerned, but other than a few Argus agents, no other military or peacekeeping forces are employed to try to stop Darhk. Team Arrow is also very concerned, and while time and speed are both factors, at no point are any calls made to fellow superheroes. Like, maybe one in particular who is very fast and might come in handy for searching or retrieving things in a hurry.
Ziah: Ah, I’m pretty understanding of plot points like that. There’s too many Batman stories where a quick call to Superman would take care of it to get annoyed at plots that require superheroes not asking their friends for help. “No Prize” answer, though, is that Barry’s still powerless, having given up his speed to save Wally West from the hands of Zoom, and gets his powers back after this episode.
Chris: I’m fine with them not bothering their friends for the run-of-the-mill “we’re all in grave danger” kind of thing, but this is literally an “end of the world” level event and I would not be happy to know it was in the hands of a guy with a bow and arrow and a lady that used to work in IT. If it is going to affect everyone, then everyone needs to get called in. You can have the stakes be high for the characters without saying the bad guy is going to blow the whole damn world up.
Aaaaaaanyway. Thanks to the technology angle and the fact that there is often only one person capable of a particular job in the Arrow-verse, Felicity’s father, The Calculator, is required to help save the world from an absolute nuclear holocaust. Meanwhile, Thea is still trapped in The Truman Show, and Malcolm is there explaining, as he does every time he talks to her, that he wants to keep her safe. Both of these parent/child interactions lead to a few scenes of possible father/daughter pseudo-bonding. It doesn’t really go that well for either of them though does it?
Ziah: Not especially! I am a sucker for dirtbag parents trying to reach out to their kids without changing their dirtbag ways and getting spurned, though. I definitely liked Calculator and Felicty’s scenes better, mostly because they involve Felicity, who is The Best. Malcom’s Thea’s dad, but he’s not Oliver’s right? How’s that whole thing work?
Chris: They have the same mom, but different dads is my understanding on Ollie and Thea’s siblinghood. Speaking of weird parent/child relationships, Lonnie Machin (AKA Anarky) is back looking to ruin Damien Darhk’s subterranean bio-suburb-sphere, though it’s unclear if he realizes doing so will lead to an end to life on Earth if the rest of Darhk’s plan succeeds. Then he calls Thea “mommy” and kills Alex. One of these things garnered a much bigger emotional reaction among viewers on Twitter, and it wasn’t people sad about the death of our resident political advisor.
Ziah: There was no part of this that made sense, even for a new viewer. Is Lonnie Thea’s ex-boyfriend? Old friend? Actual Literal son?
Chris: The best I can figure there is Lonnie’s calling Thea that because earlier this season she was responsible for his face getting burned up and making him look like that. Maybe I’m completely blanking on them having some kind of relationship beyond that, or it happened in one of the seasons I didn’t watch, but I’m pretty sure that’s all there is to that. Let us know in the comments, dear readers!
Anarky and Calculator weren’t the only returning baddies this week though. We also had Michael Amar (AKA Murmur) and Danny Brickwell (AKA Brick). Did you recognize them as being actual DC Comic characters?
Ziah: Wait, there were two of them? I swear that was the same guy that just showed up again in a different scene. So, I guess the short answer is “no”. Are there any supervillains on this show that wear actual costumes? Flash has its issues, but last episode ended with 30 Power Rangers-looking supervillains showing up to shoot lasers and such. I think I prefer that to this kind of proto-realism.
Chris: I’ll agree with you there, because I’d prefer that as well. I’m told Deathstroke was in earlier seasons and he actually had a mask. Most of the bad guy costumes on this show just involve leather jackets, though, as far as I’ve seen. This may have also been this season’s worst episode or at the least, most chock full of technobabble, as Felicity and her dad both have to try to constantly say more and more ridiculous “hacker”/high-tech talk. Then Felicity kills tens of thousands of people with a nuclear weapon.
Ziah: Yeah! So let’s talk about that. Felicity’s now a mass-murderer. That is bananas. I genuinely didn’t even know where to start talking about this show to you because of those last few minutes. I know Oliver killed like 300 people in the first two seasons, but is this kind of death count normal for Arrow?
Chris: I’m pretty sure people get killed on every episode, but this was definitely setting a new bar. I let it slide when you mentioned liking her earlier, but Felicity is the absolute worst thing about this show. Ziah, I would take a dozen Lincolns over one Felicity, and I think you know how we feel about Lincoln. (See literally any recap of Agents of SHIELD.)
Ziah: Also, still only the second worst decision Felicity made this episode. First was that crazy jacket she wore when she got fired; it was like a trench coat and that 100 eyed monster from Greek mythology had a gross baby.
Wait, I just looked it up, and that monster is apparently named Argus. Is this some subtle motif going on with her wardrobe, or is that jacket insane in the membrane?
Chris: You know, for someone who loves focusing on the negative, it’s delightful that you would even think to give them that much credit. Maybe it is, Ziah. Maybe it is.
I think that about wraps it up for this week, Arrow-heads! Join us next week when thousands are still dead, and no one can get Thea on the phone! Until they do! And then she’s evil now! Get ready for the Team Arrow version of this: