Damien Darhk fancies himself a divine figure, so it’s no surprise that as the titular plan of “Genesis” finally receives some much-needed details this late in the season, the big bad’s operation has biblical origins.
Yes, Darhk is taking a page out of God’s playbook with a new genesis for the world, a new order over which he can rule (and likely a new world dress code of black-on-black suits he can enact).
And Darhk is content to carry out this plan largely on his own, without the assistance of that pesky HIVE. He takes out a few of its highest members in a meeting after offering up his epiphany during his time of incarceration — he broke out of jail without HIVE’s help, so why does he need it to carry out Genesis?
He answers his own question with those murders, which Felicity (who has settled back into helping Team Arrow for the time being) picks up as these HIVE members’ bodies are dumped around town. They realize Damien is prepping for his final assault, which at this point they don’t quite know the magnitude of, but Oliver is hesitant to make a move until they know how to combat his magic.
Diggle, however, is still enraged with Andy’s betrayal and Laurel’s death and wants to attack now. Oliver is steadfast in his belief that a Defense Against the Dark Arts is called for (solely for himself), so he’s going to meet a contact in Hub City who Constantine knows to go through the difficult and dangerous training.
He gives the rest of the team the week off, but it’s anything but a quiet few days for the rest of Team Arrow before they all (for the most part) come together in understanding of Darhk’s true intentions.
Don’t Bet on Black, Bet on the Light
Oliver intends to head off to Hub City alone, but Felicity is suspicious of his vague description of his plan. And so, despite what Oliver would prefer, Felicity comes along for the trip, which finds the two not seeking a magician in a mountain cave or centuries-old castle but at a swanky underground casino.
There, the duo sits down for a blackjack game at a table based on Constantine’s suggestions, only for Felicity to immediately take charge. It’s not luck when she’s playing, after all. She whittles the competition down to herself and another woman, who she even offers a few chips in a moment of need. Yet just as the two are about to give up on Constantine’s guy ever showing, the other woman at the table informs them they aren’t waiting for a guy.
They’re waiting for her, Esrin Fortuna, a shaman who can show Oliver the way to fending off Darhk and his darkness. She brings Oliver and Felicity out of the casino and in to another plane of existence (sure, why not?), which looks exactly like the Nexus Chamber on Lian Yu. She mentions Star City also has such a chamber, hence Darhk’s decision to operate there.
But when it comes to fighting against his magic, it all comes down to the classic battle of light versus dark. Damien gains his power from killing and from fear. Esrin informs Oliver he needs to combat that with the opposite form of power — energy generated by light, by goodness. Oliver needs to channel the light within him to fight Darhk, but should his darker nature outweigh his better self, he won’t be able to succeed.
She puts that theory to the test by launching a few magical attacks against Oliver. He has little problem with her first salvo, but when she kicks things up a notch, Oliver crumbles under the pressure. He’s forced to reckon with the darkness inside him (including a nice cameo of his former big bads like Deathstroke), and in doing so can’t rid himself of what lies below the surface.
NEXT: Brother versus brother