Attacking children, destroying a Christmas party, and almost killing half of Team Arrow — Damien Darhk makes the Grinch pre-heart growth look like an absolute angel.
Yes, Damien Darhk checked off more than a few requisites in the maniacal villain handbook during “Dark Waters,” which saw Team Arrow putting themselves in the line of fire out of their normal costumed brawls. Saving Star City around the holidays becomes about more than a simple matter of waving to the camera and giving the press a good quote for Oliver — it involves protecting the ones he loves most.
Damien Darhk’s presence is felt early in “Dark Waters” as he sends a drone down to a bayside volunteer program Oliver is running. The drone guns down the beach until Felicity is able to hack and stop it. Luckily no one is killed in the process, but the public statement by Damien forces Oliver’s hand.
Initially, he has no comment for the press. They don’t know why Damien cares about the bay so much, and Oliver wants to be sure of what they’re taking on before he retaliates in any fashion. And even though Diggle’s brother offers no help in that department, the team still comes up with a plan.
It’s not one Oliver necessarily loves. It paints a target on all of their backs, his patented protective leader mode kicking in, but they all want to go ahead with it. So Oliver does, speaking before the press and publicly revealing Darhk as the leader of the Ghosts and HIVE, as well as HIVE’s intentions to kill the city. He wants them all to stand united against this threat, believing awareness will help bring him to justice.
What Oliver doesn’t initially want is to carry on with life like everything is all right, specifically in the case of his campaign holiday party. The rest of the team isn’t going to let him off the hook that easily, however. Christmas (and Hanukkah, as Felicity rightly reminds the team) is a time to celebrate friends and family and to be merry. Even with a murderous mystical madman attempting to lay siege to the city, a few hours away from the frightful weather spent by the delightful fire can’t hurt them, right?
Felicity in particular enters the party with more than just Darhk on her mind. While her mother was setting up for the party earlier, she, after uttering a glass-cracking worthy scream, discovers Oliver’s engagement ring. Not only that, but she also shows it to Felicity, who expects Oliver to pop the question at any moment.
The Holiday party certainly appears to be a prime opportunity, and she’s not great at hiding her anticipation. As Curtis and his husband come by, she calls Ollie and herself practically engaged, having to backtrack in the fast talking way only Felicity could. But her slip-up leads her to ask how Curtis and his husband were engaged, which gets the gears in Felicity’s head turning all the way back to their time living outside the city. She distinctly remembers the night Thea and Laurel came asking for help, realizing Oliver must have meant to propose then. She confirms the theory with her mom (after being shocked to find her in the arms of Quentin Lance), and then approaches Oliver about it.
He concedes that was his plan, but that once they moved back to Star City and entered this new battle, it caused him to reconsider his life. Before he can further explain himself, however, an uninvited guest barges in to the tune of gunfire.
NEXT: Damien thinks the Nazis weren’t half bad. Should we maybe do something about this guy?