There were a lot of elements to love in this week’s episode — multiple action sequences, the return of Felicity’s father, Oliver going incognito as … Oliver-in-a-hat — but the hurried pacing and dialogue rarely allowed time to take pleasure in those moments. And, yes, I realize that “Monument Point” is all about Team Arrow working against the clock to save the world from nuclear destruction, but there’s got to be a more palatable way to create we’re-running-out-of-time! tension than an entire show’s worth of rapid-fire delivery. As a viewer, I found it exhausting instead of exhilarating. Let’s recap.
Rubicon is on, people. Literally. As expected, Damien Darhk has initiated the Rubicon program for his own nefarious purposes, a.k.a. destroying the word with nuclear weapons. Luckily, Rubicon has a start-up sequence that’ll buy Team Arrow 21 hours to try and shut Rubicon down. Almost immediately, Felicity realizes that there’s only one person with the computer smarts to stop Rubicon: her father, the recently freed convict Noah “the Calculator” Kuttler. She convinces Team Arrow to bring Kuttler into the fold … assuming they can locate him.
Like father, like daughter, Felicity starts using her computer smarts to find Kuttler. She needs to locate him quickly, because Darhk, who knows Kuttler can stop Rubicon, has sent two henchmen (season three’s Danny “Brick” Brickwell and that “Sewn Lips” guy) to kill Kuttler. While snooping through the Calculator’s server, Felicity discovers a reference to “Ravenspur,” which Mama Smoak later reveals is the name of the cabin where she and Kuttler used to get their Lionel Richie on.
But Mama Smoak’s tip comes too late. Brick and Lips arrive at the cabin and confront Kuttler, who holds his own against them with just a woodpile and a shotgun. Eventually, though, Brick and his H.I.V.E. goons get the upper hand, and Kuttler is a goner. Or Kuttler would be, if Brick was smart enough to just shoot him, instead of playing his signature “go ahead and try to shoot me first” game. Before Kuttler can play Brick’s game, the Arrow and Spartan arrive and a fight breaks out. Kuttler escapes from the scene and sees a black van … driven by Felicity! “Don’t just stand there,” she yells to a stunned Kuttler. “Get in!”
Meanwhile, in the Sewer Ark, Thea gets a not-so-surprising visit from Malcolm, who explains Darhk’s Genesis plan to Thea. While I totally buy that Malcolm would find a way to compare Genesis to his earthquake plan, I find it difficult to swallow Thea’s reaction to this news. After Malcolm explains to Thea that the world above her is going to be annihilated by nuclear weapons, Thea’s only concern is whether Alex is okay. (Um, Thea, what about your brother and vigilante besties above the sewer? Not curious how they’ll turn out?)
Thea finds out soon enough that Alex is safe, but not exactly fine. He’s at full brainwash capacity, helping organize new citizens — former H.I.V.E. “volunteers” — into their homes. (Alex has been such a blank slate this season that he’s really the ideal brainwashing victim.) Malcolm cuts their reunion short and lets them know that Lonnie Machin (a.k.a. Anarky) is loose in the Sewer Ark. According to Malcolm’s intel, Anarky is hell-bent on destroying “CO2 scrubbers” that supply the Sewer Ark with breathable air as vengeance on Darhk. Malcolm tells Thea that he knows about her and Anarky’s “connection” and urges her to use that to try and stop him. Malcolm can be such a cheat sheet for this show. Need information conveyed or passed on? Let’s bring in Malcolm.
Felicity and Kuttler are ready to mend fences to work together to stop Rubicon, but Kuttler needs a special processor located at Palmer Technologies. When Felicity heads there to retrieve it, she’s coldly informed that the board of directors voted to terminate her as CEO. To make matters worse, she’s wearing the world’s ugliest coat. Seriously, what did Emily Bett Rickards do to the costume department that day? Is there some plot reason for all of those grommets? Will she be picked up in the season finale by a large crane?
Felicity doesn’t have much time to grieve her firing because time is ticking away. Team Arrow needs that processor, so Felicity reluctantly agrees to break into Palmer Tech with her father in order to steal the technology. The techno jargon in the break-in sequence was flying so fast that I stopped really listening and tried to focus on the fact that Original Team Arrow was finally back on a field mission together. Not only that but Oliver got to beat up some bad guys in his street clothes — a particular kind of action sequence that I’ve loved since season one. The mission, however, isn’t a complete success. Security measures stop Felicity and Kuttler from grabbing the processor, so Kuttler tries to make a wireless copy of it. Unfortunately, he’s only able to grab 90 percent of it before they have to make a run for it.
Meanwhile, in the Sewer Ark, Malcolm sends Thea into one of the creepy houses to talk to Anarky. Of course, Anarky doesn’t recognize Thea at first without her red leather Speedy gear, but she clues him in. As Anarky draws closer to her, Malcolm — once again! — appears out of nowhere. He shoots Anarky with an arrow and claims that Anarky was going to destroy the scrubbers regardless of Thea. Malcolm barges in so fast, I’m not sure what the point of sending Thea in alone was. Malcolm barely gives her any time to use her “connection” to Anarky.
As Thea leaves the house, she discovers an unconscious Alex on the front porch and a pissed-off Anarky sitting nearby. (Wait, how did he know Alex was her boyfriend?) He gives a grand speech about Thea’s agency while creepily calling her Mommy. I kind of dig his obsessive vibe, but Thea’s had enough of it (or maybe not enough?), and she starts fighting him. Alex wakes up in the middle of the fight, but before he can escape, Anarky zaps him with his shock stick. Although Thea sobs over his body, it’s unclear whether Alex’s actually dead.
With 90 percent of the program copied, Kuttler plans to extract the final ten percent, but he needs a server farm to do it. Team Arrow and A.R.G.U.S. head to a server farm, where Felicity and her dad successfully start to hack Rubicon. Unfortunately, they trip some kind of anti-hacking bug that lets H.I.V.E. trace them. Soon, Brick, Lips, and the rest of the H.I.V.E. bunch arrive and there’s an all-out battle, as Lyla and the rest try to contain the H.I.V.E. goons long enough to let Felicity and Kuttler finish the hack. With about a minute until the missiles are launched, Lips slips through the front lines and into the server farm, where he shoots at the hacking duo. Kuttler covers Felicity’s body and takes a bullet for her. Unfortunately, that little distraction prevents Felicity and Kuttler from completing their task: One nuclear missile is launched and headed to a city called Monument Point, with a population in the millions.
At the last moment, Felicity realizes she can trick Rubicon by realigning the program’s GPS signals. With seconds to spare, she diverts the missile to a nearby location called Havertown. There’s a shot of a missile falling over a peaceful town. It hits, and a mushroom cloud wipes out the whole town, killing tens of thousands of people.
Your Flash could never.
Reiter’s alive, Tatiana’s cursed, and I’m bored.
- It’s a brief scene, but Rickards’ performance, as Felicity deals with the consequences of destroying Havertown, was so moving. I’m excited to see how this choice affects Felicity in the future.
- Dig to Oliver: “You’re the last person on Earth to lecture someone about lying to the people they love.” The Dig/Oliver scenes and the Arrow’s scene with Kuttler were highlights for me this episode. With so much action and technical plot points, these more human and emotional connections were welcome breathers.
- I loved that, even though Oliver can’t wear his Arrow suit on a mission, he still uses his Arrow voice.
- Saving the world and Felicity? I smell a redemption story for Kuttler.
- If Quentin is kicked off the force because of his affidavit, does that mean he’ll join Team Arrow?
- Those pretzel leg-wrestling moves between Brick and the Arrow.
MISSING THE MARK
- I enjoy the Speedy version of Thea, but her scenes with Malcolm feel too repetitive. Even the dialogue seems to acknowledge as much.
- Anarky as a “kind of ex-boyfriend” of Thea’s. Weird word choice.
- The reveal of Darhk’s magic Wi-Fi hotspot under City Hall felt a bit underwhelming after seeing a town destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
NUMBER OF SHIRTLESS STEPHEN AMELL SCENES: 0 (*turns channel to Poldark*)
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