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There were a number of good elements to “Lost Souls,” certainly a step in the right direction after a number of less than stellar outings. However, there were still enough missteps to make the episode, on the whole, a bit of a disappointment.
Looking at the major arc of the episode- Team Arrow bands together, adds Curtis to the ranks (albeit while keeping him in the dark about all the secret identities), to save Ray Palmer from the clutches of Damien Darhk- it’s a great story. It promises some really awesome fight sequences, some tech wizardry, and it means Ray is the damsel in distress so he can’t get too annoying. And, for the most part, the story unfolded exactly as planned. Curtis proved himself to be a really excellent tech genius under pressure, we got to see Felicity take the lead on the rescue mission (which was great), and the bulk of the fight sequences were well done (particularly the Thea, Laurel, and Sara tag team). But the rescue attempt’s strength as a storyline was zapped by one of the major problems with this season: the strength of Damien Darhk, or rather, his lack of strength when it suits the needs of the story.
From what we’ve seen, Darhk has some serious mojo. He can pretty much manipulate the environment around him at will. Oliver would have been toast had he not had his magic smoke bomb arrow. But once Oliver defeated Darhk momentarily, Darhk just let him go. In fact, Darhk seems very content to just let Team Arrow run roughshod over his operations. He has yet to mount any type of attack against them, despite their penchant for foiling his schemes. He hasn’t tailed Lance or even suspected him of a double-cross, which is super short-sighted and flies in the face of what we know about him (the man clearly has trust issues and doesn’t suffer fools). If this guy is as smart and as powerful as advertised (Ra’s and Merlyn both expressed their fear of him, for pete’s sake), he certainly isn’t living up to his reputation. And that doesn’t bode well for things down the line.
The episode’s B plot also suffered from the same problems as the main story- the inclusion of a character whose mental state we can’t figure out. While it’s great to see that Oliver and Felicity have some issues in their relationship, the reappearance of Donna Smoak was a bit of a mess. First off, on what planet would Oliver think inviting Felicity’s mother over would make Felicity happy? Those two do not have the best relationship, so that was a majorly idiotic think for him to do. I guess it shows he’s not perfect? But the real issue is with how the writers have crafted the character of Donna. The ditzy, man-crazy version of the character isn’t funny. She’s grating and not at all pleasant to watch. Throughout the bulk of the episode, Donna really took away from the story and her appearances would stop the episode’s momentum. But then there was that touching scene between serious and sympathetic Donna and Felicity. This is the Donna the show should be writing. Charlotte Ross is too good of a dramatic actor to waste her talent trying to make a flighty and unfunny version of the character work. Sure, she doesn’t have to be serious all the time and can make some silly mom jokes, but we need to see that there is substance behind the ditz. More emotional heart to hearts and fewer asinine comments about Oliver’s cooking skills.
— I’m equal parts intrigued and worried at the prospect of Lance and Donna getting together. It opens the door to an interesting storyline for Lance, but it also could mean more stupid Donna comedy.
— That Thea/Sara conversation about the bloodlust was just strange. Did Thea not want to admit that she temporarily calmed her bloodlust by killing some guys? Because, while not exactly reassuring for Sara, I think admitting that was what did it for her might have helped the situation.
— With Ray back in action, the Arrow side of the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow cast is in place. We just need to get Hawkgirl and Hawkman suited up over at The Flash.
— I really liked seeing that both Oliver and Felicity have insecurities regarding their relationship. It all has seemed way too easy for them so far, and such a minor element as that really goes a long way toward humanizing the characters.
— God, was this week’s flashback a complete waste of time on every level.