Review: ‘Arrow’ S04E15 – “Taken”

By February 25, 2016

On this week’s episode of Arrow, we learned that like Nanda Parbat, there are direct flights to Detroit from Star City, not every lie is necessarily bad and it’s good to have friends who are into magic. Let’s take a closer look at “Taken,” shall we?

This week’s episode opens with Felicity, having had Curtis’s implant implanted, learning to walk again. And having a hard time when the results aren’t as instant as she was hoping. They are interrupted by Damien Darhk (yay!), who plays the William card. He then commands Ollie to hold a press conference to drop out of the mayoral race. Now that the beans are spilled, Felicity is understandably upset. Not because Oliver has a son, but that he kept it from her. Especially when she finds out that just about everyone else already knows about William. Oops! Samantha instantly blames Oliver (and although it’s rightly so, she doesn’t actually know that), and then basically calls him useless. For some inexplicable reason, he uses her doubt to confess that he’s The Green Arrow. And then he takes her to the Arrow Cave. Like, seriously, what the hell? At a loss for how to beat Darhk, Oliver heads to Detroit to enlist the help of Mari McCabe, aka Vixen, and her magical totem.

Using her powers, and smelling William’s favorite toy, a Flash action figure, she determines that the boy is still in the city. She uses her cool powers to try and find him, as Oliver and Diggle have a heart to heart about fatherhood. They find William’s location and the team converges. Would you be shocked if I told you a fight ensues? Oliver confronts Darhk, who admits that he had William moved just before they got there. But Darhk isn’t the only one full of surprises. Vixen breaks in and attacks Damien. Darhk uses his mojo on the two of them, while admiring Mari’s totem, a trinket he hasn’t seen in ages. Mari is able to briefly break the spell, but Damien manages to get away when he tosses Ollie out a window.

In the meantime, Malcolm pays a visit to his daughter, who asks him outright if he was the one who told Darhk about William. He lies to her face and says no. He also tells her that he loves her and wouldn’t have actually traded her life for his power.

Back at the cave, Darhk calls Oliver and demands that he call a press conference right now, where he not only drops out of the race, but actually endorses Reve. Mari is beating herself up for losing William, until they realize that it’s possible his magic also comes from a totem. Quentin confirms this, telling the team about an idol he saw when he was working for the man. Oliver then does as he’s asked, and pulls out of the race. Darhk doesn’t return William right away, however, and Oliver is worried, because Darhk has proven less than trust worthy in the past. This gives Mari the occasion to throw her two cents into the parenting ring, and suggests that the best thing Ollie can do for his son is let him go and live a normal life.

When Darhk calls, he tells Ollie that he will deliver the boy in three hours, but the team has other ideas. They know that if they don’t neutralize Darhk by taking his totem, they have no chance of winning. The wage a full on assault of his compound and Vixen grabs the idol. Separating the two doesn’t work, however and Darhk uses his mojo on the team. With no other choice, Vixen smashes the idol, rendering Darhk powerless. Oliver then beats the crap out of him as sirens sound in the background.

In the, can-we-please-just-stop-already category, this week’s flashbacks consisted of Reiter taking everyone to wherever it is the magic is located. Once there they are accosted by a zombie/ghost of Conklin, who tells them they cannot pass. (With way less panache than Gandalf! I’m just saying!) Reiter traps Oliver and whatever the woman’s name is in the room with the spirit, using them a basically a sacrifice. Once the door closes, the spirit claims that Oliver can pass, and the tattoo that Constantine gave him begins to glow. Reiter then reappears and forces Oliver into a massive cave.

As the episode comes to a close, William is reunited with Samantha and professes his want for a Green Arrow action figure. The police find out from the boy that it wasn’t Darhk who took him, but a man with no hand. Thea confronts Malcolm, and she tells him that whatever sort of relationship they have is now done. Oliver records William a video message to be played after his eighteenth birthday, telling him the truth about everything, and his regrets about not being able to be a part of his life. Felicity then breaks off their engagement, because she doesn’t think that Oliver is capable of truly sharing his life with her. Curtis’s implant kicks in, and she walks away from him.

arrow taken review

So, this was a really, really interesting episode. I will fully admit that I haven’t seen the Vixen animated series on CW Seed, so this was my first introduction to the character. And boy, what an amazing introduction it was! What a really cool character. When I first heard about the character and her powers, I wasn’t sure how it would work in a real life situation, but I’m glad to see that I had nothing to worry about. The effects team did an amazing job of showing which animal she was channeling, without making it look cheesy. Kudos on a job well done. I’ve also got to say that I loved the character and am now hoping that she gets her own live action treatment.

As to the rest, it was really interesting to see the different father/child dynamic of the various characters, although I’m not sure an entire episode was needed to showcase it. My favorite is Thea and Malcolm, (possibly because of my insane love of John Barrowman) who kind of got the short end of the stick tonight. I like the idea of the two of them being at odds, because that just makes Malcolm all that much more unpredictable. And unpredictable Malcolm Merlyn is television gold! What I wasn’t a big fan of was how quickly Darhk went down tonight. I mean, he’s been such a formidable foe all season long, that to have it just kind of be over so easily was a big letdown. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens on the big bad front. I mean, we still have a third of the season to go.

Arrow airs every Wednesday night on the CW.

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Erin Parisien
Erin is a writer, a comic-book geek, a movie nerd and a pop culture junkie... all long before it was cool! She's the senior Editor and a writer over at and can always be found behind a keyboard, because it's all about the words. Follow her @erin_the_novel over on twitter.
  • Chris Skalicky

    Damien isn’t finished just yet. He’s got something else planned. And technically Malcolm didn’t lie to Thea. When she asked him about taking William, he said “No…. I won’t answer that” or something to that effect. He had that long dramatic pause. I’m interested to see what they do with that relationship. For a bit, as that conversation was getting heated I thought Malcolm might Lash out and accidentally killing Thea leading us to the grave scene but obviously that didn’t happen. I am so glad that we got to see Damien Darhk back. Neal McDonough is so great!