'Arrow' Recap: Oliver Saves Christmas While the Dark Archer Kills the Naughty List
'Arrow' Recap: Oliver Saves Christmas While the Dark Archer Kills the Naughty List
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's Christmas time in Starling City! Not that we would ever expect Arrow to give us the happy times and warmth of the season. No, Christmas on Arrow means death, destruction and a fair amount of kidnapping. As it should be.

Check out this recap of "Year's End" for all of the dark violence you could want in this mid-season finale.

Bad News for the Naughty List

Someone is visiting many of the men on Oliver's naughty list, and it's not Santa Claus. Instead, the visitor is a dark, hulking shape that fires arrows with deadly precision, taking out those men that Oliver had left alive after ruining them.

That's problematic.

The police quickly catch wind of this new vigilante. Even though Detective Lance quickly figures out that the black arrows and quick deaths are not the work of their beloved Hood, the police commissioner doesn't particularly care. He just wants all of the psychos off the streets.

He does have a point there.

Island Blues

Let's just get the Island stuff out of the way first.

Everything is still cold and depressing there, but at least we do get a few answers. Yao Fei returns to the cave and is pleased (ish) to see Oliver is still alive. And the grim Chinese man has brought a present! That would be Edward (or whatever his name is), the leader of the Bad Men on the island.

Oliver is supposed to kill him. Or maybe use him to escape somehow.

Either way, it doesn't happen. We do, however, learn that the island used to be a Chinese military prison for the absolute worst criminals. The ninja folk were sent in when it closed to kill everyone. Only Yao Fei and Deathstroke remain.

Ah, the ambiguity of good and bad on Arrow...

Before Yao Fei, Oliver and their captive can get too far, Deathstroke and the other ninja types stage an ambush. While Oliver runs into the woods, Yao Fei is quickly beaten. Oliver may be on his own after this.

Visions of Sugar Plums

At the end of a friendly knife fight with Diggle, Oliver gets to reminiscing about the good old days when his father would throw massive Christmas parties. He misses those parties, which is fair, considering his five years on Purgatory Island.

Alas, no one else in the family is in the holiday mood. It seems that the Queens stopped celebrating the holiday after Oliver and Robert disappeared. That means it's up to Oliver to keep Christmas alive! Is there anything he can't do?

Apparently not. The party goes off without a hitch. Except for Thea spending most of it hooking up with some guy named Shane in her bedroom. And except for Moira and Walter fighting. And except for awkwardness when Tommy and Laurel arrive as a couple. And except for when the Dark Archer takes hostages, forcing Oliver to chase him down.

Other than those little things though, it was a great party.

Not Santa Claus

So who is this Dark Archer? Throughout most of "Year's End," all we can say for sure is that he isn't Santa Claus. Totally the wrong-colored suit.

We do learn that the man:

  • Has custom-made arrows from a company called Sagittarius
  • Is an expert at archery
  • Can build crazy liquid bombs
  • Is a total jerk

Oliver first confronts the man after rescuing a half dozen or so hostages when the police couldn't. The two archers spend some quality time shooting at each other and fighting. And weirdly, it's not Oliver who is the clear victor! Instead, the Dark Archer shoves the Hood (not the "lame" Green Arrow) through some construction beams and shoots him full of arrows.


Dark Archer is just about ready to kill and/or expose the Hood's identity when Oliver finally gets in a good stab. The bad guy doesn't die, but the injury is enough for Oliver to escape. Thanks to Diggle, Oliver ends up in the hospital, surrounded by family, eating candy canes and realizing that his enemies are much more dangerous than he ever suspected.

Walter Digs a Little Too Deep

Meanwhile, with the help of the always-awesome Felicity Smoke, Walter continues to dig deeper into the mystery of those names. But poking the hornet's nest is not always a good choice. When Walter questions his head of Applied Sciences, Douglas Miller, Malcolm (and whoever else is at the top) realizes that Mr. Steele knows too much.

We think at first that Moira can defuse the situation, as always, with her steely will and rich-lady grace. She even promises to explain to Walter what is going on.

Not so much. A henchman corners Walter Steele in his own elevator -- Malcolm has him abducted!

Six Months...

But that's hardly the worst of Malcolm's bad deeds and shocks for the week. He also threatens Moira that if she doesn't help bring about certain changes in Starling City -- part of a six-month plan to reshape the town in some nefarious image -- she will never see Walter again.

Of course he doesn't give us the details. But thousands of people are going to die, so we know it's bad.

Oh, and then there's the question of the Dark Archer. Did you think Malcolm had hired that guy? If so, you were wrong. Malcolm Merlyn **is the Dark Archer.

This is going to be bad. But bad is good when we're talking about Arrow. Happy holidays!!!

One recap not enough for you? Click here to read more of my Arrow thoughts in the TVFanatic Arrow roundtable!

Did you expect Malcolm to be the Dark Archer? Were you shocked when Oliver lost a fight? Just how much more awesome can Felicity get? Leave your comments below!

(Images courtesy of The CW)