“Genesis” tried a lot of different ideas, but very few of them actually landed.
“Genesis” is split in to three different stories that are only vaguely linked. One is Diggle’s hunt for Andy, two is Thea’s vacation with Alex, and three is Oliver and Felicity’s attempt to make contact with a shaman who can teach Oliver to counteract Darhk’s magic. The main storyline, and the one that takes up the most time as well is Diggle VS Andy. After Andy’s escape, Diggle is forced to take drastic action to ensure that Sara and Lyla aren’t hunted down by HIVE. So, Lyla is moved into a high security semi that remains in motion around Star City. Barring the insensibility of the HIVE plan to track down Lyla, these scenes are the most emotionally affecting. David Ramsey really commits to his Diggle gone rogue persona. Sadly his intensity and guilt for Laurel’s death is the only thing that makes this incomprehensible story remotely realistic. If it weren’t for that one major point, this exercise in the school of Saturday morning cartoon bad guy plans wouldn’t just be confusing, it’d be lifeless. This is yet another edition of long road to a short thought. A complicated scheme to capture Diggle and have him lead HIVE to Lyla, has the exact same result as simply following him. I don’t mind overcomplicated plot-lines, I read comics and it kind of goes with the territory; but when the simpler and more effective option is this obvious it makes everything that happens down the more complicated road seem so damn avoidable that I can’t help but roll my eyes.
Speaking of eye rolling…alright maybe that isn’t fair. First a little bit of history is in order. If you haven’t read Green Arrow, it should be noted that magic is actually very prominent in his stories. It’s usually used as a great obstacle or big bad to overcome, but Oliver’s powers are not mystical and they haven’t been retroactively altered to be mystical. Still, magic is a part of it, and the fact that it’s being included in the show makes me appreciate the attention to detail more. Or it would, if it wasn’t used so frequently and seemingly without consequence or recourse. Oliver must unlock the light inside of him to counteract Darhk’s dark magic. You see where I’m going with this? This is not being handled well. There are aspects to the rules of magic in the series that are worth noting including the explanation of prelinguistic power and primordial energy. It would mean more though, if these were more than just words. The magic in “Genesis” requires so much exposition that it transcends mysterious and goes right to plot power. It works because the plot deems it so.
Final Word: I’m not covering the Thea experience too much because it’s pretty self-explanatory for the most part, and the rest will be revealed in the next couple of episodes. As for everything else, David Ramsey is awesome at playing the rogue agent. His drive and ambition in a position of emotional compromise really hypes up the tension and his self-imposed guilt at his part in Laurel’s death makes it matter that much more. It’s well built character progression, and it has to be commended. Everything else just fails to connect. It’s not actually bad (as I’m used to saying) it just doesn’t mean anything. Gabriella Wright is quite the personality as Esrin Fortuna, but her effortless charisma just makes her an anomaly in the sea of blank stares that are the main characters. I know that Arrow has a diverse and lively cast and that the characters have great chemistry, but this season has been all about separation and loss, and it’s affecting the dynamic. Nothing seems to connect anymore, it’s all just pockets of information and development at isolated story points. Some of it is good, and some of it is bad, but the big problem is that is doesn’t correlate. These characters aren’t growing together, or even in the same direction. Without that dynamic, Arrow is just acting like the same melodrama from last season, only with magic this time.
“Genesis” gets a 6.5/10. David Ramsey saves the day, despite everyone else trying to wreck it.