Heads up, there are major spoilers ahead for the Season 4 midseason finale of Arrow in the coming paragraphs.
Christmas tends to never be a very merry time for Oliver Queen and Co. on The CW’s Arrow, and the cliffhanger for the Season 4 midseason finale – entitled “Dark Waters” – was perhaps the least merry of all. In the episode, supervillain Damien Darhk sent a small army of minions with machine guns to fire on the limo carrying the newly engaged Oliver and Felicity. Things aren’t looking too great for the good guys, but the final minutes of the episode did feature a twist that may well turn the tide: Damien Darhk has a family.
As devastating as it was to see Oliver’s brief happily ever after destroyed by a hail of gunfire – to the tune of “Little Drummer Boy,” no less – and as cruel a cliffhanger as it was to end the midseason finale with Felicity’s life hanging in the balance, the reveal of Damien Darhk having a family may well be worth the trauma. After all, the bulk of the midseason finale revolved around Darhk seizing Oliver’s loved ones as punishment for his resistance. The same episode introducing a family for Darhk can mean only one thing: what goes around should come around.
Of course, the Season 4 version of Oliver has been much lighter than in years past, but “Dark Waters” showed an Oliver who still has the capacity to go dark if he’s pushed far enough. He was relentless in his assaults of Darhk’s ghosts, and he wasn’t particularly conflicted when he implied that he’d start torturing again. Oliver went darker than he’s been in a long time when his loved ones were missing; Felicity more or less dying in his arms shortly after agreeing to marry him won’t exactly push him toward forgiving and forgetting.
Even an Oliver temporarily driven back into darkness certainly won’t stoop to killing or maiming any innocents, but a threat or two could be enough to get the message across. We may know that Oliver won’t harm a child or her mother just because of their association with a supervillain, but Darhk doesn’t.
The episode didn’t clarify just how Darhk is related to the mother and child. Given his age, the little girl may well be his great-great-great-great-great-great grandchild. Still, there has been a running theme of parenthood throughout Season 4, and it’s pretty safe to assume that either the child or her mother is Darhk’s daughter.
Damien Darhk making a move on Oliver Queen and his friends has been inevitable ever since Oliver first defied him. He could not have picked a more tragic moment to order an assassination, however, and Felicity’s grievous injuries may come back to haunt him once Oliver finds out about his secret family.
Arrow won’t be back until 2016, so we’ll have plenty of time to think of all the ways for Oliver to get his revenge on Damien Darhk over hiatus.