Now that last week’s episode dealt with the team’s respective reactions to the death of their team member, the time was finally ripe for the cast of the CW’s “Arrow” to go on the offensive and seek vengeance against their greatest villain yet. The team continued its battle to save Star City and themselves in Season 4, episode 20, titled “Genesis.”
The episode opens with Damien Darhk’s (Neal McDonough) benefactors at H.I.V.E. figuring out what to do now that the villain has not only escaped jail, but gotten his powers back. When he lost them and got locked up, they’d resigned to leave him in prison to rot, but Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) agreed to break him out. He shows up and thanks H.I.V.E. for continuing his master Genesis plan while he was away, but claims that the events of prison taught him that he’s capable of doing impressive things without the help of the evil organization. He uses his powers to kill a few of them before making his point that he’s now in charge of the future of Genesis.
From there, the episode cuts to the Arrow Lair where Oliver (Stephen Amell) is trying to coach the team on their strategy going forward now that avenging the death of Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) is their top priority. He mentions that he finally got in contact with their ally John Constantine (Matt Ryan) who was previously unable to help due to the fact that he was in hell. The supernatural mystic told him that he could counteract Darhk’s magical powers by traveling to Hub City and meeting a new friend. He makes it clear to everyone that he doesn’t want to risk another attack on Darhk until they’ve got a surefire way to go up against his powers.
This rubs John Diggle (David Ramsey) the wrong way since this fight is deeply personal to him. It was previously revealed that his brother, Andy (Eugene Byrd), had been playing the team for months and was actually working for Darhk. Now, his whole family has to go into hiding until they shut down Darhk, Andy and Genesis.
At first, John believes that he can follow Oliver’s orders, but when he gets a lead on Andy’s location, he can’t resist going after him. However, somewhat obviously, it turns out to be a trap. The Diggles exchange bullets, blows and insults ultimately leading to John’s capture. He chats with Andy just long enough to discover that he looks at Damien Darhk as his personal Jesus. Andy initially tortures his brother, but John eventually escapes and gets the chance to take Andy out once and for all. However, in an effort to honor Laurel, he refuses to take the shot and escapes before Darhk can arrive to finish him off.
Meanwhile, Oliver made it to Hub City to meet with Constantine’s contact with Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) in tow. Although they’re no longer dating, Oliver previously mentioned that he was willing to lose his humanity in order to learn the magic necessary to stop Darhk. To make sure that didn’t happen, she insisted on joining him. Together, they find Esrin Fortuna (Gabriella Wright). She introduces herself as an immortal shaman, someone more powerful than Darhk but who operates under a strict policy of not interfering with the world of men. She explains that there is a way to stop the villain’s magic, but it’s not something Oliver is capable of.
Darhk gets his power from fear and death, which means Oliver will have to channel the light within him to stop the villain and his plan. However, for a man as broken and damaged as Oliver Queen, focusing on the light isn’t easy. This proves problematic since Fortuna explains that if Oliver’s inner darkness doesn’t outweigh his light, he’ll only succeed in making Darhk more powerful.
While this is happening, Darhk arrives to find Andy alive and handcuffed to a pipe. They share a laugh and it’s revealed that they allowed John Diggle to escape. The real goal was to plant a tracker on him so that they could find where he’s hiding his wife and baby. Later that night, the family’s moving safe room on the back of a truck gets attacked by Andy and H.I.V.E. They’re unsuccessful in breaching the safe room until Darhk shows up and uses his magic to stop them. Diggle’s wife, Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), who is the leader of the government organization A.R.G.U.S., figures out that Darhk means to use her family against her to get access to government resources. Reluctantly, John agrees to leave her behind while he escapes with their baby.
Sadly, H.I.V.E. and Andy catch up, but Felicity arrives just in time to run them all over with her van. As Andy gets away, Diggle drops off his baby with his friend, who mentioned that The Green Arrow is rescuing his wife as they speak, and gives chase. He gets ahold of Andy and beats him to a pulp. However, the crazed soldier explains that the last time he was in jail he got out. He reminds him that the last time they captured Damien Darhk, he got out. He makes the mistake of telling John that he doesn’t have the guts to do what’s necessary to save his family and that he’ll continue to go after them unless he kills him. In a moment of weakness, John pulls the trigger, ending his brother’s life.
Meanwhile, Oliver rescues Lyla, who was in the middle of having an implant ripped from her skin by the villain. Darhk attempts to use his dark magic on The Green Arrow, but he uses his new trick and repels the attack for the first time ever. Realizing that the fight isn’t going his way, Darhk retreats with what he came for.
After some hugging and kind words for John, the team realizes that Darhk was after an implant in Lyla’s skin that gave him free access to an A.R.G.U.S. initiative known as Rubicon. She reveals that it’s a classified system that allows the person controlling it to prevent any nuke from being launched. Obviously, with the right tampering, it can be used to simultaneously launch any nuke in the world. That’s when Felicity asks the reasonable question of what Darhk plans to do with a destroyed planet Earth.
From there, the episode cuts to Thea (Willa Holland) who went on a getaway with her boyfriend Alex (Parker Young), but quickly discovered that things were a little weird. It turns out that Alex’s boss, who happens to be Darhk’s wife, suggested the trip. The episode ends as she runs through the picturesque town only to be chased by two H.I.V.E. soldiers into a hologram wall. Whatever Darhk has planned, it’s got something to do with a big virtual reality safe haven that Thea is now trapped in.