Man this was, as always, a packed episode of Arrow and, also as always, it was packed with both good and bad. Let’s unpack this one.
BUT BEFORE WE DO… SPOILERS ABOUND READ WITH CAUTION
Arrow has always had some humor but before this season it was a little more self-serious especially last season (which I think we can all agree was the weakest) and it seems like Season 4 is finding more and more room for humor. Maybe The Flash is rubbing off on its older sister show or maybe DC is learning that it can’t be up its own ass all the time. Regardless of which, it’s good to see quips, sarcasm, and even a little slapstick soften Arrow up a bit. I loved the glitter spewing wedding invite. Another great moment of levity came when Captain Lance thanked Diggle for the “needlepoint” after suturing his cuts in the Arrow Cave. (Arrow-cave? The Quiver?)
The action was on par with what Arrow usually brings to the table and we got a good bit of it to boot. Even though I don’t always buy that Laurel and Thea have had enough training to go toe to toe with the likes of Hive or the League of Assassins, I guess that’s part and parcel with a group highly trained Hive operatives not being able to gun down one lone guy in an open parking lot as he runs away and they’re all using fully automatic weapons. Maintaining a deep suspension of disbelief is basically table stakes for super hero shows so if I’ve committed this long why nitpick now? I’ll be very interested to see what type of battle wounds Laurel is sporting next episode as that nail gun seemed to do a number on her face. Also, the magnetic field generator gadget that Diggle used to repel the sledgehammer the second time he fought Sledge Hammer Guy was fantastic. Diggle needs more gadgets.
Speaking of Diggle, I think his costume is really growing on me. When I first saw promo pics of it, I thought it looked like Magneto’s and Boba Fett’s helmets had a baby and Diggle had an unhealthy obsession with black leather. I’m also really happy that Diggle, as well as Felicity, finally got codenames with Spartan and Overwatch (because Oracle was taken dontcha know). It always bugged me that both of their real names were clearly spoken aloud by the team while they were in the field. Seems like someone could have easily overheard that and put together who Arrow and crew really are.
A couple of continuous tracking shots stood out to me this episode – the shot of Damien Darhk and his wife, Ruve Adams walking down a hall, then down stairs, and then across a room as well as the shot of Laurel and Captain Lance have to escape the exploding, collapsing building. I don’t think we’ve seen long, complicated, one-take shots like that on Arrow before and if we have then they weren’t nearly as memorable as these, especially the shot in the exploding building.
One thing I’ve noticed about Arrow is that the writers like to use parallel storylines, one big storyline across the whole season or part of the season and one smaller story line that only lasts the episode at hand. This was on full display this week with the Oliver and his son, William, and with Captain Lance and Donna. We know that Oliver can’t tell anyone about his son because that was the ground rule Samantha Clayton laid out when Oliver found her and Oliver agrees to it because he knows that it will help keep William safe from Green Arrow’s enemies. That season long storyline is paralleled in this episode with Captain Lance feeling the need to lie about having gambling debts to Donna, his girlfriend/Felicity’s mother, in order to deliberately push her away to keep her safe from Damien Darhk. Donna immediately sees right through Lance’s lies and leaves but they later reconcile at Oliver and Felicity’s engagement party, where Lance tells her the truth. Donna forgives him and then all is well again. I want to believe that this is indicative of what will eventually happen with Oliver and Felicity but he has been living a much bigger lie. Also the fact that in the graveyard flash-forward scene, Felicity is no longer wearing a ring puts a bit of a damper on that hope.
I sense a Quiver in the Arrow-Cave…..
Now let’s talk about the completely unexpected, emotion bomb that got dropped in our laps at the engagement party. Curtis Holt gives Felicity a microchip as a present and as soon as Felicity, and the audience, question it Curtis makes us all tear up a bit. It’s not just a microchip but an “implantable biostimulant” designed to help Felicity walk again, maybe even in time to walk down the aisle. What the hell Arrow? I didn’t think I’d cry watching this but damn if you don’t know exactly how to pull a guy’s heart strings. I fully expected Felicity to walk again but not so soon and definitely not like that. Way to completely surprise us guys.
Side note: Oliver calling Curtis “terrific” gives me hope that we will actually see Curtis suit up as Mr. Terrific this season.
Yes, we all need this to happen! Get on it CW!
Like I said at the top, Arrow often has good and bad and now that we’ve covered the good…..
The flashback sequences….. I’m kind of over them. I understand that that is the format for the show but the flashback stories truly peaked in Season 2 with Slade Wilson/Deathstroke. This season’s flashback storyline has been better than Season 3 but I still feel like it’s just kind of there. Sometimes the writers use that to give us back story on present day plots, like Andy’s history in the military, or introduces us new characters that show up in present day, like Constantine, but overall the flashbacks have become the weakest part of the show. I wonder if they will do away with them after Season 5 since that’s how long Oliver was supposedly on the island, even though he was off it for most of Season 3.
WildeBeard’s Rating: FULL BEARD WITH BALD SPOT – When a guy has nice, thick, full beard but there’s that one spot that just won’t fill in.
P.S. – VIXEN LOOKS AWESOME IN THE TRAILER FOR NEXT WEEK!