Warning Contains Spoilers
I didn’t hate this week’s episode of Arrow. It wasn’t an hour of genius television, but it wasn’t boring either. It actually went somewhere and had something to say. I even found myself yelling “FINALLY!” at the screen a few times.
At the end of last week’s episode we discover that William, Oliver’s son, had been kidnapped. This episode wasted no time and jumped right into the action, with Damien Darhk confronting Oliver and Felicity in a parking garage and revealing that he had William. In order to have him back, Oliver has to drop out of his mayoral campaign. Of course, this forced Oliver to tell Felicity that he has a son. This was the first “Finally!” I yelled at the screen. It was about time the whole William and Samantha story came to light. Ever since the Flash/Arrow crossover episode they have been setting up for this moment, with Captain Lance talking about how you shouldn’t keep secrets from loved ones, Felicity meeting her dad and trying to have a relationship, and characters commenting on how great Felicity and Oliver’s relationship is because of their openness. That was over seven episodes, though, and entirely too drawn out. Although other shows (and even season’s of this show) have taken longer for reveals, the difference here is that the fallout is going to be way more interesting than the rising action, which was the opposite of interesting.
The look on Felicity’s face, when she found out, broke my heart. Poor Felicity– the beginning of the episode had her trying (and failing) to walk after being implanted with Curtis’s bio stimulant, and now she finds out her fiancé, who everyone has been saying is so solid because of his honesty, has been keeping the biggest secret. Since child was in danger, she didn’t have time to really deal with her pain, but instead just kept going until the situation was resolved. There was that incredible strength from Felicity that I love, but I was waiting for the blow up, with my popcorn at the ready.
Laurel Lance (who often rarely gets to show her emotional range on the show) got to show her feelings this episode. If you’ve forgotten who she is, she was dating Oliver when he had the one night stand with Samantha. Samantha, upon entering Team Arrow headquarters, apologized to Laurel for sleeping with Oliver, and that she should’ve told her about it. Laurel jumps in, with saying Oliver should have told her, instead. BAM! There was the second “Finally!” I yelled. Thank you, Laurel, for shutting down Oliver and making it known to everyone that he is awful! She had the right to be upset– not only did he cheat on her with her sister, but he also got another girl pregnant while they were dating. This set up for a sweet moment with her father about how Oliver was a jerk.
One of the best parts of the episode was the introduction of Mari McCabe, aka Vixen. Well it’s not really an introduction, because she has her own animated show on The CW Seed, but she has never been mentioned before on Arrow until now. She was so bad-ass and she knew it–because she called herself that. She has a magic totem necklace that helps her call upon the powers of animals. It wasn’t too clear how that all worked, or how Oliver knew her, since I haven’t watched any Vixen. It didn’t matter too much because she was so like-able and a helpful addition to Team Arrow.
She was called upon to help defeat Damien Darhk. His magic is so powerful that the team has had a resounding lack of success in the past. Diggle suggested Constantine first, and I almost let out a “Finally” but then Oliver had the throw away line “he’s in hell”. (One day, Constantine, One day.) Since Darhk’s magic is derived from a totem, Vixen was the most helpful solution.
Little did Oliver know that her upbringing was going to be the most helpful to him. It was an interesting and refreshing dynamic to have another person be there to give advice to Oliver along with Diggle. Vixen offered a new perspective on the William situation to Oliver. She grew up in foster care and realized when she was older that her parents did the right thing letting her have a childhood, instead of raising her around their messes and danger. Diggle offered the other side, which was to be in William’s life as much as possible because that’s what works with his daughter. It gave Oliver enough information to make the best decision, which was to send Samantha and William away. He made this decision– a big life decision– without including Felicity at all.
The Felicity and Oliver’s relationship has survived a lot over 15 episodes. So I was kind of convinced, although not happy about it, that it would be able to overcome this deceit and betrayal. I was mistaken and thankful that I was. Sure Felicity was strong and helpful throughout the William crisis, with a few snarky and annoyed comments here and there, so I bet Oliver thought everything was going to be fine. But, instead, Felicity rolled up to Oliver, put her engagement ring on the table, and dropped some truth bombs. She said marriage is about inclusion and she doesn’t think Oliver knows how to lean on her. This was the third “Finally!”– the finally I have been waiting for since they drove off into the sunset at the end of last season. To make the moment even more dramatic, Felicity stands up and walks out of the loft without saying another word or looking back. I think that deserves a slow clap.
I haven’t been this jazzed after an Arrow episode in quite some time. The fall out over Oliver’s lies is already going somewhere. I’m not even mad that Oliver quit the mayoral race making that plot line an extreme waste of time. Remember the flash forward where Oliver and Barry are sad at a gravesite, well my theory was William was in there. Samantha and William were sent away so my theory can’t be true. I’m not even mad that whole plot is still a mystery.
I can forgive all of that for now, because this episode had some amazingly strong moments for it’s female characters, something Arrow has struggled with in the past. Every female had moments of strength and power; Thea even had hers as she yelled at Malcolm for lying to her. The women carried this episode on their own and it should shut down all the haters that say women can’t do that.
I am a little mad we have to wait an entire month to find out what happens after Felicity took a stand and walked out of Oliver’s life. It was such a defining moment for her character. I am excited to watch Arrow again. I just hope it doesn’t disappoint. Oh the roller coaster you put us on, Arrow!
Don’t miss Arrow when it returns Wednesday, March 23rd!