Arrow S05E20 “Underneath” Review

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Warning Contains Spoilers

I don’t know what to think about this week’s episode. This episode was almost completely Felicity and Oliver–even the flashbacks. I thought it was a cool concept: two people fighting for their lives in a bunker completely void of anything that runs on an electromagnetic pulse. I just wish it was literally any other pair! I know why it was them as they have trust issues. This was Arrow’s way of bringing them to a place where they can get back together later. Oliver is at his worst when he’s with Felicity and Felicity loses herself with Oliver. The show is so much stronger with them broken up. Luckily they didn’t actually get back together at the end of this episode, but it’s definitely in the future.

When Adrian Chase hits the bunker, the explosion causes anything running on an electromagnetic pulse to no longer work–including the chip in Felicity’s spine that lets her walk. Already that is really interesting. The bunker is completely run by electricity including the life support, so they have no way of contacting anyone and they don’t have that much air left. Not to mention Felicity is immobile; how are they going to get out of there? The stakes are pretty high and they are faced with many challenges, including a toxic gas leak.

It’s obvious that Oliver doesn’t trust Felicity. Almost every suggestion she has he ignores. My favorite part was when he thought he could climb up the elevator shaft and Felicity tells him that Chase definitely thought of that. Oliver thought he was better than Chase once again and what happens? Chase has a trap waiting for him and Oliver falls, impaling himself with a pole– he seriously has learned nothing from his experience with Chase. This whole experience stuck in the bunker was pretty eye opening for Oliver that he isn’t invincible and he isn’t alone; he has a team that cares about him and would go to any lengths to protect him! So if anything, that was the point of the episode.

This felt very much like a bottle episode (one that uses primarily already built sets and only main cast members). This episode took place almost entirely in the Arrow bunker and only used the main cast–mostly just Felicity and Oliver. The flashbacks even took place in the bunker. This makes me believe that maybe this episode was last minute because another fell through. It just seemed very out of place for where the season is headed.

The flashbacks were of a night Felicity and Oliver spent together eleven months prior. Curtis orchestrated the whole thing by having Oliver get Chinese food, mentioning where the wine is and leaving them alone in the bunker. Felicity mentions afterwards that this was a one time thing because Oliver doesn’t trust her. I think there are a lot more reasons they shouldn’t be together, but that’s a pretty big one– Oliver doesn’t trust anyone which hurts a lot of his relationships. This episode could have still worked without the flashback. We know Oliver has trust issues; we know he and Felicity have a history, we watched it. It seemed like filler, and out of place. I also am not a fan of “Olicity”, so I might be a little biased. We just are a little late in the season for romantic relationships.

Speaking of romantic relationships, Lyla and Diggle work everything out in this episode, which I’m happy about. Diggle has had too much loss in his life and he deserves all the happiness in the world. Lyla has a good point when she says that Diggle blindly follows Oliver into any immoral act, so why is it any different for her? I’m glad they didn’t drag this out; this is a superhero show I want to see action, not romantic problems.

With the help of the team, Felicity and Oliver are able to get out alive. Oliver is rushed to the hospital. Felicity visits him and blames her dark times on her boyfriend’s murder. I call shenanigans on that entirely being the reason she went rogue. Sure it probably was the driving incident because she wanted Chase to pay for killing Malone, but she had been underutilized and she felt it; she loved the freedom and power of working with Helix. Don’t sell yourself so short, Felicity! Oliver reveals to her that he liked killing and she chalked that up to a confession under duress. I don’t buy that either, but whatever helps her sleep at night. She tells him that he needs to figure out who he is and then he’ll be able to make sense of his life again. That is pretty good advice, and if Oliver is going to begin trusting anyone. it’s going to be Felicity.

At the end of the episode Adrian is talking to Oliver’s son, William, and we conclude that he kidnaps him. He wants to continue to tear Oliver apart and this is the next logical step. Oliver sent his son and his mother away to protect them from anyone that could hurt them, because he understands the nature of his work. Oliver even mentions to Felicity that he’s scared of his son’s safety since Adrian asked about him while Oliver was held hostage. This is the perfect way to get under Oliver’s skin and bring him out of hiding. I’m excited to see this all pan out.

We only have three episodes left of the season and it doesn’t seem like we’re on our way to a conclusion. Normally by this time the climax of the season has already begun to form. Maybe Adrian kidnapping William is the beginning of the end– or at least I hope so. There just seems to be too much to properly wrap up in just three episode, but we shall see. This was definitely a fun hour of television, it just wasn’t entirely needed for the overall arc of the season.

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