In the last episode which aired weeks ago, Felicity walked out on her own legs for the first time since being paralyzed and used her new implant to walk out of the lies Oliver told her and their relationship. While the wait seemed eternal we were quickly swept back to Star City and to the uncomfortable squirming necessary to continue the overall narrative in a meaningful way.
I broke it down so we could look at the devices and themes together.
So let’s get this monkey smoking…
*****************SPOILERS LIKE GOLDFISH IN THE PERRIER****************************
The SYNOPSIS from TVGuide.com
March 23, 2016
A heartbroken Cupid returns to Star City and begins killing couples on their wedding day, which prompts Oliver and Felicity to pose as bait.
What They Didn’t Tell You
In the first phases of the Damien Dahrk trial, Laurel is losing on every front – including having Diggle, Thea and Oliver all discredited in one fell swoop. The last thing that they need is for the one witness who can put him away to come forward because it is Detective Lance, who if admits culpability faces charges as well. But when left no other choice the Detective incriminates himself. This in turn results in the denial of dismissal and the grounds to move forward in the trial and leave Dahrk in jail. Dahrk has his ring. Lance hands in his weapon and his badge, pending investigation.
In the early goings of their breakup, Felicity and Oliver awkwardly bang through their continued teamwork as part of Team Arrow. While it is discovered that the pathological love theme villainess Cupid is stalking her new power couple villains it becomes clear to bust her Felicity and Oliver must make a sham wedding despite their separation. Felicity is against this and is talked into it by the team.
This prompts deep and long overdue statements of love and promises to Felicity. As things seem close to mending though Cupid, right on cue, drops into murder them and delivers the famous “love is death” speech. But it is Felicity who hales the laurels of love and breaks the cold heart of Cupid once again with her own account of her feelings for Oliver. After the ass kicking we all needed to see is finished, it is Felicity who walks away from the team as well as Oliver despite his best heartfelt plea. The team is broken.
In the flashbacks we see that the item Ryder wants is a soul collector of some sort and that Oliver and his companion are trapped in the tunnels below. When Ryder’s men come to collect them, Oliver and the prisoner overpower the men and take their weapons.
The themes of the season are dedication to the light when the darkness is comfortable, it is about embracing honest trust and denying lies of solitude despite motive. Yet in the earlier episodes we saw Oliver talk Barry into changing time, lying to Felicity and keeping his son a secret at the expense of both the child and his mother. We saw that despite the knowledge of what was right his choices were knowingly bad.
A person from the island is so deeply engrained in Oliver that his journey will hurt others along the way. While the viewers (and Felicity homers like me) will struggle with this decision it is absolutely right for the narrative and tone of the show.
The bread and butter of Arrow is consequences, or rather the real penalties of their actions. By breaking up Felicity and the team (no matter how temporary or permanent) these real consequences test the mettle of the new conviction of to the light. Also we have seen on this show over and over again that the best villains come from events like this. So whether that comes to fruition later or not it will linger in our minds as misdirection if not. It is a well thought wrap to a brilliant plotline.
Remember kiddies, the Green Arrow we know and love from comics to animation is in love with Laurel (Dinah) Lance the Black Canary. In order to get back to where that love left off the first thing that must go is Felicity Smoak. With Detective Lance laying on the chopping block we get a clearer glimpse of the gravestone foretold for episodes on end and the fact it is a military graveyard leaves the best guess in two places… Lance, or Diggle. If by the end of the season Lance is dead, Smoak is smoke (haha), Thea is with Malcom and Oliver alone – will he still be dedicated to the light? If so will it reboot the whole show to experiment on another template? No most likely the creatives will adhere to the template fiercely and still find a way to surprise and refresh. Kudos to the creative from catering to director.
Arrow can plod along sometimes or get its voice muddled once in a while. But season 4 has been better than all expectations despite hard to watch plot points for the deeply connected viewer. With episode 16 Arrow has once again adhere to the formula that established the template for the other shows in its arsenal. While the departure of Felicity Smoak from the team as a plot point (again no matter how temporary) is a blow to the audience moral it is a super glue pulling the narrative ever more cohesive in anticipation of the big finale in just a few short weeks.