This was, quite simply put, the best episode of Arrow since some of the very earliest. Not only because of the Oliver and Laurel hook-up (which we will be discussing, unusually enough for us, on a broader and deeper level than just as hardcore ‘shippers), but also because of the great writing and storytelling, the in-depth plot development, the fact that things are finally coming to a head, and some truly spectacular Ocean’s Eleven style breaking and entering.
That plot, first of all. This week went beyond mere crossing of names off lists, or reactive crime fighting. This wasn’t a criminal-of-the-week, single-episode-conclusion kind of episode. This was the beginning of the culmination of seven months of mysterious hints and allusions. This was the Undertaking laid bare. This was all the detail we could possibly want. Finally. We know the ins and outs of the Undertaking, now, and are finally beginning to conjure a mental image of what it could look like. Next week’s season finale should let us know whether we were right, but for now all we can do is speculate.
The device created by Unidac (and turned into a weapon by Queen Consolidated’s applied sciences division) is a seismic manipulator which can create earthquakes. Malcolm’s plan is to cause an earthquake that will level the Glades. We now have a vision of Oliver unable to evacuate the Glades in time. Unable to even get to the Glades. When the quakes start, it will be Roy who does everything possible to save the day, earning Ollie’s attention and, perhaps, that sidekick role next season. But, as we say, this is pure speculation.
The episode also, perhaps, alluded to some of what we can expect in terms of villains next season. Assuming that Oliver does take down Malcolm Merlyn – presumably causing Tommy to turn on him, if he hasn’t already (Tommy’s accidental voyeurism may have created some animosity) – next season should see Oliver facing the shadowy figure we glimpsed in island flashbacks. The truth about the island was finally laid bare this week as well. Fyres is there under the employ of a woman with fantastic legs, attempting to cut China off from the rest of the world and force them into financial collapse. Jao Fei is to take the blame for this and, after delivering his scripted confession, is shot unceremoniously in the head. It remains to be seen what will happen to Shado and Slade now that they are no longer needed. But what is becoming clear is that the woman attached to those legs is likely to feature heavily next season. We’re just not sure in what guise.
It is this, and Tommy’s enmity, we have in mind when we talk about delving deeper into the Laurel and Oliver storyline. Yes, on the surface it’s very much a ‘FINALLY’ moment for ‘shippers everywhere. It does feel a little premature – most shows like to drag these things out for several seasons before succumbing to the tension (notable exception, Nashville. Twice.) – but we can see the point of it, too. This isn’t supposed to be the ‘finally!’ release we were all hoping for. This is the ‘bittersweet memory of when things were right’ thing that’s going to plague us next season. The only reason Oliver finally gave in to himself is because he envisaged a future in which he would not be the Hood. He saw that coming soon. Within days. Weeks at the most.
We can tell already that he was wrong. It wouldn’t take a genius to see it. Even if he succeeds in stopping the Undertaking, he won’t stop crime. And that lady with the fantastic legs is waiting out there, somewhere, to keep him busy next season. After one happy night, he’s going to have to cut Laurel off. It’s going to destroy him. But it should also drive him over the coming year. He’s now been reminded what exactly it is that he’s been missing. He’ll be trying harder than ever to get back to it.
Or we could be completely wrong, and we might be in store for a season of Oliver lying to his girlfriend and putting her in danger. Perhaps Laurel may even embrace her DC Comics alter-ego, Black Canary. Unlikely, yes, but anything’s possible.
As we finish this episode, with the exception of Ollie, Laurel, Dig and Felicity, the characters are finding themselves cut off and drifting. They are all, to one degree or another, alone. Moira has lost the trust of her son and soon-to-be-ex-husband. Thea has lost her boyfriend and her stepfather. Tommy has lost everyone. We’re confident that most of these rifts will be repaired, if not in next week’s finale then very early on in Season 2.
There is one rift, however, that we anticipate won’t be repaired – Tommy and Oliver. Obviously, the show’s main character won’t die, so now that Malcolm knows Oliver is the Hood it’s only a matter of time before he is dead and before Tommy blames Oliver. Either Tommy has to pull the trigger himself to save Oliver, or Oliver will pull the trigger to save the Glades. Either way, Tommy is unlikely to forgive Oliver. What happens after that is what will truly be interesting. Last week we spoke about our vision of Tommy rising up to take his father’s place. Are we about to witness a Lex Luthor-esque rise to power? Or a Harry Osborn-esque one? We should get some indication next week. If that episode is going to be anywhere near as good as tonight’s episode, we’re excited already. – K
“Hey, Felicity. Hold on to me, tight.”
“I imagined you saying that under different circumstances… Very plutonic circumstances.” – Oliver, Felicity