TV Recap: Arrow, ‘Draw Back Your Bow’

Written by Marisa Carpico

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‘Draw Back Your Bow Plot:’

When the police find a dead body dressed to look like the Arrow, Oliver (Stephen Amell) learns that he has a fan—a woman calling herself Cupid (Amy Gumenick) who is convinced they are meant to be together. Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) invites Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to a work dinner and Oliver grows jealous.

I have to be honest with you, dear readers, I was not looking forward to this week’s episode. The “I’m Cupid, stupid” line at the end of last week’s mediocre preview made me roll my eyes so hard I almost pulled a muscle. However, “Draw Back Your Bow” (OK, that’s clever) was a surprisingly meaty character episode and Cupid herself was actually kind of fun.

Arrow doesn’t often go baroque with its villains (Seth Gabel’s original Count Vertigo is the only non-gritty example in the rogues gallery) but this slightly unhinged fangirl character was a nice contrast to the dour mood the show is usually in. Especially since she didn’t just end up being a villain of the week, but a force for Oliver to realize what an idiot he’s been when it comes to his relationship with Felicity. Sure all that stuff with Cupid’s former therapist about fixating on one person and being honest about your feelings was pretty heavy-handed, but this show has never been good at subtlety. In fact, this episode was an all-out offensive on Oliver’s emotional stuntedness. Even Diggle (David Ramsey) got in on the action, trying to act as the voice of reason for both Oliver and Felicity.

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Ray has been creepily semi-stalking Felicity this whole season and this relationship has always very obviously been a road block to Oliver and Felicity’s eventual coupling. While Routh and Rickards have nice chemistry, I’m not sure the show has done enough to convince us that there’s any heat between them. Before this episode, Ray was little more than Felicity’s persistent boss who she dismissed as quickly as possible every time they were in a scene together. Inside jokes, salmon ladders and $10 million necklaces go a long, LONG way toward laying the groundwork, but we haven’t seen anything that justified Felicity’s heartfelt speech at their business dinner. How does she even know that about him? Outside of press conferences and that sales pitch in the premiere, we’ve never seen them talk about work in a scene that wasn’t played for laughs and Ray seems more like a charming huckster so far than an earnest do-gooder.

The fact is, much like Cupid’s role as a villain, Ray is only a compelling suitor for Felicity because of the way he challenges Oliver’s thinking. Ray is living the life Oliver won’t allow himself to live. Running QC (now Palmer Industries), dating Felicity, and probably soon to become or already secretly a vigilante—he is the heroic playboy par excellence. Oliver, God bless him, is too busy taking out his anger on defenseless objects that Roy (Colton Haynes) clearly spent hours on already.

Still, as far as he came emotionally this episode, he’s still got a long way to go. When Diggle confronted Oliver about his obvious agitation over Felicity’s dinner with Ray, he replied that he and Felicity had both made the decision not to be together. Now, either those two had a conversation offscreen or Oliver’s power of denial is so strong that he can just straight up rewrite history. He was the one who decided they couldn’t be together. Felicity decided she wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life sexually frustrated on the off chance he would take a chance on them some day.

Despite her best efforts, Felicity’s sexual frustration is going to continue. After Ray kissed her just long enough for Oliver to see (pardon me while I hurl things around my apartment), he cut the moment short and ran off muttering something about keeping things platonic. I’m sorry to be crass, but somebody needs to get on that girl already. She must be ready to spontaneously combust from sexual need by this point. Felicity, girl, if you’re reading this (you aren’t), then just know this is not about you. Your sexy dress game could literally not be any stronger. It’s just that you have a thing for dudes with savior complexes who have an inhuman ability to suppress their needs for the good of others. Maybe it’s time to switch things up. Hey, Nyssa’s available. And we know she’s got a thing for sassy blondes of a certain height. Best of all, she figured out the whole vigilante-personal life balance long ago so no worries there. I’m just saying you should think about it is all.

Rating: 7/10

Arrow airs every Wednesday night on The CW Network.

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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.