TV Recap: Arrow, ‘Broken Arrow’

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Broken Arrow Plot Summary

After Roy (Colton Haynes) turns himself in as the Arrow, Oliver (Stephen Amell) is forced to lay low to keep from incriminating himself. When a meta-human comes to town, he takes Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) advice and enlists Ray’s (Brandon Routh) help.

While The Flash and Arrow are typically about a lot of things (meta-humans, secrets, the nature of heroism, brooding), this week, they were unified under one theme: Felicity Smoak’s many superhero boyfriends.

On The Flash (which I’m only mentioning because of how prominently Felicity and Ray figured), Felicity returned to Central City with her big, goofy boyfriend in tow and still managed to have more chemistry with Barry (Grant Gustin) than Iris (Candice Patton). It’s a shame those two couldn’t find a way to date long term, they really complement each other. She’s his voice of reason, he’s her intellectual equal. But she prefers tall, muscular billionaires and Ray is the ideal compromise. As she put it, he’s like Barry in Oliver’s body —which is what the writers clearly intended, but hasn’t been true in practice. He lacks both Barry’s charm and Oliver’s muscle tone. Even so, Ray and Felicity (and Ray himself) have never been more enjoyable. His energy is just better suited (no pun intended) to The Flash and their connection really worked.

On Arrow, however, Ray and Felicity acted as if they hadn’t been blissfully in love literally the day before. Felicity’s failure to return Ray’s “I love you” made things awkward, but it was nowhere near as awkward as Oliver watching them work through it. His grumpy sexual frustration over having to work with the obnoxious boyfriend of the woman he loves was some of Amell’s funniest work to date. It was full rom-com stuff. He even looked almost straight into the camera Jim Halpert-style after Ray high-fived him. And then he remotely controlled Ray’s movements in a fight to save Felicity from the bad guy. I mean, honestly, have you ever seen a crazier love triangle metaphor? The audacity of this show. You have to admire it. For her part, Felicity handled the situation surprisingly well. Except for almost confessing her love to Oliver and later snuggling up to him right in front of Ray, she mostly kept her cool. She even avoided a typical verbal gaffe and demurred when Oliver asked if she worried as much about him in the field as she did Ray. Now that’s character development.

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While Felicity’s relationship drama was obviously the most important storyline, there were also other shocking twists this episode. The first was Roy faking his death and leaving Starling City forever. While I’m sure many fans are sad he won’t be a series regular anymore, I actually think the writers should have stuck to their guns and killed him off. Having him pop on Arrow, The Flash and the potential Ray-led spinoff (as the creators have suggested) won’t really do much for those shows. He’s not Felicity. He’s neither uniquely skilled nor a distinct personality. He’s just mini-Oliver with less range and height. As is, it feels like the writers are sacrificing major story potential because they’re holding out for Haynes to come crawling back if his career doesn’t take off.

First, they’re missing the chance to fundamentally alter the dynamic among the remaining members of Team Arrow. The idea that Oliver might not have been able to forgive Diggle (David Ramsey) and Felicity for not letting him save Roy was really intriguing — especially given his feelings for Felicity. Oliver is already in a bad place emotionally, that would have really challenged him. Moreover, given what happened to Thea, it doesn’t actually make sense for Roy to leave. Their romance has defined both characters and it’s frankly unbelievable that he would stay away considering Thea could use an emotional touchstone after resurrection via Lazarus Pit. Plus, joining the League easily would have kept him away from Starling City. Having him drive off into the sunset to live a new, happy life just doesn’t fit with the show’s tone. Still, at least this means he won’t distract from Thea’s storyline.

Thea has been a troubled character from the start. She’s spent most of the series as a pawn in Oliver and Roy’s emotional journeys. The writers have done a stellar job this season revamping her character and putting her in the Lazarus Pit is going to make her even more interesting. In the comics, a dip in its restorative waters usually makes the person go crazy for awhile. Judging by the promo for next week, that’s definitely the way Thea is headed. It’s going to do a lot for not just her, but Oliver and Malcolm (John Barrowman) too. It’s a brilliant move for a show that’s pushing all of its characters toward a really thrilling season finale. Nanda Parbat, here we come.

Rating: 6.5/10

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By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.
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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.