TV Recap: Arrow: “Blood Debts”

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Blood Debts Plot Summary:

In the wake of Felicity’s (Emily Bett Rickards) near-fatal injury, Oliver (Stephen Amell) is determined to punish Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) for his hand in the shooting. However, as he becomes increasingly determined to exact revenge, he begins to forget all the progress he’s made in the last 4 years.

I hate to say I told you so, but…oh who am I kidding? I am bursting with a smug sense of vindication. Despite how hard the promos tried to convince us that Felicity was the one in the grave, the show was surprisingly quick to prove otherwise. What it wasn’t quick to give us, however, was a big emotional moment between Oliver and Felicity over the news that she would never walk again. Showing Oliver so obsessed with punishing Darhk that he compromised his morals was a brilliant way to express his guilt, but his decision not to see Felicity was even better. Sometime during the first season, his relationship with Felicity became the bellwether for Oliver’s progress as a hero and keeping them apart emphasized just how much he was reverting back to the Ollie we first met. Instead of the soft-voiced, tender man we’ve seen most of this season, he was the rough-voiced violent man he was when he first donned the Hood.

By far his lowest point was breaking Anarky (Alexander Calvert) out of police custody so he could stick a tracker on him and follow him to Darhk’s house. He hasn’t been that stupid in at least two seasons and that move was enough for Team Arrow to demand he go see Felicity and recalibrate his moral compass.

This was an all around great episode of Arrow, but its best moments were those between Oliver and Felicity. Stephen Amell may be the show’s star, but Emily Bett Rickards frequently gives him a run for his money. It was stunning to watch her–in the course of one scene–take Felicity from chastising Oliver with her usual self-assurance and wit to tearfully expressing her fear that Oliver’s recent absence meant the diagnosis had changed his feelings toward her. To his credit, Amell matched her beat for beat, conveying Oliver’s love for Felicity through his devotion to helping her adjust to this new status quo. It was an incredible bit of acting from both parties. However, the best thing about those scenes was how starkly they contrasted with the final scene of the episode.

Just in case any viewers thought Felicity might survive this ordeal just to die another day, the flashforward put those worries to rest. However, it also revealed that Oliver and Felicity were no longer the happy, communicative couple we saw the rest of the episode. They wouldn’t even look at each other! I have a lot of theories about the reason for the cooling between them (most of them have to do with the Lost Queen Child) and I can’t wait to see that storyline play out. Listen, I love some Olicity, but if Amell and Rickards handle the destruction of that relationship as well as they did the affection in this episode, I’m even more excited about this season than before.

Arrow Death Watch

William Clayton aka The Lost Queen Child: 10%
I still think this would be the most devastating death for Oliver, but the new flashforward gives me doubt. I just don’t think Felicity would be that upset about William’s death. She’s certainly empathetic enough to be upset by the death of any child, but her anger had a distinctly personal flavor and even if she met and accepted the kid tomorrow, it’s still a bit of a stretch she’d be calling for blood in 4 short months

Thea Queen (Willa Holland): 40%
Though she was my #1 pick going into the hiatus, this episode shook things up. At this point, she’s still the only means of defeating Darhk Team Arrow has and I doubt that will change. She’s still a good pick for Oliver emotionally, but it seems unlikely that he would be asking Felicity if she were OK if his sister had died.

Roy Harper (Colton Haynes): 20%
Wishful thinking, but a good choice that would be appropriate in terms of Felicity and Oliver’s grief level. I still believe he should have died last year and I’d get a kick out of it if the show brought him back just to kill him off again.

John Diggle (David Ramsey): 70%
Without question, he would be the most devastating loss for both Oliver and Felicity. He’s been a part of the team since the beginning and his death alone would be enough to permanently damage their relationship.

Low-angle shots of Emily Bett Rickards’s butt in tight dresses: 100%
You think I’m joking, but I submit this as evidence and dare you to fight me.

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.