TV Recap: Arrow, “Broken Hearts”

arrow_season4_posterWhen Cupid (Amy Gumenick) returns to Star City and starts killing celebrity couples, a broken up Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) have a fake wedding in hopes of drawing her out. Meanwhile, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) struggles to find a reliable to witness to testify against Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) puts his career on the line in order to help.

I’ll be honest, dear readers. I walked into this episode very worried. Cupid has been responsible for some of this show’s worst episodes and I thought “Broken Hearts” would be the same. Thankfully, it bucked the trend.

Let’s start with the subject on everyone’s minds: Damien Darhk’s trial. OK, I know that’s not really what anyone wants to talk about, but let’s just put off the pain a bit longer, shall we?

Laurel did more lawyering in this one episode than in every other season combined. While I can’t speak to the actual legal work because I didn’t watch the episode with my Arrow Buddy (an actual lawyer), I know enough to say that it was dumb as hell. However, what made that storyline remotely interesting was what it means for the Lances.

Arrow is not always good about consequences, so it’s exciting to think that Quentin may actually lose his job for agreeing to work with Darhk earlier in the season. I’ve said this in Arrow Death Watch a number of times, but losing their man on the inside would complicate things for Team Arrow in a really fun way—that is if he survives the season. Darhk may not have made an outright threat to either Quentin or Laurel in this episode, but he’s clearly not going to let this betrayal go unpunished. The way he looked at Quentin—especially as Lance talked about how Darhk had threatened Laurel—was really unnerving. That look said in no uncertain terms that someone was going to pay.

But I’ll save my theories on that for later. Because you don’t care. You want to talk about Olicity. Well OK then.

Despite how absurdly comic book-y the set-up for this episode was, it packed an emotional punch. While Amell’s performance in the fake wedding vows was heart-breaking, it was Rickards’s subtle work throughout that was the most effective.

Felicity was trying so hard to bury her pain behind humor and detachment that it was frankly kind of awful to watch her interactions with Oliver. She was so awkward and bitter and often downright mean. Her cruel side is her worst look, but one that felt earned even if it was discomfiting. Still, it was shocking to hear this show’s most optimistic character say that she doesn’t even want to try to save her relationship with Oliver. And it was even more shocking to watch her cut ties completely.

Whatever this show has done to test the couple in the past, it has never dared to take Felicity off Team Arrow. The dynamic is too fundamental to what makes this show work. Multiple times last season, her decision to stay stretched the bounds of believability, but doing it now conveys just how much this break up means. Despite how much Felicity said she still loved Oliver throughout the episode, she also said repeatedly and with equal conviction that she wanted to move on. Much of this episode was about the importance and power of love, but it was also about how sometimes love isn’t enough. You can’t love someone you can never really know or trust. That’s the problem at the heart of Oliver and Felicity’s break up.

I can’t say I believe the damage between them is as unfixable as Felicity claims. They have six episodes to fall back in love and tie the knot. But Oliver has got to change between then and now not just for the good of his relationship, but the show. We have watched him keep secrets and lone wolf things for almost a full four seasons now and it has to stop. It’s exhausting. Oliver finally needs to learn what it means to be part of a team. If losing the most important person in his life doesn’t teach him to change, then nothing will. And in that case, he doesn’t deserve Felicity back.

Arrow Death Watch

Laurel Lance: 10%

Like I said above, the whole Damien Darhk court case thing had a really remarkable sense of foreboding. Still, I don’t genuinely think the show has the stones to kill Laurel. Which is why…

Quentin Lance: 80%

Someone has to pay for Darhk going to jail and a Lance is the most likely candidate. I still think this will ultimately be a cop-out, but oh well. At least this will give Laurel something interesting to do.

John Diggle (David Ramsey): 10%

This is still a remote possibility, but unlikely. The only reason he’s still in the mix is because he’s the only major character who hasn’t had a death fake-out this season.

Cupid: 0%

I wish.

Felicity’s trust in men: 100%

If Legends of Tomorrow hadn’t been renewed for a second season, I’d be looking very pointedly at Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) right now. But I will also accept Nyssa (Katrina Law). Or I guess more realistically, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).

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.