Can’t believe I’m saying this considering how cringeworthy last week’s episode was, but “The Sin-Eater” was pretty enjoyable. Admittedly, that was thanks largely to the end of Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) relationship with Star City’s most unethical journalist, Susan Williams (Carly Pope).
To reiterate for hopefully the last time, Pope is very appealing in the role, but Susan has been poorly-written from the beginning and she proved that again here. What kind of experienced, allegedly well-regarded journalist confronts the subject of her explosive exposé with such little preparation? I get that she didn’t want to confirm that her boyfriend was living a secret life as a murderous vigilante, but have some professional integrity! It was incredibly frustrating—much like the rest of her tenure.
Honestly, the only saving grace in this whole debacle has been Thea’s (Willa Holland) constant antagonism toward Oliver’s relationship with Susan. The way she excitedly asked him about the problems in their relationship and admitted to gossiping about Susan to Oliver’s assistant was hysterical. She’s has had it out for her ever since Ms. Williams screwed her over in that interview, but Thea’s revenge was shockingly harsh.
That said, Oliver was kidding himself when he said he didn’t think Susan would actually publish that he was the Green Arrow. Her ethics may be questionable, but she’s not a total idiot. Instead, Thea intervened and in the best scene of the episode, enlisted Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to essentially ruin Susan’s career by discrediting her previous work. Sure it was probably too much, but also, realistically, probably the only way to keep Susan from outing Oliver.
Oliver, of course, was not pleased, but he eventually admitted that Thea made the right choice—albeit in a totally roundabout way that allowed him to avoid any guilt. I mean, honestly, how many times has Oliver made decisions for Thea that negatively impacted her life? What a hypocrite. Regardless, Oliver was right about Thea’s actions having shades of Moira (Susanna Thompson), but he was perhaps wrong to see that as a negative. The late Lady Macbeth Queen may have done a lot of morally questionable stuff, but you have to admire a woman who’s willing to do what’s necessary. After all, she is the only one of the three to successfully run the family business. Felicity couldn’t even do that.
Speaking of Miss Smoak, she played a curious part in this episode. Though planted the false information that got Susan fired, she also claimed she had no idea how Thea intended to use it. Considering Felicity is supposed to be the smartest person on the show, that’s pretty hard to believe. However, the writers probably finished this episode right before breaking for the holidays last year, so I’ll give them a pass. What’s really important about that choice, though, is that it conveniently removes any responsibility she has in Oliver’s break-up with Susan.
The show never tried very hard to convince us that Oliver and Felicity wouldn’t eventually start dating again. All they’ve done is limit their interactions to vigilante business for most of the season. So, it was telling and somewhat fascinating to see the way that ended the second Susan broke up with Oliver. I couldn’t even tell you the last time the characters spoke–let alone appeared in the same shot–and yet there they were, standing way too close as they argued just like the old days.
Moreover, the show itself seemed to apologize for this whole Susan thing when Oliver admitted to Thea that the relationship was always destined to end. Though I doubt Susan necessarily feels the same. I would be totally content if Miss Williams never showed her unethical face again, but I do kind of want a cutaway shot of her throwing a box of chocolates at her TV à la Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde once the public learns Oliver is the Green Arrow. Yes, I know that storyline seems to have morphed into something else entirely, but if that plot twist doesn’t happen by the end of the season then it will be the biggest disappointment since these awful Bratva flashbacks.