NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulled Apart, Brick by Brick

Where do I even begin? There’s the remains of Team Arrow (or whatever it may become without the Arrow to guide them — oh, haha, get it?); the future of both the A.T.O.M. and the Canary; Malcolm, Thea, and everyone’s inability to disclose important deaths; the whitewashing of Brick; and of course: the revival! I think I’ll just go in that approximate order, and throw some flashback plot in there too (sorry, for now, they’re not my favorite thing).

We start with a car chase.

“This bike is sick!” “You’re not supposed to be having fun right now.” “Sorry.” “Sorry is what you will be when Oliver finds out you took out his motorcycle.”

Team Arrow is three days out from Oliver’s departure and they’re just going through the motions: Felicity at the keys, Roy in his suit, and Diggle stepping into the Arrow suit. Diggle doesn’t exactly impress with the arrows, but manages to tag a perp anyway.

“This suit is too tight.” Is it though, John? A lot of your fans will say it’s just right.

They’re keeping the machine running until Oliver gets back. Even Laurel steps into her day job role, busting the perp Diggle and Roy caught the night before. But the team is on edge. Oliver isn’t back and while Felicity is using every inch of the world wide web to find him, Diggle is saying the sensible thing (as he is wont to do): Oliver might not be returning.

“You have that look you always get before you tell Oliver something… sagely.”

Felicity stews in her denial and heads to work. Well, her other work. (Really, has she even slept in three days? She goes from one place to the other seamlessly this entire episode.)

At QueenPalmerConsolidatedTechnologies, Ray is testing pieces of the A.T.O.M. suit. Very Iron Man, actually. He needs Felicity’s help with a piece of tech (who doesn’t?), but she’s not really feeling it. Since Oliver’s gone missing, she’s trying to hold the pieces of Team Arrow together and she doesn’t think she can do it for another hero who wants to put his life on the line. Here’s the thing about Ray Palmer. I think they’re testing him for his own A.T.O.M show. Which would be great, because then he’d be out of Starling City and will stop wooing Felicity. And Brandon Routh could probably pull it off.

But aside from his intrusion into the OTP, I still don’t like his character. Of course, this is important for character development should a show ever be developed, but the way he treats Felicity is just a vigorous NO in my opinion. When Felicity returns later, clearly upset, he snaps at her. “I can see that you’re upset and we can talk about it if you want, but NEVER tell me again what Anna would have wanted. You don’t get to do that.” Yes, yell at the girl crying at her desk, thinking about keeping YOU alive. I know he’s still grieving, but it bothers me that he can’t see that Felicity is grieving too, especially if he has burgeoning feelings for her.

Ugh, I’ll stop there with my “Anti-Ray Palmer” sentiments for the week. I think he could carry a show, but he needs to get less stalkery and more sensitive to everyone else’s emotions before I’ll root for him. (I suppose he’ll just be one of those geniuses who has terrible social skills that’s pervading television these days.)

But speaking of grief (I just needed a transition, okay?), the scene where Malcolm brings Team Arrow the sword… oof, my poor heart!

Felicity skips straight into the second stage of grief: anger. “This is your fault.” I loved seeing this rage from her, I wish she’d slapped the lying tongue right out of Malcolm’s mouth. “You’re right. I will carry that guilt for the rest of my days. I am truly sorry.” Oh please. You don’t even bother to tell Thea that her brother is dead. All for your selfish interests. “His death means my own.” “Good.” THE RAGE OF FELICITY SMOAK Y’ALL! Malcolm scurries off to run and hide from the League (dragging Thea along with him), but our team is stunned into silence.

The composition of that scene while they wait for the computers to confirm the truth — beautiful. The silence, the three of them in different parts of the lair: Felicity by the computers, but with her back turned. Diggle by the second computer bank, closest to the door. Roy by the suits, ready to jump in his, I suppose. Each in their place contemplating how long they might be needed there.

Felicity heads to work anyway, where she gets yelled at by Ray and makes her decision: she can’t do this anymore. It seems so long ago that Sara died, but it’s only been three months in Arrow time and Felicity was barely holding on from that. For it to be Oliver this time… It’s no wonder that when Diggle decides to soldier on (oh, that was an accident I promise) and goes after Brick anyway, and Felicity sees that they’re in danger they might not get out of, she lets Brick get away. She can’t lose her two remaining friends. Felicity really only has Team Arrow and Ray. And they’re all hellbent on getting themselves killed. It’s no wonder she’s had enough.

“If we’re going to do this without Oliver, we’re going to have to trust each other.”

“You don’t get it. There is no this without him. It’s done. I’m done.”

Felicity quits and storms out of the lair. (But not before turning off the lights with Diggle and Roy still in the lair. It’s not funny, but it really is that she’d shut the lights out on them like that.)

If I thought my heart was broken by Felicity (oh and it was, into teeny tiny pieces), the remains were stomped on by Diggle. He spent the entire episode being practical, sensible, the one who doesn’t shy away from what’s probably true, all while trying to remain hopeful nonetheless. But when what he sensed was confirmed, I don’t think he was expecting to have to hold Felicity together too, and that weighs on him.

Diggle suppressing his grief to deal with the others (a bit like Oliver did when Sara died), wanting to keep the machine going — for Oliver’s sake? Just to have something to do to distract from the grief? Laurel finally asks him how he’s doing and he admits that he feels like he’s failed.

“I still like to think of myself as Oliver’s bodyguard. I just couldn’t protect him.”

Aaannd there goes Diggle’s boots stomping on my already fractured heart. I’m glad Laurel gave him that hug, because I wanted to give him a hug too.

With Felicity shutting down Team Arrow’s operations, Laurel is aching to fill in the void. She spots Sara’s effects and puts them on, taking out a minion on her first try, but she does realize that Oliver could barely do what he did 1.) because he died and 2.) without Felicity. The whole Team Arrow operations runs like it does because of Felicity, she gave them a better way to focus and the tools with which to do it efficiently and away from the cops.

Pre-Felicity Team Arrow had Oliver shot by his mother and beaten to a pulp by The Dark Archer. Laurel going out there alone will only heed bad results. And even if she teams up with Roy, he’s the weakest link to Team Arrow! The support! I hope he can step it up for her, because she certainly isn’t ready for what being a vigilante entails. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Quentin finds out about Sara because he spots Laurel in the Canary suit.

Don’t mistake this for Laurel-hate, though. I am capable of it, certainly, but I think I am ready for her arrogance and her rage to be put into their place and repackaged the way Oliver’s was. I am ready for her character development. She’s still one of my least favorite characters, but seeing her in the Canary suit interested me more than most of the flashback scenes (except the one that told us about Maseo’s promise to Oliver). Sorry flashbacks! Those two aspects of the show are often “check twitter” moments. We do need breathers from all the action, right?

Let’s talk briefly about Brick. I don’t know much about the comics, but it seems once again, Arrow has whitewashed another character of color.

As we’ve discussed before in the Arrow recaps/comments, it’s a debate whether or not sticking to the comics when casting a villain of color is a good thing or not — as to not perpetuate negative stereotypes. Especially when there are “good” characters who have also been whitewashed (Sin, Baby Mama Drama to name a couple). If the show is going to continue to whitewash these characters (good or evil), I need some efforts in the other direction — racebending or more awesome original characters like Diggle. (Also, more love and storylines and a mask for Diggle — since so many people are being whitewashed, he’s basically the only black guy in Starling City, you’d think they’d have figured out he works for Oliver and the Arrow by now.)

The awesome choices made by The Flash production team (which is the same as the Arrow production team for the most part) with regard to Iris and Joe, as well as Central City having a nice amount of PoCs in background and brief supporting roles need to transfer over to Starling City. Anyway, with no one to stop him, Brick is here to stay — or will he run into the Canary or the ATOM?

In the flashbacks, Oliver (hey Stephen! I guess you still get to act this week!) and Maseo pow-wow with Waller with regard to the Omega project and the need for the other half, Alpha (I totally didn’t spot that coming #sarcasm) before China gets it. Maseo and Oliver go after the Alpha bit, and when Ollie drops a tracker in a henchman’s pocket, leading back to China and Tatsu, Maseo shows his appreciation by vowing to be in his debt forever. A debt that we see repaid.

It was fan theory that Maseo would save Oliver, but a lot of us thought that maybe he would receive help from Nyssa (given freely because she knows he did not kill Sara). I definitely wasn’t expecting Tatsu! We know that she and her son were taken by China White and it seemed that Maseo never reconnected with them and that is why he joined the League of Assassins. Instead, we see a somewhat strained relationship between the couple, Maseo asking for a “favor” as he drags Oliver’s cold (and somehow alive?) body through the mountains. Tatsu does… something… (Someone called out Asian Mysticism on twitter and they’re not wrong here — Tatsu hasn’t really shown any magical powers besides just teaching Oliver how to meditate and focus.)

However she managed it, Oliver AWAKENS! As Stephen Amell himself tweeted

HE’S ALIVE! I’m glad they brought Oliver back at the end of this episode, rather than making us wait til the next to see if he lives. Because we know he lives. His name is on the show. It’s more important to find out how he survived, how he will get back, will he want to go back? What will his mindset be? There are a lot of questions to consider. I just believe that he won’t be back for a while. Team Arrow needs to come to terms with their grief and their place in an Arrow-less world before Oliver can return and take his place as king — I mean hero of Starling City.

But as I say that, this is very Lion King. Tatsu and Maseo aren’t exactly Timon and Pumbaa, but Simba did leave Nala (Felicity) grieving, his kingdom (city) in lesser hands, and had a father complex hanging over his head. Will Oliver need a Rafiki to knock some sense to him and force him back to Starling? I’ll stop with the analogy now — but let it all simmer…

Oliver is Simba, Robert = Mufasa, Scar is totally Malcolm, Felicity is Nala, I think Diggle has to be Zazu. Who is Oliver’s Rafiki? Tastu and Maseo aren’t exactly Timon and Pumbaa, but just go with it.

This week’s episode had lots of great moments as our characters dealt with their grief. I was glad to see Laurel and Felicity share a moment (can they share more, please? Maybe pass the Bechdel test a little bit?) as well as Laurel and Diggle, who’ve barely had a scene together ever. The team will need to come together even more in order to fill the hole Oliver has left in all of their hearts.

Side Notes and Quotes

  • An interesting note about Amanda and Diggle: In the beginning of the episode, we see Amanda refuse to help Maseo get Tatsu back, stating “I am not ignoring you. I’m merely focusing on the task at hand. Which at the moment is not recovering your wife.” This reminded me of Diggle towards the end, where instead of focusing on his grief for Oliver, he focuses on the task at hand — Brick and his henchmen. Is this an army/ARGUS mentality? Will we see other similarities between Diggle and Waller? I can’t imagine Diggle would ever go as far as Amanda, but I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between two characters who’ve worked in the same field.
  • The characters on this show really need to learn that of all the secrets to keep for whatever reasons, the one you should NOT keep is telling a person someone they loved died. Will Thea ever even find out that Oliver died? Will this be the trigger for her to learn he’s the Arrow? Seems like Roy wants to tell her now that there’s no real point in keeping the secret, but will he do it? She ran away to overcome being lied to, but she returns to even more lies and secrecy, all while refusing to tell her own secrets.
  • “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that Oliver was dead. He’s been back before, he’ll be back again.” As I said earlier, I enjoyed the look between Laurel and Felicity. It kind of acknowledges that Laurel knows how Felicity feels and she respects it. Of course, now’s not the time for fighting over him, but she still gave Felicity comfort. It also explains Laurel’s later lack of emotion when Diggle told her Malcolm confirmed Oliver was dead. I think she still refuses to believe it. And her emotions are focused on all things Canary.

Final note: While I really enjoyed the emotional moments of this episode with regard to grief, I can NOT WAIT for Oliver to return and see those emotions in reverse from all the characters. Hugs and and crying and smiles and maybe kisses? I wish for a Team Arrow dinner where everyone is invited and we get to see it. Please pretty please can I get that?

7 thoughts on “NOC Recaps Arrow: Pulled Apart, Brick by Brick

  1. Love your recaps as always! They make me laugh (through my tears).
    Between Emily Bett Rickards and David Ramsey my heart was so sore. Felicity’s hope and grief were entirely believable and subtle and powerful. And she who turned on the lights in ep 2×01 turned them off in this ep after going through the ringer and taking me with her.
    I love that she stood up to Merlyn! The man can never be trusted and has been the reason behind so many deaths (except for Moira all the big character death moments have been the result of one Malcolm Merlyn.) Then Felicity says she’s only 25 and has reached her quota of friends dying. Yikes! Add in the years she felt responsible for Cooper’s death and that is a lot for such a young lady.

    You could tell Dig has a bit more experience with loss and leadership. And he raised a good point when he said closing them off from the escaping Brick crew was not her call- whose call is it going to be now they don’t have Oliver? Felicity might have been right, maybe not, but I look forward to the team figuring out how to operate in future. But when John said “I just couldn’t save him” I broke into tears. (And he was the one who did most of the problem solving this episode. He gathered the evidence and figured out what it meant. And took the smart headshot even though that didn’t work. Dig was on fire in his action, his leadership and his heart yet again.)

    And thanks for continuing to pointing out the issues the show has with casting. All the big bads have been white males (although there is the recurring and in charge China White) while lower level crime has had more variety (problematic in its own way). Katana is mystical in the comics and that of course brings its own issues. We do have the difficult to categorize Amanda Waller but there are issues there too. Stuff this show has to figure out!

    1. “And she who turned on the lights in ep 2×01 turned them off in this ep after going through the ringer and taking me with her.” OMG YES YOU’RE SO RIGHT. That parallel! I didn’t even think about that!

      Yeah, I’m also 25, so mainly Felicity had me evaluating how little I’ve done in my life, while reminding me that if she graduated in 09, she graduated 2 years early (not a surprise, but still — I need to step my game up and be more like Felicity Smoak)

      “You could tell Dig has a bit more experience with loss and leadership.” Hmm yes, definitely. He’s used to losing soldiers and moving on. So he was in his element, with all the heartache and pain that entails.

      I also can’t wait to see how the team comes back together. Will it be before Oliver returns or will they only fall farther apart before his return to Starling City. Can’t wait to dive into this middle chunk of the season!

      1. Felicity makes you feel like an underachiever huh? (I think Jenn said something like that too.) Her being 25 just makes me feel old. 🙂

        Apparently , Guggenheim confirmed that she graduated from MIT at 19 which would mean she started university at 15 or 16. (And she got a masters degree in as well after that) She is well known enough in her field that both Dr Wells and Ray Palmer immediately knew who she was. It’s stated a lot that she is a genius but sometimes we forget that I think. She is Big Bang Theory level of genius (not that that show presents genius well all the time). And she also happens to rock very cute dresses and I would love to steal her shoes 🙂

        Does anyone know how old Barry, Caitlin and Cisco are?

      2. Good question about Team Flash, I assume they have similar credentials for their young ages. Grant Gustin just turned 25 in real life and I can see Barry being around the same age. Superheroes can’t survive without supergeniuses!

Comments are closed.