We’ve returned from Arrow hiatus to something very familiar. Remember how the cliffhanger had a lead of the show potentially dying in the 9th episode of the season and then they survived in episode 10? And episode 10 deals with the characters figuring out if they can cope without the not-dead character? Felicity’s absence is shorter lived than Oliver’s, but the stakes still feel as false as they did when Oliver “died.” 

I love how the show didn’t even pretend Felicity was dead (unlike every promo until this week). Well, they had that grave shot, but marked it very clearly as 4 months from now. Why would this bullet have killed her four months from now with a fresh grave? Anyway, I hope that’s the last midseason finale with a fake death, because I’m over it. On to episode 4×10, “Blood Debts.”

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(I don’t talk about Anarky himself all the much. I honestly just… didn’t care. Shrug.)

Green Arrow

Oliver, in his grief and despair, abandons Felicity’s side as she goes through multiple surgeries to go after the ghosts to find Damien Darhk. (He finds out they can’t fix her spine and he asks for her, yet he goes after Anarky first. He needs to find a better way to deal with his feels.) While the ghosts are suicidal when they get cornered, Oliver definitely helps them to their end. The message is clear: without Felicity, Oliver reverts back to the soulless anti-hero he was when he got back home. This would feel like a bigger shift if Oliver had done a better job of letting the team lead in the past few episodes. 

There have been a couple of moments where he’s deferred to their opinions or decisions, but too few for me to feel like this is a major reversion for Oliver. He was just back to his old ways which he didn’t give up all that long ago. Shrug. Now that he’s focused on Felicity again, seems implausible that he’d flirt with darkness like this again until after the flashforward, where she explicitly gives him permission.

What this potentially means for the rest of the Darhc (Darhk Arc) is this: Oliver and Felicity move forward through her paralysis, wedding stuff happens, we potentially meet her father (I’m still upset it’s not Damien), blah blah blah. Damien continues to go too far and Oliver struggles with “not doing enough” as he claims this week.

He distances himself from Felicity to attempt to take him down (no ring), but then Damien kills Felicity’s mother (it’s got to be her, right? Just like with Felicity, the writers know they’d lose too many viewers if they killed off Diggle. But more on this later). In her rage, Felicity breaks her the moral code that has gotten Team Arrow through all these years, and encourages Oliver to kill Darhk. They split in the process and hopefully get back together, mutual darkness, for better or worse actually kicks in, yadda yadda. They could totally twist any of this, but that’s what I’m getting so far.

Oracle

If you have really strong feelings about Felicity being placed in the Oracle position, you’ve probably read up on all your feelings and I have very little to add. I’m not attached to Oracle (as Barbara Gordon or anyone else) because I haven’t read the comics. I do accept the anger that 1.) it continues to make Arrow psuedo-Batman in an annoying way that they shouldn’t feel like they have to pursue and 2.) that Felicity isn’t right for the position. I’ve read several comments (various tumblr/twitter places, I forget where specifically and I apologize) that said that Barbara as Oracle felt earned because Barbara was physically fighting and saving Gotham and when she’s paralyzed, she uses the Oracle persona to continue that fight. Plus, simply being a paralyzed hacker isn’t what makes someone Oracle. As someone who doesn’t have the character history, it seemed like a valid reasoning for why the person was against this happening. Plus the showrunner has recently shot down the theory, so we may not have to deal with it.

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But we will have to deal with Felicity’s condition. I do hope that they treat the paralysis with the respect it deserves, not from a comics perspective, but for the disabled representation one. I’m not handicapped in anyway, but it is an important issue to see proper representation, especially when most disabled characters on television are played by able bodied actors. The “disability as drama” seems a bit cheap. As it is, they talked around the issue a lot, avoiding directly mentioning her paralysis except when Donna tells Oliver.

There are two paths the writers could take:

  • Felicity goes through the emotional crisis of now being disabled and eventually accepting it
  • A solution is found for her to walk again (I’ve heard Ray’s nanos or one of Curtis’ toys as theories)

I’ll leave the debate of which is ~better~ to the people to whom it matters most, those who are disabled and affected by this storyline. I just hope the writers are sensitive in whichever path they take.  

Go Fish

I need more John stories please. The introduction of Andy has only marginally increased the Diggle time we get and I want more. I will always want more. I really enjoyed seeing Lyla and her advice — why hasn’t she said this sooner? — plus Diggle showing the lengths he’d go for his sister-in-arms.

I think the only problem for me here was, Lyla gives such good advice: so why is she allowing the helmet to persist? Or has Diggle not shown it to her yet?

I can’t think of where they’re going to take Andrew Diggle’s story. They probably don’t know yet either (if the interviews of them not knowing who’s in the grave are anything to believe), but it doesn’t look good for Andy. Malcolm and Sara, who were both dead, still haven’t been able to live normal lives again, so I doubt Andy will be able to. I fear that John and Andy will become close only for John to lose him again. A sort of parallel to what’s happened between Laurel and Sara…

Speedy’s Nickname is Gonna Get Her Caught

The thing that distracted me most about Thea’s storyline was when Anarky realized that Canary called her Speedy. I might have said this before, but this is going to bite her later if Oliver continues to call her Speedy at the campaign office or, really, anywhere in public. Hopefully he’s curbed his use of her nickname while in civilian clothing. I was confused over Thea’s angst in this episode. Not the part where she blames herself for Anarky being nutso, I get that.

“I only burned his face off in a murderous fit of Lazarus rage.”

But she talks about the blood lust and the “anger management” and how Damien seemed to have cured it, but seeing Anarky… brought it back? I thought her angst was just because she blamed herself for passing the blood lust on (in a way)… but I suppose it’s back and she’s growing strong enough to overcome it? I really wonder where we’re taking this, because it seems to me as though whatever power the Pit gave Thea, it’s the key to figuring out how to stop Damien…

To Rule in Darhkness Together

Who is Damien’s wife and what’s her endgame? She’s not an innocent homemaker who doesn’t know what her husband is up to, or even someone who knows but doesn’t participate. She is anxious for Project Genesis to begin. Does it help her in some way? There is probably a daughter angle — is she sick? In danger? Even just watching them as they were held hostage, the Darhk ladies seemed more dangerous than they let on.

Damien gives Oliver a “few months” to spend with his family. It’s easy to forget that Damien doesn’t appear to know that Oliver is the Green Arrow, considering he knows nearly everything else. Why does Damien have these blindspots when he’s so competent in every other aspect? Does Damien’s temporary truce mean we’ll see different villains for the next few episodes while Damien finishes preparing his… whatever he’s preparing?

The Grave Truth

We’ve now got confirmation that Felicity isn’t dead in four months. As I’ve written before, Barry would NEVER miss Felicity’s funeral, regardless of Zoom. So it must have been someone less important to him than Felicity. This helps me rule out John as well, but I don’t think Felicity would turn to this kind of anger over John’s death or anyone on Team Arrow. They’re all (semi)soldiers, they know what they’re getting into. Their deaths would mean sadness and some anger, but not rage. 

A hero’s death doesn’t seem like it would cause Felicity (FELICITY) to abandon her urge for Oliver not to kill anymore. Felicity doesn’t allow that for herself nor did she allow it when they still didn’t know who killed Sara last season. Plus: John is too popular of a character, Laurel has been built up too much for the writers to kill her off, and while Thea is a strong possibility, she’s been killed/near death before. The whole post-Lazarus arc would seem futile if they were just going to kill her for real. She feels a little invulnerable for right now.

This leaves someone not on Team Arrow. Someone Barry would want to pay his respects to, someone who’d get Felicity so riled up, she’d encourage death upon Damien Darhk. Her mother seems like the most obvious answer considering she’s been given more screentime, a love interest, and is still in the dark (pun always intended) about Oliver’s identity. She will probably find out and die. It’s just par for the course at this point. I hope we don’t see the grave again until we find out who’s in it, but now that we’re moving past that scene, flashforwards could be an interesting way to squeeze in more story. 

Flechettes:

  • Team Arrow’s comms must have anti-Canary Cry tech. Because she gives no warnings nowadays.
  • I loved seeing Team Arrow-less visit Felicity at the hospital. Though, now that I think about it, it reminds me of the scene on Angel, where their resident quirky nerd girl was in the hospital and then she became Illyria… Thankfully, their happiness lasted a little longer.
  • “Aren’t we risking some crazy Bond villain stupidity here?” YES. That’s Oliver’s M.O.
  • I miss Curtis. Come back soon.
  • Related: who’s running Palmer Tech while Felicity is in the hospital?
  • Why were the Darhk’s dressed in fully matching outfits at night? Where were they going? Put your PJs on, sillies!
  • “Do you have any idea how many people Damien Darhk and H.I.V.E have killed over the last six months?” UHM YES, I think Laurel does because she was fighting them while you were off with Felicity, Oliver. Some of this felt like some of that “we were in love and ignored the world for months” guilt again.
  • Oliver goes for Damien at his house. He’s forgotten that Damien has bested him EVERY. TIME. You haven’t learned anything new yet you idiot!
  • “How did you get to be so strong?” “I took my lead from you.” I immediately thought of Hamilton, because that’s where my brain always goes these days. “And you know what? I learned that from you.”

Until next time!

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