Apologies if you’ve been coming here the last few weeks for our Arrow recaps. I’ve been supposed to be Connie’s back-up, but I haven’t been able to muster the strength to recap a show that, honestly, I’ve been out on all season. Sure, I’ve been watching it (on DVR delay) every week, but this season has been more than disappointing. And if rumors about the death being revealed on tonight’s episode is true, I might be out for good. But more on that later.
The last two episodes — “Broken Hearts” and “Beacon of Hope” — share a similarity in that they brought back past female supervillains, though Emily Kinney’s Brie Larvan was originally on Flash — that happened to feature Emily Bett Rickards’ Felicity, so it’s still a hero/villain rematch. The other thing about bringing back the Bug-Eyed Bandit, as well as Amy Gumenick as Cupid, is that both villainesses were fairly forgettable the first times around.
In the first rematch, Cupid is back in Star City taking out celebrity couples because she no longer believes in love. This is because the last time we saw Cupid, she was on Task Force X and made Floyd Lawton her latest stalker obsession. Then, Warner Brothers figured there could only be one Deadshot because of the Suicide Squad movie and killed off the TV-verse’s version (which is also why they snuffed Arrow’s version of Amanda Waller)1. Now, Cupid is even more unhinged and taking out “happy couples.” But really, this was just a way for the writers to shoehorn an “Olicity” scene despite the fact that they broke them previously.
Despite pretending to exchange vows and profess their love for one another, fandom’s favorite pairing remain separated when the episode ends. And Arrow descends even further in to melodramatic soap opera.
The following week’s episode finds Felicity trapped inside Palmer Tech HQ when the Bug-Eyed Bandit comes to Star City to demand the tech that restored Felicity’s ability to walk. Cut off from the rest of Team Arrow — save for Thea — by a swarm of robotic bees, Curtis becomes the team’s go-to tech expert when he stumbles his way into the their
Echo Kellum’s endearing nerdiness in his scenes with the team harken back to why audiences were so enamored with Felicity’s original characterization way back in Season One — and which has been missing since the character was elevated to romantic lead. At this point, I don’t think we’ll ever get Season One Felicity back, so it’s likely that Curtis will stick around. In fact, Kellum’s recent promotion to series regular pretty much confirms that.
As much as I enjoy Kellum on the show, I’m of two minds about his inclusion on the team. On the one hand, yay more people of color! And hooray for LGBT representation! On the other hand, the ArrowCave is going to be significantly more dude-heavy, especially after what they’ve been hinting about Black Canary’s fate. And that’s a problem.
If there’s one thing Arrow doesn’t need it’s fridging yet another female character on the show. Look at the track record: Sara (twice if you count the pilot), Moira, Amanda Waller, Shado. These characters have all been sacrificed primarily to elevate the male heroes. Which is a shame, because for multiple episodes this season, Arrow has gone into battle with a team that at various times has consisted of Black Canary, Speedy, Vixen, Nyssa, and Felicity as Overwatch.
After tonight’s mystery death reveal and Felicity’s choice to stay away from Team Arrow, sadly, any progress the show might have made in moving away from its treatment of its women on the show could all be undone.
Now, if this is all prologue for an eventual Birds of Prey series, I’d be willing to forgive them. Since that isn’t likely, here’s hoping the show figures itself out sooner than later. Because even though Arrow kicked off the Berlanti-verse corner of the DCU, it’s starting to fall behind shows like Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.