Arrow’s Truth Bomb Explodes
Arrow’s “Taken” buzzes with energy thanks to a rescue by Vixen and one stinging revelation. Party-boy Ollie Queen fathered a child ten years ago and later opted to keep this tidbit from those closest to him, including his truth-loving fiancée. But Damien Darhk’s power play to kidnap the child causes Oliver to fess up about William. This news rips through the lair causing Laurel to relive the pain of his serial cheating and Felicity to walk out the door.
Damien Darhk continues to murder and maim his way through Star City with an exhilarating “wash-rinse-repeat” glee. His latest crime forces Oliver to drop out of the mayoral race clearing the field for Ruvé Adams. Mrs. Darhk runs her campaign like a woman hell-bent on destroying the world and yet she’s still a more credible candidate than Donald Trump.
Darhk succeeds in crushing Oliver, not by kidnapping William, but by putting into motion the events that separate Felicity from Oliver. Darhk’s first attempt to destroy Oliver, by gunning Felicity down and thus leaving her paralyzed, ends up strengthening the couple’s bond. Felicity improbably accepts her new physical limitations in record time and leans on a willing Oliver for support. She cannot, however, move past the emotional pain Oliver causes her by withholding the truth about William. Felicity responds by taking care of herself. She knows that Oliver has not left his Ollie days behind him. After ten years of island shenanigans and vigilantism, or maybe because of them, he has still not learned how to be a true partner. Rather than wait around while he keeps “trying,” she wriggles that rock off of her finger and chooses herself.
Like her mother, Felicity knows exactly what she needs and what she deserves. This is Felicity at her best. The writers give us a glimpse of what might have been, how Emily Bett Rickards could have tackled a serious paralysis storyline, when Felicity finds the strength to stand up and walk at the height of her self-possession and conviction. That she uses her newfound mobility to walk out the door slays Oliver.
Felicity now has more in common with Laurel than she ever wanted. The two belong to that not-so-exclusive women’s club whose members Oliver has loved and lied to. Thea is also a member, though not in an icky-incest sort of way. Oliver made withholding information from his sister a habit. Thea, who is more skeptical of her brother as a result, confronted Oliver about his baby mama a whole week before Laurel and Felicity received their invitations to the party. After the news breaks, Felicity and Laurel gingerly move around one another in the lair. They know that Oliver’s relationship with Samantha has wronged both of them. This silent acknowledgement might be as close as the two ever come to discussing their shared connection to Oliver.
Incidentally, I have to take a moment to say that Katie Cassidy is enjoying her best season on Arrow. Laurel Lance has been allowed to grow and develop because the writers have not saddled the character with an awkward love story. Female characters do not need a romantic partner to prove their worth, especially when they are busy perfecting their bad-ass superhero credentials. Black Canary has won me over with her fighting skills and her eye-lashes. Mostly the eye-lashes – they are amazing and deserve a glass display case all their own.
Laurel and Thea make a fabulous duo zipping around on Canary’s motorcycle or giving the bad guys a one-two punch. Quentin continues to show his father of the year chops in heartfelt honest scenes with Laurel. And Laurel and Oliver share a nourishing friendship that shows no signs of regressing into nostalgic yearning. Let’s keep this Laurel in town, the independent one who grows stronger and more capable by the day.
The same goes for Vixen who can show up in Star City anytime. Mari McCabe’s magic necklace gives her an edge, but as the character makes clear, she would still be a powerful woman without it. Not only does she show no signs of backing down from Damien Darhk, but also she locates the source of his power and destroys his special little idol with super-strong gorilla blows. On top of that, she gives Oliver sound advice about parting with William to preserve his childhood. The only downside to Vixen’s appearance is that now I have to watch some sort of cartoon to keep up with her.
Oliver will recover from temporarily losing William. He cannot move forward, however, without Felicity by his side. Since Felicity has shown that she will not drop out of the Green Arrow game altogether, Oliver might have a chance to redeem himself. Again. On the upside, Damien Darhk will wreak more havoc on Star City. And who doesn’t want to see that?