Arrow Season 4 Episode 11 – TV Review
It’s also a Felicity episode.
But not just any Felicity episode. A Felicity episode with grating hallucinations.
TL;DR Lyla and Diggle, and occasionally the Super Friends, face off against a rogue military group targeting ARGUS; Amanda Waller ends up dead, and Diggle ends up bonding with Andy; the flashbacks show us Diggle and Andy in Afghanistan together; Felicity is harangued by a hallucination of her 1337 haxor former self, but eventually banishes her and resolves to be the best hero she can be.
Thank goodness her skill set doesn’t necessitate standing up.
So the main plot of the episode is the sudden appearance of Shadowspire, an evil organisation that’s targeting some ARGUS agents, who reach out to Lyla for help (because Lyla is the only non-despicable person who has ever worked for ARGUS). Diggle gets involved, too, and it turns out Shadowspire is the evil organisation that sucked Andy into villainy back in his army days. The Diggles try to help the Super Friends co-ordinate an effort to thwart Shadowspire, but, as Andy predicts, it turns out their motive isn’t to steal a shipment of rail guns, but to besiege ARGUS for codes or money or something. Amanda Waller is her typical unwavering self, so their commander executes her. Before he can do the same to newly-in-charge Lyla, Diggle and Andy, along with some rallied Super Friends, save the day. The flashbacks of the episode minimally fill in some Shadowspire stuff that happened when Diggle and Andy were together as soldiers in Afghanistan, which very unsubtly complements the goings on in Star City (but we do see Andy getting contracted by Black Boss to come to Lian Yu. I think). Meanwhile, Felicity has an identity crisis thanks to her spinal injury, which is when Dark Felicity comes out to prance around and generally embarrass Emily Bett Rickards. Felicity eventually finds her strength of will to continue being a hero and put herself in the way of more limo shootouts. Because she’s a noble spirit.
Paraplegic isn’t enough for our Felicity. She wants to go full quad, dammit.
So yeah, it’s a Diggle, Lyla, Andy, and Felicity episode.
Why I hate this episode:
We’ll start with Felicity, because obviously. I thought one whiny Felicity was bad enough. Holy hell, I wasn’t ready for two. And not just another iteration of her usually tolerable self, but her tragic goth/emo hacker getup from her origin episode. Why, Arrow? Why did you think anybody wanted that?
Hallucinations, especially ones as banal as this, are poison, too. The second season of The Royals crossed the line into irredeemable garbage on the back of these. We didn’t need two Felicities, we didn’t need to be reminded of 1337 haxor Felicity, and we didn’t need a goddamn hallucination plot. No.
A horrible Diggle/Lyla episode is par for the course for Arrow at this point. And with twenty-two episodes to fill up each season, I can understand why. And while I hated the Suicide Squad episodes, at least they had the Suicide Squad in them. This time around they’re replaced with Andy, who is yet to be anything more than a shabby reason for Diggle to actually get lines. Cap it off with Amanda Waller’s blasè execution, and this is not a great episode of Arrow.
Really, Amanda should have been given the chance to go out in an operatic, ridiculous way. Not a quick bullet to the head by Erik Palladino, disposable guest star. And then to mourn her, Lyla and Oliver grudgingly do a scotch glass clink and move right the fuck on. Boo. I blame Viola Davis.
Laurel is giving Oliver relationship advice to keep Felicity now. So Lauliver is officially dead. So hurry up and get this woman some new man candy. Even Thea has crappy Alex, for goodness’ sake.
Andy warns everyone that Shadowspire is using the rail gun heist as a decoy for whatever their real scheme is, but they all still act shocked when it turns out that, gasp, the rail gun heist was a decoy.
As I predicted, Arrow pukes up a reference to Oracle. Oliver earns himself the episode’s worst line after telling Felicity he’s given her the codename of Overwatch: “I was gonna go with Oracle, but it’s taken.” Laugh, gypsy, laugh!
Oh, and did we really need another evil organisation on the books? Evidently not, as Arrow cuts them down in the same episode they’re introduced. Like tissues in flu season, so are the hokey namechecks to DC comic book properties.
But it’s not all bad:
I must admit, I did like the camaraderie between the Diggle brothers this week. When Shadowspire attacks ARGUS, Diggle is hanging out with Andy, who’s in a holding cell there. They agree to team up, allowing Shadowspire to think Andy is betraying his brother and sister-in-law, and Andy successfully fends off Erik Palladino during the final tussle. Aww.
Diggle even lets Andy out to meet his niece at the end of the episode. Aww.
Lyla’s promotion to shot-caller during the ARGUS siege was only because she happened to be there and Amanda spruiked her, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Lyla return to ARGUS and take up Amanda’s post. That could really help the Super Friends out.
I’ll give Felicity points for beating out her dark side in only one episode. I don’t think I could have endured a multi-episode arc of that rubbish.
The flashbacks are totally wasteful except for one thing: after Andy impresses Erik Palladino, he’s introduced to his boss: Black Boss from Oliver’s Lian Yu flashbacks. Black Boss contracts him to help his treasure hunt. So he’s on the island at the same time as Oliver? Cool.
Oliver holds out hope that, in the crazy magic/metahuman/Lazarus Pit world in which they live, that Felicity will regain her ability to walk. Maybe he could hit up Sara for a bit of time travel to prevent the injury in the first place?
Oh, and Shadowspire rip out a guy’s eye to get past the ARGUS retinal scanner. Pragmatic.