Arrow Season 4 Episode 17 – TV Review
Well, at least Arrow is trying to learn some lessons from its superior sister, The Flash.
Stealing counts as a lesson, right?
TL;DR A Flash villain is brought over as a villain of the week; Oliver and Felicity somewhat put their shit aside to keep each other alive; Damien is abandoned by HIVE, but becomes queen bee in prison; Afrojack inches closer to becoming Mister Terrific.
It only took him seventeen episodes to maybe consider superheroism. That’s quick in Arrow years.
So it’s time for another cheesy villain of the week, and this episode sees Bug-Eyed Bandit, stolen from The Flash, step into Cupid’s shoes. She besieges Palmer Tech with her robot bee swarm in an effort to slice Felicity’s spinal chip right out of her, as she needs one for herself. Felicity hides inside, along with a visiting Donna and Thea, while Oliver, Laurel, and Diggle do their best to get in and save the day. They are aided by Afrojack, who is a qualified substitute for Felicity behind a keyboard. Eventually all is well, and Felicity even helps take down Bug-Eyed Bandit. But she still won’t rejoin the Super Friends. Meanwhile, Malcolm informs Damien that HIVE is dumping him, so Damien uses his deviousness to manipulate other prisoners into keeping him safe on the inside. And in flashbacks, Oliver and OSG take on Black Boss, who is superpowered by the soul he fed to the idol. But it wears off, they fight, Black Boss ends up getting away, and Oliver and OSG decide to go make sure to save the slaves rather than chase him down.
Boo, that’s no fun. Isn’t the Oliver of this time period a list-ticking-off homicidal maniac?
This is a bread and butter Arrow episode. The major arcs keep bubbling along in the background while the show has fun with a villain of the week. And the fact that Bug-Eyed Bandit is not only a returning villain, but one from The Flash (with a reasonable link to Felicity), ups the cool factor.
And Felicity isn’t anywhere near as cuntish as she was last week. So I’ll give her this victory.
Why I hate this episode:
Her insistence to stay off the Super Friends in favour of affecting positive change through her company is silly. We saw how capable Felicity can be when it comes to heroism, particularly when teamed up with the Super Friends, just this episode. And Arrow has shown us again and again how useless the Palmer Tech board is at getting anything done. What a dumb move, Felicity.
Oliver is still moping about, and much of the episode is devoted to him needing to be assured that, as the Green Arrow, he’s a necessary beacon of hope (which is the title) to Star City. I’m pretty sure that’s ground we’ve covered before.
This manifests in an annoying scene where Grumpy Oliver blasts Afrojack for not taking his fill-in role with the Super Friends deathly seriously. What a buzzkill.
And Oliver makes Afrojack swear to him that he won’t pursue a vigilante career after today, because it’s too dangerous. 1) Oliver, with Felicity out, you need someone on the computer. So shut up. And 2) Afrojack clearly has the taste, and you can’t stop him now. Just go with it.
The flashback stuff is banal as ever, and, again, the episode kind of ignores it as an obligatory afterthought. Get to the fucking point, already.
Oh, and I’m sure the bees taking the form of a humanoid to fight the Super Friends is probably from the comics or something, but it’s a little too high on the goofy-o-meter for Arrow. It’s fine for The Flash, but we’ve gotta keep it to a nice, alienating grimdark over here, guys.
But it’s not all bad:
The bee puns are numerous and (save for Felicity’s arse-puckeringly bad “bee-yotch”) welcome. When you’ve got a major villain whose name is literally the word “dark,” you’ve gotta let the light in somewhere.
And I very much endorse Bug-Eyed Bandit’s plan to kill Felicity and steal the spine chip right out of her. If only she’d been successful.
Felicity manages to put her whingeing down and actually be useful this episode. She comes up with a plan to save the board members, who have been taken hostage, by using the secret Super Friends lift in the building to take them out through the derelict base underneath. And it works.
This puts her and Thea in harm’s way, but Arrow shows us that it’s best when the team is working as a team, and Oliver, with Laurel, Diggle, and Afrojack’s help, comes in to take on the Bee Man. Sadly, his plan fails, and he gets hilariously beaten up. But Felicity just electrocutes the villain into dissolution. Put her to work, show.
Bug-Eyed Bandit, although having been given access to the plans for the chip by Felicity, comes back for one final shot when she realises that Felicity is the hacker who helped The Flash foil her last time. She tries shooting Felicity, but Oliver takes the bullet. He and his pretty torso are not hurt, thankfully.
Oliver does get infected with a self-multiplying robot bee earlier, though, and he has to naturally be stripped so we can see him writhe in agony. Delicious.
Laurel gets to be more than just a number on the score card, as her Canary shriek is what Afrojack uses to weaken the robo-bees. And she’s the one who delivers Oliver his “beacon of hope” pep talk. It’s nice to see the show hasn’t forgotten about her.
Afrojack displays some impressive acrobatic skills when running away from a robo-bee.
Thea calls Felicity out for quitting the Super Friends; for giving up, and shirking responsibility. Because she did, and she is.
Thea is visiting Felicity because she wants to ask about a job for Alex. Oliver is resisting returning to the mayoral race, and Thea isn’t too thrilled when Alex says he’s going to apply to work for Ruve. Obv.
Damien threatens to kill the grandmother of an inmate, so that inmate murders his two allies to keep Damien happy. Smooth.
Oh, and Laurel knows her priorities: