Arrow Season 5 Episode 19 – TV Review
It’s a Felicity-heavy episode, and I didn’t hate it that much.
If it wasn’t for the tedium, Diggle having had his brain fall out, and Adrian’s plan’s uselessness, maybe I could see some hope for Arrow, yet.
TL;DR Felicity sides with Helix over the team in an effort to do whatever it takes to find Adrian; the consequences are minor; Lyla makes similarly morally questionable choices, leading to some hypocritical bitching from Diggle; Wild Dog moves closer to being reunited with his daughter; Adrian does not appear at all, so boo; there are no flashbacks.
No flashbacks? Arrow really is good, again.
So the major plot involves Felicity, but don’t break out the vodka and funnel just yet (unless they’re already out. Then cheers!). With Adrian publicly outed as Prometheus, but unable to be found by the mayor’s office, government agencies, or even ARGUS, Felicity turns to Kacey and Helix. Kacey explains Helix’s founder, Cayden, had a device that could track anyone using computer magic, but he is currently being detained without charge by ARGUS. If they can liberate him, then Felicity can use the device to find Adrian. Sweet deal, right? Not according to Oliver and the rest of the team, who understandably object to undermining an intelligence agency and siding with essentially terrorists. But Felicity doggedly marches on, despite pleas from Oliver. There is continuing talk about drawing lines and saving souls and stuff. Who cares? You’re vigilantes with body counts between you in the tens of thousands (hi, Havenrock). Let it go. Lyla is forced to mobilise ARGUS to stave off Helix’s attack, and the team joins her. In the end, Felicity, Kacey and Helix get away with Cayden, while Diggle, having found out that Lyla is doing a good Amanda impression these days by holding someone at a black site without charge or trial, threatens divorce. The episode closes as Kacey and Helix vanish, leaving Felicity behind, but also leaving her with a magic USB device. She and Oliver use it, and Adrian promptly attacks (or does he!?). Meanwhile, Wild Dog is kept busy with Quentin at City Hall doing busywork. Quentin, as a father, decides to get Wild Dog moving on regaining custody of his daughter. Wild Dog is hesitant because his alcoholism wound up getting his daughter hurt last time, but after a brief reunion with her, he is inspired to get back in the fight.
Not quite sure why he wasn’t in the actual fighting this episode, though.
This episode is far from a return to form. Much of the drama hinges on Felicity and Oliver, and Diggle and Lyla, whingeing at each other about morals. Which, when it’s as shallow and simplistic as this, is not a good thing.
But it’s bearable. And Wild Dog and Quentin’s “handsome dads” subplot is a refreshing change of pace.
And no flashbacks. God, it feels good to remember what competent pacing feels like.
Why I hate this episode:
Give it up for Diggle, who is now outdoing Felicity as the most frustrating, fuckhead nag on the team. He is basically ready to divorce Lyla because he found out she was keeping Cayden at a black site illegally. It’s not like Diggle would ever condone anything like that. And we definitely shouldn’t ask Slade Wilson or Captain Boomerang for their opinions on that one. Or Black Siren.
The other major thorn in this episode’s side is the continued display of how ineffective Adrian’s seventeen episode-long scheme was. Not only is the team not disbanded, but Oliver himself is still out on the field. And instead of using a bow, which is more likely to not result in fatalities, he’s now using a handgun. What the fuck, show? Like, what the fuck?
While I support Lyla for the most part (because being like Amanda Waller is a compliment, not an insult, Diggle), the absolutely insane decision to hole up Cayden at a site that’s protected by computer-controlled defence systems is, even for a CW superhero show, unacceptable. Lyla explicitly knew that Helix, a hacking group, was coming after him. For fuck’s sake, Arrow. Jesus.
Kacey’s villain potential is glimpsed and then pathetically wasted. She kills an ARGUS agent this episode by hacking a lift he’s in (not as corny as it sounds, somehow). Which made me think she was finally living up to her established nastiness. But then she leaves the show having folded into a blubbering mess for having to betray Felicity. Shut the fuck up. Helix better be back to give her another chance.
Oh, and Curtis’ endless, pointless babble is starting to reach a breaking point. Hell, I think I’d rather he leave than Felicity.
But it’s not all bad:
Wild Dog sums it up with the episode’s best line: “Curtis talks too much.” He really does.
The hero of the episode is, in a long overdue coup, Felicity. Amid all the speeches about what’s right and wrong, Felicity shuts down Oliver’s attempts to convince her to abandon Helix by stating that what she’s doing is necessary to find Adrian. End of story. She’s making the right decision, and it’s not the easy decision. And I have to agree.
The final moments of the episode are left ambiguous as to how profitable that choice turned out to be. Felicity plugs in the USB Kacey leaves her, supposedly containing Cayden’s tracker program. And it seems to be working. But it tracks Adrian to being right there with them in the building, and the computer console explodes as we cut to the closing title card. So did Adrian suddenly attack, or was Cayden’s USB a trick and that’s what exploded the computer? I genuinely want to know.
Lyla ascending to be the nouveau Amanda is fine with me. See ya, Diggle. She can do better.
The lack of flashbacks is truly a joy. Now we just need to tell Once Upon a Time to follow suit.
Felicity looks fine as hell in her “I’m going out to do cyber terrorism” outfit. Nice.
Oh, and Wild Dog isn’t the only handsome dad around, you know. Quentin is the original Arrow DILF.