Arrow: Left Behind

Felicity: "We really need to change the locks."

There was a clearly defined sense of disillusionment, grief, and emotional freefall in this episode. No one seemed to know what they wanted.

Well, everyone except Malcolm. All of his plans seemed to have worked out, and he was probably lying through his teeth about how he felt about having played a big hand in Oliver's death, while at the same time he began manipulating his daughter into running away with him forever.

For Roy, his questions revolved around the obvious: is there a purpose for his role as Arsenal without Oliver? Should he even try to step into Oliver's shoes? I loved the fact that this was brought up, since it was such a logical question. Given how awesome Roy was in this episode though, I think the answer was obvious. I did like how he grieved too, quiet and alone, much like the traditional stoic hero archetype.

Diggle also stepped up, first by donning the hood, and then going full out (without a costume) in probably his best action scene to date. But I think the emotional side of Diggle in this episode was even more impressive. He had to struggle with a different kind of grief, the feeling of failure. Diggle, even after everything they've gone through, still feels like Oliver's bodyguard. Protective of him, to the point of self sacrifice. That moment where he confessed it all got to me.

All of the emotional stuff though, rested almost entirely on Felicity's shoulders. She was the one who needed Oliver to be alive, and to watch her accept it with such a sense of inevitable grief was painful to watch. Her entire body seemed to react to the fact that Oliver was gone; she was not just emotionally raw, but she looked as if she was in physical pain. It culminated in that scene with Ray. Calling him out on his choices, and refusing to watch him die too was both irrational, and perfectly in character. Because quite simply, without Felicity, all our heroes are in far greater danger.

Especially Laurel and the way she has jumped the gun and taken up her sister's legacy. She has the chops to be a hero and has the right motivations, but she totally lacks the right experience to go out alone. She needs Team Arrow to support her in her first foray into the world of vigilantism.

Oliver of course, was the big ghost in the room, not only with his presence in the flashbacks and his choice to help Maseo rescue Tatsu, but also the scenes of his corpse being dragged through the snow and the sword caked in his blood. Plus they kept showing his empty costume on display, like he was still watching over his team in spirit. I do wonder, though, with that kind of injury and that great a fall, was Oliver truly dead? Did Tatsu somehow bring him back to life? If so, how?

As for the villain plot, I think I like Brick as the new heavy, but not as a season-long big bad. He works as a temporary adversary for the team to learn to work together and defeat. He is threatening, and powerful, and managed to pull off a clever scheme to line up a small army of minions through blackmail. He provided the right impetus for Laurel to take up the mask, and he is the right kind of entry level bad guy for Roy to take on as the main hero. But he doesn't feel as important as Malcolm or Slade. Not yet, anyway.

Bits:

Laurel's new costume seemed darker and harder than her sister's costume. Also, the mask and wig on Laurel come across completely differently than they did on Sara.

The scene with Oliver trying to break through that window was fun, kind of like Superhero 101.

Diggle in the Arrow costume again was a hoot, especially with his constant complaints. I love how bad he was at being Oliver, until he went in on his own terms and kicked ass. It did illustrate a significant point, though. Diggle is a hero in his own right. Shouldn't he get his own costume? (I know I've mentioned this before)

I'm not sure what Brick hopes to gain by taking over the Glades. Half of it is still rubble, and the other half is impoverished.

Ray has hit a wall with the A.T.O.M. suit, translating it from design to prototype.

So what is going on with Maseo and Tatsu? They are clearly no longer a couple.

Quotes:

Diggle: "I'm more of a Glock kinda guy."
Roy: "I didn't say anything."

Roy: "You sure ditching the Arrow suit is a good idea?"
Diggle: "Only if I need to move or shoot."

Laurel: "This isn't the first time I've heard that Oliver was dead. He's been back before, he'll be back again."

Diggle: "If we're going to do this without Oliver. Felicity, we have to trust each other."
Felicity: "You don't get it. There is no 'this' without him."

Felicity: "I'm twenty-five years old. I'm over my quota where losing my friends are concerned."

Diggle: "I know it's silly but I... still like to think of myself as Oliver's bodyguard. I just couldn't protect him."

Brick Minion: "Who the hell are you?"
Black Canary: "I'm the justice you can't run from."

This was mostly a heavy episode, but it still managed to give us some really great action scenes. It was a good choice to put the emotional heavy lifting on Felicity and Diggle's shoulders too, because in the end this was an excellent episode.

4 out of 4 Costumed heroes left behind to fight the good fight.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.

3 comments:

sunbunny said...

An astonishingly good episode considering we got almost no real time Oliver. Emily Bett RIckards did a really great job and I liked Felicity's moment of bonding with Laurel over their shared denial.

Thea asking Roy to have the Arrow look for Oliver almost killed me.

I still don't like Laurel.

Patrick said...

What a wonderful episode. Each of the main characters got their time to shine as we see how they're coping with the apparent loss of Oliver. Felicity was definitely the centerpiece of the episode, and Emily nailed it(as usual). Her performance was heartbreaking.

I even kinda bought Malcolm's expressed regret over the part he played. Knowing that Oliver's death doesn't erase his blood debt with Ra's suggests not only that he genuinely wanted Oliver to win, but that he really thought Oliver could do it. Plus he may not care much about Oliver, but in his own twisted way he does care for Thea, and losing Oliver again would destroy her, not to mention how she'd react if learned of Malcolm's role in it.

I know Laurel isn't very popular with Arrow fans, and she's not my favorite character either, but I think this is the right time for her to be suiting up as the Canary. It gives her some time to settle in before Oliver's return, so he won't be around to harp on all her early mistakes(I can see those scenes in my head, and they're no fun). Having Oliver come back to discover her having been the Canary for a while will be much more interesting. Interesting that Oliver seems to have told the whole gang about Malcolm's treachery and the duel with Ra's, but he didn't say anything to Laurel. That's going to be an interesting conversation when he gets back...

I'm not terribly surprised it was Maseo who recovered Oliver, but I was QUITE pleasantly surprised to see Tatsu in that shack with Maseo when Oliver woke up. They'd certainly been playing it as if Tatsu was about to die in the flashbacks, now I'm more interested than ever in what we're going to learn about that year in Hong Kong and what got Maseo & Tatsu to their current situation. I'm very glad she's going to continue playing a role in the story. Rila Fukishima is a strong presence on screen, the more of her the better.

CH said...

I thought it was an amazing episode, and I found Felicity and Diggle's grief very moving. I can't wait for the reunion when Oliver returns.

As much as I love Oliver and enjoy having him in the episodes, a part of me really wishes they had drawn out the tension of his death for at least a few episodes. It kind of hit me during the flashbacks that Oliver could actually be dead and Stephen Amell could still have a job.