Despite a few really good actions scenes, character moments, and some fun bits, this was a pretty average episode.
The Demolition Team was pretty dull except for their actions. Sure, the precise bomb thing was a neat excuse to have our heroes run from buildings falling down around them, but the bad-guy team itself was all generic. Nail gun lady was probably the most engaging, and big guy with hammer had some nice fights with Diggle. But otherwise, meh.
Quentin and Donna have had a fun little background romance going on for a while now, and it was good that we got at least a little bit of drama between them -- if only to set up any fallout from Quentin potentially being in that grave (as if Laurel losing her father wasn't enough). Primarily though, Quentin's plot involving being targeted by Darhk and lying to Donna was all about the secret Oliver is keeping from Felicity.
Thea had a few interesting points during her conversation with Oliver about his secret son. And after reading that sentence, I realize my superhero show has morphed into a soap opera. Anyway, while her points were valid, they only really served to justify Oliver's continued insistence that lying to Felicity is a good idea. This kind of lie is a deal breaker, no matter the justification. Felicity would have every right to feel totally betrayed.
Yet in storytelling terms, it is mostly just a hurdle for our primary couple to overcome. Whether Olicity will survive this big secret is the kind of on-going plotline created to pad out a relationship from being too perfect or normal, because no relationship in a drama can be without drama. This is the same kind of reasoning behind the writers toying with us about the identity of the person in that blasted grave.
There is also a lot of show to fill, with twenty-three episodes a season. That means a lot of filler has to be created and a lot of plots have to be stretched out, sometimes beyond logic. Like Felicity's injuries suddenly having a magical solution. Or William showing up at Damien Darhk's house like he's just the son of a friend of their family.
All of that stuff is part and parcel for a series as serialized as this one, a series told as a whole but broken up into parts, using broad strokes and a larger sweeping narrative that for the most part has stretched out for four seasons. Sometimes the writing choices are good, sometimes they're bad. Mostly, they're average, just like the ones in this episode.
While the island plotline was still painfully brief with no significant plot movement, this time we got some decent development character wise, unless Conklin's death represents plot movement. His death has been one of those things that was bound to happen sooner or later. So while it is exciting that one of Oliver's Island enemies is dead, there is still a small army there to defeat. But at least Oliver now has some back up with the rest of the prisoners. It is also a bit unfortunate, because Conklin was far more interesting than the Baron, even if he didn't pose as much of a threat.
My theory about Curtis's new 'bio-stimulant' is that it won't just give Felicity the ability to walk.
Donna's party planning was almost painful, but at least it was fun watching Felicity react to it.
Curtis' screen saver was really awkward and not funny at all.
Thea is probably the best detective of the group. This is not the first time she has figured out things entirely on her own without help from Felicity or Diggle, who have the most experience in that kind of work.
Thea also had the best action scene in the episode with her mad dash out of that falling building.
I had a thought about Malcolm while I was watching this episode. Sure, he's sided with Darhk, but does that mean he is now going to go along blindly with Darhk's plan whatever it is? I have no illusions that Malcolm is a good guy, especially since he willingly gave up Oliver's son. Yet he hasn't informed Darhk as to Oliver's identity as the Arrow. So where are his loyalties, truly? Thea?
Oliver: "Curtis, you're terrific."
Felicity: "I really need you to take a look at these engagement party invites, my mom's been hounding me."
Oliver: "The envelope is very pink."
Felicity: "No, wait don't... open it." (card explodes with glitter)
Diggle: "Should've totally seen that one coming."
Felicity: "I'm so sorry, what do you think?"
Oliver: "Maybe less glitter."
Felicity: "You look good in glitter."
Diggle: "Darhk has gone, well dark."
Felicity: "Oh, I knew we should have had Slade Wilson do the party planning."
2 1/2 out of 4 Demolished Buildings
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.