Welcome back to our weekly coverage of Arrow on The Young Folks! I missed out on recapping episode 4×09 “Dark Waters” because of, y’know, the Holidays, but the only essential thing to note from its events are Quentin and Felicity’s mom snogging, Damien Darhk striking back more fierce than ever and the possibility that… *SPOILER*…
Wait? No, she’s not? Ok, good!
Before it’s revealed that she is, in fact, alive, “Blood Debts” opens with a How I Met Your Mother style of tease, as we’re shown Oliver and Barry once again at an unrevealed gravestone, now only “Four months from now” instead of six. Whoever it is that has died, it’s an incredibly important person to Oliver, and important enough for Barry to show up to show his condolences. Most notably here is that this death is personal enough to make Oliver cross the line he drew in the sand when he created the new Green Arrow earlier in the year, declaring that killing Damien Darhk is now his responsibility.
While we don’t see the reason for–or the repercussions– of this moment in this week’s episode, we see Oliver beginning this tightrope struggle between the light and dark within him in the events following Felicity’s attempted assassination, and we see an endless vendetta against HIVE that we could detect coming even a couple months ago. But this feels more like a rampage made by Spider-Man in his black Symbiote suit than any deeds Oliver did in the first season as The Hood.
While this reaction from Oliver was to be expected, the reactions of the people around him make this moment of weakness important for his story. Between Lance asking him about “dropping bodies again” and Laurel opposing his new supposed “standards” for getting what he wants, “Blood Debts” isn’t just about Oliver seeking out vengeance, it’s about that line he wouldn’t have dared to cross before to convince himself that he was different from, and better than, Damien Darhk. This distinction makes the episode’s final act all the more interesting, when previously seen villain, Lonnie Machin (now going by the name of Anarky), target Darhk’s own family: the loved ones as close to him as Felicity was to Oliver. My compliments to Neal McDonough and the show’s writers, making a fresh and interesting villain are expanded upon here, where he actually shows his gratitude to the Green Arrow for saving his family, ultimately buying our heroes some time to figure things out as the season’s end is imminent. This reaction is because Darhk isn’t an anarchist, but rather seeks order in calculation of his evil deeds.
Meanwhile, Diggle’s plotline this week focuses on his relationship with Andy, who has been kept in a cage in the Arrow lair for over a month now. By the way, this is pretty much a bird-cage he’s being kept in. How does he go to the bathroom? Or do they not let him? He’d probably be dead by now if they didn’t let him. Ultimately, Andy hasn’t divulged a thing, and Diggle is willing to beat the shit out of his own brother to try to get the proper information. Leila then says Diggle feels betrayed by what he learned about Andy, which then made me realize that this is literally Diggle’s entire plot line all through this season, so I’m glad that they come to terms by treating each other like brothers instead of opposing soldiers by the episode’s end.
Thea, on the other hand, is having a bit of a bad time this week. Despite the fact that her bloodlust is seemingly gone, the actions she executed in the midst of that debacle are coming back to bite her in the form of returning villain Lonnie Machin, now scarred with burns after that one time she hilariously lit him on fire, which, to be fair, mostly anyone would have done in her position.
Felicity’s well being is the emotional crutch of the episode, and my suspicions that coincide with the theory of others may actually play out to be accurate. While she is alive and willing to see the ends of the Earth with Oliver, the attempted assassination by HIVE has left her spine unfixable, making her unable to walk again. We have yet to see her in a wheelchair as of yet, but that will most likely be the case. Now, given her technical prowess from the lair, I highly doubt this will keep her from helping the team for a second, but it’s also reminding me of another character we’ve seen in superhero lore. Does Barbra Gordon ring a bell?
If anyone’s read more than a couple of Batman comics, they know the moment she was shot by The Joker in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, leaving her wheelchair bound, and in further stories taking on the role of Oracle, instead of Batgirl. Could it be that Felicity could become the essential Watchtower role that the DCTV Universe will clearly need with its ever-expanding cast of characters? It would definitely be cool to see, and add some depth to the character for Emily Bett Rickards to work with. But, hey. They may go with something completely different. What do I know? Maybe nothing, maybe everything.
Flashback Notes 4.10
→) Oliver’s flesh wound is slowing him down on their way back to the base.
→) Conklin reveals Oliver’s con to the mercenaries, so his reward is giving him 40 lashes. I almost forgot Oliver had those scars on his back when he first came back to the city.
→) The runes previously gifted from Constantine light up on Oliver’s stomach, suddenly making him valuable again.
Arrow 4×10 “Blood Debts” Rating: (9/10)
Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl? Check out Ally’s review of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!
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