Welcome to Last Night on TV, our new daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next morning.
Last night on TV, we may have broken up with Man Seeking Woman. But there’s still plenty to talk about, as Arrow was full of action and easter eggs.
In true Arrow form – which is to say that it rushed through a big chunk of story in a single episode – this week saw Felicity go from being completely helpless to back in the game. It’s not surprising. Even during Arrow’s weaker seasons, when we couldn’t go 5-minutes without Oliver yelling “You failed this city!”, Emily Bett Rickards has always been the beating heart of this show. Oliver is the gruff, tortured vigilante; Diggle is the voice of reason; Laurel has become the idealist; and so on. But Felicity is the glue. So to have her out of commission, even though she was nearly swiss-cheesed in the midseason finale, would be a detriment to the show’s energy and momentum.
One thing that was a lot of fun about Felicity’s arc in this episode: seeing Emo Felicity manifest, forcing real Felicity to do quirky things like read The Shining. Her responses to adversity, unlike Oliver’s usual solution of punching everything, are always entertaining. And her return to Team Arrow gave the episode its best easter egg. When Oliver gives her the nickname Overwatch, he mentions that he would have gone with Oracle but it’s already taken. This slight, but fan-serving reference to Barbara Gordon, who took up the name Oracle after she was paralyzed by The Joker, is perhaps the best easter egg the show has delivered all season. We know that Arrow may not ever involve some of DC’s royalty (i.e. Batman and friends), but it’s always nice to see the show remind us of the larger DC Universe in which it resides.
Speaking of the larger universe, let’s talk for a moment about Amanda Waller. In the third act of the episode, Team Arrow figures out that Shadowspire isn’t after railguns. Instead, they are going after something in the ARGUS vault. This leads to Lyla and Amanda Waller being taken prisoner. And all of a sudden, Amanda Waller is dead. Shot square in the head for good measure. Now, I don’t have the greatest wealth of expertise when it comes to DC Comics, but I have read enough to know that Amanda Waller isn’t some throwaway character. It’s been a while since she’s shown up on Arrow, but in the greater DC landscape she’s a real player. Her death felt both abrupt and passed-over. What’s the point of killing off such a major figure within your universe in such way that it appears to not matter? Something tells me that we’ll see Amanda Waller again in some kind of twist/reversal. Then again, they’ve already done their big Suicide Squad arc, so perhaps we don’t need Amanda Waller anymore. It’s fishy, to say the least.
On the whole, this week’s Arrow accomplished a lot because it continues to steamroll through subplots. The spectre of Damien Darhk still looms over Team Arrow, but they seem to be very good at finding non-Hive diversions that line up perfectly with all the flashbacks. We’ve just barely reached the halfway point of season 4, so if they are setting up a climactic face off with Darhk, they’ve got plenty of time. Next week’s episode is another villain of the week with The Calculator, but it also intends to bring back Nyssa (Katrina Law) and Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). So it’s more of Team Arrow getting all of its pieces back in place before the big home stretch against Darhk. At some point they will get back to Darhk, and Oliver’s campaign to become Mayor, and the questions about what’s going on with Thea’s bloodlust. All of it will be resolved. Probably.
What did you watch last night?