Spoilers ahead for “Beacon of Hope,” the latest episode of The CW's Arrow!
The short version: Felicity is trying to save the city through her work with Palmer Tech, but things go haywire when the Bug-Eyed Bandit busts out of prison to try and steal the high-tech chip that allows Felicity to walk again. Team Arrow is on the case, of course, and Curtis Holt (hilariously) helps fill the void left behind by Felicity. All in all, a stellar entry.
The Bug-Eyed Bandit vs. Felicity Smoak
The bee puns were flying fast and furious this week, as Walking Dead alum Emily Kinney returned to the Arrow-verse, making the jump from The Flash. Being an ace hacker, she manages to fake her release papers and walk right out the prison’s front door. Her target, now that she’s flown the coop? Palmer Tech, where Felicity Smoak is sporting the only working prototype for a device that can allow her to walk after being paralyzed. The reasoning is a little thin from the start, though Brie Larvan eventually reveals she’s suffering from a tumor that will ultimately paralyze her — and the only fix would be the high-tech chip currently installed in Felicity’s spine.
As far as motivation is concerned, it works well. It gives Larvan a reason to go after Felicity (because at this point, she doesn’t even know Felicity helped Team Flash take her down) and allows Felicity a chance to shine while separated from Oliver (while also digging into her role at Palmer Tech). Kinney is, as always, a ton of fun in the role. She’s deliciously crazy and weird, and she’s easily one of the most bizarre (but fun) villains in the canon.
This episode also makes it clear Felicity is apparently done with Team Arrow. There aren’t any hard feelings, per se, but she’s wanting to help the city through Palmer Tech. It’ll be interesting to see where this story goes, and if Felicity really is done with the superhero nightlife. As CEO of Palmer Tech, that’s more than enough motivation to keep her in the ensemble mix, so they could conceivably spin her character off the team and still retain her as a player in the overall narrative. It’d be tricky, but it could work.
Curtis Holt is awesome, and needs to be a series regular pronto
With Palmer Tech under attack, Curtis uses his technical know-how to track down the Green Arrow ‚ stumbling right into the Arrow Cave and learning the secret identities of Oliver, Laurel and...that other guy (Diggle, heehee). With the team in desperate need of an ace hacker, Curtis embraces the excitement and manages to do a pretty good job of helping save the day. He brings the same kind of levity Felicity’s character served, but in a fresh way. If they were testing him out as a potential Overwatch replacement, this audition seemed to go really, really well.
Regardless of whether Felicity returns to the fold, here’s hoping Curtis’ role continues to grow with Team Arrow. He was a breath of fresh air, no doubt. His one-liner game is also on point. Which, who knows? Could we be taking the first steps toward the introduction of Holt’s DC alter ego Mister Terrific, who becomes a hero in his own right?
Is Olicity really over?
Seriously, guys — are Oliver and Felicity done for real? This is certainly a plot point that will be a contentious one for fans, but if they actually do choose to keep them apart, it really does feel like an earned story. Oliver has been lying to Felicity for years (even with the best of intentions), and those choices finally caught up with him. But, as we saw in “Beacon of Hope,” Oliver has grown enough thanks to his relationship with Felicity that he might (ironically) be able to find happiness without her. Heck, who knows, they might actually circle back to Laurel? Hey, it’d be more true to the comic canon than Olicity. Personally, I’m torn — and certainly don’t envy the writers tasked with making these decisions.
The Flash influence is being felt big time
Despite the heaviness, this season of Arrow has certainly been influenced by the lighter tone of (more successful) sibling series The Flash. From the Voldemort/Harry Potter exchange, to Curtis’ manic pop culture references, to the myriad one-liners, and the awesome trick arrow plan pulled straight out of Independence Day — this show has absolutely found a more fun balance this season. Which, hey, it’s mostly been for the better (though the random bee warrior was just weird). But, for the most part, keep it up.
Line of the night: ”Curtis. Now is not the time for high-fives." - Oliver
Bonus round: ”This is why we leave the nicknames to Cisco." - Felicity
Latest odds on the mystery grave
Phew, who knows? Somebody is apparently being pronounced dead in next week’s episode, so there’s a chance we might finally get some answers. But, the usual suspects remain: Capt. Lance and Felicity’s mom (who was around again this week, which could be set-up work) feel like contenders — but it could be anyone, from Laurel to Diggle. Crazy theory: Maybe that flash-forward where Oliver talked to Felicity was a hallucination, and it’s been her all along? Anything is possible, here, folks.
What’s next? Someone apparently dies next week, so that’s big. The team also looks to be falling apart, as Diggle’s brother is (apparently?) still working for Damien Dhark’s forces and driving a wedge right into the middle of Team Arrow. Oh, and Dhark is apparently still in prison (and out of magic mojo), and Malcolm Merlyn seems to be happy to step into that power vacuum.
They’re setting up something big (obviously), and it should be dynamite to watch it play out.