Episode 311 “Left Behind”
[Photos: Cate Cameron & Ed Araquel/The CW]
Well, that didn’t take long. And it should have.
The question has been, “How long before Oliver comes back from the dead?” But before we get to that, we can talk about the episode in which everyone thinks Oliver Queen is dead.
There’s not much in the way of plot on this one, outside of a new thug wanting to take over the Glades (like, who doesn’t? That is one hot property…).
Danny Brickwell (known to his frenemies as “The Brick”) is one of these ne’er-do-wells who manages to stay out of jail because the people who work for him either never stay caught, or they don’t live very long after making a mistake that could blow Brick’s operation.
Brick is dead set on taking over the Glades, and to do that he manages to break into the police records warehouse and steal evidence from numerous cases, causing the judge to throw out said cases due to lack of evidence.
That’s the episode.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that, because the bulk of the hour covers Team Arrow’s attempt to fill the void left by Oliver’s absence. Diggle even puts on the hood at one point (it’s a little snug) and uses bow and arrow to help Arsenal (“I thought he was green.”) take out some bad guys at the beginning of the episode.
Felicity is the one having the worst time, and one can almost hear the Olicity crowd sharing words of encouragement to our favorite IT girl. But when Malcolm Merlyn shows up with the sword — the one Ra’s Al Ghul used to kill Oliver — the team has to accept the fact that Ollie’s never coming back. DNA testing on the blood shows a definite match.
As for Brick, he gets away in the end because Felicity uses her Oracle powers and slams a door before Diggle and Arsenal can stop the theft of the evidence. Which is a big no-no, for Diggle, as it demonstrates trust issues. Only Felicity isn’t having any of it anymore. She’s done. She’s quit of the whole thing because she doesn’t want to see any more of her friends die.
What’s interesting is to see how Felicity tries to cope with the loss by going to work. Where her new boss, Ray Palmer, is still trying to work out the bugs on his A.T.O.M. suit (at least it’s not as bad as F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M.). And that moment when a grieving Felicity realizes that Ray is about to embark on a personal mission to do the very thing that got Oliver killed, well… it’s just too much for her to handle. Refusing to help Ray with his debugging, she bugs out of the office as well. Felicity is going to be doing a lot of soul-searching, methinks.
There’s the question raised by the individual reactions to Oliver’s “death” — Felicity quits, Diggle has his “I still think of myself as his bodyguard” regret, and Arsenal just wants to punch something — and that question goes to whether or not Oliver’s crusade is worthwhile without him. Felicity would seem to think that Oliver is more important than the Arrow, and that goes to the overall theme of this season — can Oliver and the Arrow live separate lives? Can you have one without the other? And now that he’s missing, presumed dead, does his mission matter anymore?
Of course, this would have been a more pressing question had Oliver stayed dead longer.
See, this bugs me. Same as over at Gotham, where Jim Gordon was in uniform as a guard in exile for one episode. I know eventually the hero comes back to his regular stomping ground. But not only does it cheapen the absence to bring them back so quickly, but it also reduces the amount of time you spend developing the potential of the rest of the characters. Granted, Oliver’s still in the mountains, and he’s just been brought back from the dead by Katana and her husband Maseo, but it won’t be long before he’s back in Starling City.
In the meantime, after confirming that Oliver is dead and the blood debt is still in place, Merlyn tells his padawan Thea that it’s time to blow the popsicle stand and make tracks. And I’m really hoping that this is setting up a payoff for Thea that gives us a crazy insane sword fight followed by an arrow fight followed by parkour-laced fisticuffs that end with Speedy joining Team Arrow. Because right now, Thea Queen is almost as misused as Gotham‘s Barbara Kean. And that’s not a good thing.
The next few episodes are likely going to center on Laurel and her first outings as Black Canary as a result of Team Arrow falling apart. It goes back to the mission, the cause of protecting the city where the legal system ties her hands. Now, not only does she have the legacy of her sister, but also of her best friend (and former boyfriend), plus the drive to fight for “the little guy” that’s been part of the character from the beginning when she was at CNRI. And despite her show of support for Felicity in the refusal to give up on Oliver, she also has a practical side that can accept he’s dead.
Her arc will be tough, but if that last scene is any indication, her training is coming along nicely.