Review: ‘Arrow’ Gives Olicity Fans ‘Broken Hearts’ All Over Again
Arrow Season 4 has at best proven itself a bit more consistent in Season 4, largely owing to the presence Neal McDonough brings to Damien Darhk, making it all the more surprising that one of the season’s most effective hours doesn’t see him speaking a single word.
The Oliver Felicity-relationship has taken fans on quite a ride; once shipping a chemistry writers seemed unlikely to exploit, to outright embracing the pair last season, and now, perhaps walking away from it for good. TV is built on the push and pull of status quo, and Season 4 wouldn’t lean so heavily into the couple pushing forward, were it not to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. And in Arrow’s on straightforward sort of way, it makes sense that the first episode back from a breakup mini-hiatus would embrace “Broken Hearts” as its theme, returning a familiar face as well.
Amy Gumenick’s Cupid has never exactly felt well-drawn, that producers have more or less acknowledged her as a Harley Quinn stand-in for the Suicide Squad (tonight only referred to as Task Force X, because branding!), but the character’s pinpoint obsession with love offers a simple enough prism through which Oliver and Felicity would confront their current tension. It’s a bit questionable in some regards, that Felicity seems far less forgiving of Oliver’s secrecy than a few weeks ago, or that the two would risk the team’s functionality and safety by jumping right back into work, but it works as a means to an end. Forget dragging the awkwardness out a few weeks, “Broken Hearts” does not respect code for “I don’t want to talk about it,” and exacerbates the issue in forcing Oliver and Felicity through the motions of their own wedding.
Those particularly painful scenes stood out the most, to witness Oliver earnestly taking the opportunity to live out the wedding they might not have, or speak the vows he might not get to say, while Felicity seemed so tacitly dismissive. The sting even worsened when Cupid’s attack finally pushed Felicity to step up to the lovelorn villain, talking her down with equally earnest vows of a sort espousing the merit of hers and Oliver’s relationship, only to shoot his hopes down once more later. She’s right, though, some part of Oliver will always need to keep secrets locked away, and despite the tangible happiness they built outside of the vigilante lifestyle, there’s no un-ringing certain bells.
Fans won’t have an easy time letting go of the relationship, no more-so than Oliver or Felicity herself, but if we have to say goodbye, at least they made it hurt. The writers wouldn’t have done their job if “Broken Hearts” didn’t make us feel all four years of it.
On the other side of the hour, it was nice to see Arrow returning to some of the courtroom drama that permeated earlier seasons, to actually, you know, require evidence to put Damien Darhk away. It’s fortuitous timing that Daredevil gave us courtside seats to vigilante trials recently as well, enough that Laurel cross-examining her own father seems more ridiculous than it might have otherwise, but it definitely made for an effective use of the Lances. Too often, the pair seem relegated to exposition, and Quentin sacrificing his career made a nice payoff to aiding Darhk at the earlier of the season.
Still no real insight into who’s filling that grave a few months from now, and nothing concrete beyond an idol and a light show for the flashbacks, but I like that “Broken Hearts” kept things appropriately low-key, in order to give Oliver and Felicity’s breakup the brutal attention it deserved.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Cupid got an exceptionally creepy re-introduction, complete with her own title card, but the hour didn’t make much of her particular crazy shtick beyond it.
- So wait, was Darhk’s idol the same one from Oliver’s flashback? Did he mention coming across it before?
- Thea snark was on-point tonight.
- I … kinda forgot that Diggle had Thea buy a buttload of drugs for a sting.
- Oh come on, Cupid above all shouldn’t believe the Arrow and Green Arrow were separate people.
- Does … Darhk have a magic ring? Not sure what that was about.
Arrow Season 4 will return March 30 with “Beacon of Hope”, airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
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