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‘Arrow’ Review: “The Odyssey”

Arrow Review The Odyssey Felicity
The CW

Arrow’ lets loose another episode with its fourteenth outing of the series “The Odyssey,” as Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) finds himself grievously wounded and in need of Felicity Smoak (newly-minted series regular Emily Bett Rickards)’s help, while flashing back to his time on the island training with Slade Wilson (‘Spartacus‘ Manu Bennett) for a deadly mission to overtake an airstrip.

Last week’s ‘Arrow’ episode “Betrayal” saw Oliver’s vigilante association with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) putting her life at risk when Cyrus Vanch (David Anders) sought to make a name for himself in Starling City, while Diggle investigated Oliver’s mother to determine her involvement with the mysterious book of names.  So, what does the fourteenth episode of ‘Arrow’ bring?  Does it hit the same bulls-eye as the first 13 episodes?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Arrow’s latest episode, “The Odyssey!”

Holding his mother at arrow-point, Oliver demands answers to questions of “the undertaking” and Walter’s location, but Moira only cowers and begs the vigilante not to hurt her for fear of her children. Reluctantly, Oliver lowers his bow, and Moira takes the first opportunity to retrieve a hidden gun and fire a bullet into the vigilante, and call for security. Before she can react, the vigilante is already gone.

Entering her car in the downstairs garage, Felicity Smoak is stunned to find Oliver bleeding in the backseat, and insistent she only take him to the factory in the glades rather than a hospital. Shortly after, Diggle watches the report on the attack from the lair, before Felicity arrives and asks for help bringing in Oliver. Having prepared for such an event, Diggle wastes no time in breaking out the tools to operate on the unconscious Oliver, noting he’d survived worse.

Still unconscious, Oliver flashes back to his many training sessions with Slade Wilson, who urges him to take matters seriously before the attack on the airstrip in a number of days. Oliver wonders if it might be possible to get a message to Yao Fei, but Slade assures him their biggest problem will be dealing with the 10 men at the airstrip, and the one in the control tower behind bulletproof glass. Tasking Oliver with taking him out, Slade advises him to sleep, wherein he dreams of being in bed with Laurel, before being shot in the head.

Waking the next morning, Oliver and Slade head out on their mission through the woods, before Oliver accidentally activates an old land mine, unable to move. Three island guards walking nearby notice him, and observe the predicament before Slade ambushes them. Slade deftly moves Oliver off the mine, but it proves a dud regardless. Elsewhere, Edward Fyers (Sebastian Dunn) meets with Yao Fei in his tent, and tasks him with training men in use of the bow, honoring their arrangement to save a mysterious woman’s life.

Amusing himself by watching Oliver attempt to start a fire, Slade dismisses Oliver’s hopes of making it home to Laurel to make things right, believing people only look out for themselves. He explains that he and his original partner Billy Wintergreen (the man in the Deathstroke mask) were tasked with rescuing Yao Fei from the island before their plane was shot down, and Wintergreen accepted Fyers’ offer to defect, and turn on his partner. Later that night, the pair arrive at the airstrip, and observe the guards in need of subduing.

Back in the present, Felicty reveals to Diggle that she knew Oliver was at least hiding something, if not necessarily his vigilante crusade. Just then, Oliver goes into shock, forcing Diggle to utilize a defibrillator as Felicity desperately tries to restore the machine to working order. Back in the past, Slade takes out the guards on the ground while Oliver makes his way to the guard tower, but Oliver finds himself unable to subdue the guard. Slade intervenes and kills the tower guard, and leaves to make sure the rest of the airstrip is secure.

With Slade outside, Oliver uses the working phone to call a college-bound Laurel, but finds himself unable to say anything before Slade destroys the phone. Just then, the incoming plane radios the tower to check in, and recites a mysterious quote that Slade recognizes as a coded test to mark the landing strip as secure. Oliver just barely recognizes the line as a quote from ‘The Odyssey,’ and successfully manages to finish the phrase and green-light the incoming plane.

When Slade prepares to radio in an airstrike to kill Fyers and his men, Oliver protests the death of Yao Fei and realizes he can no longer remain the selfish person he was in his old life. Slade allows Oliver three hours to rescue Yao Fei on his own, as back in the present Felicity questions the multiple murders Oliver commits in his vigilante career. Diggle relays a war story of how taking lives made him question his own morality, but Oliver’s quest has proved the most righteous either of them have felt in some time.

Sneaking through the camp, Oliver confronts Yao Fei, but the man refuses to leave his post for fear of protecting someone close to him. Fyers enters the tent, as Yao Fei knocks Oliver out, waking up surrounded by the soldiers. Rather than forcing Oliver to fight Yao Fei again, Fyers instead pits Oliver against Deathstroke, who easily bests the young man despite Oliver’s continued taunts about the hooded figure’s true identity.  Just as the fight seems to be coming to a close, multiple explosions go off around the camp, scattering all the men, as Slade Wilson appears to confront his masked former partner.

Slade and the masked Wintergreen engage in a tense battle, though Slade eventually gets the upper hand and impales Wintergreen through the black eye of his mask. When Slade is shot through the arm by a stray bullet from Fyers, Oliver helps him escape, as they see their missed plane flying overhead. Later, Oliver treats Slade’s wound, as Slade explains that a bigger figure must be paying Fyers to perform his mysterious island operation with Yao Fei. Oliver and Slade shake hands on their strengthened partnership, as elsewhere Fyers’ employer berates him over the phone, and Fyers allows Yao Fei five minutes with the mysterious hostage: Yao Fei’s own daughter! The pair embrace, as we see a strange dragon tattoo on the young girl’s back.

In the present, Oliver wakes and thanks Felicity for her help, both healing him and upgrading his computer systems. Felicity in turn explains that she won’t join the men’s crusade, but aid in at least finding Walter, who was previously kind to her. In a moment alone Diggle worries about Oliver’s ability to protect Felicity, or see clearly regarding his mother’s involvement in everything, but Oliver forcefully protests that no other guilty people have pleaded for their children the way Moira did. Regardless of his mother’s culpability, Oliver reasons that they don’t yet know enough about “the undertaking,” leaving Moira off-limits for the moment. As he does, we see the same mysterious dragon tattoo on Oliver’s own back.

Oliver returns home to find Quentin taking Moira’s statement about the attack, and denies any knowledge of what happened. Moira tearfully hugs her son (right on the bullet hole, ouch!), as Oliver swears the hooded vigilante won’t bother her again.

Fourteen episodes into its run and newly-gifted with a second season, ‘Arrow’ has become fairly consistent in delivering solid episodes with otherwise weak villains, making “The Odyssey” all the more unique for keeping most of the action island-based. The island story’s prominence surprisingly makes “The Odyssey” among the stronger ‘Arrow’ episodes, well-utilizing established and earned character relationships to create the drama rather than flimsy, unrealized villains. It could become difficult to reconcile the ongoing island stories with Oliver’s mission five years later, but for now tonight’s episode went a long way toward solidifying relationships with both Felicity Smoak and Slade Wilson.

What say you?  Did you feel that ‘Arrow’ hit the mark with its fourteenth episode?  What did you like about “The Odyssey?” Join us next week for another all-new ‘Arrow’ episode recap of “Dodger” on The CW!

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