Review: Dark Felicity Rises as ‘Arrow’ Plays ‘Dangerous Liaisons’
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Dangerous Liaisons”:
We immediately need to talk about Adrian Chase coding himself into a video game. In an abandoned arcade. In New Jersey. Don’t get me wrong, “Dangerous Liaisons” was a tremendous Arrow hour that dynamited Felicity’s place among the team, and perhaps even Diggle and Lyla’s marriage, but an on-the-run Adrian Chase set up an elaborate escape plan in a New Jersey arcade, complete with his own video game taunt. That is, by a country mile, the most unexpected thing that could have happened this week.
Coming back from a month-long break with the first of five final episodes, it’s probably no surprise that Chase himself doesn’t physically appear this week. Instead, Felicity’s descent into Helix finally comes to a head, trading in the last chips of Team Arrow loyalty for an chance to track Chase down once and for all. Sure, in-between there’s a dead A.R.G.U.S. agent, mercenaries chasing another, and a deadly prison break that could kill A.R.G.U.S. and Helix alike (not to mention Felicity herself), but it’s hard to overlook Felicity’s justification that Oliver inspired her to make hard choices over the years, no matter the cost. After all, it was only a few weeks ago that Oliver was cutting his own corners to unleash the Bratva on Prometheus, so no one exactly has the high ground to lecture her from.
Understandably, Felicity remains something of a polarizing figure for Arrow fandom. Early reception earned the one-off character a permanent place among the team, but tended to pull focus in later seasons with relationship drama between she and Oliver. Like most of Season 5, “Dangerous Liaisons” put that history to good use, especially as Helix feels more in step with Felicity’s talents than a bunker desk job could ever be. Ms. Smoak certainly isn’t about to suit up in this reality anytime soon, so it’s no wonder she’d take the risk of alienating her teammates to fight crime in her own way. Oliver wouldn’t do any different (even if Arrow always needs him to be right), and he knows she has him between a rock and a hard place. Or in this case, laser beams.
It’s definitely an hour for Arrow women making the hard choices their partners cant, as Lyla too came to moral odds with Diggle over A.R.G.U.S. imprisoning Felicity’s mystery hacker without due process*. We didn’t really get enough sense of who “Cayden James” was to understand the full weight of Lyla making these apparently Waller-esque choices, but David Ramsey and Audrey Marie Anderson have a much richer well of maturity and sadness to play between their characters that Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards, especially if Diggle and Lyla really have reached an impasse in their marriage.
*So long as we’re hung up on due process and black sites, anyone wanna take a drive to Central City and check out that particle prison full of windowless, bathroom free cells? No?
Breaking up family was very much a running theme tonight, so it made sense of “Dangerous Liaisons” to revisit (newly-elevated series regular) Rene’s home life from “Spectre of the Gun” as well. I’ll never say no to more Quentin, either, especially given the strong partnership the two have formed, but it felt like Rene and his daughter’s reunion was angling more to give at least someone a win this week. In any other episode, Rene would probably have decked Quentin for pushing so hard against his wishes, regardless of a happy ending.
Lastly, Helix turning on Felicity was probably the most obvious card left to play, and I’m admittedly surprised Felicity wouldn’t see it coming, let alone that Oliver would shrug off her return to the bunker. All the same, this really was a strong kick-off to the final five episodes, Chase or no, and Felicity working against the team is something Arrow hasn’t gotten to play with before. If “Dangerous Liaisons” is any indication, Felicity’s relationship with Oliver and the others could look very different next year.
Now, onto an entire Oliver-Felicity episode! Where’s a Prometheus video game when you need one?
AND ANOTHER THING …
- Maybe … maybe dial back Curtis’ interjections and run-on quips. One or two an episode, tops.
- Yes hello I hacked this elevator to knock a guard unconscious by moving at breakneck speed what is this “use a tranquilizer” you speak of
- I can’t be the only one who thought Rene’s “because I hurt her!” was going in a much darker direction at first.
- Nevermind where funding comes from for the bunker – does Oliver pay Curtis, Dinah or anyone? Does he “thank” them after each mission?
- Oh sure, secretive hacker organization breaking up with me on video chat, let me take this mysterious thumb drive and place it right into the bunker’s computer without second thought!
Arrow Season 5 will return on May 3 with “Underneath,” airing at 8:00 P.M. on The CW.
Check Out 100 TV Facts You May Not Know!