Arrow: “Underneath”

arrowseason5

Jim’s Thoughts

If, during this week’s Arrow, you heard a loud crack echoing through the trees, that was the sound of the camel’s back breaking. I got about twenty minutes into the episode and gave up.

The absolute last thing this show needed was an episode dedicated to Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. By that, I mean I would have preferred a Flash/Supergirl style musical episode.

Felicity lecturing Oliver about how she always backs him and trusts him isn’t just boring, it’s blatantly false, and anyone who’s paid attention to the show this long knows it. I already dislike this couple. I’m not rooting for them, and seeing this quibbling play out while Chase is in play is just aggravating.

Romantic subplots have ruined Arrow and Flash for me, because they’re not even subplots anymore. They’ve become the focus of the show. I tuned in at the beginning for shows about comic book characters I happen to like. I accepted that being aired on The CW would mean they’d be different versions of the characters, made palatable for wider audiences than just comic book readers. They’ve gone too far now. Arrow and Flash aren’t DC Comics shows anymore. They’re Beverly Hills 90210 clones with a DC paint-job. I could continue to trash the shows, but it’s a more realistic, and fair, thing to simply admit I’m no long their target audience and to let it go.

Kyle’s Take

I agree with Jim’s sentiment of these shows as 90210 rip-offs with the caveat that I’d prefer five or six Flash/Supergirl musicals to “Underneath.” Arrow can’t let Olicity die. As a result, “Underneath” was dreck. The abysmal quality of this episode goes beyond the fact that I’m no longer part of Arrow’s target audience. This episode used flashbacks for one of the worst possible reasons: Ollie and Felicity’s bonus night.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, bonus night is a one night stand you have with your ex and you remain friends afterward. We didn’t need to see that. The sexual encounter didn’t change the future in any way. If it was a minute detail that didn’t need to be mentioned in the previous twenty episodes (around 900 minutes) this season, because it had no bearing on anything, why waste fifteen minutes?

The present-day garbage wasn’t much better. Did you forget Felicity has a computer chip that allows her to walk? Well, Arrow won’t hesitate to flip the switch on Felicity’s legs to get Ollie and Felicity talking. Did Ollie and Felicity resolve their issues by the end of the episode? For the most part. Was Felicity walking again at the end? You bet she was. She’ll be ambler until the next time Felicity and Ollie “need” to work through some issues. It’s pandering. Screw that. It’s insulting.

Fortunately, the Diggle drama ended—for now. When John chastised Lyla of holding people prisoner without a trial last week, I wondered if Arrow would make the connection that Ollie has Deathstroke and Captain Boomerang imprisoned under similar circumstances. “Underneath” didn’t bring attention to that fact. It opted to go with the blanket, “Ollie does things that are morally gray, and you support him.” I’d say, Arrow got something right, except that the Diggle argument played out too much like Olicity’s. Both conversations ended with Ollie and Diggle conceding the point, but Lyla made a good point, albeit a broad one, while Felicity had no leg to stand on. Ba-dum-bump (rimshot). I’m sorry if that was a tasteless pun, but Arrow makes it too easy.

“Underneath” hinted at the episode’s stinger somewhere in the eye of the melodrama. The stinger was the only okay thing in this episode, but it’s not enough to keep me interested. I may need to stop writing about this show or else I’ll include more tasteless puns.

Oh, and I had original written, this episode used flashbacks for the worst possible reason. I changed it to “one of” the worst possible reasons because I didn’t want to challenge Arrow with finding one far worse. Their writing staff may be able to find one.

Thanks for reading.

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