WARNING: This review contains spoilers
As Damien Darhk promised in “Blood Debts,” we were treated to a reprieve of his antics this week on Arrow, allowing for a more character driven episode. However, we still saw our share of baddies and spilled blood.
This week’s episode focused again on Andy and Diggle’s relationship. It would be easy for Arrow writers to cast Andy as a pure villain. I mean, he did abandon his family, took part in illegal activities while in the military, and worked for Darhk, so he is a bad guy, right? Well, thankfully the writers don’t necessarily see it that way. While addressing his misdeeds, Arrow also refuses to put him in a box and, like many of their past baddies, allows him to be morally complex and ultimately capable of redemption. It’s a testament to the quality of this show that its characters whether “hero” or “villain” have both good and bad qualities to them, just like real people.
Another prinicipal member of Team Arrow was also confronted with her past in this episode. Felicity, now bound to a wheelchair after the shooting, is struggling to adjust to her injury and re-evaluating her role on the team. Despite Oliver’s assurances that Felicity should get back to work with them and her superpower is her mind, which is unaffected, she doesn’t feel ready. In fact, she is being haunted by her old self. Literally. Thanks to hallucinations brought on by her pain medications Felicity’s being visited by her former Goth hacker self, someone who’s frankly a lot less pleasant than the Felicity we’ve come to know and love. She’s angry, saucy, and bitter. Overwhlemed, Felicity yells at her to shut up and leave her alone, only for Oliver to think those comments were meant for him. Goth Felicity accuses her of living a lie and becoming only a shadow of her former self. We’re not heroes, she tells her, and pretending to be one hasn’t done you any good.
Rather than give into self-pity though, Felicity realizes this is her now. She likes playing hero and helping people. She’s not the same selfish, angry person she used to be. She tells Oliver this proudly this and that she’s ready to return to the team. Upon seeing his hesitation, she sees minds him that what happened to her isn’t his fault or hers, it’s Darhk’s. And they’ll get him, because that’s what they do. She then proceeds to guide the Arrow and company from behind the scenes in their take down of Shadowspire, gaining the codename Overwatch in the process.