Don’t accuse “Arrow” of being subtle. Lying, secrets and trust are mentioned enough times in the Wednesday, Feb. 17 episode, 414, “Code of Silence,” they might as well be screaming that Felicity is about to find out about Oliver’s kid. Oh, and HIVE enlists the Demolition team to blow up buildings all over the city. As for the flashbacks, Oliver’s still on the island.
First, a quick breakdown of the action in this “Arrow” episode. Following their initial meeting pre-debate, Oliver suits up with the team and follows Ruve, only for her to have ghosts to unleash on them. By the time they take out the ghosts, Ruve is gone. HIVE’s next moves entail Damien taking out a man who questions having their control of City Hall resting on his wife from across the world and trying to blow up Lance by luring him in with a fake report of a break-in. The team traces the call back to the Demolition team’s hideout, and they just barely make it out – with Thea grabbing a laptop of which they put nails through the hard drive – before it blows.
Thanks to some help from Curtis, they figure out the next target is the site of the debate – minutes before it’s scheduled to begin. After evacuating the building – with Ruve insisting that Oliver not make it out alive – the team takes on the Demolition team, with an assist from Lance, and the debate goes on as planned, with Oliver being declared the winner in a news report. However, HIVE’s not done yet. Damien Darhk uses what he earlier calls “an earlier birthday present” and as the hour ends, he has William in his custody and is introducing him to his daughter, claiming that his mother asked them to look after him and he’ll be staying for a while.
Oliver does get some good pointed comments in to Ruve: “The people destroying our homes need to be fought in the light of day,” echoing his message earlier this season as Damien watched his speech and telling the “dark horse” that the applause before the debate is almost enough to bring the house down, emphasizing the “almost.” However, what is a bit confusing is that Ruve didn’t want Oliver to make it out of the building alive, yet her husband had to already have put the wheels in motion to get William from Central City by that time. What would the point of taking William be if Oliver died in an explosion? Is that point of contention a sign that there’s going to be friction for the Darhks?
Before getting to the disappointing part of the hour, let’s take a moment to celebrate Curtis (who is pretty close to getting his own nickname, with Oliver calling him “terrific”). When Felicity stops by to get his help with the laptop from the Demolition team, he’s working on a wedding present for her, and that turns into an engagement gift that he presents her with at the engagement party: an implantable bio-stimulant. It takes Felicity a moment to realize that she’s holding the key to her walking again in her hand. In the perfect world, it will work in time for her to walk down the aisle once it’s implanted into her spine, he explains. He needed a power source that would last a lifetime (the Palmer Tech power cell). While Curtis points out that is still has to work, Felicity is optimistic that it will. While Curtis being the one to figure out a way for Felicity to walk again (and that it would be in some way tied into the big Palmer Tech presentation) isn’t much of a surprise, it’s a much-needed moment of happiness before what’s to come (namely, Felicity finding out Oliver’s been lying to her for months). And after that? No one will ever be able to get Felicity a gift that tops that.
Moving closer to the parts of the episode that leave the heart heavy, Oliver and Felicity continue to be cute and in love, as they have been thus far this season. When the team brings Felicity the laptop with nails in it, she remembers a different laptop with holes in it from a different weapon. “The first time we met, the first thing you asked me to do was pull data off a damaged laptop. It’s kinda romantic.” And the two of them look like the lovesick fools they are at that memory. Donna calls them the couple that everyone believes in. Oliver tells her she’s the only voter that matters. Unfortunately, in a way, Oliver’s lying is tainting these moments because it’s hard not to think about that hanging over their heads, yet to be revealed.
Meanwhile, with a target painted on his back, Lance decides to protect Donna by taking a step back, only he does it in the worst possible way: by lying to her – and she knows it. “My ex-husband was a lying son of a bitch,” she tells him. “Only two good things came out of that marriage: my daughter and my BS detector, which is flawless, and right now? It’s red-lining.” She gives him the option of respecting her enough to tell her the truth, but when he keeps quiet, she walks out.
Donna later admits to her daughter that she thought that she’d finally found the one man who wouldn’t lie to her, that she has been living vicariously through Felicity, going over the top with her engagement party, because she doesn’t think she’s going to find a love like her and Oliver’s. Because Felicity knows why Lance is doing what he’s doing, she suggests that he has a good reason for the lies, that he’s doing it to protect her. But by the time of the engagement party, Lance tells Donna the truth, including that he was working for HIVE. She’s understanding, and at least one Smoak relationship is going to survive lying. With these scenes in this episode and her reaction to her ex-husband’s return in “Sins of the Father,” Charlotte Ross has excelled at showing the different sides of Donna Smoak. Don’t even try to mess with her or her daughter.
But is Felicity’s? Here is where “Arrow” is not subtle. There’s Donna telling Lance he either respects her enough to tell her the truth or he doesn’t. There’s Lance telling Oliver he’s lucky he’s with someone he doesn’t need to keep secrets from. There’s Donna saying that Felicity and Oliver don’t lie to each other. There’s Oliver telling Lance that a lie isn’t wrong if it’s for the good of someone he loves. (And it seems that Lance commenting that Oliver looks “healthy,” meaning he’s not burdened by secrets, is supposed to suggest that it’s okay that Oliver’s lying to Felicity?) So, in theory, are these things and comments from previous episodes – marriage is about getting through the hard times, finding the best way out of an impossible situation – meant to foreshadow how Felicity should react?
But here’s the thing. It has gotten to the point that any attempt to justify Oliver not telling Felicity about William is utterly ridiculous. (Hey, at this point, all of Star City is going to know about William before she does.) Barry knows. Malcolm knows. (Considering Oliver just chopped his hand off, maybe he should be a little bit more concerned than he seems to be that he knows. It’s not like Malcolm’s a trustworthy guy.) Now, thanks to the check Moira wrote out to Samantha and Thea’s work for the campaign to uncover what the opposition finds on Oliver, she knows. When she confronts Oliver about William, he admits that he’s his son and tells her Samantha’s terms. How can he marry Felicity with this lie between them, he wonders, but Thea argues it’s not a lie, but him keeping a promise he made to the mother of his child, someone who only knew him as the rich playboy. His sister is right that anyone in his life becomes a possible target, but she thinks he’s doing the right thing for his son by keeping him a secret. For Oliver, that’s exactly what he needed to hear.
Yet, it makes no sense. There doesn’t seem to be any logic in Thea now knowing and telling Oliver he shouldn’t tell Felicity because William needs to be a secret. Felicity can obviously keep a secret, just taking into consideration that she’s been working with Oliver and Diggle for years. And why is it more important to keep a promise he made to the woman who kept William a secret from him all these years than to not lie to the woman he wants to marry (so badly, he’s the one who went to her in the last episode and proposed again because he wants it to happen soon)? Considering Thea knows what it’s like to be lied to, it’s disappointing to see her take that stance.
“Arrow” season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 14 “Code of Silence”? What do you think of the fact that Oliver still hasn’t told Felicity about William?