“Love is dead.” So says Cupid in the Wednesday, March 23 episode of “Arrow,” 416, “Broken Hearts,” but Oliver’s hoping that is not the case for him and Felicity and tries to use a fake wedding to make her see that she should give him another chance. Meanwhile, Laurel returns to the courtroom to hopefully get Damien Darhk locked up, but things get shaky on the witness stand. Oh, and Oliver and the flashback girl steal a magical totem from Reiter. (There, flashbacks recapped.)
It’s all about consequences for Oliver and Lance in this “Arrow” episode. The former has to face the aftermath of lying to Felicity about William, while the latter must be willing to face possible prison time himself for doing what Darhk wanted under duress. Lance is, because he knows that they need Darhk behind bars, but for Oliver, he’s more focused on getting Felicity back, on making promises that she just doesn’t see him keeping, of finding a way to move past this too quickly for the hurt that is evident for both parties.
It was only a few episodes ago that Oliver was telling Felicity that she didn’t have to be funny with him, but now that they’re no longer together, she’s trying to hide how she feels as she packs up the loft, choosing instead to focus on what need to be done: moving efficiently, cancelling the wedding venue and uninviting guests. “I was a part of the team before we were together,” she reminds him when he says he’ll see her when he sees her. “You are a part of the team, forever and always,” he assures her, words that are more suitable for a relationship than a partnership.
But as much as she is still a part of the team, it’s not as easy as just saying the words. First, someone has to tell the others, and that falls on Felicity. (It seems like the hardest parts are falling on her because telling people is difficult, facing the “why” and “what happened” questions, and Oliver’s struggling with accepting that they aren’t together anymore, something that comes up throughout the episode.) While Felicity doesn’t want to talk about it, Diggle checks on Oliver and tries to offer assurances that she’ll come around and to give her time. Oliver seems to be too focused on that, on her eventually coming around and seeing this more as an obstacle than the end of something, because he points out that she wants to stay on the team.
Yes, Oliver’s hurting, and it’s good to see Diggle there for him, but isn’t anyone going to be there for Felicity? This is starting to feel like everyone’s just waiting for Felicity to get over the lie, and no one has even really talked to her about how she feels, as she put her feelings aside to find William in the immediate aftermath of finding out and here, with Cupid’s return, has little say in the role she must play to trap her.
The team finds out Cupid’s back when she leaves a couple’s bodies posed in the shape of a heart with a note, “Love is dead.” “Maybe she’s not so insane after all,” Felicity decides, one of several pointed remarks she makes throughout the hour. (This isn’t new; comments like this are common for her when she’s hurting.) After Thea figures out Cupid’s going after celebrity couples, they manage to save her next victims, but she gets away. And with Thea advising him to let Felicity know with words that he wants to get back together, Oliver takes the opening when they find a newspaper clipping of their engagement in Cupid’s lair and decides, “We need to get married.”
Felicity is really left with no say in this. Thea and Diggle agree with Oliver’s plan; they don’t have any other leads, they can’t put innocents in danger and they’ll have their backs. Tomorrow, Oliver decides, and in fact, they have a venue because he hasn’t cancelled it yet. If he did, it would mean it’s over, he admits to Felicity. “It is over,” she tells him.
While Felicity wants the “ceremony” over as quickly as possible, keeping her “vows” to the minimum and honest to how she’s feeling at the moment (“Oliver, you have many qualities, many astonishing qualities, and I for one cannot wait to move on to the next chapter”), Oliver uses the opportunity to speak from the heart and try to appeal to her: “Felicity, before I met you, I had a plan. I had a way that I was going to be. But then you walked into my life – or I showed up at your cubicle, and you changed everything. I was in the darkness, but with your kindness, your generosity, your compassion, your intelligence, your wit and your trust, you brought me into the light. You let me know that I deserved it. You were that light. And don’t know if I deserve that trust, if I deserve you – I probably don’t – but whatever has happened, whatever will happen, the way that you made me feel is the best part of my life. You can ask me to say that I don’t love you, but I will never lie to you again. You are my always, and I just want the chance to be yours.”
Cupid interrupts, with plans to blow up the building, to blow up their “fairytale” and show everyone that love is a bullet to the brain, that true love is a joke and love is death. However, Felicity steps forward and tells her it’s not: “Love is real. Love is life itself and if I die tonight, it’ll be okay. Because I was one of those people lucky enough to have experienced it. From the moment he walked into my life, everything changed. I became a person that I didn’t even know I was capable of becoming. I became the very best version of myself. That would have never been possible without our love. Our love gives my life meaning, gives my life purpose, and it brings us more joy than you could ever take away form us and it’s worth living for.” Just as Cupid says that she knows how to make a girl believe in love again, Thea and Diggle attack, and the team captures her.
Unfortunately, Oliver and Felicity’s relationship can’t be fixed so easily. As touching as his vows were and while he meant every word he said, she loves him with everything in her, but what she said doesn’t apply to them. She can’t be with him, and she can’t marry him. It’s not a question of his love for her. No one is going to question that Oliver loves Felicity. Instead, it’s a question of his actions, of his tendency to default to the man on an island, alone, and he’ll once again decide to keep something from her. It’s the life, and she was wrong to think that they could have it all, the job and each other.
And it’s too hard for her to be there with him every night and not be with him. He managed before she was part of the team, and he will again. Not giving up makes him a hero, but he can’t fix this, and she needs him to keep the ring for good this time. “I don’t want to let you go,” he says as she’s walking away. “I don’t want to let you go, but I’m already gone,” she tells him. But despite this heartbreak, is there hope to be found in the fact that they’re in the limo together in the flashforward? Maybe this will be the push Oliver needs to truly be “Oliver 2.0” and not be the man he became because of the island.
Elsewhere, Laurel makes a return to the courtroom – finally. The show needs to remember more often that Felicity isn’t the only one with a day job, though there is a tendency for it to only come up when it’s relevant to the plot. These people do need to make money somehow (though it is a bit too easy to just point to Felicity’s bank account when the question of money comes up this season). However, things get off to a shaky start when Darhk’s lawyer declares that they want to focus on a motion to dismiss and claims that Darhk is really “Kenneth” from Markovia and was being held captive along with William. That’s all too common, unfortunately, the villain suddenly having this other identity with papers to prove it when it comes to facing down the law.
As preliminary hearings begin, Laurel puts Diggle on the stand to talk about how Darhk kidnapped him, Thea and Felicity from the holiday party, but Darhk’s lawyer counters with questions about how Oliver’s paying him after he lost his job and a signed affidavit from Thea’s dealer about them buying cocaine from him. And it’s not like she can get anyone else in attendance at the holiday party to testify; they’re all too scared.
Lance then volunteers to take the stand himself, to testify against Darhk and HIVE, including his involvement, even though it could likely mean going to jail. If his cell is next to Darhk’s, it’s worth it, he argues. Though Laurel is against it, she really has no other option. “I made those decisions, I should pay the consequences to them,” Lance insists, and Laurel only agrees if he testifies he acted under duress because her life was threatened. He does, and when Darhk’s lawyer tries to tear him down, he fails, because, as Lance points out, why would he risk what he’s risking if it weren’t true?
And it’s because his testimony is so compelling that Darhk is going to go to trial. The judge believes him because he’s a credible witness as a police captain and he’s willing to incriminate himself to see justice done. However, he is going to face an IAB investigation. At least, Darhk is behind bars – but once he gets to his cell, he takes a ring out of his mouth and smiles. Uh-oh.
“Arrow” season 4 airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 16 “Broken Hearts”?