Season 4 of The CW’s Arrow has had its highs and lows. Here is Part 1 of this week’s breakdown of what in particular worked, didn’t, and needs to happen next for Arrow after the events of “Code of Silence.”
What Worked: The first stunt sequence of the episode had some impressive moments. Sure, it also featured Laurel in all black leather clearly silhouetted against the background of a brightly lit marquee, but there were redeeming factors. Thea zooming out of the back of the trusty Team Arrow van on her bike was fun, and Oliver’s epic motorcycle jump was worth a rewatch. The subsequent hand-to-hand parking lot melee felt more like choreographed action for the sake of action, but the sequence got off to a solid start.
There was actually quite a lot of action in “Code of Silence,” and the action that worked best featured John Diggle as Spartan. A real sense of danger was present when Digg faced off against the man with the sledgehammer – who shall henceforth be known here as Sledgehammer Man – that wasn’t there in most of the other stunts. Sledgehammer Man was the scariest member of the Demolition Team by virtue of a sledgehammer blow being a heck of a lot harder to recover from than a flesh wound from a nail gun.
In fact, any member of Team Arrow other than Digg would have been flattened like a masked pancake against Sledgehammer Man. Even Oliver doesn’t have the size or bulk to take some of the hits that Digg took, and seeing Digg take advantage of Sledgehammer Man’s weaknesses and turn the tables in their final showdown was super satisfying. Besides, considering that Oliver and Thea have quivers full of trick arrows and Laurel has her Canary Cry, Diggle deserved a toy of his own. He definitely gets the MVP for action in “Code of Silence.”
Seeing that Team Arrow is being vigilant about code names is a positive. Ruvé saying goodbye to Oliver, Thea, and Diggle at the debate hall shortly before being attacked by Oliver-, Thea- , and Diggle-shaped vigilantes is still pretty silly, but Team Arrow gets points for continuing with the code names.
The MVP for looking prettiest when facing a surprise glitter bomb goes to Oliver. There wasn’t a whole lot of intentional funny in “Code of Silence,” but watching the bright pink envelope explode glitter all over Oliver was worth a laugh, and Oliver does get points for being a good sport about all of Donna’s engagement party plans.
Thankfully, the engagement party allowed for even more impressive aesthetics than Oliver being showered with glitter. Emily Bett Rickards looked stunning throughout the soiree. This episode may have actually been better if a few certain other scenes were cut and replaced with a real-time breakdown of Felicity doing her hair for the celebration.
Felicity’s gorgeousness wasn’t exactly hindered by the fact that Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell continue to positively glow in their scenes together. For all of the contrivances that have sabotaged a lot of the Oliver/Felicity over the last few episodes, Rickards and Amell are as lovely as ever together. Rickards pulls such a warmth out of Amell that their scenes almost feel like they exist outside of the baby mama drama, and Amell has mastered the moony gaze as Oliver around Felicity. Their reactions to Curtis’ gift felt incredibly genuine. It’s almost possible to forget Oliver’s lies when he lights up around Felicity.
Almost. But that’s a topic for the “What didn’t work” article.
Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards as Oliver and Felicity were great together in “Code of Silence,” but the episode MVP was Willa Holland as Thea. The show has gotten exponentially better on the character front since bringing Thea in on the Team Arrow adventures, and Willa Holland is blossoming as she’s given more to do. Frankly, Holland deserves an award just for keeping a straight face when delivering the speech to Oliver about how lying is totally cool and he definitely shouldn’t tell the woman that he’s actively planning on marrying about his secret kid. Considering that most of Thea’s troubles can be traced back to her rejecting the major lies told to her by loved ones, Holland may have felt like she was playing an entirely different character. Either way, she did a great job in the scene, so she gets the MVP.
Thea’s involvement in Oliver’s campaign has been wonderful, and “Code of Silence” did an excellent job of showing that Thea isn’t hanging around because of her flirtation with Alex. She wants her brother to get what he wants and is willing to go the extra mile to help him.
Felicity wearing the STAR Labs sweatshirt for her heart-to-heart with Donna was a cute detail. Emily Bett Rickards and Charlotte Ross continue to totally sell the daughter/mother relationship, and it was nice to see that Felicity is supportive of her mom’s relationship with Quentin despite the initial shock in the midseason finale. Laurel doing the same when she showed interest in getting to know the woman who had stolen her father’s heart was the sort of moment that takes two seconds but does wonders for fleshing Laurel out as a character.
Ambiguously Accented Woman continues to have such ineffectual characterization that she does not need to be known around these parts as anything other than “Ambiguously Accented Woman,” and that’s just become fun by this point. Never change, Ambiguously Accented Woman. Never change.
Arrow airs at 8 p.m. EST on The CW. Stay tuned to Examiner for looks at what didn’t work and what needs to happen next for Arrow after the events of “Code of Silence.”