Season 4 of The CW’s Arrow has had its highs and lows. “Broken Hearts” on March 23 had some of each. Fans must now consider all of the places where Arrow might be going next. Some of those places are more necessary than others. So, here is a look at what absolutely needs to happen next on Arrow after the events of “Broken Hearts.”
Felicity needs to continue to save the city in her own way. She was completely correct when she pointed out to Oliver in “Broken Hearts” that she was a member of the team long before they became a couple. It’s perfectly understandable why she would need to take a breather from Team Arrow, and the woman has the brains and means to do a lot of good without huddling in a lair at all hours of the night.
Nobody needs to blame or shame Felicity for leaving. Team Arrow might be left with a sadsack of a Green Arrow for a time, but after Felicity was denied a point-of-view in two episodes that were pivotal to her character’s place on the show, she deserves to not have her choice condemned by her former comrades. In fact, the team aside from Oliver needs to remain friendly with Felicity. Arrow established that the members of Team Arrow are pals; given that Oliver basically got Diggle in the divorce in Season 3, Felicity deserves to have more than just Curtis and her mom as emotional support. She broke up with Oliver, not everybody. She shouldn’t be punished for doing what is best for her for once.
All of that said, Felicity does need to rejoin the team in the near future. Team Arrow really came together once Felicity joined Oliver and Diggle in the lair, and the dynamic will likely feel off without her. Besides, Felicity has always been the one member of the team who is utterly irreplaceable. Even the titular archer isn’t 100% necessary in all the field missions. Team Arrow has never had a backup Felicity, and they’ll need her back in order to function.
For his part, Oliver needs to learn how to function without dividing his efforts between losing fights as the Green Arrow and winning back Felicity. The breakup may have broken his heart and Stephen Amell may have turned on the Expression Of Overwhelming Heartbreak to maximum capacity by the end of the episode, but Felicity didn’t end their relationship just because she wasn’t in the mood for romance. She had valid reasons for leaving, and Oliver needs to really learn why his behavior was unacceptable to somebody unwilling to enable him. He was decidedly not ready to be a husband; he needs to focus on himself for a time instead of trying to woo back Felicity.
Oliver needs to not be dumb anymore. He gets a pass for his actions in “Broken Hearts” because his not-so-smart decisions were born of desperation and a broken heart, but he won’t get a pass if he starts making not-so-smart decisions on par with those that led to William’s kidnapping again. The show needs to let Oliver remember how to prioritize as a character rather than serve as a device for a “Gotcha!” plot if he’s to remain the hero that he’s become.
Oliver needs a new suit as the Green Arrow. The sleevelessness hasn’t gotten any less silly with time, and the crazy villainess complimenting him on the look should be a clue to him that maybe he could use a change. The suit makes Stephen Amell look much heavier and clumsier when he takes hits, and it’s difficult not to wonder after his first showdown with Cupid if the top doesn’t restrict his movements somehow. He doesn’t fight like he could in Seasons 1 – 3, and his bumbles in the field look all the worse without the sleek Arrow suit. He moves like a football player, not an archer.
Diggle needs a new helmet. The fabric of Oliver’s, Roy’s, and ultimately Thea’s hoods has made it possible to suspend belief about their peripheral vision, but Digg can’t exactly fold back the sides of his helmet to see more than what’s straight ahead. He definitely needs an upgrade.
Oliver and Felicity do need to get back together. Love them, like them, or hate them, Olicity as a couple have been pivotal to showing Oliver’s development. One of the first things that audiences learned about Oliver was that he was marooned on a hellish island after taking his girlfriend’s sister on a sex cruise, and his dalliances with women in the past and present have been pretty gross. Oliver has been monogamous and faithful to Felicity since the end of Season 2, and monogamy looks good on him as a man. Arrow is the story of a hero’s journey, and Felicity has been intrinsically tied to the hero’s upswing. They need to get back together.
Oliver and Felicity need to not get back together for a while yet. The show has already established via flashforward that both Oliver and Felicity survive whatever incident claims the life of the person in the grave, but the focus should be on the fallout of that death rather than on romance. Can they test the integrity of a few flat surfaces in an impassioned need for release in the Apartment Formerly Known As The Loft o’ Love to tune of their special theme? They sure can, but they broke up for real reasons. If those reasons are to be honored and if the melodrama is to be worth it, there needs to be more to the reunion than grief.
Thea needs to continue being awesome and adorable. “Broken Hearts” was emotionally exhausting as an episode, and Thea provided the touches of humor that kept it from being a total gloomfest. Speedy joining Team Arrow has been one of the highlights of Season 4, so Arrow needs to continue to play to her strengths.
Episodes need to be paced better. Timing issues can often be fixed with something as minor as a tweaked line in the script, and the show could feel much more realistic if the chronology was just written as making sense.
A Lance needs to die. The six month deadline for the big death is fast approaching, so any major foreshadowing of doom needs to not be a tease at this point. “Broken Hearts” was filled with heavy hints that one of the Lances is going to pay the ultimate price for publicly turning against Damien Darhk, and the episode successfully framed the courtroom drama as to make it feasible that the bad guys would target either of the two. Only time will tell if Arrow does what is necessary and pays off on its own storytelling by killing Laurel or Quentin.
Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW. For the breakdown of the good and bad of this episode, check out ‘Arrow’ S04E16: What worked in ‘Broken Hearts’ and ‘Arrow’ S04E16: What didn’t work in ‘Broken Hearts.’