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Arrow 1x14: The Odyssey

Lian Yu
I really did think about flipping my usual review style and talk about the island stuff in relevant chunks while having one section just called “Starling City” but ultimately I don’t actually have that much to say about what happens on the island. For an island story it’s fine and good enough, it continues are introduction to Slade and set up where the Yao Fei story will go. Ollie’s development continues at a reasonable pace, even if his somewhat sudden turn back to focusing on Laurel does kind of come out of nowhere.

Really quite a few things are handled fairly clunkily. When Slade asks how Oliver has survived the island for six months my reaction is “it’s been six month? Yeah I’d be wondering that too.” I can maybe allow it on the assumption the Oliver spent more time recuperating from his various injuries than we saw but it feels very forced and not really in keeping with what we saw. The landmines make for a decently tense scene but then are just ignored the rest of the episode, so they kind of feel like they’re setup for stuff we’re going to see months and years down the road.

Lastly, the music in this one seemed really weird and sounded like sirens, I don’t remember noticing it so much in the Starling City scenes but it was definitely noticeable here.

Moira
Moira manages to lie pretty effectively in the face of the Hood, which does speak to a couple of things about her character. One; that we really can’t take anything she says to be the truth without suspicion since even under pressure she’s able to stick to the lies. And two; that she’s always doing exactly what she does here, hiding behind her kids.

But take a moment and think about how weird it must be from her perspective. The vigilante seems to have a weird fixation with her family, saving Oliver and now really wanting to know what happened to Walter. The Hood has been targeting the list and until now hasn’t come after them, is in fact apparently defending them. And here the murderous hooded man who just came in through the window on the 39th floor actually is placated by her bringing up her children. Oliver does say later that that’s not something most people do, but she has no way of knowing that.

OTA...finally
Knowing Felicity’s past as we now do, her reluctance here to jump fully into Team Arrow (I guess it’s Team Hood for now) reads differently than I’m pretty sure it did initially. It seems like perfectly reasonable reluctance to get involved with such a debatable operation; she looks so small holding Ollie’s bow and wanders around the lair debating if the killing Oliver does is something they should really be okay with. Now it can be read just as much as holding herself back from taking risks the way she did with Cooper. Not that she apparently hesitates for a second about hacking the police servers and doing Ollie’s cover-up work for him.

The Diggle character work here will all come up again later, but it fits the story here; with Felicity here he finally has someone besides Oliver to talk to about what they do and that probably helps him deal with some of his own concerns that mirror Felicity’s. He is okay with the way things are for their team, but he doesn’t see it as a good thing to bring Felicity further in than she already is. They need her on the fringes of their group, not in the heart of it; even though that’s exactly where she’s going to be before long.

On first viewing I came out of this episode slightly shipping Felicity/Digg, I guess now that’s sort of a consequence of him being the first one of them she interacts with honestly since Ollie is unconscious most of the episode. Because looking at it now, once Oliver is awake they are adorable together, even if Felicity still doesn’t seem to be framed as a love interest for him. And that realization makes me wonder if part of Digg’s reservations about bringing Felicity on board come from how the last girl Oliver brought into things was someone he was involved with Digg and isn’t sure that isn’t happening with Felicity who probably (especially in his view) stands to lose a lot more that Helena did; Helena may have been a risk to them but Helena had been broken by the world, Felicity hasn’t.

I did notice one small thing, that flashback-Ollie and present-Felicity each are tasked with performing their first emergency medical procedures, and both of them find a way to power through the strain of it. Sometimes it’s in the small things.


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