ARROW “FUNDAMENTALS” REVIEW
BY JUSTIN CARTER
“You’re the one enemy you can’t defeat.”
An episode of Arrow this season that delves into Oliver’s psyche and all the stress he’s been under makes a degree of sense. After all, he’s not just seeing his family crumble in front of him; he’s under threat of impeachment and is running out of people in his corner. Everything he worked for in being a better man over the last two years has backfired on him horribly, and while he’s changed, he’s just not emotionally equipped to deal with it. It’s only natural he would start getting pissy with Felicity and lash out at his son after being stretched too thin.
The best way to get this them of seep stress across is apparently via an episode largely devoid of everyone else. Save for a brief scene with Diggle, and short hallucinations of New Team Arrow, Felicity and Quentin get the most screen time here, while Oliver has one hell of a Vertigo-induced trip, featuring Adrian Chase.
All of this is, personally speaking, my type of storyline. The season may have fumbled the “People v Oliver Queen” story, but an “Oliver Queen v Oliver Queen” is one that doesn’t really need any buildup. And if there’s anyone worthy of bringing back to continue to break Oliver, Chase is the right man to do so since that’s what he did all of last season. Josh Segarra is clearly having fun just hanging out in the background like a little demon on Oliver’s shoulder, seeding his fractured mind with negative thought after negative thought. Watching Ollie go through a psychotic break is really painful to see after he’s spent so long trying to keep everything together. It’s no wonder he decides to put on his vintage Hood outfit and go on a one man rampage through the SCPD to take down Diaz when Chase is constantly showing up and insulting him.
“Fundamentals” does such a good job at showing Oliver’s break and how all the stress is getting to him that it’s unfortunate it doesn’t stick the landing. I understand the season now wants to be about “the People v Oliver Queen” and “Ollie v Himself.” But after getting a pep talk from Quentin multiple times and Felicity in the SCPD offices about how far he’s come and how his support system needs him as much as he needs them, going back to “one man army” Oliver is not the epiphany that he should have come to.
Oliver has never been a solo guy; even when he was giving awful excuses for his disappearances early into the series, he still had a support system of people that were there for him emotionally. There are few heroes, if any, that are truly solo acts, and Green Arrow has never been one of them. Trying to say otherwise is just wrong; and while I know all of this stuff will sort itself out to reunite the disparate parts of Team Arrow by season’s end, it does still feel regressive when the last season was all about Oliver learning to accept a new family into his life after the last one fell apart.
The Hood part of Oliver’s brain can say all he wants that the mission was never meant to include partners and apprentices, but that’s the only path that it could’ve taken. It’s time both Oliver and Arrow accept that.
- Colton Haynes is coming back next season as a regular. I know the general consensus is to let one of the newbies get the axe, but honestly, I wouldn’t mind if one of the veterans left.
- I can’t recall if the show ever gave us an in-depth look at a Vertigo trip before, but apparently that thing is wild if Oliver can go through all of that after passing out from exhaustion.
- Felicity’s whole spiel about her cure drink for hangovers and drugs, followed by a sheepish “drugs are bad” was perfect.
- Oh, Oliver’s impeached, which should feel like a bigger deal than it is. On the upside, one less thing for him to stress about.