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ARROW “Underneath” Review

By on May 4, 2017

Arrow -- "Underneath"-- Pictured (L-R): Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Robert Falconer/The CW --

By Justin Carter

Underneath

Arrow is defined by three things. The first is obviously its titular character and building him up to the hero he must be in the comics, which the show has been doing pretty well. Second is examining how his actions have affected and inspired those around him, which seasons 2, 4, and the current season have done well, with entertaining results. And then there’s the relationship between Oliver and Felicity, which the show has had a rocky relationship exploring thus far.

On one hand, the “will they/won’t they” trope only lasted the first three seasons before they thankfully got together. (Though that wasn’t without its faults, what with how Ray was written and received.) Season four, unfortunately, made the mistake that several other TV shows made and wasn’t content with just letting their power couple be together and eventually get married. So an illegitimate son was added into the mix, and the two of them broke up for good. Oliver and Felicity have spent a large chunk of season five apart from each other, both having their own relationships outside of one another — and I use that term loosely. I still couldn’t tell you a thing about Billy or Susan besides their jobs and how Prometheus used them to hurt Team Arrow and Oliver.

In theory, an episode like “Underneath” is something that Arrow has been needing all season, especially given the nature of the run of recent episodes, because as much as the new members of Team Arrow have settled in quite nicely (Oliver and Diggle have further cemented their brotherly love), the strained relationship between Oliver and Felicity is something that’s been boiling under the surface and begging to be addressed. Since the arrival of Helix, the relationship between them has gone from friendly exes to outright hostility, and trapping the two of them together in the Bunker with zero power in the building while everyone else tries to get them out is as good a place as any for them to air out their grievances over the last two or three years.

We certainly get that by the time things are all said and done, it’s just that the episode feels very….obvious, I guess. Without the genuine looming threat of Prometheus showing up in the Bunker to mess with Oliver and Felicity, the tension comes from their failed attempts at escaping and when they’ll run out of oxygen to even so much as walk. In between these moments are flashbacks to a year prior after Damien Darhk’s been killed, and the sexual tension between the hero and hacker are so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Even Curtis can see it, so he engineered a scenario where the two of them are alone with some wine, and they do indeed end up having sex. However the moment doesn’t amount to anything other than what’s essentially breakup sex. It’s a weird sequence of events that feels like the show is trying too hard to say that the romance between these two isn’t completely gone, but by the end of the episode, Oliver and Felicity still aren’t back together. However the chances of that happening within the next three episodes has hopefully risen significantly.

In the end, how much you liked last night’s “Underneath” depends on what you wanted out of Oliver and Felicity stuck in the Bunker together. If you were hoping for them to kiss and makeup, then you were probably satisfied. If, on the other hand,  you were hoping for a thrilling 44 minute episode of television … yeah, you should just be looking forward to next week.

Additional Notes

  • Dinah jokes that Curtis and Rene would make a cute couple someday, and I would be interested to see if the show actually follows through with that? They’re the only two members of the new team who seem to have any extended periods of time together, and it would certainly be something for a superhero show to have two queer men of color.
  • Speaking of couples, Diggle and Lyla work out their morality issues! Good for them, because neither of them really have a leg to stand on in that argument.
  • Oliver makes a throwaway line in the beginning about Prometheus going to find William, and it turns out that he actually does go and find William at episode’s end.

 

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