Arrow: The Ultimate Odyssey
by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Arrow hit two very big, frustrating birds with one stone this episode by addressing two standout issues. One; the never-ending flashbacks. Two; Felicity’s ability to figure out that Oliver is more than just a playboy after being handed a bullet riddled laptop, a hard drive with military plans on it and a syringe filled with an illegal drug. And here we are given The Ultimate Odyssey.
The episode began with Moira shooting Oliver. Didn’t see that coming, but pretty glad that it did. What I did see coming was the fact that they’d try and trace the blood left after Oliver escaped the crime scene. What I also saw coming in the near future was that Felicity would soon be involved beyond her computer skills. So yes, I was ecstatic when Felicity’s car was the vehicle an almost-dead Oliver climbed into. So, away they went to his billionaire secret lair and temporarily transformed it into an emergency room. This episode continued with a flashback (as per usual) but unusually, the flashback was longer than the content of present world action. While Diggle and Felicity struggled to keep Oliver alive, he was thrown into the world of Purgatory. Talk about near-death experiences flashing before your eyes while you’re experiencing a near-death experience. One major question that came out of the flashback was: Why does Xao-Fei’s daughter look so guiltlessly evil? And why does she have the same tattoo as Oliver? There is definitely something larger at work here but I’m not sure about the extent of the evil. The “investor” on the other end of the phone to their favorite British mercenary makes me think that Starling City’s upstanding citizens may have a central role.
The flashback also brought Oliver’s strange fluctuation of awful luck to amazing luck to center stage. While stranded on an island (where he pointed out his only friend’s name is Wilson by the way), after being attacked by mercenaries and on a suicide mission to hijack a plane, Oliver steps on a land mine left by the Japanese while soldiers just so happen to sneak up on him. Seriously? Ok. Bad luck. A huge moment of good luck was when the only book he ever read at college was the clue to getting the plane to land on the island. “Nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” The Odyssey; a story about a man trying to get home. Sounds vaguely familiar. A cute moment, very Valentines Day of them, was Oliver’s attempt to call Laurel while on the island. His reaction when Laurel picked up the phone however many miles away from her office in CNRI was really touching. Maybe bringing forth the fact that Oliver did survive because of Laurel. He felt like he had to survive to apologize and he had to get back to right his wrongs. This flashback also got the audience to the conclusion that Oliver can finally fend for himself on the island, but he still hasn’t crossed the line of intentionally killing someone.
Back in the present day, Diggle explains a few things to Felicity. He urges her to see the fact that his actions and Oliver’s extra-curricular activities are for the greater good. He spoke about the mindless things he had to do in Afghanistan and the remorse he felt for the people he killed. Felicity’s take on the vigilante summed up to the idea that Ms. Smoak is going to stick around for a while longer, but just to help Walter. Even though Oliver and Diggle don’t want to implicate her or put her in danger’s way, Felicity Smoak is pretty bad ass and her help is more than welcome. Oliver finally woke up, as we all knew he would, but lightened the mood with the line, “I guess I didn’t die… Again. Cool.” Pretty much, outcast. Stephen Amell has once again proved himself as the lead of the series by creating a specific distinction between pre-island Oliver and post-island Oliver, slowly merging the two characters as the series goes on. On a side note: Oliver, the character not the actor, really needs to work on his shocked face. When your mother tells you that your alter ego attacked her and she shot him after coming back from your makeshift emergency room and that the only evidence has just been destroyed, yeah you’re going to need to sound more convincing.
This week Arrow gave us a really well-crafted episode that was entertaining and informative. If you’ve been following Arrow closely, a million and one questions would have popped up in your mind and finally they are being answered. One question I don’t think they’ll answer though is why Oliver’s beard is perfectly sculpted on an island where he barely has food and water, let alone a razor and shaving cream. But hey, that’s just me being picky.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars