This week’s Arrow episode borrowed more than just a villain from The Flash. . . it took on its counterpart show’s light and fun tone, which is always refreshing from Arrow‘s usual moody, broody tendencies. Brie Larven is out of prison and has her eyes set on Felicity Smoak’s spinal implant. So she sends her army of robot bees (How did she manage to make so many? Where did she keep them while in jail?) to Palmer Tech and . . . surprisingly, what ensued was pretty much madcap comedy. Let’s begin with my pick for MVP: Curtis.
Curtis Holt’s Terrific Fanboying
Oh, Curtis, how I loved you in this episode. He was the true beacon of hope with incredible acting and comedic timing. Watching him stumble his way into the Arrow Cave and discover everyone’s secret identity, while un-bee-lievable, was still such a delight to watch.
Echo Kellum’s skills as the geeking-out, male version of Felicity are excellent. Not only did he join Team Arrow’s fight against Killer Bee, he did it while gushing about how cool it was to be a part of Team Arrow. He channeled all of the fans’ swooning hearts, and that made him incredibly endearing and entertaining. Plus, having him in the “tech support” role was a nice change; as much as I love Felicity, having some new blood on the team didn’t hurt.It pays to have a lot of smart people around because Curtis saved Oliver’s life with his quick thinking. That trick with Laurel’s Canary Cry was clever and downright thrilling to watch. Plus, he did all that terrific stuff while being sick. Imagine how amazing he’ll be once he’s working for Team Arrow while in peak health. Oh sure, he said he belongs at home with his husband, but we all know he’ll be helping out the hero team again soon enough. After all, he’s destined to become Mr. Terrific!
The Shtick (And Persona Tendencies)
Since this was such a lighthearted episode, it did come with a lot of shtick for many characters. Donna, as usual, was there to entertain us with just being, well, her. She was sweet, over-exuberant, and a bit ditsy. Between misspelling words and holding a wet floor sign as a shield, there was a lot to love about Donna. Brie’s shtick involved bee bots, puns, and an unquenchable thirst for tech (more on that later). Captain Lance was even pulling out snarky one-liners about his dismay at being part of the zany superhero life.
Laurel, Thea, and Diggle don’t generally have shtick or gimmicks, but they do have particular tendencies that were highlighted in this episode too. As supporting cast, they all got an opportunity to support. Laurel did most of the heavy lifting by being Oliver’s emotional guardian, offering him advice on moving on from his break up as well as saving his life.Oliver and Felicity
Team Arrow is still metaphorically walking on egg shells when it comes to Oliver and Felicity. We didn’t see much drama from the power couple this week, but their relationship is still a hot topic of discussion. And although they’re not together anymore, Oliver is still doing everything he can to protect Felicity, regardless of the circumstances. Unfortunately for him, that led to getting infected by Killer’s Bee’s little drone.
Oliver doesn’t resort to shtick so much as a default persona. More specifically, his tendency to be growly and angrily bite people’s heads off for not taking things seriously (this time directed at Curtis). Let’s face it, who hasn’t Oliver chewed out? Meanwhile, Felicity was her typical resourceful self and even used a random object to fight the baddies. Last season it was a tablet, this season a lamp.
Felicity also spent the majority of the episode hanging with Donna and Thea, and I have to say the three of them made an entertaining trio. When they all get trapped in Felicity office by Killer Bee’s swarm, they improvise to some enjoyable results. The elevator scene where Felicity basically blasted a hole into the board room was quick and clever thinking, made all the more enjoyable by knowing Curtis’s tech was not supposed to explode. But hey, it got the job done.Brie’s Back Problem
Ever since the preview for the episode aired, I’d been wondering why Brie needed Felicity’s microchip so bad. Turns out, it’s because a tumor in her back is getting worse and worse, and the only procedure that can save her will paralyze her from the waist down. Bummer. So, like any good villain, her logical answer to this problem is to take Felicity’s paralysis cure by force. Too bad her walking, talking bee-man wasn’t enough to make all her wishes come true.
Speaking of the bees–and when aren’t we in this review–I thought having them converge into the form of a man-shaped bee drone (called Exoskeleton, I think) was silly. Not that much in this episode wasn’t, but I had a really hard time suspending my disbelief at a bunch of robo-bees condensing enough to look like a cheesy, costumed man. He was a formidable opponent for about two minutes, but I can’t help thinking they would have been more effective as a fluid swarm that just engulfed any enemy instead of trying to punch like a human.Darhk, Merlyn, and Flashbacks
Why did I lump these three things together? Because they were all scary in this episode. Even though we only saw a little bit of him, Damien Darhk still managed to bring his A-game with that creepy “bring it” smile and formidable presence. Merlyn tossed a little humor into the mix, but it was still an intimidating force (he can be anywhere and do anything because, as he put it, “I was Ra’s al Ghul. Deal with it.”). Both of these villains are only going to get stronger and scarier as they continue to work together . . . and with Andy, who is conveniently back to being evil.
As for the flashbacks, well, Reiter was pretty damn scary in them. He’s learned to harness his new dark mysticism and its freaking Oliver out. Like Darhk, Reiter is gaining power from killing others, but he needs his idol. As much as past-Oliver is trying to resist giving in, there’s not much he can do at this point. I’m just happy the flashbacks are interesting again.The Verdict
I give this episode 9 out of 10. It was a lot of fun and I’m a sucker for puns. Having Brie Larven return (even though it was her first time on Arrow) was a good excuse for a lighter, more wacky episode that still managed to progress certain plots lines, specifically with Darhk and Merlyn’s team up. Not to mention the Andy bombshell at the end. Despite some disbelief, it was a good episode with plenty of humor and just enough drama to keep us on track for intense episodes to come.
What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments and enjoy some quotes from “Beacon of Hope.”
Curtis: “It’s too soon for bee puns, right?”
Donna: “I’m here to rescue you, after the B-R-E-A-C-K-U-P. You could use some good resocialization. So, how about a leisurely lunch?”
Felicity: “Oh my God. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that you just spelled out ‘break up” or that you misspelled it.
Merlyn to Darhk: “Don’t be embarrassed. Performance issues are common for men of your age.”
Brie: “I want the microchip specs, or your friend relives my favorite scene from My Girl.”
Curtis: “This is the Arrow Cave. Oh my God.”
Donna: “From now on, I’m wearing flats. These assaults are weekly.”
Brie: “You’ll have to excuse my pets. Their bee-havior can be appalling sometimes.”
Quentin: “That is an army of robotic bees. Yeah, that’s my life now.”
Curtis: “You want me on the team?!! I mean, *lowers voice* you want me on the team?”
Thea: “We just took down a bad bee-otch tonight.”
Felicity: “I wanted to make a difference. Be a part of that beacon of hope you speak of.”
Thea: “So come back. Be a part of the team.”
Felicity: “I think I figured out another way.”
Thea: “It’s shocking that you know who Voldemort is.”
Oliver: “Well, I’m not immune to pop culture. I read a few of the Harry Potter books.”
Diggle: “Really? I was gonna bet Thea that you just saw the movies.”
Oliver: “There were movies?”