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REVIEW: Arrow 4×14 “Code of Silence”

Written by Scott Swartz

Why should I even really care about this episode? That is what I found asking myself by the end of “Code of Silence” if for no other good reason than that this really felt like the most lackluster episode in quite a while. Like seriously, in the overall scheme we really didn’t add anything to our season long arc nor did any of the character material really manage to help our team. This was a good old fashioned filler episode, except when I look back at what I just watched I really can’t say that I have gotten anything from it. It’s a filler episode that chose to focus on all the wrong aspects of Arrow rather than promoting what makes this show usually good. Romantic subplots, hidden children, non compelling side characters, the flashbacks. These all tend to be the aspects of an Arrow episode that bring down the show, and for some reason we are forced to focus on them this week, and not successfully.

So let’s start with the biggest weakness this week, the lack of a focus on Oliver and more of a focus on Lance. Usually this would not be an issue except this week we chose to focus on the weakest aspect of Lance as a character, his love life. Paul Blackthorne tends to be at his best when he is given material in which Lance is morally conflicted, but for some reason whenever there is a big emotional connection type plot the show tends to flounder around him. Hence the issue between him and Donna, never really managed to connect with me as a viewer. I mean why should we care about Lance’s relationship, it is not something that adds to Oliver or the teams mission. In fact in a larger sense it just manages to hinder them being able to work well as evidenced by Lance showing up at the last moment to save Oliver. Last year’s Lance would have at least been way more useful to the team that this one was.

On the same note we really don’t get to see much of Oliver as he is campaigning and preparing for the debate. I mean we are literally dropped in after he finishes his prep and after he wins the debate, it really is beginning to feel like we are being cheated out of the Oliver for Mayor storyline in favor of a less interesting plot. Ollie never really gets his big moment to shine or show us why he would be a good mayor the same way Earth-2 Barry never truly got to break out of his shell and save the day last night. Oliver is our god damn main character and running for mayor is supposed to be important to him, the least the writers could do is figure out a way to make this plot important to us as well. For the time being it feels as if the show lacks a focus or build up that will satisfy us at the end of the year.

The one true bright spot of this episode was certain characters wising up to the world around them and actually making real revelations. Seeing Darhk bring William in at the end was a truly surprising moment as I was not entirely sure if Darhk had it in him to kill a kid. I like that he is finally playing up to the level of a villain we expect to see on Arrow rather than feeling like an extraneous piece to the plot. The big standout this week was Willa Holland whose scene between her and Oliver talking about William manages to be one of the better scenes of the entire season. For a long time Thea has not only been out in her own separate world, but she rarely if ever feels like a true member of the team. Watching her have this heart to hear talk about her relationship with Oliver has been something truly missing from the show and it was great to actually see them bond.

I gonna wrap this up with the topic we all knew was coming, but still manages to feel like a super bad decision in the end, Curtis’s “gift”. As if the stakes were not already low enough this season the writers have decided to double back on their big moment of the past few episodes and cure Felicity of being paralyzed. So does this mean there was absolutely no purpose in Darhk waging war on Oliver in the first place, is this supposed to change the fact that Oliver made a ton of stupid decisions when Felicity got paralyzed. Its like the worst backtracking I have ever seen, like Gotham levels of bad. I understand and appreciate we live in a comic book world, but certain decisions should stick for longer than three episodes. It completely undercut any sort of emotional growth that these characters have had in the past few weeks and just brings us back to a really poorly developed character spot.

Dear god, I just want to be done writing about this show. I am looking for hope and I see a glimmer in next week’s preview, but seriously we are getting dangerously close to Gotham territory. Trust me no one wants to be in Gotham territory.

Final Grade C-

+Thea was great

+William twist was ok

-Clunky action scenes

-Atrocious flashback material

-Curtis’s gift

-Not seeing Oliver’s campaign

-Whatever is going on with Lance and Donna

Extra Thoughts

-Despite how great Willa Holland was in the scene with Oliver, it was really under cut by her saying he spent most of his time “nailing chicks”. Like seriously, who the hell says that, let alone to a family member?

-So Felicity and Oliver’s neighbor from the season premier shows up and talk to Diggle. The look on her face is like she has never interacted with a person of color before.

-Please let Vixen be awesome next week, I don’t know if my heart can take another week of awful Arrow.

About the author

Scott Swartz