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REVIEW: Arrow 4×16 “Broken Hearts”

Written by Alex Reale

 

With each passing week, Arrow just keeps losing my interest more and more. How is it that this show only seems to be getting worse while its sister series The Flash keeps getting better? At least tonight’s episode, “Broken Hearts”, pushed the season’s plot forward, even if more than half of the hour was dedicated to pure filler. (spoilers ahead!)

The good half of the episode revolved around Damien Darhk, who is now heading to trial for his crimes. After my recent Daredevil Season 2 binge, I’ve been craving more courtroom dramas, and luckily, that’s what we got in this episode of Arrow. Watching Laurel and Darhk’s attorney battle it out in the courtroom over Damien’s fate was great, but the real credit has to go to Neal McDonough.

I may have to rewatch, but I don’t think Darhk says a single word this entire episode. He just sits there, watching the events unfold, showing little to no reaction. It’s unsettling because you don’t know what he’s thinking. Is he truly panicking about what will happen to him, or does he have something up his sleeve? At one point, it almost looked like he was deliberately calculating his revenge on Oliver and co. His calm yet intimidating leering gave me a feeling that he was building his hit-list for when he got out of jail. Even though he was sent to jail this episode, I’m actually hoping he comes back for a proper showdown against Team Arrow. He must have a big plan waiting in the wings.

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Another person who deserves credit this episode is Paul Blackthorne. Captain Lance agrees to testify against Darhk despite the fact that he may lose his job and be thrown in jail. During his testimony, he delivers a heartwarming and compelling speech about why he’s willing to throw caution to the winds and speak against Darhk; ultimately, he did what he had to do to protect his daughter. Lance may not be your favorite character, but you can’t deny that he’s one of the more decent people on the show. Blackthorne’s performance and delivery were superb.

Unfortunately, as great as the courtroom scenes were, this episode of Arrow focused more on love (what else do you expect from a title like “Broken Hearts”?). Amy Gumenick reprises her role as the  sociopathic, love-struck archer Cupid, now terrorizing Star City by executing celebrity couples. What are the odds that this themed villain just happens to return to the city around the time when Oliver and Felicity have called it quits on their engagement? Speaking of which, I find it very odd that not only is the essence of the Felicity-in-a-wheelchair storyline completely null-and-void at this point, but why is everything so casual between her and Oliver? At the beginning of the episode, they’re having normal conversation as she’s moving out, like nothing happened. I thought it would’ve been much more dramatic given how the last episode ended on that bleak cliffhanger with her literally walking out of Oliver’s life. This show really loves to build up all this romantic tension, and then totally gloss over it in an instant.

Also, I know I rant and rave about my dislike for Felicity all the time, but I’m seriously getting tired of her snark. There’s a deranged killer on the loose in the city and she’s too busy making coy remarks at Oliver about their relationship. Seriously, do you have to bring your issues into play now? There are more important matters at hand. Save your snark for when you aren’t trying to solve a string of murders.

Olicity shippers must’ve been happy for the climax of the episode when Oliver and Felicity agree to stage a fake wedding in order to draw Cupid into a trap. She indeed falls for it, and plans to detonate a bomb that will destroy the whole venue, killing everyone inside. Felicity comes to save the day by delivering a speech on the power of love and whatnot. I would’ve been fine with this big performance except for one line that drove me crazy. She makes a comment about the people waiting outside the doors of the ceremony and how they’re there because they believe in love or something. No. Those were paparazzi. They could care less about love. They just want hot gossip and juicy pictures of Star City’s playboy marrying the head of Palmer Technologies.

Cupid is eventually arrested and you think the episode is going to end with Felicity falling in love with Oliver again. Nope! Instead, she says that she can’t be with Oliver, even as a member of Team Arrow, so she packs up her things and leaves. Now, normally, I would be extremely happy about this, but I have to point this out: this is the third show this week that featured a female character just up and leaving. It happened on The Walking DeadThe Flash, and now Arrow! How much you want to bet that Sara leaves in the next episode of Legends of Tomorrow? I’m not necessarily complaining, but what the hell is going on?

I would call this episode of Arrow average at best, mainly because of the court scenes. I won’t even say much on the flashbacks since they’re just plain stupid this season (except for when Constantine showed up). At this point, I’m just waiting for the season to finally be over, or for something, ANYTHING, to come along to save the show from this major slump.

Final Grade: C +

+ The courtroom scenes were excellent.

+ McDonough and Blackthorne’s performances were great.

+ I like how Damien Darhk can still be intimidating even when he barely says anything.

– Felicity needs to cut down on the snark, especially when people are dying all over the city.

– The Cupid side of the episode felt like filler.

– More lame flashbacks.

Extra Thoughts:

– What’s with all these shows having main female characters leaving this week? First The Walking Dead, then The Flash, now Arrow?

– What was the point of Felicity being in the wheelchair for the past few months? It served no purpose.

What’d you think of the recent edition of Arrow? Did you love seeing Cupid make a return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!

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