You know that moment in a show or movie when they feel contractually obligated to state the title of the episode, and everyone cringes? That happened this week and boy did it happen a lot, but what else have we come to expect from Arrow. I mean if you are going to attempt to crash and burn why not go full Hindenburg at this point. I’m sorry everyone, there were just way to many puns for my liking. So, let’s talk about “Beacon of Hope” which was really a quality episode until it decided it wasn’t anymore. There are just so many times you can watch your hero fail to actually save the day, and be saved by someone of so much lesser skill. It’s not so much an aspect of team work or rising above the challenges that face them as it was seeing the team get nerfed.
So let’s start off with the good, overall the pacing and plotting was on point and the drama that helped build up the rescue mission didn’t feel entirely forced. Curtis was a welcome addition to the squad and in some ways was a better Felicity, than Felicity has been all season. He was competent, funny, able to think through problems as they were presented to him, and he was having fun doing it. Seriously, this entire season it feels as if our heroes have actually forgotten how cool everything they do is and have decided to be all doom and gloom in regard to taking down HIVE. It is just that there is so much more to the world around them and we really need to get over the eventual dark strife that has been plaguing Ollie. At the beginning to the year he actually seemed to slightly be enjoying being back, but now he is just a sad little man child. Curtis at least loved every minute of what was happening, hopefully the rest of the team will get there eventually.
Another big component of the episode were the Oliver and Laurel conversations which managed to actually more interesting and substantive than I thought they would be. Katie Cassidy has really been putting in some good work in the past couple of weeks. Actually being a DA, and now giving Oliver solid advice for the most part of how things will get better after breaking up with Felicity. Sure most likely none of this is going to stick and somehow Oliver and Felicity will end up back together, but the fact that Laurel and Oliver’s relationship is growing in some capacity is more character growth than the character got most of last season. To often the team is sidelined by needless interpersonal drama, but for Laurel to pull a Diggle and actually attempt to solve the issue was a nice change of pace. Now if the team can actually commit to moving forward rather than looking back at their failed relationships we might manage to get somewhere.
As for what didn’t work the big shining star was Felicity. I mean there was an entire plot based around her and what was happening to her and she still managed to be the most boring person in the room. That includes the fact that she saved Oliver and nearly thwarted all of Bug-Eyed Bandit’s plans. If you are going to centralize the conflict around a certain character you have to at least try and make that person interesting or else there are no reason to care about the stakes presented. I think that is Felicity’s biggest problem, not that she has been a self absorbed bitch as some people think, but that she is so thoroughly uninteresting whenever the plot tries to focus on her. I never feel a drive or reason to care that she is in trouble anymore because it is like when Scooby-Doo meets the ghost, they are somehow going to stumble through everything until they solve their problem. You need to have a stronger resolution and reason to want Felicity to succeed because at this point she is more dead weight than Oliver’s quiver.
The other aspect that really got me excited was watching Darhk trying to regain power from within prison. Ever since he lost his powers Darhk had been neutered to the point of irrelevance, but seeing him overtake the prison a la The Kingpin in Daredevil was a nice touch. We are getting to see that even without his abilities Darhk is still a force that can cause trouble for Oliver. It is also nice to see that despite all of their bravado HIVE still needs Darhk on some level. I really enjoy the idea of mutually assured destruction and at this point both Darhk and HIVE are either going to succeed or fail as a team.
Overall it was an average episode, that was almost great.
Final Grade C
+Curtis being terrific
+Tone and humor were on point
+Laurel and Oliver chats
+Darhk in prison
-Felicity is still the weak link
-The Diggle Reveal
-Bug-Eyed Bandit lackluster once again
-Never let friends pun. Just don’t do it writers
-Curtis better become Terrific at the end of the year, he is a valid addition to the show like Ray last season.
-Someone dies next week. Place your bets in the comments.