• Arrow Underneath Television 

    Five Thoughts on Arrow‘s “Underneath”

    By | May 4th, 2017
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Arrow is often at its best when it goes small, and tells a very specific tale. This episode did just that, and it continues the hot streak the show has been on recently.

    1. A better, but still dull, flashback

    Part of the reason that this last bit of the season has been working so well is that absence of the flashbacks that have been so frustrating for the past few seasons. I didn’t need to see 1/15th of a boring Bratva story every week, and I’m eternally grateful that we are done with that (or so I hope).

    Now, seeing a vignette from in between seasons seems, on the surface, like a good idea. What did happen in the wake of defeating Damien Darhk? But the flashback was a rather minor night, where Ollie and Felicity got a little drunk, tried to do a double salmon ladder together, and then boned on the floor of the bunker. While it did tie into the current timeline, and it was more elegant than having Felicity just say “Remember last summer, when…” But it did still feel like the show needed to fill 12 or so minutes and they thought this up.

    2. Nice seeing Ollicity together

    But the real reason that this episode worked so well was that, both in the flashback and the present, it was focused on Ollie and Felicity. These two haven’t spent this much time together in what seems like years, and it was clear to see why the producers decided that this was the relationship they were going to build the show around. In season 1, the show was trying very hard to make Laurel and Ollie, the classic couple from the comics, work, but then Emily Bett Rickards walked on screen, and her magnetism with Stephen Amell almost destroyed the set it was so powerful.

    Putting them together for a full hour was a reminder of just how wonderfully they interact on screen. When they fight, when the flirt, when they get lost in each other’s eyes, it all feels real. No offense to the Diggles (more on them later), but they seem like a TV couple. Ollicity feels like a real couple, or at least as real as a CW couple can be.

    3. Purple Rain vibes, but this seems like quick asphyxiation

    So much of the episode was lit by purple/pink emergency lights, I thought “this almost seems like a belated Prince tribute.” Then, there was a motorcycle in there, and the Purple Rain vibes were complete. I was just waiting for Felicity to cleanse herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka or Wendy and Lisa to show up.

    But let’s be real – while Felicty was correct, an internal combustion engine doesn’t run on electricity, if the air was already at a premium, wouldn’t running an engine indoors, already a dangerous proposition, be a reasonably disastrous thing to do? “We only have 30 minutes of air left – let’s run an engine, breathe in and out as deeply and quickly as possible, and burn some candles!”

    4. The Diggles working it out

    While I mentioned that their chemistry wasn’t quite at Ollicity levels, it was nice seeing the Diggles have the types of fights that real couples have. Sure, my wife and I don’t argue over her black ops job, but their tension feels very real. The solution was a little corny, but I’m happy that the show is letting them be a couple that has a fight and doesn’t instantly put them on the outs.

    I feel like this is absolutely growth for the show; two seasons ago, John would be sleeping on the floor on the bunker – probably in the same place where Felicity enjoyed a different type of salmon ladder a few months earlier – and talked to Ollie about how he could never forgive her. The show doesn’t need everyone to be miserable all the time – Curtis is proof positive of this (and shouldn’t that recently divorced dude be a little bummed?) – and I’m glad that the emo vibes are limited.

    5. No one was checking on William?

    So, as soon as the T-Sphere got down into the Bunker, shouldn’t Ollie have shouted “SOMEONE GET TO WILLIAM RIGHT NOW!” Instead, no one mentions it, and Adrian Chase is able to kidnap the kid in broad daylight. I know that Ollie was half high on methane and half bleeding out, but c’mon. Felicity should care too – he will probably be her stepson one day.

    Continued below

    So, was it just me that liked this smaller episode? Let me know in the comments!


    //TAGS | Arrow

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).

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