“Unchained” carries its theme throughout this episode for both Oliver and Felicity, one in the short term, the other more of a long term. As you watch for a second or maybe third time, look for those unchained or at least in the process of becoming free.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
Since Arrows winter premiere, Felicity Smoak has been the subject of an ongoing trilogy being transformed into the heroine, Overwatch. Starting from her near life ending attack from Damien Darhk, to her new life of being paralyzed, to, as we saw tonight, regaining her mojo. Not to mention getting her own nemesis in the name of Calculator, who happens to be, as we found out at the end of the episode, her Dad. I am finding myself enjoying the Felicity/Overwatch centric episodes in allowing her to become something even greater than we knew from before. It was so good to see the Felicity/Curtis team-up again. I am hoping it will be the first of many times. And how cool was it to see Curtis in action again? Also, with all things considered, he did well holding his own again Roy.
Oliver also continues his season journey this week. One of this season’s themes is Ollie’s voyage to becoming healthier, in not carrying everyone’s burdens and putting them on himself. There were several conversations this week where he spoke to Felicity, John, Thea and, even, Malcolm about knowing that he understands this flaw about himself, but seems nearly helpless in making a different choice. I don’t normally talk about Oliver’s flashbacks, but this week we watch Oliver have a vision with Shadow where she begins to teach him to open up. I hope there will be future visions in his flashbacks.
Being February sweeps, we will be seeing a number of guest stars; for this week Roy Harper returns to Star City while Nyssa escapes her captivity with the League who then finds Katana. Of course, the ladies have to greet each other before they battle over something that Nyssa plans to use through February sweeps. It is good to see Katana again even if it is only for a little bit. All of this surrounds a condition that Thea has as a side effect of her blood lust. Basically, unless she kills another person the lust turns back on Thea, which, apparently, will kill her. I understand that it is way too simple, but for all the guests that are appearing, why not simply bring back John Constantine to have Thea undergo the same spell as Sara did. More on Sara with my DC’s Legends of Tomorrow review soon.
For as much as I didn’t want to like Malcolm Merlin or for that matter, want to like that he is Thea’s father, he has become a very likable character with both compassion and wisdom. One of my favorite scenes this week is when he and Oliver are talking about what both of them want to do for Thea, and ultimately their love for Thea had to give her a choice on how to live and possibly die. Though none of us really believes she is going to die. I guess there couldn’t be too many heroes running around in red in Star City, someone might mistake Arrow for being The Flash.
The Calculator aka Felicity’s Dad is added to a long list of people who want Star City to be destroyed, and this week he did his best to assemble a bomb that would kill thousands of people. This makes Damien Darhk and, then Shadowspire, and now the Calculator who all want Star City destroyed. My guess is they are all associates of H.I.V.E., who is trusting Darhk less and less with his continued failures against Green Arrow. Felicity had some pretty great moments having a cyber battle with what we now know to be her Dad. He is also going to be a recurring character, so expect more cyber battles out there. Won’t that father/daughter conversation be interesting once they both realize they are on opposite sides of the War of Star City.
I mentioned February sweeps earlier and there appears to be another League of Assassins mini-arch for the next several weeks, which isn’t bad, but I hope Arrow doesn’t make this an ongoing theme. It is great to see Nyssa, at the same time sweeps is a time to show something new like The Flash is doing with Barry and Cisco traveling to Earth 2. My hope is that Arrow will be taking more and more chances to continue to overwhelm us with what is possible. Until then, remember to watch the Arrow-sweeps on the CW Wednesday nights at 8 pm, 7 central, starting next week with the return of Nyssa and the League of Assassins.