Be careful what you wish for Ollie and Felicity ‘shippers, the results of their pairing might get that happily ever after you are hoping for.
Oliver Queen’s luck with the ladies has been non-existent since he decided to sneak his girlfriend’s sister onto a little yacht trip with his dad in Arrow’s first season flashbacks. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic or familial connection, if Ollie cares about a woman, she is pretty much doomed.
The latest Arrow character to fall into Ollie’s orbit is fan favorite Felicity, who has also caught the eye of millionaire inventor and mogul Ray Palmer.
The Twitterverse and the Tumblr-sphere want Ollicity to happen in the worst way but let’s slow things down for a second and consider the Mr. Queen’s track record here.
It started with Sara Lance, who somehow is Ollie’s first and latest victim. Sara was thought to have been lost among the wreckage of the Queen’s Gambit, but she wasn’t that lucky. Instead she was rescued by a slave ship run by a mad scientist; survived that to be reunited with Ollie for a bit before becoming an assassin and eventually killed in a cheap plot twist.
Shado is killed on the island when Ollie picks Sara over her. Huntress becomes a soulless killer. Lawwrel Lance is a drug addict, alcoholic and generally awful television character. Thea Queen had drug issues and has now gone through super villain boot camp with her bio-daddy. Moira Queen was gutted like a trout by Slade Wilson.
Ollie doesn’t even have to like a woman for bad things to happen to them.
A new lady came into Ollie’s life this week, Carrie Cutter, a mentally unstable ex-SWAT member who the Arrow saved during the Mirakuru riots. In the months since, Cutter has turned herself into Cupid, a murderous archer-type with heart-shaped arrowheads.
She announces her arrival on the scene by killing Wildcat’s ex-trainee and dressing him up in an Ollie costume. This starts a game of cat-and-mouse that establishes an Ollie-Felicity-Ray love triangle as much as it drives the action.
Diggle, sensing Ollie’s sexual frustration, has a sit-down with Felicity. To her credit, she tells Diggle that if Oliver likes it he can put a fancy dress and a million dollar necklace on it.
Ollie eventually opens up to Felicity via a Bluetooth while he tried to talk Cupid off the crazy ledge. He gives the old “I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel” speech again which made Felicity all misty eyed.
Once Cutter is packed up and shipped to the Suicide Squad, Diggle, the married guy who is always trying to hook his friends up, tells Ollie that Felicity was all primed for romancing and he needs to finally close the deal. When Ollie gets to her office, he catches Felicity sharing a decidedly non-platonic moment with Palmer. Of course Felicity is left alone after Palmer freaks himself out and Ollie leaves to clean off his desktop likerightnow!
The love triangle is firmly in play (will it be a love rhombus when Barry Allen visits?), so pick your sides. Just don’t blame me if Felicity ends up on the streets hacking Facebook accounts in exchange for meth if she ends up with Ollie. I’m Team Ray.
Bad signs: Happy to see some swordplay out of Tatsu in the Hong Kong flashback. But in keeping with Ollie tradition, can’t you smell torrid affair/horrible tragedy on her right now?
Turrible Lawwrel update: No matter how goofy the Cupid storyline was, it was still one of the better Season 3 episodes because it wasn’t jamming Laurel’s heroic destiny down our throats.
Bad signs, Part 2: Ollie is calling Red Ranger Roy by the code name “Arsenal” now. Enjoy that right arm while it lasts, Roy, but it looks like Palmer is already working on a robo-replacement for you.
Don’t ever change: Although she lives in the Valley of the Abs, it was cute that Felicity still got flummoxed when she walked in on Ray doing salmon ladders in his office. Moments like this are why Felicity is such a beloved character.
Load the canon: Speaking of Ray, the final pieces of his superhero origin is falling into place with the ATOM suit and the dwarf star piece. Next stop, super shrinkage!
Meanwhile in Hawaii …
This week’s Agents of SHIELD was a sort of set the table for bigger things kind of episode, but in the fashion of Season 2, it was still quick paced and filled with enough character twists to disguise the fact they really didn’t do a whole lot.
It was nice to see the dry witted Coulson back as he barked good news/bad news instructions so Skye and Tripp. Moments like this are indicative of the “Marvel way” of telling an adventure story. The show doesn’t have enough of these, but it’s getting better.
Coulson is on a mission to find the alien city before Hydra. His plan is to knock out a satellite control station in Hawaii and take control of one in Australia in order to scour the Earth for any signs of the alien city.
The Doctor is leading the forces of Hydra on a similar mission. He lets Whitehall know that the Obelisk/Diviner is no mere weapon. It’s a key and security system all roll into one. The worthy (i.e. those of alien blood) are allowed to use the key to enter the city and its temple. Those who aren’t are burnt to a crisp.
Coulson’s team and Hydra’s agents storm the Australia facility at approximately the same moment. Tripp is shot during the melee and the Doctor swoops in so save Tripp while spouting clues to Coulson about his real intent behind teaming up with Whitehall.
Dammit Whedon: Dichen Lachman, a favorite from Dollhouse showed up this week for a significant, if not frustrating role.
She played a villager who was kidnapped in the ’40s by Whitehall and is the first to be able to handle the Obelisk without turning to ash. She’s saved by Peggy Carter and the SSR.
After decades of interrogation and incarceration, an elderly Whitehall is freed by Hydra infiltrators and taken to a lab where he can resume his experiments. Wouldn’t you know it, one of the villagers rounded up ends up being Lachman’s character and she hasn’t aged a day. Whitehall harvests her organs and instantly regains his early middle age.
Her body is discovered a young Doctor who swears his revenge for killing his beloved. Doctor + Dichen = Skye.
Although she’s on another series, it was frustrating to see Lachman, who was one of the shining stars of Dollhouse, not make it out of the episode alive. Such a waste of an actress who can pull off the hero/superspy thing so effortlessly.
Dueling plots: Remember all those Scooby and the Gang plots from Season 1 when it required all seven team members and a cargo jet to follow up a lead on a trinket in Peru? The cast expansion has made those episodes a faded memory.
This episode successfully juggled four plotlines which is pretty amazing for modern TV. In addition to the chase for the city, there was the Whitehall backstory, the interrogation of Bakshi by Mockingbird and Ward getting closure on his own past.
There were some great snippets in there like Mockingbird’s penchant for baton twirling to relieve stress during (and after) interrogations, Agent Carter’s iron will and Ward validating that his brother was the source of his psychopathic ways (right before he kills and burns his whole family).
Casting a long foreshadow: Simmons wasn’t in the episode much (she’s a total Peggy Carter fangirl) but one quick moment of framing caught the eye. In her reveal in the episode, she was framed in front of the old SSR logo giving the impression she had angel’s wings. I don’t think this was an accident. The alien invaders have been described as being angelic looking or it could mean that Simmons is long for this show.
If the latter is true and we don’t get to see Simmons in a Jumpsuit of Evil before the end, there will be fanboy hell to pay.
Meanwhile in New Orleans …
Constantine also split up the team in an effort to put some raised spirits back in the grave.
The show’s frenemy Papa Midnite thought he was merely channeling the spirits of the dead in to provide some therapy for some guilty souls. Instead, the Rising Darkness has boosted Midnite’s magic strong enough to raise the dead and set them on otherworldly killing sprees.
Zed teams up with New Orleans cop Jim Corrigan (the man who would be The Spectre, hence the green glow at the end) to track down a ghostly hitchhiker causing fatal accidents at the same blind curve. Chas seeks a disfigured model whose ghost has been killing unsuspecting people going down the cleanest alley in the Crescent City. Constantine and Midnite spend much of the episode in a wand measuring contest while trying to figure out a way to send the spirits back to the land of the dead.
The stuff with Constantine and Midnite was pretty solid. There aren’t many characters who are Constantine’s equal in all things dark arts. The clash of philosophies and the uneasy truce were nice to watch. It would be nice if Zed would get a better handle on her gift. She’s got the attitude to be a good sparring partner with Constantine, but she’s nowhere near his league.
In the end, Constantine and Midnite have to bring the troubled souls of the living and the dead together to put the wandering spirits to rest behind the strength of their combined magic.
Still smokin’: After a couple of cold turkey episodes, Constantine is back with his beloved coffin nails having a smoke while repairing the zoetrope and using a cig to start the fire during the first ceremony.
Mystery fluid watch: Chas is the lucky winner this week, resurrecting covered in his own blood and laying in something in that dark alley. Having been to New Orleans a couple of times, I shudder to think of the crap that flows through the gutters of the French Quarter.
Meanwhile in Gotham …
In a change from comic canon, Harvey Dent is brought aboard as a contemporary of Jim Gordon and not one of Bruce Wayne. And in line with Gotham so far, Dent, who one day will become Two-Face, was introduced with all the nuance of a sledge hammer.
The initial bit with the two headed coin was nice. It was specific to a particular situation and was a nod to what is to coming. If it would have ended there, it would have been fine. But subtle is not Gotham’s style. So later on he’s fiddling with the coin again when questioning a suspect before going full-on Christian Bale Batman voice on the guy.
These characters need room to breathe and grow. Barring a huge time jump between seasons, Batman is a long way off. This show is painting itself into a dangerous corner.
The main story revolves around what is the show’s real strength - the mob.
In a move to erode Falcone’s strength, Fish kidnaps an emotionally disturbed prisoner with bomb making skills and pairs him with the remains of the Russian crew. The prisoner leaves a clue of his whereabouts in one of the bombs, which sends Gordon and Bullock on the trail, but not before Gordon lectures the mayor about how terribly the city’s insane are merely jailed instead of treated.
With Nygma’s help, the cops figure out the Russians are using the explosives to strategically crack one of Falcone’s vaults and foil the getaway. Fish’s goon is watching the festivities, blows up the truck, money and Russian gangsters, much to Fish’s delight while the mayor ships all the criminally insane to Arkham.
Hanging at Bruce’s: Dent joins Gordon’s crusade to uncover the conspiracy behind the Wayne murders. To that end, Gordon stashes his material witness, the recently arrested Selena, with Alfred and Bruce.
The living arrangements added some depth to both Bruce and Selena’s characters. Bruce gets some street life lessons that Alfred has been holding back and Selena gets a taste for the finer things.
Their teenage flirtation felt forced at first, but at the end when these two wise beyond their years people share a genuine gleeful kid moment of bagel tossing, even Alfred has trouble finding a reason to be cross about it.
Fun to watch: Robin Lord Taylor continues to kill it as Penguin. His confrontation with Fish and this discovery of her spy in Falcone’s inner circle was pitch perfect. The Penguin-Fish rivalry just gets better every week.
Terrible in 30 seconds: Barbara was on the show for less than a minute but manages to remain the Queen of Awful.
We see her laying what seems to be some luxury pad under 3,000 thread count sheets listening to Gordon’s heartfelt voicemail apology and begging her return. As soon as he hangs up, a well-manicured feminine hand moves to her shoulder and up pops Montoya the prodigal lover ready to start a session of sweet lovin’.
On second thought B, just stay away.
Meanwhile in Central City…
It was another metahuman monster adventure for The Flash. This time it was Barry’s childhood bully Tony who shows on the scene all super powered and angry at the world.
Tony has the ability to turn to metal because he just so happened to be falling into a vat of molten steel the night Star Labs went up. Tony celebrates his return from oblivion by stealing some beer, a Hummer and going on a spree of destruction.
Barry recognizes his past tormentor and despite his own power still can’t beat the guy who regularly beat him up as a child. In fact, Barry spends much of the episode recovering from various broken bones suffered at Tony’s hands.
Iris quickly learns the consequences of going public with her blog about The Flash. After Tony thinks he’s killed Barry, he kidnaps Iris and takes her to their old grade school in an attempt to strong arm her in documenting his super powered goings on.
Instead of running away like he did as a child, Barry finally confronts his personal demon and tries the risky five-mile punch, which if done wrong would turn Barry into a wet spot on the wall.
The punch works well enough to stun Tony into a powerless stupor long enough for Iris to finish him off.
Barry puts Tony in Star Labs’ makeshift prison and takes the time to taunt the bully and, of course, reveal his secret identity to someone who hates him and will undoubtedly escape sooner or later. I’m sure that will work out just fine.
Going to the Wells: With the bully plotline taking care of the metahuman and flashback portions of the Flash formula, Dr. Wells needed to be creepy in order to complete the trifecta.
Detective West pulls some clues together wondering about the whereabouts of Dr. Wells during the time that Barry’s dad was framed for murder. He hypothesized that Wells may have had another malfunctioning reactor in Central City back then that created the speedster who killed Barry’s mom.
Wells is obviously upset at the accusation, especially in light of a more thorough investigation that Wells’ wife had recently died in a lab accident of her own in Maryland at the time and Wells had just arrived to Central City to start over.
Naturally that isn’t the end of the story because, a whirling tornado of light later breaks into the West house, steals all the police files and leaves a knife in Iris’ picture with a threat to back off the case.
Craig Wack is a veteran journalist. Please follow his Twitter.