Arrow: “Underneath” Review


By: Ashley Binion (@ashleybinion)

In the midst of an epic Big Bad arc, Arrow took a late season breather to mend some broken relationships.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

For those who are not Olicity fans, this was probably the worst episode of the series. On the other hand, for those who are huge fans of the romantic pair, this was an episode that was long overdue.

Personally, I was a huge Olicity fan back in the day, but the sloppy writing over the course of season four almost completely ruined it for me. There was just so much unnecessary and unexplained drama. Thankfully, this fifth season has returned the pair to a less complicated dynamic. And as someone who tends to enjoy character moments more than plot, this was a fantastic exploration of two characters and their dynamic.

I was glad to see the series identify and explain the major problem surrounding the pair. When they broke up, there was little seen from Felicity’s side, which is understandable considering the series is about Oliver and his crusade. Since the show has now become much more of an ensemble piece this season, the writers were able to take a look at what prompted Felicity to end the relationship. When the series first explained the separation, it was due to Oliver continually hiding stuff from her. However, this episode expanded more on the trust issues surrounding the two.

Diggle and Lyla’s marital strife continued during this episode. Usually Diggle is right about everything, so when he began quarreling with Lyla about morally grey areas, it was hard to understand. He has worked outside of the law for years with Team Arrow and now he has a problem with morally grey areas. It was downright hypocritical. Thankfully the series made Lyla the clear winner in this conflict.

“Underneath” was as close to a bottle episode the series will ever get, with The Quiver the most logical place to set it and which worked quite well. I do wish it had been a true bottle episode with no contact with the outside world. Team Arrow’s entrance would have been much more dramatic and surprising.

My biggest struggle with “Underneath” is the placement of the episode within the larger scheme of the season. This episode should have been earlier in the season, not when they are in the home stretch of the Prometheus arc. It’s somewhat understandable, though, because the Helix storyline had to wrap up before Oliver and Felicity could have this type of interaction. But this is the time where they should be ramping up for a huge climax, and instead they decided to put on the brakes and practically abandon Prometheus altogether. With three episodes left, I expect Chase to be front and center for the remaining stretch.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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