Arrow Re-Nocked: Beacon of Hope (4×17)
Arrow, “Beacon of Hope,” is a refreshing reminder that this is still a show about superheroes above all else. These heroes may fall, break, and lose hope, but at the end of the day it’s still quite a rush to save the city. Guest star Emily Kinney returns as Felicity Smoak’s hacker nemesis, the Bug-Eyed Bandit; bees and all. Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) learns how to make friends in the prison. Meanwhile, Baron Reiter (Jimmy Akingbola) might have dropped the biggest Genesis plan clue we have had all season. Overall this week’s Arrow delivers on action, small dramatic beats, and evil doers resetting the game board; it’s “Terrific.” What? Too soon for those puns? The Arrow writers started it.
“I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that you spelt out breakup, or that you misspelt it,” quips Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) to her mother (Charlotte Ross). We may have gone practically forty minuets without barely any #Olicity moments, but the Smoak mother-daughter pairing never ceases to entertain me. After being held hostage in her daughter’s company by a swarm of mechanical bees, one thing is for sure, Mama Smoak needs to buy some new shoes. I couldn’t help but notice all these small hints that Felicity kept dropping about her former life as a computer-hacker vigilante around her mom. “I don’t think she knew who I was, she must be after something else,” granted maybe Donna Smoak is too distracted by her daughter’s abrupt breakup with Oliver (Stephen Amell); I mean… priorities! While, Mama Smoak held her ground on the #Olicity front, Thea (Willa Holland) played Team Green Arrow advocate. Needless to say, Felicity stood firm on breaking up with both Oliver and the team. Anyone else find it a bit odd that Felicity doesn’t miss the superhero rush anymore? She is the one who was completely bored in Ivy Town, not Oliver. He even makes that argument, while brooding in “the bunker.” The big takeaway is that Oliver lost Felicity over a more intimate secret about the man beneath the hood. “I was never in it for that. I wanted to be part of that beacon of hope you speak of,” says Felicity to Thea after one final team pitch. Seriously, “the death” will convince Felicity to rejoin the crusade in protecting Star City once more.
“Holy Frack!” says Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum) after entering The Arrow Cave for the first time. I can’t help but say that I called this a few weeks ago in my Arrow Season 4B The Remaining Eight Episodes post. Even then I did not expect his chemistry to work so well with the other cast members. Until now we’ve really only seen him with Felicity on-screen. Echo Kellum’s charisma truly shines in the episode, from forgetting Diggle’s name to wrecking The Arrow Cave; he gave the a team a much needed dose of fun! I also like how Curtis took control over Felicity’s computer station to stage a rescue mission and she used his T-Spheres to save the lives of other. The writers use his Cisco Ramon like enthusiasm about being a superhero to counteract Oliver’s whole doom and gloom about “this life.” After Oliver unleashes his anger out onto Curtis for celebrating a small win, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) pulls him aside for some truth tea. I pretty much have the same reaction as Oliver does to these scenes with his ex-girlfriend. Really? Did Felicity get Diggle (David Ramsey) in the breakup agreement? These #Lauliver moments just felt like the writers trying to remind viewers about their shared history and past love. It’s like they’re focusing in on Laurel’s bonds with other central characters before “Eleven Fifty-Nine” strikes.
“Beacon of Hope” just rises to occasion from the strength of all their pairings throughout the episode; each advancing the plot forward in their own way. A one-handed Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) paid Darhk a visit to tell him that “their mutual friends” no longer want to be BFFs. Merlyn also forgot to mention that Andy Diggle is his new “ace in the hole.” The Arrow writers very cleverly littered the scene between these two rival magicians with magic puns. More importantly Merlyn spoke about how Darhk’s plans to sacrifice others for his glory led him to be cast aside. Now where have we heard that plan before, “Imagine what I become when dozens are sacrificed in my name… a God,” explains Baron Reiter to Oliver during the Lian Yu flashbacks. We already know that the current idol Oliver stole from Reiter in the past, ultimately ends up in present day and under Darhk’s care. I wonder if the writers are going to parallel Reiter’s failure in enacting Genesis on Lian Yu, with Darhk’s achievement in episode twenty, “Genesis.” The big question really is how deep the writers will pull from the DC’s New Genesis storyline involving both the New Gods and Darkseid? I am still waiting for Reiter to show up in present day and wreak havoc on Star City. Only six more episodes left. Tick… tick… tick.
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