Arrow Re-Nocked: Code of Silence (4×14)
This week’s episode of Arrow, titled “Code of Silence”, was a doozy. There were a lot of things during this episode that I wanted to nitpick on and complain about, but they were pretty minor with only one exception; I’ll get to that. The episode as a whole was actually pretty good and moved the story along; both in the present day and flashback plotlines. It had plenty of action sequences, which felt better choreographed than the average action sequences, as well as some different styled camerawork during those fights. The #Olicity train is still chugging on its track as this episode features the Queen-Smoak engagement party, and Detective Lance’s relationship with Donna Smoak hits a speed bump. Overall, a slightly better than average episode.
Warning: SPOILERS will follow!
So let’s start off by talking #Smoakenlance. The Quentin/Donna relationship was one of the focuses in this week’s episode and I ended up kind of enjoying the drama. This is almost completely due to Paul Blackthorne and Charlotte Ross’ screen presence and skills in acting. I remember thinking… it’s actually really nice to get some Detective Lance in this episode… I kind of missed him being in the spotlight. He and Donna both really knocked this episode up to another level on the “feels-meter” and I’m too big of a sap to not love it. One thing that they did do hint at, which we all had guessed since they started dating, is that their relationship paints a big target on Donna Smoak in the grave mystery. Donna being in the grave has been extremely popular ever since the midseason premiere (Blood Debts 4×10), and this episode did nothing but strengthen both the theories about Donna or Lance dying. Lance’s situation was front and center in this episode, as well as Laurel’s who can’t stay put when she’s told not to follow. Lucky for Lance she didn’t stay, but it also shows that she takes risks. As far as I’m concerned, my theory of Laurel being in the grave still stands strong, but it doesn’t mean Donna, Quentin or even Diggle are out of the question. I hope it’s not Donna though, she has been a fun character recently.
Ruve Darhk… or should I say Ruve Adams? If you listened to the GWW Arrow Midseason Spoilercast back in 2015, you may remember me hoping that Damien Darhk’s wife was a wicked wife who was just as bad as him. Well I was correct! Ruve seems just as bad as Damien does in how cold she can seem during Damien’s schemes. She also has the balls to go face to face with the Green Arrow again; completely alone. I like the political game that the writers are whipping up for us with the mayoral race. I’m wondering if Ruve will win or even survive long enough to go into the office if so. Usually the evil wife or partner in crime goes down with the ship; in this case that ship being Damien. She could also be a “Vanessa” to Damien’s “Wilson Fisk” and end up escaping as Damien gets defeated; only to come back later. I was very surprised that the debate turned out how it did in that they decided not to clue Oliver in that they know about William until they already had him… and holy cow they have him. The end scene this episode was insanely creepy with Darhk introducing his daughter to William, who’s going to be staying with them for a while. This makes me wonder if Samantha is already dead. She’s the fifth name on my list of potential grave fillers, and if William is with Darhk, I can’t imagine she would’ve allowed it. It’s possible that Darhk grabbed William from school or while Samantha was out, but I seriously doubt that late at night that she would be anywhere but home. We’ll find out more next week.
The flashbacks were pretty eventful this episode as we finally get the death of that bastard Conklin. I know we’re not supposed to cheer when the monster side of Ollie comes out, but I hated Conklin so much that I was glad to see him go. It was also strange to see how fast Tiana turned back to caring about Ollie. I guess she is trying to keep him healthy due to Baron Reiter’s threat last episode, but the kiss on the cheek towards the end means she had forgiven him for sure. This is the first time we also see Ollie tell someone that Vlad attacked him and it was self-defense. Finally! There were like ten other slaves on the beach that day. I don’t get how it took so long for this to come up. I also wanted to see the scene where the guards come back from their “drink” to find Ollie untouched. They must have been either disappointed or known that something was amiss. Jimmy Akingbola is still knocking it out of the park with his performance of Baron Reiter. I love how Reiter is allowing Ollie’s apparent importance to his plans affect his leniency for Ollie’s actions. For the first time we see Reiter threaten Ollie after Conklin’s death. Now that the other slaves will be taking Ollie’s side, this flashback story can begin to take its turn towards the climax and finally conclusion which should bring Ollie to Russia. I think that Reiter is going to be finding “the mother box” looking thing or maybe even the map that Darhk has in the present day story. There’s got to be a connection there. We saw Darhk in the Legends of Tomorrow pilot, so he’s had his apparent immortality for at least 40 years now, but something from the flashback should tie into something Darhk is using in the present day as well.
Okay so let’s talk about being dumb… specifically Oliver and Thea being super dumb. Let’s say on one hand you have a mayoral candidate with a normal campaign team doing standard deep background checks looking for cracks. On the other hand you have a super tech savvy evil organization hosted campaign able to do extremely illegal but even more effective background checks. The first campaign finds out about Oliver’s son even without the super tech savvy organization… see the problem? Thea and Oliver’s talk about William this episode was really stupid even though it was well acted. If Thea was able to find a discrepancy in the tax filings of their mother that led to Samantha Clayton and in turn led to her son, you’d expect that they’d realize that Darhk would be able to find this out too. This overshadowed the whole heartfelt talk between the siblings about how Oliver keeping William secret is the right thing to do. Instead of being smart and jumping in front of the issue and warning Samatha, or telling Felicity about William, they just smile and tell each other that they’re being smart and awesome. Thea is just lucky that she somehow caught and hid the Samantha Clayton kid connection from Oliver’s campaign office, because any other realistic campaign background checkers would have also made that connection if they dug deep enough into Oliver’s college days. If Thea was a good sister, I think she would have told him to tell Felicity. Honestly, how would Samantha know who Oliver tells as long as it doesn’t reach the public? Felicity could easily keep that secret after she got over the shock of it. Now we’re being set up for Felicity to find out about William the hard way, because sister dumb and brother dumber couldn’t realize that this Samatha Clayton issue can be found by the evil campaign office just as easily if not easier. This doesn’t even factor in that Malcolm straight up told Darhk, but Malcolm assumedly found out about William somehow as well! Oliver thinks ignoring the problem and keeping it hidden is keeping William safe, but he’s soon going to be kicking himself for not seeing this glaring problem sooner. No wonder he’s crying at the grave scene… he’s probably thinking about how easily who ever’s death it was could have been avoided if he hadn’t ignored obvious issues like this.
Other things that I could nitpick can be pushed away due to the episode being decent. The obviously foam rocks in the building collapses and the fact that HIVE just accepted Malcolm into their leaders meetings after the apparent mistrust and unconcern Darhk showed Malcolm at the end of the last episode. Other than that I ended up enjoying my time watching this story continue. I thought the Demolition Team were pretty cool if not a little silly. Their leader Rosie using a nail gun as her primary weapon was silly but fun and different. She almost nailed Laurel in the side of the head a few times. Also Daniel Cudmore (aka Colossus from the X-men movies) was really good as Jackhammer. His choreography with that sledgehammer in his fights with Diggle were really damn good. The guy is extremely skilled in this area of his acting. He really made me think about how outmatched Diggle was during these fights. Even much so that Diggle has to employ some “tricks” to beat Jackhammer. Hardhat was the least cool of the Demolition Team as he only used what looked like a normal hammer and a knife, instead of his head like he does in the comics, but he still gave Oliver a run for his money in terms of martial arts. With the cinematographers trying some camerawork to make the fight scenes seem more like a pseudo single shot (ie Daredevil’s hallway scene) through editing, it actually made the action sequence at the end pretty cool. I liked panning from Speedy and Black Canary around to see Spartan fighting down below. To be fair that was a decent 10 second shot of fighting before the cut.
Overall this was a slightly better than average episode. We got some great Felicity moments that are going to make the William revelation hurt even more for her, but even more importantly we got more Curtis Holt. Yes, Curtis continues being terrific as he gives Felicity an implantable bio stimulant that will eventually lead to her walking again. This was huge and super touching to the point where I would have teared up if Oliver would have more. I seriously hope that Curtis remains in the cast over the next few seasons and that he isn’t just this season’s Ray Palmer who will leave or join Legends of Tomorrow season 2. I really am enjoying his interactions with Felicity and the rest of the team and I really want to see them pull off Mr. Terrific. The questions left after this episode are all pretty obvious and I’ve already mentioned most of them, but let me know if you have any questions as well.
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Check out the preview for next week’s episode of Arrow titled “Taken” starring CW Seed’s Vixen:
This round in the weekly competition between Arrow and The Flash, I actually give the point to The Flash who just barely beats out Arrow. With the amazingly sweet scenes between various characters and my girl Felicity counterbalancing the dumb ass-ery of Oliver, Zoom’s hunt of Harry and the mysteries in The Flash kept the enjoyment level up a bit higher all the way to its predictable end. Check out my weekly The Flash Zoom-In: “Escape from Earth-2” (2×14) review here!