Warning: This recap for the “Dangerous Liaisons” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.
Felicity decides to compromise her morals for the greater good, which doesn’t sit well with Oliver, who has spent the last four years compromising his morals for the greater good. Arrow‘s Helix arc threatens to upset the delicate balance of the show, which has always had Felicity dragging Oliver kicking and screaming back into the light. Is Diggle the only moral compass left on the team?
Team Arrow, working with ARGUS, track Adrian Chase down to a deserted arcade, but he escapes. They realize Adrian must have a mole in ARGUS, but by the time they find the mole, he’s already been killed by Alena (Kacey Rohl) from Helix. Helix needs to free their leader, Cayden James, from ARGUS and the mole had one of two keys necessary to do it. Alena tells Felicity that if he’s freed, Cayden can provide her with a biometric tracking device to find Adrian. Oliver argues strenuously against her compromising her morals to achieve her goal, but Felicity argues that she learned it by watching him. She joins up with Helix to liberate Cayden while Oliver and Diggle work with ARGUS to keep him locked up. Helix wins and Felicity puts herself between Oliver’s gun and the fleeing Cayden. In return, Helix gives her the biometric tracker, but also cuts ties with her, fearing she will eventually turn on them. Felicity and Oliver turn on the tracker; it reveals that Adrian is in the building with them just as their computer explodes.
Felicity’s moral quandary is the kind of a broad, philosophical one: Does the end justify the means? It’s essentially the moral struggle Oliver deals with every day and he still hasn’t arrived at an answer. Lyla’s issue is similar, but it’s political rather than personal. She is violating the Constitution by incarcerating Cayden James without a trial. Does the end justify the means? Both Felicity and Lyla feel like they do; Oliver does too and he’s a hypocrite for expecting others to be better. Only Diggle has the moral authority to question all of their decisions, but he’s clearly being outvoted. Lyla says it’s more complicated when you’re sitting on the other side of the desk, but at some point someone should remember that Adrian Chase is a direct consequence of those means.
Wild Dog / Sad Dog
Rene Ramirez is a weird case. At times, he’s almost a caricature of the archetypical loose cannon; every line out of his mouth is either an insult or a threat to shoot something. But in episodes like this, where we get a little of the pre-hockey mask Rene, actor Rick Gonzalez infuses him with a humanity that almost feels out of place in the melodrama of Arrow.
Quentin brings Zoe to meet Rene when he realizes that Rene hasn’t attempted to even visit his daughter. He’s been racked with guilt ever since Zoe was taken away and he thinks he can’t even be a father again. The scene with Zoe is brief, but it’s a testament to Gonzalez’s skills that Rene’s decision to regain custody doesn’t feel rushed. It’ll be interesting to see if Rene stays around once he reunites with his daughter. Will he need the outlet for his rage that being a vigilante provides? Or will he find – like Oliver — that separating that beast from the loving father he needs to be is not as easy as it seems?
Quiverful of Thoughts
*There is a 100 percent chance that this arcade is the same arcade they shot the Toyman episode of Supergirl. You can tell Supergirl is an alien because she didn’t notice the Maximum Force game.
*We never get to see the face of Cayden James as Helix spirits him away. That’s likely a signal that they plan to cast the role in between seasons and bring him in as a major villain, possibly the Big Bad, next year.
*Will we be seeing Felicity’s “weaponized tablet” again? Is Emily Bett Rickards tired of sitting behind a computer and pushing to get her character out into the field more often?
*Line of the Night: “I guess you can teach a dog some new tricks. Even wild ones.” Hokey? Yeah. Sappy and overly sentimental? Yes indeed. But unearned? Definitely not. Quentin and Rene are bonding over their failures as a father and that’s the sort of thing that makes Arrow more than just a kicky-punchy action show.
*Line of the Night (Adorable Kids edition): “Thank you, Hoss.” When Rene says it, Hoss is grating; when Zoe says it, it sounds like bubble gum and fluffy bunnies. How long before Quentin is Uncle Hoss?
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.