Warning: This recap for the “Underneath” episode of Arrow contains spoilers.
Oliver and Felicity finally get a chance for that talk they’ve been putting off so long while the rest of the team try to rescue them from an Arrow Bunker that’s become a death trap. Combined with a flashback to the couple eleven months ago, we get to see multiple facets of their relationship as well as Lyla and Diggle dealing with similar questions of trust, all while trying to get out from under a building full of methane just waiting for a spark. It’s a fantastic episode that clears the way for the final three episodes of the season.
Adrian Chase has set off an EMP to trap Oliver and Felicity in the Arrow Bunker, leaving her paralyzed once again. Against Felicity’s better judgement, Oliver climbs the elevator shaft only to meet the expected booby traps, leaving him with a gaping wound in his back. Felicity’s plan to use a motorcycle as a generator backfires as well, breaking open a methane line. They find a steam tunnel, but carrying Felicity causes Oliver’s wound to tear and he passes out. On the outside, the team must get the fans on before the restarted generators ignite the methane. They make it out, but it doesn’t matter: It was all intended as a diversion so Chase could track down Oliver’s son, William.
Eleven months ago, Curtis — with the help of some Chinese food and some garage wine — sets the mood for a post-split Oliver and Felicity to hook up. It’s a fine moment for Olicity fans who’ve gone without all season, but it’s also a reminder that Felicity’s feelings of being underestimated by her ex-fiancé are not new and not unfounded.
While the ultimate dream would be for this entire episode to have only been Oliver and Felicity trapped in the Bunker to hash out five full seasons of history, when you throw in the flashback, it’s still about 80 percent of a bottle episode, and the two have enough time to hash out at least this year’s worth of drama, at least. Felicity finally realizes what Oliver has been clumsily trying to tell her about her relationship with Helix. It’s not that he thinks she’s not strong enough to make the same sacrifices as him or that he doesn’t trust her — it’s that those sacrifices have taken an ugly toll on his life and he needs her to find a better way.
And for Oliver’s part, it seems like she’s finally got through to him that he doesn’t like to kill – he just believes that because it’s part of Chase’s scheme to break him down. You can get anyone to believe anything if you torture them for a week. It may be the most devious plan of any Arrow villain yet because there’s a shred of truth in it. Like Felicity said, Oliver’s been killing for ten years. Why would you do that if you didn’t like it? The answer, of course, is that if you’re willing to disband your team, shut down operations, and let a killer run loose to punish yourself, your moral compass is still intact and Chase’s game is a lie.
Felicity’s problem is that she thinks Oliver doesn’t trust her, which isn’t really true. However, it is true when it comes to Diggle and Lyla and the evidence is far more compelling. After all, Team Arrow is more or less in the same business as A.R.G.U.S. when it comes to non-sanctioned justice. Why does Dig give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and not his own wife? She hands him a file full of all the black ops her organization is involved with to prove she’s on the up and up and what does he give in return? A half-hearted promise that “they” will get through this, like she still needs to earn his forgiveness. Oliver managed to justify his seemingly patronizing attitude towards Felicity’s desire to do what it takes; what’s Dig’s excuse?
Quiverful of Thoughts
Tonight’s MVP is, hands down, Curtis Holt. Not only did he act as Star City’s number one matchmaker in the flashback, he also named his T-Spheres Kodo and Podo. The Beastmaster is an objectively terrible film, but Marc Singer’s pet ferrets almost make the whole thing worthwhile.
Speaking of T-Spheres: A.R.G.U.S. made souped-up versions of Curtis’s secret creations. What else do they have on hand? Do they have a giant Indiana Jones-style warehouse full of goodies?
How great would this season have been if Adrian Chase’s master plan had been to make Oliver admit, publicly, that he was a tap dancing flamingo? Season 6, Pink Arrow? Anyone? Anyone?
Despite Felicity’s inability to take on the salmon ladder, Juliana Harkavy says that the actress who plays her, Emily Bett Rickards, actually has tackled the obstacle. “She is so incredibly strong. She is fitness goals.”
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.