Here I am, some 14 hours removed from watching Arrow‘s “Code of Silence,” and I’ve already forgotten the primary plot. I want to say a Power Rangers-esque metahuman named Geomancer was running around, using his abilities to level specific buildings with targeted earthquakes.
Wait. That was The Flash. But didn’t “Code of Silence” also have a scene where a building imploded, almost taking out the heroes before they managed to get out? Didn’t the villains try to literally bring the house down on Oliver Queen and his pesky mayoral campaign?
Oh, that’s right – The Demolition Team!
Those jerks, a bunch of mercenaries hired by HIVE to first take out Captain Lance and then Oliver, Star City’s favorite politician/not-so-caped crusader. I hate them so, so mu…actually, I have no opinion on them. They were just kind of there, an efficient tool to give everyone in Team Arrow their own individual fight with an actual full-on villain. It’s Team Arrow vs. Team Demoltion, may the best stunt win.
Diggle took a metal mallet to some dude. Thea and Laurel showed nail gun girl where to shove it. Oliver, um, used arrows to neutralize three different bombs, the kind of thing you’d undoubtedly have to do all the time in an Arrow video game. Yet I forgot most of it within hours of watching because it didn’t feel particularly substantial.
That’s okay. Lots of Arrow episodes have villains who don’t matter as characters, and action scenes which are ultimately forgettable. The goal is to advance the season long plot, and the Demolition Team afforded the writers the opportunity to check in on three storylines which have been sometimes left off-screen:
- Captain Lance’s Complicated Courtship of Donna Smoak
- Oliver Has a Son, But No One Knows About It Other Than All Of His Enemies
- Oliver’s Mayoral Fight Against Ruve Adams, aka, Damien Darhk’s Wife
Seeing them all showcased together in a single episode elicited continual reactions of “Oh, yeah. That’s a thing they’re doing this season.” Oliver’s been visiting William in-between episodes, right? Captain Lance and Donna have been enjoying date nights together when we weren’t watching, growing close enough that when she visits him at work it comes with an implied offer to have sex in his office. Comparatively, Oliver’s mayoral campaign has been seen on-screen more consistently, not that his political aspirations stopped him from having a sword fight on a rooftop viewable by anyone in a downtown high rise.
Still, there was something interesting, if not entirely successful, about an episode which paused to showcase Donna and Quentin. Mama Smoak’s increasingly semi-permanent guest star status is a direct reflection of how much people loved her initial appearances last season, but with Oliver and Felicity’s engagement it actually feels organic to have her around all the time. Now, here she was getting a storyline of her own, giving us a glimpse of the loneliness behind her make-up and curve-hugging dresses. On the other end, Quentin should have been targeted by HIVE a while ago, and the show eventually had to address that. Using that specific threat to put Donna and Quentin through the push-and-pull motions of a secret-laden superhero romance was familiar, but fun, especially with Oliver and Felicity watching from afar and thinking “Ahh, I remember those days.”
As for William, Malcolm spilled the big secret last week meaning it was only a matter of time before this “Oliver has a son! And the bad guys might kill him! WTF?!?” plot moved forward. There are some who will reject this outright, thinking a kid endangerment plot line is cheap and lazy. There are others who simply don’t want Oliver to suddenly have a son as well as those who rightfully thought the Arrow/Flash two-parter which kicked this into action dropped the ball. The rationale for why Felicity instantly broke up with Oliver in the erased timeline and the conditions forced on Oliver by William’s mother came off as remarkably ham-fisted.
“Code of Silence” was their clearing of the air. They spent an entire scene feeding lines to Thea which might as well have been them talking directly to the audience, taking a second stab at explaining why William’s mom reacted the way she did. “You have to look at it from her point of view,” Thea says. Of course, it was a little surprising to see her go straight from “I have a nephew that I can never see, and you can’t tell Felicity about him? Wow, that is rough” to “She’s totally right,” but in the weird, wacky, soap opera world of Arrow the logic she was throwing down for Oliver made sense. Just as importantly, Oliver was given a moment to reveal his deep misgivings about lying to Felicity, a continuation of the on-going maturation process unique to season 4 Oliver.
Just as the Demolition Team exists to chip at the foundations of buildings to bring them crashing down, William exists as the third act plot complication in the love story that is Olicity. “Code of Silence” explained the internal logic of it and revealed that Oliver kind of hates himself for lying to his fiance. The next step will be to see how Felicity reacts, which should happen in the next episode, based on the trailer.
That brings us to Oliver the politician. As Collider argued, “You know what’s exciting? Political debates. The recent GOP debates have been an absolute circus sideshow, which makes H.I.V.E. planning to blow up the building which is hosting the Star City mayoral debate look rather tame.” I still don’t know why HIVE didn’t just act more like a political party and use smear tactics to defeat Oliver. There should be ample material for that, e.g., vengeful one night stands, lingering questions about his 5-year absence, lack of political experience, controversial mother, on-going suspicion that he might be the Green Arrow. But, no, hire a bunch of goons to bury him under rubble.
Once the bomb threat was neutralized and the Demolition Team members were subdued, the episode skipped over what would have easily been a season highlight: Oliver Queen’s mayoral debate against Mrs. Damien Darhk.
I am genuinely curious to see a Oliver Queen mayoral debate. What possible platform is he campaigning on? “An arrow in every quiver and two costumes in every Arrowcave”? How many times would he work the phrase “failed this city” into his answers? If he was caught in a lie or heard something which prompted a flashback, would he melodramatically turn his back to the audience to deliver a sad monologue the way he always does with Team Arrow? If Megyn Kelly was the moderator and she asked him legitimate questions would she end up on the receiving end of a patented Oliver Queen “No one questions my authority!” glare? How many more times would he make puns about the applause being loud enough to bring the house down?
On the opposite end, would the questions for Ruve Adams mostly amount to “Who are you?” and “Why have we never heard of you before?”
These are not the questions we are meant to ask. Oliver’s candidacy is just this show’s way of highlighting his growth into a true hero as well as a convenient way to draw him into conflict with Damien Darhk. We aren’t supposed to wonder what he’d actually be like as a mayor, but it’s suddenly the only thing I can think about because it’s just so absurdly hilarious.
“Code of Silence” revisited three fairly important, but overlooked storylines, attempting to line things back up now that the League of Assassins is gone and the path is clear for a return to Team Arrow vs HIVE. However, now that Arrow is in a phase where everyone’s just a little too happy and content with their lives it’s a little distressing that their solution is to kidnap and endanger a little kid. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, though.
Weekly Update from Pointless Island
Oliver killed that one dude, but now they’re all screwed. Bummer.
Andy sure had a lot of helpful information for a character who wasn’t actually on screen, and what a truly odd time for Alex to have a family obligation preventing him from being there for his client’s first mayoral debate.
CW budget and the quirks of actor availability, I’m sure. Andy’s absence was understandable; Alex’s absence didn’t necessarily hurt the episode but it did force them to lampshade how weird it was that he wasn’t there.
Biggest “It Might Just Be Me” Moment
Did anyone else notice Laurel’s Angelina Jolie stance?
Easter Egg Palooza
Oliver calling Curtis “terrific” didn’t sound completely natural, did it?
That Piers Morgan didn’t watch this episode, and tweet about Charlotte Ross’ cleavage.
Every time they said “Demolition Team” I thought of the old WWF tag team Demoltion:
Latest “Who’s In That Grave?” Candidates
Donna and Quentin both moved up the list this week, and so did William and his mother.