Arrow TV Reviews

Arrow’s “Broken Hearts” (S4,EP16): The Trial of Damien Darhk & Olicity

Oliver Queen isn’t real big on opening up to people. Sure, he’ll do it in season finales and on other such momentous occasions, but sometimes he needs to have his true feelings dragged out of him. Left to his own devices, he’d just sit in the Arrow cave, brood and periodically flash back to his time on pointless island, and then he’d brood even more because his flashbacks would just remind him of all the people he’s failed to save. Occasionally he’d eat. I mean I assume he eats, right? We know he can cook.

Anyway, when Oliver falls into an emotional rut the writers like to inject Amy Gumenick’s wonderfully unhinged Cupid into the action to manipulate our taciturn hero into an honest declaration of his feelings. Last season, Cupid’s first appearance (“Draw Back Your Bow”) came at a time when Felicity was on the verge of starting something with Ray Palmer, and it was absolutely gutting Oliver, not that he’d talk to anyone about it despite Digg’s ever-present advice, “Dude, just talk to her about it.”

The conflict with Cupid forced Oliver to address all of this, telling his psychotic stalker, “I know what it’s like to want to be with someone but not be able to be with them. How you wish things could be different, but they can’t [camera cuts to sad Felicity overhearing all of this back in the Arrow cave and then back to Oliver]. I can’t be with you. I can’t be with anyone. I have to be alone.”

Wow. Season 3 Oliver was such a freakin’ drag. By comparison, here’s what he directly told Felicity in “Broken Hearts” after a heartbroken Cupid’s killing spree of famous couples led them to stage an impromptu wedding as a trap: “I will never lie to you again. You are my always, and I just want the chance to be yours.”

Aww, you guys. Our little Oliver is growing up. Look at him being so emotionally available.

What the hell you say? He only made that speech because Cupid put him in that situation. Diggle and Thea both told him to pour his heart out to Felicity, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it until extreme circumstances forced it on him.

Yeah, but look at how dour he was last year in a similar situation, and how hopeful he was this time around. This version of Oliver is at least more fun to be around.

Can we get back to the review now, please?

Sorry. By all means, carry on.

Arrow BrokenHearts WeddingThe episode as a whole was more or less a confirmation of Felicity’s new Facebook relationship status. She’s single, and quit asking her about it, okay?

We begin “Broken Hearts” with Felicity gathering her items and planning the specifics of her exit from Oliver’s apartment, and we end with her seemingly also moving out of the Arrow cave (that part wasn’t totally clear), not only rejecting Oliver as a romantic partner but also a partner in crime fighting. In-between all of that, Cupid inspires not just Oliver but also Felicity to open up. Turns out, these two crazy kids really do love each other, but Felicity meant everything she previously said about not being able to trust him.

This is the Olicity break-up episode where she restates her reasons for leaving, but he refuses to accept that it’s over even as she walks straight out of his life in more ways than one. I’m still inclined to reject the entire premise. It comes down to trust, but the method of forcing Oliver to lie in order to see his son came off so poorly. However, I take solace that this is all happening to an Oliver who is at least trying to embrace life and love instead of actively retreating from them as he was last season.

Arrow TrialBut, honestly, I was far more interested in Laurel’s trial of Damien Darhk. Sure, it presented a litany of logical stumbling blocks (explored further at the bottom of the review in The Notes section), but it was at least something new. Laurel and Quentin waged war with Damien in court, and it had absolutely nothing to do with Oliver and Felicity’s love life or sudden lack thereof. Unlike poor Thea and Diggle, they weren’t sucked into the Olicity tornado, not reduced to merely offering emotional support to friends. Instead, Laurel and Quentin had their own emotional drama, throwing more evidence on the pile that Quentin will be the one to end up in the grave. Plus, with Oliver’s mayoral campaign over none of these characters seem to have external lives away from Team Arrow. As such, seeing Laurel actually working her day job felt like a sudden and desperately needed return to something resembling normalcy.


Collider’s Dave Trumbore argued in his panning of the episode, “It’s unfortunate that the Arrow writers seem to have written themselves into a corner and have worn a rut into it by pacing back and forth over the same plot, beat by beat. There’s something tired and predictable about the action lately, and the same can be said for the drama.” I was generally more okay with “Broken Hearts” because I accepted the inevitability of it being an Olicity break-up episode, and quite enjoy Amy Gumenick’s Cupid. However, at this point the season would do well to ease up on Olicity and get back to the business at hand. What that is, though, remains unclear. Trumbore might ultimately be right – they have written themselves into a corner, and the rut they’re stuck in with Damien Darhk is saved only by Neal McDonough’s performance.


1. Weekly Update from Pointless Island: Oliver and that one girl stole the prop department’s best version of “generic mystical doohickey” from that one guy, and then easily tricked several soldiers and stole their guns

2. Favorite Line: Thea: [After identifying the first two victims as a celebrity couple] “Really guys? Come on. It’s the [shameful pause] wedding of the decade.” Much of Thea’s dialogue in this episode came off like meta-jokes about Arrow’s shippers, but I greatly enjoyed the revelation that she reads gossip sights and keeps up on the city’s celebrity couples. Similar to Laurel in court, it normalized her. Look at that – Thea has some interests away from Team Arrow. Plus, Willa Holland perfectly played Thea’s annoyance that she’s somehow the only one who had heard of these people.

3. Nitpicks: The Trial – What were the specific charges against Damien Darhk other than “being Damien Darhk”? Don’t they only have him on kidnapping charges since that’s where he was arrested? If so, wouldn’t they need Oliver’s ex and their son around in some capacity to corroborate the charges? Or did that happen off-screen before Oliver sent them away? Would a judge seriously persist with referring to him as “Mr. Darhk” when the legal record shows him to have a different name? Isn’t it a conflict of interest for Laurel Lance to be trying a case against a man who allegedly threatened her life as a successful coercion tactic which resulted in her father committing illegal activities?

4. Nitpicks: Cupid – She was pretty darn up close and personal with Oliver during their big fight scene last season, staring straight into his face and declaring, “I knew you loved me” after he saved her from the train. After undoubtedly getting such a good luck at his face would she have seriously bought the cover story that Roy Harper was actually the Arrow? I know I’m ultimately crapping on genre convention here, and anything logic-based with Cupid can be explained away with, “Well, she’s crazy.” I guess it ultimately works better for this episode to feature a heartbroken Cupid instead of a version of her who comes back to reconnect with Oliver since she knows Green Arrow and Arrow are one in the same.

5. Nitpicks: Felicity – A couple of episodes ago Felicity was assuring her mom that Quentin lying to her was a sign of how much he loved her. Now she’s all up in arms about Oliver’s lies? Sure, but lying to keep someone save versus lying about a secret lovechild seem like different situations.


  1. I die for Olicity. I hate that there is so much emotional strife. I actually liked it most earlier this season when they were just together happy and making quips. Arrow as a whole felt a bit lighter and I enjoyed it. I honestly don’t think we can get that sort of Arrow without Felicity permanently in Oliver’s life. He’s too much doom and gloom.

    This episode reminded me of how Laurel stumbled into her position as DA. She is seriously not ready for this job. She was practically shaking. And the slackjawed look on her face did not seem good for the case.

    1. You are not wrong about Laurel. I gravitated toward that end of the episode simply because I felt like the rest had been overtaken by Olicity, and it was nice to see that some of them still have public lives. I like Felicity and Oliver’s together, and what she has meant for Oliver’s personality. But after this episode I could do with them easing back on those two as such a big focus of the show. It just keeps reminding me of how poorly orchestrated their breakup has been.

      1. I definitely agree. They are going a little hard on it. Easing up would be nice. I just wish we could go back to the banter over the coms. They were funny sweet moments, but didn’t ever take time away from the issue at hand. I’m just ready to see Quentin in the grave. I’ve been saying it was him since we first saw it. The more time goes on the more I think that even as evidence piles both for and against it.

  2. I think the departure from Oliver and Felicity being sweet to each over the coms or talking to each other about their day at home would be easier to take if the reason for their break-up had been handled better. Also, if they maybe have fallen into a bit of a rut at this point maybe they would be better off telling us who’s in that grave sooner rather than later. They’ve always said it wouldn’t necessarily happen at the absolute end of the season. The problem with the case for it being Quentin though is that you start to second guess yourself and wonder if because he’s such the obvious candidate that they must be trying to fake us out and, boom, Laurel dies all of a sudden.

  3. Here’s the difference between what Felicity told her mother about Quentin and her own relationship with Oliver. Donna is in a newer relationship, where she doesn’t even know that her boyfriend works with the Green Arrow, which also relates to pretty much everybody else in Felicity’s life, including herself. What she told her mother wasn’t a lie. All she asked of her mother, was to give Quentin the chance to at least explain and her mother did… which unlike Oliver, Quentin told the truth about working for Damien and why. They aren’t even in a place with their relationship where people just instantly start spewing truths… but he did.

    Felicity has worked alongside Oliver for almost 4 years and has been romantically involved with him for 10 mos., over 3 of which, they have been engaged to one another. Felicity gave Oliver the chance to explain, it just so happens that his excuse wasn’t good enough and I have to agree. Initially agreeing to it in the first place, was bad enough, but continuing to not utter a word after he found out that Malcolm knew, let alone 2 other people besides… there is no legitimate excuse that can be given. Once he found out that Malcolm knew, the reason for the secrecy entirely went out the window. However, I am going to go further… as soon as he suspected that he might be a father, he should have informed Felicity (the woman he was going to propose to) and enlisted her help. If he had done just that, none of this would be an issue now, Adding insult to injury, he proposed with the secret hanging over their heads. As the future step mother, she had every right to know… As the future possible mother of his children, she has every right to discuss any and all parental decisions with him and this includes decisions involving William. Now, Olivier didn’t go out of his way to ask Diggle or Vixen their opinion, but he sure did listen and grasp on to both and the difference between the two, was like the difference between day and night. Digg’s… hold on with everything. Vixen’s… let go with everything. Now, what he should have done, is search out Felicity and talk… maybe get the opinion of his fiancee, the one that grew up with a mother, but without her father present, but instead, once again, he chose to act alone… almost as though he was hiding that from her too.. The funny part is that if Digg would have talked to him last, Oliver would have went with what he said, instead of what Vixen said. Oliver didn’t make a decision… he let the last person that he talked to decide it for him. That isn’t any way for one person to live, let alone a couple. When Oliver made the decision to send William away, he solely made the decision for him and her, that they would never have children of ‘their’ own.

    But I think Oliver is going to find out pretty quick, what it is like to deal with being in love with someone whom acts like she is living on her own island, allowing everything negative that happens, to pull her into the darkness and I for one can’t wait.

  4. Hiya Kelly!

    Have you seen the reactions to the “Broken Hearts” episode on forums like reddit, IGN and imdb? It’s murder and maybe, with 80% of the posters declaring this to be the worst “Arrow” episode ever! I don’t think that anyone, except the most hardcore Felicity/Olicity fans can claim that their girl is universally loved anymore. As for “Arrow” as a superhero show, the great majority of the posters seem to agree that “Arrow” has turned into a poorly written, poorly acted soap opera (when they are not using stronger words!).

    I thought it might be interesting for you to see how the non-shipper, non-Felicity fanbase has reacted to the new direction of the show. The Olicity/Felicity fans may still have a strong presence on FB and twitter, but apart from these fan spaces the “Arrow” fandom has become VERY divided, and the disappointment is VERY strong.

    1. That doesn’t even make any sense… Why would anyone make that statement to people whom clearly hate Felicity? Because CLEARLY if people are hating on her, it’s realized that she isn’t exactly universally loved. -SMH- She does however have a huge fan base. 😀 It’s cute that you think that the dwarfed Reddit can be used as a comparison to Twitter or FB. lol It’s also funny that you would compare a primarily male driven service, to try and change the facts that exist.

      1. It’s even funnier that you would STILL claim that at this point, that Felicity EVER had a huge fanbase, considering the LACK of ratings for Felicity-centric episodes. Your comment sure aged well.

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