Thus ends one of the most nerve-wrecking and tearful episodes of Arrow yet. That’s right, it wasn’t just a sad goodbye or a bunch of mind games, it was both as the writers toyed with our emotions and then swept the rug out from under us just as we though we were safe. Though despite this – and a very confusing continuity issues – it was still a great episode. So let’s take a closer look at this week’s episode of Arrow titled “Broken Arrow” and brace ourselves for what’s coming next.
The Meaning of “Broken Arrow”:
If you’re asking what ‘broken arrow’ stands for in military terms, then it’s when there’s a serious nuclear mishap. Whereas that could refer to this episode’s metahuman Deathbolt and his energy blast powers, it’s actually a reference to what this episode – and the past few episodes in general – were all about: destroying the man, symbol and standard show premise of Arrow.
From Ras framing the Arrow for various deaths to Detective Lance’s whitch-hunt and now the arrest/’death’ of Roy Harper (the supposed Arrow), the vigilante known as ‘The Arrow’ is done. Whatever happens from here on out, the show is going to have to get creative now that ‘the Arrow’ is gone in Starling City. This is a similar problem Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. faced after S.H.I.E.L.D. was destroyed; but they handled it just fine and we of course know Arrow will to.
Though the idea of ‘breaking the Arrow’ went beyond the symbol of the Arrow in Starling and the show’s name. Ras goal this whole time has been to break Oliver’s idea of the Arrow so he can take his place; but now that the symbol of the Arrow is broken, Ras must do one more thing to break the man and force his hand – kill his sister Thea.
Playing With Death – Felicity -> Ray -> Roy -> Thea:
As I mentioned last week, Stephen Armell has been hinting on Facebook that this would be the end of an era. Thankfully we can report that Ray Harper did indeed survive; but the path was not as simple as all that. With Roy fending off his first assault in the prison, we figured he could handle anything the prisoners threw his way; and that’s about the time Felicity decided to go off on her own to find Deathbolt.
It seemed like Felicity might be the one to go this episode; but then we remembered that shot in the season trailer of her and Oliver about to have sex, so clearly it wasn’t her. Then it looked as though Palmer was a goner; but then we remembered he had his own spin off show coming up – so again, clearly he wasn’t the death of this episode. We had a momentary scare again when Felicity refused to leave Ray’s side; but again this was all misdirection.
With these crises averted, our attention turned back to Roy who seemed to have been stabbed by a dirty cop in prison. Though in the final moments, Roy reappeared to Oliver and told him his master plan and how it all went down. For a brief moment, it seemed as though there would be no death this episode and Roy Harper would just leave happily to become a pop-up character rather than a series regular. Sadly, we forgot about the post-credits in which Thea came face to face with Ras al Ghul and – much like her brother – was left broken with a sword plunged through her chest.
Upon seeing this moment in the trailer, we – or at least I – assumed that this would be where Malcolm would jump in, get killed and earn redemption in Thea’s eyes. Instead, we have our motivation for Oliver to join the league – use of the Lazarus Pit. Though using the Lazarus Pit always has complications especially after mortal wounds, so there’s a chance this could do more harm than good – and possibly bring out that darkness Thea has been fearing for a while now, but more on that at a later date.
Roy’s Plan & Repercussions:
Ras plan to continuously force Oliver’s hand might be brilliant – and demented – ; but Roy’s plan to save Oliver was just as good. By posing as the Arrow, he would literally be caught in the act – something the cops didn’t have on Oliver. This would also sit well with Roy’s prior criminal record and Oliver’s prior exoneration of the Arrow charges from Season 1. To make sure it was Roy and Roy alone to take the fall, the Arrow cave was swabbed clean to make sure only Roy’s prints remained.
Meanwhile, Laurel would use her legal pull to get Oliver released for good while part 2 of Roy’s plan went into effect. Diggle would send some ARGUS agents into the prison to pose as officers and stab Roy in such a way with a poison blade that it would appear he was dead, when it reality he was very much alive. With everyone thinking the Arrow to be dead, Oliver would be free for good. Though this plan could only be known to a select few. This is why Roy actually didn’t want to see Thea at the prison. The lie wasn’t “I’ll be fine”; but rather that he felt he deserved to be in prison. Roy was only using the dead cop as a believable excuse for why he feels he should be there. Yes, he feels guilty about it; but as Quentin and Oliver said, ‘being in that cell wasn’t going to make up for his death.’
Though now that Roy is proclaimed dead, he has to leave Starling. Considering how things turned out, we wish he took Thea with him so they could start their own life; but considering the rules of his plan, he might not have had that option. He called in an ARGUS favor and now he’s believed to be dead. Do you know who likes to hire people presumed dead? ARGUS. In the comics Arsenal does in fact go work as a Government Agent for a while, so this could be a foreshadow of why he’ll pop back into the series from time to time. Either way, I think we’re all just glad he’s alive.
Flash & Arrow Continuity Error:
Due to Palmer addressing the whole awkward ‘I love you’ of last episode as well as this episode starting immediately after Roy was arrested, there is NO WAY last night’s episode of The Flash could have taken place immediately before this episode but after last episode. There would have been no time and with all the drama going on, it’d be in poor taste to do so. Additionally, Felicity never mentioned anything to Barry about the city manhunt for Oliver, just that he might be joining the League of Assassins. Though due to Felicity knowing that Barry has ‘Doctor Wells problems’ – something Felicity learned on last night’s episode of The Flash – this episode of Arrow has to take place post The Flash’s “All Star Team Up”. This is also supported by the existing bromance between Ray and Cisco at the end of this episode.
The only option really – since the past few episodes of Arrow have been almost direct lead-ins for one another – is to place last night’s episode of The Flash as prior to Diggle’s Wedding (“Suicidal Tendencies”). The two showed up at the wedding as dates, and in The Flash last night Felicity did refer to Ray as her boyfriend. But what about the Arrow vs Atom fight? That’s what they were recovering from in The Flash, so did they just pop over mid “Public Enemies”? It couldn’t have happened after since Palmer was shot. And if this episode of Arrow does in fact take place a few days after “All Star Team Up”, then that means the next episode of The Flash will have to either have a gap in the middle or take place prior to the Starling City Arrow arrests as well considering Captain Lance is set to make an appearance – possibly Laurel at some point as well – as well as Oliver in League of Assassin attire.
Roy Harper Sent To … Iron Heights?:
Another strange moment of last night was when it was revealed that Roy Harper was locked up in Iron Heights. WHAT? Isn’t Iron Heights the place where Barry’s Father and the Trickster are housed. Wouldn’t that make it in Central City?
Well Iron Heights is located in Keystone City and is probably meant for the most violent of criminals. Sure it still doesn’t make sense why Barry’s father is there; but that’s what annoys Barry so much in The Flash. Perhaps there’s even a specific wing for each city, which explains why Roy’s block was full of Arrow haters. Again, a little confusing, but it does explain how 2 cities 600 miles apart can share a Prison. (Special thanks to Taber on Facebook for correcting me on this one).
Rapid Fire – Easter Eggs, Quotes & More:
- A strange new idea was introduced this episode as we learned that Deathbolt wasn’t present for the Particle Reactor explosion, thus making him a brand new type of Meta-Human. Hmmmm Curiouser and curiouser!
- Seriously though, with the Arrow gone I wouldn’t be surprised if Starling started getting A LOT more villains.
- This week’s flashbacks showed us that General Shrieve is actually planning on bombing China and was holding Waller hostage. Guess she isn’t THAT bad.
- Some might wonder why Oliver has a problem letting people help him if the lessen of the flashback was to ‘let other people help’. Well remember this, this entire fiasco ends with Maseo’s family in ruins and their son dead.
- “There’s a decent chance you and Palmer are related” HA! A sentiment expressed on last night’s The Flash as well.
- “If you rely on that suit more than you rely on yourself, it’s going to get you killed” Palmer’s learning the ways of heroing; and if Oliver is joining the League, this might be Oliver passing the torch to Palmer
- Much like Maseo, Oliver is now left as a man without a name. Seems like the perfect time to pick a new one with the League
- Oliver responded to an attack from behind most likely because Palmer has already adapted some of the 360 view tech from Bug-Eyed Bandit’s Bee-drones
There’s only 4 more episodes of Arrow’s Third Season to go, and already things will never be the same. What could the show be from here on out? What’s next? Let’s just watch the next few episodes before we start pondering the Season Finale. So stay tuned for more and I hope you enjoyed this Closer Look.