Reversal validated a lot of my concerns about the return of Olicity for Arrow’s sixth season. Coming off a great final scene last week and the intriguing change in the Team Arrow dynamic, revisiting Oliver and Felicity seemed like a poor choice. The episode ultimately worked in spite of the heavy Oliver/Felicity focus, but hopefully this won’t be a season long trend.
Since becoming the principal love interest, Felicity’s role on Arrow has significantly increased. That’s resulted in a very inconsistent portrayal of Oliver, who constantly acts out of character with anything regarding Felicity. Whenever Oliver is in a relationship with Felicity he becomes indecisive, possessive, awkward and overly accommodating. None of these traits ring true to how the character is portrayed in any other scenario.
The writers should look to their inspiration for Arrow and consider is this how Batman would react in this situation? Can you imagine Bruce Wayne going undercover to play bodyguard for Catwoman or even Vicki Vale?
While Diggle’s developing drug habit to stifle his nerves and Black Siren’s return made for more interesting stories, Reversal addressed a linger subplot from Felicity’s hacktivist stint. I appreciate the writers paying that off and showing Felicity made some bad calls when she went rogue.
Too much of Reversal looked at the new change with Oliver and Felicity’s relationship. She’s busy with Team Arrow activities and he’s the one left at home to pine away. This scenario would play better on The Flash since Barry is always rushing away on Iris. Felicity was a vital cog in Team Arrow from the beginning so her leaving Oliver didn’t seem nearly as dramatic.
Arrow isn’t called Oliver, but it felt weird that his only role this week was to provide Felicity pep talks and fill-in as Overwatch. Somehow, I don’t think playing Overwatch qualifies as Oliver spending more time bonding with William.
I’m not nearly as excited as I thought I would be with the cliffhanger signaling Slade Wilson’s return. It seems like the writers aren’t as willing to explore the new Team Arrow as much as they could and are finding excuses to keep Oliver in action. If that’s the case, why have him hang up the tights in the first place?
Reversal had some issues, but some big reveals helped it through most of the rough patches.
There was even a nice moment with Alena as she gave Felicity an idea for her business — bio-circuitry. Makes sense although Alena probably should get some coin for letting go of the Helix name.
The fight scenes were solid again especially the rotating Team Arrow battle with Felicity and Elena caught in the middle. Every Black Canary/Black Siren fight scene makes me think the show took way too long to make effective use of the Canary Cry in combat.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long for the reveal of this season’s likely big bad — Cayden James played by Lost’s Michael Emerson. My bias toward Lost aside, Emerson will make for a great villain and his icy delivery will play off well with Katie Cassidy’s exuberance as Black Siren.
James was the dangerous threat Felicity’s hacktivist pals freed last season. He was also the mysterious figure who rescued Black Siren from Lian Yu. James’ plans to kill the Internet was a nice bit of misdirection and I’m interested in seeing the end game play out.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW