‘ARROW’ 1×21 Photo Recap: “The Undertaking”
You know how you can tell this was a great episode? Because I didn’t even notice that Colton Haynes wasn’t in it. And you all know that even the slightest lull can trigger my brain to go into “Okay, but where is Colton Haynes?” mode. It’s pretty much my default setting. But I was so distracted by all the shenanigans going on in this episode—Murder plots! Declarations of love! Olicity innuendos! Flashback hair!—that I didn’t even have time to miss Roy “Cheekbones of an Angel” Harper. So yeah. Let’s talk about some things. Like the fact that Oliver has chemistry with literally everyone on this show. Seriously: Felicity, Laurel, Diggle… Oliver is basically just a walking volcano of sexual tension. I’m pretty sure that’s his real super power. But I’m getting off topic (shocker), so let’s delve into this somewhat monumental episode…
Oliver dropped in (literally) on some nefarious dudes, the leader of which looked like Mr. Bean.
After he was done giving Mr. Bean a nice spit bath, Oliver took the guy’s laptop to Felicity, because what girl doesn’t prefer that to flowers or shiny jewelry? (Felicity Smoak. That’s who.)
Have I mentioned lately that I adore Felicity? She’s so refreshingly honest and awkward in a totally hilarious and endearing way. Oliver is the king of repressed feelings, and Felicity is just like, “KNOCK KNOCK: IT’S YOUR FEELINGS. OPEN UP.” She’s awesome, basically.
This week’s episode didn’t include any flashbacks to Oliver’s time on the island (is it bad that I was really happy about that?), but instead it featured some revelatory glimpses of Oliver’s pre-shipwreck life, as well as the shamfraudery (I just made that word up) going on between his father and the rest of the people involved with his mysterious “List.” I couldn’t help but laugh at these flashbacks, since it was basically just an orgy of Moira Queen and all the men she’s slept with and/or conspired to commit murder with (or on). Oh, and this guy:
Wow, Malcolm, uhh…extreme much? I mean, I know his wife got murdered in the Glades, and I feel for the guy, but come on. That just seems a little unreasonable. It’s like if you got a pizza with thin crust when you ordered stuffed crust, so you decided to blow up the entire pizza place. A lot of innocent pizzas would be hurt in the process. But I guess “grief” and “reason” never really go hand in hand… See: Laurel drinking coffee at a bar, which happens to be owned by her ex, and where her other ex used to work. Totally reasonable…
After Felicity had successfully crashed Oliver and Laurel’s little bar tender therapy session (not that I’m complaining), she showed him what she had uncovered from Mr. Bean’s hard drive: someone had been paid to kidnap Walter! I’m sure you’re thinking, “Okay, whatever, so what does this mean for me?” I’ll tell you what it means: elaborate casino espionage involving pretty red dresses! (Only for Felicity, sadly. Though I’m sure Oliver would rock a slinky red dress just as well as he does that hooded leather unitard.) At first Oliver was all adorably protective, like, “You are not going in there alone, thankyouverymuch,” but Felicity is just too persuasive. Plus, she can count cards. Plus, see above re: red dress.
And that was just the first of many gifts the writers had in store for us Olicity fans in this episode. Afterwards, Felicity went to pay a visit to Oliver’s other partner in on-screen chemistry to see if she could help broker some peace between them.
Following the night’s theme of talking-about-our-feelings, Laurel took Oliver’s advice and went to talk to Tommy, who was sporting some solid breakup stubble (not to mention the dead-in-the-eyes look of someone who’s lost everything important to him). Tommy, in turn, told Laurel to go talk to Oliver about why they broke up. Tommy was all disgruntled and whatnot, and he told Laurel that she was meant to be with Oliver, who is still in love with her. Bless her obliviousness, Laurel was hella confused. But more on that later… Back to fun casino espionage!
I have to confess, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get a She’s All That moment where Oliver sees Felicity walking down the stairs in all her glam makeover glory and he gets all slack-jawed and stammery. (But we did almost have a moment like that in “Dodger,” so I guess I can’t complain.) And for the record, Felicity’s dress was not slutty; it was actually quite elegant and suited her perfectly.
Oliver gave Felicity an earpiece so they could stay in touch while she was inside the casino, and he could intervene if anything went wrong. But really it was just an excuse for Felicity to utter this line:
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love The CW. They aren’t afraid to give the fans what they want, whether it’s over-the-top innuendos, or Colton Haynes’ naked torso. They don’t make you wait seven seasons, or throw you a copout like coma sex. (*cough cough* Bones *cough cough*) Don’t get me wrong—there’s a place for subtle storytelling. But that place is not The CW.
I loved that Felicity was smart enough to tell Oliver where they were going. She’s quick on her feet. And did I mention hilarious? Felicity held her own while the big bag casino boss scolded her, and just ever-so-stealthily placed a bug in his office. Unfortunately, he correctly surmised that Felicity was working with a partner. He took her earpiece and crushed it with his foot, thereby bringing down the wrath of the Green Arrow upon his casino.
Oliver took this new information from a totally reliable source (…) and decided to pass it along to his family. When I first watched this I was like, really, Oliver? You’re just going to take this insubstantial evidence and run with it? Just because someone hears a gunshot does NOT mean the person in the other room is dead. For the record. And also, you don’t even know this guy! He’s just a sleazy crime boss! Why would you believe him, let alone run straight to your mother and sister and tell them that their beloved Walter is dead? And the answer is…because it was all part of Oliver’s master plan. He just wanted his mother to think Walter was dead so that she would reveal her part in his kidnapping. OH SNAP. (Yes, people still say, “oh snap”… Deal with it.)
But first, flashback time! And this is a good one. Bonus points to anyone else who noticed Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” playing in the background. (Even in flashbacks, The CW has a catchy soundtrack.)
Poor Laurel… She just had to drop the dreaded, “I think it’s time for us to take the next step” bomb on their relationship. In my experience (by which I mean years of watching Seinfeld reruns), that’s the second-to-last thing any man wants to hear, after “we need to talk.” Young Oliver got a little spooked by the idea of getting serious with Laurel, and decided to exercise his superb decision-making skills by sleeping with Laurel’s sister. On a boat. Which sank. So all in all, bad judgment on several counts, Oliver.
But back to the boat sinking thing… How exactly did that come about? We found out this week when we saw some flashbacks to Manic Merlyn, who sabotaged Robert Queen’s boat just like Oliver sabotaged his relationship with Laurel. I think the lesson here is, don’t tell Malcolm Merlyn what he can’t do. Weeks after his co-conspirators pointed out that he couldn’t just create a natural disaster to destroy the Glades, the guy actually orchestrated the demise of the Queen’s Gambit, making it look like the result of a natural disaster. POINT TAKEN, MALCOLM.
Upon learning of the death of her second husband at the hand of Malcolm Merlyn, Moira was understandably upset. She went to his office to confront him and to talk very loudly about all the terrible things they’ve plotted together over the years (well, mainly her partial involvement in Walter’s abduction), and Oliver heard every word through the bug he had planted. TRUTHQUAKE! And boy did it shake up Oliver’s world. Felicity found him sitting morosely on the floor of his lair, contemplating how everything he’s ever known is a lie. And also how bad his hair used to be.
Felicity cheered him up by helping him track down the location where Walter was being held, which would only be a minor nuisance to break into. Luckily Oliver was prepared for an occasion such as this.
Oliver made quick work of the dozen or so goons between the roof and the cell where Walter was being kept.
So Oliver succeeded in rescuing Walter without revealing his true identity. The Queen family played musical hugs with each other as they reunited with Walter in the hospital…except for Oliver, who watched suspiciously as his mom hugged the man whose kidnapping she had been an unwilling party to. Felicity dropped by to diffuse the tension, but even she couldn’t get Oliver out of his funk.
When Oliver stepped outside, Malcolm was there waiting for him, and Oliver gave him a fierce staredown and told him that the people who were behind Walter’s kidnapping would pay. Consider yourself officially warned, Malcolm!
As if emotions weren’t high enough, Laurel stopped by to deliver one final blow to Oliver’s already unstable psyche.
TRUTHQUAKE, PART 2. This one was about a 6.5 on the Richter scale. I was pleasantly surprised that Oliver just laid it all out there. Like he said, he has enough secrets in his life. Ball’s in your court, Laurel! Or maybe both of Oliver’s balls are in Dig’s court…
OHMAHGODYOUGUYS. So many cans of feelings were opened up in this episode. Oliver and Laurel—HOLY CRAP; Oliver and Diggle (I’m so glad they made up—I hate it when those two fight); Oliver and his mom (if they didn’t need family therapy before…); Oliver and Felicity (PLEASE HAVE BABIES); and all kinds of other emotional shrapnel flying around. Plus, we got some insight into what happened with “the List” and all the dynamic dysfunction of the older Arrow generation. Malcolm, seriously, STOP TRYING TO KILL YOUR FRIENDS. And Tommy: stop becoming your father! Felicity: please continue being fabulous in every way!
What did you guys think of this episode? Did you prefer the Undertaking flashbacks to the island flashbacks? Will Oliver confront his mother about her involvement? How good was Kevin Spacey in 21? Who do you think will end up in bed together in the finale? Laurel and Oliver? Oliver and Felicity? Oliver and Diggle? All four together? Sorry, I’m letting my shipper show… Leave a comment below!
See the rest of my Arrow photo recaps here.
*All images are property of The CW