Arrow: Broken Hearts Review

Cupid makes her Arrow return to convince Olicity that love is death. She is only partially successful — just like this episode.

This Arrow review contains spoilers.

Arrow Season 4, Episode 16

You may have heard otherwise, but love actually doesn’t mean never having to say you’re sorry. In fact, it generally means the opposite; it means constantly having to say you’re sorry… and meaning it. It means honest communication, being vulnerable, and admitting you were wrong — unfortunately for our favorite green protagonist, those are three things Oliver Queen has never been particularly good at.  

Tonight’s Arrowwas all about the awkward aftermath of Olicity’s breakup and, though Oliver might not have had a particularly good time watching Felicity let go of him, it actually wasn’t quite as painful to watch as I thought it would be. Though Oliver didn’t once tell Felicity he was sorry for lying to her about the existence of his son, the show (ultimately) didn’t forgive him for it, either. Which is good because I haven’t let him off the hook for yet as a viewer. Have you?

There were points during this episode when I thought Arrow was going to go another way with its central theme and hold up a version of true love that asks us so little of its participants. In a moment of plot-controlling-character, Diggle told Oliver that Felicity would come around, implying that Oliver shouldn’t make any effort to try to understand how Felicity was feeling. (When, really, we know that Diggle would both a) hold Oliver to a higher standard and b) have Felicity’s back.)

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Later, when Oliver and Felicity are fake-getting married in an attempt to draw out Cupid, Oliver uses the opportunity to declare his undying love for the hacker genius. Oliver’s vows were beautiful and Stephen Amell nailed their delivery, but the entire set-up felt emotionally manipulative — both for Felicity (because they were in the middle of a mission) and the audience (because of Amell’s blue, blue eyes). Once again, though, Oliver was explaining what he needed and wanted rather than listening to what Felicity is worried about. Oliver never once addresses Felicity’s concerns that Oliver will continue to keep important things from her in any real way, other than to pinky-swear that he won’t — which he has done before. At this point, Oliver, actions speak louder than words.

“You really know how to make a girl believe in love again,” Cupid tells Felicity after the latter delivers a speech about what loving Oliver has meant to her, but Arrowis going to have to try harder if it’s going to convince its viewers. I am still totally on board the Olicity train, but I’m not sure how the show is going to reconcile this very real concern that Felicity has and, after season 3, I’m worried that it won’t try to. I’m worried that the show will just wait the requisite amount of time (roughly until season finale season, let’s say), then bring Oliver and Felicity back together because true love, with a pinch of life-or-death-stakes thrown in for good measure. But like Felicity, I demand more of my love stories. Time to step up, Arrow.

“Broken Hearts” was a very nostalgic episode in lots of ways. Structurally, it was reminiscent of “State v. Queen,” one of season 2’s best episodes. This time, instead of Moira Queen on trial, we have Damien Darhk faced with his dark deeds. We have Detective Lance on the stand explaining, like Moira, the extents he went to in order to protect his child. Can I just say? I am here for all of Arrow‘s courtroom episodes.

“State v. Queen” was also a very important Olicity episode. It saw Vertigo kidnap Felicity and hold her at drug-point. It was the first time Oliver broke his no-killing rule post-Tommy’s death. He did it for Felicity. “There was no choice to make.” It was an unpredictably romantic time. As much as I liked this episode within the context of season 4, I can’t help but lament the loss of unpredictability, organic character development, and sense of stake that season 2 excelled at.

Meanwhile, on the island…

Reiter has a tattoo, too. Oliver and Taiana steal a relic from the Legends of the Hidden Temple set. Reiter gets mad.

From the quiver…

“Once Camelot dies, everyone will know my truth: that love is a bullet to the brain.” Does Cupid just sit around coming up with these anti-love aphorisms? If so, she needs to put some more time in. In general, the villainess didn’t get enough time here to make a strong impression, despite Amy Gumenick’s best efforts. Arrowhasn’t had the best track record with this character, too often treating her as a plot device rather than a character.

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“No matter what, love always ends in death. That’s why it’s in the vows.” OK, this point from Cupid is kind of unexpectedly poignant.

“You saw all those people outside, right? They’re out there because love is real. Because love is life itself.” Um, I’m pretty sure all of those people out there are the papparazzi, and they aren’t there for love, but for a paycheck. Sorry, Felicity.

“Our love gives my life meaning, it gives my life purpose. And it’s worth living for.” I love Olicity, but Felicity’s life has purpose without her relationship to Oliver. She has other things worth living for.

“OK, do you want to get back together with her?” “I do. “OK, then tell her that.” Thea was on point this episode, pretty much just popping up to show off her celebrity couple knowledge and to explain to Oliver how communication works. (Seriously, what would he do without her?)

“I grew up a small village in Africa, a small country whose name was changed over the years.” Arrowis really phoning it in here with Reiter’s backstory.

“What about my brother? “You mean the one who was declared dead five years ago?” Lawyer Laurel may be my favorite version of Laurel. (Sorry, Black Canary.) Also, is Laurel the only lawyer left in Star City?

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“I don’t have a law degree, but I don’t thnk that went well.” Diggle may have behaved out-of-character this episode, but this comment was so on point.

Thea knowing all of the celebrity couple names was so in-character for ex-socialite Thea Queen.

“Well, it looks sense if you look at it fom her perspective.” “So, by calling off the wedding, we took ourselves out of the running. I knew there was a silver lining.” Snarky, exasperated Felicity “Scissorhands” Smoak also makes me nostalgic for season 1 OTA action. So much nostalgia in this episode.

“The difference between insanity and belief lies only in the number of believers.” 

“She does love her shrines, doesn’t she?” Even heartbroken, Oliver can still deliver dry humor with the best of them

“Hey, we need to get married.” “How romantic?” Oh, Oliver.

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“Can we get this over with? Can’t wait to be married to this guy.”

“Felicity, before I met you, I had a plan. But then you walked into my life, or I showed up in your cubicle and you changed everything. I was darkness, but with your kindness, your genorosity, your compassion, your intellgience, you wit and your trust, bought me into the light.”

“Don’t ask me to say that I don’t love you.” Bold move reminding us of season 3, Arrow.

“I don’t want to let you go, but I’m already gone.” Team Arrow is screwed without Felicity, right?


3 out of 5