TV Review: ‘Arrow: Underneath’ (Season 5 Episode 20)

Posted Thursday, May 4th, 2017 01:00 pm GMT -4 by

arrow oliver and felicity fight while trapped HEADER

Now, this is the kind of episode you would expect from a show hitting its stride for the final episodes of its season. Even without the presence of its big bad or a lot of action, there were enough drama and character moments to keep the momentum going, and to propel the series into the final two episodes of the season, leaving us anxiously awaiting next week’s episode.

arrow oliver and felicity have tough discussions in the darkPicking up right where last week left off, Oliver and Felicity wake up and discover the explosion that concluded last week’s episode was actually just an EMP, shutting down everything electrical within the Arrow Cave, including the chip in Felicity’s spine that allows her to walk. To make matters worse, Cisco recently redesigned their HQ to be more impregnable, but with the power out, Oliver and Felicity are trapped, with only 6 hours of air. And to make things even worse than that, Oliver is pretty sure Chase is behind the EMP, and has trapped him in the lair so he can go after Oliver’s son, William, which leaves our hero feeling a bit frantic. None of which sits well with the once-again wheelchair bound Felicity (thank God they left a wheelchair in HQ) who warns Oliver not to try the obvious escape route of climbing up the elevator shaft, getting mad when he ignores her as it proves once again that he does not trust her and only listens to himself. And when Oliver finds the shaft booby-trapped and injures himself, Felicity cannot wait to rub it in, even as she bandages his wound, received from a large exposed screw.

arrow the team works to get into HQMeanwhile, Curtis has discovered up top that the bunker is inaccessible, and gone to find the rest of the Quiver Crew to figure out how they can get Oliver and Felicity out of the bunker. They go to the Diggle residence and find Jon and Lyla still feuding over her ARGUS choices, but the couple puts aside their differences to help the team, and they all gather in the office above HQ to figure out a plan, the first being to use torches to cut through the floor into the lair, all while Curtis laments the fact that his T-Spheres are all down in HQ, as they could have already found a way inside using them.

arrow olicity tries to use bike to restart powerInside, Oliver has agreed that his way failed, so they try Felicity’s plan of using the engine from one of the motorcycles to jumpstart the power in HQ, which seems to work until the engine overheats (or something like that) and explodes, a piece of which just happens to nick a nearby methane gas line, which means deadly flammable gas is now leaking into HQ, giving Oliver and Felicity about 20 minutes to live. Frantic now, the pair has to work together to figure something else out, and Oliver remembers some kind of airshaft they might be able to get to, but it is blocked by a grate. Felicity suggests a low-powered and expertly shot explosive arrow could get the grate open, but it would require precise math from her, and a perfect shot from him. Luckily, she’s Felicity Smoak and he’s the Green Arrow. They get the grate off and retreat into the air shaft which is two stories down, but Oliver has to carry Felicity and in the process he re-opens his wound and collapses from the strain once they reach the bottom, freaking out Felicity.

Up top, just as Rene manages to cut through a small hole with the torch Curtis realizes there is a methane leak within, pulling Rene away to safety just as the torch sets off a small explosion, giving Curtis a few burns for his trouble. The team regroups now that the torch is no longer an option, and Dinah suggests acid to burn through the metal, which they attempt, but it will take too long, as Curtis realizes that Oliver and Felicity only have minutes left with the methane. Fortunately, at this point Lyla arrives with a case containing a T-Sphere that she and ARGUS have enhanced, having apparently “borrowed” Curtis’s tech, and while Diggle is pissed that they stole his technology without asking permission, Curtis is impressed at their modifications, and gets to work using the T-Sphere to save their friends.

Oliver wakes up and tells Felicity about how he is not a hero, and started his quest only because he likes killing people, and Felicity tells him that he is fooling himself, that he only admitted to that because Chase was torturing him, throwing the whole new perspective into question, as Felicity claims she would never have agreed to marry Oliver if he was that monster, as she knows him better than anyone. Curtis’s T-Sphere breaks through the wall and they are almost saved, but first, they need to get out of the building in case the generator starts up again, as the spark from its ignition could set off the methane and blow up the whole building. So Oliver carries Felicity through the air shafts to a meeting place with Diggle and Rene, collapsing from his wounds eventually, but Curtis planned for that, and the T-Sphere has a shot of adrenaline that Felicity uses to get Oliver moving again. They find Diggle but are separated by a massive chasm that Oliver has to jump, with Felicity clinging to his back Yoda style. And of course, at the bottom of the chasm are the massive air vent fans that Curtis just activated to clear out the methane, that will chop anyone to bits should they fall in. Oliver jumps, grabs Diggle’s hand, but Felicity slips, and suddenly all three are dangling, and I’m wondering what agony their shoulders must be in. Felicity tells Oliver to let her go so he can save himself and Jon, but Oliver ignores her and apologizes for not listening as he pulls her up, and then Rene manages to draw them all up by the rope Diggle is hooked on to, saving the day.

arrow oliver and felicity bond 11 months agoIn tonight’s flashback, we only go back 11 months, to the period right after Damien Darhk was killed by Oliver, when Team Arrow was solely Oliver and Felicity, with Curtis running tech. Felicity had not yet begun dating Billy, and Curtis is all too aware of the flirty glances between Oliver and Felicity, even though Felicity tells him she is not ready to get back together with Oliver after the whole William debacle because Oliver just doesn’t trust her. Still, Curtis does a little ‘parent trapping,’ and Oliver and Felicity end up alone in the bunker with Chinese food and wine, and the night ends with them flirting while Oliver tries to teach her the salmon ladder. Eventually, they kiss, and they have, in Felicity’s words “bunker sex,” but she immediately heads out afterward, saying it was nice but that she is not yet ready to have the relationship talk with Oliver, with him reminding her that he is there when she is ready. (which makes it even sadder that he was apparently waiting for her the whole time she was with Billy)

arrow lyle and dig have marital discussions in front of the teamIn the episode close, Lyla gives Diggle a folder with every secret she has in ARGUS so he can know everything she has done, and then confronts him with the fact that he has followed Oliver through a number of morally grey situations and always trusted his friend, demanding to know why she does not get the same trust, a question he cannot actually answer. In the hospital, Oliver recovers from his injuries and is visited by Felicity, who reminds him of their talk in the air shaft tunnels and that she thinks he is a good person, and that he needs to figure out for himself what kind of person he is, and then maybe they can have that relationship talk. Lastly, we see young William (now called Matt) get off a school bus, where he is met by Chase himself, who says he is a friend of Matt’s dad, meaning Oliver was right, Prometheus did indeed go after his son.

BOW-STRING THEORIES:

  • Quentin mentions in the episode that a lot of lawyers are coming out of the woodwork now that the DA was exposed as a serial killer, and have begun questioning his prosecution cases, making me wonder if the show was setting up the release of a lot of villains who Chase put behind bars. I don’t know if it will be a plot point for this season, but maybe for Season 6.
  • I forgot how old William was now. Old enough to fight back against Chase? Maybe, but we’ll see how that plays out
  • Any chance Thea will make an appearance for the final two episodes of the season? Anyone remember when she was an important part of the show?
  • So are we supposed to throw out the whole “Oliver likes killing” thing just because Felicity does not believe it? Sometimes I get confused with ‘Arrow’ about things like this…
  • Anyone else wonder why Curtis did not just call Cisco and ask him for help in getting into the bunker that Cisco designed?
  • So they said Curtis temporarily fixed Felicity’s spinal chip, anyone else wondering when it might conveniently go out again?

I really enjoyed this episode, and while I may not be an Olicity shipper per say, I am ok with the gradual return of their relationship if it is handled the way it was in this episode, as I definitely felt they rushed it the first time through in Seasons 3 and 4. Also, I am a big fan of bottle-episodes in general as a love the character moments they produce and I really liked the vulnerability of both characters trapped in the bunker this week, Oliver because of his wound and Felicity because of her legs, and how they truly had to work together to escape. I am desperately hoping the show manages to close this season on a high note so we can say they really did manage to mostly recapture the magic in Season 5, and with only 2 episodes left, they might just pull it off. See you back here next week!

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horizontal lineNick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)