Arrow: “The Undertaking”

What an undertaking for Oliver Queen this week?  First, he had to take on segments of Starling City’s underbelly without Diggle, his right-hand-man, who broke up with him last week because of Oliver’s selfishness.  Forging ahead, he did his best with his other ally, Felicity Smoak.  Who was, well…smokin’ in her tight red dress.  Felicity was entrusted with entering an underground casino, winning handily and then getting caught The Undertakingcounting cards.  Oliver wanted her to get caught, so she could plant a bug in Robert Alonzo’s office.  Felicity’s undertaking is selfless, as she learns Alonzo’s bank account had 2 million deposited in it the night Walter Steele, Moira Queen’s husband, disappeared.  When Felicity enters the casino, she steals the show.  The writers are genuinely playful with Felicity, allowing her awkward dialogue to flourish, especially to Oliver.  With Felicity wearing an earpiece synced to Oliver hiding on a fire escape outside the casino, she provides one of the most subtle sexual lines of dialogue I’ve heard in a long while.  And it came out of nowhere, which is such a delight.  It was such a ‘did she just say that’ moment, I had to press rewind.  Yes, she did.  Trust me, the scene was so playfully crafted, even Oliver’s usual dead pan responses couldn’t ruin.  In fact, his wooden retort was perfect.

The scene also benefits from high octane action, as Felicity’s cover is blown, and Oliver must dawn the Hood and bust into the casino.  The stunt men were working double time in this episode; Arrow throws a guard through a door, flings glass chips in another’s face and my personal favorite, tosses a guard onto a glass table, spilling a bowl of cheese twists.  I thought those were only eaten at children’s birthday parties.  I guess they’re a hit in underground casinos as well.  The humor and action aside, the scene’s end comes with Arrow learning some sad news about Walter.  Alonzo believes Walter to be dead, he heard gun shots after he was delivered.  Oliver now has the undertaking of telling his mother and sister of Walter’s demise.  Moira can’t believe it, and storms out of the house, ending up at Malcolm Merlyn’s office.  There, Malcolm shows Moira a live camera feed of Walter in a cell.  But the damage is done.  Arrow followed her there, and has listened to the entire conversation, one that reveals his mother’s involvement in dark plans for Starling City.  Try not to despair weary reader, at episode’s end, Arrow finds Walter and returns him to his family.  In a surprisingly touching hospital scene, Oliver has brought what’s left of his family back together.  To add to this heartfelt moment, he reveals to Laurel he’s still in love with her.  For a woman whose eyes look like they are always on the verge of tears, this information definitely set her heart aflutter and yes, those tears were again ready to roll.

arrow_the_undertaking_10_20130424_1337739956-610x406A secondary plot-line in this week’s Arrow that really worked had to do with Oliver’s father; revealing Robert Queen’s hand in the undertaking to eliminate the problems of Starling City, specifically the Glades.  Robert Queen was a part of a consortium, highly powerful citizens including Malcolm Merlyn, who set out to make positive changes.  Yet, just before Robert’s boat, the Queen’s Gambit, sank and Oliver being on the island for 5 years, they learned Malcolm was creating a devise to level the Glades and kill everyone in it.  He would make it look like a natural disaster, but the Glades would be gone, attempting to cool his revenge on the Glades, as his wife was murdered years before there.  When Robert gets wind of this, he wants to slow Malcolm’s plans, but then his ship goes down and has left Oliver with the book to finish what he hadn’t even started as a personal undertaking.  This is really the first time we’ve been given significant back story on Robert and it was worth the wait.  Many plot pieces, such as Frank Chen’s involvement and Moira’s non-involvement are revealed.  But the biggest nugget is that Malcolm’s special device to bring and end to the Glades is ready to be used.  Five years is up.  Luckily for the citizens ofStarling City, Oliver Queen made it off that island.

The episode ends with Oliver taking on another undertaking, one that is far more difficult than shooting arrows through bad guys.  He has to admit he was wrong.  Oliver makes his way to Diggle’s apartment.  Although Felicity is a big help with her techie lingo, she doesn’t have the brawn of Diggle.  Have you seen that man’s arms?  How could you miss them in this scene, as he’s wearing a tank top?  Oliver tells Diggle he made a mistake.  He knows that his mother lied to him; that she has been working with Malcolm.  “I need your help,” Oliver states.  He knows what’s coming, and he’ll need all hands on deck to save the Glades from disaster.

“The Undertaking,” was a highly entertaining episode of Arrow.  The most intriguing and important plot lines were followed, examining the heart of what threatens Starling City.  Quick paced action with throngs of unconscious thugs laying behind Arrow’s wake was balanced with Felicity’s awkward humor.  The love story between Oliver and Laurel remained interesting, bordering sappy but never going over.  We even got a glimpse of a younger Oliver five years previous, with his terribly floppy hair and dufus attitude.  It personifies one of the best parts of Arrow: just when you start taking it seriously, you’re brought back to the truth: you can’t, and that’s its most alluring draw, at least for me.

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