It’s the same old story: boy meets girl, boy saves girl from super-powered bad guy, girl falls in love with boy, girl becomes a trained archer and kills people to impress boy, boy and his friends try to stop here. This week’s Arrow was all about matters of the heart, and apropos, the bad guy was a woman named Carrie Cutter, AKA: Cupid. Obsession is nothing new for superheroes and their rogues, one might say that The Joker is obsessed with Batman for example, but I’m not quite sure if “Draw Back Your Bow” plays as a superhero Lifetime Movie of the Week, or Fatal Attraction with costumes. Either way it was a big week for our heroes and their romantic issues.
For those of you who have been missing the thread of Oliver and Felicity’s romance – good news! – we revisit it this week. Big time! And for those of you like me who think that the whole Olicity thing is a silly vestige of modern TV fandom where two characters with obvious chemistry are put in a will-they/won’t-they situation just because, well, you’re drawn through a plodding subplot involving Ray Palmer taking Felicity to a business dinner with predictable results. On the bright side, that subplot brought Ray closer to realizing his inner Atom, but did we really have to sit through Ray giving Felicity a She’s All That makeover.
Even Brandon Routh‘s considerable charm couldn’t gloss over the hokiness of Ray’s seduction of Felicity. Not only does he do the Salmon Ladder, and not only does he not mind an audience while doing it, but he persuades Felicity to accompany him on a business dinner with the owner of a particular mine in Nevada, with a couture dress and a very pricey loaner of a necklace. I didn’t think Felicity could be bought, but then again, I though when she wore her glasses while out on a date with Barry in the Flash episode “Going Rogue” that we got over that whole silly “glasses equals not hot” thing. I guess Arrow, like Carrie Cutter, just can’t accept the obvious.
Cupid, as she’s known, is a relatively new rogue in Green Arrow’s gallery. She was introduced in the immediately pre-New 52 days as an Arrow groupie that becomes obsessed with the hero and tries to prove her devotion. Well, same deal here. She killed Isaac Stanzler with one of her heart-shaped arrows and dressed in green like a certain vigilante. Captain Lance thinks the perpetrator is trying to get the Arrow’s attention, but probably not for the reason he thinks. Cupid leads Arrow to her psycho-stalker pad (complete with arrow artwork and newspaper clippings), then she threatens to blow up a mob boss and beats up Arsenal (who got named checked during an op!), and if all that isn’t enough to prove she’s psychotic, she calls Arrow “lover” and tells him they “have more in common” than he’d “like to admit.” Yawn.
But if I derived any pleasure from the week’s outing at all, then it was more likely from the Cupid chasing. At Verdant, Thea finally, officially re-opened the club by auditioning DJs. Naturally, the one that acts like a complete @$$hole turns out to be as talented as he says, and he also turns out to be Thea’s new love interest. Law of TV Romance Physics: the bigger jerk the guy is, the more likely the girl’s going to dig that. And his name, naturally, is Chase. Really.
Our Hong Kong flashback this week teased an untimely end for Maseo, who was sent on a mission to the docks by Waller, but doesn’t return for hours. Tatsu becomes worried, and she and Oliver go out to search for him. Apparently, the Japanese triad are looking to start some trouble, and “trouble” includes killing three A.R.G.U.S. agents. Maseo was not among them, but they made us think he was, not only because one of the triad guys told Tatsu he was, but because the episode built up this weird Moonlighting sexual tension between Oliver and Tatsu. We get it, she hates him but maybe she can come to like him, as in like him like him. On the plus side, Katana got to use a katana this week, so that’s something.
The final fight between Cupid and Arrow didn’t exactly demonstrate the Arrow fight team’s best work, but in the end I don’t think anyone in the writers room knew where they wanted to take this thing. Was Cupid meant to show Oliver the dark side of inspiration? The dark side of obsession? The end result of what happens with love turns sour? Of course, Cupid doesn’t suffer from a lack of love, she just concentrates all her love on a single person whether they’re willing or not. Cupid’s shrink calls it an “attachment disorder,” or to put it in Alex Forrest terms, she will not be ignored.
I don’t think the faults of Cupid can be blamed on actress Amy Gumenick as she clearly relished playing Glenn Close to Stephen Amell’s Michael Douglas. The Fatal Attraction analogy is made even more apt by the dinner theater way Amell spills everything off the desk after Oliver catches Ray and Felicity smooching. I did like how Diggle tried to be a good wingman for Oliver and tried to nudge both Oliver and Felicity into admitting what they both know is apparently true, but not even the calm, cool rationality of Dig completely sells this “endgame” ideal of “Olicity,” especially when the characters have almost bent over backwards to not mention it in the last five episodes.
For real fan service, you had to wait till episode’s end. It turns out Ray’s interest in the Nevada mine is tied to some “dwarf star alloy,” which if I know my comic book science, I believe it has something to do with shrinking things. We also get a glimpse at something called the A.T.O.M. exosuit, which has a very familiar red and blue color scheme. If this is all legit, one wonders what role The Atom might play this season, because Lord knows a Ray-Felicity-Oliver triangle will be about as interesting as watching Cupid toy with delusional self-interest turned out to be.
As if to prove the inconsequentialness of Cupid, she’s shuffled off to the Suicide Squad at the end of the episode, where killing people and being psychotic are seen as positive attributes. Speaking of the Squad, we meet another future member at episode’s end, Captain Boomerang (played by Nick Tarabay). Boomerang will be the reason that Team Arrow will travel to Central City in a couple of weeks, which leads to the bad news, and that is Arrow is taking the week off next Wednesday. Even a superhero needs to celebrate Turkey day. See you in two weeks.