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Arrow Round Table: "The Man Under the Hood"

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It's time for the Arrow Season 2 Episode 19 Round Table!

This week we're talking about Felicity stepping up, what Laurel did with her new information, what's next for Isabel and why Lance doesn't want to know the identity of the Arrow.

Join staff writers Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton, Robin Harry and Carissa Pavlica in the discussion by sharing your opinion in the comments below. Let's dig in...

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What did you think of Felicity taking control of the Mirakuru situation?

Kate: Well for obvious Flash reasons, she's taking control to introduce those characters. On the other hand, I really want to believe that she is taking control of the Mirakuru because she wants to end this "war" that is going on between Slade and Oliver for Oliver's sake. It's no secret, except to Oliver, how she feels about him and I want her to save him. It's so corny, I know.

Nick: I love that it is within her character to do so. She's not going to go out and punch bad guys in the face, but she can ring up her super cool science buddies and begin to synthesize a serum to cure the Mirakuru. It's a good chance to bring the other characters in The Flash (let's get to ordering that to series please) to town as well.

Robin: I thought that was fantastic. Felicity doesn't often get to take charge, so I love both the initiative that she took and her confidence in her choice. It adds an interesting layer to her character.

Carissa: If anybody had doubts about whether or not Oliver respects Felicity, they can let them go now. It was her plan to blow up the Applied Sciences building and they carried it out. She was even donning a ski mask, although the eyes didn't line up right. I wonder if that was written in or if that was something Emily did on her own. So adorkable!

How do you feel about the way Laurel is dealing with the information Slade gave her?

Kate: This has been the best thing that has ever happened to her character. Most of Arrow Season 2 hasn't been good for Laurel, she has done nothing that I wanted to see. Thank God for Quentin and his take on the Arrow for opening Laurel's eyes. With that said, Laurel will worry and it will eventually have to come out that she knows but, for now, I really like that she's going to keep it in to help protect Oliver and Sara.

Nick: I really like how Laurel handles it. It's a return of form to her Arrow Season 1 character (even though it feels out of character for her this season), and I think she understands, thanks to Quentin and seeing Sara's scars, that there's a certain amount of trust she can place back into them and what they are doing for the city. When she hugs Oliver near the end, she understands that stress that he is under, and I think she's going to be using her career as a pivot to help as best she can.

Robin: Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting her to scream bloody murder, but instead she was forgiving and understanding. I'm perplexed about what they're doing with her character (one minute she's threatening people, next minute she's forgiving), but her reaction to Oliver and Sara's secret was a good turn for her.

Carissa: I agree with everyone else. I'm pleased with how the story has played out. There were a lot of options, but flat out understanding and acceptance seemed unlikely. Like Robin, I also wonder where her character is going. If she's going to be the legal beagle who uses her tough but savvy side by threatening and getting around the law, that's fine, but how long will that be interesting?

Oliver Ready to Spring Into Action
After Deathstroke sneaks into the Arrow lair, Oliver looks ready to spring into action in "The Man Under the Hood."

What do you think is coming up with Isabel and Slade?

Kate: Choas, of course. With the reveal of Isabel being a crazy psycho ex-girlfriend of Robert Queen, I'm curious to see if she goes after Moira. I think Slade's best bet to hurt Oliver would be hurting Felicity or Diggle and that worries me. I just don't see how this choas can end without the death of another main character...

Nick: Is Isabel a Mirakuru zombie now? I'm honestly not that interested in seeing what happens between the two of them.

Robin: I agree with Nick - I don't really care about Isabel. I actually would have preferred it if she was just a ruthless businesswoman and not a Slade disciple. Also, while her affair with Robert Queen is comic canon, it was introduced a bit too abruptly, and made her even worse.

Carissa: I've never liked her character, but as an actress Summer Glau can do emotionless killing machine, so it makes sense to go that route. It's not like they've not killed off big name actors and their big name villain counterparts in the past, however.

Are you surprised that Lance doesn't want to know the identity of the Arrow?

Kate: If you would have asked me this question a year ago, I would have said YES. Now, not so much. The scene between him and Laurel about the Arrow was my favorite part of the episode. What an incredible scene to showcase that character growth for Quentin. It was the best! Do you have any strong feelings on what's going on or what's up next?

Nick: No, I think he understands that there's a certain amount of discretion the Arrow needs to really clean up the city, and he's willing to bend the rules in order to do so -- even if the rest of the police force doesn't like it.

Robin: I'm not surprised. I think it's already enough of a burden knowing that his daughter is a vigilante, and he understands what kind of weight she carries as a result. Lance understands the need for The Arrow, and won't do anything to compromise the vigilante's work or his own. It also explains why he willfully ignores every sign that Oliver is the Arrow.

Carissa: While the reasoning is sound, it surprises me because he does know his daughter is palling around with him. You'd think he would want to know his identity for that reason alone. Similarly, the Arrow isn't the only one with serious burdens, his Sara is carrying a good part of the load now. So, while it makes sense philosophically, personally it really doesn't.

Do you have any strong feelings on what's going on or what's up next?

Kate: My simple and boring answer is no. I don't try to speculate with Arrow for the reason that I will be completely off-base. I also don't try to guess what's ahead because I want to be surprised and I want to be shocked. I enjoy being caught off guard when it comes to Arrow. With that said, I will state what I said before, I have very strong feelings that we will be losing another main character by the finale.

Nick: I'm most interested in seeing where Thea goes next. I think there's an opportunity here for her to take up the Merlyn name and see what kind of trouble she can get into.

Robin: I'm interested in where Thea goes from here -- I liked who her character was becoming, and her future intrigues me. Otherwise...I may be in the minority, but I'm about ready for the Slade story to end. At the very least I need a break from it -- give me a villain-of-the-week, please!! Put Roy's "anger issues" under the enough-already category as well.

Carissa: It's too late to dial it down a notch, but that's what I would have liked to see about five episodes ago. So much has happened and so many characters have gotten new information and we've really not gotten to see them process it all and just live with it. We need a day in the life episode, where they all go to Big Belly Burger and remember how important their relationships are to what they're doing so they don't get lost.

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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I also agree with Carissa when she says, "...that's what I would have liked to see about five episodes ago. ...We need a day in the life episode, where they all go to Big Belly Burger and remember how important their relationships are to what they're doing so they don't get lost." I think that's one of the biggest issues I've had with Arrow this year -- the feeling that we've lost the focus of character driven moments as well as the relationships in favor of plot and action all the time. --THIS. Arrow isn't fun anymore. It's grim and morose and the plot lines are getting dumber and dumber. I mean, really, there's a cure for the Mirakiru? Could Oliver BE any dumber about the stuff he keeps to himself? The Queens are poor now? As for Laurel...I don't hate her. I just don't care. They keep trying to save her character, and now I have no idea who she is anymore. She WAS bitter, angry, and a pill-popping alcoholic, but apparently, her superpower is getting over all that (she is a recovering alcoholic who can hang out at a bar with her bartender sister. Girl's got willpower...or so we are supposed to believe) and blackmailing her boss to get her way. What happened to smart storytelling? Are they planning to turn Laurel into the Black Canary or the Blackmail Canary? (I'm for the latter...coz I prefer Sara)

Claire2014

Q1. I am THRILLED that this occurred! Felicity IS vital to the team and I think Oliver does have a great deal of respect for her. EBR has great comedic timing, and I am glad the writers are making use of it, but something else that EBR does very well and the writers need to utilize more, is EBR’s ability to show just how strong and courageous Felicity is either through stance or timbre of voice. They have a strong, smart and sassy character on their hands that is ripe for development and I can’t wait to see how the next few episodes play out. Q2. This character has yet to make me feel anything for her. All her “journey” has shown me is that it is full of easy outs and easy answers. She continues to be a character exists for Oliver's validation, so much so that having sat through 7 episodes revolving around the Lance sisters and family, upon learning the truth of their identities, she goes to Oliver instead of going to bond with her sister. There is no investment to be made in such a character. All they have succeeded in doing is making me more apathetic towards her Q3 & Q5 I am combining these, because I think that Carissa once again hit the proverbial nail on the head. I love the Slade storyline and I am glad we finally learned the real reason behind Isabel’s takeover of the company; however, we went 10 episodes without hearing from Isabel. I think her reveal would have had a larger impact had we become a bit more invested in her character — seen her interact with the family and Felicity. Instead it was “here she is, back again, and SURPRISE, she’s bad.” Not really a surprise. The same happened with Roy that I touched on last week. How can we feel he was a devastating loss to Team Arrow when we haven’t SEEN or EXPERIENCED him becoming PART of the team. Action is great, and James Bamford truly deserves an Emmy for his work and while I am a fan of many “action” shows, I only know the name of the guy coordinating the stunts for Arrow. lol However, more growth, bonding and processing can be achieved over burgers at the Big Belly Burger than through dueling with Bow staffs. When Felicity first learned of the truth, they went to the Big Belly Burger to collaborate and discuss. Great scene. There has NOT been a digestive period YET for all the balls that have been hanging out in limbo. So while I like the story of Slade and Isabel, I am ready for answers on the story front, and progress on the characters and their growth. Q4. As for Lance, I am not surprised that he doesn’t WANT to know, but truly I worry if deep down he doesn’t have an inkling of suspicion. Maybe he does, and he refuses to put the pieces together to get confirmation. I hope he makes it through the finale alive, because as much as I think we can do without his family drama, I LOVE this character.

Smoak-and-arrow

#1 - I never thought Oliver didn't respect Felicity. If he didn't, and if he didn't respect her skills, she wouldn't be part of the team. That said, I loved seeing Felicity step up and make active, strong, aggressive decisions in this episode. Blowing up Applied Sciences? Brilliant! Being part of the bombing team? Awesome! I liked that she was coming up with plans for attack and helping carry them out. She's a smart, strong character and I really want to see the show utilize that more. Sure, she can be funny (as we saw in that ep), but she's also capable. She's part of that team and I love watching her skill set grow and shine. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with the Mirakuru now that Felicity's been tasked with trying to find an antidote. #2 - I'll just echo Robin's perplexed, but since this is a character I gave up on... I still have a hard time really caring, so I can't answer really. #3 - I wonder if Slade will be able to control Isabel now that she's all high on the Mirakuru. I like Kate's idea that she might go after Moira. That would be interesting and scary! Isabel is another one that was hard to care about this year. It started off really interesting with her moving in on Queen Consolidated but I think I wanted more of her being the smart, scheming business woman in that setting. More plotting and planning and watching Oliver, Moira, Thea, even Felicity who never liked her from the start, have to go more toe to toe with her in the office. Instead it kind of just fizzled out and was forgotten until they did this thing with Slade. They could have even had Isabel and Blood interacting on some level to add some interest. I really thought this storyline flopped when it could have been really good. Totally disappointed in the potential ending up wasted. #4 - Quentin Lance's speech was one of my favorite moments in that episode. Paul Blackthorne did such a wonderful job. I actually think Quentin does know/suspect that Oliver is the Arrow. He just won't allow himself to admit it or dig into it any further to actually "confirm" it. It gives him a deniability while allowing Oliver to continue to do what he has to do. And I agree that Quentin has a much better idea of the burdens the Arrow has to carry know that he's in on his daughter's whole secret identity thing. #5 - I'll echo Robin here, again. LOL. I'm ready for the Slade story to wrap up and move on. It's not that it hasn't been good when it's been on but it really feels to me like it's dragging on. It was a bit too "filler feeling" for me when they would only insert a bit of Slade at the very end of an episode and then we got into all those other eps that just seemed like too many breaks in the story to feel coherent. It started to bug me. I'm to the point I find myself thinking, "Okay, get on with it!" and not because I'm excited to get there but because the pacing just seems like it's crawling along. Don't get me wrong, I *am* excited to see where it goes and what happens but they need to get there already. I also agree with Carissa when she says, "...that's what I would have liked to see about five episodes ago. ...We need a day in the life episode, where they all go to Big Belly Burger and remember how important their relationships are to what they're doing so they don't get lost." I think that's one of the biggest issues I've had with Arrow this year -- the feeling that we've lost the focus of character driven moments as well as the relationships in favor of plot and action all the time. Again, don't get me wrong, I love the stunts and action on Arrow. Those elements made me a huge fan last year, but this year has felt sometimes like it's all about plot driven needs no matter how much that rewrites a character, a relationship between characters, and the history of that character/relationship in the episodes and seasons that came before that plot driven need. Lots of those moments have left me very confused and annoyed. I can overlook that here and there but there was a big stretch this season where it seemed that's all I felt in all the eps. I don't know if it's because the show really reached big and kind of over-crammed the plotlines this year and lost control or what, but I'm hoping they find their balance between Plot & Character for Season 3 because I need to care about the characters in these stories. If I lose that... if I lose my investment in them and their relationships... all the great stunts and action sequences won't mean anything because I won't care. I'm really happy that Deathstroke and The Man Under The Hood have started to refocus on Team Arrow, bring back that Oliver/Felicity/Diggle dynamic (been missing that!) as well as some of the relationships a bit more. It gives me hope they're getting the ship back on course.