That was the best hour of Arrow in ages!
It's because Arrow Season 4 Episode 17 was generally more focused on the female perspective, and the women were written to their strengths across the board.
Donna was playing the victim, Brie the bad girl with a purpose, and Laurel, Felicity and Thea were all written as heroes and compassionate friends, with Laurel offering a shoulder to her former lover and Felicity and Thea finally bonding through the breakup in a way they never did when Felicity was a part of Team Arrow.
Even Curtis brought to the Team a softer viewpoint, standing in for Felicity by way of his humor and delightful attitude. So much so that Oliver's immediate reaction was to knock him down a peg or two. For shame!
While Oliver still annoyed me (Oliver and I are oil and water), and the flashbacks had no bearing on anything, there was so much joy in this hour, it's one I'd watch again. And soon.
My personal barometer for either engagement or utter boredom can be writing a recap. In this case, it was so enjoyable things were missed for the recap because it was such a good time. Writing? Pfft. Curtis is talking again!! There is fun to be had!
Echo Kellum took the character of Curtis and sent his desirability through the roof with his actions in this episode. He didn't make a wrong move. It's not easy to deliver lines as fast as Curtis talks, let alone infuse so much personality at the same time. There's a reason why Kellum is in every other comedy on TV. He's that good.
And I hate to ask him to break his promise to his husband this soon, but was he really wise to make it? As part of Team Arrow, disappearing at odd times will become the norm. And as we noticed with Donna, not everyone in the family knows what those you love do for a living.
Will Curtis be able to turn his back on Team Arrow? No. And would Team Arrow be able to forget how seamlessly Curtis fit into the lair? No. Not to mention when that bee was chasing them around (so funny), his flips and dives off the platforms showed he's in for much more than tech guy in the future. Amiright?
The entirety of the Palmer Tech scenes with the gals trying to escape the bees was highly entertaining, as well. When they were all in the janitor's closet and were holding up the signage, ropes, etc., to use as protective barriers against the bees? Great comedic moments.
You never know why you'd do something like that, but in a stressful situation, you really do just pull crap off the floor or hide in weird places. The absurdity of it made it lighter and all the more entertaining, even though Brie was after what has now become a body part of Felicity's.
As Curtis said at one point later about Brie's fate, it's comforting and horrifying at the same time.
Brie Larvan likely won't be back, but she was a criminal with a purpose, and it's been a while since we've felt compassion for anyone who has been creating a ruckus on Arrow. Sure, she could have asked about the chip, but no baddie thinks like that. An interesting turn of events.
Oliver was hurting a lot over Felicity, and was taking it out on everyone. Laurel finally stepped in as his friend and former lover. She knows him and lent a shoulder to cry on, but she also held him accountable for what he did to Felicity.
She reminded him he is in his situation because of his actions, but the Green Arrow can still make a difference. That was pretty cool.
I really don't like when the show gloms onto a phrase, and each additional time someone said "beacon of hope," I cringed.
The only time it really felt right was when Felicity used it in relation to remaining off of Team Arrow, utilizing Palmer Tech to change the world. Everything she said was pure Felicity. She was a part of the Team for a specific purpose, one she can carry out with her company. What will eventually carry her name.
Why shouldn't she do that?
We can't forget about Damien Darhk, even though he seems less and less important to the story as it continues. He was available for a laugh, and when he was making fun of the sewn up guy, I almost spit. How Malcolm fits into any of this and how Damien isn't the leader of HIVE after all is very confusing, but I am gonna say...
I told ya so!!
Didn't I say Andy Diggle was going to be up to no good? Didn't I say Diggle inviting his brother into his house would be a moment he'd live to regret? Now I'm wondering if he's going to live at all.
If we're to understand the trailer for Arrow Season 4 Episode 18 (shown below, and do we ever understand the promos??), someone will die at 11:59 (am, pm? no idea) putting an end to an era. I'd go with Diggle. Andy shows up, the only era I know is Original Team Arrow. Laurel wasn't a part of it, Felicity isn't going anywhere.
Plus, Diggle had his flashback episode. That's the kiss of death on Arrow. The only people who get them other than Oliver are also getting the long kiss goodnight.
Alright. That's the brush with "Beacon of Hope." Like it? Hate it? Get your first look at "Eleven-fifty-nine" below and watch Arrow online if you need more action!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.