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‘Arrow’ Review: “Broken Hearts”

Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

After a three week hiatus, Arrow returned this week with an episode that will have fans talking for weeks. Arrow last left off with Team Arrow catching Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) breaking Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) heart by calling off their engagement. Arrow picks up right where it left off with the latest episode entitled “Broken Hearts.”

“I’m Cupid, stupid!” Amy Gumenick returns with vengeance this week as Carrie Cutter aka Cupid. When fans last saw Cupid, she was helping Diggle (David Ramsey), Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Deadshot (Michael Rowe) take down a terrorist organization. After Deadshot’s surprising death in the field, Cupid returns to Star City singing a different tune than fans are used to hearing. “Love is a bullet to the brain… or an arrow to the heart.” From the moment Gumenick steps on screen this week, she has fans eating out of the palm of her hand. Her sultry walk, the way she delivers lines and her impressive arrow skills always make her the perfect villain on Arrow. This time around, fans see a different side to Cupid. Instead of the lovestruck character fans have grown accustomed to, Cupid is on a warpath to destroy all the happy couples in Star City.

Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode "Broken Hearts." Photo Credit: The CW
Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Broken Hearts.” Photo Credit: The CW

Sadly, Cupid isn’t the only one who is hating love on Arrow this week. Felicity Smoak is on a hating love rampage of her own. After her emotional breakup with Oliver, which involved her taking her first steps out of her wheelchair and out the door, she seems to be disliking everything to do with love as well. Arrow doesn’t hesitate to shoot “Olicity” fans in the heart with an arrow as they witness Felicity moving out of the apartment. Some time has passed between their breakup and the current episode. Seeing the duo standing what feels like miles apart adds to the heartbreaking nature of the scene. Emily Bett Rickards ability to have moments of pure humor and heartbreak in the same scene continues to be one of her strongest attributes.

As Felicity and Oliver divide tasks like cancelling the wedding venue and uninviting guests, the dynamics between Felicity and Oliver seem to have flipped. Felicity remains stoic through most of the scene while Oliver appears to be cracking under their now strained relationship. Amell has grown leaps and bounds as an actor this season and this scene further proves it. The biggest development is Felicity and Oliver discussing Felicity continuing with Team Arrow. This is the only time Felicity begins to crack under the facade she is presenting. Oliver tells her, “Of course you are a part of the team. Forever and always.” Amell delivers this line with a perfect combination of heartbreak and happiness and it’s a moment fans are never going to forget.

On Arrow Felicity and Oliver have had small breakups in the past, but this breakup affects both characters more than ever. Rickards gets to utilize different acting abilities this week as she shows a more cynical and snarky side to Felicity Smoak. After locating Cupid, Team Arrow springs into action. This chase scene juxtaposes a scene from earlier this season where Felicity is saying adorable things to Oliver. This time around Felicity is criticizing Oliver going after Cupid alone after they corner her and her latest victims in a warehouse. Arrow’s stunt department always does an amazing job and this episode is no exception. The fight sequence that ensues between Cupid and Green Arrow is amazing. It’s not an elaborate fight, but a good old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat scene, which are sometimes the best ones on Arrow.

Katie Cassidy in the Arrow episode "Broken Hearts." Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW
Katie Cassidy in the Arrow episode “Broken Hearts.” Photo Credit: Diyah Pera /The CW

While Diggle, Thea (Willa Holland), Felicity and Oliver are tied up trying to catch Cupid, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is dealing with Damien Darhk’s trial. Being presented as a challenge for the young lawyer, Laurel will do anything to keep Darhk behind bars and off the streets of Star City. With Darhk pretending to be someone else and no one in town willing to testify, Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) steps up to the plate. Cassidy and Blackthorne have grown the father/daughter relationship on Arrow and this week is one of their best moments together. Blackthorne has become a bigger asset to Arrow this season and it’s great to see him and Cassidy share not only the father/daughter dynamic but also the co-workers one. In one of his best performances to date, Quentin takes the stand in court. What ensues is a simple plea to keep the man who threatened his daughter off the streets. Blackthorne delivers the lines with such heartache and remorse, it’s hard not to tear up at the clear love Quentin has for Laurel. On the receiving end, Cassidy utters very few lines and simply reacts to Blackthorne’s exceptional monologue. The duo have turned their characters into forces to be reckoned with on Arrow and it’s been a privilege to watch the characters and actors grow.

One of the many surprises on Arrow this week didn’t involve a plotline, but rather Thea Queen taking on a more comedic role. The one line quips are usually dealt out by Rickards, but with Felicity dealing with her breakup, Holland steps in and delivers. Holland has arguably come the farthest in the four years of Arrow. Thea Queen began as simply Oliver’s troublemaking little sister and now she has found her niche as Speedy on Team Arrow. Holland’s acting has also grown alongside Thea’s character development. Thea has finally found her place on Arrow and it’s refreshing to see her so comfortable that she represents humor rather than teen angst. Also leave it to Arrow to subtly name drop another CW show when Thea is talking about Cupid and says, “Really brings a whole new meaning to crazy ex-girlfriend.”

When Team Arrow figures out Cupid is targeting high profile weddings, this is where things really start to get interesting. Team Arrow traces Cupid to a wedding dress storage facility and it’s there where all the pieces of “Broken Hearts” begins to come together. Green Arrow stumbles upon a typical Cupid lair and sees who her next possible target could be: Oliver and Felicity. This leads fans into one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking storylines of Arrow this season. When they return to the lair Oliver utters the simplest line to Felicity, “Hey, we need to get married.” Cue screams from every “Olicity” fan as the fake-out wedding becomes a reality.

Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Broken Hearts." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Broken Hearts.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

It’s an “Olicity” wedding on Arrow and fans could not contain their emotions. When Felicity walks into the wedding hall in her gorgeous wedding dress, it’s hard to not tear up. Oliver’s facial expression as the love of his life walks in for their fake wedding says it all. The amount of pain and love behind Oliver’s dumbfounded expression is enough to have fans crying for weeks. Of course, the heartache doesn’t stop here.

As the fake ceremony to lure Cupid in begins, fans catch glimpses at the real “Olicity” wedding they could’ve seen. Felicity maybe annoyed with the situation, but Oliver takes the time to let her know how much he cares for her. Amell and Rickards acting reaches new heights in this scene as it swiftly becomes one of the best ones this season. Whoever wrote Oliver Queen’s wedding vows to Felicity Smoak deserves the highest praise this week. The amount of heart, devotion and utter remorse hidden in the vows is a testament to the incredible writing team behind Arrow. They have perfectly found Oliver’s voice and this scene showcases that. Amell delivers each line with such authenticity and heart that it will be hard to ever top this monologue. In one moment Oliver brings tears to Felicity and “Olicity” fans everywhere when he says:

“Felicity before I met you, I had a plan. A way that I was going to be. Then you walked into my life, or I showed up to your cubicle. You changed everything. I was in the darkness… with your kindness… your trust… you brought me into the light. You let me know I deserved it. You were that light and I don’t know if I still deserve that trust, if I deserve you. I probably don’t, but whatever has happened, whatever will happen, the way you make me feel is the best part of my life. You can ask me to say that I don’t love you but I will never lie to you again. You are my always and I just want the chance to be yours.”

Amy Gumenick in the Arrow episode "Broken Hearts." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Amy Gumenick in the Arrow episode “Broken Hearts.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Of course as planned Cupid shows up to stop the wedding. This leads to an emotional moment between Felicity and Cupid. The two character have never shared a scene together and it was interesting to see how they bounce off of each other. Rickards and Gumenick create an interesting dynamic in this one scene. A defeated Cupid talks about how “love is a bullet to the brain” while Felicity tries to convince her otherwise. Once again the Arrow writers knock the ball out of the park. Between Rickards incredible acting and love of the character and the beautiful words on the page, this moment reaches unmatchable heights. Felicity tells Cupid (and really herself): “Love is real, because love is life itself. And if I die tonight, it will be okay because I was one of those people lucky enough to experience it. From the moment he [Oliver] walked into my life, everything changed… I became the very best version of myself… our love gives my life meaning. It gives my life purpose and it’s worth living for…all of it.”

By episode’s end police have taken a now love-struck Cupid into custody as the failed “Olicity” wedding reaches a conclusion. Gumenick does an incredible job in this week’s episode of Arrow and here’s hoping fans catch a glimpse of Cupid again. Another major plot point that reaches a climax is the Damien Darhk trial. Back in the courtroom, the judge reveals that Quentin’s testimony spoke volumes and Darhk will be held without bail or possibility of release. Of course this good news is unlikely to last on Arrow and it will be interesting to see how Darhk gets himself out of this situation.

If fans thought the fake “Olicity” wedding was hard to swallow, Arrow hits them in the heart with an arrow one final time. In the Arrow cave, Oliver and Felicity discuss their fake wedding and the words they exchanged. Oliver tells Felicity that he meant every single word of it. If fans thought Felicity would counter with a declaration of love they were sorely mistaken. In a heartbreaking moment, Felicity lets Oliver she cannot marry him. If that wasn’t enough to send fans over the edge, Felicity then decides to leave Team Arrow. Rickards and Amell create a moment so rooted in heartbreak that it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. In a last heart crushing moment Oliver tells Felicity “I don’t want to let you go,” to which she replies “I don’t want to let you go. But I’m already gone.” Cue sobbing from every fan as Felicity Smoak walks out of the Arrow cave.

Arrow delivers one of its most heartbreaking episodes this week. Between Cupid on a rampage to kill everyone in love and Oliver and Felicity dealing with their recent breakup, love seems to be dead in Star City. With Felicity’s decision to leave Team Arrow hanging over fans heads, it will be interesting to see her flourish outside the team and how Oliver will manage without her. Amell triumphs and Rickards astounds in this latest episode of Arrow.

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW

Overall Grade: A

Check out the trailer for the next episode entitled “Beacon of Hope”: 

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