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‘Arrow’ Review: “Code of Silence”

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

Oliver Queen for Mayor! This week’s brand-new episode of Arrow got political as Oliver (Stephen Amell) prepares for his mayoral debate opposite Damien Darhk’s wife, Ruvé Adams (Janet Kidder). Last week’s episode of Arrow delivered twists and turns as Team Arrow desperately tried to save Thea’s (Willa Holland) life. The latest episode of Arrow entitled “Code of Silence” showcased some unbelievable acting from the entire ensemble.

Arrow featured all the makings of a soon-to-be classic episode. The latest episode perfectly balanced the right amount of comedy, drama and action as Team Arrow focuses on taking down Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). Directed by James “Bam-Bam” Bamford, Arrow’s resident stunt specialist, the episode moved through each story very well and created one of the best episodes this season. The first action sequence on display in Arrow this week involved Team Arrow tailing Ruvé Adams so they can finally learn where Darhk is hiding out. This scene followed each member of Team Arrow as they take turns following Adams. The stunts this week seemed to be showcased more than ever as the cameras effortlessly followed all the action and didn’t miss a beat. The one stunt on display during this scene: Green Arrow jumping a trunk on his motorcycle. With Bamford directing, the actions scenes on Arrow this week are thrown in the spotlight and allow viewers to directly be involved in all the action.

Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Code of Silence." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Emily Bett Rickards, Willa Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Code of Silence.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Although action is what made Bamford famous, his directing in the more intimate moments of Arrow make the episode truly stand out. Almost every character this week has an emotional moment opposite another. Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) plays a very big role in this week’s episode of Arrow. After not being present much in the last two episodes, Blackthorne returns with one of his best emotional performances to date. His scenes opposite Laurel (Katie Cassidy) and Oliver allow his paternal instincts to really shine through, which is a side to Quentin fans haven’t seen much this season. With Damien Darhk putting a hit out for Quentin, Blackthorne becomes a key player in the episode. His small moments between Cassidy and Amell may not be large in the grand scheme of the episode, however they help add to the overall character development. Blackthorne’s big moments on Arrow this week are opposite the MVP of the episode: Charlotte Ross.

Since joining the cast as a recurring character in season three, Charlotte Ross has shot to the top of everyone’s  “Most Lovable Arrow Characters” lists. Ross showcases her dynamic range of acting in this week’s episode of Arrow and it’s no wonder she has become a valuable asset to Arrow this season. You know Donna Smoak is a beloved character when she manages to pull off glitter bombing Oliver Queen with an engagement party invite. This was a scene that will surely be talked about well past this season. Ross has several career defining scenes in Arrow this week, but some of her best come opposite Blackthorne. Donna and Quentin’s relationship was born out of fan love for the characters and the actors amazing chemistry. The relationship is not disappointing. This week, the new couple hits their first roadblock when Quentin is attacked by Damien Darhk. He decides that in order to keep Donna safe, he has to take a break from their relationship. In a heartbreaking moment, Donna snaps from fun-loving Vegas girl to a strong, independent woman. “My ex-husband was a lying son of a bitch. Only two good things came out of that marriage, my daughter and my b.s. detector, which is flawless. And right now, it’s red lining.” Ross shines in this moment as she becomes the dominant character in the scene. Blackthorne and Ross continue to have unbeatable chemistry and create some of the most heartbreaking and adorable moments on Arrow.

Will Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode "Code of Silence." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Will Holland and Stephen Amell in the Arrow episode “Code of Silence.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Another relationship that was on display on Arrow this week was Thea and Oliver’s. With Thea left to run Oliver’s mayoral debate prep, she does some snooping into his past to see what Adams could possibly dig up. When she stumbles on a check from Moira (Susanna Thompson) made out to Samantha, Arrow fans know where this is headed. Amell and Holland continue to play the brother-sister dynamic flawlessly as their relationship expands even more. Thea puts her detective skills to the test and finds out about William and puts everything together. In an emotional revelation, Oliver tells Thea about Samantha’s wishes to not tell anyone about William being his son. Holland shines in this moment opposite Amell as she showcases once again how far she has come as a young actress. Thea tells Ollie that staying away from William, “Is the right thing to do. I know you want to tell Felicity. And trust me, I would love to be an Aunt. But you have got to do the right thing for your son here.” Holland and Amell knock this scene out of the park and it’s one of Holland’s stronger moments.

Charlotte Ross and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode "Code of Silence." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Charlotte Ross and Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Code of Silence.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Charlotte Ross may have brought her A-game with her scenes opposite Paul Blackthorne, however her moments opposite Emily Bett Rickards knock the ball so far out of the park it will take us a week to find it. Ross and Rickards amaze audiences with one of their biggest scenes together to date. Following her breakup with Quentin, Donna breaks down to her daughter about her fear of “find the one” after Felicity’s father left her. This scene stands out amongst every other emotional scene in Arrow this week and Ross is the key reason. Her emotions come pouring out on the screen and it’s flawless. “I’ve been living vicariously through you. You and Oliver are one of those couples everyone believes in…” At this point, Donna Smoak is Arrow’s representation of the entire “Olicity” fandom and they are welcoming her with open arms. Ross tugs at fans heartstrings and it’s hard to not shed a tear at a woman who wants to simply find happiness. Once again, Rickards barely says anything in this scene, her simple facial expressions are enough to elevate this scene to heartbreak status. Watching this scene, it’s hard to believe Ross and Rickards aren’t really mother and daughter.

Although Arrow was rooted in heartfelt moments between characters this week, the action wasn’t limited. Upon arriving at his mayoral debate, Oliver and the team discover that Darhk has planted bombs somewhere in the building. What comes next is another classic Bamford directed action sequence as the camera trails each member taking out a member of Darhk’s crew. These individual, small fight sequences allow the intricate stunts to truly shine this week. Willa Holland steps up her game in this sequence and steals the spotlight. Speedy has become one of the most vital addition to Team Arrow this season and it shows in these scenes. Once again, Bamford’s directing style is really on display. Whenever he directs an episode audiences can tell because the action scenes appear to have smoother transitions. Bamford has found his niche directing Arrow episodes and here’s hoping he directs another before the season is done.

Stephen Amell and Janet Kidder in the Arrow episode "Code of Silence." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Stephen Amell and Janet Kidder in the Arrow episode “Code of Silence.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

By episode’s end, Team Arrow carefully disarms the bombs hidden at the mayoral debate, with a little help from Captain Lance, and in the end Oliver wins the debate. Fans always knew Oliver knew how to persuade a room full of people. When all is said and done with Damien Darhk for the week, there is still an elaborate engagement party for Oliver and Felicity to attend. Cue squeals from every “Olicity” fan out there because the wedding is rapidly approaching.

It’s hard to get through an episode without an adorable “Olicity” moment these days and this episode seemed abundant with them. From the engagement invitation glitter bombing Oliver to Felicity telling Oliver, “The first time we met. The first thing you asked me to do, is pull data off a damaged laptop. It’s kind of romantic,” the gifable “Olicity” moments were abundant. Amell and Rickards continue to grow the Oliver/Felicity relationship as more fans fall head over heels for the duo. This week Amell and Rickards scenes dealt more so with comedy than tragedy, which was a nice change of pace. Although Rickards flourishes in heart wrenching moments, comedy is also a strong point for the young actress. Arrow fans know the happiness won’t last more than an episode, but it was nice to see the duo exchange adorable banter and hilarious quips this week.

Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode "Code of Silence." Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW
Emily Bett Rickards in the Arrow episode “Code of Silence.” Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

Although “Olicity” had some adorable moments this week, it may have been Quentin and Donna that stole the show. After Donna’s heart-to-heart with Felicity and Quentin’s chat with Oliver, the duo come together to chat at the engagement party. Blackthorne and Ross continue to prove their unbelievable chemistry in this scene as Quentin tells Donna about his involvement with Darhk in order to save Laurel. In an amazing moment, Donna tells Quentin “You were protecting Laurel. Just like you were protecting me.” Just like that the duo reconcile and create an amazing moment for the couple. Blackthorne and Ross elevate this episode to new and exciting heights and fans hope their relationship continues to blossom.

Of course Arrow couldn’t leave fans without one more cry inducing moment. Curtis (Echo Kellum) and his husband show up at the engagement party and give Felicity and Oliver the best gift EVER. In a scene that surely had fans sobbing, Curtis gives Felicity a new piece of technology he has created. When the chip is inserted into Felicity’s spine, it should heal her spine enough that she will be able to walk by the wedding. This is the most adorable gift anyone has ever received! Kellum continues to be a valuable addition to Arrow this season and his work opposite Rickards particularly solidifies his rank amongst some of the best Arrow guest stars.

Arrow ups the intensity week after week as the season 4 finale approaches. This week’s episode ends with Damien Darhk kidnapping William. This will definitely set up a conflict between Darhk, Oliver and Felicity. Arrow will also welcome Vixen next week as Oliver tries to get William back!

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW

Overall Grade: A

Check out the trailer for next week’s episode entitled “Taken”:

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