By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
Alright Arrow fans, this review is one for the history books. Last week we said goodbye to a core member of Team Arrow, Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) and Thea (Willa Holland) was stabbed through the chest by Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable). Although last week’s episode was a big one, nothing could’ve prepared fans for the emotional roller-coaster involving Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in the latest Arrow episode entitled “The Fallen.”
With Thea clutching to life at Starling Hospital, Oliver Queen is reduced to a mere shell of his former self. This season, Oliver has begun to open up and show a range of emotions and this week was the peaking point. Stephen Amell has transcended all expectation in terms of acting. Amell from season one is not the same actor as Amell in season three. Some of his best scenes tonight involved short, simple moments where Oliver is reflecting on his own life and the choices he’s made. One of Amell’s best scenes of the night came during a moment of true self-reflection. Once Thea is pronounced dead, Oliver learns that the Lazarus Pit at Nanda Parbat has the ability to restore life. Oliver, Felicity, Diggle (David Ramsey) and Malcolm (John Barrowman) hop aboard Ray’s (Brandon Routh) jet and set out for the illusive Nanda Parbat. While on the jet, Oliver and Felicity have a tender moment where Oliver finally opens up to her about his 5 years away. Fans have seen Oliver journey from a closed off character who wants to work alone to a man who wants to share everything he possibly can with the woman he loves. Amell continues to astound and take his acting skills to new and exciting heights and fans can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
One of the most interesting pair ups this week was between Felicity and Ra’s al Ghul. While in Nanda Parbat, Felicity must rise as the leader as she tries desperately to stop Oliver from becoming the next Ra’s al Ghul. In an amazingly well-acted scene, Felicity confronts Ra’s al Ghul telling him Oliver will not stay in Nanda Parbat. Nable has become a staple villain on season three of Arrow and in this scene fans saw a different side to the ruthless character. Ra’s al Ghul opens up to Felicity about the family he had to leave behind to become the Demons Head. He tells her, “You need to tell Oliver goodbye. Tell him how much you love him… Before he has lost you forever.” Rickards and Nable create an amazing scene where fans finally dive deeper into Ra’s al Ghul’s storyline and Felicity has her “lightbulb moment” about her feelings for Oliver.
If television producers could bottle the sexual chemistry between Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell they would. The duo has been breaking hearts together since season 1 of Arrow and this week may have been their most intimate, surprising and overall sexy performances to date. In a scene that fans have been waiting three season for, Oliver and Felicity are both finally honest about their feelings. This entire season, fans have been anxiously awaiting Felicity to reciprocate her feelings and this episode delivered. In a scene that will forever define their characters, Felicity tells Oliver, “I wish that I could change your mind about staying here. I know how leaving you here is going to destroy me. I don’t regret a single moment and you shouldn’t either…You have changed so many lives for the better including mine…. You opened up my heart in a way I didn’t even know was possible. I love you.” That’s right, Felicity Smoak finally utters those three special words to Oliver. What ensues is an intimate, long-awaited sex scene between the two characters. Amell and Rickards exude sexual chemistry and this scene further proves that no two characters have ever been so right for each other.
If any Arrow fan ever had any doubts that Emily Bett Rickards is the heart, spirit and soul of Arrow than this episode proved them wrong. She continues to have chemistry with anyone she comes in contact with and in this episode she ascended to one of the most powerful and influential characters. After sleeping with Oliver, fans anxiously awaited for the classic Felicity-esque banter that would ensue between the two but, fans were definitely not prepared for what happened next. In a crazy twist, Felicity drugs Oliver in an attempt to get him out of Nanda Parbat. Rickards takes command of these scenes as the team tirelessly tries to escape. She has become the breakout star of Arrow and this episode further proved how an actress can take a character to new and pivotal heights. For starting out as simply a background character, Rickards has transformed Felicity into a fully fleshed out, strong, female character and these scenes showcased that flawlessly.
The other two actors who triumphed in tonight’s episode were Willa Holland and John Barrowman. This season Thea has been through a lot. She found out her brother was The Arrow, she killed Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), and last episode she was stabbed to death. This week she was dumped into the Lazarus Pit, resurrected, lost her memory, and then found out that Oliver traded his life for hers. That’s a lot to go through for a teenage girl who hasn’t graduated high school yet. Holland is the driving force behind Thea’s development and this week she showed off not only her incredible physical transformation but also her emotional one. This reviewer is extremely happy that Thea lives to see another day and fans can continue to enjoy Hollands transformation from moody, helpless teenager to a bona fide badass. If any actor was extremely underutilized on Arrow it would be John Barrowman however, this week he astounded in portraying a father so grief stricken by his daughters death that he loses the will to fight. Barrowman is an incredibly talented actor and his scenes this week with Oliver, Thea and Felicity were exceptional.
In one of the last scenes in this weeks Arrow, the original Team Arrow had to bid a bitter farewell to Oliver as he ascended to the calling of Ra’s al Ghul. Diggle and Oliver’s goodbye further perpetuated their bromance as Oliver tells Diggle, “John you are the best man I’ve ever know. Whatever happens, you’re my brother.” Ramsey and Amell play very well off of each other and continue to create some of the most memorable scene on Arrow. The emotions didn’t stop here because Felicity and Oliver had to bid a tearful, gut-wrenching goodbye. Oliver tells Felicity, “The only way that I’m going to survive is if I know you are out there living your life happily… Let’s not say goodbye this time.” Rickards and Amell have beyond belief chemistry and this episode harnessed that power and pushed it to the max. Felicity and Oliver’s journey to happiness has only just begun and this first road block will be one of many.
Emily Bett Rickards and Katie Cassidy rarely get to share scenes together but this latest episode included a very short, but pivotal scene for the two of them. Upon returning from Nanda Parbat after leaving Oliver behind, Felicity turns to the only person she seems to have left: Laurel. In an emotionally draining scene, Felicity breaks down to Laurel about having to leave Oliver and possibly never seeing him again. This is one of the few times fans see Felicity totally powerless and vulnerable as Laurel comforts her. This short scene was very important for the character development of Laurel. When Arrow began, Laurel was simply an unrequited love-interest for Oliver but now Cassidy has taken this character and turned her upside down, which isn’t a bad thing. As Laurel comforts Felicity, fans see her character come full circle and appear to let go of her love for Oliver. Cassidy has created a pivotal character for Team Arrow and it’s hard to imagine this season without her impeccable character development.
By episode’s end, Oliver has been stripped away of his old identity and has become the powerful Ah Sa-Heem. Could this be the end of The Arrow and Oliver Queen as fans know him? How will Team Arrow protect Starling City without him? Arrow is only just getting started as it closes in on its final three episodes of the season.