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“Broken Hearts” was an Arrow episode that did its job and not much more. It moved Darhk behind bars, yet gave us a hint that (surprise!) he might not be out of tricks. Felicity put a stake through Oliver’s heart once and for all by extricating herself from his life at every level, even as a member of Team Arrow. And Captain Lance fell on his metaphorical sword, putting his career in jeopardy to send Darhk away. So, the show’s major story arcs moved onward at a decent pace, but there wasn’t anything particularly special about the episode. And that’s perfectly fine with me.
“Broken Hearts” most successful element was the work of Paul Blackthorne. Captain Lance has been having a hell of a season so far, and Blackthorne has been up to the task, absolutely killing it week in and week out. The downside to his great work, and Lance having such a compelling arc (his deep love for his daughters overriding his sense of self-preservation), is that I am almost certain he’s going to be the major death that sparks Oliver to get his act together. You don’t give a secondary character (and let’s face it, Lance, Diggle, Thea, Malcolm, and Laurel are all secondary to Oliver and Felicity on the show at this point) such great moments that tug at the heart strings if you aren’t going to turn around and cash in that emotional good will at some point. But, until that happens, I’m loving the chance to see Blackthorne stretch his acting chops. And it’s always a joy to see a TV Dad who cares so deeply about his daughter.
As good as Blackthorne was, he couldn’t make the Damian Darhk trial particularly interesting. Arrow is a show that thrives on deep emotional moments and high octane action. It does not work well as a courtroom drama. My only takeaway from those scenes (aside from one strong performance) was that Darhk’s lawyer had a thick New York accent just like Captain Lance. I’ve always been a tad puzzled with Lance’s accent (I’ve also always assumed it was due to Blackthorne being British, and a New York accent being easier to lay on than a traditional American one), but it was nice to see that there are other people with that same accent rolling around Star City. But Darhk’s imprisonment is really just a temporary impediment to him getting back to attaining his goal (a goal that is still pretty abstract with no clear path to success at this point, I want to stress).
The one section of the episode that I found particularly trying, however, was the Oliver and Felicity arc. The tone was all over the place with this one. From Felicity’s seemingly chipper response to packing all of her things to move (which I suppose could just be Felicity being her oddball self), to her somber decision at the end of the episode to depart completely from Oliver’s life, it just didn’t quite make sense to me. We were allowed to see how much this is hurting Oliver (although, Diggle was pretty tone-deaf with his “Just give her time” mantra), but we didn’t really get a similar look into how this affect Felicity (who is, I would argue, the emotional center of the entire series at this point). That was a pretty big oversight on the part of the writers.
Oliver’s speech at the faux wedding was lovely. But, like Felicity, it rang as too little too late to me as well, and I’m glad the writers agreed. Oliver made a truly awful decision, and while saying sorry and promising not to do it again is all well and good, he broke Felicity’s trust and that isn’t something that just fixes itself overnight. I’m happy that the show isn’t glossing over the long road to forgiveness Oliver and Felicity will have to travel. I think we can all agree these two are meant for each other. So when they finally get back together, I’m sure it will be worth the wait.
— I really didn’t care for Cupid the first time she appeared on the show, but this return was a lot more palatable. That being said, her turn from hating love to recognizing how amazing it is at the end was a pretty lame switch.
— As glad as I am to have Thea around every week (unlike Malcolm, who has barely been around this season), I’d love for her to do something more than make stupid jokes week in and week out.
–Felicity’s mom is going to have a cow that she missed the fake wedding- and that she wasn’t even invited.