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Arrow Episode 14 - The Odyssey (2013): TV Recap
Watch "The Odyssey" Now!
Following up on suspicions that his mother might know something about Walter’s disappearance, Oliver smashes through a 39th-floor window to break up a late-night meeting. Instead of cracking and revealing anything about Walter or “the undertaking,” she shields herself with a picture of Oliver and Thea and begs not to be killed for their sake. Of course, this is moving for her son, so Oliver relaxes, leaving Moira an opportunity to grab a gun hidden in her office. She squeezes off enough shoots to hit Oliver in the shoulder, leaving a very large blood stain on the carpet. Could that be something that provides police with a clue to the vigilante's identity?
Despite his injury, Oliver is able to escape his mother’s office and make his way to the parking garage, where he sneaks into Felicity Smoak’s car. Seeing Oliver in the vigilante getup answers all the questions she had about Oliver’s strange requests for her, so she isn’t as shocked as someone like Thea might be. She thinks Oliver needs a hospital, but he insists on going to the arrowcave instead. Once there, she goes into the basement and makes it all the way down to just behind Diggle before he hears her and pulls a gun on her. Don’t they have any surveillance cameras or alarms on this place? Luckily, Diggle has some medical training from his days in the army, just like Batman’s Alfred! Even a gunshot wound can be treated in a basement/cave if you have an assistant with limited medical training.
For the first time this season, the flashback becomes the main storyline of the episode. While Oliver is incapacitated by his injury, we are treated to Oliver’s first real attempt to get off the island. Slade Wilson has only 10 days to mold Oliver into someone that can help him take the airstrip and escape on the soon-to-arrive supply plane. That means a steady diet of knife and escrima stick training. Oliver isn’t convinced it’s helping though; what is he supposed to do with a bamboo stick if some soldier sticks a gun in his face? Slade is happy to demonstrate. He gives Oliver his gun and tells him to put it in his face. When he does, Slade takes it from him, flips him onto the ground, and aims it at him. “I give up. I give up.” Slade furiously drags Oliver to his feet, gun stuck in his face. “There is no giving up to these guys. No crying or buying your way out of it. You have two choices: escape or die. So choose!” Oliver picks escape, obviously, so Slade tells him, “Then let me show you how not to die.”
Oliver keeps looking at a picture of Laurel, focusing hard on the image, regretful of not only being involved in her sister’s death, but also betraying her by cheating on her. He just wants to get home to make things right. Slade is dubious that he would ever be able to fix that mess, and is convinced everyone in this life is just out for themselves. This was proven to him by his partner, Billy Wintergreen, on this island. When Fyers captured them, Billy immediately accepted the offer to join his troops, despite being the godfather to Slade’s son, Joe. When planning their assault on the air control tower, Slade plans to take out all the soldiers but one: the man behind the bulletproof glass of the tower itself. That last man is the only one Oliver is responsible for.
Back in the present, Diggle stitches up Oliver, stabilized for the moment. Felicity is taking this all in pretty well, considering. She had been suspicious of Oliver because of his terrible lies when requesting her help. Even when Diggle was helping, their cover stories weren’t believable. For example, the vial that they claimed was an energy drink hangover cure? What was really in that? “Vertigo…. We needed it analyzed so we could take down the Count.” “That was you and Oliver?” “And you, Felicity. Without you, we never would have found him.” Felicity starts to realize that she has been an unwitting participant in Oliver’s crime-fighting career from the beginning, that she has been part of this team the whole time.
During the assault on the tower, Slade lays down cover fire, taking out soldier after soldier as Oliver makes his way to the tower. Once Slade runs out of bullets, he resorts to his sword. Oliver approaches the man in the tower, but he’s able to pull a gun on him. Putting Slade’s training to use, Oliver tries to disarm him and throw him to the ground, but this maneuver was perhaps a little too complicated, as he fails miserably, leaving himself on the ground and his opponent still armed and poised to call Fyers. Just in time, Slade comes into the tower himself and stabs the radio operator. Oliver had just one job to do and he couldn’t even do that.
When the supply plane calls the tower to tell them they are about three hours away, Slade acknowledges the call, but is flustered by a challenge code: “Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth…” Slade doesn’t appear to be a man that sits around reading classic literature, but Oliver recognizes this quote from the one book he read in college, The Odyssey, and is even able to come up with the second half of the code: “Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” Let’s assume that Oliver could rack his brain and come up with the second part of a quotation he read in college (coincidentally, from a book about a shipwrecked man trying to return home after so long that his family thinks he is dead). Doesn’t that mean that the “code” these criminals are using is pretty stupid? That seems easier to hack than using Fyers’s birthday or his dog’s name as the password.
With the plane set to land, Slade reveals that once he escapes he is going to order a firestrike on the island to annihilate Fyers and all of his men. Oliver argues that they should save Yao Fei from that fate because he saved Oliver’s life. That is your debt to repay, not mine,” Slade argues. If that’s the case, Oliver still plans to repay it. “All my life, all that I have ever thought about is myself. I took my family for granted, I betrayed people that I love, and I’m not going to be that person anymore.”
This episode provides a quantum leap in our understanding of Oliver’s transformation from a spoiled rich kid into a vigilante bent on keeping people safe and cleaning up his city. Though I expect Oliver will further train with Yao Fei, his initial development under Slade’s tutelage shows that he is nowhere near as weak in physical or mental strength as we originally thought. His willingness to sacrifice his own freedom for the opportunity to save Yao Fei shows the development of his moral code. Though there is still some wiggle room that allows him to kill bad guys, there is no question that he is willing to risk his own life to do what he thinks is right. Right now, that means getting Yao Fei off the island.
Unfortunately, when Oliver sneaks into Fyers’s camp, Yao Fei refuses to go with him. He cryptically explains that it’s not a “what” holding him back, but a “who.” When Fyers and Deathstroke enter the tent, Yao Fei punches Oliver, who is forced to the middle of a circle made up of Fyers and his men, just like in a previous episode when he had to fight Yao Fei. Fyers explains that it isn’t a fight this time, but an execution. Instead of facing Yao Fei, Deathstroke enters the ring. Oliver tries to remind him of his past, when he fought for his country, but that only seems to make Wintergreen/Deathstroke madder. Just before Oliver suffers any major damage, the camp erupts in explosions. Slade has come to Oliver’s rescue! Fyers and his men scramble to take care of the explosions and fires, while Slade and Wintergreen fight. Slade ultimately stabs Deathstroke through the right eye (conjuring the image from the first episode of the Deathstroke mask with an arrow through the eye), but is hit by a bullet in the process. As Oliver helps Slade escape the camp, they run into a soldier with a gun. This time Oliver correctly disarms and flips his opponent, perhaps showing Slade an aptitude for the training he has been given. Despite this small victory, they are still in big trouble. A plane flies above their heads, and Slade despairs, “There goes our ride.”
Oliver takes a bullet out of Slade’s arm (kind of like how Diggle takes a bullet out of Oliver this episode), and wonders what they should do now. Slade hope that his fireworks display will set Fyers back, possibly even getting his employer to call him off. In the meantime, they are going to have to try to survive. “That dumb kid that I trained, he would never have made it. You? You might just have a chance.”
At camp, Fyers talks to his understandably upset boss about the “complication” on the island, but also speaks to Yao Fei, praising him for his decision to turn Oliver over. For that loyalty, he is rewarded with five minutes with his captive daughter, the “who” that prevented Yao Fei from escaping with Oliver.
Back in the present, Oliver wakes up. “I guess I didn’t die… again. Cool.” While wondering what lame excuse he can come up with to explain how he got shot and didn’t report it to the police, he sees that Felicity has upgraded their computer network, and that she has the ability to hack into the police system. She orders Oliver’s blood sample destroyed so he can’t be traced. Oliver extends an invitation to join his team, but Felicity declines. She has trouble working with Oliver knowing that he kills people, but she is willing to help him out long enough to find Walter. “Then I want to go back to being a boring IT girl.” That will have to suffice… for now. I think Felicity will eventually come on board full time. Just like Diggle is Oliver’s Alfred, Felicity will become his Oracle/Barbara Gordon (or, if you prefer, his Chloe from Smallville).
The way Moira wouldn’t give up any information even with an arrow aimed at her heart, and begged for her life on her children’s behalf has convinced Oliver to back off investigating his mom. Oliver has run up against a lot of bad people, and none of them has ever mentioned their kids (even though you are supposed to talk about yourself in a dangerous situation like that; it humanizes you and forces the bad guy to see you as a person instead of as a hostage). Diggle wants to continue looking into Moira Queen, since she had the list and could be involved even if she’s not in charge, but Oliver puts his foot down. She is off limits until further notice. “Are you saying this because you truly believe she’s innocent, or because you don’t want to face the fact that your mother might be guilty?” Oliver doesn’t answer, but the camera pans to his exposed left shoulder to show his dragon tattoo, the same one Yao Fei’s daughter has. Do they end up in some sort of gang together? Does Yao Fei adopt Oliver?
As Oliver returns to his house, of course everyone wonders where he was last night after his mom was attacked. He claims he was at the club, where he gets terrible cell reception. More importantly, Detective Lance sheepishly admits there was a screw-up at the lab, so there’s no evidence against the vigilante. Moira embraces Oliver, visibly shaken. “I thought he was going to kill me.” “I promise you, he’s never going to bother you again.” This is one promise I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8pm Eastern on CW. The Odyssey originally aired 2/13/13.