Arrow: “Broken Hearts” Season 4 Episode 16 Review

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After a month off, it’s easy to forget that Arrow ended its last stretch of episodes with one of the best of the season. It also set in motion this entire episode, something The Flash‘s return failed to do this week. “Broken Hearts” was by no means revolutionary, but it did advance both of the major outcomes from the previous episodes in exciting ways. And it did all that with one of the show’s best villains, Cupid.

Off the heels of Oliver and Felicity’s ugly but very earned breakup, Cupid has been released by A.R.G.U.S. and is murdering celebrity couples in Star City. She leaves a note reading “Love is Dead” at one of her crime scenes, which reminded me that this is the type of playful insanity that makes so many DC villains work (read: just about all of Batman and Flash’s rogues). Amy Gumenick continues to have a ball with the role, becoming a perfect foil to Oliver’s stoic Green Arrow.

The “love is dead” theme also plays perfectly into Oliver and Felicity’s troubles, obviously. But with a villain so larger than life, the pairing doesn’t feel so forced. Felicity’s cruel asides targeted at Oliver in their base were both funny and laced with sadness. These two were engaged, something the awkward opening scene doesn’t capture but the rest of the episode does. Finally, it’s determined that the pair should stage a wedding, Oliver being a celebrity, to lure Cupid out into the arms of Team Arrow without putting more innocents in harm’s way.

This climax also allows for Oliver to try and fix the relationship he let slip away. Felicity’s speech to Cupid indicates that she’s not quite over it yet either, and she shouldn’t be, it hasn’t been all that long. Cupid is dispatched of in a boring action sequence, but the lingering question of Olicity’s future sprouts wide open. Sadly, Felicity merely closes it again by leaving the team. Obviously she’s not leaving the show, as she appears in one of the two flash-forwards Arrow has given us to the upcoming funeral everyone will be attending. Was this a roundabout way of having Felicity deal with the breakup? Yes, but her status on the team was in question anyway and the writers managed to draw a solid arc out of that.

The other half of “Broken Hearts” had Arrow taking full advantage of the critical acclaim swept onto American Crime Story since its debut. Laurel takes the role of Marcia Clark while Damien Darhk is O.J. Simpson. It was actually great to see Laurel working to save the city in broad daylight with the first form of heroism she was trained in. With her father’s career-ruining testimony, Darhk actually gets put away. Arrow has never so publicly outed its big bad like this before, and that’s very exciting. Though now, Detective Lance is prime suspect numero uno for who dies in just a few episodes.

Put these two halves together and you get a pretty solid episode of Arrow. Cupid is a fun villain and both of the plots advanced in interesting ways, even if the Olicity side had a few slip-ups. But this sense of direction is exciting. Depending on how things move, Arrow could finally head back into a late-season one/season two level of quality. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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