Arrow: 6.18 Fundamentals
For a moment, I really though this week's Arrow had hit rock bottom. Feeling the loss of his team, Diggle and impending impeachment, Oliver hit out at Felicity and William, resulting in Oliver's wife leaving him. Okay, I get it. The theme of this season has been about Oliver Queen losing everything but there's only so much watching the hero fall into a pit of despair I can tolerate.
Fortunately the Olicity marriage wasn't so short lived, but a drug fuelled hallucination thanks to Diaz's men infecting Oliver with Vertigo. From the moment Oliver walked into his empty Arrow cave, we saw his worst nightmare come true - being alone and broken with no one to support him - complete with an evil conscience in the form of former season five villain Adrian Chase / Prometheus.
The surprise appearance of Josh Segarra was a welcome one; any pretense that he was back from the dead failed to work but it was great to see Chase at his most cunning and cruel. The fight between them was brutal but it was Chase haunting him throughout the episode that made it fun. Like a ghost from Christmas past, he commented on Oliver's hallucination of a younger innocent Laurel just before the infamous boat trip that changed his destiny and then took him forward in time to her hospital deathbed. But in the end it was the original season one Oliver that showed him who he needed to be - alone.
Fundamentals wasn't quite so psychology clever as it hoped to be, relying more on Segarra's performance to play off Stephen Amell than offer any deep, psychological insights and twists. And in truth it was very much a filler episode, as entertaining as the interplay between these characters was. For me the bigger success was that it showed the series wasn't going to quite go down the Oliver loses everything route by having Felicity leave him and instead playing a double bluff before having them very much together by the end. At least when it came to their marriage - I suspect his decision to become the original Arrow and go it alone to defeat Diaz will see our lead hero without all his gadgets, allies and snazzy Arrow cave location in the weeks ahead.
The episode also continued to rely on the strong performance of Kirk Acevedo, who managed to win the next stage of the war by finally having Oliver impeached as mayor of Star City. There's a lot of work being done by his character off screen, relying instead on the the consequences than the actions, but they at least seem to be working for now.
Still, for all the mind games and hallucinations, I still found that Fundamentals didn't have much depth. I'm still torn between liking the schemes and machinations of Ricardo Diaz against the whole broken team Arrow arc which is just tired by now. Season six isn't bad TV by any means, but with just five more episodes to go, I'm feeling both tired and waiting for something really big to happen. And unless that really thrilling something takes place soon, this season is looking to end up being one of more forgettable years in the show's history.