Arrow: 4.17 Beacon of Hope
Arrow isn't supposed to be the 'fun' DC superhero show. The Flash has quippy Cisco and Legends Of Tomorrow has - well - space pirates! But Arrow is the more grown up show, dark and broody and grim. And that is fine most of the time, but sometimes you just need a bit of fun and that is why it was great to get a ridiculous villain from The Flash and bring her over to Arrow. This week it was the Green Arrow vs killer bees and it kind of worked!
Emily Kinney, who once played sweet innocent Beth in The Walking Dead before becoming tech genius and bee-obsessed in Bug-Eyed Bandit in season one of The Flash (an episode that also featured Felicity) burst into the episode, garbed in a bizarre bee-hive outfit, unleashing robotic killer bees on Palmer Technologies in order to steal that handy, miracle cure that was the chip in Felicity's spine. Sure she was still far too innocent-looking to have any real menace but she was certainly backed up by the robotic bee man who proved to be more than a match for team Arrow and looked rather impressive on screen.
We also had lots of running around corridors chased by bees from Felicity, her mother Donna and Thea but rather than being cringeworthy slapstick it continued to amp up the fun. Even more brilliant was the debut of Curtis Holt in the Arrow cave - his accidental entrance was hilarious, from his geek out to Oliver's utter dismay but he quickly proved to be a great addition to the team, even it is temporary while Felicity runs things at Palmer Tech. Just as funny was his scene with Quentin and the escaped killer bee in the lair. Echo Kellum has been one of the best additions to season four and I am really glad he's going to get the chance to get out from under Felicity's shadow and into the action; he will certainly add a fresh, fun and far less angsty addition to team Arrow.
The other thing I really appreciated was the dynamic between Oliver and Laurel. The show has taken great lengths to revisit their long relationship as of late and I really enjoying seeing a renewed, respectful closeness between them without veering into romance. Too often the show has taken great leaps of logic to get her to become the Black Canary but finally she feels like a natural part of the superhero team.
And talking of teams, Damien Darhk gathered his first follower in prison, with the return of Adrian Glynn McMorran's Michael Amar / Murmur from season three's The Offer. Abandoned by Malcolm Merlyn and HIVE, the season's primary antagonist still proved he could align himself some of the show's more creepy villains and the final twist - that Andy Diggle is still very much part of HIVE - was an interesting one. I'm not sure how much of an impact it will have. Andy hasn't been present on the show since his 'redemption' a few weeks back and I'm not sure his struggle with John Diggle has been the most engaging part of season four, but time will surely tell.
And this week's flashbacks? More running around caves and Baron Reiter using the totem's magic to fight Oliver. It is interesting that this week, the show's executive producer Marc Guggenheim admitted that Arrow has struggled with the flashbacks this year and that continues to be apparent week after week. Sadly, Guggenheim has suggested that they will continue into season five - I'm not sure that's the right thing story wise.
Beacon Of Hope was a surprisingly fun episode of Arrow and offered plenty of slapstick without becoming too farcical. It still feels like the season is treading water on some of its main plots but the change of pace was welcome after weeks of doom and gloom. Though considering the way Arrow has been going, things are going to get a lot worse...