It’s a rare hour of The CW’s Arrow that sees next to nothing of substance happen with very little progression of the season’s plot arc; that hour came tonight. “Code of Silence”, the second episode directed by veteran stunt coordinator James Bamford, danced around the few remaining secrets that are still present between our heroes, especially now that pretty much everyone on screen is on the same costumed crimefighting team. And in a double dose of irony, tonight’s villains were the normally noisy Demolition Team, whose explosive exploits and impressive fighting skills were entertaining, but ultimately didn’t make a dent in the show’s mythology.
For once, things on Lian Yu were ever so slightly more interesting than in the current timeline. With Oliver and the other prisoners helping Reiter dig, some animosity over Oliver’s murder of Vlad leads to tension among the captives. Oliver tries to explain that Vlad attacked him and he killed him in self defense, but they still want him to kill Conklin as proof of his loyalty, even with Taiana vouching for him. Taiana is aware that Oliver is afraid of turning into a monster by killing Conklin, but that he’ll need to be a monster to fight monsters, a quote I believe Oliver has referenced in previous episodes. Unfortunately we don’t learn much about Reiter’s season-long McGuffin except that he needs to be “granted passage by the Gods” in order to find an item of “untold power.” And doubly unfortunately, we bid goodbye to Ryan Robbins since Oliver kills Conklin in a good old-fashioned knife fight. Too bad Oliver can’t save everyone since Reiter’s just planning on killing them all anyway. (Yes, somehow this was more interesting than the rest of tonight’s episode.)
You know what’s exciting? Political debates. The recent GOP debates have been an absolute circus sideshow, which makes H.I.V.E. planning to blow up the building which is hosting the Star City mayoral debate look rather tame. Before we ever learn about the ultimate plot of the villains in this episode, however, we’re treated to copious amounts of passive-aggressive chit-chat between Oliver Queen and his opponent, Ruvé Adams, aka Mrs. Damien Darhk. The barbs exchanged between the two throughout the episode are equal parts smirk-worthy and eye-rolling in their quality, a somewhat bright spot in an otherwise dim episode.
Normally when Bamford directs an episode, the fight scenes are on point. While there was certainly a lot of fisticuffs in this hour – Team Arrow taking on the Ghosts in an ambush set by Ruvé, the team coming up against the Demolition Team for the first time and getting their asses handed to them, a fun escape sequence through a collapsing building, and the final battle between the teams that gives the hooded heroes the upper hand – they somehow felt more rehearsed than usual. I love when the team shakes things up by changing the venue or switches up partnerships or any number of other ways that freshen up the relentless fight scenes (I’d still really like to see more of an up-close-and-personal and less-rehearsed style at some point), but the oddball characters of Demolition Team weren’t used to their fullest potential, in my opinion.
This team was originally introduced in the mid-80s, hired by a Congressmen to use their super advanced technology to destroy a branch of Ferris Aircraft. The members included Hardhat, a heavyweight boxer with a superpowered helmet and harness; Jackhammer, an oil rig worker with a high-powered weapon that befits his nickname; Rosie, obviously a riveter and the team’s leader; Scoopshovel, a jai alai player with a hydraulic shovel arm that could dig up … whatever needed digging up; and Steamroller, a motorcycle stunt driver who drove a building-flattening – you guessed it – steamroller. The creative team at Arrow did a great job picking and choosing which of the Demolition Team members they’d be bringing to the table; I just feel like they didn’t do enough with the ones they brought in. A missed opportunity, methinks.
So while Team Arrow is busy trying to track down the Demo Team to put a stop to their plans, Quentin Lance finds himself in the crosshairs of H.I.V.E. once again. A near-death experience in a collapsing building leads Quentin to put some distance between himself and Donna Smoak as a means to try and protect her. This is a tactic that’s been played out between various romantic pairings over the seasons, but I’m glad it was remedied by the episode’s end. Hey, it’s not just the young, hot superheroes who get to have all the relationship drama; sometimes the slightly older, hot supporting cast gets to have fun, too.
With that secret divulged, the only one left with something to hide is Oliver Queen himself. Remember that he has a son living in Star City, a son who Thea finds out about while she’s busy digging into his past in order to prepare for any dirt the mayoral campaign competition happens to use against him. Thea’s advice to Ollie is to keep it a secret, thereby keeping his deal with Samantha that will allow him to stay in touch with his son while protecting them from the evils of Damien Darhk at the same time. It’s a shame that Darhk already knows about his son William thanks to Malcolm Merlyn’s betrayal. The only one of import who doesn’t know is Felicity. You know, his fiancée.
While Felicity doesn’t find out about William in this hour, she does get a nice surprise from one Curtis Holt. When it looks like Curtis is caught making a tacky and weird wedding gift for Felicity, imagine everyone’s surprise when it turns out that he’s been working on a spinal bio-stimulant implant that will allow Felicity to walk again, ideally in time to walk down the aisle at her wedding. It’s a very sweet moment for Curtis, his husband Paul, Felicity, and Oliver, a foursome that rarely gets to interact together in this manner. It’s also likely the answer to how the creative team will get Overwatch out of her wheelchair, but just when that will happen remains to be seen.
Once Team Arrow takes down Demolition Team – with a well-timed assist from Quentin – and Oliver manages to secure the first mayoral debate victory, it’s time for a party! And for once, no one interrupts the party with gunfire, explosions, or dark magic. No, Damien Darhk is back home with his daughter…and a special guest. It seems he’s kidnapped William and is holding him hostage for the foreseeable future. The question for the moment is … what became of William’s mother, Samantha Clayton? Is it possible that she’s the one in the grave after all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Rating: ★★ Fair
Felicity: “What do you think?” Oliver: “Maybe less glitter.”
Mr. Armitage: “We didn’t exactly plan for Oliver Queen, did we?” Merlyn: “No one ever does.”
Donna Smoak: “We’re going to play a lot of games, including my favorite: ‘Pin the Junk on the Hunk.'”
Reiter: “Everything has unfolded according to providence.”
Quentin: “It’s like the building attacked me or something, but that’s not possible … is it?”
Diggle: “I’m on daddy duty, now that Lyla’s the head of A.R.G.U.S.” I love how they just drop that nugget in there…
Taiana: “It takes a monster to fight monsters.”
Felicity: “What did you do?” Quentin: “Why do you think it was me who did something?” Felicity: “Because you’re a man.”
Felicity: “The first time we met you asked me to pull data off a damaged laptop. Kinda romantic!”
Quentin: “You’re lucky you’re with someone you don’t need to keep secrets from.” Oh if only you knew, Q.
Thea: “You did spend your education nailing chicks, not social studies.”
Thea: “Keeping William a secret is keeping him safe.”
Oliver: “Sometimes a lie isn’t wrong if it’s for the good of someone that you love.”
Oliver: “Sorry! Nervous bladder, I think.” Thea: “That was something I never needed to hear.”
Oliver: “Nice applause! It’s enough to bring the house down … almost.” Sick burn, bro.
Reiter: “I need you alive, Mr. Queen, but there are different forms of alive. Don’t test me again.”
For those of you who wanted Ivy Town suburbanite Laura Hoffman to return, your wish has just been granted.
Oliver: “Curtis, you’re terrific. Thank you!” Indeed!