If I had never watched an episode of Arrow before “Draw Back Your Bow” and did not know what network it aired on I still believe I would have pegged it for a CW show. That does not necessarily mean that this episode was poor but only demonstrates that the writers have a keen understanding that the viewers want to see more of the Felicity and Oliver romance. The tug of war relationship is of course strained and can’t be truly formed as, in true Arrow fashion, Oliver is not allowed to be happy. Ever. That’s why it is important to have such compelling supporting cast members such as Ray Palmer and newcomer Carrie Cutler (tonight’s antagonist, Cupid).
Love and commitment are the themes that surge through this hour’s veins in both the present and flashback sequences. Back in Hong Kong we are shown how deep Tatsu’s love is for her husband Maseo as she single handedly takes down a group of gang members while in search of him. This storyline clearly has more than meets the eye, as I’m sure we will see in future episodes, but the emotional beat of it tonight resonated perfectly within the context of the present. That is something that we have not been able to say recently as the Hong Kong story has been stagnant at best.
Cupid, a deluded would be lover who kills criminals in an attempt to gain the Arrow’s affections, has had a step on Arrow in every situation and he needs Felicity to help track her down. Unfortunately for Oliver, Felicity has a work dinner with Ray and has asked for the night off. Of course, cards on the table, Felicity is there to track her down and hear Arrow’s attempt to talk Cupid down. It turns out what he says to Cupid, and by extension Felicity, is reaffirmation in his belief that he has to be alone. This of course flying in the face of his true feelings for Felicity. This is the moment when he finally pushes Felicity towards Ray Palmer for good.
Honestly though, can we talk about Ray Palmer for one second? Whoever convinced Brandon Routh to accept the role deserves a raise and a high-five because he has been nothing short of spectacular. His effortless charm, endless wallet and devilish good looks are as much a match for Oliver as we have ever seen. Add into the fact that he seems like a stand up futurist who is driving to make the city a better place and you have a character who is up to the task of courting Felicity. He also is pretty good with a salmon ladder. While he may have a less than stellar plotline for himself (although we do get glimpses of a certain exoskeleton suit) the ability for him to hopefully cause Oliver to act on Felicity is exactly what this show has needed.
As for the rest of the episode it has its ups and downs. While I am generally a huge fan of the rest of Team Arrow, Diggle and Roy felt unnecessary tonight. The only positive contribution they had was gather at Diggle’s for a late Thanksgiving-esque dinner. As for Thea, her relaunch of the club was in trouble until a weird blonde DJ guy shows up to save the day and steal a kiss. I understand we don’t want to lose touch of Thea but this plotline was quite a waste of airtime. Well, at least there was no Laurel this week, that deserves a grade jump right there.
At the end of the episode we are no closer to a resolution to the “Will They Won’t They” plot line that has been teased for us all season. It is not innately a bad thing as if I have learned anything from years of listening to my fiancé talk about The Vampire Diaries it is that The CW knows how to string along a romance.