This Week on TV, May 6, 2017

Spoiler Alert!

This was a pretty good week for my lineup, overall. Doctor Who dealt with some rather heavy subjects concerning life and death and humanity. Gotham shoved the characters either in or towards various webs of intrigue. Agents of Shield was an emotional giant hammering down on we tiny humans from on high. And even though Arrow brought back the single thing I have most hated about the show, ever, it was still a gripping tale of action and personal drama. Well done.

Doctor Who

10.03 “Thin Ice

So, the Tardis apparently decided to take a side-trip before heading back to their post guarding the Vault. Much like happened with Rose, and Martha, and Donna, and Amy, and Clara (hmmm, noticing a pattern at all?) first they went to the future, and now they go back to the past. In particular, they’re back in the 1800’s, going a Frost Fair on the frozen Thames the day before it’s supposed to thaw. It’s a grand old time they have, watching the acts, playing games, eating good food, matching their wits against the thieves and pickpockets, etc.

Of course, this being Doctor Who, you know there’s some horror hidden somewhere, lurking just beneath the surface… literally, in this case. There is a monster chained to the bottom of the river, and small fish with glowing stalks travel up to the frozen surface, finding prey – meaning “people” – that ventures away from the crowd for a moment. They circle round, opening the ice to drag their victims down, then sealing the hole. Food for the large monster.

There’s the usual cast of victims: a drunk who happens to wander away from the crowd, one of the villain’s thugs, the villain himself, very richly deserved… but there’s also one that stands out: a little boy. A child.

The boy was part of a ragtag group of street urchins, pickpockets trying to survive. A gentleman paid them to advertise the Fair, and they also took advantage of the distracted crowds to lighten a few pockets. The boy managed to momentarily steal the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, but he failed to escape, so he could only run away. Meaning, away from the crowd. Alone. And the fish with glowing stalks came and took him down. The Doctor barely managed to recover his screwdriver. There wasn’t anything he could do for the boy.

It hits Bill hard, as well it should. Yes, she saw her zombie-like friend come chasing her, and she saw a garden filled with bones, and she was there when one or two gun-toting colonists were killed fighting nanomachines, but this is the first time she’s really seen someone die, right in front of her, and it’s a child. She needs a moment to process, and sees how the Doctor doesn’t. He’s seen many people die, and he’s killed a number of people. Bill doesn’t have his experience, doesn’t know how to deal with people dying around her. She’s angry, and shocked, and grieving, and for a moment she starts taking all those emotions out on the Doctor.

The Doctor, however, has a good point, even if he’s not being entirely honest. He says he has a job to do, and throwing a tantrum won’t help. He doesn’t have time for anger. Of course, Bill notices later that he has quite a lot of anger, which he lets loose on the people who knowingly do something like feeding men, women, and children to a giant monster.

The Doctor and Bill investigate. They talk to the orphans, giving them food and telling them stories before they ask who paid them to get people onto the ice. All they get is something about a man with a ship tattooed on his hand. Then they take diving suits and go down into the river, and there they see the monster chained, wailing in despair. The creature is as much a victim as anyone. Then they talk to a fisherman, and learn that someone has been dredging the river, which leads them to a work site where men are apparently collecting the creature’s feces and delivering them to a steel mill for one Lord Sutcliffe. It burns hotter and longer than coal, apparently, thus the motive for mass murder: profit.

Sutcliffe, it turns out, is simply a man with absolutely zero human compassion to him. The captive creature has apparently been there for as far back as the records go and longer, kept by his family. This winter, he decided to maximize how much “fuel” he could get by increasing the crowds at the Frost Fair. Not only does that make for more people wandering away from the crowd, it also makes for the crowd itself, the entirety of which he intends to sacrifice to the river and the beast. One explosion, powerful enough to break up the ice all at once, right when the crowd is thickest, and voila: an exponential increase in his fuel supply.

Not only is Sutcliffe inhumane, he is also short-sighted. If he ever wants to repeat this, he’ll need to get people onto the ice again next winter, and how likely is that after such a massive tragedy? Even if he can pass it off as an accident, it’ll be a one-time deal, not easily repeated for years to come. Heck, the Frost Fair itself might be banned after that, and then he’ll never get another chance at this. So, even if it wasn’t mass murder, how sound is any business practice that can’t be repeated? Better to have a steady stream of income, I say.

So he’s not only evil, he’s also stupid.

After meeting Bill and the Doctor, Sutcliffe decides to accelerate the time table for his plan, and tie up the loose end they present at the same time. He has his men tie them up right next to the explosives, and with the Fair in full swing, no one can hear Bill screaming for help. But when they’re alone for a moment, the Doctor and Bill get his screwdriver out of his pocket so he can sever the rope. That brings the fish, attracted by the sound, but fortunately one of the minions, the one with the tattoo, happens on them and take the screwdriver away, bringing the fish to him instead. Down one minion.

Bill quickly enlists the urchins to get everyone off the ice as quickly as possible, by simple virtue of shouting, “THE ICE IS MELTING!” People tend to want to stay alive, rather than falling to a frigid, icy death in a frozen river, so the crowds are gone within moments. Sutcliffe tries salvaging the situation, but he’s too late. His victims are mostly safe, and when he blows the charges to send the remainder to their deaths, the Doctor has already moved the charges to blow the chains binding the beast instead.

That was a decision he left up to Bill, by the way. He’s a bit inconstant at times, isn’t he? Usually, he comes in and makes the decisions and saves the day and woe to anyone in his way. On occasion, though, he leaves the decision to humanity. In this case, he leaves it to Bill to decide what to do, and she decides, despite the obvious dangers, to free the beast. So free it, the Doctor does.

The creature, finally released, rises, and the ice breaks apart as it breaks the surface and sweeps downriver to the open sea. Bill was one of the last people the ice, getting everyone else off first, and barely making it off herself.

Sutcliffe, poetically, fell into the river, as he so blithely condemned so many others to.

And that is that.

Just to wrap things up, the Doctor and Bill arrange for the boy among the surviving urchins to be recognized as Sutcliffe’s long lost heir, getting the lot of them off the streets and into a world of luxury, and giving the fortune to someone less likely to commit mass murder. 🙂

They return home, just as Nardole is serving the tea the Doctor ordered right before they went off on their field trip. Nardole is understandably upset at the Doctor abandoning his post, even for a moment, but the Doctor needs his freedom, and he has a friend to run with again. The universe may well rue that decision, but it is what it is.

That leaves Nardole standing constant guard over the Vault alone whenever the Doctor is gone, and however timid and scared he might be, he intends to do the job. No matter how terrifying it might be when whoever or whatever is inside starts knocking for release.


3.16 “These Delicate and Dark Obsessions”

So, after all the action that comes with a city plunged into chaos two episodes ago, now the protagonists are all plunged into high-stakes intrigue.

Gordon is thinking over everything his Uncle Frank told him. He’s approaching this wisely, with caution, in a trust-but-verify manner. He acts and investigates as his uncle suggests, but he’s also investigating his father’s death, to see if it lines up with Uncle Frank’s story.

In regards to the former, Uncle Frank has very good reason to believe the city is in imminent danger. Standing among the leading council of the Court of Owls, he sees they are called upon by the head of the order, whoever that is, to make a unanimous vote in favor of destroying the city of Gotham. They are displeased by the plague of crime and terror – completely ignoring their own hand in contributing to such – and intend to destroy Gotham in order to purge and remake it. Catherine speaks of a weapon being forged for that very purpose. Frank is the last to cast his vote, but the ruling is unanimous: Gotham must fall, then rise from the ashes.

Gordon is a bit skeptical, not least because his investigation is still ongoing, but his uncle claims that the Court has destroyed Gotham twice before in its history. As for the weapon, they don’t know what it is or what it does, but they know it will arrive at Dock 9-C. Frank tells Gordon he has to investigate, but do so in a way that won’t attract the Court’s deadly attention.

Frank would certainly know something about that.

Gordon’s investigation sheds light on the “accident” that killed his father. The “drunk” man behind the wheel was convicted, sentenced to a handful of years in prison, and was killed within a few months. Very suspicious. He also suffered from a disease that made it so he literally could not drink. He’d be dead long before he got drunk enough for the accident to be legitimate. Bullock learns that he was also a career scumbag, with a lawyer paid for by none other than Carmine Falcone. Confronting the former crime lord, Gordon learns that he didn’t order the hit, but he did see it carried out. It was ordered by the Court, by none other than Uncle Frank.

Hah! Called it!

Gordon is enraged at the betrayal and confronts his uncle, who confesses and explains that his brother was going to expose the Court. It was only after that he himself turned against the Court, and now he just wants to finish what his brother began. He wants to destroy the Court and save Gotham. Even when Gordon tries to arrest him, even when he surprises his nephew and gets the upper hand, that is all he says. He insists that Gordon needs to find out what the weapon is, or when it arrives. That is all that matters.

Major kudos to Bullock, by the way. He gets practically zero time in the spotlight, but he is a fantastic friend and support. Gordon wouldn’t have dragged him into this, but he doesn’t know who else he can trust. Rather understandable, given that he just learned his uncle murdered his father on behalf of a secret society that controls the city. Bullock takes it all in, and he makes it clear that he will back Gordon on whatever play he makes. If he wants to go after the Court, he’s in. If he wants to go after his uncle, he’s got Gordon’s back. But he does prefer to give apocalyptic warnings of the city’s imminent destruction the benefit of the doubt, so that’s his recommendation: investigate the dock.

Gordon opts for that, but it puts them in a tight situation. They can’t go about this in any official capacity, or the Court will hear of it and come down on them. They have to use someone outside the system, who won’t raise suspicions but is capable of getting the information they need.

And this is why even the monsters of the criminal underworld are necessary sometimes.

They call Barbara, who personally descends from her throne to poke around. She, Tabitha, and a few men interrogate a hapless dock worker, but all they get is that something has already come in. The weapon has already arrived. And, oh, look, it arrived in a crate marked “Indian Hill.” That’s just wonderful, isn’t it?

Oh, and a masked, sword-wielding psychopath arrives, cutting down Barbara’s men and the dock worker, in spite of the gunfire they unload on him. The girls don’t bother standing their ground when faced with such a superior enemy and escape instead, relaying the information to Gordon.

Meanwhile, Frank is on the hook with the Court. Carmine informed them of Gordon’s visit, and they question Frank before deciding that Frank needs to kill his nephew. Frank calls Gordon to his home, and the two men talk at gun-point. And this is where we see the truth of Frank Gordon. He was telling the truth, about everything. For the sake of his cause, he tells Gordon to take the phone that Catherine will call, answer it when she does. He tells Gordon to take his place on the Court, infiltrate and destroy them from within. Save Gotham. Finish what his father started.

And then Uncle Frank commits suicide by shooting himself in the head, proving his words and his intentions. He dies with only a desperate hope that he entrusts Gordon.

Gordon takes it up, and the episode ends with him taking Catherine’s call, and getting into a limo.

Elsewhere, the respective plights of Bruce and Penguin are relatively simple and straightforward.

In Bruce’s case, he is being held prisoner in a labyrinth he can’t seem to escape from. There is a man with him, a man who wants to teach and train him. He is connected to the Court, but calls them a means to an end, which suggests to me that he stands above them. Could he be the head of the Court? He’s certainly used them as a vehicle for his agenda, going to great lengths to bring Bruce to him and cloak his absence with the clone. He also says he wants to give Gotham something to stop the relentless, creeping tide of crime that keeps sweeping through the city, which the Court seems to desire as well.

To whatever end, he wants to fashion Bruce into a protector, a symbol that can watch over the city.

I’m just going to say, I don’t like that. Every previous incarnation of Batman has featured a Bruce Wayne who chose to protect his city. It’s his drive in life, after his parents’ deaths, to become that protector. It’s his idea, he pursues it, he fashions himself into a powerful living weapon, to suit his purpose, and he crafts the symbol of Batman himself. Now, they’ve already made Azrael the inspiration for the Batman that Bruce becomes, a warrior moving through the shadows, doing things that amaze and terrify, but now they take the entire notion of becoming a protector and make that someone else’s idea as well? Even more, they make it the idea of Bruce’s enemies? Seriously?!

You see why this disturbs me?

Anyway, Bruce’s teacher takes his unwilling student on an inner journey. In order for him to teach Bruce, he needs to remove Bruce from dwelling on the worst moment of his life: the moment of his parents’ murder. He uses a special needle to put Bruce back into that memory, and seems to accompany him in some way. A part of Bruce has never left that alley, and he needs to if he’s going to learn what his teacher intends to teach him.

Which, again, this moment is integral to why Bruce becomes Batman, in every version of the story, and his would-be teacher intends to remove it. Gotham‘s creators have already had two strikes, so far as I’m concerned, and I will be quite displeased if they take this away too.

Either way, the teacher has the definite upper hand here. Bruce is helpless, unable to escape, and force to relive the nightmare of his own memory twice in one episode, with the promise of more to come.

As for Penguin, he is at the mercy of an unbalanced Ivy. He doesn’t know she’s barely even a teenager, and hates her obnoxious, smothering treatment. He’s mostly healthy now, and eager to leave. He has an army to assemble, a plan to scheme, a revenge to obtain. She responds that nothing’s stopping him, she can even help, so he doesn’t need to be mean about it. He sends her to bring Gabe to him, calling on the thug that has always been there with him from the beginning, through thick and thin, doing all his bidding.

The large man seems nothing short of jubilant to be reunited with Penguin, like a dog welcoming his master, but Ivy is suspicious. She’s a bit off-kilter herself, a freak in her own right, but that just means hers is an original perspective. And she’s right. Gabe betrays him, easily overpowering his former boss and tying him up, Ivy soon finding herself bound alongside him. Gabe, it seems, is tired of faithfully carrying out every order, just to be passed over like any other thug. He was there when Penguin’s mother was killed, when no one else was, and he got absolutely nothing for it. He only followed Penguin out of fear, never love, and never respect. Penguin is, after all, just another freak, and one who used to hold Fish’s umbrella. So now he intends to not only see Penguin dead, he intends to auction off the honor of killing of him to the highest bidder.

Fortunately for Penguin, and unfortunately for Gabe and his crew, Ivy is there. In exchange for a simple promise to be nice, Ivy helps him. She tricks a thug into smelling her perfume, putting the man under her thrall, having him kill the rest, except for Gabe. Penguin does that himself, and he does so in a rage after Gabe, also under the effects of Ivy’s perfume, reveals what he truly things of Penguin. Penguin, being crazy, blows a gasket and brutally kills his former minion.

They leave the bodies in Ivy’s garden, and Penguin begins learning that Ivy is something of an unexpected gold mine of support and ideas. He’s out of ideas, on the brink of giving up, and then she suggests recruiting the surviving Indian Hill freaks. Which is ironic, considering how he once hunted down such freaks, but if the Court is pinning its entire agenda on one freak, then an army of them, properly led, could certainly be the ruin of Penguin’s enemies. There aren’t that many of them left, I think, but it’s certainly a starting place.

So, we have Gordon going undercover in the Court of Owls, to finish what his father and uncle began before they destroy the city, while Bruce is held captive in a far corner of the world, thrown into his worst memories by a man who wants to forcefully turn him into Batman, and Penguin, lacking anyone actually loyal to him, is following Ivy the crazy girl to the Indian Hill freaks to try and turn them into his army of revenge.

…did I miss anything?

Agents of Shield

4.20 “Farewell, Cruel World”

So, apparently Daisy and Simmons have been in the Framework for ten days already. Ten whole days in the world of nightmares. Yikes!

Yo-Yo and the three agents with her on the plane have been doing their best to keep them safe and buy them as much time as possible, but between fuel and power, it’s been rough. They cut everything except the engines, cloaking, and the Framework connection, and they’ve never stopped moving. It seems like there’s a great deal of confusion on the ground, very unnerving for them to listen in on, but they’ve gone dark and stay that way, even when potential allies like Talbot try to get in touch with them. Trying to buy just a little more time, Yo-Yo makes the call to cut the cloaking, which means they can’t hide anymore, but extends how long they can stay in the air. They have to cross their fingers and hope.

Meanwhile within the Framework, chaos runs rampant. Shield’s broadcast has resulted in a massive popular uprising, which Hydra is meeting with brutal force. Needless to say, things are busy at the Triskelion, but Fitz remains focused on his mission, starting with Radcliffe. What Fitz offers to get him to talk is: immortality.

The machine they’ve built in “the other world” will…

…ok, pause one moment here… um, Fitz, if you’ve successfully built a machine in the other world, then you must be able to communicate with it, right? How, exactly, does that happen without at least giving some validity to what Daisy and Radcliffe both told you? Anyway, I digress.

The machine will craft living tissue, a body that they can upload human consciousness to. That means Radcliffe has an option besides being dead in both worlds. Indeed, he could live forever in one new body after another. And all of this thanks to the power of the Darkhold.

Radcliffe seems to give in to that, and tells Fitz where Daisy will be leading the others.

Things are coming to a head, as Daisy and Simmons frantically race to beat Aida to the finish line. They know she intends to become human, and once she does that, she can pull the plug on the Framework itself and kill them all. Daisy barely keeps Mack from leaving with Hope, insisting he’s essential to their mission, and she has to lie by omission. Simmons picks up on what May says about Fitz’s father, and tries to use him to get to Fitz, to try and convince him to come home with them, and that goes very wrong, resulting in her killing the elder Fitz, with Fitz himself on the line, listening. And Coulson tells May the truth, but she doesn’t believe it any more than Fitz did. Fitz, at least, is off Aida’s leash the moment his father is killed, ignoring her orders and pursuing Simmons with the intent to kill her.

Not a stellar series of events, but it gets them all to the Backdoor’s location at least.

Unfortunately, they find the portal back to the real world has been enclosed in a steel mill, the door itself covered with molten ore. It’s a perfect, impassable barrier, locking them into the Framework for good… except that Daisy is Quake again, so she can part the lava and open the way. Whoo! 🙂

Hydra crashes the party, of course, Fitz leading the charge himself. But the agents are able to beat them back and one by one the go through the door and wake up in the real world.

Coulson is first, taking a leap of faith in so doing. He gets shot on the way, and dying feels oddly familiar to him (gee, I wonder why!), but May helps him the rest of the way. Then she steps through herself, and they wake up in the real world. They haven’t really seen each other in the real world since she was kidnapped, a dozen episodes ago. At last, they are truly reunited, a tender moment in the midst of crisis. Coulson helps his dear friend out of her prison, and sets her gently to the ground. And then he removes the dormant Aida’s head from her shoulders with a scalpel.

Fitz is rather unwillingly next. He has the subversive, foreign-world invader who murdered his father at his mercy at last. But that’s when Radcliffe strikes, taking out Fitz’s last remaining guard and dragging the man towards the backdoor. This wasn’t what Radcliffe wanted at all, but he sees now that the Darkhold twisted his thoughts and intentions. He’s willing to die, rather than “live forever.” He told Fitz where the backdoor was because it was the only way they had left to get him there, and for the chance to give Fitz his true self back… well, he took a risk.

Fitz wakes up from the nightmare, wholly traumatized by who he was and what he did in the Framework. He was evil, heartless, and hurt people. He killed people. He killed Agnes, even, so the argument that “it wasn’t real” doesn’t help.

Simmons wakes up too, much to her comrades’ relief, just in time to learn that they’re being fired upon.

Daisy is ready to hold the door open for Mack too. She’s done what she can for the simulated world, including passing the torch to Ward and Trip to carry on the fight. Now it’s time to take her surviving friends and go home. But Mack doesn’t want to go.

Out of everyone trapped within the Framework, Mack is the only one to find actual happiness, something better than he had in the real world. Here, his daughter is alive. She may be fake, like the rest of the world, and he may die when the Framework is shut down, but he’s made his choice. He doesn’t want to live in a world with Hope. Illusion or not, I can’t really fault him for that. For him, unlike all the rest, going home would be a true sacrifice, and this is one he’s unable to make. So he stays.

I wonder if he would have made the same decision if he remembered Yo-Yo, but I imagine he would.

Daisy wakes up just in the nick of time, just as the Zephyr is hit and she’s knocked over, disconnected from the Framework, narrowly avoiding having her brain short-circuited.

That leaves Daisy, Simmons, Yo-Yo, and their three friends in a jet under fire with few resources on hand, with Coulson, May, and Fitz in the proverbial belly of the beast, and at less than full strength, and Mack willingly trapped in the Framework, helpless and vulnerable.

To top it all off, Aida succeeded. She steps into the room, in a complete, human body, her consciousness intact. She made it out before Coulson severed her head and her connection to the Framework. Bright side: this means she can bleed and die like them. Downside: she’s obviously unstable, the series of ones and zeroes which are her programming being ill-suited to handle the sensations and emotions crashing over her. Oh, and she has super powers. Of course she has super powers, including the ability to teleport. Why bother with a normal model, so weak and vulnerable and mortal, when she can have abilities too?

She snatches the traumatized Fitz and escapes.

I have to wonder. Aida managed to escape the Framework and become a real girl. I wonder if the same could somehow be done for Hope? If they can save her, bring her into the real world, then surely Mack would be motivated to find a way to return as well. The show’s been dealing with subjects of humanity like pain and regret, but now they’ve shown us more, like hope, faith, and redemption. It would be the perfect ending to the arc if something truly good could come out of all this horror.

But I have no idea how that could be possible, since they’d have to get hope through the Looking Glass, which is at the heart of Hydra, so I don’t hold out much hope for Hope.


5.20 “Underneath”

What is the one thing that is most deeply and universally hated about Seasons 3 and 4 of Arrow? Ollicity. Seriously, if there is anyone out there who liked what they did with pairing Ollie and Felicity together, then I am not aware of them. So, of course, right when they’ve managed to attain their glory days for a second time, and are shepherding this season’s thrilling plot towards a climax, what do they do? Bring back Ollicity again. With all the subtlety of a charging elephant.

And that sound you hear right now is me, banging my head against the wall.

This week’s flashback goes back only eleven months, to a time when Ollie and Felicity were practically doing the entire Team Arrow thing single-handed, with support from Curtis. They have a lot of alone time and keep making eyes at each other, which makes no sense whatsoever in the narrative we’ve had thus far, but which Curtis picks up on, so he arranges an evening in alone together with wine and Chinese food. They eat, lose inhibitions, and have sex. Again, not really making sense in the narrative. Then Felicity says she can’t settle for anything but his complete trust, which he hasn’t given, and that’s the end of it. All of this makes no sense within the narrative. Whatever.

Have I mentioned I hate Ollicity?

Back in the present, Ollie and Felicity are trapped in the bunker without power. Chase set off an EMP, frying everything electric, including Felicity’s biochip, crippling her. He doesn’t invade, though, just sealing them in, so maybe it was just a coincidence that this happened while Felicity was running Helix’s program. It doesn’t take them long to figure out Chase’s plan. If he’s not there to kill them, then he’s just locking them up while he goes off to do something else, hurt someone else dear to them. Felicity runs through the list, wondering who, and Ollie realizes: Chase is going after his son, William.

So, they have to find a way out, and do so before the air runs out. Cisco did his job a little too well. As any military mind can tell you, the harder you make it to get into your secret base, the harder you make it to escape, and it turns into your own personal death trap.

In the middle of the crisis is the discussion of trust, continuing the argument they were having before being sealed in. Ollie tries the elevator shaft, and Felicity takes his insistence on at least trying that, rather than going with her nonexistent plan at the time, as another sign that he doesn’t trust her. Ollie tries it, gets hurt, and even while he is bleeding out and Felicity has to try and stitch up his injury, she is saying, “I told you so.” So, yeah, she’s being really unreasonable (that is the polite way of avoiding the B-word) about this.

His first plan having failed, he follows Felicity’s lead. Her plan is to rig Ollie’s bike to give them a shot of power so they can send a distress call to the team. Ollie tries to defend his actions, trying to explain himself so she’ll understand and stop attacking him. He brings up how Cayden James is a criminal, to which Felicity responds, “He is a hacker!” Like herself. And “a thousand times less bad than Bratva.” To which, I call BS. Bratva are just thugs, well-armed and dangerous, but their reach generally doesn’t extend beyond their immediate reach. A hacker, on the other hand, can ruin lives and bring down regimes on the other side of the world with the press of a button. James is much more dangerous, and his virtues are questionable. But Felicity doesn’t see that, and Ollie can’t seem to correct her.

Oh, and then Felicity’s plan fails too, destroying more of their base and inadvertently rupturing a pipe to flood the entire bunker with methane.

Bleeding and breathing toxic gas, Ollie still manages to function as the brawn to Felicity’s brain. They manage to buy a little more time by blowing the cover off an old part of the wall and crawling down into a tunnel two stories down. It’s a dead end, but they’ve bought themselves a little time, at least.

Down there, trapped in the dark, crippled, hurt, bleeding, and breathing fumes, Ollie finally tells her the complete truth. He opposed her part with Helix not because he doesn’t trust her. It’s himself he doesn’t trust. He saw, he admitted to Chase under torture, that all of this was based on a lie. He’s not a hero. He’s a killer, and he’s enjoyed it.

Felicity doesn’t buy it, because he’s been wrestling with darkness for a decade now and he’s still fighting the good fight. He’s strong, but under the torture that Chase inflicted on him, anyone would admit to anything.

Of course, she doesn’t know about the man he skilled alive, so, an argument can still be made.

Finally, at long freaking last, Felicity begins to understand. After losing Billy Malone, she was willing to do anything to bring Chase down, and she did something she shouldn’t have. She’s had a taste of what Ollie deals with, and she finally gets it.

Trust is difficult to reforge once broken, but this goes a long way in that direction.

Meanwhile up top, the team is trying to rescue their leaders.

Lyla and Digs are continuing their own argument, Lyla finding herself in a position like Felicity’s, with her husband not trusting her, and she calls him on his hypocrisy. She has a point, too. How can Digs judge her so harshly when Team Arrow has been operating almost entirely outside the law, often playing judge and jury, and occasionally executioner? There’s a reason they and Argus have gotten along so well, and a similar reason why Felicity was so easily brought into Helix. The three organizations really are all very similar to each other.

Interrupting this, Rene, Curtis, and Dinah come to Digs for help, and get help from Argus as well. Lance put Rene on figuring out where Ollie and Felicity were, as the DA being the city’s worst serial killer tends to put ideas into the heads of every defense attorney ever so the city has to deal with that as well as the manhunt for Chase. Curtis finds the power out and realizes their fearless leaders must be trapped in the Bunker, with a diminishing supply of air, so the race is on to get them out.

Lyla provides the gear, and they try simply cutting their way down through the elevator shaft, but the methane is already flooding the place by then. Curtis just barely gets Rene out of the way in time and gets burned himself for it. So they try acid, to break the metal apart without a flame, but while it does work, it works very slowly. Lyla comes forward with a hopeful miracle: a confiscated and improved T-Sphere.

Digs doesn’t like Lyla stealing from Curtis, but she offers a complete audit of everything she’s done at Argus, to clear the air of secrets. Dinah has it right, as she and her old partner had to keep secrets out of necessity, yet they still trusted each other. Lyla also compares herself to Ollie. Digs always trusts him, no matter what, so why doesn’t he trust her like that? Digs never thought of it that way. Point scored.

Curtis manages to bust through the wall blocking Ollie and Felicity’s way, and gives them an update. They need to get out, and they need to vent the methane before the generators automatically come on again and blow the place sky high, bringing it down on top of the two of them. Curtis is able to guide them out, and give Felicity the adrenaline to shoot into Ollie as he’s at the end of his physical limits. Digs, Rene, and Dinah go in to meet them halfway, with Digs hanging precariously on an unsteady ladder to reach his friends. Ollie climbs up, nearly losing Felicity twice, and for a moment the three of them, the original Team Arrow, are all dangling practically in midair. Felicity tells Ollie to let her go, but he pulls her up instead, and they all get out together. Crisis averted.

Curtis has to run a diagnostic on Felicity’s biochip, but for the moment he’s able to get her walking again. Ollie’s injuries and strain needed surgical attention, but he makes it. Everyone is safe and alive, and trust is being rebuilt.

But Chase still wins, because the episode ends with him meeting William off his bus home from school.

It doesn’t get much worse than your worst enemy getting his hands on your son.

…though moving the show back in the direction of Ollicity would certainly give that a run for its money.

Have I mentioned I hate Ollicity?

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