REVIEW: Arrow, S5 Ep20 – Underneath

Last week’s episode “Dangerous Liaisons” concluded with Chase planting an explosive in the Arrow Cave leading to both Oliver and Felicity becoming trapped and injured. “Underneath” begins with us quickly learning that the explosive was an EMP, since the device planted in Felicity’s spine, which should allow her to walk, was not working. For the most part “Underneath” serves as a bottle episode as the two try to figure out a way of escaping, being that the cave was locked down after the explosion. Additionally, the rest of Team Arrow attempt to help as well.

Felicity temporarily loses the use of her legs

“Underneath” does something that makes me worry about the future state of the series. For multiple seasons now a constant hindrance preventing the show from being a little better has been the flashbacks. As season five concludes one can assume that we can look forward to a season six without flashbacks, given that we would have seen the entirety of Oliver’s “five years in hell.” That being said, “Underneath” chooses to give us flashbacks to unseen events that happened sometime in the show’s fourth season during the whole Damien Darhk debacle.

While the flashbacks in “Underneath” served the story well and provided a interesting contrast between Olicity then and Olicity now, I hope that the series’ writers do not make this a habit, thinking that Arrow needs flashbacks, therefore they’ll start flashing back to events that didn’t even happen that long ago. Every once in a while would be fine, as long as it serves the story, but honestly Arrow does not need flashbacks in every episode.

The meat of the story of “Underneath” focused on Oliver and Felicity’s plight, though it was not enough to provide entertainment for the full episode. The subplot involving the rest of Team Arrow helped in this regard, as we saw the team work and triumph together in rescuing their friends. Seeing Curtis and Rene work side by side is always entertaining to watch, considering how different the two are. The drama between Lyla and Diggle was also very compelling. Diggle is a bit too judgmental over Lyla’s role at A.R.G.U.S., but by the end of the episode he is put in his place. Ahere does end up being some much needed compromise between the two. Unfortunately, the only character that doesn’t serve the episode much is Dinah Drake, who still needs a bigger role in the series if we are to eventually accept her as the new Black Canary.

Team Arrow figuring out a plan

While the majority of “Underneath” was a bit on the dull side, the episode’s conclusion actually did provide some suspense. Seeing Diggle climb halfway down into the cave and struggle to pull Oliver up, as Oliver struggled to pull a paralyzed Felicity up, served up a bit of tension.

On the other hand, the final scene of “Underneath” was definitely predictable. Oliver mentioned his son earlier in the episode, reminding the audience of his existence. That was a pretty big hint that Adrian Chase would end up finding a way to get to his son. Another reason why this is predictable is that we’ve seen Oliver in this predicament countless times before. The season’s big bad always finds a way of kidnapping someone close to Oliver leading up to their final showdown. The only thing I can say is at least it’s someone new this time around.

As stated before, “Underneath” was a bit dull, but some moments from other members of Team Arrow did provide some compelling and entertaining scenes. The flashbacks were acceptable this time around, though I still don’t want these one-year flashbacks to become a routine. The climax was definitely suspenseful, but the episode’s final conclusion was a bit lackluster. Being that there are only a few more episodes left in the season, “Underneath” feels much like the calm before the eventual storm. Hopefully, that storm ends up being worthwhile, because so far this fifth season of Arrow hasn’t maintained quality throughout.

In next week’s episode, Team Arrow will face off against Adrian Chase and returning villain Derek Sampson, played by former WWE star and one-time Stephen-Amell-wrestling opponent Cody Runnels. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Honor Thy Fathers” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Underneath” in the comments.


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