TV Review: Arrow – “Beacon of Hope”

Beacon of Hope
Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my reviews of all Arrow episodes here.
“Beacon of Hope” was a pretty fun standalone episode of Arrow that wasn’t too substantial but finally delivered on Season 4’s promise of being a more lighthearted version of the show.
I can already imagine a bunch of fanboys who hate the very idea of Felicity’s continued existence complaining about her being prominently featured in this episode along with a few breakup-related pep talks. But one step back from that knee-jerk reaction reveals an episode that was very entertaining in its own right.
The HIVE storyline is still on pause for the time being, and while I’m usually all for momentum, “Beacon of Hope” proved that there was some fun to be had in the interim. From a villainess who spoke almost exclusively in bee puns to Curtis Holt geeking out over Team Arrow, there was a zany element to this episode that made it feel fresh and invigorating on a show that was threatening to become a bit plodding as of late.
Even Damien Darhk’s scenes were a lot of fun, as he was the victim of a prison beatdown yet took it with a smirk on his face and a spring in his step. This minuscule subplot alone was more enjoyable to watch than Gotham‘s whole formulaic prison storyline this week. Darhk’s scene with Merlyn in which they exchanged jabs was delightful as well. His storyline may have meandered for a bit this season, but Darhk himself remains a magnetic presence and a wonderful character to watch.
Curtis HoltCurtis Holt’s role in “Beacon of Hope” as a sort of a replacement Overwatch was a very enjoyable expansion of his character that offered an interesting look at life post-Felicity. It lended credence to the idea that Felicity was walking away for good, which I thought was a good direction to take her character, although it would make working her into the show—something Arrow is insistent on doing—more challenging. And with Curtis in the end deciding it wasn’t for him, I wonder if the idea of swapping out Felicity for Curtis, who is very reminiscent of a Season 1 Felicity to begin with, was not meant to be a permanent one. Time will tell.
Of course, with the clock ticking and the death of a character looming—next week, in fact!—I find myself scrutinizing these plot developments very closely. Given where the story is now, Felicity makes a lot of sense as a candidate for the grave. She’s left Team Arrow for good, so there isn’t much she can offer to the narrative. But a flash-forward has already shown her to be alive and well.
Another look at these past few weeks shows Laurel getting more of the spotlight than usual. My biggest worry is that this is setting up Laurel to die, as I fear the writers don’t know what to do with her. And yet, putting her into the spotlight has shown that she still has far too much to offer, so I would be seriously upset if it’s her—and not in the way the writers would have intended. Laurel was really great this week, being proactive and taking matters into her own hands to save Ollie’s life, in addition to offering Ollie both sternness and tenderness whenever needed.
Of course, my preferred option is to avoid fridging a female character for the sake of manpain whatsoever, especially with Arrow‘s newfound light tone, so my final vote is Captain Lance. This despite the fact that Lance was one of the best parts of “Beacon of Hope”. He was the perfect candidate to play the straight man in n especially wacky episode, and his reactions were hilarious. “This is what my life has become!”
The long wait will be over next week, and the revelation of who’s in the grave will truly be a make-it-or-break-it moment for this long storyline. With the possible revelation that Andy Diggle might be a traitor after all, things are starting to get very interesting again.

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

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