After a revengeful mid-season premiere, Arrow returned this week with a character driven episode that we didn’t know we needed. Oliver Queen, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak captured our attention with their phenomenal heart-wrenching performances that reminded us why we got so attached to the show in the first place. A.W.O.L further proved that these characters are irreplaceable.
After being sidelined for a part of the first half of the season to prepare other characters’ departure to Legends of Tomorrow, it was long overdue for John Diggle and Felicity Smoak to have their own arc. John Diggle has been a crucial member of Team Arrow from the beginning. He acts as the moral compass of the team and he is a figure of hope for Oliver. Oliver sees John as the man he aspires to be: a survivor, a fighter and a husband/father.
David Ramsey has grown and transformed Diggle into one of the most genuine, consistent and beloved superhero on television. It would be a horrible move from the writers to have him in the grave both from a storyline point of view and for the simple fact that people of color are unfortunately rare on superhero shows and they should be protected. Even better than that, they should be put on the front line.
As for Felicity Smoak, her story arc this season is just the beginning. She has always been the heart of the show and now it’s her time to truly shine as a character this season. Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell have created something magical with their natural chemistry that only on few shows on television can achieve. Moreover, Felicity Smoak succeeds to also stand out on her own.
After I learned about Felicity’s paralysis, I was afraid that the writers would have portrayed her as “flawed” as most people with disabilities on television are wrongly perceived as. However, without ignoring her inner struggles (thank you Goth Felicity), Felicity still remains as powerful, desirable and a key member of the team. Felicity is the strong, empowering and intelligent female character that we are craving to see more on our screen.
The great balance between action and characters is one of the reasons why Arrow season four has been so successful. Every episode, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak further prove how essential they are to the team and to Green Arrow’s journey in general. I believe these characters will continue to flourish and grow because there is no “Arrow” without the team.
By Justine Benard