Vixen's Live-Action Debut: Arrow Season 4, Episode 15 Review
Laurel Lance, Samantha Clayton, and Felicity Smoak all in the lair together? In the old days, all we'd need is Sara Lance and we could call it Oliver Queen's Greatest Hits.
And Vixen, an "old friend," which in Oliver's case is usually code for "former lover." Maybe, maybe not - regardless, she's portrayed here as a colleague and a superhero equal.
The old Oliver we barely recognize today. This new Oliver, newly engaged - until Felicity learns about his secret son, and not from him - has only one objective: to rescue William and protect his mother.
And his ex-girlfriend and current fiancée are both completely on board with that. Black Canary, in a gesture we couldn't imagine from the old Laurel Lance - the angry, resentful, drunk Laurel - forgives Samantha for the fling and calmly puts that responsibility where it belongs: on Oliver.
Laurel is turning into a hero. I may have to start liking her. Darn.
Felicity finds out about William via Damian Dark, of all people, and it sure burns that Barry, John, Thea, Damian, Malcolm, and everybody else in Star City knew about him first. Samantha owns up to forcing Oliver to lie to Felicity about his son, and almost urges Felicity to forgive him.
Oliver owns up to agreeing to it, owns up to the mistake of not telling Felicity, and owns up to not having earned the right to be William's father. He's right: he is trying.
The videotape that Oliver made for William to see on his 18th birthday is a parallel I never thought we'd see on Arrow: to Robert Queen's videotape in season 1 that Oliver played after his father's death. Both men admitting to having failed as fathers, and asking for forgiveness. Oliver's tape echoes some of John Diggle's wise words of advice, that protecting your children is about being there.
But ultimately he listens to Vixen and decides - but only with Samantha, excluding Felicity again - that William deserves a childhood without his new favorite superhero. (Take that, Barry.) That decision, however honorable the intent, will haunt him.
Especially if after Samantha hides William away where even Oliver can't find him, Merlyn does, and puts William in that grave. Thea herself should put Merlyn down for that.
Vixen, in her character's first live-action appearance on CW, saves the day - and this episode - in many ways. She destroys Damian's totem, taking away his magic powers. She shows how one ass-kicking superwoman can make hash of a private army.
Please have Vixen visit Star City often, but please explain how her animal conjuring powers work. Maybe we were expecting something like King Shark on The Flash, but these visuals made no sense and her magic seemed to give her little advantage over Darhk than Oliver had.
Vixen also plays the superhero confidante, giving Oliver a compelling perspective on growing up not knowing her parents, or her powers. I wonder if she does marriage counseling?
Compartmentalization, thy name in Olicity. That Oliver and Felicity can press pause on an electric-shock, breakup fight because Oliver's son needs saving is why the Arrow fandom has zero worries about these two long term.
Even though the episode ended with Felicity taking off her engagement ring and walking - you read that right - out the door, you know you've got an enduring couple on the show when every villain since season 2 has believed in them. Malcolm Merlyn, Slade Wilson, Ra's Al-Ghul, and now Damian Darhk.
"You two melt my stone-cold heart. You almost make me believe in love again." Awwww.
Fantastic: Speedy leaning over backwards on the motorcycle and shooting arrows upside down? Whoa. Incomplete: Not even a passing glance at Ruvé Adams' mayoral acceptance speech? No mention of an Alex-Thea breakup once the campaign is cancelled? Disappointing: No development at all of the Felicity walking story.
Ludicrous: Damian Darhk still hasn't figured out that Oliver Queen and his "green friend" are one and the same. And this was WITH his magic powers.
What we just realized: the real villain of season 4 will be not be the mysterious stranger, Damian Darhk. He's just a tool. The real big bad is William's kidnapper and a member of the extended Arrow family: Malcolm Merlyn.
He's calling it Genesis this time, not the Undertaking, but minus one hand we're back in season 1.
Arrow returns on March 23 with episode 16, "Broken Hearts"