After losing his oldest brother-in-arms in last week’s episode of Arrow, Oliver finds himself facing a vertigo-induced downward spiral. In “Fundamentals” Oliver reunites a variety of demons from the past that lead him down a dangerous road that could not only cost him his job, but expose him as the Green Arrow.
Felicity, unhappy with John’s resignation from Team Arrow, tries to parent-trap the two estranged friends, but neither John nor Oliver appreciate the gestures. John tells them that Lyla offered him a position at ARGUS, and he will likely accept it. Both men make it clear that they are through, and there is nothing worth to discuss anymore.
After this fallout Oliver decides to return to his roots – he is going out in the field by himself, does not spare anyone, and keeps himself completely focused on the mission ahead. This does not come easily, as he still faces impeachment. Oliver has to find evidence that his firing of the DA and the police captain was due to their collaboration with Diaz, rather than him obstructing justice in the name of being a vigilante.
Oliver meets with one of the city’s councilmen to discuss the matter, and he tells him a hearing is scheduled to discuss his evidence. After the tense meeting, Oliver starts to act up. He snaps at Felicity and William when he returns home, which escalates into a fight between the newlyweds, and Oliver eventually accidentally breaks his son’s science project. His actions lead to Felicity kicking him out.
Angered, Oliver returns to the lair, where Felicity finds him and tells him she needs some space from him. A heartbroken Oliver then starts to hear noises around the lair, until he comes face-to-face with Adrian Chase. The man had killed himself almost a year ago on Lian Yu, but he tells Oliver he never checked for a body. The two start a brawl which ends with Oliver breaking Adrian’s neck, only for the other man to reappear again.
Oliver finally understands that he must have been hallucinating, and proceeds to test his blood, which comes back with traces of vertigo. Oliver continues his hallucinations with Adrian by his side, and finds himself in the Queen Mansion, talking to Laurel more than ten years ago, before embarking on his trip to China. He then sees Laurel again in the hospital, shortly before her death, which she blames him for. He agrees that letting her take over the Black Canary mantle was a mistake, but he would not have been able to stop her either way.
Laurel turns into Rene, who Oliver hurt, and Dinah and Curtis, who still blame Oliver for Rene’s condition, and for never visiting his former friend in the hospital. Oliver also hallucinates himself back at his apartment, where he finds a dying Raisa. She has been stabbed by Diaz, and tells him the man has come to hurt him. Diaz appears, and stabs him too, but Oliver wakes up in the lair, having imagined it all.
Oliver tries to make his way to the impeachment hearing, but, not for the first time in his life, comes face-to-face with a younger and more aggressive version of himself. The Hood accuses Oliver of having lost his focus by gathering a team, and tells him to get back to the mission. At the hearing, Oliver presents evidence that Felicity found, and claims he received this evidence from the Green Arrow. This adds to the implication that he himself is the vigilante.
After learning from Felicity that Diaz appears at the police station every evening at 10:13, a still vertigo-riddled Oliver dons his very first green hood and makes his way to the station. He has decided to follow his former self’s advice, but unfortunately, that is about to cost him everything he worked so hard for. Diaz has the entire force behind him, ready to expose, or even worse, kill Oliver.
It is then that Felicity notices movement from Oliver’s GPS tracker and runs after him, cornering him at the station before he can face Diaz. He believes her to be a hallucination, and accuses her of having left him. She promises to be by his side through everything, and she can convince him that she is real. Together they can escape before Diaz can catch them.
Back at the lair, Oliver tells Felicity that the vertigo actually made things clearer for him, and that he wants to go after Diaz alone, going back to where he started his mission. By the end of the episode the news reveal that the council has decided to impeach Oliver Queen, and it is Quentin Lance who will be following into his footsteps for now. Oliver’s impeachment opens Star City up for new dangers – Diaz has free range, and he and Black Siren cannot seem to wait to get started.
While this is far from the first time that Oliver has had to face his deepest darkest fears through the means of fighting hallucinations of himself and the people he seemingly wronged, it worked well in this week’s episode. He continues his downward spiral and might have even hit rock bottom this week. Oliver-centric episodes have been far and few between in the past few months, so having the show shift its focus back on its protagonist feels almost refreshing.
Things do seem to pile up for poor Ollie, with having both his mayoral as well as his private duties hanging over him, which limit his time and dedication to his vigilante business. It is a somewhat logical decision for him to not fight the council’s decision to impeach him, and he seemed rather relieved to not have the pressure of caring for the city by day on his shoulders. Oliver is ready to purely become the vigilante to defeat Diaz.
By doing so, however, he has started to alienate those around him. While he lost the trust of Dinah, Rene and Curtis early on in the season, he has now lost John, his closest confidante and constant voice of reason. This week, he has also started pushing Felicity away, at least in relation to his masked night-time activities. If six seasons of Arrow has taught us anything is that Oliver Queen cannot save the city all by himself. It is only a matter of time until he realizes that, and starts to make amends.
Adrian: Why did you let her become the black canary in the first place? She’s a lawyer. What, after a couple self-defence classes and a few sparring sessions with you, you think she’d ready to go ahead with thugs and killers?
Oliver: It was a mistake.
Adrian: Yeah, you’re a mistake.
Laurel: Which I had to pay for.
Oliver: It was a mistake. But I knew you. And I knew you’d do it with, or without me. I thought this way I could protect you.
Catch Arrow Thursdays at 9/8ct on The CW.
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- “Crisis on Infinite Earths” Part 4 Sees the Rebirth of the Universe - January 15, 2020