The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project: Episode 1.21 – “The Undertaking”
|February 24, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, The Extremely Ill-Advised Arrow Project|
An office at night. Some suit puts stacks of money in a briefcase and hands it off to his bodyguards to send to the Cayman Islands. An elevator dings and the bodyguards go to investigate. It’s Ollie, of course, who brawls with them as money from the briefcase flutters around like confetti, which is the Green Arrowiest image this show has yet come up with.
Ollie wins (can’t tell if he killed one of the dudes or not) and confronts the suit, “Harold Backman.” Backman pleads that he’s just the accountant, but Ollie isn’t having it and lists all the crimes Bachman’s accounting helps. “You think you scare me more than the people I work for?” Backman asks. “No,” Ollie says. “They can deal with you.” He knocks Backman out and takes the laptop Backman was trying to sneak off with.
Arrowcave. Ollie tells Felicity to hack into the computer and return all the stolen money. He’s super douchey about it, and she knows why: “At the risk of ending up with an arrow in my eye, may I ask: when are you planning on making peace with Diggle?” Ollie claims he did everything he could do stop Diggle from leaving. “Except apologize,” she points out. Yeah, and LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE. I just recapped that episode, Ollie, you can’t fool me. Anyway, Ollie insists that he doesn’t regret his choice, and leaves.
Queen Castle. Moira’s yelling at someone on the phone. She hangs up just as Thea walks in. “Who were you talking to?” Thea asks. Turns out the insurance company wants to pay out Walter’s life insurance policy, even though Moira insists he’s alive. “Look, I know we haven’t talked about Walter in a while,” Thea says metatextually, “but I miss him too. It’s like losing Dad all over again.” They hug.
Flashback – but it’s Moira’s flashback! She lets Malcolm into the house as they banter; they cheek-kiss and talk about their terrible wastrel sons.
In the living room, Robert and Malcolm do a weird almost-hug. There are a few others there, including Frank (RIP). Everyone’s very happy and friendly.
The doorbell rings again and Moira answers it. It’s Walter, who’s brought some papers for Robert to sign. Moira tells him Robert’s in a private meeting but he can wait in the study, and heads upstairs to wake up her “teenagers.” Um, if this is five years ago, Ollie’s 22 and Thea’s 12.
In the living room, Frank says Adam Hunt cooperated once they informed him they knew about his embezzling. “The police communication system can use an upgrade,” Robert points out. Frank says he’ll have Hunt make a donation. Malcolm says it’s not enough: “For years, we’ve been forcing the city’s worst to do what is best, leverage them to help save the city, but it’s not working.” He drops his copy of The List on the coffee table for emphasis.
The Glades are too big of a problem to fix this way, he goes on, and proposes “a new undertaking”: “The village must be destroyed before it can be saved.” “You’re suggesting we somehow level the Glades?” Robert asks. He seems more skeptical than horrified. In fact, no one seems particularly appalled. Robert is actually amused when Malcolm suggest they make it look like a natural disaster, but Malcolm says Unidac Industries is developing something that will do what they need it to, and they’re only five years from a prototype. Now Robert cautions restraint. “One man alone can’t save this city, Robert,” Malcolm says, for no reason other than to cut to an Ollie scene.
Verdant. It’s still day, so the club’s closed, but Laurel’s there drinking a cup of coffee anyway. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” Ollie says, entering. Hee and aw. She tells him the coffee’s terrible and he says that’s what she gets for ordering coffee at a bar. Then he asks what’s wrong and she tells him Tommy dumped her and she doesn’t know why. Ollie assures her he’ll come around, he’s just got cold feet.
“Like it was with you,” Laurel says, then points out that his sleeping with Sara was clearly him trying to end things. Ollie tells her she needs to talk to Tommy, like they two of them didn’t back in the day.
Felicity walks in and awkwardly realizes that she interrupted a Moment. She even more awkwardly introduces herself: “I’m nobody. I mean, I’m not nobody, I’m somebody, obviously, and so are you! You’re Laurel, right? That Laurel? Gorgeous Laurel?” WHOA HEY. FELICITY/LAUREL Y/Y???
Amused, Ollie says Felicity’s setting up the internet, and she tells him she need to show him something. Downstairs, she shows him a list of Bachman’s past deposits to the account in the Caymans. The biggest was $2 million on December 12th – the day Walter disappeared. Now they just need to find out who was paid that money to kidnap Walter.
Felicity quickly digs up a name: Dominic Alonzo. Ollie knows of him – he “runs the biggest underground casino in Starling City.” Felicity’s pretty gleeful about the prospect of the guy who kidnapped Walter getting plugged full of arrows (man, people’s no-killing moral stances on this show are weak; see also: Laurel, Tommy, and Diggle), but Ollie says it’ll be tough to access Alonzo’s computer.
Felicity hints that it would be good to have help from a certain Afghanistan vet, but Ollie tells her to stuff it. “Well, then, looks like someone’s going gambling tonight,” she says. Ollie says those guys know Oliver Queen would never hang out in their joint. “I wasn’t talking about you,” she says. He doesn’t like it, but she points out that she can count cards, then gets in his face and says she was only in this to find Walter in the first place. He reluctantly agrees.
Flashback, same day. Robert’s signed the papers for Walter. Walter asks if everything’s okay, since Robert’s clearly unsettled, and Robert says it’s nothing.
Walter leaves, and Robert returns to the living room to find Malcolm still there. “I’m still waiting for your answer,” Malcolm says. Robert’s not on board with the plan, and Malcolm says the Glades took Robert’s soul. What? What??? “Doing this won’t get it back,” Robert says. “Won’t bring back Rebecca either.”
Malcolm emotionally says that when Rebecca called him that day, he was annoyed because she knew he was busy, and shut his phone off. That night, the cops came to his office and told him she’d been shot in the Glades. He listened to the messages over and over for the rest of the night. Um, why did Rebecca call him and not the cops?
Anyway, Malcolm talks about how hard it was to listen to Rebecca die, and, just. Sigh. Look, Barrowman’s a perfectly fine actor (Though I will never stop regretting the lack of a Merlyn family musical number. Perhaps this one?), but he’s made the decision to play Malcolm CREEPY AS HELL, and it’s extremely effective. The problem with that is that I don’t buy that he’s motivated by grief and guilt over his wife’s death. I don’t buy that he’s ever actually loved anyone, in fact. So this doesn’t work. Even when he’s talking about how sad he is, he comes off like he wants to wear Robert’s face like a hat. HE’S CREEPY.
Present day. Felicity knocks on Diggle’s door. He’s wearing a tank top. THEY RUN OFF AND GET MARRIED oh wait no that’s just in my head. Instead he lets her in and gives her a beer but tells her he and Ollie don’t need a relationship counselor. Hee. She tells him about Walter, and that though Ollie let him down, if it was Diggle’s life on the line he would’ve come through. “I don’t want a partnership with those kind of qualifications, Felicity,” Diggle says. Felicity says Ollie needs Diggle, and Diggle says when Ollie’s ready to admit it, “he knows where I live.” What if they ALL got married?
Tommy’s office. Laurel walks in: “Wow, you really look like your father.” Tommy gives her The Angriest Look in the World. Hee. She tells him she loves him and she’s pretty sure he loves her, so why can’t they work this out? “If our relationship is gonna end, at least let it end with honesty.” “Honestly?” he says. “You belong with Oliver. He still loves you.” He leaves, and she looks dumbfounded.
Night. Ollie and Felicity approach the casino. She’s wearing a very pretty dress and looks gorgeous, of course. Do you think she just had that lying around, or do you think we missed an awesome shopping montage where she and Ollie picked out the perfect costume for her, possibly set to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?” I think it’s the latter and I’m really cranky we missed it.
“Just so we’re clear, the plan is for me to get caught counting cards in an underground casino,” she says, and Ollie adds that she’ll be brought into Alonzo’s office, where she can plant a bug on his computer. She’s clearly terrified, but determined to go through with it to find Walter. He tells her he’ll be right outside in case anything goes wrong.
She goes in, murmuring to Ollie through her headset about how many armed guards are lurking inside. After one of her usual accidental double entendres, she sits down at a blackjack table and buy some chips.
Malcolm’s office. He gleefully tells Moira that “the Markov device” is ready and on its way to Starling. Burying her apprehension, Moira congratulates him. He tells her that her friendship has helped him stay committed to the project: “After all, you and I will always have a connection.” Moira tries to blow him up with her mind as she says “I’m just sorry that Robert’s not here to celebrate with us.” “I’m sorry I had to take him from you,” Malcolm says, and Moira says she’s the one who’s really to blame for his death. They toast to their dead spouses.
Flashback. Moira asks why Robert was so quiet at that night’s “Ted Kord fundraiser,” and if this show does not GIVE ME TED KORD AT SOME POINT, GIVE HIM TO ME RIGHT NOOOOOOOOOOOOW I will, um…make fun of it on my blog! (Which is also what I’ll do if they DO give me Ted, of course.)
Robert tells her about Malcolm’s plan. She’s appalled, of course. He says he’s not the man she thinks he is, and confesses that some months ago he got into a fistfight with some guy from the Glades who wanted Robert to pay a bribe to build a factory there, and accidentally killed the guy: “The work I’m doing with Malcolm, the List…it’s my penance for it.” Moira points out that atoning for one murder by killing thousands more is dumb as fuck, and that preventing Malcolm’s plan is the actual way to do good. “Promise me you won’t let this happen,” she says, which I guess is why she blames herself for his death? IDK.
Present day, the casino. Felicity is doing very well, and as we watch, she gets blackjack again. She claps and giggles – and a big guy in a suit tells her very firmly to come with him. She’s led to the back, seemingly babbling nervously – “Should’ve known the manager’s office would be down the hall and to the right of the bathroom” – but obviously actually telling Ollie where she is via headset.
Alonzo asks her name and she tells him it’s Megan. He asks if she knows where the term “eighty-six” comes from and she stealthily sticks the bug on his computer as she stammers that it’s from an illegal casino at 86 Bedford Street in New York during Prohibition. Hey, I learned something! He tells her it means to ban someone who’s cheating, and to get out. Relieved, she turns to go, and the guard stops her.
“You see, the thing about card counters is that sometimes they work with a partner,” Alonzo says. He takes the earpiece out of her ear and stomps on it. Ollie winces, pulls his own earpiece out, and jumps up. “You’re gonna be really upset when you meet my partner,” Felicity says.
Ollie bursts into the casino and beats up a bunch of goons, shooting at least two in the chest. Guess it’s time to bring back the Kill Count! Ollie Kill Count: 37.
He makes it to the back room, but Alonzo’s got a gun to Felicity’s head. Ollie shoots a bullseye in the dartboard behind Alonzo. “I heard you never miss,” Alonzo says. “I don’t,” Ollie replies, and the arrow explodes, sending Alonzo and Felicity flying.
Ollie slams Alonzo into the wall: “Where’s Walter Steele?” Alonzo says he doesn’t know who hired him, but when he delivered Walter, “I heard a gun shot. He’s dead.” Ollie knocks him out. He and Felicity both look crushed.
Queen Castle. Moira and Thea are snuggling on the couch and shopping online. Aw. Ollie comes in with a very tragic face on and gently – and I think with genuine sadness for himself as well as for them – tells them that Diggle heard from an old army buddy, now in the FBI, that Walter is dead. Moira insists that that can’t be and asks if they found a body, then storms out despite Ollie’s protests. Ollie hugs Thea as she cries.
Flashback. Robert tells Frank that Malcolm’s plan is not the solution to what ails Starling City and Frank agrees, but is basically terrified of Malcolm. Robert tells him that Malcolm’s been secretly buying up Glades property through a company called Sagittarius. Oh Malcolm, how subtle you’re not. Anyway, Robert thinks if Malcolm can’t rebuild the Glades post-quake, he’ll give up the project. I think Robert is severely underestimating how much of Malcolm’s motivation is the desire to commit racial and class-based genocide.
Robert and Frank decide to go to China to get the necessary capital to buy up the rest of the Glades. Frank will fly; Robert will go separately by boat to avoid arousing Malcolm’s suspicions. I still don’t totally buy that a yacht could cross the Pacific – anyone know for sure?
A be-wigged young Ollie bursts in looking for cash: “The pizza guy can’t break a hundred.” Hee, he sounds so befuddled. Robert gives him a twenty and watches him snag a bottle of wine out of the wine rack with a proud expression Ollie has completely not earned.
Upstairs, Laurel’s reading an LSAT prep book when Ollie returns with the pizza and wine. She thankfully hasn’t been forced into a wig, and in fact her cute stripey t-shirt and jeans do make her look quite a bit younger than her contemporary business casual duds. Laurel searches for the “bottle opener” (it’s a corkscrew, kids) and oh-so-casually mentions that a couple they know is moving in together.
Ollie visibly tries not to panic, and asks if this isn’t moving a little fast. She says she thinks they’re ready to take the next step, and he smiles and agrees. They smooch. Sorry, kids, but “Bleeding Love” is playing on the soundtrack and that can’t be a good sign (though if they do this, all of my criticisms of both of them are forgotten forever).
Malcolm’s office. Moira storms in and tells Malcolm she cooperated with him on the understanding that Walter wouldn’t be harmed. He insists that Walter’s alive, and shows her security footage of Walter locked up somewhere. As he exposits about the deal they made re: the Undertaking, the camera pans across to show us an arrow with a bug on it in the wall outside his office, and then Ollie looking shocked and betrayed.
Arrowcave. Felicity finds Ollie sitting on the floor in the dark and says she’s been beating herself up about Walter’s death too. He tells her Walter’s alive and that she needs to pull up Malcolm’s phone records. She’s baffled, but after he gives her a look she hops to it, and determines that Malcolm made a call to a tenement complex in Bludhaven. Security footage shows tons of guards, but only one on the roof, since there’s no nearby buildings. “If you want to get on the roof, you’re going to have to jump from something,” Felicity says. “I’ve got something,” Ollie snarls.
Cut to Ollie HANG GLIDING onto the roof, oh my God, help, I am dying of laughter. I hope he rode that thing all the way from California to Jersey. He beats up the roof guard and enters the building, where he beats up a whole slew of other guards. Five go down with arrows. Kill Count: 42. THIS IS NOT WHAT DOUGLAS ADAMS MEANT, OLIVER. He finds Walter asleep in a locked cell, wakes him, and tells him he’s going home.
Starling City hospital. Moira and Thea tearfully embrace Walter, and he calls Ollie “son,” which Ollie looks awfully conflicted about. Even Felicity’s there, with flowers. Moira says that now that they’re all together, everything’s going to be all right, and Ollie gives her an agonized look.
Flashback, the docks. Moira’s not happy about Robert’s trip to China but he assures her everything will be fine. She’s even less happy when Ollie shows up in his douchey windbreaker to “keep Dad company.” “You’re in school!” she protests. “Not really,” he replies. Robert’s completely untroubled by Ollie dropping out of school and also totally happy to have his son come on a dangerous trip with him. Robert’s the worst.
Ollie and Moira hug. Laurel pulls up and Ollie goes over to talk to her, quickly calling Sara in the process and telling her to circle the block until Laurel’s gone. (Also, Laurel’s not wearing a wig but she is wearing extensions. I do my best to keep you informed about the important things.) She tells Ollie she’s there to see him off and gives him the picture of her that he stares at all the time on the island, “in case you get lonely.” (Her hair is short in the picture. Hairgate ‘07 is a whirlwind, you guys!) She asks if she freaked him out by asking to move in with him, and he tells her no, then excuses himself. Sigh.
Malcolm’s office. “Is it done?” he asks someone on the phone.
It’s Frank! Well, now I’m glad Moira had him killed. He says the bomb’s been planted, and with a storm front moving in, Robert’s death will look like an accident. On the pier, Moira waves after the departing yacht.
Present day, hospital. Ollie runs into Malcolm in the hall and fights to keep his face neutral. Malcolm not-very-casually asks if Walter knows who kidnapped him. “No,” Ollie says. Malcolm expresses false sympathy, and Ollie says “They’ll get what’s coming to them. I’m just glad my family is back together.”
Laurel appears, Malcolm oozes off, and Laurel and Ollie spend about four seconds pretending they care about Walter before yammering about their relationship some more. She tells him what Tommy said, he says he just wants her to be happy, she asks him to tell Tommy he’s not in love with her, he says he can’t because he is, UGH. They’re less stultifying than Clark and Lana on Smallville but no less aggravating.
Casa Diggle. Ollie knocks and Diggle greets him with “I guess you do know where I live.” “I’ve always known where you live,” Ollie says, which a) is creepy and b) is missing Diggle’s sarcasm to a hilarious degree. He apologizes and admits that Diggle was right – not just about Deadshot, but about Moira – and says he needs Diggle’s help to stop whatever Moira and Malcolm are planning.
Meanwhile, a truck rolls into Starling with a crate stamped “Unidac Industries.” DUN DUN DUN!
So, sigh. We’ll talk more two episodes from now about how the finale basically made this entire season a waste of everyone’s time, but seriously, the revelation that the List was just something Malcolm et al. used to blackmail second-tier white collar criminals into buying new Segways for the police department or whatever is so frustrating because it means that Ollie has literally been running around completely pointlessly for 21 episodes. And then, of course, you realize that Ollie had absolutely no reason to believe that this was what he was meant to do with the List. Robert said he failed the city – for all Ollie knew, this was a list of his dad’s drinking buddies. (Also, what the hell kind of grownups keep their secret intel in notebooks in invisible ink? Like, which one of them sat there painstakingly writing eight copies of that in lemon juice? Was it Frank?)
Also, Moira is in no way complicit in Robert’s death, so why does she keep acting like she was? It’s just another way the writers’ “write something cool and mysterious now, figure out what it means later” method has Failed This City, because this episode, chocked full of BIG REVEALS, tells us nothing very interesting or anything that makes sense. The List is an extremely implausible red herring, Moira’s guilt is a brilliantly acted red herring, Malcolm’s motivation is paper-thin and not believable in the slightest, Frank’s moral compass is all over the place, and even the stuff with Ollie and Laurel is hackneyed. I know Emily Bett Rickards is a delight, writers, but you can’t just let her keep mugging adorably to distract us from boring, silly twists forever.