‘Arrow’ 4×14 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Code of Silence’

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Arrow and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down episode 4×14 of Arrow, “Code of Silence,” where we discuss our thoughts on Thea endorsing Oliver’s lie, Felicity’s miracle, the Smoak women, and the impending baby mama drama.

What were your overall thoughts on “Code of Silence?”

ALYSSA

Overall it was one of the weakest episodes of what’s been a really impressive season four. The only things that I enjoyed about it were Felicity and Donna’s dynamic, Diggle, and the engagement party that consisted of those latter elements. As I mentioned in my recap, I have a love-hate relationship with Arrow, and the hate part always comes around midseason when they thrust this unnecessary storyline for the sake of drama and it ruins the momentum that the show had going for it. The baby mama story is that hate for season four. Everything about it just irks me to no end, including how the writers have thrust this ridiculous storyline upon us fans that are quite intelligent to recognize that there could’ve been a better way to handle this. Arrow has been the most solid of all of the DC television shows this season, but heading into this run of episodes that will be heavily baby mama focused, I see that quickly changing. I’m just hoping that we can wrap this storyline and pointless drama up pretty quickly and move towards the big “who’s in the grave” storyline that has been a perfect example of solid storylines that carry through the season. I have faith that it will, but it doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to this string of episodes that makes me want to bash my head in.

LIZZIE

It wasn’t an awful episode, but it wasn’t as strong as it could have been either. Maybe it’s because I was dreading the unnecessary drama from the whole kid/baby mama debacle, and that overshadowed everything for me, even the Olicity. Writers that put plot over characters are not my faves, and writers who, for the sake of drama, would go as far as to compromise both…well, those are the worst kind, in my book.

Arrow writers bother me in particular, because they can do better. They HAVE done better. They just need to be more consistent.

LYRA

It was a frustrating freight towards baby drama land. On your right you see foreshadowing of Olicity and Team Arrow pain delivered by Mama Smoak. And on the left we have Mrs. Darkh causing trouble for no explainable reason besides, “He’s going to ruin my evil plans but I’m not brave enough to kill him. Honey send someone to kill him. Something fancy. Ohhh let’s drop a building on him.” Arrow writers are developing these amazing bonds between characters we love but tearing at them with weak excuses and tropes. They are sacrifing what we love about these characters for the hell of “crazy drama” instead of coming up with something new and unpredictable. Something fresh and entertaining.

Arrow -- "Code of Silence" -- Image AR414b_0118b.jpg -- Pictured: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Queens have an obvious problem when it comes to lying. What are your thoughts on Thea’s essentially endorsing Oliver’s lie? And do you think that was what Oliver needed to hear or wanted to hear?

ALYSSA

This was my biggest problem with the episode and with the show when these characters are used as a means to justify ridiculous storylines by acting out of character. As viewers of this show – and passionate ones, at that – we know these characters about as well as the writers do, if not more. We speculate about how they’d react to certain situations that haven’t yet or won’t happen in the show because we know how they’ve been shaped by their past experiences and how they’ll react. Which brings us to Thea justifying Oliver’s lie.

I can understand where Thea is coming from – how she believes that keeping William a secret when Oliver is both publically and heroically a target, which makes those that are close to both of those personas targets, as well. But the thing that angered me about the entire thing was Thea seemed to justify Oliver’s lie. She wasn’t encouraging Oliver to tell Felicity – especially because now not one, but two people know this secret – she was telling Oliver to keep on lying about this despite a similar situation back in season two that Thea fuming and furious at Oliver for a good chunk of the latter part of season two. That’s my entire point: Out of everybody that might find out about William before Felicity, Thea is the one that should be urging Oliver to tell Felicity the truth before she finds out on her own. Because we all remember what happened when Thea discovered Oliver and her mother had lied about Malcolm being her real father. Sure, it was to protect her, but it didn’t matter to her then. I’m sorry, but where did that person go? Thea knows first hand how painful that experience was and yet here she is not only encouraging Oliver to keep lying, but also she’s justifying Oliver’s lie.

But the thing that made me sickest of all was that Oliver was validated in his withholding of this information with what Thea told him. He thanked her for telling him what he needed to hear. But it wasn’t what he needed to hear. It’s what he wanted to hear. Oliver, who admitted he’s feeling immensely guilty about lying to Felicity about this – hey, Queen, I know a way to make that guilt go away, TELL HER – was able to take a little breath of relief after his conversation with Thea as if feeling that what he was doing – lying to Felicity – wasn’t as bad as he knew it to be. But that’s going to come and bite him in the ass in this next episode. And quite frankly he deserves it.

LIZZIE

No, no, no. It’s not surprising, not really. Diggle would have surprised me more. Thea is young, and despite how much she’s grown lately, she’s still very inmature. However, just because it doesn’t surprise me doesn’t mean I LIKE it. I don’t. I’m not saying Thea should have put Felicity first, or that this is OOC, I’m saying she should have, at least, told Oliver the good and the bad. That’s what sisters are for. But, this wasn’t one of the parts of the episode that I had a huge issue with. In this regard, at least, the writers stayed true to character.

LYRA

Thea condoning Oliver’s lie was NOT what Oliver wanted to hear. You can tell it by the way he questions himself and how he could marry Felicity with this huge secret hanging over them. HE WANTED HER TO SAY, “TELL HER!”

And Thea…you suddenly condone lying? Yes thats why you were so ok with Oliver lying to you for YEARS! That’s why you sat back and didn’t make a fuss at all because you were left out. That’s why you totally didn’t run off to play ninja with your evil dad. And that’s why you absolutely told Oliver that you were trained and could protect yourself. I really see how you’re ok with this. The writers need to stop treating us like we don’t have eyes. Like we don’t watch these characters week after week and follow who they are. Thea knows what it feels like to be lied to. So why would she condone someone else feeling that pain?

Curtis delivered a game changer in the form of a wedding gift to Felicity – a little microchip that would allow her to eventually walk again just in time for her wedding. What are your thoughts on the curing of Felicity’s paralysis storyline? Are you glad it’s a technological cure instead of a magical cure?

ALYSSA

While I’ll admit that I’m shocked with how quickly this whole cure came about, I’m definitely relieved that it was a real-world cure instead of a magical cure like Oliver had hinted about when he promised Felicity that she’d walk again in a world with metahumans and speedsters. I’ve always appreciated how Felicity has continuously represented the realistic, human side of this superhero world. She doesn’t have a supersuit but she’s a true representation of a hero. So when she experienced something as traumatizing as being paralyzed, a magical cure just wasn’t the right way to go about this. There are heroes that don’t fight crime but fight to save lives, and I feel like, right now, that’s the role that Curtis has taken on, and I really appreciate it. And I just knew Curtis was going to be the one to find the cure for Felicity.

While the whole “look, a magical microchip that will cure anything” might sound cheesy on paper, it was the execution of it all that truly sold it. There was sensational acting all around in this scene that once again revealed the true strength of Arrow is its characters and the journeys they go through. You feel with them. But Emily Bett Rickards really stood out to me in this scene. Everything that Felicity was feeling in that moment from the confusion to the understanding to the happiness of it all played out brilliantly on her face in an emotional scene that had me wiping tears away. That’s why the scene felt as powerful as it did.

LIZZIE

We ALL called it, didn’t we? And I’m glad. SO glad. There’s been a lot of “magic” in the Arrow world lately, and though it doesn’t exactly bother me, I like that the show can, in some things, remain grounded in something that resembles reality. It makes the magic all the more scary.

LYRA

Loved the last part of this question. Yes I’m glad it was a technological one. Lately they’ve been going all mystical and other wordly. Bases it on technology grounds the show a bit more. Goes back to what we liked about the Arrow world in the beginning, practical yet totally not available at best buy tech. His gift was a selfless one born out of wanting to make someone feel better. No ulterior motives or sneaky bad handed reasons. Just pure love for a friend. Felicity needs this kind of person in her life (especially with her father being fake and Oliver about to reveal his dark Central City secret.) It’s a shame that Curtis made something specifically to gift her with the ability to walk down the aisle towards her love. When she does walk again its going to be to walk away in disappointment at Oliver’s actions.

(I still have faith in Olicity. Just know they’re going to take a little detour of angst and it’s coming fast. I dread it and want it at the same time.)

We got to see more of Quentin and Donna’s relationship and watched as Quentin pushed her away to keep her safe. But he later told her the truth. What does that show you?

ALYSSA

This showed me a couple of things. First, it showed me that Quentin is someone who has evolved as a character and learned from his mistakes. I understand where Quentin is coming from – lying to Donna to protect her from being in Damien Darhk’s crosshairs but also because he’s afraid that he’d lose her if she learned the truth that he used to work for the man responsible for her daughter being paralyzed. But in just one episode we saw Quentin, as coaxed by others including Oliver (irony, yo), come to realize that he can’t keep up this lie. The truth will set you free, which is something that Oliver needs tattooed somewhere on his person.

Second, this shows me that truth is the most important thing, and that it will not only set you free but show that you can be trusted despite lying for a bit. Here’s the thing, while Quentin was initially keeping this secret about working with Damien Darhk from Donna, the fact that he fessed up and told her before she learned on her own showed that confessing the truth shows trust. And we know how important trust is with the Smoak women. It’s something that Oliver hasn’t done with the whole William situation with Felicity. I firmly believe that if Oliver had told Felicity the truth about William – even a month after knowing – that she would be able to forgive him. Because that would be Oliver telling her the truth and confiding in her. But the fact that Felicity has to find out on her own will show her that Oliver isn’t being trustworthy with her hence while we’ll most likely see the couple take a break before finding their way back to each other by season’s end. That’s the difference between the lies with Quentin & Donna and Oliver & Felicity. Simple as that.

LIZZIE

I’m really loving how they’ve developed this relationship. It’s not just on the background and happy, it’s a real, mature relationship with issues, and two people who have made mistakes and maybe will again, but who, together, really want to try. I never thought I’d be saying this, but Oliver could takr some pointers from Quentin.

LYRA

Firstly, it’s major foreshadowing for what’s to come for Felicity and Oliver sooooon. Secondly, it shows how far the Donna/Quentin relationship has come. I knew they were going out and spending time with each other. I just didn’t think they were so into each other that an omission of the true would bring them both so much pain. There’s more on the line for them because they’re not here to play games. They want love and commitment (that’s why Donna gave him another chance and Quentin told her the truth.) Hearts are on the line here and they’ll fight for it without disrespecting themselves or what they value. Adult relationship here ladies and gentlemen.

Arrow -- "Code of Silence" -- Image AR414b_0174b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Charlotte Ross as Donna Smoak and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Felicity and Donna’s relationship has really thrived since Donna began making regular trips to Star City. What were your thoughts on Donna’s confession, on Felicity comforting her mother, and these two lovely ladies in general?

ALYSSA

This is one of those relationships that before Donna’s arrival that I never knew I needed but now couldn’t imagine not having on this show. While this is a grounded superhero show it’s still a superhero show at its core. So it’s nice to have elements of a very organic nature like a mother-daughter relationship that really connects with the audience in an emotional way.

I enjoyed all of the scenes with the Smoak women in this episode – and period, to be honest – but the scene that stuck out to me was that heart-to-heart between the two where Donna opened up about her insecurities when it comes to love. She’s so happy that her daughter has found this love that transcends all love, but it’s also a reminder that she’ll never get to experience that love. I loved how we got to see how this relationship has developed. How it’s not only Donna but Felicity who is able to console the other when things go wrong. This was a very honest and important moment for them. We saw Donna open about her fear of never finding the kind of love her daughter has, and we got to see Felicity console her mother and urge her not to give up. That Quentin was lying to probably protect her. I really hope that Felicity remembers that bit of advice when she learns about William next week. (But let’s be honest, Felicity deserves to feel that anger and betrayal and Oliver deserves the consequences coming his way before they come back together eventually.)

This was such a lovely acted scene by Emily Bett Rickards and Charlotte Ross who continue to prove that one of the biggest, pleasant surprises this season has been the exploration of the Smoak women’s relationship. You don’t always need big stunt sequences or badass superheroes to make turn heads. Sometimes all you need is two really great characters and actors.

LIZZIE

My relationship with my mother is nothing like their relationship. That’s not what I like about the Donna/Felicity interactions. What I like is that, despite that fact, they really feel like mother and daughter. You can feel the love, and the history and the issues. There’s all kinds of chemistry on TV anf these two actresses play of each other perfectly, in a way that allows us to see another side of Felicity. And that’s always a good thing.

LYRA

I feel like Donna has kept her promise to try better and not let her daughter slip through her fingers. Felicity asked her for time, commitment and her mom hasn’t given up. Their relationship has grown surely and steadily. They haven’t been rushed or pushed to solve all their problems. It’s been a gradual shift of growth where they’re comfortable enough to confess their faults and worry to each other. They have complete confidence that the other will help guide them though the pain they feel. Donna’s confession to her daughter was a new level of comfort that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We’ll see these two family members reach an umwavering emotional depth that will guide Felicity through the doubt and pain that is coming for her.

At this point it almost feels guaranteed that a Lance is in the grave. Do you believe it’s Laurel or Quentin that’s the more likely victim?

ALYSSA

From everything that we’ve gotten and continue to get, I continue to remain firm in my belief that it’s Laurel in the grave. There’s something about establishing Quentin’s life that hints to me not that he’s dying but that he’s going to keep on living. Laurel has been one of those characters that most of the fandom has despised for a long time due to how she has been written. She’s also a character that has achieved what she was meant to: to become Black Canary. There’s no denying that Laurel has kind of remained on the backburner this season without a major storyline of her own, although she played a part in Sara’s resurrection but that was more for Sara’s benefit. What real use does Laurel serve anymore? What character would they most likely off – one whose story has much more to explore or one that’s come to the end of her destiny? That’s how you’ve got to think about it from a story standpoint.

To the casual fan they might never suspect Laurel is the grave, but to the obsessive – no, passionate – fans like myself we’ve seen the signs; we’ve analyzed these scenes time and time again. All of these hints just scream that Laurel is in the grave. But the question becomes: would Arrow really kill Black Canary? They could. It would likely free Black Canary up for the cinematic universe although it’s already been proven that a Flash can exist on television and in movies. But Laurel has been one of those characters that has been heavily criticized from the beginning. But this season Laurel’s kind of grown on me. And the writers seem to be setting her up for a grand exit where she goes out the hero.

I feel like Arrow wants the death to not only be impactful but to come as a shock like some of the other major deaths like Tommy, Moira, and Sara. Casually speaking, Quentin might appear to be the most likely victim, but that’s what makes it not him. He’s the red herring.

LIZZIE

My money’s still on Laurel. And I’m not talking safe bet here, I’m talking all in. Sure, there’s still a chance it’s Quentin and Arrow is going to pull the rug out from under us. But there was also a chance that the writers would treat baby mama drama with maturity and respect for all the people involved. They didn’t. And, though Arrow has, and probably will continue to surprise us, they have never been ones to shy away from unnecessary drama. Killing Laurel ups the drama level for just about every character. They’re not gonna pass up that opportunity.

LYRA

Laurel is still a top pick. Quentin still has things to work through, storylines to untangle. Laurel doesn’t. They’re not giving her anything new because they’re closing everything down, cutting off her ties to the Arrow world. Not that she’s faded into the background. She’s the best she’s ever been. Laurel is insightful, helpful, caring, and part of the team now. (Wouldn’t have thought I’d say that about her because she’s usually an angry mess.) The writers are setting her up as the valuable contributing member of the team that has finally found their place in the team. Combine that with no additional storyline and you’ve got a recipe for dying a mighty death. A heroes death.

I’ve never really liked Laurel. But I know plenty of people love her for breathing life into a character they’ve enjoyed for years in comics and cartoons. Because of that I think she deserves an honorable death that respects who she is to them and where she comes from in DC lore. Give her that fantastic tribute, don’t disrespect her and you’ll have the Laurel fans sticking around to watch more Arrow long after she’s dead.

Arrow -- "Code of Silence" -- Image AR414A_0056b.jpg -- Pictured: Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary -- Photo: Katie Yu/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Now Damien Darhk has William and plans to use him against Oliver in this next episode. Time for the baby mama drama. Let your feelings out.

ALYSSA

If Stephen Amell hates this storyline then that should tell you all you need to know about how awful this is going to be. There are no words to express my disappointment in Arrow for going down this road. Except anger, disgust, and disappointment. Arrow has been doing so well this season – with the exception of that crossover episode that introduced the baby mama storyline – so it’s really hard to watch the show take several steps backward. I understand that it’s hard to put together 23 hours of television in one season and keep the storylines coming, but there had to have been a better way to do this. This is going to make Oliver’s character look so bad that it makes me sad.

The kid storyline I could’ve dealt with had it been handled in a better way. The thing that gets me is that there was a better route that it could’ve gone with exploring Oliver having a son. It could’ve been more about Oliver accepting his role as a father – and Felicity supporting him – but instead we get a storyline that forces Oliver to lie about the issue that we all know is going to blow up in his face as a means to what? Break Oliver and Felicity up for a couple of episodes only to bring them back together? I get that television is all about drama and happiness is reserved for occasions like season finales and series finales, but everything about this storyline makes me sick. From the way Oliver is lying to Felicity, which is completely out of character for him, to Thea justifying his lie to the way we know Felicity is going to react to this. But it’s one of those things that comes with being a fan. You have to take the good with the bad. And man is there a lot of bad headed our way.

But honestly I’m just ready to get this storyline over with already. How sad is that? That I’m wishing a few Arrow episodes would pass? I don’t know what it is about the middle of seasons, but this is a constant every year where we get these storylines that are more for the sake of drama than anything else. Storylines that only serve to set the show back than build it up, which we normally get in the final episodes of the season that manage to redeem it. It happens every season. Time to gear up for round four.

LIZZIE

Ugh. I’m so mad. It’s stupid. I don’t even want to go into it until we see how it develops, but I’m pretty sure I won’t like it either way. Not because of the kid per se, or baby mama in particular, but because of the way the writers have, in order to make this happen, turned Oliver into a person we can barely recognize.

I can forgive many things, but not that. Never that.

LYRA

Ughhhhh. Is that an acceptable? Can I leave it like that? No? Dang it. Fine. I do not like the baby mama drama. Sure I’m pissed that he lied to Felicity, someone who keeps secrets. And sure I’m mad that he didn’t even fight and just said okay to Samantha’s demands. But what really puts a bee in my bonet is that this puts Oliver a couple steps back in his progress to becoming a better man and leaving his crazy past self where it belongs, in the past. Not saying that he doesn’t deserve to have a relationship with his son. He does. It just feels like they put Oliver through so much stuff, made him grow and change his way of making decisions and thinking to only make him follow through on a decision in a way he wouldn’t do anymore. I think he’s out of character. Even he can’t understand why hes keeping this from Felicity, his family, and his team. (Hell even the actor looks like he doesn’t get it. Let’s be honest there.)

It’s going to get better, no doubt about that. But why take this mediocre road to add drama? William isn’t going away. He’s going to stay unless they pull some grand move and make him disappear. (Which would be stupid. You made a move writers. Your transforming Oliver into a dad. Stick with it.) This episode foreshadowed the pain of not trusting someone and expecting them to respect you enough to tell you the truth. I’ve got a feeling it isn’t going to be as quickly resolved as SmoakNLance was.

What are your thoughts on “Code of Silence?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!

Join us for another Arrow roundtable next Tuesday!

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

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