'Arrow' 4×15 Roundtable: Discussing 'Taken'

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 4×15 of Arrow, “Taken,” where we discuss Felicity taking a break from Oliver, Vixen’s live-action debut, and whether or not Malcolm is poised to step in as the big bad this season.

What were your overall thoughts on “Taken?”

ALYSSA

Whatever it is about episode 15 of Arrow seasons – season 2 and 3 are my proof – it had me fearing for the worst with “Taken.” But I’m happy to say that it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Sure, the baby mama drama was brought to the forefront and led to a serious shift in Oliver and Felicity’s relationship – something that we know will be remedied by season’s end – but the episode as whole was pretty good. We had the live action debut of Vixen, who somehow was even cooler than she was on her own animated series, as well as some great emotional scenes for this group of actors. But of course the talk of the episode is how Felicity decided she needed to take a break from Oliver after he repeatedly showed her that he’s not ready to let her in completely. Angst. Lots of angst. But it’s the kind of angst we want from this show. The drama from which it’s contrived might be cheap, but the fallout from it definitely is not.
Overall I’d say this was one of the stronger episode 15’s of Arrow. While a lot of people despised what transpired and are fearing the literal worst moving forward, let us flash back to last year in episode 15 where Felicity had just hooked up with Ray. It’s always darkest before the dawn. And if it wasn’t dark right now I’d be seriously concerned.

LIZZIE:

The episode surpassed my expectations. Of course, my expectations were very low to begin with. I expected to HATE the episode, absolutely abhor it. I didn’t. I’m not saying I loved this storyline, but I might not hate the resolution as much as I thought I would. Which, considering how stupid I think the whole Baby Mama/Oliver/William thing is, is a lot. There’s also a level of, God, I’m so glad this is out in the open and we can begin to deal with it. They sure took a long time with this secret, and as bad as it is right now, at least now the characters can try to move on.

LYRA

I was so hyped up about it that I was ready for the emotional punch it was going to pack. Surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Felicitys response to the situation concerning BMD (Baby Mama Drama) was dealt like an adult. Even sending William away was dealt like an adult. Could it have been dealt with in a better way? Sure. The unnecessary drama really put a damper on things. Did they have to address all the things they did in this episode and get it out if the way. Yes they did. No more halfsies or maybes. It had to happen.
Arrow -- "Taken" -- Image AR415b_0114b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): David Ramsey as John Diggle and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Felicity learned the truth about Oliver’s lie and told him that she can’t trust him right now. What are your thoughts on Felicity’s decision to take a break from their relationship?

ALYSSA

There are two ways you can approach what happened between Oliver and Felicity. You can approach it from an irrational way where you fear the absolute worst at a time in the season notorious from being the opposite of how the season ends. Or you can approach it from a rational way in which you’re open to these characters’ decisions based on certain actions. I chose the latter, more rational way (read this bad boy).
We all knew that it was coming long before it happened. Hell, we knew this was coming back when Oliver chose not to tell Felicity about his son during the crossover event. Things like this come back to bite you in the ass hard. But that doesn’t change the fact that it hurt like a mother.
But this is good. This needs to happen if Oliver and Felicity’s relationship is going to survive in the long run. Can you honestly say that they’d have been better off if Felicity just bottled those emotions and didn’t do what she needed to do, which is take a break and focus on herself? Of course not. Felicity has every right to react the way she did. Here she was so close to marrying her best friend and soulmate – never believing that he could ever hurt her, and then he does. You have to give it up for Felicity in doing the right thing – walking out. She needed to do this. For her. And for Oliver.
This is something that needed to happen. Oliver needs to learn his lesson because this is not a one-time thing. This is something that Oliver has struggled with throughout his life. Lie is practically his middle name at this point. But he’s never lied to Felicity before, which is why this is going to be the catalyst for change in Oliver. He’s lost her, albeit temporarily of course, and he’s going to learn his lesson, accept the consequences of his decision, and earn her trust back. This is only going to make Oliver a better man and better hero. The angst that is coming between Oliver and Felicity is the good kind. While the baby mama plot might’ve been cheap drama, the angst that we’re getting as a result is not.

LIZZIE:

I cheered. Really, I did. I’m an Olicity fan, I am, but I’m no fan of a relationship where people lie and keep things from each other, and I’m certainly not a fan of any person just taking all the crap that Oliver did and just accepting it. I’m glad Felicity said she couldn’t trust him. How could she? He doesn’t deserve her trust, not right now. Leaving was the only thing that Felicity could do, not just for herself, but for their relationship. If she stayed, she was always going to resent him for it. If she leaves, then, maybe, she can take the time and allow him, allow them, to rebuild this relationship from the ground up.
Not saying it’s going to be easy, but considering the spot the writers put Oliver and Felicity, this was the right thing to do – for both of them. Felicity needs space, and in a way, so does Oliver.

LYRA

It needed to happen. He needed to see that trust is important to her. It’s something that she’s not willing to bend and break herself over. This is her family and without trust she can not be married to Oliver. It’s impossible and she knows it. Instead of sitting there in resentment and letting all of this cloud her relationship with Oliver while still being engaged, she took a step back. She chose herself first. Maybe with this hope Oliver can get his head on right and prove to her that he’s ready for a partnership beyond teammates. This is their hearts on the line. It’s all or nothing and Felicity has thrown the gauntlet down. When Arrow returns next month we’ll see if Oliver will make a change and fight for the love of his life.

After rescuing William we saw Oliver take Vixen’s advice to gift him with his childhood away from this life. What are your thoughts on Oliver deciding to keep William out of his life until he’s 18?

ALYSSA

Irrationally I was just excited for this storyline to be wrapped for the foreseeable future. But rationally, like Vixen I felt like it was the right decision for William’s sake. Vixen was the right person to give Oliver this advice. She knows firsthand, which is why I believe Oliver took her advice. The greatest gift Oliver can give his son is the gift of childhood like Mari said. If his biggest problem is growing up without a father – and not, like, death – then that’s not so bad. Being a parent means making sacrifices for what’s best for your child, even if that means sacrificing your own happiness. Doing what’s best for your child is the most important thing you can do. And luckily Oliver understood that. Well, we all know he understands sacrifice well.
While I did not care for the contrived drama of it all, there is no denying that Stephen Amell absolutely slayed it with his emotional performance. Stephen has grown leaps and bounds as an actor, and it’s truly something amazing to see. It’s what makes storylines like this – ones that we might not necessarily give a damn about – meaningful in a way because of Oliver’s reaction and the way Stephen really digs deep into the emotion. The final scene where Oliver recorded a video message that his son would watch eight years from now was incredibly emotional. Every nuance that Stephen brought to that scene – and the heartbreaking scene with Felicity that followed – was sensational.
This is just not the right time for Oliver to have a child in this life, but I think that’ll eventually change when he and Felicity (hopefully) have a child in the future. And perhaps when that happens, William will be older and maybe reintroduced. But for right now, William has no business being caught up in this crazy world. That 10-year old boy needs to go live his childhood away from the darkness and chaos that seems to follow his father right now. While the storyline itself looks to be over – unless Arrow runs for eight more seasons and we see William’s return in season 12 – a part of me doesn’t believe that it’s ever really over.

LIZZIE:

I have mixed feelings about this. In a way, I understand. How can I not? It’s the greatest sacrifice anyone can make. Oliver is giving up what he wants, for the sake of William. We could argue that he’s making the decision for William, but then again, William is a kid. He’s not an adult who can make decisions for himself, and, in a way, being a parent is just that – making decisions for the good of your kids. However, Oliver is also taking something away from William that he can’t ever get back – and that he will sorely miss. He’s taking away his father. Both his mother and his father will have chosen to take away his father. That can also mess up a kid. I guess, in the end, the argument here is that it’s better a messed up kid but a live one than the alternative, but still, I can’t be completely happy about this decision. I didn’t like the storyline, and I didn’t really want William to stay, but the resolution reeks of drama for the sake of drama. If they were always going to do this, why even bring him in? Why create all this mess? Why?

LYRA

I think it’s the right decision. It might hurt a lot and leave William with some burning resentments but…its better than having to ward off dozens of attacks from his enemies looking for that weak spot in the Green Arrows armor. Williams an easy target as this episode proved. If he’s around it makes Oliver’s job harder and puts everyone in danger. The least Oliver can do is give the kid some peace for 18 years before he comes barreling back into his father’s life (cuz he absolutely will. This is Oliver’s son we’re talking about here.) In the end there was no other way to tie off a lose end that was meant to be brought up again at a later time when Oliver/Laurel was still a ‘thing.’ Glad that it’s done and over with for now. Time to shift focus back in the real problem, Darkh.
Arrow -- "Taken" -- Image AR415A_0092b.jpg -- Pictured: Megalyn E.K. as Vixen -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Vixen made her live action debut in this episode. What did you think of the mystical badass from Detroit?

ALYSSA

Can we keep her? Seriously I didn’t know that I’d love Mari as much as I do now even after the animated series where she captured my attention. It really goes to show that live action can really do a character justice. Vixen was the hero I’ve been waiting for. On this show that breeds superheroes and sends them off to other shows, there have been a few that have come through Arrow that just haven’t lived up to the hype. But for me, Vixen is the hero we never saw coming.



Vixen was the embodiment of badass. – the line “how about I kick your ass like a woman?” had me legit fist pumping. From her physical prowess to her charisma to her smarts, Mari proved that she’d still be a badass if not for the totem she wears around her neck. She was the perfect hero for this episode as she fought magic with magic and, eventually, won. Damien Darhk is now, it looks like, off the board. With his totem destroyed now he’s just a man in custody. Vixen was a huge part of that. She’s only a phone call away? Well, how about we put her on speed dial for regular visits?

LIZZIE:

Having never seen the animated version, and coming into this with a clean slate, I must say I really, really enjoyed her. I’m not saying I want to keep her, I don’t think she fits into this show, but now I will definitively check out the animated version of the show, and, if, at some point, they want to give Vixen her own show, I’ll be sure to check it out. They sold her to me. At least, as a guest star, if she’s going to be the main character in something, I’m going to need more. But that’s okay – in an episode that I was expecting to hate and with no preconceived notions of whether I would like her or not, Vixen left an impression.

LYRA

She was cheesy, especially her one-liners, and another example of how crazy their world is really turning out to be. Besides that she was pretty much a bad ass who helped out a friend in need. Also I think they really managed to pull off the whole supernatural thing that was going on with her necklace. (I’ve never watched the show.) Now that didn’t look as ridiculous as I thought it would. Combine all of this with her hair looking flawless even after literally flying across Star City and you’ve got a winner. Better watch out Supergirl. You’ve got a contender in the flawless and fierce category of female superheroes on TV.

With Darhk now incapacitated it seems as if Malcolm Merlyn is poised to step in as the leader of H.I.V.E. and the season’s big bad. Do you think Merlyn is the “He” in that flash forward grave scene?

ALYSSA

Oh without a doubt. It’s interesting because one of the producers said that they’d do something with the big bad that’s never been done before, and now I assume that is defeat him around the midpoint of the season and introduce the real big bad of this season, which looks to be Malcolm Merlyn leading H.I.V.E.. We should’ve known. We really should’ve known. Nothing good can ever come from Malcolm Merlyn. The show did a really good job of disguising the real big bad by introducing a villain in the season premiere and building him up as this indestructible force. Then, in the shadows, there is Malcolm just waiting.
There is no doubt in my mind that Malcolm is the “he” that Oliver was referring to in that grave scene. It’s funny, because I assumed without a doubt that it was Darhk, and I never really paid too much attention to the pronoun usage. He could’ve said the name. But he didn’t. All we got was a “he.” And it all makes perfect sense now. I feel like the flashbacks are really starting to come together now. Well, all two of them. We have Oliver at the grave and Oliver and Felicity in the limo after the funeral. We’ve paid so much attention to the person in the grave that we never really thought about the person that killed said mystery person. Because that’s what the producers wanted us to do. Felicity’s reaction makes total sense in regards to this “he” being Malcolm. The way she’s cold toward Oliver could indicate that she’s angry that Oliver didn’t kill him when he had the chance, and now a friend of theirs is dead. The grave mystery somehow became even more interesting.

LIZZIE:

Yes. I think so. I’ve thought so for a while. Oliver has been ready to kill Darhk for ages, and the scene at the grave felt like a new decision for Oliver. He had just decided he had to kill that person. That sounds more like Malcolm to me than Damien Darhk. Especially since we know a death is coming – and Malcolm looks like he could be the one responsible.

LYRA

Darkh has been around a very long time. Just because his power was incapacitated once doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a backup plan. From what we saw in Legends of Tomorrow he attended illegal black markets. Who’s to say he didn’t find a replacement for the relic that kept him powerful. A man like that wouldn’t let himself lose his position so easily. And his wife would probably have a backup plan to her backup plans. This is a family of planners that goes beyond whatever the hell Malcolm is planning. Maybe even the little mini Darkh has a plan to conquer all of Star City! (Plot twist! She’s the real villain.) I’ve learned to never doubt this family and it’s willingness to work together to be on top. Malcolm doesn’t know what he’s messing around with. And will he be the ‘he’ in the flash forward? Doubtful. He’s too obvious. It’s either Darkh or an unknown player that comes as a result of all that crazy magic stuff happening on Lian Yu. (Talking about Lian Yu, I have no idea what’s happening back then.)

Oliver suspended his mayoral campaign to help save William. Do you think this is the end of that storyline?

ALYSSA

While the mayoral storyline hasn’t always been my favorite, I’ve sort of warmed up to it because it’s been really inspiring to watch Oliver fight to protect his city in the light of day. Now with Damien Darhk in custody something tells me Ruve Adams will be outed and Oliver will once again find himself running unopposed. Of course this is more likely to happen near the end of the season. But, no, I don’t believe that this is the last we see of the storyline. The producers wouldn’t have built up the significance of Oliver running for mayor for this long if they didn’t intend for it to pay off.

LIZZIE:

No, I don’t. I still think Oliver is going to win, I just don’t know HOW. It just feels like this season has all been building up to Oliver being that hopeful presence that he wants to be, not just as the Green Arrow, but as Oliver Queen. And that only works if he can be the Mayor. Now, will it be because the people will STILL vote for him, or because his opponent will also retire and a new campaign will be needed, I don’t know, but I do feel like it’s Oliver’s destiny to be the Mayor of Star City. After all, he’s already got the HQ/Secret Lair thing going on. Why waste that?

LYRA

I’m not sure. The announcement was highly public and his campaign has already separated. It would take a while to build that back up, wouldn’t you think? Or will the money that Felicity has help pull it back together when Mrs. Darkh bites the bullet. (Cuz she has too soon to really ignite the battle with Darkh to epic angst proportions.) He had a strong campaign going and I don’t think the writers would just throw that away.
Arrow -- "Taken" -- Image AR415A_0205b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance/Black Canary and Willa Holland as Thea Queen / Speedy -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/ The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We now have a three-week hiatus to stew in the events that happened. What would you like to see when we return on March 23?

ALYSSA

Is it wrong to be anxious to see the grave mystery come to fruition? At this point it’s been building since October and I just need some resolution on the matter. It’s something that we’ve been analyzing the hell out of for more than four months, and at this point I feel like a damn detective. We’ve been just that good. The mystery of it all is killing me at this point. I’ve loved how it’s been such a huge part of this season in a way that has continually stressed us out to the point that when it hits – which appears to be episode 18 – that it will absolutely destroy us. The fact that this has been in play since the season premiere just makes it all the more significant. This isn’t a meaningless death. This is something that is going to hit home where it hurts.
But of course my main concern is how Oliver and Felicity find their way back to one another. That’s what we’re going to see in these final episodes. At this point of the season we’re gearing up for the final run, which means focusing on the things that were introduced in the season premiere. That includes Oliver and Felicity and the idea of marriage. I would be worried if Oliver and Felicity were together at this point of the season. While it hurts to see our babies separated, just knowing that they’re going to find their way back to each other by season’s end and emerge from this the stronger is something that I’m really looking forward to. The angst will be strong and it will be often, but it’s going to be oh so good.

LIZZIE:

I want to see Oliver fighting to get Felicity back, and when I say fighting, I mean I don’t want him to give up, but I also don’t want him to try to brush it all off. He made a mistake, and in order for the relationship to even begin to mend, they both need space to think, to understand. That’s the most important part, I think. Oliver needs to put himself in Felicity’s shoes and try to understand WHY she feels betrayed and how he can make sure that this doesn’t happen again. It’s so easy to say I’m sorry and I’m trying and I love you, but Oliver really has to accept Felicity as his equal in this adventure that is life. That’s the only way to move forward at this point, as real partners.
Also, I want the death nonsense over and done with. We’ve been waiting for this for about fifteen episodes. It’s about time they go ahead and kill someone.

LYRA

I would like to see people not moping. I love a brooding superhero as much as anyone else but I need Oliver to be active in gaining back Felicitys trust and protecting his city. He took a step back to the man he was before when he hid Williams existence. Nows the time to prove that he’s not that man anymore. Slip ups happen and the only logical step is to work hard so it doesn’t happen again. I also want Felicity to work on herself and if she’s willing to give Oliver another a chance, hell if she even trusts him.
No moping doesn’t mean everything is going to be perfect or that I don’t want to see them longing for each other. No. I just don’t want them sitting in the lair or at Palmer Tech just stating at a wall drinking or immersing themselves so far in their work they can’t see the real problem. These two have dealt with their relationship like adults so far so I’ve got hope that it’s not going to all fall apart…for long.
What are your thoughts on “Taken?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!
Join us for another Arrow roundtable when the show returns March 23.
Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.





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