‘Arrow’ 4×17 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Beacon of Hope’

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 4×17 of Arrow, “Beacon of Hope,” where we discuss

What were your overall thoughts on “Beacon of Hope” and the return of Brie Larven?

ALYSSA

This episode was by far one of Arrow’s funniest to date, and despite the threat of the bees, it was actually quite fun. Everything from the bee-related puns to the multiple pop culture references (I never knew how much I needed to hear Oliver talk about Harry Potter until now), this episode was the perfect lead-in to what’s going to be a dark final six episodes. The message of this episode was important, as well. These heroes of Star City are that “beacon of hope” that was reiterated throughout this episode, even though they might not always understand that. Like with Felicity we saw that she was trying to get away from that superhero life, but it was her first instinct to protect those people that were no part of this and immediately putting herself in that hero position, which she always has and always be in regardless of her stance on Team Arrow.

Brie Larven’s return was something that made me incredibly excited for several reasons: 1) She’s Felicity’s nemesis, 2) She’s Beth from The Walking Dead, and 3) She’s creative in her villainous approach. But I loved how there was this personal approach that came with the character this time around as we learned that she’s suffering from a tumor whose operation will leave her paralyzed from the waist down, yet another similarity between Brie and Felicity. Considering that Curtis was able to use the bees against Brie – and that she’s only in a coma (well, coma is better than dead) – perhaps this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Bug-Eyed Bandit.

LIZZIE

I have mixed feelings about this episode. I expected to love it, and yet I didn’t. At the same time, I didn’t hate it either. It was a good hour of television, entertaining, with some funny moments, and a decent progression of the plot. It was just missing that IT moment, I guess. I’m glad we got some Thea/Felicity bonding, but I wanted more. I’m glad we got to see Oliver wiping the floor with everyone, but I wanted even more frustration. I’m glad Laurel got to be the voice of reason, but I wanted Diggle to ALSO have some advice. In the end, I probably had too many expectations, and though the episode wasn’t a disappointment, when you expect too much, well, sometimes you can feel a bit deflated.

LYRA

Damn you ‘Beacon of Hope’. I almost forgot that the phrase was used over and over to the point where I was sick and tired of it. I get it! They are part of this ‘beacon of hope’ idea where they each represent hope in various stages and places in life. That no matter what, you can change this world. *closes that chapter of the episode* The return of Brie Larven was a smart way to include Felicity in a Team Arrow adventure while taking away from the journey she’s started down. It was also a good way to showcase the team and how they’ve (mainly Oliver) tried to compensate for the lose of Felicity. Having Brie as the big bad of this week was a bit…lackluster. But I appreciate all the bee puns. They saved the character and distracted me from the fact that she was able to build herself a man made out of mechanical bees, but she couldn’t figure out a way to ensure she could walk after her surgery. Sounds un-bee-lievable to me.

Arrow -- "Beacon of Hope" -- Image AR417b_0022b.jpg -- Pictured: Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We saw Felicity step away from Team Arrow with this episode, but she just can’t escape the superhero life. What are your thoughts on Felicity trying to leave that part of herself behind?

ALYSSA

When it comes to being a hero, the essence of heroism isn’t something that you can just turn off as we saw Felicity attempt to do in this episode. I think this entire panel is in agreement that Felicity made the right decision in “Broken Hearts” when it came to stepping back from the team and Oliver because it’s what was best for her at this time. But I think we’ll also agree that Felicity is in a hero regardless of the environment in which you place her. When danger is imminent, I don’t know about you but my first instinct is to high-tail it the hell out of there, so that would’ve been the first thing I was doing when these bees were coming for the Board. But for Felicity we saw how her immediate reaction is to protect those in danger. Felicity might not be a physically superior hero, but she’s a hero nonetheless. Heroism isn’t skill; it’s a mindset.

The fact of the matter is that Felicity can never leave this part of herself behind no matter how hard she tries – and it shouldn’t be too much longer before she returns to her rightful spot in the Arrow cave. But I think this episode was important in that it showed that it’s possible to be a hero outside of the Arrow cave. It all comes back to the being a hero in the light of day, which is so important to Oliver this season. Just because Felicity stepped outside of the Arrow cave doesn’t make her any less of a hero. But now that she has taken a step back from Team Arrow, this episode was all about her finding another way to protect this city. And she found it with Palmer Tech. Heroism is something on display every day all around us in our own lives – people that risk their well-being or fight their damned hardest to protect those that need it. Heroism isn’t skill; it’s a mindset.

LIZZIE

I think she’s deluding herself if she thinks she only did it because she wanted to make a difference. Sure, that was her top reason, and yes, she can do that while at Palmer Tech, but that wasn’t she only reason she did it, not by a longshot. She did it because, a part of her loves the puzzle, the adrenaline, the feeling of getting the bad guy that no one else could get. And that feeling cannot be replicated. That feeling is a Team Arrow feelings.

That being said, Felicity needs time. Seeing her take a step back was perfectly understandable in these circumstances. She’s not okay; even if she wants to put on a smile on her face and say that she’s perfectly content being just the CEO. She’s not taking a step back because of the mission, or because any misgivings she might have had about they were doing. She just can’t occupy the same physical space as Oliver right now. She’s too hurt. Once she can breathe again without feeling like the world is collapsing on top of her, she’ll remember why she wanted to be a part of Team Arrow in the first place.

LYRA

I think it’s brave that she wants to try out new things but foolish to think she can erase such a glorious past. Team Arrow is more than just a superhero group for her. This is her family. Diggle is her brother and Oliver is her best friend, love, and confidant (even if he messed up big time, causing their breakup.) She can’t just erase that and decide that she wants nothing to do with the people that helped contribute to the change in her. Her accomplishments are something else she can’t forget. Felicity Smoak changed the lives of thousands. She saved people, showed the bad guys that the underdog is the one you should watch out for, and proved that a woman can go down unexpected paths, only to land on top. By the end of the episode I think she realised that she can’t let go of the part of her that is a hero. That’s why she decided to change the direction that Palmer Tech is going in. In her heart she will always want to help people, no matter where she lands or hides away at. Hopefully this will take her down a path of reconciliation and open up a dialogue between her and Team Arrow, but more importantly one between her and Oliver. I’ve got faith in Felicity and Olicity. Just going to take time and patience. Fortunately I’ve got both!

In the first episode with Felicity gone from Team Arrow, we saw that Oliver isn’t really adjusting well. What did you think about Oliver’s struggles?

ALYSSA

It’s obvious how much this breakup is eating Oliver up inside. He even verbalized that feeling in a discussion with Laurel. Oliver is someone that has depended so much on Felicity over these past four years that once she’s gone it’s really hard for him to learn how to guide himself. But that’s what he’s going to need to do. Oliver has relied so much on Felicity being his light that it’s time that he start harnessing that light inside of him that we’ve known has always been there. Oliver’s goal this season was to be a hero in the light of day, and part of being that hero is embracing that lightness within him. Oliver is someone who believes that he can have one thing or the other – life or death, Oliver Queen or the Arrow, the darkness or the light – but one of the most important lessons that he still needs to learn is that he can have balance; he can have compromise; he can have multiple things all at once that make up his character’s essence. While Felicity’s breaking up with him instigated this realization, I believe that once Oliver can fully embrace the light inside of him will he be able to be that hero in the light of day and dark of night, as well as mend things with Felicity. Remember, it’s all about showing Felicity that she can trust him again. And what better way to show her than embracing all that is good within him?

LIZZIE

Oh, my poor Oliver. I think he still doesn’t get WHY Felicity left, and I think he’s tethering between hoping that he can change her mind and the fatalistic view that there’s nothing he can do to get her back, or to be happy again. Oliver is not very good with middle grounds, so I didn’t expect him to react well. But that’s okay, that’s part of the process. He needs to learn to not make his personal happiness so dependent on someone else. I’m not saying that he needs to stop loving Felicity, or that he needs to let her go, no, he just needs to learn to separate his own wellbeing from hers. That’s the only way Oliver can ever be happy. That’s the only way he can make Felicity happy. Oliver needs to heal from the traumas of the island, and as much as Felicity is his reason, she can’t be the one to heal him. He has to do that himself. He has to make the decision to be better.

He’s done that already, you say! And I agree, he has. But he’s done it TO be with her. Can he do it even if he isn’t sure it’ll get her back? Can he do it because it’s the thing HE needs to do?

I could say we’ll see, but this is a TV show. Of course he can. And after he gets there, I have no doubt he can also get Felicity back.

LYRA

Oliver’s holding onto the hope that Felicity will return while acting like everything is ok. I’m sorry to tell you this Oliver, it’s not. He’s snapping at people trying to help, grumpy like an upset puppy, and is doing that nervous hand tick he’s fond of. (You know which one I’m talking about! Every time he does it’s all over Tumblr and I love it as much as anyone else.) He’s not adjusting well or seeing that just because Felicity is gone from Team Arrow doesn’t mean he can’t find support around him. Diggle will certainly support him and give a metaphorical shoulder to cry on if need be. Quentin will sit down with him if he needs advice on how to get past heartbreak when signs of her are still around. (Let’s not forget his ex-wife and how he sees her in his daughters. It’s unavoidable.) Laurel had to offer help and advice because he was probably not sure if it was ok to ask an ex about the pain he’s experiencing. And Curtis…poor sweet Curtis. One of the reasons that he snapped so harshly at the man is because he was threatened by his presence and what it means to have someone else sitting where Felicity belongs. Inadvertently he lashed out because if he acted like he was ok with it, he was admitting that he was ok with Felicity not being there anymore. And he’s not ok with her not helping them day in and day out. By the episode I do feel like he reigned his feelings back and realised that Felicity is still there and a part of her will always will be. Just because others have come into help doesn’t mean she’s going to disappear forever and ever. There souls and purpose in life are intertwined. It’s only a matter of time and hard work that they will find their way back to each other. He’s just got to have patience.

Curtis finally joined Team Arrow in this week’s episode and he wasn’t too shabby in his first go-around. What did you think of Curtis on Team Arrow?

ALYSSA

When it comes to new faces this season no one has been as much fun and full of promise than Curtis Holt, aka Mr. Terrific, who has warmed his way into our hearts with every nerdy word that comes out of his mouth. We all knew that Curtis would make his way to Team Arrow eventually it was just the when, why and how of it all. Seeing as Felicity has taken a hiatus from the team this was the perfect opportunity for Curtis to make his “freelance” debut as I call it. Not only was he a great asset for the team and saved Oliver’s life, as well as Felicity, Thea, and Donna trapped inside Palmer Tech, but Curtis was hella entertaining. Getting to see him fanboy about joining the team and geeking out over the tech but also turning on the seriousness when it came to the situation gave us a peek at what we can expect from Mr. Terrific. I see Curtis being a freelancer of sorts for the team moving forward once Felicity returns.

But something that has me intrigued is how Curtis gets to that point of Mr. Terrific. In the comics Mr. Terrific jumps into action after a tragedy so we’re all fearing the worst for his husband Paul, who now believes that Curtis has no intent on living that hero life. It was interesting to see Curtis presented with this opportunity to do some real good – and be great at it – and then essentially promise his husband that that life isn’t cut out for him. Perhaps it will take a tragic catalyst to jumpstart Curtis’ Mr. Terrific journey.

LIZZIE

I wasn’t exactly sure what role Curtis would play on Team Arrow when Felicity was there, but if the interactions in this episode were to be believed, Felicity and Curtis can actually co-exist. This is a good thing, not only because Team Arrow is going to lose a team member soon, but also because I really like Curtis. And by that I mean, I like Curtis, but I love Felicity, so if I had to choose, then it was bye Curtis.

But no choosing necessary, I believe. Curtis fits on Team Arrow. He tried to escape it at the end, but he’ll be back. And that probably means bad things for his relationship. Diggle aside, the team isn’t really doing well on the relationship front, are they?

LYRA

First off, let’s address the fact that Curtis found their secret base way too easily. It brings to question how good their security is and what they’re going to do with the campaign office. It has to stay relevant to Star City or it will have random people walking into it out of curiosity or a place to stay the night. Now onto Curtis and his experience with Team Arrow. Results wise he did a good job. He was helpful and wanted to do everything he could to get Felicity, Mama Smoak, and Thea out of Palmer Tech alive. He hacked into a bee and guided them and when presented with a bee of him own he did a crazy flight in his mad dash to escape. All the kudos and points for that. Here comes the part that I didn’t like about Curtis in the lair. Curtis was too bubbly and made it seem like he was letting the cool factor of what he was seeing, cloud what he had to or the severity of the situation. He was that season 1 character trope where saving the world seems like the best idea ever before tragedy strikes and they see the magnitude of the job they’ve taken on. Oliver, Diggle, Laurel, and Quentin could all see that he was in this part of his heroes journey. Honestly I’m not sure if they need someone like that right now.

By no means do I think Curtis will join the Team permanently. He learned quickly, after Oliver’s tongue lashing, that this was not a time to swoon at all the technology around him. This is life and death, and Curtis is not ready for it. Sure he can get his stuff together to pull off a rescue mission, but this is not what he wants in life. When he got home to his husband you could see it in his face. That man right there was the most important thing to him. Their relationship is more valuable than whatever he can do with Team Arrow. Will he help out if they ask him? Yes, because he’s a helpful person. Will he want to join Team Arrow? No. He knows what’s important and has realised that he is not committed enough to take on such a burden, because let’s be honest, being a hero is one.

Arrow -- "Beacon of Hope" -- Image AR417a_0419b.jpg -- Pictured: Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We got to see a side of Laurel that we’re not often treated to, and she was the voice of reason here. What did you think of Laurel in this episode and her friendship with Oliver?

ALYSSA

I’ve made it no secret that Laurel hasn’t been my favorite character in this series, but I have to admit this season – and especially over these last couple of episodes – that she’s growing on me. Which means one thing: she’s a goner. It’s no secret that Laurel has suffered from poor writing on this show – it’s the reason why she was one of those hated characters in season two and into season three – but the writers are finally doing her justice. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s right before she bids the show farewell. I’m actually really liking Laurel right now. Laurel has really come full circle in her heroic journey this season, and it has you wondering where this kind of writing for her has been over the course of this series?

I feel like with the death episode coming this week that giving Laurel some time with Oliver was what was needed to bring closure to their friendship. As Oliver struggled with Felicity’s breakup and wallowed in his own self-pity about what could’ve been had they just stayed in Ivy Town, Laurel was the voice of reason as she reminded Oliver that it wasn’t the Green Arrow that did those things – it was Oliver Queen. In a way it kind of showed that Oliver has used the Green Arrow as an excuse sometimes for his own behavior. But while Oliver has always kept the two identities separate, the thing is that you can’t have one without the other. You can’t Oliver Queen without the Green Arrow, and you certainly can’t have the Green Arrow without Oliver Queen. But this was also Laurel coming to terms with who Oliver is and what he does. She’s held so much anger towards him over the course of this series – from his cheating, to Sara’s death, to Tommy’s death, to his resistance towards her embracing being the Black Canary – that it was so important that she be able to accept his past mistakes and move forward.

LIZZIE

I think it was nice to see Laurel being the voice of reason. Considering her background, I sort of expected her to be the voice of reason more often. And yet Laurel has maintained an understandable distance from anything that involves Oliver personally for so long, that to see her finally speak her mind in this episode was nothing short of shocking. It was also, a bit sad. I really liked this version of Laurel, and the fact that we’re getting her now spells doom for me. I don’t know that there’s ANY way Laurel survives next episode, and considering the woman I saw today, that makes me sad. I always thought the Arrow writers had no idea what to do with her, but after this episode, I’m left to consider that maybe they just didn’t want to do anything with her.

LYRA

I’m not afraid to admit that I absolutely loved Laurel in this. Loved her so much that I contemplated for a second if they really should kill her. (I know crazy right?) In these last couple episodes she’s been everything I wanted from Laurel. She’s been a valuable team member who contributes in battle, in the court room, and in the lair. To top it off she’s been the voice of reason when Oliver, her friend, needs it. She’s assured him that it’s ok to miss Felicity and offered her support and ear if he needed to talk. Immediately after this I was like, “Oh god. The Internet is going to be all over her and think she’s trying to swoop in.” Wrong! As an Olicity shipper I don’t feel threatened at all. Laurel and Oliver’s relationship as lovers is long gone and dead. Doesnt mean she can’t be friends with him. They’ve got too much history between them. Talking about this history, they buried it once and for all. They closed off that chapter of their past forever by acknowledging what they had to help Oliver and move as friends. This gives more steam to the idea that Laurel will die soon. She’s making her rounds and finding closure in all areas of her life before her death.

Arrow -- "Beacon of Hope" -- Image AR417b_0303b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Willa Holland as Thea Queen and Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We finally got some nice Felicity and Thea scenes in this episode. What did you think about the lovely ladies’ dynamic?

ALYSSA

It’s only taken 83 episodes, but we’ve finally gotten some Felicity and Thea interaction like our hearts have been begging for. Honestly I’ve found it quite surprising that Felicity and Thea haven’t had a closer relationship to this point – especially this season. These are the two most important people in Oliver’s life, and he is the most important person in their lives. You would think that they’d be fast friends already especially given the all-too apparent chemistry between the two that we saw in “Beacon of Hope.” I feel like this friendship could’ve happened a lot sooner than it has. Not to mention that there are not nearly enough female friendships on television yet alone on superhero shows. Seeing the chemistry between them and their rapport just makes me want more. But I have a feeling that next season we’ll see Felicity and Thea develop more of that friendship – or that’s just positive wishing.

But really all three of the ladies – Felicity, Thea, and Donna – inside of Palmer Tech killed it in this episode. Their dynamic was infectious. It was so much to watch these three badass ladies escape from these robotic bees and the humor with which they accomplished that. But then you had those dramatic moments where they really stepped up and proved that Arrow has some remarkably strong women on this show.

LIZZIE

Thea is 100% on Oliver’s side, make no mistake about it. And yet it was nice to see something we’ve been teased about before, the two most important ladies in Oliver’s life bonding. I know Arrow expects us to fill in the blanks and see these two as already close friends, but I can’t buy that if they don’t give us something every once in a while. And by that I mean more than one conversation a year.

What I really enjoyed about their dynamics in this episode is that, even when they weren’t talking, they were speaking volumes. Thea stepped in front of Felicity at one point, Felicity did the same as others. These two women care for each other, even if we haven’t been privy to the development of their relationship, and though Oliver is the reason they know each other, he’s not where their bond ends. Even at the end, when Thea is trying to convince Felicity to come back to the team, it’s not all about Oliver. In a way, Thea is saying that SHE misses Felicity, and in her own way, Felicity’s replying that she’s not going anywhere. She’s always going to be around for Thea – even if it’s not as her sister in law.

LYRA

They were ok. Yes, I just said “ok.” Was I happy that I was finally getting a Felicity/Thea scene? Yes. Did I like that it was after the Olicity breakup where everyone lied to Felicity? No. (And yes, hiding it is lying because you use lies to cover for that truth you’re evading.) Everytime Thea spoke I keep flashing back to the look on Felicitys face when she found out that her soon to be sister in law knew. Since I’m a viewer I can hold that against Thea as long as I damn well please. But since I’m not let’s look at it from Felicitys perspective.

At the end of the day Felicity was happy to see Thea. She wasn’t over the moon, let’s braid each other’s hair, but it was progress. She’s trying to move past the anger/betrayal/disappointment she felt for the woman, because she doesn’t want to dwell on it or make it overly dramatic. It’s not who she is. Thea made an effort, not just because her boyfriend needed a job, but because she cared. There really isn’t any other opportunity to talk with Felicity so Thea grabbed onto that flimsy excuse with an iron grip! Let’s hope we can get some more Felicity/Thea. I need to see where this goes.

At the end of the episode we saw Malcolm Merlyn turning to Andy Diggle for help. Do you think Andy will betray his brother?

ALYSSA

I knew it had been too quiet on the Andy Diggle front recently, and dear lord I’m praying that Andy doesn’t betray John because I don’t know if my heart can take it. But here’s the thing, Arrow wants us to believe that Andy will betray John and the team. So immediately I’m thinking: “misdirect.” We’ve already seen what happens when Andy uses his connections to lure these evil organizations into a false sense of comfort before he ultimately ends up playing the double agent and assisting his brother. So perhaps that’s what’ll happen here. Well, at least I’m hoping that’s what happens. I feel like Arrow has been working too hard for Andy’s redemption for them to just throw it away now. Andy might’ve once been H.I.V.E.’s ace in the hole, but hopefully he’s now Team Arrow’s ace. But with Wednesday’s episode set to spell the end for one of the team, perhaps an Andy betrayal isn’t something to be surprised by if it happens.

LIZZIE

Yes. That’s just the most interesting story. I wish reformed Andy was as good for the plot as EVIL Andy, but he just isn’t. Evil Andy means Diggle has to make a choice between him and Oliver. Evil Andy means Diggle was betrayed once again by one of the people closest to him. Evil Andy means Diggle was duped. Let’s face it, evil Andy is just better for the story than good Andy.

I don’t foresee the season ending well for Evil Andy. Or Malcolm Merlyn, for that matter.

LYRA

No. Andy has awoken from his Darhk hypnosis. He’s using his position as a previous affiliate and brother to Diggle to pull some big time move to…SAVE STAR CITY! No matter how crazy Malcolm seems, I still believe he’s on Thea’s side. Not Star City’s. Not Team Arrows. The only person he wants to protect is his daughter. Again, he’s still crazy like a bag of cats but if the city’s going to be destroyed he’s going to make sure he takes care of her. He’s lost his hand, he’s lost her trust, but he won’t lose her presence in this world. Back to Andy, as I lost myself there for a moment. He’s also doing this to prove something to his family. For once he’s not going to mess it all up for his own selfish desires. John has given him a chance to prove he is more. And the only reason why they threw him on at the end of the episode was to throw us off our game. I see you villain aka the writers! I don’t believe you! (Kudos if you get the Sense 8 reference.)

What are your thoughts on “Beacon of Hope?” 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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