Arrow 5×14 Roundtable: ‘The Sin-Eater’

Arrow continued its disappointing fifth season with an episode that was beyond hypocritical regarding moral ethics in “The Sin-Eater.”

Our Fangirlish writers Alyssa, Lizzie, Nora, and Sarah are breaking down this week’s Arrow, which has us venting about the lack of logic this season, how Arrow tried to make Susan Williams the victim, and how much we loved seeing Thea and Felicity work together to take her down.

Describe your thoughts about “The Sin-Eater” using just five words.

Alyssa: Missing in Action: Arrow’s logic

Lizzie: Imagine that, it got worse.

Nora: Stupidity, thy name is Oliver

Sarah: Arrow you need a drink

Describe your feelings about “The Sin-Eater” using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

Morgan Freeman I Dont Give A Shit GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you feel like Oliver Queen has become really freaking stupid this season? Like how ridiculous are we talking here?

Alyssa: Oliver Queen is virtually unrecognizable this season. Like was there even a point to his journey over the past four years if he was simply going to wind up in the same place he was in season 1 — if not worse? At least there was a point to season 1 Oliver. Right now, I don’t recognize this character. Oliver hasn’t always been the smartest (intellect-wise), but he’s been intelligent when it comes to survival — who to trust, who not to trust, and those red flags that scream danger. Where has that character gone? In what world does Oliver Queen — the man who has always and most likely always will be looking over his shoulder — blindly trust Susan Williams when she flat out asks him if he’s the Green Arrow? If Diggle had done that before Oliver told him, he would’ve put an arrow in him. He literally told Diggle that. But all of a sudden Susan — a reporter, whose job you know is to expose secrets — starts to question his secret identity and it’s like no red flags whatsoever. Are you freaking kidding me? Arrow, check yo self. Because you done wrecked yourself.

Lizzie: Will the real Oliver Queen please stand up? Because I can’t, I don’t want to believe this is the real one. At this point I’d even willingly accept the notion that he’s still in that alien pod. Anything is better than this hypocritical hero who only remembers his own sins when someone points them out (and then pretends to mourn for about 0.2 seconds), who judges Thea for trying to protect him when he’s shown time and time again he’d cross any line to protect her and who lets himself be hoodwinked by Susan Williams.

It’s like the question says – he gets stupider by the minute, and we’re reached a point where I don’t even care about him. I don’t hate him, I’ve already moved on to acceptance. When the inevitable mortal peril comes, at the end of the season, I won’t even care, because I’m now watching this show for Felicity, Diggle and Thea. Take Oliver if you want to.

Nora: I don’t even recognize Oliver Queen anymore. He’s so far removed from his original character that I actually don’t like him. All of his character development is out the window and he’s somehow gotten more naive and stupid. He’s become a hero that I wouldn’t follow into the trenches and I’m honestly wondering why Team Arrow is still putting their faith him. Susan asks Oliver if he’s the Green Arrow and then gets angry when Thea and Felicity try to protect his secret. If this were season 1, Oliver would’ve hunted down and put an Arrow in Susan’s arm. Instead, he gets angry at Felicity and Thea for doing exactly what he would’ve done. I’m so confused as to why Oliver is acting this way. It makes no sense and he’s just being stupid. Oliver is all of a sudden okay with anyone knowing his secret and it makes no sense.

Sarah: If it were possible to take a character’s well reasoned experiences, logical thought processes, wrap them up and throw them out the window then replace the character with a wooden puppet version that spouts only stupidity then yes. Ladies and gentleman say good bye to Oliver Queen and hello to Pinocchioliver, only less innocent  and more what the heck happened to our leading man? Alright I tried to joke to about it, but truthfully all I am is sad. I used to love Oliver Queen, and now he’s turned into someone so unrecognizable the only reason I know it’s him is because of Stephen Amell.

In season one this was the man who orchestrated an elaborate plot with Dig alone to keep his identity secret. Now he’s barely blinking an eye when Susan, a former reporter asks him flat out if he’s the Green Arrow and just giving vague, arrogant assurances of he’s “handled it” ?! He needs to get off his high horse that is basically wearing a drape that says RIDICULOUS in all caps and come back down to Earth since frankly his heads and actual character are in the clouds now.

Describe your reaction to Felicity and Thea working together to take out the trash also known as Susan Williams using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

Girls Girl Power GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Oliver got really upset about Felicity and Thea going after Susan Williams and essentially ruining her life. What were your thoughts on that? Who was in the right?

Alyssa: While I’ve taken Thea and Felicity’s side on this one, it doesn’t necessarily make what Thea did right. But at the same time, what Susan Williams has been doing is not only wrong it’s unethical. With that said, it was beyond hypocritical for Oliver to reprimand Thea for trying to protect him when Oliver has gone to extremes — and beyond extremes at times — to protect those that he cares about.  More than that, you would’ve thought that Oliver’s first concern would be his sister instead of this new girlfriend he’s known all of five minutes. That was the part that pissed me off the most. Not only does it lack logic, it lacks allegiance. Sure, Arrow tried to find a way to turn it back around at the end as Oliver told Thea that he was concerned with what she was doing and not so much about Susan. I’m sorry, Oliver, but the hypocrisy still stands. Why is it okay for you to go to extremes to protect your loved ones, but your sister can’t step in to protect you from someone who is a viable threat? (COME ON, Susan is literally a journalist who gets paid to expose secrets!)

Lizzie: If Arrow were any other show – or if we were operating in reality, what Thea did would have rightfully been seen as crossing the line. Then again, what Susan did would have been crossing the line too, but fine, two wrongs don’t make a right. And yet, it’s not that simple, and the reason why it’s not is because this IS Arrow, and the moral standard on this show has always been somewhat …shaky.

Why is it fine for Oliver to be judge, jury and executioner every night as the Green Arrow and yet it’s not right for Thea to do everything she can to protect her brother? How did we come to a place where what she did this episode is worse than what Oliver does every day? Is it because she’s a woman or have we reached that level of hypocrisy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Nora: We’ve watched Oliver do a lot of things that have crossed the line, so what Thea did was no way crossing the line. If anything, Thea and Felicity did what Oliver would’ve done to protect his secret. You can try to sell to me that the reason acted this was was because he was trying to protect his sister, but I’m sorry I wasn’t buying it. Oliver is the LAST person on this show to preach to Thea what is morally right and morally wrong.

I really enjoyed seeing Felicity and Thea working together to take down Susan Williams. This is a team up I’ve wanted to see for a very long time and I’m glad we caught a glimpse of it this time around. I wish it was more present in the episode, but just having the two of them together was enough for now. I liked that Felicity and Thea take matters into their own hands to protect Oliver secret, even if he doesn’t think they handled it the correct way. Thea was trying to protect her brother and I think she went about it the same way Oliver would’ve. If Thea’s identity as Speedy was being threatened, Oliver would’ve done the same. I hope Felicity and Thea are paired together in the future. Thea was in the right, sorry Oliver, it’s true.

Sarah: Arrow may have tried to express the point of view of both sides in this storyline, but I’m siding with Thea and Felicity hands down over here. Let’s face it Oliver has made a lot questionable choices himself over the past five years.This kind of behavior, however was just idiotic in a way that made my head hurt. I get he doesn’t like people going behind his back, but if he’s refusing to take the fact that a *former reporter* asked him if he’s the Green Arrow, with any more seriousness than a vague arrogant assurance that he’s “handled it” it’s no wonder Thea went behind his back to investigate Susan with Felicity.

Thea may not have been in the right to ruin a woman’s life, but I don’t blame her for a second at making sure her brother’s secret identity that he was barely concerned about stayed a secret. If the tables had been turned and Thea was acting as frankly stupid as he was, he would have done the same in a heartbeat and refused to hear criticism for it. So why should he get to dole it out?

Describe your reaction to Arrow trying to make Susan Williams the victim here using a gif.

Alyssa:

Lizzie:

Nora:

Sarah:

Arrow undoubtedly tried to make audiences feel sorry for Susan. Do you feel sorry for her?

Alyssa: If this was any other woman — one that didn’t abuse her power as a member of the press and sleep with one of her subjects to get information — then I might feel sorry for her. But the fact of the matter is if she hadn’t done those things — and maintained some journalist integrity — then Thea wouldn’t have done what she did. Susan really brought this on herself. In no way is Susan Williams a victim. She’s the one that started this entire thing. She’s worse. She’s the instigator. Karma, as they say, is a bitch. And Susan is walking proof. But perhaps the worst part is how Oliver tried to spin it that Susan was the victim. How he turned a blind eye when Susan asked if he was the Green Arrow. How he’s a walking shell of the man Oliver Queen used to be. Who the hell is this woman?

Lizzie: No. I don’t even know that Arrow really wanted me to feel sorry for her, because they presented her as someone who was just playing Oliver and then this episode like a victim, and that’s per the course for Arrow’s rocky history with writing credible and nuanced female characters not named Felicity – they don’t know how to. There were ways to write Susan Williams so I felt sorry for her, but Arrow didn’t go for those. They just told me I had to feel sorry for her. And that has never worked in the history of television. A show can’t tell you how to feel – they have to take you on a journey. And Susan Williams’ journey, if we can even call it that, led to me saying Bye Felicia as she departs right now.

No one’s going to miss her.

Nora: No, I didn’t feel sorry for Susan at all. Let’s first point out that her character was created to expose Oliver’s secret. And how did she do it? She slept with the person she was investigating and abused her power of the press. I just wasn’t a fan of Susan’s character overall. Susan was presented as a character we were supposed to hate because she was trying to expose Oliver’s secret. For the past five seasons, we’ve learned to hate anyone that tries to expose Oliver’s secret. So, the fact that Arrow tries to make Susan the victim after Thea gets her fired was something I wasn’t buying. I’m sorry, but trying to convince me I should feel bad for Susan Williams wasn’t working. There was absolutely no character arc or development that would remotely make me feel bad for Susan Williams. If she maybe had a more coherent plotline I could MAYBE see how you could feel bad for her, but it just wasn’t there. I’m not going to miss her.

Sarah: Not in the slightest. Susan Williams as a character just rubbed me the wrong way the second she stepped on screen because she was never portrayed as someone outside the role of manipulating and lying to Oliver for her own selfish reasons. If they had rounded out her character more, maybe then I would have felt sorry for her but as per usual the Arrow writers struggle with making a female character as flawed and dynamic as we are in the real world. Not to mention the trope of a him being fooled by a woman he was sleeping with was worn out a long time ago. So at the end of the day I’m more relieved than anything she’s off the screen right now.

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Dinah is feeling hesitant when it comes to becoming the Black Canary because she doesn’t feel she’s ready for that pressure. What do you think?

Alyssa: This is a minor storyline that I’m actually really intrigued by. Dinah, despite having a superpower, is pretty down to earth when it come to this superhero stuff. She doesn’t want to be too flashy or cliche. She just wants to help save people — just like she does as a police officer. But I do find it interesting where Dinah’s mindset is as she comes into this situation. Obviously she’s aware that she’s replacing Laurel, the Black Canary. Obviously that’s something she’s uncomfortable with. Obviously that’s something she’s going to have to learn to move past. And as far as “taking Laurel’s place,” that’s not what she’s doing. We’re not all of a sudden going to forget that Laurel was ever the Black Canary. But Dinah’s role is to continue that legacy. It’s something Laurel had to learn, as well, when she took over for her sister. It’s not about becoming your predecessor, it’s about being a worthy successor that blazes her own trail. I think when Dinah finally learns that she’ll be ready to step into the shoes of the Black Canary.

Lizzie: It makes sense, which is something I don’t usually say when it comes to the writing on the show these days. If they’re doing a character right, it’s Dinah, and it’s such a shame, because that proves that they can and they just don’t care to do it for other characters.

Re: the Black Canary issue, it’s up to Dinah to realize that she’s not replacing Laurel, no one ever will. She’s there to be her own version of the Black Canary, to carry on the legacy, to be her own hero. It might take time, but I have a feeling she’ll get there.

Nora: I think it makes sense the has reservations when it comes to stepping into Black Canary’s shoes. Laurel’s Black Canary shoes are very bigged to fill and this is a storyline that I’m really interested in. I’m enjoying Dinah and what she brings to Team Arrow and I’m excited to see how this storyline progresses. I really liked her moment with Quentin where they discussed Dinah taking over the Black Canary monicker. I think this Dinah storyline makes logical sense and I hope Arrow continues to play with it. I hope Dinah realizes that she’s not replacing Laurel, but trying to fill her shoes.

Sarah: Out of everything Arrow is doing this is the one character and story I’m actually really liking. Because it makes sense, they are taking their time with it and respecting Laurel (in so far in that Dinah is hesitant to take up the BC mantle at least) and not hitting us over the head with it. I understand and appreciate that Dinah is happy to fight the good fight, but not at all wanting to replace Laurel, the daughter of someone she now works with and respects. Lance though was one hundred percent on it when he told her she wasn’t replacing Laurel but carrying on her legacy as the Black Canary. I know it may take time, but I’m looking forward to the day she puts on that mask and makes it her own.

It appears as if Oliver is facing impeachment following trying to cover up Detective Malone’s murder. Are you glad that this storyline could potentially be coming to an end? And do you actually think we’ll see an end to this mayoral storyline?

Alyssa: I mean I was intrigued to see where this mayoral storyline would go, but then season five happened. So basically, it has sucked. There have been moments that have been decent and some borderline good, but I feel like at this point the Oliver as mayor storyline has lost its novelty. I don’t feel like Oliver is growing as a character the way I expected. I don’t feel like this storyline is being utilized effectively. It’s boring and pointless at times, and I’m just praying that a) this storyline actually gains some momentum or b) comes to an end entirely.

I feel like Arrow could be setting up the end of Oliver as mayor, but usually when you think something like that is going to happen it doesn’t. We’re not close enough to the end of the season. Oliver has declared this a personal thing with Prometheus. If Oliver is impeached, then Prometheus wins, he says. Since our hero has to prevail, I find a hard time believing that he’ll be impeached. So assuming that Oliver remains mayor, I’m hoping for less focus on that in season six or find a way to breathe life into the storyline.

Lizzie: We could have had it all – we really could. Instead this storyline that I was looking forward to so much ended up being just a way to showcase not Oliver’s growth, but Oliver’s incompetence. And he’s the hero – we want to see him getting better, we want to see him evolving, we want to …well, right now, we want to see him get impeached. Sadly, I don’t think the show’s ready to say goodbye to this storyline. They’ve never know when to let go in time, after all.

Nora: I was so excited for this storyline going into season five. It had so much potential and I was really excited to see where it could go. Then season five happened and it just disappointed me on every level. This was a storyline that could’ve really fleshed out Oliver as a character and provided a place to showcase Oliver separate from Green Arrow. Instead, it was very cluttered and didn’t add anything to Arrow as a show or Oliver’s character. I have a feeling this show isn’t ready to say goodbye to the Mayor storyline and somehow Oliver will end up back as the Mayor of Star City. If the flashbacks are any indication, Arrow won’t let go of this storyline anytime soon.

Sarah: Initially I was really curious as to how this mayoral story would play out. Between Oliver possibly learning more about finding a better balance between his public life as Oliver Queen and his secret identity, to finding more ways to help people in his city than besides using his bow and arrow it seemed like there was a lot of potential. Sadly like many things this season, I was sorely disappointed with the writer’s approach to his new term in public office. There really hasn’t been any strong or visible impact on his character at having taken up this new venture and instead has gone in the direction of using it to his advantage in cover ups of people he’s killed. So honestly if he gets impeached it wouldn’t surprise me, but even if he does I doubt we’ve seen the end of this excuse of a storyline for our lead character.

Yes or No: Do you believe that we’re actually done with the Oliver/Susan romance at this point?

Alyssa: No. (This show is stupid enough to keep trying it for a few more episodes even though from a logic standpoint the relationship should be over.)

Lizzie: No. That would require basic common sense and an awareness of their viewers feelings, which Arrow has more than demonstrated it lacks.

Nora: No. There’s no way they would set her up and then this is how she exits the show. She’ll be back (probably when we finally get a genuine Felicity and Oliver moment, because you know, Arrow).

Sarah: No. I sincerely wish we were, but given that Arrow just made a bad attempt at getting the audience to feel sorry for her it means we are not done with this “romance.”

Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Stay tuned for another Arrow roundtable next Wednesday!

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