Curtis Holt Brings Some Much Needed Lightness, Arrow “Beacon Of Hope”
I have to start by saying that Brie Larvan is by far one of my least favorite Arrow villains. While I’m sure the bee-puns are super fun to write, they are far less fun to listen to and are annoying the beee-jeezus out of me (sorry, I had to). That being said, aside from Brie’s overly peppy bee-antics and Oliver’s crankiness, I actually really enjoyed this episode. It was made abundantly clear on multiple occasions that the episode was about hope, but it was the one sign of hope that wasn’t overtly referenced that I enjoyed most – Mr. Curtis Holt. He was the beacon of hope without meaning to be, his naivetÃ© and positivity bringing a fresh perspective to the team and as far as I’m concerned, he can join Team Arrow anytime. Let’s take a closer look at the hope that was and was not discussed in this episode.
Diggle: It looks like we have ourselves a taller, more dude-like version of Felicity.
Yep, Diggle hit the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned. Curtis may have stumbled upon the Arrow lair by accident, but with Felicity off the team,Â it seems like it wasÂ meant to be. As is often the case withÂ Felicity, he was the light in the darkness of this episode. His complete awe and amazement over this new discovery was refreshing, invigorating and downright funny (far funnier than the bee-puns…did I mention I wasn’t a fan?).
Curtis: Oh this is so weird, I literally just had a dream that you were the Green Arrow. Wait, this is happening?! You’re the Green Arrow?!….and THIS is the Arrow Cave!
Oliver: We call it the bunk…it’s the bunker.
Curtis: And you’re Laurel Lance, the ADA, I’ve seen you on TV before. And you’re Captain Lance. And you’re [points to Diggle]…sorry, I know we’ve met before but I can’t really remember your name right now.
Oliver: Curtis, that’s John Diggle. I need you to focus for a second, please.
Curtis: Oh my god, THIS place is UNBELIEVABLE. You guys must be drawing some crazy electricity, how do you keep it off the grid? This is Star Labs 5000 Exo-Station, what are the specs on this?
Oliver: Curtis, get it together!
Curtis: Okay, now I’m actually starting to see the whole Green Arrow thing.
Curtis is literally like a kid in a candy shop who’s just found out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are real. And I LOVE it! Especially now, when Oliver is clearly distraught over the end of his engagement and taking it out both physically and emotionally on those around him.
But it’s not just Curtis’ child-like wonder that brings a fun new dynamic to the team. His innocence and naivetÃ© as to what goes on in Star City also gives him a unique perspective on the whole crime-fighting endeavor, which became clear right after he stopped the bees that decided to make a hive inÂ Oliver.
Laurel: At least now that we know this stops the bees.
Curtis: I wish it were that simple, but now that we’ve played that card, they’ve undoubtedly adapted to it. But we just beat a group of robot bees using a superhero doo-hicky and if that’s not high-five worthy, I don’t know what is.
Oliver: Curtis. Now is not the time for high-fives.
Curtis: Sorry, I just got excited. And you know, you’ve gotta celebrate the wins when they come.
Yes, exactly!! I mean, even Diggle mentionedÂ this earlier in the episode when Oliver was beating the you-know-what out of his team. But Curtis is right. No matter what, there is always another battle out there to fight and that doesn’t make the wins any less valid. If Curtis hadn’tÂ beat the group of robot bees withÂ Laurel’s screaming necklace, Oliver wouldn’t be alive to fight that next fight. And like Curtis said, if that’s not something to high-five over, I don’t know what is. Of course Oliver, in his state of pessimistic distress (a state he tends to occupy fairly often), didn’t agree and decided to make that abundantly clear.
Oliver: What?! Thea and Felicity are still stuck inside Palmer Tech with who knows how many more bees. We’re not winning. So if you’re gonna be down here, if you’re gonna be with us, then you need to understand the totality of what you’re signing up for. If we do not our jobs perfectly then people die! And not just strangers, but friends, family and loved ones so think about that every time you crack a joke or make lightÂ of what it is that we do!
Laurel: Hey, can I talk to you for a second? [They walk away.] Any puppies you want to kick while you’re at it? Or bags of kittens you want to throw down the river?
Oliver: He needed to hear that.
Laurel: Nobody needs to hear that, Oliver. I know you’re hurting but you can’t take it out on Curtis.
Oliver: I’m not taking it out on Curtis, I just need him to see.
Laurel: See what?
Oliver: That this is not a good life.
Oliver can be so harsh sometimes. Don’t get wrong, I get that he wants Curtis to see the reality of the situation, but recognizing the wins is something Oliver has always had trouble with — his focus is always on how heÂ failed, who was lost and what bigger bad is still out there. It’s a battle he brings on himself and while I see the value of knowing the challengesÂ ahead and learning from your mistakes, I think Oliver needs to recognize all the good he is doing too. Luckily, Laurel agrees. (Side note — kudos to her on the puppies and kittens line, one of my favorites of the episode).Â I also can’t help but feel that Oliver resents Curtis a little because he’s essentially replacing Felicity. Oliver isn’t ready to accept that she’s gone and he’s even less ready to see anyone else in that seat, so whatever he is feeling about his own loss is clearly only magnified by this situation.
Nevertheless, after Oliver laments about Felicity and all that he’s lost, Laurel brings out the “H” word to remind Oliver of all the good he’s done for others and what he could stand to do more of himself.
Oliver: It just doesn’t seem fair that I can save a city but I can’t save my relationship.
Laurel: Oliver, life’s not fair. Whether you’re in Star City or Ivy Town, but you’re right, you can save this city. You do it every night. You’re a beacon of hope to people. I just wish you would try to use some hope for yourself.
Granted, I don’t think Oliver will ever have the light-heartedÂ optimismÂ that Curtis has — once you’ve seen what he’s seen and been through what he’s been through, that’s just not possible — but a little more hope couldn’t hurt. And after this heart-to-heart, he seems a bitÂ more open to it, both apologizing to and thanking Curtis for all he’s done, as well as telling him he’s welcome back any time. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. And I agree, Curtis can (and should!) come back anytime. He may have said to his husband that he belongs at home, but with his Mr. TerrificÂ persona on the horizon, I can’t imagine that’ll last for long.
The Arrow Bunker wasn’t the only locale brimming with hope this episode. After taking down Brie Larvan, Thea and Felicity had their own heart-to-heartÂ about what it means to be (or not be)Â a part of Team Arrow.
Thea: Don’t you miss this? I mean, I know you said you wanted to get away from it all, but how could you?
Felicity: What do you mean?
Thea: You know, this, the thrill of this, the rush. We just took down a bad bee-yotch tonight. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Felicity: I was never in it for that. Not ever. I wanted to make a difference, be part of that beacon of hope you speak of.
Thea: So come back, re-join the team.
Felicity: I think I figured out another way. Actually that insane bee lady gave me the idea, ironically. To remake this company, to use the technology that helped me walk again to make people’s lives better. To make Palmer Tech back in to the beacon of hope.
Again, I said it last time and I’ll say it again — I love that Felicity is standing her ground. I’m not saying I want her to stand it forever (she needs to come back eventually), but I do like that she’s honoring her feelings and finding new ways to fillÂ that Arrow-less void. Being a part of Team Arrow is great, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to accomplishÂ what she wants to accomplish. I think that’s a problem a lot of characters have — finding another outlet with the same meaning outside of the shadows. It’s something Oliver tried to do earlier this season when he ran for mayor, but as we saw, that was short-lived thanks to Darhk and his wife. Nevertheless, eventually, they’ll all have to find a way to do this since the vigilante life can’t last forever. I’m just glad Felicity is finding a way to use her own “powers” for good without compromising her feelings. And heck, if anyone can turn around Palmer Tech and help to improveÂ lives, it’s her.
And finally, the one thing that appeared to give us the opposite of hope, but that I’m still refusing to believe is as it seems — Andy. I know it looks bad, but I’m still holding out…well, hope…that he’s not an “inside man” for HIVE but rather that he’s double-crossing them and is only acting like the inside man so he can actually help Team Arrow take them down. I know, it may be far-fetched, but that’s my hope and I’m sticking to it.
Be sure to catch Arrow Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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