Arrow: Underneath


Not what they mean by “getting the blues,” guys…

Last episode ended quite literally with a bang as Prometheus staged an attack on the Lair. Oliver and Felicity are trapped, alone, with the lights dimmed. Things get worse as they determine that at least part of the attack was an EMP. Not only do they not have power or communications, but you remember that chip that magically fixed Felicity’s paralysis? Apparently being inside a human body doesn’t shield the chip. So Oliver and Felicity are trapped “Underneath” to give us the title. Felicity is grudgingly impressed with the thoroughness of the trap.

Usually, having a high-profile secret identity is a hindrance for a superhero. It works out in this case, though. When you’re the mayor of a city that’s in the middle of a major crisis, people notice when you don’t show up for work. Curtis goes to the Lair to see if that’s where they are after no one can get hold of either Oliver or Felicity. It doesn’t take a genius like him long to figure out something’s wrong when the doors won’t open and there’s no response at all from down below. Curtis then hears a series of explosions, which we see is Oliver trying to use his explosive arrows to get out. Unfortunately, while it seems like whoever wants to can just wander in to the Lair (just like STAR Labs on Flash and Luthor Mansion on Smallville), getting out is another story. Quentin Lance and Rene are having their own, if different, problems. With District Attorney Adrian Chase revealed as a crazed serial killer, defense attorneys on every case over the last several months are filing every manner of appeal.

One of the real nice touches to this episode is also a nice bit of world building. Felicity is a hacker, and Oliver is a fighter. So this version of the Lair was built by Cisco Ramone from the Flash show. That makes a lot of sense, explains why it’s so well built, and why Oliver has to go look for Cisco’s blueprints.

Things are not going well for the Diggles, either. After learning about how much shady stuff ARGUS is doing under Lyla’s direction, John is sleeping on the couch. Their attempt at a discussion gets interrupted when Rene, Dinah, and Curtis come calling. They can sense the tension between the Diggles, but the team stays and tells them about the problems at the bunker.

Oliver and Felicity have their own tension from recent events, and being trapped in a small space isn’t helping. At least I think it’s a small space. They never really have given us a good feel for the Lair’s floor plan. At any rate, Oliver decides to try and escape via the elevator shaft, and Felicity warns him it’s almost certainly been booby trapped by Chase. Oliver bulls ahead anyway. Guess who was right? Their situation is not improved when Oliver falls and gets badly injured. What’s a little blood loss between friends? Felicity patches him up with a hefty side order of “I told you so.” They keep arguing about his lack of trust in her as they try to game a new way out.

Curtis briefs the team about what he’s been able to figure out about the Lair situation. Lyla offers to get things to help Curtis break into the Lair, after snarking at John on the way out. Curtis also mentions that they might run out of air in the Lair, which is odd to me. I get it’s an underground bunker, but with all the exits and gadgets, I wouldn’t think it’d be air-tight.

Rene and Curtis trade barbs while they try and access the Lair via the elevator shaft. It doesn’t go as badly as Oliver’s attempt, but isn’t successful. I was very amused to hear what Mr. Terrific named the T Spheres, although I guess that means he only has two of them. While that silliness goes on, Dinah offers an ear to John about his troubles with Lyla.

I didn’t quite follow what Felicity was trying to do next. Something about using one of Oliver’s motorcycles to give them energy to get some stuff working. That, too, failed, and then ruptured a methane line. My various problems with that, in no particular order, are: if there’s a bike down there, there should be another way out that never gets mentioned; starting an engine when you’re running out of air is not a good plan, and why the hell is there a methane line in the Lair? I can’t imagine what purpose it would serve. On the heels of this failure, Felicity comes up with another plan.

The rest of the team tries, and fails, to break in again. Mr. Terrific gets a nasty burn in the process, and Dinah makes a different suggestion from her undercover days. Oliver and Felicity manage to get to get into a steam tunnel under the Lair they found via Cisco’s plans. From my research on steam tunnels, I’m not quite sure why this one is there, but they make some progress towards getting out. Oliver, bleeding badly, is carrying Felicity since her legs still aren’t working.

Lyla pulls another surprise, this one hitting home with Curtis specifically. Eventually, after a lot of drama between Felicity and Oliver, the rest of the team gets in, and Diggle manages to lend a hand in rescuing the two of them. With the usual resolution through too much drama Felicity and Oliver end up in a better place at least. So do Diggle and Lyla, when Lyla makes a surprising offer. The final scene looks bad for one of the supporting cast we don’t see often.

While Oliver and Felicity have trouble escaping the Lair, we can’t escape Flashback Theater. This time they only go back about 11 months, after Felicity broke up with Oliver, but before they started the new version of Team Arrow. It’s mostly emotional drama between the two of them, with a cameo by Curtis, pre-Mr. Terrific. Personally, I think they really could have cut this entire series of scenes, but I feel that way most of the time about the flashbacks.

What I liked: Curtis’ geek comments amuse me. I’m glad the writers aren’t just brushing off the issues John has with Lyla’s job, and also glad they didn’t drag that out. I liked them giving credit to Cisco for designing the Lair.

What I didn’t: This episode really nailed down for me that I don’t have a good feel for the Lair’s layout, which is bad considering how much time they spend down there. A lot of the details on this one didn’t really jibe for me for the various escape efforts. And they’re really reaching for things to do with flashback theater. Just end it already.

I’ll give this one a lower end 3 out of 5. It had some nice moments, but a lot that didn’t make sense, either. I’m really looking forward to the end of the Adrian Chase plot.