Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Arrow Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 17 - Beacon Of Hope

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


The Bug Eyed Bandit has escaped from prison and is after Palmer Tech's innovative new implant technology. The only problem is there's only one prototype and it's currently in Felicity Smoak's spine. But when Green Arrow becomes incapacitated by a deadly bee weapon, a new hero will arise to save the day.


Green Arrow: Year One (the flashbacks on Lian Yu), Die Hard (people held hostage in a skyscraper, Felicity refers to the adventure as Die Hard with bees) and Independence Day (Curtis uses a virus to destroy the bee drones, Quentin name-drops the movie).


As before, given her choice of weapon and costuming, it would make SO much more sense for The Bug Eyed Bandit to be called Queen Bee. Presumably the name is tied up in the Justice League film rights?

Wouldn't it have been far easier for The Bug Eyed Bandit to just go straight to Felicity's office rather than taking the Palmer Tech Board of Directors hostage? Particularly when we find out she already knew the only prototype was in Felicity's body.

The Bug Eyed Bandit's concern over bees dying out doesn't ring true, given the reason that she was fired from her job originally was that she took robo bees that were meant to help solve the agricultural crisis caused by bee deaths and weaponized them for the military to make money.

Curtis is remarkably agile for someone who was suffering a 104 degree fever and severe dehydration, when he's flipping around The Bunker trying to dodge the one drone.


The chemistry between Willa Holland and Emily Bett Rickards during their scenes together is great. I can't remember the two ever having any scenes together alone and it's nice to see the friendship between the two of them hasn't been hurt by the break-up... even if I can't recall their friendship ever being firmly established.

It's also a great solo episode for Emily Bett Rickards as a solo performer. It's great to see Felicity facing her arch-enemy with no back-up for most of the episode, holding her own and getting to be the big damn hero, saving multiple lives and staying behind to sacrifice herself. Heck, she even takes out the bee-man who takes down Ollie and Thea.


The costume design for Bug Eyed Bandit this time around is an interesting one, with the honeycomb patterns and yellow/black color scheme.


In the comics, the original Bug-Eyed Bandit was an inventor named Bertram Larvan, who invented a robot insect that could be used to eliminate real insects. Unable to secure the financial backing needed to mass produce his robots, he resolved to steal the money he needed with his prototype... then just kept on stealing, as he built more and more robotic insects and arachnids. He would go on to be a frequent nemesis of The Atom, until he accidentally dosed himself with amnesia gas and forgot all about his evil plans.

The DCTVU version of The Bug Eyed Bandit is similar, except that she is a woman named Brie Larvan. Also - in her first appearance, at least - she seemed to be less interested in money and more interested in revenge on the people responsible for her losing her job.

At one point, Oliver claims to have read a few of the Harry Potter books but to be unaware there were movies based on the books. Surprisingly, this is something of a nod to Oliver's character in the Mike Grell Green Arrow run, where Oliver was surprisingly well-read but his taste in movies tended toward classics like the Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie or Singing In The Rain.

Quentin asks if there's any chance that the robo-bees have anything to do with HIVE. In the comics, bee-themed armor and weapons are a part of HIVE's modus operandi.

Curtis once again voices his theory that The Green Arrow was someone in Palmer Tech's data-processing department named Neal Adams. This is the name of a famous artist, who re-designed the Green Arrow costume in the late 1960s and drew the now legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow comic that largely redefined Green Arrow as a champion of the working class.

Damien Darhk makes reference to a town called Monument Point. In the Justice Society of America comic written by Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim, Monument Point was a large Metropolis located within commuting distance of Washington DC. The town was saved several times by The Justice Society, who wound up adopting the town as their base of operations and the city council appointed the Jay Garrick Flash as their mayor.


The implantable bio-stimulant which Curtis developed costs $250,000 per unit to manufacture.

12,000 people per year suffer spinal injuries that leave them paralyzed.

The bee drones are capable of remotely jamming all WiFi frequencies and cel-phone signals within a certain radius - at least large enough to cover a large skyscraper - by broadcasting hundreds of different kinds of radio frequenceies

The bee drones stingers are capable of penetrating police-grade Kevlar, as well as Green Arrow's armor.

Curtis uses the same cel-phone he was given to help Team Arrow with rescuing Ray Palmer in 406 to locate The Bunker.

The command console Felicity used in The Bunker is a STAR Labs 5000 Exostation.

The idol that Baron Reiter seeks allows him to command the primordial energies that flow through all things.

The bee drones are able to lock together to form a man-size armored figure.

The bee drones are capable of digging their way inside a human body and self-replicating, eventually bursting out of the victim's body as a swarm. One of the Palmer Tech Board of Director's dies in this fashion and Oliver nearly dies the same way.

The bee drones are also capable of adapting on the fly (no pun intended), so that any method used to disable them won't work a second time. This is why Curtis can't hack them after doing so once and instead develops a sonic-based solution to deal with the drones inside Oliver.

Curtis figures that if the bee drones are modeled on real bees, they'll operate on a singular frequency to orient themselves. If he can disrupt the frequency, they can disperse the colony. This requires a portable sonic projector (i.e. Laurel's Canary Cry choker)

Curtis explains that Laurel's Canary Cry choker works by reading her vocal emissions and then reprocessing them via digital output into a multi-channel sound. One Mariah Carey impersonation is all it takes to disable the drones.

Felicity uses an autonomous communication device that Curtis designed as a make-shift bomb to blow a hole in the elevator shaft so that they can evacuate the board room. Curtis had yet to figure out how to make the devices not explode.

The Bug Eyed Bandit now controls her drones through neural implants.

Bees are dying off at a rate of 30% per year.

The reason the Bug Eyed Bandit wants the implantable bio-stimulant is because she has a tumor on her L4 Vertebrate that can be removed with surgery but will leave her paralyzed.

The bee drones are made up of elastic nanotubes, ultarsonic motors and piezoceramic elements.

Curtis deciphers the upgrade protocol of the bees, developing a virus that - the next time the drones upgrade - will disperse throughout the swarm. He develops a trick arrow with a computer virus payload that will transmit when shot close to the drones.

Dialogue Triumphs

(As Thea talks about her boyfriend needing a new job.)
Palmer Tech. They're hiring a new head of Public Relations.
Ollie: ... oh.
Laurel: (quietly) I just heard that from... someone.
Ollie: (smiling) Laurel. She's not Voldemort. And I'm fine. (To Thea) That's a good idea. You should tell Alex to talk to Felicity.
Thea: Mmm-hmm.
Ollie: What?
Thea: Nothing it's just... it's shocking you know who Voldemort is.
Ollie: Well, I'm not immune to pop culture! I've read a few of the Harry Potter books.
John: Really? I was going to bet Thea that you just saw the movies.
Ollie: There were movies?

(Darhk is chained down in a visiting room in Iron Height's Prison. Merlyn steps out of the shadows.)
Merlyn: I thought you just lost your magic, but your charm seems to be waning, as well.
Darhk: How in the hell did you get in here?!
Merlyn: I used to be Ra's Al Ghul.
Darhk: Yes. This I know. What I'm less clear of is why my resources haven't been deployed to get me out of here.
Merlyn: Well, that's what I'm here to explain.
Darhk: Although my time in here might be limitless, Malcolm, my patience isn't!
Merlyn: That's cute. As I was saying, I've been in touch with your resources. And they don't seem to have any love left for you, Damien. Something to do with "hocus" and "pocus"and "killing fellow members when you get miffed". HIVE is moving forward with Genesis but not with you. They like you here. Out of trouble. But they do wish you the best of luck with your trial.
(Darhk grunts and tries to grab Merlyn with the telekinesis he no longer has, on reflex.  Merlyn laughs at the pitiful attempt.) Merlyn: Don't be embarrassed. Performance issues are common for men of your age.

Laurel: Oliver, it's okay to miss Felicity.
Oliver: I-I appreciate what you're doing, but I don't think you're the-
Laurel: - person to help you through it? Why? Because of what we used to have?
Oliver: Yeah.
Laurel: I thought maybe that just gave me a little insight.
Oliver: Well, I mean, in fairness, I did wreck what we had too, so...
Laurel: In your defense, you were missing and presumed dead for five years, but that's not what I mean. I know how passionately you love and how much it hurts when that love goes away.
Oliver: Betweem Merlyn, Slade Wilson and Ra's Al Ghul, I thought that I'd be a little...tougher than this by now.
Laurel: That's a different kind of pain. And this takes longer to heal. But I'm here for you.

(After Curtis stumbles into The Bunker and passes out)
Quentin: So can anybody just walk in here?

Curtis: With Felicity trapped inside, you're going to need someone to hack them. But I'll have to "bee" careful.
(Curtis laughs. He is the only one who does.)
Curtis: It's too soon for bee puns, right?
Oliver: (coldly) Let's assume that it is.

Donna: They just got their butt kicked by that... bee man!
Felicity: (To Thea) This is why we leave the nicknames to Cisco.
Donna: What?
Felicity: Inside joke.

(Regarding the drones inside Oliver)
John: When these things hit critical mass, there's-
Curtis: It's gonna be like John Hurt in Aliens! Sorry! When I get nervous, I make pop culture references!

Oliver: It just doesn't seem fair that I can save a city and not 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 and use some of that hope for yourself.

(After Murmur beats his two minions to death.)
Darhk: I know you're probably asking yourself, "Self, what the hell just happened?" It turns out your friend - my new friend - Mr. Amar, has a soft spot for his only surviving relative. A grandmother in Monument Point. It is amazing what people will tell you with a few phone calls and a kind voice. Anyway-
(Darkh glances down at the minions and realizes they aren't moving)
Darhk: Are they dead?  Are they dead?!  NO! (To Murmur) I had this wonderful speech about how I was gonna kill your grandmother had you not killed them. (sighs) Never mind...

Thea:  Ollie's going to be fine. He always is.
Felicity: Well, unfortunately, in Oliver's case,"he always is" isn't an accurate predictive meter.
(Thea sighs and steps away from Felicity.)
Felicity: Sorry. I'm just sick of worrying. I'm sick of the violence.
Thea: Yeah, and so am I, okay?  Of course I am! But we put up with it! We push past it. Because what we do is important, okay? We have to be that beacon of hope. Nobody else is.
Felicity: YOU'RE the beacon of hope. I quit the team because I couldn't stand to work with Oliver. But now that I'm out, I look at life from a different perspective. I mean, look around you! Thea, we're in a "Die Hard" movie with bees! Maybe I'm meant for great things. Maybe I'm not. But whatever it is, it's not this. (sighs) I'm sorry. I'm not coming back.

Thea: Don't you miss this? I mean, I know you said that you wanted to get away from it all... but how could you?
Felicity: What do you mean?
Thea: This? The thrill of it? The rush? I mean, 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. Rejoin the team.
Felicity: I think I figured out another way. Actually, that insane bee-lady gave me the idea, ironically. To remake the company. To use the technology that helped me walk again to make lives better. To make Palmer Tech into the beacon of hope.

Dialogue Disasters

Every thrice-damned bee pun from The Bug Eyed Bandit and Curtis.


The Bug Eyed Bandit appears for the first time since F118.

The Star City mayoral election is April 6, 2016.

Ollie is capable of fighting and defeating Laurel and Thea at the same time in an escrima stick fight. He can take down Diggle in a one-on-one match when Diggle is tired.

Murmur, last seen in 316, is seen in Iron Height's Prison threatening Damien Darhk with his gang. Eventually, it is revealed that he is now working for Darhk, due to his grandmother being threatened.

Curtis once again voices his theory that The Green Arrow was someone in Palmer Tech's data-processing department named Neal Adams, from 404.

Oliver calls the current Team Arrow hideout The Bunker.

Curtis recognizes Oliver Queen, Laurel Lance and Quentin Lance by sight. He recalls meeting John Diggle, but can't place remember his name.

Felicity kept files on various criminals on the computers in The Bunker. Curtis finds one on The Dodger - the jewel thief Team Arrow fought in 115.

The idol gives Richer super-strength, telekinesis and makes him bullet-proof.

The Bug Eyed Bandit figures out that Felicity was the hacker who put her in prison.

Curtis turns the been drones against The Bug Eyed Bandit. She is stung repeatedly and left in a coma.

Curtis decides he's had enough adventure and that he's done helping Team Arrow.

Felicity has an idea on how to use Palmer Tech to make people's lives better.

At the end of the episode, Merlyn speaks to Andy Diggle about how Dhark called him an ace in the hole.

The Fridge Factor

With Felicity out of the picture, it seems like the writers are trying to nudge Laurel and Oliver back together with the interaction between the two of them in this episode.  The only problem is that Laurel's speech - in which she gently encourages Ollie to be nicer to Curtis and to be the beacon of hope the city needs - flies in the face of every bit of characterization she's had in the past three years. Ollie even points out how she's the last person who should be trying to comfort him regarding his screwing up his relationship with Felicity and she's definitely the last person in the world who should be giving Oliver a hard time over lying to a loved one. Remember Season Three and the lengths Laurel went through to hide Sara's death from Quentin?

The Bottom Line

As a focus on Felicity, it's great. As a filler episode, it's okay, though The Bug Eyed Bandit is easily the most annoying special guest villain ever.. As an effort to set Curtis up as the latest member of Team Arrow, it's less successful, with the script trying way too hard to make Curtis into a Felicity/Cisco hybrid in spite of the character being relatively restrained in most of his previous appearances. In fact, most of the humor in the episode is forced even ignoring the bee puns.

The real shocker is that  Laurel gets a few good moments here and Katie Cassidy carries them off well. Which probably means the writers are actually putting some effort into making Laurel seem like the Laurel we liked in Season One before she is killed off.

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