There is so much going on, but we've narrowed down the topics for the Arrow Season 2 Episode 14 Round Table to Felicity's desire to prove herself to the team... feelings about Laurel... Sara's new job... and Slade's surprise visit to Moira.
Join staff writers Kate Brooks, Nick McHatton, Hank Otero and Carissa Pavlica in the discussion now!
What do you think about Felicity's need to prove herself to the team?
Kate: I don't necessarily believe she needed to prove herself to the team rather than prove to herself that she could do and be more. I thought it was fantastic. I loved watching her struggle with comparing herself to Sara thinking that she needed to be all of those things to be an asset, only to realize that she's been more than enough the entire time. Thank God for Dig and his "you're irreplaceable" comment. Felicity showed a lot of growth in this installment and she didn't to be the damsel in distress to do it. Bravo!
Nick: It's getting very crowded down there, and Felicity was feeling left out. She wants to prove to them that she's a valuable asset to the team, but she doesn't originally recognize that her unique skill set makes her valuable - particularly since The Clock King was momentarily beating her at her own game.
Hank: I think it was a little insecurity on her part. Possibly not feeling as seasoned or experienced as the rest of Team Arrow. Because Felicity is such a computer whiz, she might see herself as a bit of a square or not as cool as Sara. The leather jacket remark is a great example of that. I loved the way everything came together in the end. Felicity saves Sara and gets her own little scar in the process. Brilliant!
Carissa: It was so painful to watch someone with so much to offer feel less than amazing. It would have been nice if Oliver had thought ahead and anticipated that moment, but he was living in the moment, excited Sara was joining him. It was also interesting that Sara was one of the first to reach out to her, giving her pointers on how to work out. Oliver, on the other hand, was condescending.
He's not as above reproach as he likes to think. Bottom line is Felicity has proved herself many times over and if she's still feeling insecure, then she's not getting the feedback and encouragement she deserves.
What has Laurel done that has been so horrible? Granted, she's been self destructive, but has that really affected anyone else to any great degree to cause Oliver to give up on and viewers to intensely dislike her?
Kate: I think Laurel has been selfish for some time, blaming Oliver and everyone else for her problems. She is starting to realize that she is her own worst enemy.
Nick: Laurel has, for most of the series, has been the person who keeps getting her life upended by every single event. Oliver and Sara returning from the dead; the gambit going down; Tommy's death; her family splitting apart. Every time Laurel thinks she's been able to move on or figure out a future for herself something need comes along knocking her over. Most everyone is aware of this, particularly Oliver.
To answer the question, nothing Laurel has done by herself has been horrible, but her destructive addictions are beginning to take their toll. Her path to self-destruction is throwing shrapnel everywhere, but she's been refusing to acknowledge it until now. That collateral damage is what was causing so much ill will.
Hank: I'll be honest, from chatting with other fans on social media, as well as my sister who is a fan of the show... I think the fan hate is geared towards Katie Cassidy. Not only have the writers made the character unlikeable from day one, but Katie does tend to overact at times. Personally, I think Colton Haynes overacts as well, but Roy is way less irritating than Laurel. This was the first episode in two seasons where I felt good about Laurel.
Carissa: When Oliver told Laurel off, it felt like Ezra setting up Spencer for taking pills on Pretty Little Liars -- it was something that needed to be done, but not necessarily the most appropriate vehicle to deliver the information. Oliver tends toward the self-righteous. He told Laurel he loved her for half of his life, but he did a great deal to destroy that love when he invited her sister onto his boat. He's been lying to her ever since about practically every aspect of his life yet he expected her to be an open book with him.
It makes him look a bit hypocritical. He cheated and "died" and has held all information about it back from her, but wants to compare life horror stories. Unless they both know the full stories, they can't judge. He killed a lot of people, she was killing herself. Which is better or worse? Viewers like a hot superhero and not someone who drags him down. Adding the sister to the mix gave Laurel a really raw deal.
What did you think about Laurel's explanation regarding her last five years and how Sara's return turned to self-reflection?
Kate: I think it's extremely valid. Losing not only your boyfriend but your sister too that enviably led to her parents divorce and Quentin's alcoholism. I mean, that's a lot of heartache crammed into 5 years. She was slowly drowning and now she's ready for some accountability.
Nick: It's a poignant and brutally truthful moment for Laurel. Her life was completely changed five years ago, and she had to portray herself under a certain facade. As life grew more challenging for Laurel her facade began to crack; Sara's return and the drinking culminates with her cracking.
As much as she's tried to be a certain person for herself, her family, and her friends Laurel watches Sara come in with one swoop and take all of the things she's been trying to do right out from under her, and her conversation with Ollie is what helps her come to this moment of self-reflection. The one man she could continually lean on, as crazy as it sounds, with harsh words and criticism isn't going to put up with her anymore
Hank: Like Nick says, it was a brutally truthful moment for Laurel. Though Ollie came across as harsh and self-righteous in that conversation with Laurel, it seemed to have helped her snap out of it. I can't stress enough how ready I am to either love Laurel or have the writers kill her off.
Carissa: It was a beautiful moment. Nothing else mattered as I watched that. It was two sisters putting everything else aside to validate their relationship and I was brought to tears. It had to be overwhelming for Laurel to know Sara was alive and everything she had known for five years was all for nothing. How easily it could have changed if there was a rescue boat, or the bazillion other things you'd imagine should such news be thrust upon you. We've known all of this, she just found out. Her honest approach with Sara about seeing in her everything she lost about herself was worth the build up.
With Sara's new job as Verdant's bartender, how will she manage to save Starling City from evildoers?
Kate: I thought about this too!! How is she going to work nights and be a vigilante at the same time? I don't think Sara thought that through but it is a good cover. I think Thea will catch on to the lies she'll probably tell to leave the bar at night... Who knows!
Nick: Verdant's cocktail menu just got a whole lot more lethal.
Hank: I feel like this is one of those times where the audience will have to suspend disbelief. Fighting bad guys comes first, so Sara is going to be missing a ton of work. Especially since bartending and crime fighting are both nighttime gigs. I think it would be cool if Thea brings it up at some point. If the characters acknowledge that Sara is disappearing at a moments notice, that would be really fun.
Carissa: I love Nick's answer. It made me laugh out loud! My first thought was Thea would probably take the same approach Laurel expected from everyone when it comes to Sara, that it will be just fine "Because it's Sara."
Want to take a stab at Slade's agenda for meeting with Moira and what tipped the scale to reveal himself?
Kate: Slade is going to interject himself into her campaign so in turn he will become apart of the Queen's life. This will only get him closer to their family so he can kill them all.... Muwahaha! Actually, I'm better off not predicting things like this because I'm usually very wrong. But man, did I love Oliver's face when he showed up. It's about to get real in Starling City!!
Nick: I think he may know about Oliver and Moira's falling out regarding Thea, and will play that out by using that rift against them. Oliver will try to warn Moira, but their harsh words puts them at odds with each other so Moira will shrug him off.
Hank: Slade is toying with Oliver, it's a game to him. He revealed himself because Brother Blood turned out to be pretty useless in the grand scheme of things. Slade is probably there to back Moira's campaign while working his way into the Queens' good graces. I have a feeling an upcoming island flashback will reveal that Slade learns the truth about Shado's death. I'd be surprised if Ollie is not forced to relive that island moment in the present. Slade holding a gun to either Moira and Thea's head or possibly even, Laurel and Felicity. Someone won't be around for season three, that's for sure.
Carissa: Agreed that Blood turned out to be a dud. That day that Slade pushed him aside and said he'd take care of things himself or something, he was obviously putting something into motion. It makes me wonder if Nick might not be onto something. That was before Felicity found out about Thea's paternity. He could have set that up to drive Oliver and Moira apart to get close to Moira and an unsuspecting Oliver. OMG -- can it please be Wednesday now??
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.