Arrow recap: Code of Silence
The Demolition Team sets its sights on Oliver as he prepares for his debate with Damien Darhk's wife
So, this is what a post-League of Assasins world looks like. It’s pretty much the same as before, except that Malcolm has now basically become part of H.I.V.E. And with the League business out of the way, tonight’s episode brings the focus back to Damien Darhk and his plans for Star City, a.k.a. the mysterious Phase 5.
However, Damien Dahrk isn’t the only threat Team Arrow faces tonight. Secrets hang over the team’s head and threaten some of their relationships, primarily Oliver and Quentin’s romantic relationships with the Smoak women. “Code of Silence” questions the value of secret keeping, and while the answer is rather frustrating, that doesn’t stop the well-directed episode from being quite fun and pretty enjoyable.
It’s fitting that an episode about secrets and telling the truth is focused on Oliver’s campaign, which, if you remember, began when Oliver deciding it was time to tackle the city’s problems in light of day. “Code of Silence” opens with Oliver meeting Ruvé Adams, his new opponent in the mayoral race and Damien Dahrk’s wife, for the first time as they both tour the location for their upcoming debate.
As Ruvé leaves the theater, Team Arrow springs into action and starts trailing her in the hopes she’ll lead them to Damien. Although she doesn’t return home that night as she usually does, she does lead them to an empty parking lot where a group of Ghosts ambush Team Arrow. This little attack is Damien’s payback for Green Arrow standing him up a few weeks ago and stalking his wife. While the exceptionally choreographed and shot fight goes on, Ruvé escapes.
From there Ruvé meets up with Damien at what appears to be H.I.V.E’s main base of operations. There, Damien meets with several other H.I.V.E. higher ups, now including Malcolm Merlyn, to discuss their next phase. Unfortunately, they are stuck at Phase 4 in Star City because of the mayoral race, which is something they hadn’t planned for. However, Damien assures them that he and his wife can and will handle Oliver Queen very soon. Arrow has been rather slow at explaining how H.I.V.E. works. Based on this meeting, it seems as though Damien is the leader of H.I.V.E., but he must answer to board of directors of sorts. Malcolm confirms that Quentin has been working with the vigilantes, but Damien assures them all that he’s handling that loose end.
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By “taking care of a loose end,” Damien means dropping an entire building on Quentin. A seemingly innocuous breaking-and-entering call comes into the station, and Quentin and Laurel, who tags along against her father’s will, answer it. However, the building starts to fall around them right when they arrive. Quentin and Laurel’s escape through the dark and dusty hallways is one continuous shot, which spices up what could’ve been a pretty rote scene for Arrow at this point it’s run.
Actually, let’s take a moment to talk about the episode’s direction, which was quite good. James Bamford, the show’s fight coordinator, directed the episode and brought some visual dynamism to the show, as he did in the episode he helmed earlier in the season. His fight scenes are filmed in new and visually interesting ways, like shooting a knife fight later in the episode from above. Also, he imbues potentially still scenes with kinetic energy, particularly through the use of walk and talks, which is quite fitting for an episode that features a debate.
NEXT: There’s a new hope for Felicity
Naturally, Team Arrow’s first suspect in the attack on Quentin is Damien Dahrk, and they take measures to keep him safe. Before going into lair arrest, Quentin decides to ask Donna if they can go on a break for the time being. However, Donna knows Quentin isn’t being 100 percent truthful and ends the relationship because she doesn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t respect her enough to tell the truth. Felicity enters the campaign office right as Donna runs out crying and asks Quentin what he did, which leads to this hilarious exchange:
Quentin: Why do you think it’s me who did something?
Felicity: Because you’re a man.
Anyway, Felicity finds out that the breaking-and-entering call Quentin received didn’t come from the police dispatcher and is able to trace it. Team Arrow heads to one of Star City’s many warehouses where they find the Demolition Team, a group that specializes in precision demolition because apparently there’s enough demand in the underworld marketplace for something like that. The Demolition Team features a woman whose weapon of choice is a nail gun, which I would mock if I wasn’t currently cheering on a hero who fights with a bow and arrow. Although the Demolition Team manages to escape, Team Arrow does find a damaged laptop from which they hope Felicity will be able to recover some data.
While Thea and Oliver head off to do some debate prep, Felicity heads home, where her mother has taken a break from planning the engagement party to have a nice cry about breaking up with Quentin. Donna admits that she’s slightly envious of Felicity and Oliver’s relationship because they obviously don’t keep things from each other and Oliver will make a great father. Felicity says that Donna has found that with Quentin but that she just needs to trust that he’s keeping something from her to keep her safe. This is particularly frustrating because we’ve been through this before: Keeping secrets from someone doesn’t keep them safe.
Meanwhile, Thea confronts Oliver about Samantha and his son, William. She found out after Oliver’s campaign discovered an uncashed check for $1 million that Moira wrote to Samantha and did some digging. Oliver comes clean to her about her everything and opens up about hating that he has to lie to Thea because of what he promised. However, Thea defends Samantha and says that Oliver is doing the right thing by keeping his promise. This little exchange is rather irritating not because of Oliver’s decision to keep his promise to Samantha (he’s doing it for his son, even though it causes him distress, which is quite admirable), but because of Samantha’s initial demand, which is a thinly veiled way of contriving unnecessary drama.
The night of the debate arrives. Felicity, with some help from Curtis, discovers that the Demolition Team is targeting the theater where the debate is being held. So, Thea pulls the alarm to clear the building, and then Team Arrow goes into action to disarm all of the bombs. Another awesome-looking action sequence later, and the bombs are disarmed. The debate is finally able to go along as planned, much to Ruvé’s dismay.
After being declared the winner of the debate by pundits, Oliver heads home to his engagement party, which surprisingly actually goes off without hitch. Quentin shows up and apologizes to Donna for lying, and he comes clean about everything. Meanwhile, Curtis gives Felicity a special wedding present: an implantable biostimulant that will hopefully allow her to walk down the aisle. In a nice nod to Curtis’ comic book counterpart, Oliver says he’s terrific.
Although the party isn’t ruined, we know things will only get darhkerfrom here. Damien returns home and surprises his daughter with a guest, William, who he says will be staying with them for awhile because his mother asked them to look after him.
Meanwhile on the Island…
Reiter puts Oliver to work on digging for his heaven. However, the workers refuse to help Oliver and threaten to kill him unless he kills Conklin to make up for killing Vlad. At first, Oliver refuses to, but Taiana convinces him that sometimes you have to become a monster to kill a monster.
When Baron Reiter leaves Oliver alone with Conklin, Oliver breaks free of his restraints, grabs a knife, and they fight. Eventually, Oliver gets the upper hand and kills him. Before he dies, Conklin says that Reiter plans on killing them all. Reiter believes Oliver is the key to finding a mystical untold power, so he allows him to live after this, but warns him to not try anything again.