TV Review: Arrow (4×17) “Beacon of Hope”

Maybe I’ve gone crazy in the wake of the self-serious, absolutely bonkers blockbuster movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but between seeing the movie last weekend and a very intense episode of The Flash where Barry gets motivated after being betrayed yet again, this week’s episode of Arrow accomplished several things in the midst of a super light tone than is normally achieved in an hour of tales from Oliver Queen and friends. When the character Brie Larvan appeared on screen, I had promptly rolled my eyes into the back of my head. The previous appearance of this bee fueled villain was around this time last year in one of the most wasted episodes utilizing crossed over characters. An episode that I expected to hate within the first few minutes turned into one of my favorites of the fourth season by its conclusion. This is the closest that Arrow has achieved in creating the lighter tone of The Flash, without the presence of The Flash’s characters.

 Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Within the first 10 minutes, I was appalled at Larvan’s exceptionally hammy performance, and especially at the work executed by the actors who portray Felicity’s board members at PalmerTech. I can’t take too much credit away from them, however. These extras went from being an aspect of the show closest to a realm of reality to a director telling them “OK, so you’re being attacked by Robot Bees.” Larvan’s plot is to invade PalmerTech and acquire the blueprints for the expensive prototype battery that cured Felicity from a paralyzed spine. After her intent is made clear in Joker-esque cell phone recordings, the robot bees do most of the heavy lifting in villain performance until she reveals why she needs the battery when she ultimately has our heroes at gunpoint, and the reason for needing it is valid, but, as Thea wastes no time pointing out, Larvan didn’t need to kill people to get the information she needed with a sad story like her own.

 Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Aside from the villain’s ridiculously campy plot, the directors and writers of this episode decided to go all the way in making “Beacon of Hope” significantly lighter in tone, and it actually numbs the presence of the ridiculous villain as well as achieving some decent character growth. The episode has Oliver brooding over the loss of Felicity in his life and as a result is insisting on a bit of excessive training for Laurel, Thea and Diggle. Laurel and Oliver have several moments together throughout this episode where she tries to pick his brain about where he is emotionally, and it’s among the most honest and real conversation that Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy have done all year, if not for the last several years, to the point that I had nearly forgotten that these two characters had been in a relationship before. Somehow, among all this mess of bees, her digging into his guilt parade makes both of these characters feel the most human I’ve seen them in a long time.

 Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

The episode’s lighter tone is also benefitted from the inclusion of bumbling programer Curtis Holt, as he stumbles his way into the Bunker to help rescue Felicity, promptly geeking out over who and what he sees. When he comes to, Holt is put in the position to be the equivalent to Felicity through the episode, and his pop culture referential nature starts to be grating to Oliver. Once he snapped at Curtis and made his reasons for doing so clear, the rest of the team becomes significantly comfortable with the programmer’s schtick, who also uses his intellect, and Laurel’s Canary Cry, to save Oliver from a fate akin to Nicolas Cage’s from the Wicker Man. Whether Holt reflects on his time with Team Arrow well or would want to revisit it in the future, is left unclear, as he returns home to tell his husband an overlong fake story about thinking he could help the cops. Although, he still seems rather pleased with himself when he leaves us with a muttering of the word “Terrific.”

 Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

The Bee plot (hahahahaha) of this episode unfortunately has Felicity, her mom and Thea damselized for the majority of the hour for the sake of buying them time, and having them trapped in the PalmerTech building, and only cutting to them when a proper reminder is needed. This is the case, at least, until Felicity can rescue the board members in the third act of the episode. I believe Felicity put it most accurately as “Die Hard with Bees.” When the moments like this occur, however, Felicity and Thea are impressively resourceful in evading the evil bees while flying solo with no equipment. Despite Thea nagging Felicity on about whether she misses life in the Arrow Cave, Felicity makes it clear that she sees things differently after breaking those ties for herself. I can’t say she’s wrong in this sense for her as a character, considering how refreshing it was to see her doing something other than typing into the computers at the Arrow Cave.


→) Ryder now has the voodoo magics.

→) Oliver wants to kill all the mercenaries because reasons. 

Oh right, and Damien Darhk beats some people up in prison, Malcolm Merlyn makes fun of him and also reveals that Diggle’s brother was a bad guy all along.

Rating: (8/10)


Are you a fan of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl? Check out our reviews of this week’s other episode in the DCTV Universe!

Arrow Season 4 Weekly Recaps

The Flash Season 2 Weekly Recaps

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 Weekly Recaps

Supergirl Season 1 Weekly Recaps

At the end of every week, Evan and Allyson meet up to chat about the weekly happenings on our podcast TYF DC Debrief, available on several platforms! You can join the conversation with us every week on Twitter @EvGriff42 @AllysonAJ and @TYFOfficial

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Boston, Massachusetts: Evan is a 23 year old college graduate with a degree in English and Journalism. He's had a lifelong passion for film, games and reading things. A living movie quotation machine, and obsessively analytical, Evan will always give an honest and fair opinion with an insertion of wit where appropriate. (Who are you kidding? It’s always appropriate.) Additionally, he is an aficionado of the superhero genre, old video games and (yes, subjectively) awesome movies.