This post contains spoilers for Arrow.
Team Arrow is falling apart and so, it seems, is Oliver Queen. To be fair, he’s been due for a gasp-worthy level offense for some time now, but killing your son’s science fair project is too far. “Fundamentals” turns out to be an unexpectedly introspective episode, but despite Oliver’s acting out being due to the vertigo in his system, his hallucinations make an important point: no one destroys Oliver Queen like Oliver Queen.
We’ve seen Oliver face down baddie after baddie, but no one has ever wrecked his life the way he does. He ostracizes, attacks, or aids in the death of damn near every human he’s ever met. We’ve seen him grow and move away from making these mistakes so frequently, but he still falls into the same patterns he always has. The question of the episode is whether or not Oliver’s really changed from the Hood he was six years ago. The answer to that question is a resounding no.
When we did our open thread last week, the majority of the comments were folks saying that they dropped the show ages ago. While that wasn’t even close to the point of an open thread for episode discussion, episodes like “Fundamentals” make it easy to see why some people have bailed on Arrow. Seasons five and six have given Oliver a lot of growth, but he inevitably always falls back into the same self-destructive pattern that viewers are expected not to roll their eyes at six seasons in.
All that said, the (very) long game they’re playing still has little details that have clearly kept at least a few fans engaged. Oliver’s a great dad so long as he’s not drugged up. William’s addition to the story was infinitely better than we could have anticipated, and we’re finally past the back and forth between Oliver and Felicity and have a functioning partnership. Quentin Lance has grown more than any other character on the show, and in lieu of the flashbacks we now have side quests ala Nyssa, Thea and Roy. Oliver was, is, and probably always will be a moron in one respect or another, but the show evolved passed being solely about him a very long time ago.
“Fundamentals”, though annoying in its main plot, spotlights the greatness of several characters. Quentin Lance was a very good dad this week and deserves all of the cookies. Ollie really needed a dad this week, and by god he got one. Felicity was given some trash dialogue, but the (physically) weakest member of Team Arrow still ran her skinny blonde butt into a building with a whole lot of guns to save her doped up husband. William brought his mother tennis shoes so she could go save his dad and if you don’t love that then you must clearly hate puppies and all things good in this world.
What’s on the schedule for next week? Well, they say the words “Star City is open for business” two times in a row so you can be sure it has something to do with that. Oliver is running out of episodes to be self-destructive in before the finale, but you can probably expect at least one more of those. Who’d like to place bets on how long it takes him to realize that he never did any of this alone and that he’s a big dumb dummy?