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Recap / Arrow S 5 E 20 Underneath

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Prometheus' EMP traps Oliver and Felicity in the bunker, while Team Arrow races against the clock to get them out


  • Adult Fear: Oliver is explicitly afraid for his son's life, as he knows that Chase knows about William, but since he has no idea where William and Samantha are there's nothing he can do about it. The end of the episode, where Chase confronts William right off the school bus, shows that he was right to be afraid.
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  • Arc Number: "Eleven." The flashbacks take place eleven months ago, Oliver uses eleven arrows on the bunker door to no effect, and Felicity says "I told you so" eleven times.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Lyla asks John why he's uncomfortable with the decisions she's makes, but not Oliver's. Deconstructed since John has never blindly followed Oliver and is perfectly willingly to question or call him out on his decisions when he sees fit. There's also the matter that Lyla eventually got more and more disillusioned with Waller's leadership until she eventually quit, only to now make those same decisions herself. Also unlike Oliver, she's not really willingly to admit that she's wrong.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Both Felicity and Oliver are portrayed as sympathetic and incredibly flawed at the same time throughout their argument.
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  • Bottle Episode: Most of this episode takes place in the foundry.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Curtis says Marc Singer in The Beastmaster played a big role in his realizing he was gay. He played Big Bad General Shrieve in the Season 3 flashback story, and we even briefly see him again just two episodes later.
  • Cliffhanger: The episode ends with Chase confronting William.
  • The Comically Serious: Due to his troubles with Lyla, John is pretty testy throughout the episode, which causes some great comedic moments when interacting with the rest of the team, especially Curtis.
  • Continuity Nod: The implant Felicity got last season to bypass her spinal damage and let her walk is directly mentioned for the first time, as it's shut off by the EMP, leaving her crippled again.
    • Also for the first time this season, the original Team Arrow lair under Verdant is mentioned.
  • Doomed by Canon: In the flashbacks, set between seasons, Oliver and Felicity spend a romantic night together, but since we know that they weren't together back at the start of the season, she decides that it can't mean anything.
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  • Easily Forgiven: At the end of the episode, John seemingly forgives Lyla for her unlawful behaviour.
  • From Bad to Worse: Oliver and Felicity's situation throughout the episode. First, they're trapped, Felicity can't walk, and they can't call for help. Then Oliver falls from the booby-trapped elevator shaft and injures himself. Then their attempts to get the power back cause a gas main to leak toxic methane. Then Oliver starts passing out from his injury and physical exertion. Then they find out that the generator's failsafe reactivation will ignite the gas. And all that's without mentioning the problems that crop up when Diggle tries to rescue them.
  • I Am a Monster: Oliver confesses to Felicity that he has been killing for all these years because he enjoyed it. Felicity however isn't convinced.
  • Insistent Terminology: Curtis is once again annoyed at Rene calling his T-Spheres balls.
  • Irony: Felicity reflects on the fact that, in designing the bunker to be an impenetrable fortress, Cisco inadvertently also made it into an impenetrable death trap.
  • Like an Old Married Couple:
    • Oliver and Felicity spend the majority of the episode bickering over what happened last episode.
    • Rene and Curtis spend a decent amount of time bickering, prompting Dinah to quip that they'll make the cutest couple someday.
  • Not So Different:
    • What Lyla claims between ARGUS and Team Arrow. Of course, there is one major difference. Team Arrow operates outside the law, but they generally try to make sure the criminals they face end up in police custody (Ra's Al-Ghul, Damien Darhk, and Count Vertigo I are major exceptions). While ARGUS as an official government agency isn't yet ignores the most basic civil rights if they see fit — which seems to be almost always no matter who's in charge.
    • Oliver and Felicity finally realize how alike they are in their self-righteous attitude.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Since the public knows Chase is a serial killer, every defense lawyer in town is trying to get every prosecution that he supervised as the DA appealed.
    • Oliver and Felicity broke up because they never really talked about their issues.
    • Why did Oliver drop the sleeveless look? Because it was Awesome, but Impractical, having your arms exposed means they are likely to get damaged in battle.
    • Oliver may be a determinator, but even he can only take so much; the cumulative effects of the EMP, falling from down the elevator shaft, continuing bleeding, and inhaling methane gas leave him disoriented and passing out. He keeps going with a shot of adrenaline, but he still needs medical attention after getting to safety.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Adrian hasn't forgotten what Oliver did to this father and now he comes after his son.
  • Rule of Drama: Since the EMP shut down the ventilation systems, Curtis claims that Ollie and Felicity might only have a few hours of air. In reality, given the size of the bunker and connected areas, they'd have more like days to weeks, at least. And then Ollie and Felicity accidentally breach the bunker's methane pipe. Oops.
  • Shipper on Deck: In the interim between Season 4 & 5, Curtis really wanted for Oliver and Felicity to get back together. The end of the episode shows that he's still rooting for them.
  • Shooting Superman: Oliver actually wasted 11 explosive arrows on a bunker door built to repel nuclear blasts.
  • Shot to the Heart: Felicity plunges an adrenaline syringe needle into Oliver's chest, completely ignoring the rest of Team Arrow trying to give her instructions on how to do it safely. Not even a second passes before Ollie jolts upright as though he just inhaled 20 espressos.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Oliver and Felicity are at their best again.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The promo for the episode suggested that Adrian was in the bunker with Felicity and Oliver, playing a sadistic cat and mouse game. In reality, he only did this as a distraction while searching for Oliver's son.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Felicity refuses to let Oliver think of himself as a sadistic killer, pointing out all the good things he managed to accomplish despite going through hell for 10 years by now and that Adrian basically forced him to spell out what he wanted to hear.

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