Arrow's most popular character takes center stage in a light and charming story during which everyone is nice to each other. It's pretty cool. For those of you who like the heavy stuff? There's plenty of that in the rest of the episode.
"Time of Death," despite the ominous title, is a light-hearted episode. And because it stars Felicity, that's good. The only problem is the rather sweet little main story contrasts heavily with the other plot threads - where there are some heavy moral dilemmas going on. We'll start with Felicity's problems, and go dark later.
William Tockman, the Clock King, has engineered a theft of Kord anti-encryption technology, and is using it to commit bank robberies. When one of his henchmen goes off his schedule and murders a security guard, Tockman stabs the guy to death with a second hand. The body brings the attention of the Arrow crew.
They swing into action! And they know how, because at the beginning we see Sarah and her incredible abs fight both Dig and Ollie with sticks! Then we see Sarah and Ollie and Dig compare awesome scars. Then we see Ollie and Sarah, though not Dig, kiss each other before going out to get the Clock King during a heist, where Ollie manages to stop the theft of some money and Sarah gets a blood sample from whanging the Clock King in the head with an escrima stick.
Felicity gets to do none of these things. She also gets to do no other things, because as it turns out Sarah can analyze blood! And also Sarah can work computers! Did we mention that Sarah's having sex with Ollie and they're happy together? Felicity doesn't even get to shine at her own stuff, because the Clock King is a hacker, who manages to get into the Arrow team's systems and deliver smug monologues and make the computers explode with a virus (I will state that the tech-savvy person sitting next to me groaned loudly at this).
In other words, Felicity is having a crappy couple of days, and the others on the team go out of their way to be nice about it. I've heard that the reason no one acts like a decent human being on reality shows is it's boring to see people resolve conflicts appropriately, but this episode totally proves that theory wrong. For one thing, Felicity, isn't a jerk about what's going on. As she's sadly, guiltily clearing out dead computer equipment, Sarah has to leave for a family reunion dinner, and - in a burst of total delusion - thinks it would good to have Oliver there. When Oliver hesitates, Felicity orders them both out, noting that they can't help with anything she's doing. While she's not saying anything in a nasty tone of voice, Emily Bett Rickards is great at showing that Felicity has lost her sparkle, and lost it for a specific and personal reason. Still, she wants Ollie and his new girlfriend to be happy.
Dig is a goddamn hero. Not only does he catch on, immediately, to what's happening with Felicity (and David Ramsey is good at conveying this with a look), but he does everything he can to help her feel better while allowing her to hang on to her dignity. (Also, he's a hero in other ways. I mean, what is this character thinking? "Well, my brother's murderer is out there, probably killing other people, but sure, I'll help you stop a bank robber! And let me fix your relationship problems, too. I don't want you to be sad or anything.")
Sarah knows what's going on immediately. Granted, it's not subtle, what with Felicity dressing up in pink spandex work-out gear and trying to thwap a practice dummy to death, and later actually stealing Sarah's jacket and claiming she was cold, but Sarah notes everything without getting defensive. She helps Felicity practice punches, lets the jacket theft go, and repeatedly asks Felicity if she wants to talk.
In the end, Felicity's insecurity turns her temporarily boneheaded. The Arrow team has set a trap for the Clock King at a bank, and she goes right into it and tracks him from a computer in the bank. The team gets to her before the Clock King does, and it's the only time their patience wears thin. Their mutual looks of, "For crying out loud," are pretty funny. Felicity gets shot in the shoulder pushing Sarah out of the way of a bullet, and takes the Clock King down by using his virus to explode his cell phone (so many groans from the side of the couch). The episode ends with everyone praising her, making sure she feels she's appreciated, and secretly drugging her with oxycodone so she feels tough while getting her shoulder stitched up. (It's sweet in context.) They're doing it not to patronize her, but because they understand that if she feels like she needs a 'red badge of courage' to be part of the team, they're happy to acknowledge it.
So yeah. Everyone worked together to make each other happy. No emotional dysfunction. Just good teamwork and people who care about each other. Awesome.
Now let's get to the messed up stuff.
Moral Question One: It turns out the Clock King is dying, and is only stealing money for his sister, who needs a lung transplant. He planned the heists so they would be committed without bloodshed. When one of his henchmen kills a guard, he kills the henchmen - which is the kind of justice that Ollie and the team found satisfactory mere months ago. And yet not only do they take him down, they tell him his heists are "not right." That, I think, is at least debatable. Is taking money nonviolently worth saving a life?
Moral Question Two: Quentin, thinking that Dinah is sending out romantic signals, organizes a family dinner to encourage a reconciliation. Laurel, full of hope, agrees to host. Sarah, full of delusions, brings Ollie along - and Quentin's dead stop in the middle of both a word and a step when he sees Ollie is pretty funny. That's the last funny thing that happens during this dinner. I can't describe how wrong this thing goes, or how fast it goes there. It's a ten car pile-up seen in fast-motion. It's a building demolition in high gravity. That dinner went supernova.
It never occurred to Dinah to come back to Quentin, because she has a job and a man in Central City. When Sarah supports her, saying, "You deserve to be happy. Everybody does," Laurel catches the look she gives Oliver. She implodes the dinner, screaming at Sarah and Ollie, and yelling at her dad for expecting her mom to "wait" for him. Now, everything she's saying is true. It's godawful to hook up with one sister then switch to the other. Quentin hung his hopes on nothing and hurt everyone. But just because something is true, do you have to say it?
Moral Question Three: Ollie follows Laurel into the hallway and breaks up with her, once and (please god) for all. She whines about her family problems. He whines about his family problems - you know, the one that happened because twenty years ago his mother had an affair that led to the birth of his beloved sister, and then lied about it to keep her family together and off the radar of a supervillain. How awful. Is it me or are these people creating their own problems? (At least Laurel seems to realize it, reconciles with Sarah, and goes to AA with Quentin.)
Moral Question Four: Moira seems to have taken up my attitude, when it comes to Ollie's preaching. You can see the, "Grow up, Little Lord Fauntleroy," in her eyes when she talks to him. At one point she actually says, "This is my house." Meanwhile, Thea notices the weirdness between them and fakes an emergency to get Moira and Ollie together to talk. Ollie grits out that Thea has sensed the tension between them (And whose fault is that, Ollie?), and he's only keeping secrets to protect Thea (You mean the same thing that Moira did, Ollie?). He still hates his mother, and he wants her to know that at every opportunity. The question is - Asshole, asshole, asshole, asshole, asshole, right?
And then Moira ushers Ollie into the living room to meet someone . . . AND IT'S DEATHSTROKE!