‘Arrow’ 1.21 Episode Recap and Review: The Undertaking

The Undertaking is almost under way on this week’s episode of Arrow!

Ollie’s Wednesday night vigilantism routine gains him possession of the laptop of Harold Bachman, the accountant for most of the bad guys in town. Felicity’s l33t hacking skillz turn up a lead on Walter’s disappearance: a $2,000,000 transfer on the day he disappeared to the account of underground casino owner and notorious kidnapped Dominic Alonzo. Felicity volunteers to infiltrate, as finding Walter is the whole reason she signed on in the first place. The plan is for her to get caught counting cards so that she can plant a bug on Alonzo. It works up until the point where Alonzo find’s Felicity’s earpiece that connects her to Ollie. This, of course, sends Oliver in, arrows a-blazing. Alonzo tells Oliver that Walter is dead.

When Ollie breaks the news to his mother and Thea, Mo flips out and heads straight to Malcolm. Malcolm has proof that Walter is still alive, but now an eaves-dropping Oliver knows that his Mo and Malcolm are neck-deep in something seriously bad. Ollie has Felicity bring up Malcolm’s phone records to track down where Walter is being kept. One parachuting rescue mission later, Walter is safely in the hospital, surrounded by friends, family, and Malcolm Merlyn. Oliver, realizing that Digg was right about everything all along, swallows his pride and gets his friend back on the team.

Instead of an island flashback this episode, we’re treated to a series of even earlier scenes. Malcolm, Mo, Ollie’s Dad (Robert), Frank, and a few others are attempting to clean up the Glades by blackmailing the bad guys into using their own money to fix it up. It’s not working nearly quickly enough for Malcolm, though. He wants to level the Glades entirely, and he has the means to do it. He’s even bought a third of the property there so that he can rebuild it properly. Robert and Mo are against it, so Malcolm has Frank plant a bomb on the Queen’s Gambit. Meanwhile, Ollie is freaking out because Laurel wants them to move in together, so he acts out and invites Sarah on the trip.

I know I’ve been pretty anti-flashback in general, but I did love getting the chance to see how the Undertaking got going. Looks like the group wasn’t so bad, originally. In fact, they seemed to be following Oliver’s M.O., only with fewer arrows. What I’m really interested to know is how Mo ended up on board with the whole thing. Is it just the threat of losing her kids as well as her husband, or was there another defining moment that turned her from trophy wife to Undertaking board member?

I’m still waiting for a way for Oliver to get brooding and self-righteous without it coming off like he’s just another pouting rich kid. His initial refusal to go talk to Digg savored a lot more of being raised an entitled jerk than of honestly feeling what he did was right. I do like that it was having his faith in his mother shaken that got him to cave and show up at Digg’s place. Hopefully this whole debacle will just make the team stronger in the long run.

Arrow‘s season finale is next week. See you guys then!

Best Quote:
Felicity: “I know Oliver’s religiously against admitting that he’s wrong…”

Things to Ponder:

  • Season ending prediction – Malcolm Merlyn is going to die in some grand fight very soon, Tommy’s going to blame Oliver and then take his father’s place in a Green Goblin-esque plot twist.
  • So Malcolm was still planning on destroying the Glades, even when Tommy was spending most of his time there? Nice, Dad.


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  1. Felicity undercover, Walter rescued, Diggs and Oliver reunited – what an episode! Looking forward to the season finale, wonder what kind of cliffhangers they have in store. I also think it must have to do mostly with Tommy and that storyline.