Arrow season 4, episode 14, “Code of Silence,” featured a H.I.V.E. attack on Oliver as well as some complications between Donna and Lance.
“Code of Silence” felt less like a standalone episode and more like a piece of a larger puzzle. Our A-plot was movement in Oliver’s election storyline while the subplots were more relationship-focused, looking at Donna and Lance’s developing relationship and reintroducing Oliver’s son to the narrative.
H.I.V.E. vs. Queen
With Damien Darhk’s wife, Ruve, entering the mayoral election as part of H.I.V.E.’s plan, a debate between the two candidates is set up. Rather than actually let the debate happen, though, H.I.V.E. hires a black market demolitions team to bomb the building, planning to leave only Ruve alive. The sole survivor of a terrorist attack, Ruve would become a sympathetic figure and easily win the election unopposed.
That falls apart when Team Arrow interrupts things, of course. Team Arrow successfully defeats the demolitions team and clears the bombs. The debate goes off without a hitch and Oliver is declared the winner.
This plot is pretty straight forward. The main takeaway seems to be that H.I.V.E. will do anything to reach their ends and Damien Darhk still doesn’t know Oliver is the Green Arrow. Malcolm Merlyn, who has thrown in his lot with Darhk and H.I.V.E., does not seem to have shared that tidbit — probably because it would endanger Thea.
Donna and Quentin
Also targeted this episode is Quentin Lance, whose cover has been blown. The demolitions team bombs a building Quentin is responding to a call in, and he just barely makes it out with Laurel’s help. As a result, he pushes Donna away in an archaic effort to protect her. Donna, however, has more self-respect than to put up with that kind of treatment so breaks up with him on the spot.
Felicity, though, encourages Donna to give Lance a shot. She suggests he might have a good reason for lying to her. And I really have to hope she wouldn’t give that advice to her mother if she didn’t know the guy in question as well as she knows Lance because, objectively, it’s kind of terrible advice.
Anyway, Lance eventually tells Donna the truth: he used to work for H.I.V.E. to protect Laurel and then stopped. That put him in their cross-hairs. Donna, whose daughter was paralyzed by H.I.V.E. as well, realizes the danger Lance was trying to protect her from and forgives him.
This is yet another iteration of a tired superhero trope I’ve raged against in more than one episode review, so thankfully it didn’t last for longer than half an episode. One day a superhero series will acknowledge that keeping a dangerous double life a secret from loved ones to protect them actually puts them in danger. Alas, today is not that day, as Lance revealed the truth because he was afraid of losing Donna, not simply out of logic. Still, it was good to see the pair get back together. They both deserve some happiness.
Oliver’s son, William, was brought back into this episode as Thea, doing a bit of detective work, discovers the truth for herself but encourages Oliver to do what is best for his son — which is keeping his identity a secret, per Samantha’s wishes.
However, Oliver continues to feel guilty about keeping the secret from Felicity. The couple has an engagement party in the episode and the wedding is moving closer, but Oliver is still keeping this bombshell from her. I’d like to think Felicity would be as understanding as Thea was if Oliver tells her he has a son; rather, when the truth comes out, it’s the lie — and the implied lack of trust in her — she’s going to be upset about.
And it looks like that lie will come out sooner rather than later as Damien Darhk has abducted William and brought him to stay with his family.
Also worth noting
- As an engagement present, Curtis gives Felicity a spinal implant that, when powered by Palmer Technology’s new battery, might be able to stimulate her spine and help her walk. If this goes as planned, it’s going to seem pretty pointless putting Felicity in a wheelchair for a few episodes only to get her walking again.
- Lyla is now the head of A.R.G.U.S. and is apparently spending a lot of time at the office in the wake of Amanda Waller’s death.
- Damien Darhk can use his magic to kill people over long distances, as he kills a H.I.V.E. member who disagrees with him via video feed.