As usual, Arrow takes one step forward and two steps back. However, “The Odyssey” is not as far of a backslide as Arrow could’ve taken. It’s not particularly good episode, but it at least sets some things up that could be interesting sometime down the road. Although, how many times has that been dangled?
“The Odyssey” picks up right where “Betrayal” left over: with Oliver turning his arrow on his mother. She defends herself by holding up a picture for her kids and pleading for her life for their sake, which causes him to immediately cave. Moira, being slightly smarter than either of her children, then shoots Oliver in the chest the minute he lowers his bow. Injured and unable to get to Diggle, Oliver is forced to reveal himself to Felicity, who was barely a character before this. Felicity takes all this remarkably well, saying that all the pieces fit before dragging Oliver’s dead weight off to Diggle to help put him back together. The little scenes where Felicity and Diggle are trying to save Oliver’s life are the most interesting parts of the episode.
Most of the rest of the episode takes place in the bizarrely linear PTSD flashbacks what include things Oliver couldn’t possibly have seen. So, who even knows if the flashbacks are actually related to Oliver’s sometimes PTSD? The basics of the flashbacks are these: Oliver works with Slade to try and get off the island before Slade has the island blown up but he also has to save Yao Fei. And, of course, Oliver being as dumb as bricks, screws up and runs into hidden dangers and mercenaries all along the way. Oh the forced drama of a ticking clock when the audience knows the bomb isn’t going to detonate.
Really, the problem with these flashbacks is that the audience knows the outcome. Eventually, Oliver is left pretty much alone and is rescued four and a half years after the events of “The Odyssey.” Obviously, the island isn’t really going to blow up and, obviously, Oliver isn’t going to get off this time around. Also, Oliver obviously doesn’t die when they mercenaries try to execute him. The audience already knows this. Arrow kicked off giving us those answers. Unless the flashbacks are going to start offering something to the current storyline, they should just be dropped.
There are other little things that happen, but not particularly interesting. Felicity isn’t going to join the team, she just wants to find Walter. Also, Moira’s now off-limits because, why not? Really, it’s not the worst episode. “The Odyssey” barely even highlights any of Arrow’s usual flaws. It’s just boring and doesn’t seem to have much, if any, relevance to the overall storyline. If there even is an overall storyline anymore.