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‘Arrow’ Recap: 5×20 “Underneath”

Arrow recap: Season 5, Episode 20, “Underneath”, Aired May 3, 2017.

I’m not even sure where to begin with this episode. The storyline was great, the flashbacks were great, the acting was phenomenal – just wow. “Underneath” is a definite contender for best episode of the season. Let’s get into it!


For the second week in a row, we skip the conventional flashbacks. This week, they follow Oliver and Felicity during the hiatus between seasons four and five. They are doing the Arrow work alone, with occasional technological help from Curtis. Curtis has noticed a spark between Oliver and Felicity and brings it up with Felicity, before tricking them into a date night. He makes Oliver pick up Chinese food and leaves Olicity alone at the last second, mentioning that there is wine in the bunker.

The next flashback features Oliver attempting to teach Felicity how to use the salmon ladder. She’s not doing great, but that’s okay, because Oliver is there to help her out. This leads to a moment as Felicity is descending from the ladder, which then leads to bunker sex.

Afterward, both Oliver and Felicity look blissfully happy. They discuss Curtis’s master matchmaking plan, which somehow leads to an unfortunate conversation where Felicity reveals that nothing has changed – they still cannot be together. It all comes back to the trust issue. Felicity cannot be with Oliver because she feels like he does not trust her (or anyone) and she does not know why.

“I love you, but that is why I can’t settle for anything less than your full trust.”

In our final flashback, Felicity apologizes to Oliver for the way that she ended things without ever discussing it. She also tells him that “she’s not saying never” but that she isn’t ready yet. Oliver responds that he’s not going anywhere. Things are definitely looking hopeful for Arrow‘s fan favorite couple.


Our present day storyline started where the last episode left off. Oliver and Felicity are stranded in the bunker after an EMP (which has rendered Felicity paralyzed) was set off by Prometheus.

Rene and Lance quickly realize that Oliver and Felicity are MIA and Curtis discovers that the bunker has no power. You’ve gotta give Team Arrow props for how quickly they noticed something was wrong. Down below, Oliver reveals to Felicity that Chase knows that William (Oliver’s son) exists. They are both concerned for the boy’s safety, and theorize that Chase is planning to go after William while Oliver and Felicity are stuck in the bunker.

Oliver decides to climb the elevator shaft, something Felicity is adamantly against. She has an alternate plan, but Oliver will not listen to it. Felicity turns out to be right, though, when Oliver falls down the shaft and lands on a giant bolt sticking out of the floor – ouch. Felicity stitches him up while repeatedly saying “I told you so” (12 times!). While stitching, they argue over whether or not Oliver trusts Felicity. This discussion ends in Oliver agreeing to try Felicity’s plan, which involves generating electricity from Oliver’s motorcycle.

Up above, Team Arrow is trying everything to help Oliver and Felicity. Curtis unfortunately cannot use his T-Spheres because they were fried in the blast. While Curtis and Rene work in the elevator shaft, Dinah opens up to Diggle about her former partner. She tells him that they kept things from each other, just like Dig and Lyla, because they had to, not because they wanted to.

“I swear those two are gonna make the cutest couple one day.”

-Dinah (about Rene and Curtis)

Back in the bunker, Oliver and Felicity discuss the events of last episode while waiting for the motorcycle’s electricity to work. Oliver repeats that he is not okay with Felicity’s work with Helix because he doesn’t want her to be like him. Then, the motorcycle-electricity setup explodes – busting a pipe! And, just when you think things can’t get any worse for our favorite power couple, it turns out that it is the methane pipe, and they are now being slowly poisoned.

As they try to deal with that danger, another looms – Oliver is quickly losing blood. He collapses, and as he succumbs to unconsciousness he admits to Felicity all of the things Adrian Chase brought out of him a few weeks previous. Oliver enjoyed the killing, and he considers his entire crusade to be based on a lie. He also says that it’s himself he doesn’t trust, not Felicity. He says he will always trust Felicity. After this admission, he passes out.

Surprisingly, our main character is not dead, and wakes back up after his wound reclots. Felicity takes this opportunity to tell Oliver that she knows the kind of person he is, and that it’s a miracle he isn’t a monster after all he’s gone through.

“You’ve spent 10 years dealing with horrors most people don’t even know exist. And the fact that that didn’t turn you into a monster proves exactly what kind of man you are.”

Meanwhile, Lyla gives Diggle an audit of every Argus mission she has participated in. Lyla reveals that Argus has borrowed/stolen/improved on Curtis’s T-Spheres. Kind of shady, sure, but very useful for the current predicament. They send one down and let Oliver and Felicity know that they are running out of time – if the electricity comes back on (which it will shortly) the methane will ignite and the bunker will explode.

Team Arrow has twelve minutes to get Oliver and Felicity to safety. Diggle is able to climb halfway down the elevator shaft, and Oliver climbs halfway up (with Felicity on his back) to meet him. He has to jump across the shaft, Felicity in tow, and somehow manages it. He almost loses Felicity in the process, and she tells him to let her go. Of course, Oliver doesn’t listen to her (which he apologizes for) and he pulls her up – they are finally safe.

The next time we see Team Arrow, they are at Argus and Oliver has just gotten out of surgery. Diggle and Lyla resolve their issues from last episode, realizing that they both work in morally gray fields. Oliver requests to see Felicity after his surgery and they talk about everything that was revealed in the bunker. The trust issue has been more or less resolved, but Felicity wants Oliver to figure out what kind of man he is. The unspoken aspect of this conversation seems to be that they cannot be together until he does.

The final moments of the episode see Adrian Chase waiting for William’s bus to arrive. Adrian initiates a conversation with the boy, and we are left on a cliffhanger!


  • This episode was basically an olicity fanfic, in the best way possible.
  • Bottle episodes are always great, and this is the closest Arrow has gotten to one.
  • Arrow finally addressed the fact that Oliver and Felicity were once engaged!
  • “This looks like the Death Star interrogation droid.”

What did you think about the episode? Are you rooting for an olicity reunion? Chime in in the comments! And for more Arrow fun, as well as my weekly recaps, head on over to our Arrow Cave!

Featured image via The CW.


Reagan Pierce

Reagan studies English and Film Studies at Texas Tech University. She aspires to be a film and television critic or entertainment writer. She loves all things TV and film. She spends her free time obsessing and blogging about Arrow, Teen Wolf, and Supergirl. Her favorite superhero is Lois Lane.

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