‘Fundamentals’ Episode Review: One Of The Best Arrow Episodes Yet

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Season 6 of Arrow hasn’t quite hit the standards of last season, but the latest episode was certainly a high-point…

After the highs of Season 5, the latest season of Arrow hasn’t hit the same notes. But the two latest episodes have offered viewers some hope that the series can deliver. ‘Fundamentals’ managed to deliver one of the best episodes of Season 6 so far, calling back to Season 2 in the process.

The latest instalment featured Oliver Queen hallucinating after being drugged with Vertigo. As a result, he was visited by some ghosts from the past — including Season 5 villain, Prometheus.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Ollie has been visited by ghosts from the past. It first happened in Season 2’s excellent ‘Three Ghosts’.

What’s So Similar About ‘Fundamentals’ And ‘Three Ghosts’?

[Credit: The CW]
If I’m being totally honest, ‘Three Ghosts’ is one of my favourite episodes of Arrow. The Christmas setting alongside Ollie’s visions is an obvious A Christmas Carol reference. But, allied to that, it also happens to be an excellent story.

After, Oliver is drugged following a battle with Cyrus Gold, and Felicity’s cure makes him hallucinate. Much like the Charles Dickens story, he’s haunted by ghosts representing the past, present and future. His former lover, Shado, represents the past, Slade Wilson the present and Tommy Merlyn his redemption for the future.

Ever since that episode, Oliver has grown tremendously as a person and it was the vision of Tommy that allowed him to defeat Slade. Oliver’s best friend’s words echoed in his head and he was able to get up and defeat Cyrus Gold in the end.

Hearing from his best friend that he was a hero changed Oliver’s outlook for his mission. From that day forward, he underlined his journey from killer vigilante to full-fledged hero.

‘Fundamentals’ manages to do the same thing. At his lowest ebb, Oliver fights back from the brink, with three, very different, ghosts.

Who are the Ghosts in ‘Fundamentals’?

Though there are similarities between the two episodes, Oliver isn’t haunted by ghosts of his past, present and future this time. Instead, he’s visited by three visions of his past. The first is the ghost of Prometheus, the villain of Season 5. Sadly, his return is spoiled by the opening credits, but it still packs a punch when he appears in front of Oliver in the bunker.

Much like Season 5, Prometheus goads Oliver and tries to break him. This time though, because he’s a product of Oliver’s subconscious, he does so in a very different way. ‘Fundamentals’ differs from ‘Three Ghosts’ because this time around Ollie knows he’s hallucinating, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great episode.

As the episode progresses, Prometheus shows Oliver a vision of Laurel, Earth-1 Laurel, and also appears when he goes to the mayoral hearing. It becomes clear to Oliver that his DA is crooked and Prometheus mocks him for this, claiming he doesn’t have the best taste in DAs.

The final straw for Oliver is when he’s visited by the ghost of his former self:

‘Fundamentals’ Offers Oliver Clarity

Seeing his former self offers Oliver a sense of clarity. As he said to himself, there was never supposed to be a Team Arrow, there was only the mission. What was that mission? To save his city.

Just as ‘Three Ghosts’ allowed him to transition from vigilante to hero, ‘Fundamentals’ cleared his mind and allowed him to see clearly. Things weren’t working, which is exactly why his team has abandoned him. Diggle told Oliver that although he had become a better hero, his leadership skills had suffered.

Venturing out on his own is a bold move for Oliver Queen, particularly when Season 5 tried to show him the importance of his team. With Team Arrow fractured, now it’s down to Oliver to defeat Ricardo Diaz alone.

We’ve ranked the best CW superheroes here. Go on, you know you want to.

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