Compared to the rest of Arrow, “Betrayal” wasn’t all that bad. In fact, if they kept up more episodes like this, the show wouldn’t seem to be that awful. Sure, the underlying issues are still there, but the writing isn’t drawing attention to them.
For instance, Oliver kills off dozens of nameless bodyguards. However, without his double-standard inducing moralizing about how it’s different when he kills people, it’s not so bothersome. On the other hand, of course, claiming that the villain’s hide-out is too heavily fortified was hilariously disjointed. Oliver basically walked right into the hide-out. His only trouble came when he was exactly one arrow short. The second time through, you’d think he would’ve just packed another arrow. But then there wouldn’t have been an awesome team-up between Det. Lance.
Speaking of Det. Lance, his focus on the Hood has caused strife in both his home and work life. He betrays Laurel by using her connection to the Hood to trap the vigilante, which ultimately gets him nowhere. Meanwhile, his boss alternates between thinking they should give up on the case and telling Det. Lance that he wants to get the vigilante just as bad. Also, someone in the precinct betrays Det. Lance and gets Laurel kidnapped, which forces Det. Lance to team up with Oliver.
Speaking of Laurel being kidnapped, turns out she can more than hold her own in a fight. In fact, her little fight where she soundly defeats them using her front door and an umbrella is one of the best action scenes in the series to date. She also keeps disturbingly calm after being kidnapped and outright threatens the villain, even though she’s well aware of the fact that he is going to kill her.
There’s also a small side plot where Diggle looks into Moira’s involvement in Robert’s death and Walter’s disappearance. It’s just nice to see someone do some actual work into trying to uncover the secrets of the List. And it actually makes sense, for once, that Diggle would do it as Oliver is obviously can’t be objective when it comes to his mother. The best part, however, is the cliffhanger it ends the episode on which makes it feel like something may actually happen.
If “Betrayal” was the level Arrow strove for every episode, it would be a fairly decent show. Sure it would still be riddled with weird inconsistencies and have a particularly unheroic hero headlining. However, there would be something fun and interesting to it. It might even be consistently entertaining.