I am not entirely sure how I feel about this week’s episode of ‘Arrow.’ It was not quite as good as the previous week, but it did not feel like a complete misstep either, more than anything it just felt like a bridge episode and was saved a lot by the great action scenes, a cool new villain, and a nice twist at the end that I honest did not see coming.
The bad, though, let’s talk about that first. Diggle was very out of character for a lot of the episode. I get that he is a fugitive and cannot see his son, but I have a hard time believing Diggle would allow himself to go so crazy on random criminals and let his emotions get the better of him the way he did during this episode. Aside from the one time he killed his brother, he has always been in control, the calm center of the team, and it just seemed very forced to make him crazy angry just so Rene could help him out by bringing in Lyla and young JJ at the end of the episode. Also bothersome, is the fact that Susan Williams is suddenly a completely different character, acting like Oliver’s new best friend and giving him advice on being the mayor. Is this not the woman who was trying to destroy his career like 3 episodes ago, and currently has intel placing Oliver in Russia when he was supposed to be stranded on Lian Yu? My only hope is that she is playing a long con and is trying to lure Oliver into a fake relationship to get more dirt on him so she can get her story and stab him in the back, otherwise, the writers are butchering her character. Also, I am getting tired of the Oliver wondering if he should go back to killing discussion as I thought we put it to bed last episode, and him almost discussing it with Susan makes me nervous, as we know she is an untrustworthy character, and it is DUMB for Oliver to share anything with her. Lastly on the list of bad, while I do like the Thea/ Quentin dynamic, I do not like spending so much of the episode on them. As I suspected last week, Quentin is clearly not Prometheus, which he and Thea figure out pretty quickly, and the episode is spent with Quentin pretty stubbornly refusing to help himself, until Thea tricks him into going to a rehab facility, and they finally discuss how he is drinking to deal with Laurel’s death, the biggest DUH moment of the season. He goes inside, but I’m not sure his character really felt true in this particular storyline, as I would have preferred for Quentin to be strong for Laurel now that she is not there to help him, instead of relapsing and becoming a weaker character with her gone.
The good, there’s a lot of that. Vigilante is an awesome anti-hero, acting and sounding a lot like Oliver from Season 1, except he uses guns and seems way more bad-ass, and many suspect he may just be the DA Chase, especially after he went a little crazy on one of the bank robbery suspects from the episode during her interrogation, even telling her that he has “been to hell, and that makes me somebody that you do not want to screw with.” He’s either a huge liar or someone with a dark past, which would make him a perfect fit for being Vigilante, especially after the lead-up where at first he did not like the idea of vigilantes running around the city. I also really enjoyed the whole new Quiver Crew dynamic as they worked together to take down Dunn and his bank robbing crew, while also trying to keep the Vigilante in check, and loved the idea of the team pretending to rob a bank to draw out the Vigilante, especially with Felicity along under one of the skull masks so she can hack the security cameras in person. When they do draw out the Vigilante and he and Oliver duel, I loved the tension of Curtis being held at gunpoint, and the irony of the Vigilante claiming Oliver has not lost enough people to understand the war they are in, and the look on Oliver’s face as we remember the litany of loved ones the man has lost since Season 1. One of the highlights of the season for me have been the one-on-one choreographed fights for the Green Arrow, and this was another good one, although brief, ending with Vigilante being tied to a column, and then escaping when Oliver tries to lift his mask and a flash grenade safeguard going off, distracting Oliver long enough for the anti-hero to escape.
In the flashbacks, made all the more awesome now that they heavily feature Dolph Lungren as Kovan, Kovan lets Oliver take a break from his week of torture to share a meal, where he reveals that Taiana’s mother works for him, and has since her children disappeared. Seems Kovan took pity on the woman and has been helping her look for her missing children, confusing Oliver who had been told by Taiana that Kovan was a monster. Kovan says for the first of many times that heroes and monsters are all a matter of perspective, and points out that Oliver and the Bratva are monsters as well, pointing out that the man they told Oliver to kill in prison was done solely so they could take over the man’s online business. Kovan then lets Oliver know that he is making a deal with the Bratva, a fact that Oliver does not believe, but he does take advantage of the moment to take Kovan hostage using one of the knives on the table. As he holds the man hostage, Kovan’s men rush into the room and it becomes a standoff, and Oliver challenges Kovan to a fight (clearly Oliver never saw the ‘Rocky’ movies). In another AWESOME duel, Kovan beats the s#@% out of Oliver, proving that Dolph still has the moves. Then the Bratva show up, clearly in league with Kovan, confirming what Kovan told Oliver, and Oliver is kept alive as he has some value to the group due to who he is.
In the final moments of the episode Thea reveals to Oliver everything about Lance, and they realize that Prometheus targeted the man because he knows Oliver is the Green Arrow. Rene invites Lyla and JJ to HIVE to have a surprise secret birthday party that Diggle can attend, and we finally meet the child who replaced young Sara in the timeline due to the Flashpoint events. And lastly, we see Evelyn Sharp on a rooftop waiting for someone in full Artemis gear, and then out strides Prometheus, who she assures no one suspects she is in league with. Wait what? That I definitely did not see coming.
- In the ‘Young Justice’ TV series they played a lot with the idea of Artemis betraying the team only to find out she was playing a long con to bring down the villain, I wonder if this will be an homage to her appearance in that show, where she was first introduced to a lot of fans who don’t read the comics
- If DA Chase is Vigilante, he is off the list of suspects for Prometheus, but it does bring Felicity’s boyfriend Billy to the top of my list for Prometheus suspects
- WHERE IS MALCOLM MERLYN? If we do not see him before the Winter Break I am going to be annoyed. However, if he is part of ANY of the Arrowverse show’s cliffhanger endings before the break, I will be satisfied.
- Will we ever see Thea rejoin the team? I feel like a lot of the comments between her and Lance about finding happiness and moving on past Laurel’s death also applied to her, as her coping mechanism was to abandon crimefighting, and she was never more fun than when she was Speedy in the costume.
- What value does Oliver have for Kovan and the Bratva, clearly they can’t be thinking of ransoming him back to his family, as they had no idea he was alive yet, right? Unless it was another secret of Moira’s…. wouldn’t it be cool to see a cameo by her in the flashback? Just to see her fighting to save her son, and then find out Oliver wasn’t really there (even though he was). Would be nice to see her again.
- For someone whose codename is “Mr. Terrific” Curtis has been fairly useless so far in combat, this week even getting himself captured and held at gunpoint by the villain, just a few weeks after he got stabbed and had to be rescued by Rene who sacrificed himself so the others could get Curtis out of there. Curtis better earn that name soon.
So like I said, some high points, some low points, nothing unforgivable. At this point, I’m just looking forward to the big crossover which is finally going to happen the week after Thanksgiving, which also just happens to be the 100th episode of ‘Arrow.’ See you back here then!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter (@starfro67)