Arrow is back! Well, sort of. Not really. But...uh..
FULL EPISODE SPOILERS
The show is back, there we go. And we have an all-new villain, a new development in the flashbacks, and some startling discoveries. Plus, big cliffhanger. HUGE.
This wasn't a perfect episode, yeah, so it basically just continues the issue it has with coming off of a strong midseason finale. Out of it's Episode 10's, though, this was probably the best. It had several emotional moments and great action sequences to keep it going, as well as, like I said, some pretty big developments.
I really do like the direction this episode took, too. The obvious focus here is that Oliver is gone and Team [Arrow](series:720988) is going to have to come to grips with that fact. But also having an interesting mystery as well as introducing a major threat to the Glades (that place is finally getting some action again, good) was definitely something I did not expect.
I've heard that the producers are making this next set of episodes something of a "trilogy," in which I fully expect it to be dedicated to the rise of Arsenal and Black Canary as Starling's new vigilantes while they combat Starling's biggest threat since Slade Wilson.
Another thing I like about this episode is its throwback to Season 2. It's not a direct throwback but it is an interesting one. All of the petty criminals Team Arrow has been rounding up since they defeated Slade's Mirakurus have all been rounded up been have been all sort of kept together by Brick, our new big enemy from the Glades. It just makes their efforts carry that much more weight. It's almost like Batman rounding up all of the villains to Gotham only for them to escape again.
So, you know, like every Batman story ever.
There are a few moments where I partly rolled my eyes, such as the crazy wire-work that was put on Arsenal during the fight sequence--though to their credit I do like how they are establishing how physically adept he is--as well as a few pieces of dialogue being delivered a bit off. It's just that in such a serious episode it's difficult to fully grip all of it when something like that is going on.
And for an emotional episode I wasn't feeling my heartstrings played at until that final scene with Diggle where he remarks on his long relationship with Oliver. That was rough. We've had emotional moments with Diggle, but usually he's giving advice to Oliver. This time, he was lamenting on their time, saying that he's always thought of himself as Oliver's bodyguard. And now, well, there's not really a point.
It's a great scene not only because it's Diggle the one saying it, but it's a great scene because he's talking to Laurel. These are the two people Oliver is closest with, though I guess Felicity too, and to see them discuss his death is a pretty powerful moment.
Felicity's scenes with Ray are pretty good, too, but it's clear that they are mostly there to simply establish her relationship with him for a few more episodes. With her leaving Team Arrow--and probably the total disbandment of Team Arrow because of it--it's clear that her time will more than likely be dedicated to working with Palmer.
The disbandment of Team Arrow also came at a bit of a shock. Felicity's reaction was correct, I guess, but as far as destroying the whole operation while a very important case is going on seems to be a bit out of character to me. Brick stealing all the evidence that Team Arrow had worked toward to recover was something Oliver would not stand for, and thus to keep his memory going, working to stop Brick should be the top priority.
This may just be an early reaction and she'll come back and the team will all come together once they realize the seriousness of the situation, but this feels like the most serious of disbandments the team has faced thus far. The only one who seems truly dedicated to this is Roy, which is very exciting to think about. Much like in the comics, it'll be cool to see Roy become a hero of his own. Physically, he seems to be more than capable (maybe a little weak to take on big guys like Roy) but I expect there to be serious growth coming up for the character.
Speaking of characters with major developments on the way, how about Laurel. The jump into her becoming the Black Canary did feel a little rushed but still does make sense. Now, she is going to fight for Oliver's sake as well as to avenge him and her sister. It is a little strange that Oliver would keep around the Canary's old gear, as if he were hoping Sara would somehow come back or something like that, and it's an extreme coincidence that Laurel was able to fit into it. Maybe there were some pieces of clothing Laurel added in because I thought Laurel taller than Sara, and Sara seemed to be a little more buff than Laurel. But, this is a super hero show, and I'm questioning costumes. Moving on...
Throughout the episode there are little spottings of Malcolm Merlyn throughout, such as him delivering the bad news of Oliver and sparring with Mia, I mean Thea, so it'll be interesting to see where he goes the rest of the season. They've set up that the League is going to hunt him, and it'll be interesting to see if they go after him or Thea. I suspect Thea will live through this ordeal and eventually become Mia Dearden and join up with Team Arrow, so Malcolm's fate I'm unsure of.
Now then, the flashbacks. They were...cool. Mostly they served as developing Oliver's past life in terms of how he learns to fight as well as establishing Amanda Waller as a cold-hearted boss. I bet she doesn't even give raises. Maseo wants to go after China White to find his wife and Oliver whole-heartedly agrees. But, Waller makes them steal a chemical that goes with another chemical that makes things go boom.
At least, that's how I interpreted it.
During the fight, Oliver takes down a man but lets him live. Waller and Maseo question his motive, but Oliver in secret tells Maseo that he planted a tracker on the man, and he will lead them straight back to Tatsu. For that, Maseo says, he is forever in Oliver's debt since they can find Tatsu.
AND BOY DOES IT PAY OFF!
Throughout the episode, we see flashes of a man taking Oliver's dead, stabbed, and frozen body away from where he was on the mountain. In one little snippet, it's revealed that man is actually Maseo. That one wasn't much of a shock.
What is a shock is that Oliver is freaking alive. As we find out, Maseo brought Oliver's body to a cabin in a woods where he is put in some sort of pod-thing and we see that Tatsu has healed him back to life!
This is crazy! Like I've said previously, it's obvious that Oliver would come back. But not only is this happening quicker than expected, but now it's a matter of how he comes back. Tatsu seems intent on indeed restoring Oliver to proper health, but for what purpose? And, perhaps he'll even add in some additional training to be able to combat Ra's al Ghul or save Starling City from it's imminent fall against Brick. Oliver is clearly going to return to a city in turmoil with two unknown vigilantes desperately holding things together.
What's very promising is that Tatsu is still alive, meaning we will find her sometime in the flashbacks, and that there is potential for her to become Katana and join the fight alongside Oliver.
So while this episode of Arrow may not have had that big, emotional affect it was looking for, it certainly has set-up many promising events to come in the show as well as set the stage for new heroes to rise up. Let's not forget: Ray Palmer is still heavily moving forward with his A.T.O.M. project. So, yeah, that's a thing.