FULL EPISODE SPOILERS AHEAD
Phew. Just watched the episode, so I can finally catch my breath. Normally around this time, the season takes a bit of a down-turn only to finish out extremely strong. Looks like we're going to just be finishing strong all the way through, as evident through this week's episode (and, to an extent, last week's).
I mean, this episode had everything done right. Action. Romance. Comedy. Suspense. Plot advancement. Character development. Fun times in the flashback. Potential set-up for super-powers. What more could a person ask for?!
This could just be because the episode just happened, it could just be poor memory, but, I do think this might be one of the finest, if not the best, episode of the season so far. I mean, sure, "The Climb" was pretty great and there was "The Brave and Bold" just before that. But this episode was nothing short of exciting. It was edge-of-the-seat action all the way throughout that kept you guessing while the episode progressed.
Things developed quickly, but in a way that made sense. Lance has tumbled down the path of all-out war against the Arrow and Ra's is practically going along with it, splashing the League throughout it all in order to spurn more chaos, create a greater sense of hopelessness. As a result, Oliver practically suffocates and has very few options left.
There was a very real sense of claustrophobia as well. Everywhere the gang went, there was a chance that someone would attack. Be it the Foundry, Dig's house, or even the precinct. Seeing Diggle constantly raise his gun whenever someone knocked on the door was just one of the smaller things that showed the danger wasn't just to Oliver, but to everyone on Team Arrow. Nobody else seemed too paranoid but Diggle is a seasoned soldier who has heard all the same legends Oliver has. He's one of the few to have fought someone from the League (Malcolm in Season 1) prior to their assaults this season.
This episode of [Arrow](series:720988) raised the stakes in a way that would have seemed completely implausible without a snowball effect taking place, and that being, really, Oliver returning from the island. Lance practically outlined to us what happened ever since Oliver returned, describing the characters he's created, the crusades he's started. All of which, really is true. Oliver's flaws from the island had constantly become his demons in the present.
But it isn't just that it's one man against Oliver like it was before. In the past it was just Malcolm and just Slade (yeah, Brother Blood was there, but he was really just an accomplice). Now, it's Ra's. It's Lance. Heck, it's the whole city.
While previous seasons seemed to turn the tables against Oliver, this episode really flipped everything against him. The city was out to get him. He was accused of, with proof, of murdering people and injuring, if not killing, police officers. Every cop would be looking for him. Every member of the League in the city would be looking for him.
Because of this, we got to see how much his character had grown. I find difficulty in thinking that Season 1 Oliver would have stayed in the city and just resisted, would have submitted to this like he does now. Back then, Oliver was a hero, but he wasn't a super-hero. Like we learned in The Flash, Barry's greatest trait is his kindness and optimism when it comes to others. Here, we see it's Oliver's caring and desire for justice that fuels him as a super hero. Oliver might have, in the past, tried to resist the police. Now, he wants to be on their side desperately to have them learn the truth and clear the battlefield to spare them from the wrath of the League.
Oliver struggled greatly in this episode and it was very well acted on the part of Stephen Amell. He was collected, yes, but there was a clear confusion and anger burning inside as to why this was happening and what could be done about it. And really, I'm not surprised. He is, after all, playing chess against a man centuries old, a man who can wage war with the world's greatest detective. A man who, in the proper time period, could have undoubtedly conquered the whole world. This isn't a man that is to be dealt lightly. He is, to Oliver, the Devil in every sense of the word. He fools him with the promise of freedom by granting power when really it would be a damnation upon his soul. Ra's is just as sly in this iteration as the Devil would be to any other person.
And like is wont of the Devil, his curse upon our hero spreads to his allies. Team Arrow is suffering with a lack of answers and a lack of a way to respond. Even when there wasn't a plan, there was always something. They could do something. Now, though, they were charged with either resisting the cops and getting taken down for that, or going head-to-head with the League of Assassins, the most dangerous organization in the world next to A.R.G.U.S. Once again, the episode showed this struggle masterfully.
The action in this episode was also top-notch. There wasn't all that much of it following the amazing chase sequence. The way it was shot, the fight choreography, and even the music all heightened the tension to make it arguably the most exciting sequence the entire season, including the mountain fight. I was holding my breath the entire time as Roy, Laurel, and Oliver were constantly being cut off from their escape routes. It was almost like a glimpse into what was to come later in the episode.
While that scene played out, and while the episode sort of played out, I couldn't help but think of something ironic. The show's writers just gone done with a little stint over on the Green Arrow comic (covering issues #35-40). It was an okay run, nothing too spectacular. Basically the premise was that the city was turning on Green Arrow for reasons (just...reasons) and he was running low on resources and a plan. That run was fairly mediocre as it didn't focus on the tension and never capitalized on the claustrophobia someone would feel if the entire city was closing in on them.
This episode, on the contrary, shows that beautifully. Resources and plans are constantly being thrown out the window because of how implausible they are. In the end, Oliver's move to get himself turned in makes sense. Sure, Lance probably isn't in the proper mindset to listen to him, but there may be others who are. And it would give Team Arrow the opportunity to maybe contact some other people they know, like friends over in A.R.G.U.S. or even Barry (I don't know, just for reinforcements). Heck, maybe they could convince Nyssa to talk to Ra's or Maseo. Something. Oliver gave his team a chance. Typical of Team Arrow they said "screw that" but how unexpected was that?
What was unexpected and has me very excited is that Roy suddenly appeared in front of the van as they were taking Oliver away (I was half-expecting the Joker to suddenly chase them down) and revealed that he is the Arrow. While there are some obvious plot-holes with that, such as Lance KNOWING Roy is Arsenal and the fact that Oliver had already outed himself as the Arrow in the precinct, it will no doubt provide us some interesting bits where master and apprentice have a talk about heroism and doing the right thing and how Roy is crazy. Hopefully it will continue to add to Roy's ever-growing (at a slow pace) character and help flesh out a somewhat independent Roy. It seems that this was all his idea anyway, so, he may be well on the way to that.
I would be foolish to not mention that Paul Blackthorne is killing it as Captain Lance. His constant rage spurts toward Laurel and Oliver are very well done and are totally justified. The man has lost so much in such a short time, and his world keeps rocking back and forth. Matthew Nable is also really coming into his own as Ra's, showing us that this interpretation is less of a straight-up militant commander and more of an intellect, often using mind over anything else to win out a battle. Sort of like Slade, but in a far more convincing and less physically menacing way, he plants little seeds that all of a sudden shoot up into a forest of bad when someone isn't looking. It makes me wonder what will happen if his character sticks around. I mean, he already has the upmost respect for Oliver. Even if Oliver somehow manages to get out of all of this, we have no reason why Ra's would suddenly pull back and halt his assaults.
The only other two subplots this episode were the Ray being injured stuff and the flashbacks. Normally, I wouldn't really enjoy the stuff about Ray, but it was the return of Felicity's mom (out of nowhere but I don't really care) that elevated it. It went from just random breaks to either funny or heartwarming moments between the two women. Ray didn't do much but I suspect his character will be on the rise as far as likability goes given some of his stranger mannerisms we saw. The comedy and light-heartedness was really a welcomed break from all the suspense and action that was coming at us at break-neck pace.
Also: nanites that can shrink down to practically atomic size? Alright. I see you Ray Palmer. I SEE YOU.
The flashbacks were a little on the weak side, but hey, I'm not going to complain since we got the same actress who played Shado back as her twin sister. While it does seem a bit random in the grand scheme of things, it was a good flashback sequence to help Oliver learn that sometimes telling the truth is indeed the best course of action. Plus, his ability to save her and the Yamashiro boy (whose name I keep forgetting, sorry) showed how far as a fighter he's come. The return of the Yamashiro's was especially great, with Tatsu coming in leaping with a katana. Love the subtlety there. Plus, hey!, the Yamashiro's are all reunited.
I doubt this will happen, but, given that they left Shado's sister alive, maybe there's some hope we can see her in the future? I don't know. She knows that her family was killed but I imagine that can't be enough for her, despite Oliver's warnings. Maybe she'll return as Shado 2.0 and have a surprise young daughter named Emiko and then Komodo will come to Star City and wreak havoc and the Outsiders War will break out?
No? Just me? Yeah, I figured.
A more plausible theory (pft, as if that one isn't!) is a more worrisome one. Let's think about the future here, kids. Everyone in the city, and given how society is nowadays everyone in the world probably, knows that Oliver Queen is the Arrow. Fantastic, imagine how going to Disney would be for him. Well, I can't imagine things going over too well for him following the season unless the cops and denizens suddenly accept him. But even then, high-profile assassins and agencies will know exactly who to target, so the danger would be all too real. How would one fix that?
Well, given that The Flash is screwing around with time-travel and alternate timelines, what worries me is that the ol' folks at DC will press their emergency exit button of: REBOOT IT. As in, something will happen in The Flash that will somehow reverse the events of Oliver Queen being revealed as the Arrow. I can't imagine what that will be, but, oh well.
There was another more scary idea that Roy would be somehow "confirmed" as the Arrow to the public and then killed, so Oliver could reclaim the title as the Arrow, but then it would be obvious to everyone who it is so he may as well have his identity revealed then as well.
Again: don't know. I don't write the show, I just watch/ love it.
Anyway, this was an amazing episode of Arrow and is hopefully a sign of great things to come. Everything clicked and clicked beautifully this week. Not the least of which because Katrina Law as Nyssa was in the episode and, as I've said, every episode with her is like a Top 10 in my book of preferred Arrow episodes (am I in love? Probably.) so there's that. I can't see things slowing down from here, but, like The Flash, we have to take an extra week off before the home stretch.
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