Well, that last episode blew me away. Even if a few of us could kind of guess the big twist given some old photos, that made it no less perfect. Public Enemy soared straight into my top five Arrow episodes ever. It had the action, it had the teamwork, everyone, both actors and characters, were at the top of their game, and the manhunt sequence was one of my favourites. It's my custom to make my spoiler buffer something interesting, so here it is below- yes, full spoilers for Episode 18 will follow after this scene from season one.
I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I think it was very fitting that, with Lance talking about full circles, the big sacrifice in this episode occurred exactly two seasons after the above. Episode 18 of season one had the Arrow saving Roy for the very first time, and Roy seeing him for the first time (in one of my favourite scenes of the show). Roy lost faith in the team and left in Episode 18 of Season Two. Now, two seasons after they met, Roy gets to save Oliver. It's a nice little full circle. But that's not what your here for, cool/touching as it is.
You're here for that trailer, which, undoubtedly, you've already seen by now. But, hey, I've watched it at least fifty times, and it doesn't ever become not amazing. So go ahead, watch again. You know you want to.
Okay, gotta start breathing. Those first fifteen odd seconds just get me every time (if you follow me you know Roy's my favourite character in the show and one of my favourites in comics, so to see focus shift to him like this makes me a very happy fan. Plus, the one thing the entire Arrow fanbase seems to like is Oliver and Roy's partnership). Here's the breakdown.
Please note, despite some erroneous labels, this is the trailer for the next few episodes, not just Episode 19 Broken Arrow, though it's safe to assume a lot of its content is drawn from there.
Yes, Roy is very much in prison...
Which, in one way, is tragic, and in another is great, because we'll get to see a lot more focus shifted to his character individually, even if only briefly. Roy is, in a way, the perfect sidekick, interacting mainly with other characters and rarely on his own, but offering us this gives him a lot of room to grow on his own. And his sacrifice at the end of Public Enemy was the definition of noble.
This scene is already attacking my emotions, but it may be of greater note. Ages ago Stephen Amell and Colton Haynes posted about filming some very rough scenes, some 'scripted goodbyes,' and Amell later said that Broken Arrow contained one of the most, if not the most, emotional scenes the show had ever produced. I would happily bet it's the above, or something similar.
It's nice to see that Lance isn't completely rogue, and is working to save Roy. Coupled with Laurel's amazing attorney skills he may not be doomed. But Roy (understandably) doesn't seem to want the help of the man who set out a manhunt against his best friend and mentor.
...and things really don't seem good for him there.
You might remember, if you're a DC or Green Arrow fan, that Warner Bros had planned a Green Arrow movie they called Super Max way back in 2008. In short, it was a movie about Green Arrow trapped in an ultimate prison filled with supervillains and would have had cameos of all of the greatest comic villains. But we got Arrow instead, so I'm not complaining. What's interesting is that we may see some of it's ideas come to fruition here instead. Now, note the knife above- there seems to be a plot to kill the Arrow in prison. Given Roy is in handcuffs in the shot below, I'd say he's ambushed during prisoner transport.
I can't capture it in screenshots, but if you watch the horizontal shot where Roy kicks a guy the knife is definitely in view. Remember, just about every person the Arrow has put away has ended up in prison. It took Lance just one episode in custody to get beaten by another inmate- and he was just an officer. Now we're talking The Arrow. The most hated hero in Starling by these criminals. Assuming Roy's gone to Iron Heights like everyone else on both Arrow and The Flash (his prison gear does say IHP, as in Iron Heights Penitentiary), Laurel made a concerning comment about it in the same episode Lance was beaten, The Man Under the Hood, namely- "There's no such thing as protective custody in Iron Heights." That doesn't bode well for Roy.
So the above fight seems inevitable. What's most concerning is the shot of one of the prisoners lashing out and Roy gritting his teeth as he spins around. For a very brief moment, you can see this red slash appear on Roy's back. Look to the bottom right of the above screenshot. Editing mistake? Something else? It's likely a knife wound, and a nasty looking one at that. Fatal? Let's hope not.
Now, someone will die in "Broken Arrow," they've confirmed that, but my bet is on Akio, Maseo and Tatsu's son. The poor little guy just isn't around in the present anymore. But the flashbacks mirror the present, and a failure of Akio by Oliver to a failure of Roy could equal that. Whatever the case, I would say don't stress- my own predictions for the season are as follows. (Just in case, tags.)
This is just speculation, but it could be spoilery. In Episode 20, The Fallen, the description says that Ra's offers Oliver a choice he can't refuse. A few other fans and I reason if someone died in the present in Broken Arrow, the Lazarus Pit's abilities may be the deciding factor in Oliver's choice to join the League.
While he could just be baiting, this interview with Colton Haynes (by Hitfix, who labelled Arrow as The Flash in the title, but the content is fine) from Paleyfest just a few weeks ago remains relevant and gives us a glimpse at where Roy may head in the future- namely towards a darker, comic-like place. He also gives a hint at some spinoff material. I really don't want Roy to die, if you haven't got that. But, honestly, I don't think he will. He's too crucial to the Green Arrow mythos to be a permanent loss, and there's a lot more story to explore with him. Colton, if you follow him on social media, was also recently on set- plus, when the producers actively tease death, something fishy is going on.
"Birth and rebirth are violent acts."
Ra's al Ghul's line seems to lend credence to my above theory in the spoiler tags (go ahead, click it, it's just a theory) that rebirth- also called resurrection- may be needed, and Oliver seeks his help accordingly. There has to be some reason that suddenly makes the offer so appealing that we'll be back in Nanda Parbat.
Is Oliver controlling the ATOM suit?
Ray's high five may be a trailer highlight too, with the confirmation of the Broken Arrow teamup we've heard about for a while. What's more interesting, however, are the shots that follow, with Oliver wearing a headset that belongs to Ray- and the Atom suit mimicking his movements.
Ray is untrained, but he has the suit- and Oliver knows how to fight. Together, they make quite the team. Why is the suit needed, though? Well, the guy getting his head punched in is none other than Doug Jones playing Deathbolt in Broken Arrow- the first full powered metahuman villain to appear on Arrow. (I only say 'full powered' because there was something funny going on with Brick). Shooting plasma from his hands, and crossing over to the Flash eventually...
...Oliver needs Ray's suit for this- particularly since his own, if you hadn't realised, is now probably in an evidence locker somewhere. He could always wear Roy's (which is cooler, don't shoot me Stephen), but that's a tad disrespectful to his jailed little buddy, don't you think? Either way, expect an awesome Atom teamup twice next week, with him on The Flash as well. Also, if you're waiting for Ray to shrink, Public Enemy certainly dug into nanotech, so I'd expect to see it happen sooner rather than later.
Thea and Ra's finally meet!
Thea's unknowing murder of Sara has been the catalyst for the events of this season, so whether or not Ra's is aware of her actions isn't clear here- but their conversation is sure to be loaded with brutality. Let's just hope Ra's doesn't retaliate for that dagger throw (gotta say, he really does like catching blades).
And that's a nice, Speedy-esque hood, Thea...
We've known for a while a certain someone is getting a mask, but Thea's hood is up again, and where her motives lie for the rest of this season we can't really be sure. She definitely has to play into the conflict somehow.
Getting close in Nanda Parbat...
This doesn't mean much to me, but it means a lot to others, I know! I'm not really into romance and don't mind who Oliver ends up with, but three seasons worth of tension getting resolved is always something to get excited about. What's also of note here is the team's free comfort roaming Nanda Parbat- Oliver's obviously ended up on good terms with Ra's.
Merlyn's getting back in the action!
Malcolm's been sidelined for a couple of weeks now recuperating, but fear not- where Oliver and company may seem comfortable with the League, from the looks of it Meryln certainly isn't. I'm interested to see how his arc with his death warrant plays out, giving he is essentially the cause for all of the bad things this season. So dislikeable and easy to blame, yet such a likable villain. Looking forward to seeing more of him in action.
Wait, who's she?
An excellent question, but one I'm afraid I can't provide answers for. She's obviously a core figure in the League, and she does look to have some form of sacrificial role- note the ceremonial nature of her, the pulling of the dagger- and flanks Ra's in another shot, but other than that I really can't tell. Popular guesses include Talia al Ghul, Lady Shiva, or an entirely new character.
Let me know who you think she might be in the comments, and if anyone presents an amazing theory, I'll be sure to edit it in accordingly!
What's going on here?
While I can't say for certain, the pants and shoes in this shot are reminiscent of what Tatsu has been wearing for the rest of the season- and in terms of her Katana alter ego, we're yet to see it really come to the fore yet. That sword, however, looks like one of her's, and I have a gut feeling this is set in a flashback.
Note the person being threatened is a member of the US army. Amanda Waller seems to be the antagonist for the flashbacks so far, but there's more to General Shrieve than meets the eye, and I have a feeling he'll be popping up again- potentially like this. It's also worth noting that Rila Fukushima- Tatsu/Katana- is filming with present day characters.
"I am Al-Saheem, Warith al Ghul, Heir to the Demon...and you will obey!"
Despite set photos with many possible meanings and other hints, this is the first time we get explicit confirmation Oliver has taken on the role of Heir to the Demon and joined the League. And Amell, never a disappointment, delivers it in the most awesome way possible.
"I am the Arrow, Heir to the Demon (title)...and you will obey!"
Just as Merlyn is Al Sa-Her, the Magician, or Sara took the name Ta-er al-Sahfer, the Canary, this is Oliver's assassin name. And the final shot of the trailer shows him seemingly being branded with a League mark.
I know this season has divided some fans, but I've loved it. These past two episodes at least seem to have everybody agreeing they were pretty amazing. I really don’t get some people's dislike for this season. Rewatching it, just about all (if not all) of the individual episodes are fantastic. Previously dislikeable characters have become some of my favourites. The problem that there didn’t seem to be much of an underlying arc was never really true to me, it just wasn't as obvious to some, and I get that people balked at that- but Arrow’s always been more of a ‘slow burn’ kind of show that has a big payoff.
I think The Flash’s super-fast pacing, which works very well for it, threw people off a bit and they expected to be fed answers every week which has never been Arrow’s way. These last few episodes have been brilliant, and all of the apparent inconsistencies or flaws suddenly make sense as the finale arc pieces it all together. These final five episodes look epic, set to drop any angst and amp it up into high gear, which is just what we want.
A lot of the problem I think is comparing Arrow and Flash. I wish people would stop doing it. It’s stupid, if you ask me. Both are amazing but incredibly different. Their tone, style, pacing, characters, themes, and more are all incredibly different to the point they really shouldn't be compared. They coexist and actually compliment each other's existence. The Flash would not exist without Arrow. Arrow has gained a lot of popularity thanks to Flash. Both are awesome, and comparing them serves no one, just kills the joy for one. Rather than choosing sides in something more fruitless and pointless than the Marvel VS DC debate, if there was such a thing, I think I'll go on loving both! Care to join me?
Anyway, hope you liked this extensive breakdown as well, and, while the withdrawal symptoms for my lack of Flarrow are already kicking in (rewatches are only so good), hang in there for next week. We can do it! Expect epicness on both shows in the final weeks to come.