This episode was the epitome of a transitional episode. I so wanted to love Arrow‘s midseason return but found myself greeted by a pretty underwhelming hour.
While nothing particularly horrible stood out, I felt the events of this hour culminated in a very unsatisfying resolution. The show’s writers haven’t fully grasped how to handle the show’s villains. Instead of making them recurring antagonists who grow and evolve, they’ve settled for introducing one-shot baddies that don’t do much besides cause a little havoc before getting capably disposed of by Ollie. Firefly was the perfect example of this approach; he could have been a cool and menacing presence, but instead, we got a cheesy speech and his walking straight into his death (and there wasn’t even a fight sequence to at least satisfy the action quotient). It just felt terribly anticlimactic.
Better executed were the insights into Oliver’s fragile mental state following his beating at the hands of the Dark Archer. Although we had to suffer through Diggle’s clumsy exposition, it was intriguing to learn that Oliver finally fears death now that he has “something to lose”. The family dynamic is one of the show’s stronger suits, and I always look forward to his interactions with Thea and Moira. Speaking of the latter, I seriously love the character and can’t wait to watch her as Queen Consolodiated’s new CEO.
Sadly, even the island material was disappointing. At first it looked like we were going to get some compelling scenes with Deathstroke and Ollie’s mentor (following the latter’s kidnapping), but we instead had to settle for Ollie running for his life and killing his first(?) human. Here’s hoping the outfit and map he acquired will yield more interesting developments.
Bits & Arrows
– Oliver not hitting the tennis ball (after the cliche training montage was a cool little moment to convey how weak he’s gotten.
– Oliver trying to pronounce Zack Galfanakis cracked me up.
– I really liked Thea mothering Moira. These two have a great, realistic dynamic.
– I do hope the show will start focusing more on the public’s perception of Oliver now that he’s being branded as more of a “hero” than a “vigilante”.
– I’m starting to get annoyed by Laurel. Can she become the Black Canary soon? Nevertheless, Katie Cassidy still looks gorgeous.
– Oliver rushing off to change and put on his makeup in mid-fire as the fire-chief was getting doused with gasoline was beyond laughable. Seriously? That’s really pushing it writers.
– I liked Laurel’s dad giving his daughter the Arrow phone back. He’s evolving at least. That is, until we realized he put a transmitter on it!
Diggle: He took whatever’s in your heart that lets you jump off buildings and take down bad guys.
Oliver: Thank you for the analysis.
Thea: Sharp suit mom. I’m not used to seeing you without your bedroom wrapped around you.
Highly forgettable, it’s a shame Arrow‘s return was so unimpressive.