Well that was a hell of a twist. I’m not usually a fan of characters coming back from the dead, but I kind of love Malcolm Merlyn being alive. He was a fantastic big bad in Arrow‘s debut season, and bringing him back into Oliver Queen’s world (which has grown considerably since then) makes this season’s prospects even more invigorating. We barely knew anything about The League of Assassins last year, so to return Malcolm into the fold as that organization’s shadow looms over the show is supremely exciting. Was he sent back to Starling City by Talia Al Ghul, or is the psychopath working alone? I can’t wait to uncover the details of the twisty labyrinth these writers have been brewing.
Of course the Dark Archer’s return wasn’t the only revelation of the night, as Malcolm dropped yet another bombshell in the episode’s final moments: Thea is his daughter. Yes it’s quite the soapy twist and I almost rolled my eyes, but I’m also tremendously excited. The possibilities for Thea (who’s majorly improved as a character) are limitless. I don’t know why, but making her a super-villain’s daughter just oozes potential. I guess part of me wants to see her cross on over to the dark side and make Ollie’s life a living hell. Call me an optimist.
The not-guilty verdict for Moira was a wonderfully pleasant surprise. I was certain they were going to drag out the trial for half the season, so it’s moments like these that remind me of Arrow’s ability to subvert my expectations. Naturally the unexpected verdict was tied to the Malcolm reveal, although I hope Moira doesn’t find herself facing the death penalty yet again at some point (because really, this show can’t survive without the glorious Susanna Thompson and her various machinations).
I don’t think The Count had a successful debut last year, but his theatrics were definitely more enjoyable this week. His presence allowed Oliver to jump back into killing-mode after his beloved Felicity was almost maimed. I’m definitely pleased that the writers are tackling this side of Ollie in a carefully thought-out manner. There are consequences to taking lives, and it’s most welcome that Ollie now has a conscience. The moment with Oliver looking down on a fallen Count was probably one of Stephen Amell’s most impressive acting moments. He really has been imbuing the role with a ton of terrific nuances lately.
Events on the island were reliably riveting this week, as Ollie was reunited with a hooded Shado and a burnt Slade. In addition, Sarah found herself with the team as Dr. Ivo got even closer to obtaining the hosen. While I’ve never heard that term before, the pesky little piece dangling around Shado’s neck apparently holds the coordinates to the notorious Japanese submarine (containing the super-serum). Is that serum be linked to Brother’s blood modern-day concoction? I sure hope so, because I want everything to tie together neatly with a bow.
Bits & Arrows
– The teaser was fantastic with The Count escaping imprisonment during the attack on The Glades. I particularly loved him releasing The Dollmaker. “Love your work, big future.” Continuity awesomeness.
– Seriously, Slade’s face? What a sight!
– Roy making Thea therapeutically punch him was probably the single best scene the couple’s ever had. Beautifully performed, and the first sign of Thea potentially becoming a fighter in the future.
– I love that Laurel came to Moira and asked her not to take the stand (after discovering the affair).
– Did Ollie seriously have to save Donner from The Count? I don’t think anybody would have missed him.
– Interesting how Laurel couldn’t look Ollie in the eye, and yet he wasn’t even mad at her for leading the case against his mom. That’s a true hero ladies and gents.
– Extremely satisfying moment: Ollie shooting The Count through the glass with three brilliantly-targeted arrows.
– Highly moving moment with Felicity apologizing to Ollie for making him kill again.
– Revealing Blood as The Count’s benefactor went a long way into further building up Blood as a force to be reckoned with Oh, and his mask still terrifies the hell out of me.
– Malcolm mentions death not being permanent in other parts of the wold. A reference to the infamous Lazarus pit perhaps?
Felicity: (to Diggle) Don’t take this the wrong way but you look disgusting.
Felicity: Long story, the guy owes me a parking ticket. Huh. I guess it’s not that long.
Felicity: I have this aversion to needles …all pointy things, actually. Which is ironic, considering who we work with.
Felicity: I’m really starting to wonder what it would take to impress you guys.
Ivo: (before shooting The Captain) You survived your own stupidity. Congratulations.
With a handful of well-executed turns, Stave Vs Queen is an excellent hour of Arrow.