If only every Christmas gift was this exciting.
I can’t express how ecstatic I am with Slade being revealed as Brother Blood’s mysterious benefactor. Since his introduction, Manu Bennett has cemented himself as one of Arrow‘s star players, and bringing him to the forefront as Ollie’s ultimate arch-nemesis is a momentous turn for the show’s sophomore season. Not only do his enhanced abilities provide Ollie with an almost-impossible physical match, the personal history between the two warriors elevates the war’s impending emotional stakes to a whole other level. I was particularly awestruck with Shado’s death as I was positive the character would be part of the island flashbacks for a long time to come. Nevertheless, her demise imbues Slade Wilson with just enough wrath to make his vengeful plots thrilling to behold. Color me majorly surprised.
Quite shockingly, Three Ghosts also saw Brother Blood injecting Roy with the Mirakuru super-serum. Will Thea’s boytoy now become Ollie’s super-powered sidekick? The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) see yet another member join Arrow’s Scooby Gang. Come to think of it, I’d kind of love it if Roy, Laurel, and Thea all joined the team eventually. Each of them has been so vividly drawn over the past season and a half, that it would be a joy to watch them bounce off one another without Ollie’s secret hovering over their heads.
On top of everything also, Three Ghosts was also Arrow‘s unofficial Christmas episode, and it did a compelling job of bringing back three ghosts from Ollie’s past to shed light on his increasingly complex psychological state. While both Shado and Slade’s appearances were fascinating to watch, it was Tommy’s poignant return that provided the hour with its standout moment. I absolutely loved watching Ollie’s deceased best friend forgive our hero and urge him to stand up and “fight”. Tommy’s death has been the elephant in the room for a while, and it was necessary for Oliver to finally face the trauma and move past it with his friend’s blessing.
Three Ghosts also acted as Barry Allen’s origin story now that the standalone Flash pilot is scheduled to be filmed later this year. One of the episode’s final moments showcased the CSI being struck by lightning after the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator went berserk, presumably turning him into iconic Flash. Suffice to say, I’m already invested in Barry Allen, and I’m most intrigued to see how his journey will pan out.
Sadly, the writers are obviously struggling to come up with something meaningful for Laurel to do; the character’s been an undeniable weak link this year. What happened to her alcohol/drug addiction? Has that been forgotten? Will she now be romantically involved with Brother Blood? Hey, if that gets her to assume the Black Canary mantle, then I’m all for it. But please, let it happen soon. Katie Cassidy has been utterly wasted this year, and she deserves so much better.
Bits & Arrows
– Rat poison saved Ollie’s life. Yup, that’s hilarious.
– Interesting tidbit: Ollie wears the hood to honor Shado.
– Cyrus attacking Diggle and almost tearing him apart was extremely terrifying. I was pretty much breathless.
– The imaginary fight scene between Ollie and Slade in the arrow cave was super-cool. I especially loved Ollie being thrown through the glass and crashing into the Arrow suit. Awesome visual symbolism.
– Did anyone else think Brother Blood’s corrupt cop was going to kill Lance ICU? Thankfully, Lance’s boss bit the dust which effectively upped the stakes.
– Why did they try to sell Ollie’s decision as choosing Sara over Shado? It sure looked like he was offering himself up to be killed instead.
– It was tremendously exhilarating to see Ollie rise up after Tommy’s speech and beat Cyrus to a pulp culminating with the explosion. And surely Roy will realize at one point that it was Ollie trying to wake him up… right?
– Awesome speech by Slade about how he wants to take everything from Oliver. Especially love the touch with him wanting to drive an arrow straight through his eye. Woah.
– I kind of wanted Slade to keep those burns. They just looked really badass.
– While I found Cyrus Gold to be a wonderfully menacing baddie, apparently there’s some big things in store for the character. In the comics, Gold goes on to become the infamous super-villain Solomon Grundy. I guess that explains the acid disfigurement this week.
– One of the episode’s coolest moments: Barry gifting Ollie with a mask. Finally no more silly green makeup.
Felicity: (to Oliver) Shado, Sarah.. how many women were you marooned with? Are you sure this wasn’t fantasy island?
Diggle: Even the Arrow deserves a Christmas present.
Slade: I will tear everything he cares about away from him, I will destroy those who choose to follow him, corrupt those he loves. And when I have taken everything away from him, I will stick an arrow in his eye.
Oliver: How do I look?
Felicity: Like a hero.
Brimming with thrills and incredible twists, Three Ghosts is a downright terrific midseason finale from Arrow.