Arrow 3×18 – Public Enemy

"He's using this city as a weapon."


Now that was exciting!

The city-wide assault on Team Arrow was a thing of beauty. The show’s production team did an absolutely incredible job of making Arrow, Arsenal and Black Canary’s escape across Starling City feel like a big-budget spectacle. Thanks to the scene’s scope and ambition, I was glued to my seat the entire way through, worried and uneasy about the fate of our heroes. This is how you amp up the excitement leading up to your season finale.

Of course the overall success Public Enemy rests squarely on us buying’s Detective Lance’s sudden turnaround. It’s a bit tough to swallow after all the development Quentin has undergone, but I guess the narrative just wouldn’t work without his bloodlust and stubbornness. I was never really a fan of Lance being a thorn in Arrow’s side in the show’s debut season, but in the aftermath of Sara’s murder and all the lies he’s endured, I’m willing to accept this change. It definitely helps that Paul Blackthorne was certainly up to the task, as he got a number of weighty scenes to dig into this week. Chief among them? His phenomenal final outburst at Ollie in the van where he painted a vivid picture of our hero and all the supposed “good” that he’d done. That scene singlehandedly managed to make me question my outlook on the heroes and villains of Arrow; kudos writers for a job well done.

Which brings me to the episode’s final twist: Roy surrendering himself while claiming to be the Arrow. Will this move actually clear Ollie’s name? That would be far too convenient, but I love that the show took a series-finale-type risk and revealed our hero’s identity to the public (thanks to Quentin on freakin’ live TV). Whatever happens, this arc is bound to be good for Roy, a character who’s been sidelined for far too long, and who needed to do something in order to gain some relevancy.

Unfortunately, the whole subplot with Ray in the hospital and Felicity’s mom derailed the episode’s urgent momentum; some moments felt like they were lifted straight out of a romantic comedy! But at least we can rest assured that Felicity injecting Ray with the nano-teach will have enormous ramifications going forward. Will Mr. Palmer start exhibiting some out-of-this-world abilities soon?

Finally, while this week’s flashbacks were admittedly entertaining, I found bringing in a twin for Shado to be a really pedestrian soap-opera tactic. It felt like an excuse that merely existed to create parallels with the present day storyline (oh look, someone called the police on Ollie in both timelines!), instead of an organic development. Can we please get to the good stuff already? And by good stuff, I mean the undeniably traumatic death of Akio which Ollie will probably get blamed for.

Bits & Arrows

– Nyssa didn’t get as much screen-time as I would have liked, but it was still cool to see Ollie ask for her help.

– Seriously, I need to discuss that huge action sequence once more. It brilliantly begins with our Team fighting off Maseo and the League’s assassins (even Laurel puts up a fight), before Ra’s arrives followed by the police. And then the crown jewel, our trio JUMPS OFF the roof like badasses and Ollie catches Canary mid-air. Even more awesomeness? Nyssa saving Laurel by easily subduing Lance, and Ollie & Diggle’s thrilling van getaway. The whole thing is a riveting experience, and it’s one of the single best things the show’s EVER produced.

– So Quentin got captured by Ra’s in that infamous alley. Why do people even go out there on their own anymore?

– After Quentin hears the truth about Oliver from Ra’s, he tells Laurel that he feels he “always” knew Oliver was the one; I liked that bit, a lot.

– Felicity’s mom faking a spasm was funny, but jarring in tone. This isn’t slapstick people!

– Fascinating insight into Roy’s psyche with him telling Thea that he was relieved when he felt he was going to go to jail. In retrospect, it was a great piece of foreshadowing.

– Even more compelling insight: Oliver feels guilty for turning Roy into a killer. And I loved his rushing out of Verdant as the police stormed in

– We did NOT need to hear that whole “truth is powerful” line twiceArrow really needs to learn the art of subtlety. We get it: the flashbacks illuminate the present. Groan.

– I really loved the feeling of our gang all huddled up and afraid in Diggle’s apartment with nowhere to go. We need this sense of dread every now and then. I think I’m kinda even ready for the Arrow cave to be done with.

– Even more Team Arrow greatness: Oliver walking into the police station and giving himself up, followed by Laurel bringing the gang in to see him as Quentin angrily watches on.

– Superb performance by Stephen Amell this week. He captured his character’s desperation beautifully.

– I can’t get over the fact that Quentin slapped Ollie at the end. Wow. Beyond harsh and powerful.

ANOTHER two-week break? Kill me now.

Starling Quips

Doctor: Mr. Palmer, how are you feeling?
Ray: You have a not so good look on your face. You see his face?

Donna: So tell me, what did the doctor say?
Felicity: Absolutely nothing good.
Donna: Ok, ok. Hey. What? At least you finally have a boyfriend.

Diggle: How’d you find this out?
Nyssa: I am daughter of the Demon.

Lance: If she’d never met you, she’d still be alive now.
Ra’s Al Ghul: If Sara had not met my daughter, she would have starved to death on the shores of Lian Yu.

Lance: You, Harper, Sara, the freak in Central City, the Huntress; I got a new guy flying around the city. All these masks? They started with him.

Felicity: Please tell me you have a brilliant plan.
Oliver: I don’t even have a regular plan.

Felicity: All I did was stick something in you. Do you think there will ever come a time when everything I say isn’t some weird double entendre?
Ray: I hope not. It’s one of your more charming traits.

Donna: You look the way you did when you were seven years old and stole your father’s electronics collection to make a super computer.

Donna: You don’t love Ray… because you’re in love with Oliver.
Felicity: You don’t even know Oliver. You met him for like ten seconds.
Donna: I knew it in five.

Lance: I want pictures of Queen distributed through every officer, ok? No, a current one, one with the scruff he’s always wearing.

Oliver: All of you have followed me this far, but I need you to follow me just a little further.

Lance: What do I want to know? Well, was it worth it? All that pain and misery you brought back from that island? Merlyn, Slade Wilson? Wouldn’t it be better if you just died there?
Oliver: The reason I came back was to try and save the people of this city.
Lance: I hate to break it to you, but saving people isn’t your specialty. Tommy. Hilton. Your mother. My daughter. And now you’re set on killing Laurel, too.
Oliver: I didn’t want her to be involved in this. I didn’t want anyone to be involved in this.
Lance: But you involved me. You spent a year making me look like a fool. You spent a year making me your accomplice. You have any idea what you’ve done, huh? What you’ve done to all of us, to the people you claim to care so much about? You’ve made us criminals! You’ve made us liars and victims. You, Mr. Queen, are not a hero. You’re a villain. But you know that, don’t you?

One of the most gripping and riveting hours Arrow’s ever produced. Brilliant!

Nad Rating

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