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Arrow "Burned" Review: Backdraft

Arrow S01E10: "Burned"

When you’re doing a good job protecting your city and carrying out your father’s wishes, you start to feel invincible, like you there’s nothing you can’t handle. But then you get beaten, and you get beaten bad, and it rattles you to your emotional and mental core (thankfully, your physical core is still okay because you’re able to do your salmon ladder reps). It’s tough to bounce back from a defeat like that.

And that’s how we found Oliver, who took six weeks off as the hood to try and get himself back together, both physically and mentally. He couldn’t do the little tennis ball trick, and he hadn't been crossing names off the list. On top of that, there’d been less than nothing about Walter’s disappearance. Nothing from Diggle’s contacts with various investigative agencies, and nothing from Oliver’s link to the Russian mob (thought the show had forgotten that, hadn’t you?). Things were seeming rather dire for Oliver’s career as a protector of Starling City.

Since his return, Oliver had been ignoring the trauma that he experienced on the island and funneling that denial into his crime-fighting. But then he suffered a blow that forced him to deal with his issues because it struck him at a place where he felt safest and the most in control. If he wants to continue working through the list and improving Starling City, he has to fight through barriers and not lose sight of his goals. That he was able to do so in "Burned" indicates that he may just be ready to start dealing with other issues as well.

It may also mean that he’s ready to move away from being a vigilante and become something more heroic. Oliver seemed to respond well to the crime stats that a news pundit rattled off on the TV, and to the fact that his actions at the gala were considered heroic (we’ll circle back to that). Coupled with his actions against the Reston bank-robbing family, he can see himself doing things that help Starling City beyond taking down people on the list.

But we got there in a really ham-fisted way, didn’t we? While Diggle provided the necessary analysis of Oliver’s behavior, it took Laurel saying “Our feelings... our fears, they control us, not the other way around” for everything to sink in, for Oliver to realize that he allows his fear to paralyze him. It’s what led to the admission that he’s worried about dying because of the pain it would cause those who care about him, because they’d go through that trauma of loss again. And it was all spelled out for us, and with a nice little bow as Oliver, facing Garfield Lynns at the gala, told the arsonist and murderer that his problem wasn’t that he was afraid to die, but that he was afraid to live.

Lynns and Oliver are (half-baked) inversions of each other: Lynns was surviving purely on revenge in the same way that Oliver had been using his father’s list to drive himself forward, but now that Oliver has something to live for, there’s more to be done, and being the hood isn’t his only responsibility. It was a telling moment when Oliver offered to help Lynns instead of putting an arrow through his head—an acknowledgment that Oliver needs help as well—but did he really have to just stand there while Lynns set himself on fire? Was that heroic? Or did the show sacrifice an admittedly barely drawn character for the sake of thematic parallelism? It felt very much like the latter, and I was not crazy about it.

While Oliver was coming to grips with his defeats and trying to find a new path, Moira wasn't handling Walter's disappearance all that well, even though she’s responsible, in one way or another, for it. But I like that it forced a confrontation with Thea. Say what you will about Thea’s perceived-of-as-selfish behavior, but she was on the money here, and her speech about Moira no longer asking her to do things sort of summed up her problems: There’s no expectation for Thea, no one wants her to be anything, so she’s turning to bad models (pre-island Oliver) and it’s not working for anyone, least of all her. Hopefully this development continues a trend of Thea improving her life, but I have my doubts.



NOTES & QUOTES


– The island stuff wasn’t very compelling this week, as it felt more like gear-turning for that plot (Oliver needed a way to infiltrate Fyers’ camp and got one) than a strong commentary on the events in the present day.

– “What did that prove?” “That this is one sturdy desk.”

– Another Stagg Chemicals mention in this episode. Is it too much to hope that we’ll see Simon Stagg at some point?

– DC Comics hat tip of the episode: Nodell Tower was likely named for Martin Nodell, one of the creators of Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern.

– If you’d like to do a little prep for next week’s episode, check out the Arrow digital comic, Issue 4. It’s about a major event from Diggle’s time in Afghanistan. I’m not sure how canonical these comics are intended to be, but for 99 cents, you can’t go too wrong.

– I’ll go ahead and type this for some of you now, and hopefully we can all move on: “But Firefly’s a Batman villain! This just proves that Arrow is a cheap knock-off without a single original idea, and I hate it, even though I watch it every week!” Do you feel better? Good. I actually rather liked this take on the Firefly character (he’s a special effects pyromaniac in the comics), and was hopeful for more than just that one scene at the gala for him to be able to speak and have a voice.

– I want to thank Nick for filling in for me last month, and on short notice. I hated to miss the last episode before the winter break, but when it feels like a xenomorph is about to burst out of your abdomen, it’s important to prioritize.


What'd you think of this Arrow's return?

Comments (85)
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Oliver keeps inserting himself in Laurel and Tommy's relationship in ways that seem forced, unnatural, and just plain awkward. I understand that he still has feelings for Laurel and deep down wants to be with her, but I feel like the show has him expressing them in a weird, ham-fisted way instead of letting us empathize.
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the soldier of that picture has a "b-4-1" in his hands
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The CW is at work once again with shirtless Oliver and now Diggle.
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So I watched this episode after it aired by way of pvr. I'm not sure if it skipped or just didn't explain, how did Laurel and Tommy escape the fire after the club started falling down around them?
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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. No, I don't think it was explained.
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Thank you. I thought I was going crazy. They made such a big deal about "We can't leave Oliver behind!" Then nothing.
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Maybe its in a deleted scene.
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An alright episode. Or slightly less than alright. There was nothing terribly outstanding. I was rather disappointed how little it took for Oliver to have a vigilante crisis. So last time we had one solid ass-whopping performed by the bad guy, which of course had to be followed by the obligatory: "the hero loses faith in himself and in what he does, decides to take an indefinite break - but worry not, he'll be back to his old self by the end of the episode". The writers tried to justify that, yet... I don't think it worked.

Diggle makes an awesome shrink, but the man needs some action other than briefly sparring with Mr Hood. Oliver should bring in some good therapist, and rather sooner than later. I'm starting to worry here.

The main "villain" was rather bland. The easiest take on blind revenge there could be. There was a hint of personality towards the end, where Oliver showed him some understanding, but alas, it was all too brief and was quickly consumed by the flames.

The rest of the cast was mostly on the boring side. If there were any highlights, it would be this not-so-unexpected move of having Laurel's father tinker with the phone, and then lie to his daughter with straight face.

The island time didn't amount to much, but I felt like it did a good enough job of relaying Ollie's fear and his fairly inept attempts at survival.
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While I managed to like Thea a little more in this one, there was one part of her convo with mom that had me rolling on the floor... and rolling my eyes. And surprisingly, it wasn't a Thea line!

Thea: "You basically stopped being my parent."

Moira: "Well, how's THIS?! You don't talk to your mother like that."

Aaaaaaaaahahaha! And, UGH! While I miiiiiiiiiiiiight have been okay with that line if Moira said it less dramatically and as kind of a joke, it made me want to barf the way it was so dramatically delivered. Then again, maybe that made it much more funny. Well, funny or not... it sucked. I think I may be hating Moira more than Thea now. And considering I don't like Laurel at all either, this show is doing a really good job of making me hate women.

Anyway, the episode was enjoyable. As with pretty much every episode of Arrow, there were plenty of moments where if taken seriously or logically, you can't help but get frustrated at scenes being cheesy, lazy, or illogical. But because my level of expectation for "good" writing is much lower with Arrow, I'm never particularly disappointed.
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But why shouldn't we take it at least a little seriously? Goodness knows it's taking itself seriously.
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I liked the episode overall.Just the scene where Firefly was drenching the fireman in turpentine in a burning building and Oliver decided to go downstairs and put on some make-up was a bit ridiculous. But that could have been mixed up in editing.
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it was a stupid episode , too many unrealistic stuff.. i was laughing a lot
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I like this show, and being a long-term fan of the comic books I think it's a decent effort to put them to screen. Stephen Amell is great for the main part, not only because of his looks but he also acts very well. Digg is awesome, I think we all agree on that. The Dark Archer is pretty badass, as he should. There's enough psychological trauma, ideological background and dark secrets to justify the invention of Arrow, just as in Batman. This is also a dark, struggling hero torn between his desire for a normal life on the one hand, and who he has become through his experiences on the other. This is adequately presented on the show.
But I'm still waiting for it to reach its adulthood narrative-wise, to get out of its comfort zone of ready-made emotionality, elementary-school moral preachings and teenage dialogues. It's as if it's trying to appeal to different audiences at once, there are points when each episode is clever, and other points when it over-explains things and seems juvenile. It needs to find its balance and decide whether it's a teenage or an adult show.
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It was a more welcoming episode from a break than a solid- story based one .The whole fire fighters story was like watching some low-budget, b-rated american horror movie written by kids . In the other hand , there are some developments, the island part was very interesting "the best part" , Diggle being awesome and the detective tracking the communication between Arrow and his daughter.
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Welcome back, Noel!

I have to agree with you about Flynn's death. Why did Oliver just let him walk into fire? Also, he's pretty tough for not screaming while on fire...

I did like the island flashbacks even though they were not tied in. Although initially I thought it was about something else and that it would connect to the present events. Then it turned to be about Oliver's first kill. Accidental mind you, but still a kill. However, the repercussions weren't felt and it didn't tie into the episode. But I still enjoy seeing what happened there :)

In any case, while not a superb episode, still very enjoyable. This show isn't that demanding and that's what I like about it. It's easy to watch, but not stupid. Can be dark, yet entertaining. You're not sad if there's a bad episode, yet you're very happy when it's a very good one.

Bring it on, Arrow!
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Danke!

It was the lack of repercussions and the accidental nature of the death that I think severs the flashback from feeling connected to the present day, which is why it felt very plot-motivated as opposed to theme-motivated.

And I'm pretty sad if it's a bad episode. You don't have to write 700 words about something that's bad! (700 words on "Meh" is actually worse though.)
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Ok, maybe I'm the only one who's not sad when the episode's bad :) Yours is another case. But that's what you get for being a writer at TV.Com. The women, the 6 figure salary, the cars and the fame come at a price - 700 words.
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How come the balloons didn't pop in the gala? I mean the fire chief was sweating profusely and given the amount of flames, it must have been pretty hot in there.
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You have to keep in mind that pyrotechnics are extremely controlled on a set for the sake of safety. The balloons didn't burn because the technicians didn't let them burn. and although controlled flames are hot, what you remember as profuse sweating was simply just the residue of the accelerant Firefly squirted all over the guy
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well naturally... I meant it as in it not being realistic.
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This episode wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. Overall, it was basically a tumbleweed rolling down the road, and hadn't yet gotten 'there' from 'previous there.' Aside from Oliver, of course. He was bummed, now he's hyped, as if this hiatus was just the spark Arrow needed to not go anywhere.

Diggle managed to get in not one, but two famous sidekick lines: "So, what'dwe do?" and "So, what's next?" The Voice of Reason role is lovely and all, but it really just seems like a half of a double diversity role. Robin + Alfred =/ Batman. To be fair, he did get some of Oliver's buff, shirtless 'dummy punching' time for himself, which is fine. It's good to stay warm and loose just in case Coach Arrow lets him on the field, but I still think it'll only be for half a game at best.

The reviewer said something about Oliver's progression being ham-fisted--which it was--but that's been the way of Arrow since nearly the beginning. It usually ends up with someone in someone else's face (Thea v Oliver, Oliver v Thea, Moira v Oliver, Diggle v Oliver, Lauren v Oliver), one person telling the other a life lesson that everyone older than 15 already knows, but which hits them like a House diagnosis revelation. The worst case was episode four, where Lauren suddenly realized that a person going behind the law was an alternate way of getting things done, where anyone else would recognize it as that thing that vigilantes do. (I missed the opportunity to rant about episode four.)

The action wasn't ham-fisted, but maybe it was...oatmeal-footed? Most of it made sense, where Oliver sucked as The Hood because his confidence was shaken, but the part that really bothered me was where he left the captain(?) with the killer to go and change...and the killer waited for him to come back.

Oliver: "BRB. Gimme three minutes, kk?"

Vengeful Killer: "Sure? I know it takes a while to gear up."

Oliver: "You have a point, Vengeful Killer. How's five sound?"

Vengeful Killer: "Much Better. BTW, I know you've been off your game lately, so I'm gonna take the lighter and slowly toss it up in dramatic fashion to buy you a few more seconds."

Oliver: "Good lookin' out, Vengeful Killer! You've thought of everything!"

Vengeful Killer: "Aww, we all gotta do our parts..."

Besides the fact that Oliver's expensive club doesn't have guards...besides Diggle, who can only protect Oliver...on paper.

Thea was fine, comparatively, for her. She was basically on the judgmental side of her judgmental / self-destructive moon, but it was directed at Moira this time instead of Oliver. It's not that she's usually even wrong, whoever she's telling off, but I don't see the appeal of this being her thing. Some teenage kids do the right thing without annoying it into everyone.

So is the black girl from Charlie's Angels coming back? MVT's (Minority Vanishing Tricks, patent pending) take many forms, usually a 'promotion' to Away, or in this case, a BF/GF/Family member who whisks them off to Away. Death doesn't count; they vanish, but it's not really a trick. Usually, the character's so irrelevent that no one even knows or remembers them until they come back on screen, nor will they remember them once they're gone, but Joanna just said she'd be back in three months. Why? If she had to leave to be with her mother...but is coming right back, why not just have her mother live in the city? Is the actress leaving to do something else? Anyway, I guess we'll see.

And I guess I won't nitpick much about a multi-billion dollar corporation sitting around without an acting CEO for six weeks before they ask someone who doesn't want to be involved to take control. Honestly, that's alright; this really isn't that kind of show.
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Your analogies and the witty dialgogue never ceases to amuse me, man. LOL! Why haven't you got MVT patented yet? What is taking so long? Is the patent on *insert minority joke that I'm allowed to make*? Any CW show isn't that kind of show. Continuity? Logic? Ha!
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Ah, that damn gridlock in Washington. Obama tried to appoint a Secretary of Acrobit's Imaginary Patents, but congress is stonewalling. I don't remember all the made-up details, but it went something like:

Congress: "Sure, it'd be fine if he'd stop at MVT, but he's also filed for IOWO (It Once Was Ours), NOTD (Not Our Time, Dear) and CW'd, and we're not even sure he originated that last one..."

I'm pretending to wait to hear back from them, but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna think they'll sign off on anything. Fingers crossed.
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Joanna's departure (her name you get right, but not Laurel's?) being explained out-of-city doesn't bother me. It's likely a budget issue: Annie Ilonzeh not being present frees up a bit of cash for other guest stars in the coming weeks. Same thing is likely happening with Colin Salmon, who's probably their priciest recurring guest star (aside from Barrowman, of course).

And I can handle ham-fisted, but this episode just really overdid it, in no small part because there wasn't much to distract me from it. The action sequences weren't, as you noted, particularly strong, leaving me with little else to focus on.
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Inorite? Yeah, I only got Joanna's name right because I just learned it here and I don't consciously tune her out so far. And I'm tempted to go back to the other weeks to see if I ever got Laurel's name right. Again...just learning it here. Wouldn't be a problem if my GF could just watch the show with CC's. It's educational, and I won't yield on that.

And I accept (that it's) the budget issue, especially if they bring her back a little later. Otherwise, "We're CW and we'd *love* to have minorities...we just can't afford them" isn't gonna fly for long. At least Smallville waited three years before getting rid of theirs.

There was that moment in time where our home video games finally caught up to the best games in arcades (great for us, arcades...), and something similar (or inverse, I dunno) has happened with shows like this, where our eyes have gotten used to a certain standard of television that networks' budgets won't pay. Not just a percentage point more of racial diversity, but special effects, fight scenes, and even story progression. I actually miss filler episodes, because it was usually where something big happened between characters, whether it was getting stranded on a road trip or someone just getting deathly ill. Everything seems to be getting squeezed out as things become more cost efficient, and without the old wiggle room, there's nothing left but the same predictable path, but now with a predictable pace.

So yeah, I basically just need more fights. If I'm gonna swallow the same ol' vegetables, they need to keep the cheese sauce coming. (I love vegetables and I hate cheese sauce, but you get it.)
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Haha nice Recap but a little bit harsh, this is the Mid season premiere and they are setting up story arcs for the rest of the season, one thing i agree with u is that Diggle is much of a sidekick and i recall him saying he wont be one but agrees with Oliver all the time.
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I actually get the harshness. I mean I enjoy watching Arrow as much as the next fan but it is unquestionably one of those shows that is on the precipice of something stellar but never actually goes over the freakin edge! I hate to say it's like falling in love with the potential, but it kinda is. It hit me that it's mid season and we still haven't really gotten anywhere yet. And Diggle is AWESOME!!! But I want my boy to finally start doing stuff! He totally is seeming all sidekicky and I hate that because he shouldn't be!
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Yeah, it was kinda harsh, but some shows use a hiatus as a way to kick things into the next gear, like jumping into a car that barely slowed down for you. Different hairstyles, Diggle doing something, Laurel with a promotion, Thea with an actual friend, etc. This was basically that car you leave in a parking lot for a month while you go on vacation.
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Totally have to have a girl moment and say any episode where Ollie spends that amount of time shirtless manipulates me into thinking it was the best episode ever. But then this episode through a shirtless Diggle in, and well, I was a happy, happy girl.
-This episode was very solid. It's improving and I for the most part liked where everybody was in this. I actually liked Thea. She's one of those characters who has glimmers of wonderfulness before getting sucked back into the selfish brattiness that she typically displays. Her confrontation with Moira was one of her best moments of the series so far. It was so poignant, and it was meant to be, but it was executed quite well. I also liked her moments with Ollie. She basically was surprisingly great and beyond tolerable for a change. Then you have Laurel's friend, who finally broke free of being that typecast "sassy black friend" that she had been since the pilot. It speaks volumes that I never even bothered to learn her name. She was just there offering commentary because Laurel needed somebody to share a scene with. She had presence this week and she was solid, and I was pleased with that. Finally. As much of a jackass as Laurel's father is, he stayed true to character while upping the ante for the overall plot, so it worked. He bent a little but he's still as relentless in catching this vigilante as he has been.
-Oh I forgot my usual Diggle is freaking awesome! He is. He was at risk (again) of sounding like a beefed up Yoda, but hes maintaining his position a Ollie's voice of reason and confidante. I particularly liked the switch in roles he took however. I liked that he was actually convincing Ollie to be his vigilante badass self rather than admonishing him about it. He was pushing him to get back out there all the while giving Ollie insight as to why he was having trouble with it himself. I rather enjoyed that, it felt as though Diggle has finally accepted that he is in fact in htis, and he truly wants to be in it and there is no turning back now. They had great moments. They always do.
-I thought the case was uninspired, but as it was used to force Ollie to reflect on himself etc it served its purpose. I imange it also served a purpose of putting a wrinkle in Tommy and Laurel's budding relationship? I'm still trying to figure out why they are relevant, Tommy in particular, but it seems like the more inventive way to complicate things for them and keep them from having an easy relationship, won't just be Tommy's previous playboy ways. It'll be the vigilante. It's interesting, I suppose. You have Tommy wanting to move things along, Ollie prodding her to do just that so she can be happy, and Laurel hesitant because she doesn't want to fall the way she did with Ollie, but also because of the residual feelings she has for him and possibly the mixed feelings she may be developing for this vigilante, not knowing that they're one in the same. Other than that, I just don't feel like they're relevant.
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Good point with Lauren's dad. It's a low blow, but it's not out of character, especially when it could be argued that he's doing it to keep his daughter safe, as well. Things don't usually end well for vigilantes, or anyone working with them.
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I would not be surprised if all Arrow Cave scenes happen shirtless from now on.
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I really enjoyed this and every episode im glad Laurels friend is leaving......looking pretty and forgettable appearences arent enough to keep you on the payroll!!!.......also QUESTION:
If you hate the show why review it????....doesnt make sense...i know i hate Greys anatomy so i def would not be going in with an impartial mind????
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Heh, if this counts as hating a show, Tim's reviews should've made your head explode by now.
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Um, what riku157 said. When did I say I hate the show? Is critically engaging the show or being disappointed with an episode a sign of hate...? Must I unabashedly love everything about it (except the things you don't love, like Joanna, apparently) to review it? If anything, I would imagine that some other commenters would think I'm too easy on the show most of the time...

To your point about "an impartial mind," wouldn't that mean that blind love and affection would prevent me from reviewing it with an impartial mind? No criticism is impartial, by the way.
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Above, you said "But Firefly's a Batman villain! This just proves that Arrow is a cheap knock-off without a single original idea, and I hate it, even though I watch it every week!"

The "and I hate it" part. :) Is that not you saying you hate the show or are you saying you hate that it's a cheap knock-off but you like it?
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Sarcasm on the internet is kind of like a 'wow' filter, where, although we tell ourselves 'okay, they'll *have* to get this one,' there's always those one or two people that get caught up in it (the others would've gotten caught; they just saw the others get caught in front of them).

All you can you say is "Wow."
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Boo @ bad reading comprehension.
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That was sarcasm, dear.
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Likewise, the use of quotation marks within that bullet might've hinted at something not intended to be in my voice. If it were me talking, why would I put it in quotes...?
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I give up! All I'm certain of is that you were misunderstood and you got the comments you were trying to head off (as you mentioned below).

Why? Perhaps the person who initially accused you of hating the show wasn't familiar with that usage. It's the Internet. There's all kinds of people with varied intelligence, awareness and cultural backgrounds. What's obvious (common or natural) to me might not be to everyone else that reads these pages.
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Context, much? Did you miss the parts that include:

"I'll go ahead and type this for some of you now, and hopefully we can all move on..."

AND

"I actually rather liked this take on the Firefly character (he's a special effects pyromaniac in the comics), and was hopeful for more than just that one scene at the gala for him to be able to speak and have a voice."

So did we miss the satirical tone of the fact that this was a preemptive comment in an effort to head off those sorts of comments from happening...?
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I just provided a possibility as to why someone initially thought you said you hated the show.
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When did he say that he hated the show?
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Nice review as always Noel!

I like the show in general, I find it much more entertaining than Smallville ever was (although different target audiences, maybe?) The acting is a bit uneven, hopefully getting there.

This ep was interesting in as much as they showed the hero being messed up but in a "credible" way.
I always drool watching Mr. Amell doing the "salmon ladder reps" so that was a plus in this ep.
I did find the flashbacks pointless as hell (pity because I usually like them) and yes the Firefly guy committing suicide was rather weak.
I did enjoy this weeks' Thea's brat tantrum though. Sometimes she is very good and sometimes she sucks. Is it the actress or the writing?

A very interesting bit is the fact that now Lance Sr. is going head to head with Lance Jr. via the bug on the infamous stolen cell... are we going to hear silly on confessions on that phone? I hope they are funny at least!
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Thanks! :)

I think Thea's inconsistencies are a combination of both Willa Holland and the writing. I don't think there's a very firm baseline for the character beyond the isolated and lonely traits, which are sometimes too flexibly deployed (or not deployed as the episode dictates), and it leaves both the actor and the writers at something for a loss.
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We'll see Simon Stagg, but on Arrow he'll be a random homeless shopping cart guy who huffs paint. "What does that have to do with Simon Stagg?" Exactly. What the hell did revenge-themed fireman have to do with Firefly Garfield Lynns? I don't give a crap that Firefly is a Batman villain, DC universe is all good here (Deathstroke is a Teen Titans villain), but let's not take those characters which have rich histories and throw it all out for an unrelated threadbare character that has one thing in common with the original. What did Lynns stand for in this episode? Did he really live just for revenge all this time, did he just wait around for fires to kill firemen, that's it? That's all he wanted? No explanation for why he wanted to stay and fight that fire? Why, even though they hadn't found his body and he was listed as a John Doe surviving that fire, they didn't bother looking at the not-burned half of his face to determine who he was?

This was a villain who had nothing to say, it wasn't compelling at all. Couple that with Ollie's quick emotional turnaround that basically just was the flipping of an invisible switch, and Moira's emotional turnaround that was... you get my point - anyway, this episode didn't feel terribly engaging on a dramatic level, a human level.

It wasn't terribly interesting on an action level either, we get a few training scenes, and a lot of bumbling and lack of engagement on Ollie's part, he slides in and watches the villain kill a guy, then throws a punch and gets beat; and the ending had the arrow lighter thing and pretty much was just talking. Then we had Ollie on the island, which was ok but didn't feel connected to the lessons he learned from his captured mentor guy - and I didn't realize he was plotting to break into the camp, I thought he was just trying to survive so I guess either the story didn't connect to me, or vice-versa.

Also, for the first time ever I actively didn't want to watch Laurel's storyline, that was absolutely grating and thin, and changing her dialogue reading Tommy's letter from "why I deserve Laurel" to "why I deserve A DRAWER" was so awkward I didn't even understand it after 3 passes until we got to much later dialogue that cleared it up, I couldn't stand anything she did here, she acted like a petulant high school girl pulling a Nancy Drew.

This wasn't the worst episode, but I didn't get much out of it either.

Sorry to hear we missed your Alien Baby Shower... hang on, I need to call Syfy and pitch that as a saturday movie. Being sick is the worst.
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I admit that the idea that Oliver is infiltrating the merc camp is me making a jump, but it seemed a very implied jump based on taking the whole outfit, not just the rifle and any weapons. But I could be very wrong.

I'm not overly attached to Firefly. Mostly I know him from Batman: TAS and the Batgirl: Year One collection, so it was less of a history issue for me and more that he was just, as you described, very threadbare, there for some quick parallelism and then offed. Any villain, regardless of their comics history, would've been ill-served by this plot.

I'm hoping that since next week's episode was filmed the week they got the full season pick-up that we'll start seeing things ramp up (both in terms of narrative and budget) and villains not dying as often by early to middle February. A lot of their eagerness to kill off folks very much seems like a desire to have as few loose ends as possible if they didn't get that full season pick-up.

And, the alien baby shower was nice enough. I'm sorry I forgot to send out invites to you all, but it was a very sudden arrival.
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This episode really turned up the cheese factor to 11. I think I strained something from continuously rolling my eyes at every forced psychoanalysis between Oliver and Diggle, Oliver and Thea, Oliver and firebug guy, Oliver and Laurel, etc etc. It was like "THIS IS OUR THEME THIS WEEK OLIVER IS SKEERED N' STUFF"

I did appreciate the island flashbacks. A concrete plot finally started happening, and sooo much better than the time they flashed back 50 times to a two minute long conversation!

Finally, Oliver couldn't have put that guy out of his misery with a quick arrow? He just stood around and watched him burn up? Mean. I hope he doesn't take this hero thing too seriously because A) he kinda sucks at it, and B) I prefer my superheroes dark and conflicted.
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I can take your point about island flashbacks and their concreteness. They've been deployed as complements to the present-day action, so that shift was a bit abrupt, but it's good that the plot there is moving forward.

And, yes, the hallucinated conversation with dead father island segment was the worst.
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I thought it was a solid episode. I liked the transition for vigilante to hero. I also liked the focus on the Diggle and Oliver relationship.

I read an interview where the writers said that they reviewed the season to this point and looked at what worked at what didn't and the D/O relationship was at the top of what worked, so they were going to explore it further going forward.

I think for this show to take the next step, Mora has to bite the dust. Maybe not this season or even next season but eventually Oliver has to be the main person of the family and the business.

Finally, when is Diggle going to get in on the action? For all his fighting style and background (plus he is just as, if not more, ripped then Ollie) his talents would be better used in the field. I really hope they implement this down the road.
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I think you may get your Diggle wish next week.
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I thought it wasn't that he got is arse handed to him so much as it was that now he has things to lose. I don't think he realized it until that point, simply because he went up against people that he could beat.

Overall, great episode, I like the setting up of the transition from vigilante to hero. So al in all, it is coming out pretty good.
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i thought it was a solid episode and agree about the transition.
The only worry i have, is the fact that they seem to be killing off original DC villains. How many will be left for season 2?
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I found myself rather disappointed with this episode. Sure firefly was a half-baked character, but I'm getting annoyed with the villain deaths. I want Oliver to be building a rogues gallery, not picking them off as they come. The flashbacks, which I typically love, were on the verge of boring. Was the significance supposed to be his first human kill? A bit anti-climatic I thought. What I did like though was Oliver's mental struggle. Of course he would be shaken. it's easy when you are the strongest, the scariest out there. But now Oliver knows the Dark Archer is out there and he doubts his abilities. Also Oliver's subtle mental shift from vigilante to hero. Wonder if we'll get a face to face meeting with that reporter at some point? And, I can't believe I'm about to say it, I actually liked Thea this episode! So, all in all, not the best episode, but it had a few redeeming moments.
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Or was Firefly FULLY baked? Heh heh because he burned up. Sorry.
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+1. I always fall for the corny ones.
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haha, got to give you that one ;)
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I liked how they translated Firefly, but to me the whole episode was a giant yawn. What bites about it is that I really want this show to succeed, warts & all but returning from a break with a weak episode probably drove off some potential fans who tuned in just to see if the show's as cool as they've been hearing.
but hey, it could've been worse.
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i just cant wait to see Roy Harper in next month's episode.Does the Green Arrow has a lot of villians because Firefly and slade has been seen and isnt Slade a villian of the Teen Titans? I'm just going off the the cartoon since i never saw Slade/Deathroke in anything else
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We're getting a major Green Arrow villain in a couple of weeks, but the character's rogue gallery is a little heavy on the evil archer variants (Malcolm's Dark Archer fits that mold, and he's the most prominent of those), so we'll likely continue to see more villains from the broader DC universe rather than just regular Green Arrow foes.
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Thanks i remember u from other posts, how do u know so much about DC, are you a huge fan of them?
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Wouldn't say huge at all, but prior to getting this assignment, I did a lot of Green Arrow back-issue reading, and still do a bit of research on characters I'm not completely familiar with outside of their appearances on TV.
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Green Arrow's biggest villains have all been poached to other DC universe characters, Clock King, Merlyn, Count Vertigo, so it makes sense to poach DC universe characters into this show.
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I want an old school Clock King to show up on Arrow. Not the B:TAS version. I want the guy with the clock and crown on his head. I don't care how much it doesn't fit. I WANT THAT TO HAPPEN.
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Honestly, ramping up the "super" portion of supervillains could only help this show. I feel like Arrow doesn't understand the ideas of crime well enough to write villains or even write heroes who react to villains at this point, they're just following the Smallville recipe and it's not engaging enough. What is it that makes a criminal do big things to get them noticed by police and superheroes? Look at how Alfred explains to Bruce in "The Dark Knight" that Bruce has no understanding of why someone like The Joker behaves the way they do, that's where we're stuck right now on Arrow, just reacting to repetitive, flat criminals to get through the day by day. Would Clock King be a silly thing? Definitely. Would Arrow benefit from aiming higher than it currently is (pun not intended)? Definitely.
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We'll see how the hokey factor goes. Episode 12 may be the tipping point, one way or the other.
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This villain was a little too hokey for my taste. Happy to be caught up on the show, though.
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I did think it was kind of a one off sort of episode, like, we want to deal with the fact that our hero is totally human and would have a normal reaction to the events of the last episode, but it was kind of an episode where they couldn't decide if it was to be a overall mythology episode or episode of the week type which threw off the pacing a bit. I also think it had something to do with the fact that pretty much all you heard before this episode was, Roy Harper's appearance, Seth Gambel's arc, Helena's return, that some of these slower ones before February sweeps are likely just there for character development and piece setting episodes.
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I'm perfectly fine with character work and putting pieces on the board, but it needs to be more compelling than what we got here. Lynns just wasn't set up enough to make the parallels as interesting or as strong as I think the episode was aiming for, and so it all felt a bit flat.
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Ultimately I agree, I almost wonder if we had a more, well, one dimensional type bad guy to deal with that got Oliver to pull up his boot straps, as it were, it would have been better. Instead, we got a character who could have been as interesting as the family dynamic of the Royal Flush gang. But, like, if we had gotten a basic drug dealer or something who couldn't be a sympathetic creature maybe it would have been better balanced.
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It'll never be compelling. It was made by the same clowns who messed up the Green Lantern movie. These guys have no business making movies much less a tv show about a beloved DC character. Warner Bros and DC have to seriously reassess their quality control when it comes to bringing a lot of their properties to the big screen. Similar to Marvel they should get people who have actual knowledge of the comics or the comic writers themselves to consult. Bruce Timm can shit a better show than whatever the hell Arrow is. It isn't right that the viewers settle for this kind of mediocrity and on top of that discuss it on a weekly basis. Although calling Arrow mediocre is giving it way too much credit.
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I do always appreciate when you stop by to blame the writers for ruining the Green Lantern movie and not Martin Campbell, a director completely unused to special effects heavy films and more used to practical effects and stunts, nor do you really blame the Warner Bros and DC for rushing production of the film nor do you blame the casting choices. It *always* the writers' fault. Yes, the movie was a mess, but it wasn't just the fault of the writers.

I'd also note, long the lines of your criticism that DC should hire folks who have written for comics that Guggenheim has written on Aquaman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Flash, and Punisher. Kreisberg wrote -- wait for it -- the now defunct Green Arrow and Black Canary title.

Yes, Time Warner needs a comprehensive and streamlined media strategy for developing their properties in a productive manner, but as we can see even from the debacle with the DC Nation programming block at Cartoon Network last year, there's clearly a great deal of conglomerate turf warring going on. In the case of Arrow alone, you have to deal with DC Entertainment, the CW (which is owned and operated in conjunction with another conglomerate), and Warner Bros. Television which would probably rather sink its money into developing shows for NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS than the CW because the low likelihood of a CW show reaching syndicated status, where all the money is anyway.

So, say what you will about Arrow, but blaming just the show's producers based largely on their work on a large-scale, tentpole blockbuster (a completely different endeavor from a broadcast network television series), is just incredibly short-sighted and it's a tiring refrain. There is room for the show to become compelling, so writing it off completely just seems like you're looking to create a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of trying to meet the show on its own terms, wobbly as those terms may sometimes be.
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It is always the writers fault. No matter what you say the writing always shows through. However poor the effects are or inexperienced the director is, the writing generally always tends to make up for the other shortcomings. But in terms of Warner Bros rushing production and all that other studio mumbo jumbo you talked about you're probably right.
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You make a bunch of valid points of GL. Casting though, I don't know. I thought Ryan Reynolds was going to stink as GL but he did alright. Sure, it was still Ryan Reynolds as Hal... but he did OK with the whole transition from cocky pilot to responsible guy that won't give up.

Beyond that, I can't think of any bad actors in there. Sure, Hector was a joke... but it's hard to depict that character and not have it stink. When I heard he was a villain in the movie I was like "Really? yuck" But the actor did as well as he could with it.
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I liked it but I like more interaction with Thea and Oliver. I love Thea I think there is a lot they can do with her. She represents so much change and loss of innocence for Oliver. Any way I liked it especially the way they actually used 6 weeks time for Oliver to recover, because it seems more realistic in a story sense.
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Weak episode. Too much all over the place and too much Laurel. Ughh, I HATE LAUREL!!! :D Can some other actress plays her in 2nd season? (if there will be one). When they did that shot of her walking into club, I thought that skeleton just entered building:D She(actress) doesn't scream BC to me and every of her scenes is so painful,cheesy and robotic-like. I kept reading,that she was in Supernatural and for the life of me, I couldn't figure what role she played. Then I checked and saw she was Ruby in season 3. Completely different person in Supernatural than in Arrow.
Best thing that happened in episode....Joey,Laurel's bff, is gone!!!! YEESSS..at least for a while I hope:D
I am not even gonna talk about bad guys,because it seems they come to show for one episode and they usually end up dead by the end of it. I half slept over this episode.

Ohh,just remembered...that was the point I was making for Oliver to wear mask instead of green paint line. When he was on floor and fire all around and he was looking up, it was clear as blue sky,that was Oliver under the hood.
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I'm curious why you think that Joanna's departure is the "best thing that happened"? I mean, I don't have a firm opinion on Joanna, but I don't actively dislike her.
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I do:D...hate her I mean. She is sooooooooo fake and she is same as that Ashley-b*tch in Revenge. The way she talks,walks,etc..all fake. And Laurel is in the same boat as those 2. I am sick of looking at them. At least Joey or Joanna or whatever her name is, should be gone for now. One down..... :D Poor casting for those and I bet they got their jobs,because they did other job really well to the right people...many times,if you know what I mean:D Come on,they play ho's on tv,so they must be in real life:D Laurel and her bff are lawyers! And in Revenge Ashley goes from one wealthy man to other in second and spreading her legs or using her hands and mouth:D
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Soso. Flashbacks are too dang short. The villain reminded me of Two Faced. :/
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Oliver needs to invest in a Batpole. Running down the stairs to his lair takes too much time.
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Who *doesn't* need a Batpole?
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Phrasing!
I take that's either an observation that pole dancing is a great fitness regime, that all American houses should by law be required to include a Batpole or then it's just a euphemism for some activity that my innocent mind can't even begin to comprehend.
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"Phrasing" have become my go-to joke. Of course, I can't use it at work else get talked to by HR. But elsewhere.

It's fun doing that with the family, like when my mom and dad are talking.
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So far, Arrow has been one of those shows where I've liked all of the episodes, the question is just how much I liked each one. Personally, I thought the season came back very well, with an episode about overcoming defeats both physical and psychological. We got to see Oliver flounder a little, not being able to shoot straight and whatnot. But I'm honestly glad that the show didn't go overboard with it. I greatly respect this show for being pretty realistic about characters interactions and how things affect people. Because while some shows would turn their star character into a crumbling mess, not able to do anything right, Arrow did a good job of balancing out Oliver's interactions with people.

This entire season, Oliver has been living two lives: one as Arrow, and one as Oliver. These two have constantly conflicted with each other, with his Arrow self usually taking up more space and time than the other, more family and friend oriented one. However, this episode we got to see the vigilante identity all but cast aside, as Oliver focused on trying to keep his family whole, and help his mother rehabilitate. But by the end of the episode, he realized that his two lives didn't have to be so separate in goals. Being the Arrow isn't so much about fulfilling his father's dying wish, as it used to be. Now it is about protected his city, his family, and his friends. Now that people have come around to the Arrow as more of a good thing, he is discovering that more people than just him and Diggle want him to don the mask (well, face paint technically, which was almost nothing this episode) and save the city.

I think this is a very good step for the show. Sure, it's a step that most shows like this take, where the hero slowly eases out of the battle between identities, and finds that they both can work together to make them a better person as a whole. But unlike Smallville, which took forever for Clarke to come to terms with this, Arrow is coming to this realization in the middle of the first season. I am very pleased that we are already seeing interactions between Oliver, in his Arrow costume, and people other than Diggle and Laurel's dad Sure, Arrow has contacted Laurel in the past, but this time she is contacting him. This may lead to one of those situations where Laurel loves both Oliver and Arrow, and honestly can't decide between the two. What a shame. If only they were the same person, wouldn't that be incredibly convenient?

Now, there were some minor things I didn't like much about this episode. The first was that, like you Noel, I wasn't a big fan of the flashback for this week. At first, I thought that it would be about Oliver's first kill, and how that affected him. This would have fit in nicely with the issues he's been facing with people he loves calling the Arrow a killer and all that. But instead, he just took a tumble with another man who just ran to quickly into a rock, downwards. So the only issues Oliver had to deal with was stripping a dead man and putting on his clothes, which I don't think he had too much trouble with, considering that he was rewarded with a fair amount of supplies, including food, a map, and a gun, among other things. Hopefully his imminent attack on the bad guy's camp (hopefully next week) will be more rewarding.

The other issue I had was with how they treated the villain this week. When it came out that one man was killing off the other firefighters in his former squad, it seemed like it was going to be the age old "you all left me to die or betrayed me in some way, so I'm going to kill you off one by one until it's just me and the one who's really behind it and I'm leaving him for last so that he knows that I'm coming for him and the fear of what's to come will almost be worse than the moment I actually kill him in a really unpleasant way right after I deliver a monologue about what he did to me and why I'm doing the same to him" deal, since it really fit the mold initially. However, Firefly was never actually betrayed, he was just being stubborn and not following orders, apparently, and the captain's explanation for not going back in seemed pretty reasonable: it was too dangerous and more people would probably be killed. And not only that, it was solely the captain who made the call. They never really made it clear, but it seemed like none of the other firefighters in the unit were even aware that Firefly was being left behind. And yet, he blamed all of them, killing them all in excruciating ways before finally telling someone why he was doing this and how he felt, which is probably because if he said it out loud before then, he would realize just how ridiculous his actions sounded.

The whole revenge thing doesn't work unless the people you go after actually stabbed you in the back. And he really wasn't, which makes his actions very over the top and extreme. It would be like if Uma Thurman in Kill Bill decided to kill all those people, when only Bill was the one who was responsible for her coma, and even then he was only responsible because of something he could've done, but didn't think he should do. In short, Firefly was one of the worst villains this show has given us yet, but Oliver still gave him the royal treatment, saying that they were alike and offering to help him. This to a guy who burned innocent firefighters alive without even letting them know why they were dying such agonizing deaths.

It's because of this convoluted situation that I'm conflicted about the writers killing off Firefly the way they did. On the one hand, I'm not happy they took the easy way out, in that a morally questionable character kills himself so that no one has to deal with the complex repercussions of him staying alive and having to face the consequences. But unlike most morally questionable characters, who do bad things for good reasons, or do bad things in a moment of weakness but are really good people, it's hard to say that Firefly fit this category. So his quick death was probably a good thing, because otherwise the uneven nature of his very essence would soon become apparent. So, RIP man who takes things way too personally.

Honestly, it's not so much that I had a big problem with these things, it's that I know that the show could have handled them better than they did, which indicates how much respect that I have for this show. These two problems are often found in TV shows, and often more than once. But I don't see Arrow as an average TV show, because it is much more than that. Which is why I'm so happy that it's back, because those two issues aside, this episode was awesome.
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Damn! This comment managed to be even longer than the review itself. Kudos to you sir.
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