Arrow "Darkness at the Edge of Town" Review: Hitting All the Important Targets

Arrow S01E22: "Darkness on the Edge of Town"

Here we are at the penultimate episode of the season, and I think it's the first episode in a while that I've very much enjoyed. I mean, sure, there was the romantic triangle, and I'll talk about it, but that's an element of the show that's been a weak spot for a while now, so I've learned to expect that and generally compartmentalize it. It affects the show narratively (oooh boy, did it this week), but it's having less and less of an influence on my enjoyment of any given episode. You know, so long as the episode is good.

Which was the case here. "Darkness on the Edge of Town" did benefit from a lot of things, not the least of which was that we're at the end of the season and the big story regarding the Undertaking was at the forefront. It wasn't a Moira B-plot and it wasn't tangentially related to the case of the week somehow: It was the A-plot and it was the case of the week. That made the episode exciting and gave it the momentum that Arrow has been trying to build, admittedly in fits and starts.

One reason "Darkness on the Edge of Town" just worked was that all of Team Arrow was on the field for the episode's big centerpiece, as they infiltrated Merlyn Global to gain access to their mainframe. Felicity was back in the game, this time as a Big Belly delivery girl; Diggle was posing as a security guard to monitor the situation; and Oliver was there as Oliver to run interference. It was something that I think many of us had been waiting for, and to finally have it felt really good. There was an ease to their teamwork that allowed the hour to move along at a brisk and enjoyable pace, with a bit of a heist feel to it.

Was it too easy and too smooth? Sure. This was only Felicity's second time in the field, and she was pretty much a natural ("One of Merlyn Junior's bimbos." "But I love him! He's my man!"), beyond the elevator shaft grappling and swinging ("I should mention I'm afraid of heights. Which I just found out."). Any lingering resentments Diggle may or may not hold because of Oliver not supporting him in his vendetta against Deadshot went unmentioned and unacknowledged. I just didn't care, though. It was fun, it popped, and it was entertaining in a way Arrow just hasn't been for me for a number of episodes, and I was able to not get caught up on character inconsistencies because of that. 

Even Oliver's showdown with Malcolm at the end of the episode tickled my fancy. It was sort of comic book-y—Malcolm's bit about discovering the virus in his mainframe—but, again, I sort of relished that it hit a comic-book tone instead of a contrived one. Malcolm felt super villain-y here, and I was really delighted by that. There was the brutality of the fight that I found really exciting, and then to have it upended by the very genuine "Oh no." he muttered hit a note that I honestly wasn't expecting. Malcolm's been very serious in how he deals with people so far that I fully suspect that, had Walter not looked into things, he wouldn't have been abducted, and him finding out that Oliver is the Hood put him into a position that I don't think he really wants to be in.

The interrogation of Moira was also a nice sequence. There was the bait-and-switch in the abduction that was fun, but I liked the emotional impact and symmetry it had as well. Oliver had his mother kidnapped and questioned in the same way that Moira intended for Oliver to be in the pilot, and so to have that vibe come back at the tail end of the season was pretty great. It was Oliver's disappointment in her, and her breakdown as she confessed everything, that helped to give the episode some emotional heft outside of the romantic element. I've said time and again that Susanna Thompson is great on this show, and this episode was an example of it.

Even Walter serving her with divorce papers hit harder than I was expecting, and I chalk a lot of that up to Thompson and Colin Salmon being able to do a lot with only a little time. They both expressed their respective characters' heartbreak and disappointment in ways that just tugged at me: Moira's pleading tone and wide eyes, Walter's barely restrained calm ("Considering the circumstances, I find it somewhat reserved."), with only the licking of lips to betray his real emotions. Between the two of them, Thompson and Salmon managed to sell the complete breaking of a loving marriage in the course of three minutes.

This, sadly, leads me to the less compelling romantic entanglements. I didn't care that Roy and Thea broke up since I didn't care about them being together; if anything, it was probably the single worst thing about the episode. Their relationship, the lack of time spent developing it, and its dissolution demonstrated just how fully Arrow contorted itself to introduce Roy Harper into the series, and to put him on this track to find the Hood. The show would've been better off saving this arc for Season 2 and giving it more time to grow.

Then there's the whole Oliver-Laurel-Tommy thing. I try to meet shows on the level where they want to tell a story and then work through my responses to that story (this is why I very rarely ever dismiss things completely out of hand, which I'm sure has infuriated many of you), and so when Arrow wants me to believe there's been a "dance" between Oliver and Laurel, I want to see if I can buy into it. Regular readers know that I don't, and I didn't here. With the exception of the past few episodes, there's been no real dance, no real tension.

Instead, this triangle has served to drive Tommy to the dark side, and I'm okay with that, even if it all happened a touch too quickly. Tommy is now without anyone he can trust. The two anchors in his life drifted away from him and toward each other, and that left only Malcolm to fill the void. ("What exactly do you do here?" "I work closely with my father.") I do think that the rift between Tommy and Laurel was mostly of Tommy's doing as a result of his insecurities, but it's pretty hard to see the forest for the trees when the very guy who explained that to you went and slept with your ex-girlfriend hours later.

On Lian Yu, the plot unfurled for us at long last: Fyers' job was to blow up passenger planes coming into China so as to destabilize the country's economy, and Ferris Airlines Flight 637 was up first. There wasn't much in terms of craziness here. Yao Fei was shot by Fyers following the former recording one of those "I take credit for this violent act" videos, the beaten-up guy in the cave with Oliver waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the season was indeed a member of Team Fyers, and we found out that Fyers' employer was a pair of female legs. Maybe they have a body attached to them, but I'm betting we'll have to wait until Season 2 to find that out.

In any case, I'm very excited for the finale next week, probably more than I was even last week, and certainly more than I was two weeks ago. See you all then!


FROM THE QUIVER

– I feel like Arrow has named-dropped Ferris before, but in case it haven't, or you've forgotten, Ferris Aircraft is from the Green Lantern comics, and its CEO is typically Carol Ferris, the love interest of Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern.

– "I got to play doctor with you."

– "I thought you were going to pull your punches." "I did." Okay, so, maybe a little bit of acknowledgement of Diggle's frustrations with Oliver?

– "I imagined you saying that under other circumstances. Very platonic circumstances."

– Tommy's starting to grow out the Beard of Evil, so that path's been pretty much decided upon.

– Another nice bit of symmetry exists in the word choices of Oliver and Malcolm in terms of cleaning up the city: disease, symptoms, etc. Two sides, same coin.

– Look, Arrow, I'm fine with product placement. I get that it's a handy way to supplement your budget, but C'MON. Roy had a Surface tablet. Roy. Did he illegally borrow that, too? Did Thea give it to him? I'm willing to look past a lot of inconsistencies, but that was just too much. Anyone else on the show having one I can accept. But him Noooooooooooooooooooope.

– Speaking of Microsoft Surface, the producers got into the act this week, telling us how much the tablets help them balance their work lives and their personal lives. Factor that into your next tablet purchase. At least it led to Marc Guggenheim saying this nugget: "I think everyone would like to invite Stephen Amell into their homes."


What'd you think of "Darkness on the Edge of Town"?

Comments (152)
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Informative suggestions . I learned a lot from the facts ! Does someone know if my business could grab a blank Chevron Job Safety Analysis Form document to type on ?
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So Roy has gone from being pointless and annoying to me screaming at the screen "GO AWAY NOW YOU WEIRD LITTLE SCULPTED BOY!" Also my love Felicity only grows with every episode
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I wonder if it's Laurel's mom ordering Fyers around? Unless it's the sister (...nah), it'd have to be someone we've never seen. Little point, unless they introduce her this coming episode...but how obvious would *that* be?

(Don't say 'CW obvious,' don't say 'CW obvious'...)
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this is a nice little glimpse into the past :)
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I think it's someone we haven't seen yet... although if it's someone we know (like Laurel's mum) they might do the slow camera panning up to reveal her face in the last shot of the season - or is that TOO CW obvious?!

Sorry, I couldn't resist ;)
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Hey, neither could I.
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Oliver and Laurel just. don't. make. sense. *headdesk* none. zero. it's like there are these characters and this storyline and athen the Oliver and Laurel show is, i don't know, another show with different characters? completely irrelevant? i'm trying and suspending disbelief and everything but i just can't see it! i can see Oliver-Felicity, i can see a real connection there, Moira had very little screen time with either of her husbands but i buy the deep love there, hell, i can even see Thea-Roy damit, just not the Oliver-Laurel thing :(
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I wonder if the writers/producers etc are aware of how many of us feel about Laurel as a character & her non-existent chemistry with Ollie..? And if they are will they do anything about it? I can't decide if it's the character itself that isn't working or if they've got the actress wrong or if it's a mixture of both. There's just nothing there and god knows I've tried my best to find it troughout the series. It feels wrong to be saying it but even putting his awesome vibes with Felicity aside, I feel he has more on-screen chemistry with Thea than with Laurel - there's that little between them in my opinion. Again I just wonder if they got the casting totally wrong.. or maybe it's just me,

PS: Loved the review, enjoyed the episode a lot, it was very entertaining minus the Laurel issues.
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Yeah, at the very least, it's bad writing. If they ever do something interesting with Laurel's character (y'know, aside from seeing how much milquetoast can drip), we'll get to see if it's the actress, too. A lot of them end up surprising me when they get the chance.
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True enough, if she had something meaningful to do it'd give us a chance to see what she's capable of. Storywise I think if they'd built more on their friendship/relationship throughout the season before suddenly throwing 'em in bed together it would've helped a little. Wouldn't have taken much, just a handful of scenes here and there, a few looks, anything to make it a little more believable that these two have been fighting their feelings for a while. As it was it ended up feeling like nothing more than a plot device to push Tommy further towards the dark side.

Still I'm glad it happened already 'cos that (hopefully) means we'll have minimal Oliver/Laurel in the finale & more focus on the action ;)
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Sounds like good mottoes for CW:

- "Wouldn't have taken much"
- "Hopefully *that's* out of the way now so we can focus on the action"
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I always love reading these! :)

-Wait Roy and Thea broke up? I think I missed that! Maybe I was too busy waiting for someone more interesting to appear onscreen. I agree with all said. I don't understand the purpose of intruding Roy, of drumming up the appearance of Colton Hayes, of anything that has had to do with him and this storyline, if there wasn't going to be much of a storyline. I haven't seen anything that has gave me reason to believe that it was of imminent necessity that he be prevalent in season one. They didn't have the opportunity to flesh any of it all. All of his stuff with Thea served as filler to break away from the more important things going on with the more important characters...while the set changes.
-I also agree with the love triangle. That and the Roy and Thea stuff were the weakest bits of an otherwise solid episode. I just don't care. I can't even bring myself to try to care. I'm not interested. Ollie on his own, or with other characters, doing things that aren't remotely close to being romantic? Love it. I'll take it. I believe it. Even Tommy has sort of grown on me since being utterly useless in the beginning. But I can't with Laurel. I just can't. I can't believe that she and Ollie have this chemistry. I don't see it. I don't feel it. Oliver has more sexual tension with his bow and arrow (insert soooo many phallic jokes). They can't make me care about them as a couple or Laurel as a character no matter how hard they try. And they try hard. Too hard. It's absurd how hard they try. There was a moment where I rolled my eyes so hard at Tommy seeing Oliver and Laurel through the window (Word to the wise NEVER bang anyone up against the window. Just don't. Don't encourage the sick voyeurs, there is nothing sexy about it... uncomfortable...just never.), anyhoo I rolled my eyes so hard I thought they would get stuck and I could hear my mom's voice in the back of my head scolding me. But if it serves to drive Tommy over to the dark side, than whatever. So be it.
-Ohhh that Moira and Walter stuff was tough. The divorce papers. I cringed. I didn't expect to be affected by that either, but I was. Moira is the dark horse of the series. Before I realized it, she sort of appeared out of nowhere being all interesting and stuff. Well played, Moira. Well played.
-I will never get enough of Felicity Smoak being awesome. I just won't. Last week her nervous, rambling, and freudian slips were so cute. This week, they still had me in stitches. I love Oliver's response to them too. He's all stoic and mildly annoyed that she isn't focused. Love.Her. She was awesome going undercover. I didn't care that she got so good at it so fast, because she still does her Felicity thing where she's wonderfully, awesomely awkward. She, Oliver, and Diggle undercover together is pretty much everything I could ask for in this show. Those three. All the time. Oh the look on Merlyn's face when he revealed that Arrow was Oliver. I'm eager for the finale.
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Yeah, Felicity doesn't disappoint, does she? (I mean, aside from Bing, Windows 8, and the rookie hacker mistakes that would make any hacker smash a keyboard over their own heads...I'd assume.)

Those slips are consistent, but Felicity sells them really well. They just keep on coming, but they're pretty good. I really think a lot of these shows would be better if their Felicities were the leading ladies and their Laurels went...home, or something and left everyone else alone.
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LOL. I'm not what you'd consider tech savvy, but I know a few things, and more importantly, I know a few people. *cough* So I am aware about her credibility issues in a hacker friendly community of viewers.

Obviously I agree with all of this, my friend. Obviously. Felicity is leading lady material. No other broad on this show even matters. I feel like Felicities are real. They are the most relatable. Laurels are...well, I could type a dissertation on the portrayal of women in the media. So I'll leave it at, I concur.
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I enjoyed this episode. Even more so than the previous one. So far Arrow is heading for a promising end of the season.

My favorite island sequence was not playing around this time. Yao Fei being shot in cold blood by Fyers was nothing short of a shock (so much for him mentoring Oliver further). And Fyers himself showed a truly cold, calculating side of his persona, by taking a gun to our trio just to get what he wanted.
It was nice to get a confirmation on the "lost student" being nothing more than a bait, as some of us had predicted.

Was good to have Walter back. Alas, not for long it would seem. Moira really bit off more than she could chew.
Speaking of Moira, I'll admit that they had me there for a while, thinking at first that it was the Dark Archer who assaulted Oliver and her mother (and getting angry at Oliver that he would not get alarmed by the power outage). All in all, a good move. Diggle is getting experienced at playing The Hood.

The whole scene at Merlyn Global was well done. Felicity sharing more funny moments (and chemistry) with Oliver, Diggle coming to the rescue, Oliver being caught up with all the real life stuff while trying to get to help Fel... a nice teamwork feel to it.
While I appreciated the fight between Oliver and Malcolm, I was a little miffed that Oliver lost rather quickly, and got knocked out to boot. Will have to see where it goes, I guess.

As usual, the weakest parts of the episode had to do with Roy & Thea (certainly shouldn't have introduced the guy this season), and everything including Laurel's heart woes.
The scene in her bedroom topped it all - in a bad way. Of course the window had to face the street and be super transparent from the ground level, of course the curtains would not be drawn because why not have every bystander admire what was happening, and of course Tommy would just show up there right at that exact moment. Eh. Truly worthy of the worst "romantic" Hollywod movies. Shame on you, Arrow, shame on you.
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Most of the episode was good besides the Roy & Little Sis. deal; I have to agree with the reviewer here that I don't care about them and the breakup meant nothing to me. The only other problem I had with this episode was the contrived scene where just so happen Oliver & Laurel go at it in front of an open window just to have Tommy be able to look up and see it....too contrived for me and something that has about much chance of playing out the way it did as someone winning the lottery!
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Great episode!
I am wondering, I always get repelled by Felicity using windows 8. Is that ok for beeing a hacker? Because it feels to me utterly ridiculous. Not that I know anything about hacking
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I really enjoy the show. It's not the best show on tv, but it is highly entertaining if you get past the whole bows are more effective than guns thing...

Product placement really should become a bit less annoying and obvious. Felicity only using a tablet to do her thing is getting ridiculous. Scanning terraflops of data with a tablet??? Trying to hack a computernetwork with military grade security with a tablet??? Breaking into evil corporation HQ and downloading terraflops of data on a tablet (are there any tablets with more than 1tb of storage)??
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Much better. Good? In parts. There was still a decent amount of WGAS, but anything involving Barrowman and punches gets more than a few points from me. Of course, if they were saving anything...now would be the time, wouldn't it?

The best singular moment for me was Merlyn snapping Oliver's invincible bow with his hand. Over the episodes, I was genuinely wondering what it would take for that to happen. Ah, good fight. Takes me back to the pilot, when I got suckered in to this show.

Despite all the lies, self-lies, and hypocrisy, we knew Oliver and Laurel were gonna happen, but only because it had to happen in a show like this. Little reason beyond that. There was hardly any actual progression toward it; it was more like a romance party popper that someone saved from New Years and just shot off in May for no reason (...other than getting his party license renewed?). Kinda like Dumbledore being gay (which I like in a way), but unlike that, Oliver and Laurel shouldn't have virtually come out of nowhere, and really shouldn't have happened in a way that makes them both look like lying, deluded, hypocritical asses. I can't speak for everyone, but I really don't think they're that popular, especially together.

I like Walter more and more as he ekes out his tiny (finished?) role. This show often has a problem with using WPC's (Worst Possible Choices, patent pending) to chug along with maximum (but cheap) shock value, but Walter saw the writing on the wall, and he actually took it to heart. Moira isn't good, so he made the harder choice for him and left. Sure, I don't like that it's another minority walking off who likely isn't coming back (unless to die), but this is one that I could see happening with any character with self-respect. Sooooo...fine.

I've never cared about Thea and Roy (or Thea and anyone), but Roy immediately shrugging off her reasonable ultimatum was the greatest thing he's done. Still don't care about him, but if he has to be around, I'd rather not be annoyed with him every single episode. Obviously, they didn't bring Thea's only friend around to have her lose him completely, so they'll have to get back together if only to give Thea her shred of relevance back, but I can enjoy things by the episode.

It took me a while to catch back up to this episode since it took so long to watch last week's, but I'm glad they randomly erased Diggle's Marsha-Marsha-Marsha issues for this episode. It's a predictably great thing to see Team Hood in action instead of being background voices from the Batcave. That was just fun watching them actually deal with other people together. Of course, I have to laugh when Felicity is good enough to hack into an evil billionaire mastermind's computer mainframe...but uses Bing and leaves traces that a cop (a CW cop) can find, buuuut...fine.

Kind of a waste of Yao Fei, and it's always a silly waste of time when someone says they won't do what a bad guy says...when he's got their kid at gunpoint five feet in front of them, but it's fine. Slade and Shado can fight once those pesky gunshots that Oliver missed out on heal up. It does appear that Shado isn't a bad guy like I thought, though. The main person who would feel the betrayal just got shot in head.
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Their relationship had to happen because its present in the comics. Laurel is the black canary. (Dinah Laurel Lance)
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Ahh, that's why. Must be why Fyers shot Yao Fei in the head before his epic shouting fight against Vertigo. All in the comics.

Odd are, they'd make Laurel's sister Black Canary before her. I can't imagine Laurel sellng a solid punch, let alone becoming one of the baddest fighters on the planet.
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I remain in Oliver and Laurel denial. As far as I'm concerned their sexytimes never happened. What was that? Ugh. I don't know why they're trying to force a chemistry between those two that just isn't there. Newsflash, no one really cares. I have yet to figure out why shows feel compelled to insert a useless love triangle whether or fits or not. Who do they think they're appeasing? I think it's okay for you to speak for everyone on that one.

I loved Walter. He did milk that role for all it was worth. I loved how he just threw his hands up in the air at the end and was all " I wash my hands of this weirdness!" Good for you, Walter. Run. Run as fast as you can.
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They think most women won't watch any show like this without the shoved-in romance (insert pun, amirite?). Sadly, I think they're right overall. Y'all don't watch, show don't happen. It's even integrated in shows like Sons of Anarchy. I wish more women would just say "Y'know what? Let's don't with this. Less kissing, more punching. It's 'guy stuff' no more!" Buut, what're we gonna do?

In other news, we'll see if Walter can manage to not stumble in front of Moira while an arrow's flying towards her next week. I give it...60%?
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Ugh, it's such bull. We don't need the freaking romance when we have two hot shirtless dudes kicking each other's ass during training. I mean, just seeing Stephen Amell's abs is enough for us. I think I can speak for all straight women on this one. Plus, I'll take the oh so lovable Felicity Smoak, who wins over guys and girls alike, awkwardly making sexual innuendos over Tommy and Oliver playing tug-of-war with Laurel. That's just enough sexiness. Women DO say that, and for sexist reasons set in motion since the beginning of time, they still think this shizz is what we want to see. It isn't. Case in point, women watch Person Of Interest for all the busting dudes in knee caps, action, a sentient machine, a charming nerdy dude, and badass chicks holding their own against the males. Oh yeah, and the adorable dog. We don't need pointless romantic entanglements. Jim Caviezel whispering snarkies and launching grenades is enough.

Yeahhhh, $20 says your Minority Vanishing Trick (patent still pending, yes?) will apply to old Walter....again.
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Yeah, that gridlock in Washington. Seems like anything Obama and I (I call him 'Barry') do, the haters have to hold us back. But once I get that patent in, it's gravy. MVT's fall like rain *sincere nod*

One day, they're gonna start a show like this with a Felicity lead, who might not know everything, but at least she'll be awesome in her own way...and it will change the game.

Viewers: "What? How does she know how to do things? It's only the first episode and she's only 24 years old!"

My mind's just waiting to explode.
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This turn with Laurel and Oliver, beggared belief...really? I literally had to stop the show and and go WTF? What the hell were they thinking? I despise the characters Louis Lane attitude and Oliver really went and banged her after telling Tommy that he'd done a lot of things, but coming between them wasn't one of them? Hypocrite much? Sure, someone will say that it makes him human, I think it makes the character an ass and i'm deeply disappointed in the writers that penned this crap. :/
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since laurel is black canary in the comics their kinda supposed to be together, I just wish that she becomes the black canary next season. if im correct they did mention that laurel's sister had a canary so thats probably a hint at things to come
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I'm starting to think that Malcolm is really a more unforgiving type of vigilante. He is not among the names in Oliver's fathers notebook (as far as I know), and he would absolutely know about Malcolm, and his reaction to seeing that Oliver is the Hood. And the scene where we see the feet of one of the evil bosses, possibly the boss, it's a woman or a cross dressing man.
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Felicity stole the episode for me. She is like Britanny from Glee (season 1) who says the funniest lines ever. I like how whenever she talks to/about Oliver, it ends up being awkward. Its hilarious.

Arrow's best episodes seems to be the ones with the least action. This episode didn't have a lot of action and it was really good. But I do miss Manu Bennett doing action scenes. I can personally forgive the product placements. If it helps keeping Arrow on the air, they can keep them coming. I don't want this show to go away just yet.
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After the first few episodes aired, on the 1-10 nerderie scale, I think I'm about a 6.5 or 7, yet some how, when I read your recaps of 'Arrow', I feel like a 2 as I have no idea what you're talking about when you go DEEP into Green Arrow lore. I don't know what your reader demographic is or was, but glad to see you've toned it down some.

As for the episode, fantastic! Maybe I've subconsciously tucked away my synical side, but I'm totally buying the Oliver, Laurel & Tommy arc, if for no other reason than you could see where it's been trying to go for a while, so I just sat back and enjoyed it for what it was. The interesting part will be to see what happens when Oliver breaks Laurels heart, AGAIN. And while it would be fun to watch them Oliver and Felicity get together, that would probably mean the end of her awkward double entendres...and I can't get enough of those.

So now, in addition to Diggle, Felicity and soon to be Roy, both Merlyns know that Oliver is The Hood? Is this a conscious effort to be the Bizzaro Smalleville where nobody knew (and lived/stuck around)? Wouldn't this be like Lex AND Lionel Luthor figuring things out in the first season? I dunno where things go from here and not knowing the lore or how strictly they're sticking to it, and that's okay. But it just seems a little...much? {shrug}
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Green Arrow's not the most prominent of heroes, so I wouldn't feel bad about the nerderie scale, and I did a decent amount of research as well over the summer to familiarize and re-familiarize myself with the Green Arrow lore.

And the scale back was mostly due to the show, though reader response played a part as well. While I think reading the show against some earlier interpretations can be useful and enlightening, it can also hamper how we respond and react to the show itself, saying, "Oh, well, Grell's run with the character did this much better" and it's sort of unfair comparison, even if the show is drawing heavily on Mike Grell's Green Arrow comics in terms of tone, especially.
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I think, like most non Comicon attendees, my exposure to Green Arrow comes via his crossover into more mainstream characters. Between 'Smallville' and various incarnations of The Justice League, I thought I had a pretty reasonable understanding of Green Arrow lore...apparently not. At least once during the first half dozen or so episode reviews, I caught myself asking, "What/who the hell is he talking about?". Kinda like I just did with "Mike Grell" ;)

While I did enjoy Justin Hartley's run, since we're talking about a DC character, darker is always "better". And though I like Marvel characters as superheroes better, DC characters as people and their stories/lore are across the board better...well, except for Spiderman. 'Arrow' as a whole I think is doing a solid job with both the dark and the fluff. I still think though there are too many people in on the secret identity, but they've established enough cred that I'll postpone any worry until they give me reason to. I suppose it's better than death/memory wipe for anybody who finds out...but just barely.
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I enjoyed this episode a lot ... in the other hand who agrees with me that Oliver and Felicity have much more chemistry together than Oliver and Laurel ;)
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I just don't feel the Oliver-Laurel thing! She just has no spunk or pizzazz and don't feel chemistry between the two like Clark Kent and Lois Lane had in Smallville. It's the ONE thing I feel that's missing in the show - chemistry, lots and lots of chemistry :-(
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I am sorry, but the although the reviewer seems to be praising this episode, there is an undertone of hatred for the show throughout this review...If you hate this show this much then let someone else write the review..Just my opinion..
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Maybe he's actually the only one that likes the show this much. There's only so many writers. A reviewer (or anyone else) isn't required to like anything as much as anyone else, and if you require someone who matches your opinions, it would likely be easier to talk to your own reflection.
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Hatred. Right. Hatred = critical engagement. I always forget that. Silly me.
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Be as much sarcastic as you wish, but as a reader of this review I find it a but condescending..It was like you were saying, "Uhh... It was okay..or whatever.. I find lot of things wrong with this series and at least the writers improved a few issues in this episode...Anyways..who cares".....

I started watching this series after your strong review of the pilot, and I haven't turned back since...I find almost everything near perfect with it (yeah, I admit, reduce Laurel's screen time).. But other than that, the Lost-like flashbacks, the action, the mysterious acting of the protagonist (intentional or not), acting by almost every character, storyline, Felicity, Felicity, Felicity...... I love them all.. I wished you would write other-than-pilot-episode's review with the same enthusiasm as you did for pilot...
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I think you're drastically misreading the review, but, hey, okay.

I've made no secret of the fact that I consider Arrow a B-level show, but I've had at least one commenter say that I actually he or she thinks that like it more than I let on. But I think this is the first time I've been accused of hating the show, which is false. I just don't like it uncritically, but that doesn't equate to hatred or condescension.
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Ok, I get your point I think, and I retract the hate word.. But you have been critical of the show (I read your earlier reviews now)..Maybe its just that you want the show to be bada** good, and you are simply being critical of the -ves of the show which you think are pullign it back..Or maybe as per you it just a show not really worthy of too much praise...I was just pointing out that even though you clearly liked this season finale, most of your praise were bundled with criticism..Maybe that is the way to review a series (in contrast to reviewing a stand alone 2 hour movie) as you have been doing this for way longer, but I just feel that you could have been more appreciative than critical of a really good episode (I think that most of the episodes have been good, but finale was really great...Felicity..Felicity..Felicity)
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You should have read more of his reviews for this show. There were episodes which he praised a lot and really liked.
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I'd point out that I did actually really like this one, overall. I think it was probably my favorite episode since the pilot. Which is sort of depressing, but then I thought that the Arrow pilot was one of the stronger new pilots this season.
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I loved this epi. But I hate the Oliver Laurel thing. And yeah Roy and Thea, that always felt like it was just something they put in. So the breakup was no big deal...It seems like the show is starting to come together. I love evil Malcom. And I kind of just kind of that is felt sorry for Moria when Walter handed her the divorce papers, but hey thats what she gets. I am starting to really like this show..but for awhile I wasn't so sure..
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From this point on you can practically spell out the underlying plot of season 2: tommy turning bad after merlyn dies olliver torturing himself wether to tell or not to tell lauren about the hood, roy becoming speedy etc. oh and lets not forget a cameo of the huntress

Still gonna love it
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"A teraflop of data to comb though," a teraflop is a measurement of computational floating-point number throughput, not stored data; it's like saying you have to put more MPGs in the fuel tank. Then again, she was using a Surface Pro to hack into... anything was ridiculous all by itself, an underpowered work tablet is not going to quickly crack anything, much less download a "teraflop" giant packet of data. Oh, but at least she left a virus on the machine that was the downfall of the whole plot, great fuckin' plan, really thought it through. Also, while we're on the subject of stupid computer shit in this episode, how did they find Felicity's name while the police and Felicity were hacking into the Merlyn mainframe from outside? That seemed like utter nonsense, just hit a button and her name comes up despite hacking from a secret lair into a foreign system.

I was confused as to how they got their assault on Merlyn tower going overnight, this seemed like something that needed a plan, how did they get Diggle onto the staff, how did they get an appointment on Tommy's books, all that sort of thing. A quick montage or a break in episode pacing would have sold that. It also had the "most exciting setup, least exciting payoff" scene ever, the big swing to the other scene and they shoot it from the worst angle so it looks like a little hop. I know the action on this show is pretty clumsily shot, but this was so much worse.

And then Ollie lets Felicity twist in the wind, letting himself get sucked into a scenario that would make any Three's Company viewer roll their eyes. Ollie is letting everybody down lately. At least he came to his senses about his task, his role in the job his dad gave him to stop crime or whatever. Of course, that somehow led him to think he was going to be out of the rap game the next day, which is short-sighted.

Malcolm catches an arrow, so Ollie just stands there. Now, Ollie has a full quiver of arrows, and is shown to be a master of rapid-fire arrows. Why wouldn't he simply, oh, I dunno, FIRE MORE ARROWS?!? Afraid Malcolm is going to catch ALL of them? That's stupid.

Wait, Thea and Roy broke up? I didn't even catch that, I thought they just argued some more. That whole Thea & Roy plotline in this episode was the only real drag, it felt tacked on and like filler, the plan made no sense ("let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lobby, let's all go to the lo---bby, and stand around for days"), and they are just so boring and lesser-than. Real stuff is happening, and then also Thea and Roy. Thea's so much less of a character now, she was at least slightly compelling before but now she's generic and stupider. Roy still is a wet noodle of a personality. Oh, and I nearly forgot, Thea's big plan of getting intel at the police station was AWFUL, she's surely going to get caught with such a huge lie, hated that she didn't.

Laurel was an object throughout this episode and a boring one at that, Tommy's resentment almost feels unreasonable given everything said and done here, if this pushes him over the edge it'll be disappointing. He can be mad and hurt, yes, but surprised? No. Laurel is quickly becoming the Lana Lang of this show, useless as a character yet fetishized as the central object separating characters, it hurt Smallville by not making her more compelling and it'll hurt Arrow too.

The flashback was far less interesting than I had hoped, but Yao Fei did catch one in the face, that was interesting. The "save me bro" guy showed back up, confirming that Ollie didn't leave someone to die in what is now for sure the stupidest, least-believable trap ever (it would have been way more interesting to go the opposite way, that's what I had been hoping for). Also, on a nitpicky level, kind of dumb to have your tents surrounding a missile launcher, its backblast will rip right through them all and scorch everyone that close. I didn't give a fart about who Fyers' employer was, my guess was China White, it'd be more clever to have a double-bluff and it's Moira though - just so long as it's not another "sexy Amanda Waller".


I actually was ready to read this review and comment last night, but am not surprised this took so long to get online as it was a dense episode. I didn't want to make a lot of nitpicky comments either, but that's what came to mind while reading your review.

This wasn't the worst episode, but it wasn't a great episode for the Green Arrow character. A lot of comings and goings, not too horribly soapy even with Moira and Walter. The action seemed its usual self, nothing great, no real voice or love for the idea. Malcolm's reaction to unmasking the Hood was interesting, but I feel like they ruined it with the preview for next week showing Ollie getting tortured. If Tommy becomes Harry Osborn all the way, I'll be quite disappointed, even with all the water under the bridge here he seems like there's more going on with him than that - you can't hate and deride what Ollie does only to become an evil reflection of that, it's nonsense. I liked last week's episode better though.
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"Because, man, somewhere in one of these memories is the evidence! If I got in far enough, I could reconstruct it!" is my retort. It isn't very nuanced, but I'm also exhausted.

(And review was filed at about 11pm est on Wednesday. There was a delay in getting all the Wednesday night reviews posted yesterday.)
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"That's a big door"

You filed that review at 8pm PDT? That's impressive, especially for an episode with this much stuff going on in the episode.
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I write as quickly as I can and file before I go to bed otherwise I wouldn't have the chance to write it like 20, 21 hours after airing. Some weeks are easier than others; last week's was a chore to write, this one was a bit better, but still took me 30-45 minutes longer than I normally take to do an Arrow review (I'm normally done by 10, 10:15).
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"I didn't want to make a lot of nitpicky comments"
So was someone holding a gun to your head or something?
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Thumbs down!
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To get one thing straight tommy slept with ollivers ex girlfriend! No actually the girlfriend of his dead best friend dead people cant really break up
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one thing that kina annoyed me about this show, green arrow's identity was revealed to too many ppl, i dunno if in the comic it actually went that way or not...all and all, didnt like that.
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"Hold on tight to me."
"I always imagined you saying that under different circumstances....very platonic circumstances."

God I love Felicity way too much.
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Did any one else noticed felicity's ass! That completely took me by surprise...
What an ass she as!
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I plan to rate Felicity's Red Pants as MVP for the week when FTW / WTF comes up. Blessed art Felicity's Red Pants, full of Badonkadonk.
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I agree with every facet of this.
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I really hope they completely wrap-up the Malcolm/Conspiracy plot and the current island plot in the season finale. It would be alot more exciting next week to start with a fresh bad guy in each time period. I just hope they save Tommy for season 3. He needs more time to develop his evil side.
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Sorry, next season rather than next week.
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I just hate Thea.
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Me too. She needs a comb and some acting chops.
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I must be tired. I read that as "She needs some chops and some acting combs."
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Great episode! Am so excited for the finale next week. So much going on the show hit the mark all around. Loved Oliver, Diggle and Felicity working together in the field. Felicity and her one-liners were awesome, Moira and Oliver getting "kidnapped" and Moira fessing up to what she has done, were all nicely done. And Walter handing her divorce papers was so sad. Her big doe eyes really helped sell that scene, you could feel the heartache from both and her. Malcolm's "Oh no" when he discovered Oliver was the Hood. I even liked when Laurel's dad admitted to her that Oliver was different (in a good way). So much happened in this episode, but it did it all right. This is what I need on a more consistent basis writers!!

Oliver and Laurel...I knew it was going to happen, and although I don't outright hate them as a couple like some people, I wish they hadn't jumped into it quite yet. It was cheapened by the fact that earlier in the day Oliver told Tommy he wasn't going to stand in the way of him and Laurel being together. Next thing you know he is jumping in the bed with her, but it was only a matter of time. I just wish they could have built up a friendship before they got back together. It does serve a purpose in regards to Tommy and the dark path that he seems to be heading.

Love the flashbacks, but definitely did not see Yao Fei dying just yet. Can't wait to see what happens on the island next. Could have done with Roy and Thea, they really don't bring anything to the story.
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I hope they give him a new bow for the next season now. Something that screams "I am the Man" like the Compound Bow Green Arrow had in Smallvile.

I like everything about this Green Arrow but since the begining that his Bow looks like a child's toy.
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not really. a compound bow is more like a child's toy, it is way too easy to shoot. it takes a lot of strength to shoot an arrow from a recurve through a person. That is why the Olympics only allow recurves because its not easy.
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Personally, I just hope he starts wearing a bandana, a pair of shades, or basically anything to cover his face. The bow I can live with.
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its only the 1st season so give it time.
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I loved the fight between Oliver and Malcom, one of the best I have seen on TV. You had the arrow catch by Malcom, the dialogue from Malcom, the breaking of Oliver's bow, and just a knock down drag out fight between evenly matched fighters.

I am a bit worried about Felicity. The police know she tried to hack in to Merlyn's database which might put her in their crosshairs. I have a feeling the season might end with her in handcuffs.
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It didn't look very evenly matched to me. It looked like Oliver received another thrashing.
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True but you have to take surprise into account. Oliver was not expecting Malcom to pull out those moves on him. He expected Malcom to go down like all the other rich guys in business suits he has held at arrow point this season, instead he got the Dark Archer.
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Malcolm actually took a bit of a beating, and while he had the element of surprise, he also had the disadvantage of not being suited up.
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I sensed some major Olicity vibes in this ep or maybe it's because I ship that pairing so much.
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I'm right there with you. I feel like Felicity just needs to jump Oli at some point. Just make it happen, girl!
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This actually was Felicity's third time in the field :)
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True, but the instance with the Dodger wasn't really in the field-in the field the way she has been for the past two episodes. She was just there to monitor things and then got roped into an explosive collar around her neck.
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I was gonna say that.
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Felicity is still on Team Oliver,yay! I mean really on Team Oliver, like in the field and having active participation and all that.I never thought I'd feel it or write it here; but that actually made me have a great happy moment of real joy.
This was one of the perfect episodes, and what series nowadays can boast to that. We got closer to Speedy appearing on the scene, Malcolm revealed to Oliver and that last "oh, no" from the former after beating the batshit out of our hero is priceless. Oliver finding out what his mother knew, and what that led to. I mean it, it was perfect.
Okay, there were a couple of very very minor "mistakes", like how come Moira's clothes never dirty or tear, after she spent a couple of hours tied up in a very seedy place. Not even sweat marks? The other thing that bothered me is the Oliver/Laurel/Tommy triangle which has outlived its interest.
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Am I the only one that thinks the dissolution of Oliver and Tommy's friendship happened a little too quickly? I feel like they should've held this plot out into Season 2 at the very least. It was always obvious where they were going with this, but even on Smallville it took years before the Clark/Lex Express broke up. And that was the entire basis of the show for the first 5 seasons. They could've held off a while on Tommy finding out, and developed Oliver and Tommy's friendship a lot more. As it is, we actually barely ever saw them as friends.
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I agree.
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I find it weird how the show has handled Oliver's feelings towards Laurel. Every time their relationship comes up, he clearly says that he cannot be with her - because of her safety or some other reason - and this seems sincere. He is trying to keep his distance. But five minutes later he is always backtracking and flirting with her. What does he expect? That it won't come back and bite him in the ass? Considering that Oliver is a superhero, he is pretty boneheaded when it comes to relationships. Why did he so clearly tell Tommy that he should be with Laurel, only to immediately go and make out with Laurel behind a window for everyone to see? Why is Oliver poking the hornet's nest? Is he actively trying to make nemeses?
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I had this in the review but ended up cutting it out because it didn't flow too organically in: He goes to Laurel's because he's pretty confident that he can stop the Undertaking and that means, for him, the potential of leading a normal life, no Hood.

And so he was overeager in his chances at a normal life and overconfident in his abilities to handle Malcolm. And it led to his downfall in the episode. And Tommy's as well.
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That is what I took from the situation too, another beat taken directly from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, but it all seemed so misjudged and mishandled. It seemed all growth over the years on the island and over the course of the series just faded away for the sake of some reunion sex. There was no caring or remorse for Tommy, no caring or consideration for the city or its citizens, only selfishness.
This is without mentioning Laurel's thoughts and feelings; she gets over heartbreak and forgets old grudges quickly that one. How the hell did she become someone responsible for appeals and the like?
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At least Bruce Wayne considered Harvey Dent's feelings during that triangle and twice made sure the city was in safe and secure and lawful hands before retiring.
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I don't know if I've said this before, but I really like how they've handled the flashbacks on Arrow. In a lot of shows the flashbacks are always one episode or a small bit of the entire plot. If this series goes on to 5 seasons, I can see them continue on al la Smallville, and they're not going to drag out the plot. Beyond 5 seasons, I don't know what they'll do. Flash forward perhaps?

Additionally, agree with Roy using the Surface.
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They've said interviews that they they have enough flashback stories to basically end the last episode of the series with the beginning of the first episode: Oliver running to light fire to attract the boat.
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Yeah, that's possible. I always assumed that they were doing each season would be a year on the island, but they could always stretch it out.
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It's about about 6 to 8 months this season on the Island, which sort of boggles my brain, but all right, show!
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I'm so excited about next week finale, more than I thought I would be when I first started watching this show. This week's episode was an example of why my excitement keeps growing.
Despite a few scenes or plot decision that have me eye rolling a bit (The triangle "dance", yeah, I didn't buy that either) the episode was action packed, full Team Arrow on the field, the Undertaking and Moira's connection to it, Walter and big bad Malcom (the guy actually scares me a little), I even think I held my breathe for a bit when Malcom discovered Ollie was the Hood, that's how much I liked it.
Also, WHO WRITES FELICITY'S DIALOGUE? WHOEVER IT IS, I LOVE THAT PERSON VERY MUCH.
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I know I held my breath too...funny... when Malcom pulled Olive's hood off. And yes the person who writes dialogue for Felicity is funny and a genius at making her character one of the most interesting and really my favorite of the show....
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Laurel needs to go.
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Loving the set up for the finale. The only thing I really hate is the whole Laurel/Oliver relationship. I just don't feel the chemistry that I think is there with Oliver and Felicity, and I'd almost rather they stay broken up and angry with each other. Still really don't understand why Ollie would have cheated on her in the first place if he's so in love with her.
Can't wait for next week as it looks like there's plenty of drama to be packed into the finale!
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I love Arrow, but that Olliver/Laurel relationship is total BS. Killing Laurel wouldn't be the worst thing.
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Best episode so far and glad I sticked with show. Tommy made developed as character and anytime it mentioned Laurel,I thought..noo,don't go back to that bitch. Now Ollie has to deal with her:D(hope it lasts,not that they break up real soon).

Fight between Ollie and Dark Archer, I loooooved it!!! I loved how Ollie had this look "oh crap he is beating shit out of me again" and just how atm DA overpowers Ollie. No competition atm and he saw Ollie's face.
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Someone of the writing team obviously likes Felicity, she normally get one or two really good lines an episode but this week they really went all out.
"This is my about to ...... hack face"
The comedy timing and pauses on those lines are absolutely perfect. They also let Quentin in on the decent lines for a change "The psycopath's are color coding themselves now, that's helpful." and if that isn't a hint for Roy turning into Red Arrow next season then I don't what is.

Speaking of red, Fryers' bosses shoes did remind me of the way Smallville introduced the Red Queen into the show. While I don't think we'll be seeing Martha Kent maybe a version of The Wall might make an appearence next season.

I have to admit I was very disappointed with the way they used Brion Markov, yes it was a nice inside reference in last weeks episode but to have him then turned into a pincushion in the first scene was a waste. Using minor DC characters etc as disposable background characters is fair enough but that not disposable.

And I don't know why but I had this sudden feeling that the writers might 'borrow' from Batman : Year Two for the season finale. Not sure which recess of my brain it came from but Ollie and Malcolm do give off a certain Batman and Reaper vibe.
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Am I the only one that picked up on "there's at least a teraflop of data to go through?"
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I was checking here to see if anyone else noticed.
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Was that elevator scene a little like Star Wars: New hope? when there swinging there way to the next floor
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why didn't he take his bolt gun or maghook (or whatever device with him)
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Felicity > Laurel. Felicity seems to have a thing for Ol. Good episode, I like the island scenes best. Filling in Oliver's past and training is interesting.
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I love that Felicity has a little crush on Oliver, let's her deliver half of her awesome lines.
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I love her too but they will have Olly and Laurel on off for most seasons I think so Fel will have to get her own man.
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Yeah, after all this is green arrow so we know Oliver/Laurel is the thing...
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Seriously Laurel, get the F off of this show...
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I disagree that there hasn't been tension between Laurel and Oliver. There's been plenty, it's just been internal. I think Oliver supplied Laurel with enough longing looks throughout her courtship to Tommy to justify that there was tension and he always loved her. The show tried to make him noble and accepting of their union which was refreshing for like an episode but ultimately robbed that storyline of a lot of blatant tension. Laurel was also never really that comfortable being with Tommy in front of Oliver so I think there was plenty of internal tension on her side as well but again, it was handled with far too much subtlety.
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Yeah but I don't think Amell and Cassidy have any sexual chemistry what so ever. In fact they have made Laurel pretty uninteresting so far. I just really do not like her character at all. Beautiful but very bland and boring.
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"I imagined you saying that under other circumstances. Very platonic circumstances."

^ That line had me cracking up! Oliver and Felicity seem to have so much chemistry that I don't know why the show is bothering to put him together with Laurel. I mean, yeah, in the comics, he and Black Canary got married, but they later wound up divorced. So, in my mind, totally justifiable for the show to put Oliver together with Felicity. In fact, I'd prefer it. :)
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Is anyone else in love with Felicity as much as I am? I think it's slightly borderline obsessive and touch creepy but I can't get over how beautiful, funny, and perfect she is! So, yes the best thing is the show (once again) was all Oliver/Felicity scenes. They make like the best couple, I wish Oliver would realize it sooner rather than later.

She is like the most important person, to balance out Diggs/Oliver. She always is there to give them perspective. I don't see how the show could function without her!

Looking forward to the finale! < XD


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Oliver/Felicity, I also see more sense there, I dont see any thing of interest with laurel, specially after Oliver went to talk to Tommy about her choosing him instead and basicaly showig him that he is not in the way between them, and then go and sleep wit Laurel, that makes no sense, as he has always seems to care about his friends, not betraying anyone.
Felicity seems to be a way more charismatic character, smarter and adequate match for Oliver, where there is no weird issues from past relatioships as they are with Laurel.
Oliver seems to be a fit match VS Death shot, and after last episode, it was like he has no skills at all VS Malcom, that sucks!
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Think of it this way. Dead Shot is a gun man more than anything. Malcolm did receive his training from Nanda Parbat, where he could theoretically have spent years training, more so than Oliver. I wouldn't worry about it though, he'll probably have a better fight in the finale and he'll be more prepared for the final fight.
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