Arrow "Dead to Rights" Review: Identity Crises

Arrow S01E16: "Dead to Rights"

We’ve all made jokes about how it’s kind of ridiculous that Oliver has maintained his secret identity with only a hood that never seems to fall off and a painted-on domino mask. But in “Dead to Rights,” we saw that the notion of identity is a positively complicated affair. It always is with superheroes, but Arrow has been building this issue around a lot of its characters, not just Oliver and those he’s accepted as members of Team Arrow.

Oliver telling Diggle and Felicity about his vigilante activities, and drawing them into that mission, was necessary for that mission to survive (and for the show to have any forward momentum with those two supporting characters). Ditching Diggle would’ve grown tiresome and increasingly risky, and the excuses they were feeding to Felicity were getting flimsier and flimsier. But Diggle and Felicity have skill sets that enhance his ability to operate and save Starling City. Tommy is decidedly not that sort of person.

That scene in the Chinese restaurant was a wonderful delight. Oliver and Tommy’s relationship has never really been in question, and the bond they share—one that transcends even the awkwardness of Tommy dating Laurel—allowed them to speak candidly to each other. It was a rare moment for them, and their trading of daddy issues helps reinforce that. They’re two men who trust each other implicitly, even if it turns out that one of them trusts the other a bit more.

And so when Oliver said that he never planned to tell Tommy, he broke that trust. You saw the devastation on Oliver’s face (Stephen Amell was great in that shot), and the sense of loss that it brought. Even if the truth came out in an effort to help Tommy save his father, even if Tommy'd had suspicions after the events of the pilot, Tommy just couldn’t accept that Oliver wouldn’t tell him, his best friend, the one man he could come to with anything, and did. So when he told McKenna and Quentin that he didn’t know “who the hell” the vigilante was, he was talking about Oliver, and the collapse of their bond.

Sadly for Tommy, the news about Oliver wasn't the only identity shocker he received this week. Malcolm’s lost two years at Nanda Parbat, and his ability to dispatch Triad thugs was yet another disruption of Tommy's world. Tommy has carried this notion of Malcolm as a cold and uncaring man around with him for years, and while it wasn't something that Malcolm discouraged, it wasn't something Malcolm necessarily wanted. It was a means to an end, a way to protect his son. But with the Undertaking nearing its endgame, perhaps Malcolm is ready to make amends and realize the value of his son. Certainly he was ready to show Tommy his panic room/dojo/secret lair, after all. That’s a big step for Malcolm, and a signal of trust that Malcolm will likely build on, and one that Tommy will likely be happy with now that his best friend has lied to him.

John Barrowman has been fine as Malcolm, but the show hasn’t demanded a lot of him up until now. Malcolm has been understandably shadowy, and it’s not the toughest of things to be charming and enigmatic, certainly not for Barrowman anyway. But Malcolm’s speech as he received the humanitarian award showed the cracks in his public persona, and it elevated the character in a much needed way. It was a big moment that Barrowman hit with aplomb, and largely just through the speech’s cadence. Real pain and self-righteous anger came through, really demonstrating the barely contained rage at the death of his wife and the fact that Malcolm likely doesn’t blame the men who murdered her and instead blames the entirety of the Glades.

The speech also gave Malcolm the some stronger parallels to Oliver’s mission. Both Malcolm and Oliver want to improve the city, and both have personal reasons for doing so. It’s a test of wills and resources between two men who have been trained and likely put through hell, with various obstacles in their ways—not the least of which is each other. Oliver has to balance being a son, a brother, a boyfriend, and a businessman (at some point, anyway), while Malcolm has to keep the Undertaking on track, deal with a traitor from within (poor Moira...), and also make sure that the vigilante doesn’t disrupt his plans. And now I have to wonder how the vigilante saving his life is going to influence Malcolm’s behavior.

What else... what else... oh, right! That last moment as Laurel’s mother (Alex Kingston) arrived on the scene with news that she thinks Sarah’s alive. Because, sure. If Deadshot’s still alive, then I have to imagine that Sarah is. I mean, who am to doubt Doctor River Song? She has that notebook with all the spoilers in it!

The island flashbacks were pretty light this week, thankfully. Fyers has himself an S-300 surface-to-air missile platform, perfect for shooting down planes or starting a war. Mostly, however, the scene was an excuse to watch Island Oliver barely be able to do a pull-up (“I’m more of a runner”) and then see Slade do a few. It also helped to establish that Oliver has at least a slight knack for electronics.

While I’ve seen this episode described as having a season finale vibe, it definitely felt more like a mid-season finale (I hate that we even have those now), certainly more than “Year’s End” did back in December. But instead of waiting a month or more, we only have to wait two weeks to see the fallout from all the stuff that happened in “Dead to Rights.” Thank goodness for small favors.



Notes & Quotes


– Not going to explain the significance of Nanda Parbat here to avoid possible spoilers, especially for the non-comic book fans in the audience. If you know about Nanda Parbat, then you probably have a couple of good guesses about where this is could going (goodness knows I do), but let’s not discuss it in the comments. Take it to the speculations thread in the Arrow forum, or start a brand-new thread instead, all right?

– The quickly dispatched assassin at the start of the episode, Guillermo Barrera, is actually a character from the comics named Brutale. He’s a knife-wielding psycho there, too.

– “Like they did on Gillgan’s Island!” Oh, Slade.

– You have to love that the show perfectly frames Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett during workouts, but it put Emily Bett Rickards in gym clothes for self-defense classes and the camera barely lingered on her.

– “Check, please.” I think that was the best bit of contextual humor Arrow has done, a very strong scene-ender.

– Yes, that’s right. Captain Jack and River Song. When do they get a scene together?!

– Again: Arrow is off for a couple weeks, with the next episode airing on March 20. I’ll see you all then, and so will Huntress. Yay...?


What'd you think of "Dead to Rights"?

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No shout out to a Geoff Johns penned episode?
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Riversong as the first black canary! Omg! Whats with Doctor who's characters and Arrow!?
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It's common for TV people to reunite in other shows. Sometimes it's someone in the cast that recommends someone they used to work with; sometimes it's someone behind the camera. Justified is littered with Deadwood reunions, Arrested Development had a number of Happy Days reunions; V & Castle share Firefly reunions, ect. ...And those are just off the top of my head. I'm sure if we made a pan-network drinking game out of it, took a shot every time a reunion was made onscreen & then lined the glasses, it would probably circle the Earth at least once (maybe twice)
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One more for ya: Burn Notice and The Shield reunions ;)
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I'm not sure if this has been commented on in the past but I just had to vent on what must be one of TV's most ridiculous casting choices aka Tommy and his dad. For pits sake they both look approximately the same age and unless his dad fathered Tommy when he was 10 this father-son duo is just insanely unbelievable.
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I have to say I'm a bit confused on this one, but I guess it just goes to John Barrowman aging gracefully. Barrowman might look decently young, but he's 46, which is would put him about 20 years apart from Tommy, which is pretty much just about right.
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Yes I figured age wise they got it right but TV is all about appearances and I think either the guy who plays Tommy should've been a bit younger looking or his dad a bit older looking. I don't know it's just that whenever they're on screen together it really nags me.
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Well don't forget that Barrowman is rich as shit. If you got that much money you're going to look younger than you are, what with plastic surgery and all. Plus he stays in shape.
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Ya I don't think he's had any surgery. He just looks like a middle aged dude who's treated his body well.
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Knew Malcolm wouldn't die... he's Captain Jack ;)

Totally expected him to reveal his past as a time agent when Tommy asked him how he knew how to fight. "Son, a long time ago, I met this man called the Doctor..."

And then Alex Kingston showed up! I would have died if she'd said, "hello, Sweetie," to Laurel.
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LOL
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So Tommy now knows Oliver's secret and prior to the attack became aware of his dad's secret hideout in the office; so this is going to be a reveal. Frankly, I couldn't help myself thinking of the Green Goblin when he made that discovery and it will be very interesting to see if Tommy will follow his father's footsteps and become one of Arrow's nemeses.
Arrow works because it is a character oriented show , where they actually are taking very good care to define each of them very clearly and appropriately within the original comics mythos. At the same time, even as they arrange the complex puzzle pieces that they are within the plots and subplots; they have maintained several paths open that these characters can take eventually.
There is a rich mosaic storytelling that can easily fill five or, fingers crossed, ten seasons, if they can maintain this rhythm.
I thought that Smallville was the peak of comics adaptation on the TV screen, but Arrow is well on its way to prove me wrong.
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Just as a heads up, but Tommy didn't become aware of his dad's dealings. Malcolm was *about* to show him, when he was shot, and the door closed. Tommy knows nothing about his father being the Dark Archer.
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If you're sure.
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great episode and great review..I love what Arrow is doing with the characters, I mean, is such a mesh hahaha not a mess, mesh, everything is entangled..now I would like to see malcolm's reaction to oliver saving him..and tommy is going "dark side" because he can't trust oliver..and who would be the cannary sarah, dinah or laurel?? I also would to see some flashback of malcolm's training, who is that man i talked about..and does it have anything to do with yao fei was his name? the archer from the island..who obviously teached oliver at some point. Can't wait to see what happens, and...mckenna!! wow you're a detective!! oliver leaves and five minutes later you're on call!!! how many time that's gonna happen till you realized the truth??
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Great episode, loving the show!

Also, knew that deadshot would be back, cyborg eye and all
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Hi everyone. I'm interested in reading some of the Green Arrow comics. Can any of you tell me where I should start? I've been googling but there are so many out there, cross overs with other DC characters and the like... I'm a little overwhelmed. Any advice would be much appreciated. And if you can point me in the directions of story arcs that feature some of the characters from the show, that's be awesome, too.
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Thanks everyone for your advice and suggestions. I REALLY appreciate it. I'll certainly be hitting the 'net this weekend and tryng to track down some of the titles. Unfortunately, as I live in Australia, comics are quite expensive here and there aren't too many 'bricks and morter' stores for me to freaquent. So, the net (and stores that ship internationally) is definitely my friend when it come to comics (both purchasing and for advice). You guys are awesome! Thanks again.
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As Gully suggested, if your new to the character, the new 52 series is quite good, easy to find and follow and gives you the latest mythos behind green arrow.

The green arrow/green lantern crossover series is a classic, shows the juauxtapostion of the two characters really well and was one of the first popular pollitical comics.

Also lastly the short story arc by Kevin smith is one of my faves, really gritty and introduces one of the weirdest villains in onomatopoeia!
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And then I forgot the most obvious thing.
Find your local comic shop and ask them. Yes, they'll want to sell you stuff so they're not totally unbiased, but they want you to come back next week and buy more stuff. They generally prefer to have a small steady income from lots of happy customers instead of emptying your wallet once and never seeing you again.
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Where to start?
There is an Arrow comic that ties in directly to the show it's released weekly as a digital comic but DC have also started printing them and I think it's something like 3 digital issues in every print issue.

Wikipedia has pretty decent entry on GA and there's a list of collected editions at the bottom, if you are looking for stuff related to the show then the writers appear to be borrowing a fair bit from both Year One and The Longbow Hunters.

If you are looking at Green Arrow within the current DCU, then there are 2 collected volumes for the 'New 52' if you want to start right at the begining or Green Arrow #17 should still be available. Why #17? It's a new writing team and it seems to be a little closer in style\mood to the TV show than the previous issues. And finally there is the new Justice League of America, which has Ollie in a central role, and with Hawkman on the same team there will be some interesting disagreements between them.

I think that should do for a start.
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"You have to love that the show perfectly frames Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett during workouts, but it put Emily Bett Rickards in gym clothes for self-defense classes and the camera barely lingered on her. "

This is pretty funny. This episode also featured the incredible Kelly Hu in a tight dress (and for once *not* wearing that horrible white wig), but we only got split-second glimpses of parts of it. Laurel's best physical feature by far is the shape of her upper body, but she almost always wears clothes that hide it. They really go as far out of their way to *not* show off the women as they do to show off the men. I find it pretty odd to be honest.
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To be honest, it's kind of refreshing *not* having a CW series throw eye candy at me to entice me into watching the show, and really, they don't need to to draw in the male audience. Giving them some female boners with topless scenes from Amell and Bennett doesn't hurt to draw in the female viewership.
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Would it be odd if the situation were reverse and we only their bodies as opposed to Amell, Bennett, and to a lesser degree Ramsey?
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Yes that would be odd as well, but I wouldn't mind. :-)
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I know this is probably a stupid thing to complain about, but good god that red unitard/romper/overall thing Laurel had on was hideous.
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Oh, no, not stupid. I had it in my notes, but then decided it would look really petty of me to mention (plus I wasn't sure what it was called). But, yes, it was HORRIBLE. So so very ugly. No one should ever ever ever wear that.
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I wish they would stop calling him "vigilante"! It's time for "Arrow" or "Green Arrow".

3 weeks off? Oh noooooo!
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But Oliver already said that the name Green Arrow was "lame"!!

I think the Vigilante is a horrible name, too, but I sort of like that they continue to reinforce the idea that he is outside the law. Calling him something like the Hood, which happens every now and then, can somewhat mask that.
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I keep seeing comments about Oliver revealing his identity but there is something people should remember or know, depending on how old you are. In all the comic books series, on Smallville and on Justice League Unlimited, everybody knew that Oliver was Green Arrow, his fortune kept him isolated and, presumably, gave him good lawyers to deal with the law. Of course, on those shows, he didn't kill people either.
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In both of those shows, Oliver's identity was not public knowledge. He shared his identity with other heroes and whatnot, but he would have no reason to wear a mask at all if his identity was public.
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On Smallville, Green Arrow's identity wasn't known to everyone. Just certain people. They even had an episode where Clark pretended to be Green Arrow in order to keep Lois from finding out Ollie's secret.
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So next on the list for Oviler's identity reveal are: Thea, His girlfriend, Roy Harper, Walter and everybody else.
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yeah, the thing that made hm appealing just like Superman in his ability to conceal his secret but it seems by the end of the season even Moira will learn of his identity
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Maybe he'll tell that smoking hot detective Mckenna
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I do love that woman. You should see her in the buff on True Blood...mmmmm....
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Quite an enjoyable episode. Considering the 2nd half of the season, most likely the best so far. As usual I expected to run into at least one major issue with the writing, but there's been only a few minor gripes at most. That's promising.

So we have another big reveal. At the rate people find out about Oliver's secret identity, there should be at least one more person let in on the mystery before the season end. And in a few seasons, half of the Starling City should know or at the very least suspect something.
It's easy to make fun of this particular approach or to call it silly, but it is also somewhat refreshing. There is no doubt in my mind that many other shows would try to milk the prospect for many long seasons (hello, Smallville), yet Arrow doesn't seem to be interested in dragging things out just for the sake of dragging them out. If anything, I think it might be doing the opposite by rushing a little too much. Nonetheless, it opens up some new opportunities.

I did not think that Oliver had to take off the hood in front of Tommy. It seemed like he almost had him convinced, and Tommy should've been smart enough to know that if the vigilante wanted to kill him and his father, he would've done so outright rather than allow himself to be kept at a gun point and waste time on arguing.
It almost felt like Oliver unconsciously wanted to tell his best friend, he just needed a suitable opportunity - one where he could convince himself there was no other choice. His conscious mind might still deny it (as per his reply to Tommy's inquiry later on), but after all, it's not like he planned to tell Diggle or Felicity exactly when he did. Still, I think it fits Oliver's character as presented on the show, where keeping secrets from his family and friends weighs down on him heavily.

This episode also managed to present Malcolm Merlyn in a considerably less one-dimensional way. On one hand, he might very well be this grieving husband who is really in pain after losing his beloved wife. And now, lost and misguided as he is, he sees The Undertaking (whatever it might include) as the only right way to go. Be it to get even, or to do some good for the city (at least in his eyes). He also seems to genuinely care about his son, even if he doesn't know how to best handle that relationship. On the other hand, there is nothing that would prove beyond all doubt that he isn't just a cold, calculating bastard who fully realizes the true extent of his plans and who is simply using the death of his wife as a front. After all, in one of the earlier episodes we've been shown that he wanted to get rid off his wife's legacy (a clinic, was it?) and needed his son's approval on paper (which in turn outraged Tommy).
All in all, it makes for a compelling character, and there is more left to explore. Both Merlyn guys have a good dynamic going on. And being saved by Green Arrow is very ironic in this context. I wonder if it's going to influence older Merlyn's behavior in any way.

I liked my regular dose of flashbacks, but then I almost always do. Oliver having a knack for tinkering with equipment was convenient, yet believeable. And it gave him and Wilson something to do.
Diggle and Felicity were good to watch. Close combat training is just what she needs! And while I had no doubt that Ms. Smoak would eventually crack the encryption (even as conveniently as several minutes before the hit), at least it took a little while.
Moira is really good at keeping up the appearances. And it was good to see that the Triad actually bothered to do a little pre-planning (but why did the guys at the upper floor not shoot Malcolms at first sight remains a mystery to me).
I absolutely digged the scene at the Chinese restaurant. I also thought that the collage of brief scenes (offering us glimpses at brooding Oliver, Diggle and Felicity working, Tommy recollecting, and Moira preparing herself) coupled with the music and finished with a nice shot of the city came off particularly well.

And then there were... zombies. Well, kind of. We had a guy who had been Shot Dead (in the eye), yet it did not seem to have any other grave consequences beyond the obvious. Plus a mention of Sarah, Laurel's sister, as presented by their mother. She might still be walking, because people... er, I mean zombies, just do that. Survive.

I hate any breaks longer than 2 weeks (and even those feel like a stretch), so waiting 3 will be rather painful. But at least this episode of Arrow made me feel that it might be worth it.




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I disagree about Oliver wanting to tell Tommy, even at a subconscious level. That "No." at the end of the episode was very empathetic and honest. I think he just saw it as the easiest way to get Tommy to calm down and trust him. Remember that Tommy has espoused a fairly negative opinion of the vigilante a few episodes ago, so if he had just acquiesced very easily, we'd be brow-beating the show for inconsistent characterization.
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where there references to canary? or maybe it's just me...
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Yes, the show runners went out of thier way to link the missing Sara to the canary with the bit about the picture; so I knew as soon as they showed the scene that she wasn't dead and was coming back as black canary. Then the ending confirmed it.
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thats what got me thinking about black canary

thx noel for confirming I'm not crazy :P
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A picture of Sarah with a (black) canary showed up when McKenna and Oliver went to Laurel's apartment for Tommy's birthday dinner.
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Ok, I liked this episode, but there were some things that made me crazy. First: Oliver and his secret. If his going to tell to everyone, it's not a secret anymore!!!! Come on! We're only in the first season and already we have 3 people, including the best friend, who knows Oliver is The Hood. That way, by the end of the season, the only person who's not going to know is Laurel (because of the drama!!).
And the thing that bugged me the most: the blood transfusion. Forget the fact that even if you are related to a person, the blood type can be different, or that the venon wouldn't be diluted in 15 seconds. Imagining that the blood type were the same and the venon was... bla, you could never make a transfusion with the veins in the wrist!! They are too thin, they couldn't hold an IV. Couldn't they just lift the sleeves of the characters? With Stephen Amell's abdomen showing on camera every two scenes (and I'm NOT complaining about that!), they could show Tommy's arm! This little details make a huge difference for me.
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4 people! Don't forget the Huntress (whom I hear we might be seeing again soon). What can you do, Ollie is just a people person like that.
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Good point, if everyone knows your Batman than why be Bruce Wayne? But Tommy is now going to be thrown into the chaos of his father's 'undertaking' plans for the city, and with being pissed at Oliver will he betray him?
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Oh, Ollie... why not just go public with your secret identity? You're pretty much headed in that direction anyway.

Also, how is it that Malcolm's name did not make it onto Ollie's book? I thought perhaps that just so happened to be the page he tossed into the fire, but then the other book surfaced, and I figured he would have at least checked for the missing page(s). Given how Malcolm is pretty much front and center of whatever's going down, you'd think Robert would have jotted his name down on every other page.
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But we've been led to believe that it isn't actually Robert who is the author of the book. Sooner or later I expect to see an explanation as to why Malcolm (and possibly others) aren't there.
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Oh yes, more River Song, please, sweety! (Some of the writers must itch to throw in a reference, like in Castle's "that Joss Whedon show...")
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Only being one of the so many Firefly references (and I love them). But I agree, a reference will be fun. Call Oliver 'sweety' once......
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Great review as per usual. Yeah, I'm still feeling like you're more optimistic about this show than you give yourself credit for, or maybe I'm just a special kind of...something in between. I always find myself liking the episodes more after reading the review than I did w/o reading it. I must say. Not saying that the show itself or this episode in particular was necessarily bad. It was pretty darn solid actually.
-I'm so positively giddy that Felicity is in on the action in hanging in the cave with the boys that nothing else really matters to me! She's the perfect fit for them both. She acts as a moral compass in a way and I totally dig that, and she can trade barbs with the best of them. I loved her getting self defense lessons because a gal can't always talk herself out of trouble, although if anyone could Felicity could. I LOVE that girl so much! The easy way in which she and Diggle worked together was just fantastic. They have a really great chemistry and it never ceases to amaze me how some people can just gel and have a great chemistry instantly with other characters whereas others...don't. I'm not going to name names, like Laurel or anything like that. ;) Like I want to go hang out in the cave myself, because that's where all the cool people are.
-So then, my excitement was deflated, it was like that time the 2nd grade bully knocked my ice cream scoop right off the cone and stomped on it. Another freaking reveal. Like, why?! Two reveals in three weeks?! Half the freaking city will know his identify in no time if he keeps this up. But before I gripe about that, I will admit that Tommy for like the first time ever, actually had a really great episode. I enjoyed him rather than found myself bored by his presence, and he and Ollie talking about their fathers was one of the best scenes of the night. Honestly, that was like the first time that I seen them as the friends that we're supposed to believe that they are. Technically it was then that I actually remembered that they're supposed to be besties. Because I honestly forgot. But Tommy stood out on his own with something interesting that had nothing to do with Laurel which was great. I genuinely liked Tommy in this episode. Even though I felt he overreacted with the whole Oliver hiding who he was thing. Who doesn't hide their alternate life from their best friend? Cut the guy some slack! But it wasn't so much that I was annoyed with how he handled the news, I was just annoyed that he learned the truth so damn soon. Why? Why did that have to happen now?! I mean are they anticipating any kind of longevity at all with this show because I wasn't ready for anyone else to be in the know about the vigilante's true identity just yet. We couldn't spend more time fleshing out Felicity as a new member of the vigilante crew and asset? I gritted my teeth on that one. Especially because Tommy was practically non existent for weeks, and they finally started building his character up more and showing us this bond that he and Oliver have, and in the same episode they more or less destroyed it. It felt..contrived. Now he'll inevitably get closer to his father, and his father will no doubt let him in on his own secret identity...and Tommy may be poised to be against Ollie...etcera.
-It was a pretty winning episode for Malcolm too. Other than getting shot, poisoned, and almost killed that is. I actually liked him in this episode. He didn't really quite pull off the intrigue and mystery thing for me before, but I liked seeing a side to him that wasn't so smarmy. I'm mildly interested in what happens with him now, and what happens to Moira too.
-Detective Lance still just sucks. I mean I'm trying to find ways to like him and stuff but...even his niche is sketchy. There is only so many different ways he can do his gung-ho let's go catch a vigilante without it being eyeroll inducing. I much prefer the new girl because of the complications that arise with her dating the guy she's supposed to be after w/o realizing it.
-Oh right. Laurel, her mom popped up, and her sister may still be alive. That could be interesting. I suppose.
-I didn't mind the island stuff, because I find Slade hilarious. Or hot. Maybe both. Bloody accents.
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Thanks for the kind words, and I'm glad the reviews have some impact on your reception to the show. I'm fine with the show for what it is (B-level action melodrama), but do wish it would push itself a bit more, but at this point, I'm hoping season 2 will deliver on that.

Rickards (Felicity) has a really easy chemistry with everyone she's had a scene with, so I'm really pleased she's been promoted to a regular in season 2.

I'm not really getting the identity complaint...I mean, I understand it, but Tommy's the third person to find out. And Oliver's controlled who has found out every time. I'm really not that anxious about it at this point. I mean, if he tells his family, then, yeah there'll be issues, I think, but right now it helps bleed the boundaries between his personal life and his vigilante activities, and that was something I think people were wanting to see more of...but perhaps just not in this way?
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The struggle to keep the anonymity is an intriguing one to me. The fact that his personal and vigilante life intertwine so often while he's trying to maintain the anonymity is part of the endearment to the struggle. If Tommy found out next season, I probably wouldn't have been so annoyed. It's happening too fast, and it takes away from some of the excitement of him leading these two lives, to me. I mean, I'm not saying he's one step away from chugging milk out of the carton in the mansion's kitchen, while having his bow and arrow strapped across his back and his hood on, but Felicity and Diggle as his friends and assets being in the know works. An adversary being in the know works. It makes things interesting and a little messy. I think Tommy, and it's funny saying this, because for so long he came across as such a useless character overall, but him finding out is pivotal to the series, but it just feels like it's happening entirely way too soon. I suppose I can't get too much into a tizzy about it until I see how it plays out for the rest of the season. I think this show has this odd way of both rushing and not rushing through stories. Like you said, it doesn't push itself enough in some aspects, but then cases like this with Tommy, I feel like it's pushed itself too...soon.

Richards is incredible. She has all the quirk I love in some of my fave geeky female characters and it is such an easy chemistry with everyone. I'm beyond thrilled that she'll be a series regular.
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Fourth person. Forgot about Huntress knowing.
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Darn. Me too. I don't know. I still feel like that's just a bit too much, too many people in the know for just the first season. Some of them, not enough time to really flesh out the repercussions of them knowing.
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This was a fantastic episode. ARROW was at the top of its game. This is what the show is capable of. The story was good, the acting was top notch the action was awesome and the plot didn't feel rushed.

Oliver revealing himself to Tommy was awesome yet unexpected, especially when other shows would have milked that for at least 3 or 4 seasons.

9.5/10
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I don't know if this bothers anyone else but while I like John Barrowman he's too young an actor (early 40s) to be a believable father in the context given for Tommy (played by an actor who I believe is 30). Malcolm Merlyn is played as if he's a contemporary of Moira, as well, when he's at least ten years her junior and the show hasn't really made any attempt to salt and pepper his hair or in any other way age him. And there's been nothing so far to suggest that Rebecca and Malcolm's was a teenage romance. It's just something else about that Malcolm character that jangles.
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I'm genuinely surprised there haven't been any "what do you expect, this is a CW show" comments (as justified as they might be) by now.

I'm not sure if it really bothers me, although I do notice that. It would be hard not to. I suppose that as long as Malcolm had Tommy before turning 20, we could make an argument that it is at least somewhat believeable.

Plus, turning Malcolm considerably older (say, past 50) would have the side effect of making his Dark Archer antics be that much harder to buy into (especially when facing someone like Oliver who is in their prime). Although, as The Dark Knight Returns demonstrates (Frank Miller's version) older people can still kick ass.
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Good genes?! LOL! This always makes me chuckle because I personally come from one of those families where people age gracefully...(insert ethnic joke) so it never really bothers me as much as it seems to bother others. Like visually I could buy into Tommy and Malcolm being related...so the fact that he's so youthful in appearance just didn't jar me. Throw in the fact that we're practically conditioned to see thirty year old as teenagers now in most shows, and you just learn to overlook it. However, when you bring in Moira and make that comparison I can kind of understand your point a bit more.
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Laurel's sister... got to be Black Canary surely? As soon as Laurel and McKenna had that little conversation about her sister and her pet canary in the photograph... I THOUGHT STRAIGHT AWAY... hmmm she's probably still alive because that reference was not at all subtle. And then low and behold... enter absentee Mother with her news. Other than that, I thought the episode was one of the strongest so far. The Merlin family dynamics are much more interesting then The Queen family dynamics, and the big reveal to Tommy was really well played out. I've been waiting for him to find out for a while. Can't wait to find out more about Malcolm and the undertaking. Can't say I'm too fussed about what Moira will do now that her assassination attempt has failed... she's really not that likeable.
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Very well spotted. I missed it completely.
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Good point. I actually didn't connect the dots while watching the episode, it only dawned on me some time afterwards. Might be just what the writers are going for.
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Did anyone else notice that Malcolm asked Moira to dinner and said that it would be like what they'd done before? Maybe Speedy was right, and all that creepy Malcolm on Moira touching wasn't an intimidation tactic, but instead evidence of intimacy they'd shared. Does Malcolm not get that he had her first husband, father of her children killed, nearly killed her son and is holding her second husband somewhere -- I mean where is the romance in that??
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I think that when he said they would lanch like they did in past, was a reference of them being friends in past. Lately, they just had conversations about the plans they had about "saving the city", verify that moira's husband was alive, that moira did her job. So he was just suggesting that they should forget those things and be again friends that share a mission (remember that she earlier talked "for anyone" -when none else was willing to talk- and supported him).

Moreover, the way he touched her at previous episodes seemed not like love but threatening /showing-off his power.

But we can't know for sure untill the show is over, I guess. xD
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“Check, please.” I think that was the best bit of contextual humor Arrow has done, a very strong scene-ender.

I agree,that was done perfectly Loved episode,hate that we will wait 2 weeks for Arrow and Supernatural!!!
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We're 15 episodes in and now as many regular characters know about Ollie's secret as don't. And it's especially annoying this episode since they finally gave him a better fake voice!

I wonder why this show wants to take all the drama out of being Green Arrow. There's a ton of drama in the way the character operates in the comics, and none of it comes through here - no hunting, no aiming, no thought given to how best to address a situation (and that's ignoring the lack of gimmick arrows), no slow-motion loving shots of bows being drawn, no time being spent as the character. Instead it's a generic high-speed action pretending to serve "realism", and it's boring because it's the same kind of thing every time and it highlights no character, only the action itself.

Malcolm's storyline really didn't feel authentic, it's like the writers decided to change the character completely once they got renewed. Is he the tough-as-nails businessman with a dark secret and a mastery of manipulation, or the touchy-feely caring dad guy who has just gone astray and is angry?

Alex Kingston playing Laurel's mother, are we just going to hire every fan-service character from the last 8 years of Doctor Who and hope the show takes off for it? At least there was mention of Sarah having a canary, haw haw.

The flashbacks I found compelling, but not terribly clear on how they connected to the main storyline, and the odd stylized editing in which we got in and out of them was jarring compared to previous episodes. I must admit, I really like this Slade Wilson, I'd watch a show about that guy, but it's overwhelming the big budget slop of the main storyline on this show.

Why exactly did McKenna have to get called to a scene that had nothing to do with the vigilante, did she just decide her date mysteriously disappeared so she might as well change clothes and go to work at a scene that hadn't had any trouble yet? Why did China White bother redeeming Deadshot, and how does someone survive a deep-penetrating arrow to the brain with only a milky eye for it, and why did she end up so hands-on for that hit if she was going to bring in a contractor?

Nanda Parbat will end up being a Vietnamese bar that Malcolm learned to play darts at.

In case it's not clear, I didn't love this episode, I didn't hate it but I did find it frustrating in its clumsiness.
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What do you mean why did McKenna get called to the scene? Of course it had everything to do with the vigilante. The Hood called Detective Lance and informed him of the upcoming hit, making it very obvious that he would make an appearance there (he even told the police not to get directly involved, as if they would listen...). And Lance has recruited McKenna to help him catch the vigilante. One of the first things he would do was to inform her about what was going on and demand her presence. It all made sense there.

And who could fathom the actions of China White and her organisation? They did have some plan in motion that was supposedly to end in an assasination, but the goons that the Merlyns ran into certainly didn't try to kill them.
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I forgot about that "don't get involved" phone call and line, that was exceptionally stupid writing, how arrogant is Ollie? This isn't even what he's trying to do in Star City, he's not trying to replace them. AND HE FAILED, no less!
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I think the writers are more interested in having the show focus on character and character-based themes like relationships and identity. For a long time now the main secret hasn't really been Arrow's alter ego, it's been what's going on with Moira, Malcolm Merlin and the other first families -- and the meaning of Oliver's father's notebook. Now they've also inserted the question of whether Sarah is still alive.
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Then why make it a show about Green Arrow at all?
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Actually, we're 16 eps in now.
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This article says it's episode 1-15, I just went by that, so blame Noel I guess because I can see you're right based on the list on this very site.
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Yeah, that's on me. I'll get that fixed.
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Is this one of those "Just want I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!" sort of situations? Because, as I recall, you were all, "I'm done! No more! Maybe if I'm really bored on a Saturday I will watch this! And only if I'm out of Duck Dynasty episodes!" ;)
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I said I had one foot out the door, basically I meant I'm pretty much ready to let it go whenever it lets me down further. This episode wasn't a further letdown, and I find the Slade Wilson stuff to be surprisingly compelling, as well as maybe a fifth of this episode's regular content.

ALRIGHT FINE! I'm a sucker, I even still watch NCIS LA despite it being utterly terrible and having killed it on my DVR, I'm weak for dumb action shows! ;-) Also, this is the final surviving DC comics show on TV. :-(
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the 1st step is admitting you have a "problem".

Hi, I'm Vicky8675309 and I am a sucker who still watches some shows that are utterly terrible:D

I still watch ncis and ncis:la and even worse shows but I also watch great shows;-)
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Maybe I'm missing something, but why isn't Malcolm's name on The List?

Also, is it just me, or are they trying to make Flashback-Oliver look like Eliot on Leverage?
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Maybe the worst/most important city-failers were at the beginning of the list. You know, the first pages that Island Ollie ripped out and burned?
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That's fine for the island copy of the book but there was the second copy that Walter found and Felicity gave to Oliver. If either of Ollie's parents or Malcolm's names were on the first pages of the unburnt copy I think someone would have noticed.
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IDK. Every scene (that comes to mind) with the Walter-copy showed folks pawing through the middle of it, and then Moira burned it. Also, CW Logic.
Agree to disagree?
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Yes, that was strange since Malcolm's clearly the boss and completely caught up in whatever evil doings they are involved in and that Robert grew a conscience about.
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I've been wondering about that. But Moira's name isn't in there either. So perhaps the upper management didn't make the cut?

...THEY ARE.
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Well, presumably Robert didn't know either one of them were part of the Undertaking. It's not entirely clear if Robert was, or if he found out about them independently. Or maybe he just didn't feel the need to record his wife's name. But why omit Malcolm?

Also, it seemed weird that Guillermo was on the List. Yeha, he was rich, and they said he was coming back to Starling City after several years away. But he didn't seem like a businessman/one-percenter.
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It's pretty clear (well to me anyway) that the whole "Undertaking" was set up by Malcolm and that both Moria & Robert were in on the ground floor. This episodes little board meeting between the "Undertakers" shows that all the people at the top knew who was involved and Robert was definately involved.
If memory serves, the steel works that Ollie repurposed is in the Glades and was shut down by Robert. Part of Malcolm's plan to punish\impoverish the Glades.
I also get the feeling that the "Undertaking" changed over time, assume that Malcolm decided to do something with the Glades 20 years ago when his wife was murdered he decides that the Glades need to be punished for that crime. Initially he sells it to the Queen's and everyone else as an improvement program for the Glades but slowly that changes into something more sinister (guessing we'll see what at the end of the season) and everyone involved starts getting turned\corrupted and is convienced to go along with the plans. Robert starts having second thoughts and voices those concerns which leads to the bomb on the boat.

Personally I'm still hoping the list is a subtle reference to the 100, mainly because of the Merlyn link.
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Neither was Gaynor, and yet there he was.
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Well, he was a businessman. I'm not sure if the timeline of him being in Afghanistan, coming back, and starting a security firm, lines up with the 5+ years of the shipwreck and whatever Robert was doing before that.
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I won't do a reveal about Nanda Parbat, but I hope next season we get a Halloween episode with Deadman in it.
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WOW, what an episode!!! I am still reeling!!!
And doesn't Barrowman look sexy??? Still miss my Cpt. Jack! (Maybe for the 50th?)
Of course Mr. Manu is just raw animal magnetism, and... Oh, yes, sorry... Arrow!

OK, so 1st impression, a lot happened here apart from the cool fighting and all...
- Guillermo Barrera: and they couldn't find a more difficult name to pronounce for English speakers? I laughed to tears! It sounded like everybody was trying a new mouth wash ROFL!
- Those tears when Tommy heard the "NO" from Oliver, and Oliver's expression. Damn Mr Amel is devilishly handsome... and he can act! :-D
- Not a comic-connoisseur so I thought Merlin Sr. was a bad guy... so apparently maybe he is not that much and Moira is a fiendish monster???
- I had completely forgotten Laurel had a mom... apparently she time travels and rescued Laurel's sis? LOL
- Maybe it's me but that policewoman (whose name I keep forgetting) is v. sexy and probably v. cool but I do not feel the fireworks between her and Olly... not even the occasional sparkle... :-(
- Ms. White China keeps nursing some serious grudge against Arrow...

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Anyone planning on doing something that's going to kill thousands of innocent people is pretty firmly in the bad guy column, at least Moira is getting a little uneasy about killing that many people and wants to reduce the bodycount to single digits 1
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Hey, deadshot is back from a binder. Because you know the whole eye thing. I mean it isn't like you have two of those to use for crying out loud.

I thought it was a good episode. I really have no complaints other than Oliver whupped China white, again. And she somehow got away, again. But I like China White so I guess it is a good thing.

Malcom's big reveal to his son was interesting. I presumed with Malcom being his badass self and Oliver being his badass self. I am sure Tommy is going to start taking Kiddie Tae Kwon Do in order to try to make up for being a big wussy. It also allows Malcom to have some type of understanding of what the Hood is all about. And may come to a realization that it isn't necessarily Malcom that the Hood is attacking him. And that it is just someone looking to do what he is attempting only better.

Laurel was there, so there is that. Hopefully Sarah is still alive and a better character than Laurel. And River Song? Cool. Does that mean she isn't going to be in this season of Dr. Who?
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Tommy doesn't seem impressed. I suppose this is foreshadowing on the part of the writers - giving us some little thing that Tommy thinks is wrong, but that he'll shove aside for his reconciliation with his Dad until the inevitable realization that Dad is a bad man and the inevitable break with him.
Tommy clearly doesn't think killing people is a good thing - and it seems like you'd have to do some serious convincing to get him to to understand the circumstances under which that would be okay.
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I don't know. It is all about perspective. Tommy can be convinced by his dad about his way of cleaning up the town. Then his father dies and he goes to an extreme and ends up on the opposite side of Oliver.
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I like how they didn't even bother trying to explain how Deadshot survived an arrow to the eye that looked like it hit his brain, because COMICS!!

I imagine Malcolm started off wanting to find a way to gentrify the Glades so no one else would have suffer a tragedy like him (and Batman), but somewhere along the way, probably in NP, his ideas were turned to just killing them all and starting over (though Im exactly sure how they plan on getting away with a tiny bit of genocide).

I think it's also been pretty clear that Malcolm and crew's goals are pretty similar to Oliver's. At first they made it seem like Malcolm was this master mind criminal, but at some point you had to have realized that if he was so "evil" why wasn't his name on the list as well. I assume Oliver has looked through the list and know all the names in it. The difference is Oliver uses killing as a means to an end while it seems Malcolm is going to use killing as an end.
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Has the Undertaking been clarified? I thought what they are planning to do is still pretty veiled.
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I don't think so, but what was the Unident thing that Malcolm said Queen Consolidated had acquired? Was it technology or chemical? I have this idea that there is a water poisoning or other chemical thing they are planning on doing to the Glades, maybe there is a water way that only deals with the Glades?
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Well, I remember thinking at the time that just as Oliver released the arrow, he was a bit more concerned about Digg having been shot and we all discussed that the goggles he had on with the distance and force of the shot (and then, well, soap opera logic again...no one saw his body), he clearly had been injured but was alive (I think something that has been happening lately is that Oliver's shot while under pressure has actually been off, I assume it might have something to do with being shot himself and the show remembers about it because the scar is still red).
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"I was once a world-class assassin, and then I took an arrow to the eye."
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I have really been thinking about this and I have a theory about next season...I imagine we will still have Island flashbacks, but I am going to guess that there is going to be an enhancement to the Tommy and possible Laurel storyline where for the beginning of the season we are going to have them be in Nandar Parbart or whatever the hell it is, (other than the Island's name is Mandarin for Purgatory I am only pretty sure it is L'ainu) getting training at the direction of Malcolm either before the Undertaking or after when Oliver and company manage to prevent the Undertaking from happening. In fact, maybe those storyline briefly replace the Island stories for the first part of the season (maybe also to accommodate Manu Bennett's Spartacus schedule).
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Tommy has no combat training, then Oliver could've shot an arrow to disable the gun , knock him out and make the transfusion, all without revealing his identity to his friend.
Now Tommy could tell Laurel, her father, or worse case scenario, his dad the Black Archer.
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Yes, that whole sequence was weird. Oliver never even told him not to tell anyone. But then, I guess we are meant to see the level of trust between the two. Though, now Tommy likely feels betrayed, so who knows what will happen. Something else that could have happened is that Malcolm could have been conscious enough to hear or see Oliver. But apparently that didn't happen.
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*Dark Archer, I think he is.
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I wikipedia'd this morning and I will try and keep this spoiler free...I really hope that this show holds true to having no supernatural elements to it.

It was funny, somehow I felt horrible for Moira, how harried she was at the beginning and then totally freaked when she saw that Tommy was actually at the gala and how disappointed, sad or something when Malcolm was put into the ambulance and then how nicely she can put on the loyal solider face.

I really appreciate the small doses of Laurel and oddly, kind of hope she isn't destined for any superhero stuff.

Hey, did Oliver actually speak Mandarin with a perfect accent? I wouldn't know, but, I keep wondering when they might have a French bad guy (I am totally stereotyping here, but Stephen Amell is from Toronto).

I agree with an earlier comment, I like all episodes of Arrow, and even the bad ones are good. I think Arrow set a standard for itself with Odyssey. This one might have been better had the CW not totally spoiled it (I totally had the scene written in my head of Oliver's reveal to Tommy in the penthouse, and I had totally forgotten about the poison based on the previews).

I am guessing we have another call out of Arrow by the Dark Archer where he offers a truce but doesn't tell Arrow why but meanwhile Tommy steeps more and more. I actually held my breath when Tommy was telling Malcolm about what the vigilante had done for him that he would let it slip. I have an idea that just before the Undertaking, that Malcolm decides to send Tommy to Nanda Pardat for protection and training and doesn't know that it has changed (and maybe Laurel goes with him if she is to be the Black Canary). I don't think it is our Island (spelling slipping me right now) but I instantly started to think that Xao Fay might have been the man that Malcolm met (I rewatched Odyssey yesterday and kind of thought the voice of Fryer's employer sounded like Malcolm's disguised voice that Oliver and Dig heard on the tape.
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his mandarin accent was far from perfect... I barely understood some of what he was saying but some of it wasn't as bad as some efforts... Looking at you firefly!
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I assumed just that, but it's good to have a confirmation. Just a little convenient moment for the show's world, while most people watching would just have to take a leap of faith on the grounds of not being able to tell.
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Glad you can confirm that. I thought the same; his Chinese wasn't anything like I hear in Beijing.
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Hah...I wondered since it was clear the importance of that moment was for the henchman to be looking for a Chinese guy and not a slightly out of breath white guy.
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That and to hint at Oliver's non-island past--the same one where he became a captain in the Russian mob.
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When was that? Before or after the island. I assume after since he was soft before it and could never have made captain. Or are you just being humorous with that one.
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I got the impression that the Russian mob people might be involved with Fryer's men and perhaps that is a bit of a ruse Oliver and Slade cooked up along the way. But the Mandarin would have been from Yao Fai and Shando.
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Great episode that definitely did feel like a season finale to me. Lots good action and twists and turns. I did not expect Tommy finding out about Oliver so soon, I do think he didn't really have to reveal himself to him. I also didn't expect the Sarah reveal. I guess the only people we can be sure are dead are Oliver's dad and Diggle's brother. OR ARE THEY? I chuckled when Oliver said his "You have failed this city!" line to the assassin. He barely got out of the helicopter. He didn't do anything yet. Felicity not being more nekkid was disappointing but not surprising. She can't compete with Stephen Amell's chest and abs so she didn't even try.
If the show keeps moving along this fast, the writers will run out of plot by the end of season 3. How can the actual season finale possibly top this?
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I'm always impressed by Diggle. He's jacked - usually well hidden under his suits. But WOW! Especially for an older man (I think the actor is 42).
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Yeah, thanks, as I'm 53 I must be ancient
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42 is an "older man"? Thanks a bunch.
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Only "old" by CW standards.
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Tommy seems to go down the same road as Lex Luthor from Smallville who just wanted to be trusted and whatnot. I always felt bad for him, he tried to be good and understandig for so long but if your best friend hides this massive secret from you and plays you for a fool for years... some things will never be the same after that. I kind of understand that.
People like Tommy and Luthor are supposed to be showed that they can be good people. They are drawn to darker places by default so its up to their friends to keep them afloat. And obviously lying to them and not trusting them.. pushes them away from the light, you know what I mean? In these examples, the heroes kind of create their biggest nemesis by not caring enough.
I do not know.. I am a sucker for the villains, always have been. Maybe its the woman in me saying that every bad guy can be magically healed :D
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But it should also be obvious that lying to him was for his own protection. What would he do with such a secret?

Tommy's father was the one who had no real concern for his safety in this episode. The assassins were clearly targeting him, so what does he do? He goes to find his son, putting him in the kill team's cross hairs as well. It was just a big ego play.

The kind of thing that Oliver was avoiding by not telling Tommy. Since he doesn't swear him to secrecy when he does tell him, it's pretty obvious that not telling him wasn't because he didn't think he could trust Tommy.
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This is all true, but we are having kind of a moot discussion as we all know from the comic books what happens to Tommy, so now we can see all the things that made him the way he will become. Everything will come to play later when he turns into Merlyn. So I think we are both right, right?
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Well, the official press release for the 3/20 episodes say that Tommy and Oliver are still working together and get the club rolling, and "Oliver and Tommy are thrilled they were able to get Steve Aoki." So it sounds like the healing power of Steve Aoki will help bring them closer enough to be thrilled together. Whoever Steve Aoki is. :roll:
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Having not read the comics, I do hope they will stay friends for a long time.
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LOL

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i don't read the comic so i don't know how Oliver-Tommy relationship is gonna be
i feel it's gonna be like spidey-green goblin?
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I don't read the Green Arrow comics either, but I'm totally getting a Green Goblin / Osborn father + son relationship vibe with Malcolm and Tommy, especially in relation to Oliver / Green Arrow.
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Well, Tommy's not in the comics, so no one really knows. Certainly the Spider-Man/Green Goblin vibe is felt, though.
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Well, let me correct that: Tommy hasn't been in the comics until the New 52 relaunch. Forgot about the events of Green Arrow #0. Apologies.
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Actually, Tommy Meryln is in the comics both pre and now current new 52. The thing is, the plot point of his father being the original Dark Archer, Merlyn, was created for the show.
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And I'd add that the dynamics between Merlyn and Oliver (pre-New 52) are pretty different from the sketched out dynamics between between Oliver and Tommy (New 52) are different enough to warrant that Tommy is a new(ish) character, regardless of the shared names, and intended to provide a loose connection (non-vital) to the show.
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Merlyn the archer existed before, yes, but he never had a first name. But Tommy, with a first name, didn't exist until the new 52.
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Something dawned on me about "the island" but I don't know if it's intentional or not. There is a real situation with the Senkakus islands where Japan & China are having a little disagrement over owns them, it's highly charged situation and there isn't huge amounts of press coverage about the fact that we're all just one bad bottle of tequila\saki away from a war in the far east.
So a little known island, that's thought to be uninhabited that's somewhere near China and now has the hardware to start a war... coincidence?
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For those interested in the island issue : One of the Chinese military ship had radar-locked down a Japanese military ship near the island a month ago. The missiles were ready to launch. All they need was the head's command of starting the war.
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They probably filmed this way before those islands became an issue. - Also, this is a comic. Nanda Parbat doesn't exist either.
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The islands have been an issue since the late 1960's, but the real prospect of military action didn't start getting serious until the begining of September last year following the election of a more conservative\nationalist government in Japan.

The full series of Arrow wasn't commisioned until the middle of October with Manu Bennet not being cast until around the end of October. So how did they managed to film scenes that Manu was in before the Japanese elections in August? Because that would be one hell of a trick to pull off.

And while I don't think the writers ever intend Arrow to be a commentary of the current state of world politics, there is the smallest of parallels between the show and the real world. Now either it's just a pure coincidence or maybe the writers are intending to let the real world creep in just a little bit and we see the 1970's social agenda Green Arrow start to emerge next seaason.

Oh, one final thing. It's actually a TV show not a comic, big clues there the site you are reading is called TV.com; there aren't any pages to turn; the characters move all by themselves and none of the women's breasts defy gravity without the aid of very supportive underwear.
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Ooooh, snarky! But you're right, I shouldn't have used shorthand. I should have said: comic turned into a TV show. You would have understood what I meant then. Let's try another cryptic one: Tangent. Off.
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Perhaps an inspiration, but I don't think it's intended as a the actual Senkaku Islands. After all, those islands are in the East China Sea, and Lian Yu is in the North China Sea.

And I suppose it's not being reported too much, though I see updates about the situation at least once a week or so on Google News (but then checking the news is part of my day job, so there is that).
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For a while, I started to feel that the show was slipping from a show with a lot of potential to a show with a lot of CW-esque flaws which were preventing it from reaching its greatness, even though it was still very enjoyable in its own way. While I'm sure those CW qualities won't go away completely, these last few episodes (especially this episode and "The Odyssey") make me think that the show may still live up to its potential after all. The main story is making solid progress, so that we have a better understanding of the main threats on and off the island, both of which seem to be leading to major conflicts, which we'll probably be seeing in the season finale. I loved seeing more of Malcolm's character in this episode, seeing him re-building his bonds with Tommy, seeing a better glimpse at the reasoning behind his actions (although it was pretty easy to guess already), and him telling Tommy how he came to learn to defend himself. Speaking of Malcolm and Tommy, for a while this episode, I was thinking that Malcolm would actually be killed by Deadshot, and Tommy would take his place as the Dark Archer. I still think that's a strong possibility for the future, but I'm kind of glad it didn't happen now. This way, we get to see more of Malcolm and Moira's conflict, and if/when Tommy does take over Malcolm's role, it will seem more natural. Like you said, Oliver saying he wouldn't have told Tommy the truth put a wedge in their friendship, and now Tommy is starting to feel closer to his father than he's probably felt since his mother died. I've also got to say, since I haven't commented for a while, that I love the new dynamics that Felicity brings to the team. I did like Oliver's relationship with Diggle, but Felicity adds so much to the team's dynamics that we couldn't have seen if it was just Oliver and Diggle. As for Laurel's sister being alive... I can't really say too much about it. It seemed like that was kind of forced into the episode to give it a cliffhanger ending, while not really adding much substance (yet). I won't really be able to say how I like the new revelation until I see how they handle it in the next episode.
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I'm not completly OK with that Oliver revieled his secret to Tommy, but I can see how it opens more possible ways where show can go. But all together I really loved this episode. I very excited for next episodes. Can't wait 20th March.
But also I would love another episode about island. Island actually could be spinn-off, there is going so much on it, that it isn't possible to show enough together with other stuff.
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I was interrupted and didn't feel like rewinding... where did Merlyn say he was trained?
I imagine it was "the island" or some big DC reference but I had visitors over.
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"Sadly for Tommy, the news about Oliver wasn't the only identity shocker he received this week. Malcolm’s lost two years at Nanda Parbat, and his ability to dispatch Triad thugs was yet another disruption of Tommy's world."

or you could read the review :P
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Ever since the pilot I've been thinking, If Oliver survived why not Sarah? I kept thinking she is alive, and thank goodness it looks like it's gonna happen. I think it's just going to enforce Oliver/Laurel connection....who knows what's going to happen. I'm really looking forward to the next one!

P.S. I really hope Felicity and Oliver get together <3 Writers better make it happen! lol
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Well, the real life why not would be that she was sucked into (the no doubt freezing) sea in the middle of a vicious storm at night far from the mainland in a negligee.

Then there is the question of how she would get back from China or Japan to the US. She isn't the child of a wealthy family like Oliver and not having any travel documents would be a big impediment.

But it's Arrow, so anything really could happen.
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It is not a bad thought (about Sarah surviving) though it kind of goes to soap opera logic (if you don't see the body, they ain't dead) but I guess soap opera logic and comic book logic are not that dissimilar from each other.
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"You have to love that the show perfectly frames Stephen Amell and Manu Bennett during workouts, but it put Emily Bett Rickards in gym clothes for self-defense classes and the camera barely lingered on her."

No you really don't!

But nice to see that Geoff Johns didn't overdo the DC reference's in the script, with just Bludhaven, Lawton's deathwish and Sara's Canary sneaking in there.

I like that Lawton is still alive and 'shooting' as it sets up an interesting meeting and Diggle a some point where maybe Diggle finds out that his brother wasn't exactly who he thought he was.

One thing that felt a little bit forced was during the attack on the penthouse. When Malcom opened his armoury (or should that be arrowry?) didn't really look like he was planning on letting Tommy in on his Dark Archer secrets so why did he open it? Oh yeah, that's right so bits of glass could get wedged under the door when it closed so someone else could find the lair later.

Nanda Parbat, yes that does raise all kind of interesting Questions.
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Oliver, Slade, Diggle are gym-chiseled marvels. While pretty Emily Bett Rickards doesn't have much to recommend the camera lingering on her in gym clothes. I think that scene was there maybe to prepare us for some point in the show when Felicity will be called upon to get physical or just for a visual jolt.
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Oh, I can think of a couple of good reasons why the camera could have lingered a little longer.
And they were there in last weeks episode as well.

As for getting physical, out of all the potential cannon side-kicks we've been given (Thea, Roy & Laurel) there is something about having Felicity fill that role that's appealing.
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Oliver has a soft spot for dying fathers. not to mention Tommy and he had JUST had that heart to heart about fathers at the restaurant in between Oliver kicking all kinds of ass, so I really didn't see an issue with him blurting out his secret in a life or death situation regarding his best friends father. especially to his best friend considering the 2 relatively new people in his life that he's already shared it with.

Really good episode. Several good fights with the assassin, China White, the restaurant scene, AND got to see Felecia sweaty!
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I *DO* think he handled Tommy's question about "were you ever going to tell me" horribly though.He could have just said "Hey her Dad is hunting the vigilante. that's why I wasn't trying to date her, I didn't want to keep a secret like that from her and didn't think you needed to either" instead of just "No"
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Or, the Vigilante has a lot of enemies and if captured a lot to answer for, I didn't want you mixed up in that.
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Yeah, just lots of better replies than a flat, insulting "No"
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so now this show has Jack Harkness AND River Song? too bad I don't have any interest in it at all lol
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Predict Sarah returns as either Ravager or an evil Black Canary!
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Well! This was one hell of an episode... packed with all sorts of things I had only visions of prior to tonight.

I always figured that Tommy would eventually bond with his dad and now that has happened and I can't decide whether to be happy for him or terrified. But I also always had this looming feeling that at some point he would learn some fancy fighting skills from Malcolm, find out who he really is, and maybe even join Malcolm's cause. Is that too much? I feel like it's a possibility. Tommy has shown some character flaws throughout the series and I see them as the foreshadowing of a possible shift in the future. This would likely be needed if the story is ever going to start pulling Laurel and Oliver back together again. Which was probably everyone's first storyline prediction, even from the first episode.

Of course I think it was always assumed by any viewer that Tommy would eventually learn who Oliver really is. And I'm not surprised to see their friendship go in the toilet as a result.

Another thing I kinda entertained myself with since the beginning of the show was the possibility of Sarah surviving the shipwreck. Now that it's come to fruition, I'm ecstatic to see where this is going. Especially considering the fact that Oliver came back a different person... so I would assume she would as well.

Slade is definitely one of my favorite characters thus far.

McKenna annoys me. I just don't know why. All I know is I dislike.

Deadshot still alive is one I didn't see coming. But, Diggle just might get to exact revenge for Andy himself this time.

Annnnnd.... I have to wait 2 weeks to see some new material... and it's going to have the Huntress. Do not want. >_< Sorry, but I just did not enjoy the episodes she was already in.
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Tommy: Why should I trust you?

The proper answer to this question is "You have no choice. Trust me or you dad dies." Instead Oliver revealed himself. For someone who's supposed to be so smart, he does a lot of stupid things.
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And seriously, it was his best friend from the time time he was little, Oliver relented when his mother (who while I believe she is a cool bad ass) is likely evil and held up a picture of him and Thea.
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But he had no idea if it was actually poison. all he had was the word of the "murdering vigilante" and it IS his best friend, he's already trusted his secret to his new bodyguard and the IT chick so in a life or death situation he included his best bud in on the secret. not to mention he told Tommy a couple times to give him blood and all he was doing was questioning him on the need for a transfusion. he needed a reason to trust him and Oliver gave it to him. I thought the scene was rather well done IMO.
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His dad is wearing a bullet proof vest and just passed out from a wound that resulted in little to no blood loss. It's fairly obvious something's wrong. Whatsmore, the "murdering vigilante" could have killed Malcolm without a 2nd thought. He didn't need to con his way into Tommy letting him get up close. Also, the vigilante just saved their lives 5 mins earlier. Revealling himself was an option(and I'm glad Tommy knows) but it wasn't the only option. The scene could have been much better planned out instead of just revealing himself.
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What I found weird was that Tommy was immediately offered up as a donor for his father in the story.

I'm not a blood match for my own father -- many of you probably aren't either. And giving blood to someone with a different blood type isn't even a temporary option -- nasty things like seizures and death can happen.

So, you'd think that Tommy might have been wondering why the Hood thinks he's a match (info about him only someone close to him would know).

But I guess I have to bow to the comic book logic.
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I thought Tommy was just too stunned and stupid (mostly stupid) to argue with Ollie's field-medic skills. He's a notorious party boy who spent most of his teen/college years wasted. He probably doesn't know the first thing about blood types, medicine, or science.
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Unless Tommy is O -ve and somehow Ollie knows that in which case Tommy would be OK-ish as an emergency donor.
And it really has nothing to do with logic, comic book or otherwise, it just willing suspension of disbelief that happens in every work of fiction so that the audience doesn't have to get bogged down in every tiny detail and that allows the writers to tell the story. And as long as it's an interesting story why let the little things get in the way?
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People die wearing vests a lot. he was bleeding, dying and it was a rushed/panicked situation. I don't fault him for not breaking out the legal pad and making a pros and cons list on trusting the vigilante.
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It was a good episode, and a fairly packed episode too. Don't see the point of him telling Tommy his secret, but hopefully that means Tommy will bite the dust.
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Do you hate him that much?
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Nope, but it'll advance the plot a little bit more. Don't think he'll add much to team arrow, so better have him sacrifice himself for plot purpose.
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I support this plan.
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aplomb
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Well, I have to say that this was certainly one of the best episodes so far. I continue to be surprised and impressed at how quickly this show is moving along. We're still on the first season and Oliver has already revealed his secret identity to two main characters, one recurring character who will be a regular next season, and a recurring character who will be showing up in the next episode. That's huge, especially when you compare it to the most similar show out there, Smallville, in which Clark didn't reveal his secret identity to anyone until Season 3 (it could've been Season 2 but I'm almost certain it was Season 3). And while it will probably be ages before Laurel learns this secret, Tommy is still Oliver's best friend, and, as Noel pointed out, not so easy to bring onto the team. I'm not sure if Tommy is going to end up being an ally to Oliver, or break away from him and become bad like his father, but that character is certainly going in interesting directions.

I think what I liked best about this episode is that it reminded us that the show doesn't just forget about people or things that have said in past episodes. In this episode we had Deadshot and China White return/come back from the dead (I realize that China White appeared at the end of the last episode, but she actually had a large and important part to play in this episode, which was nice), and neither of them died. And apparently Huntress will be returning next episode, which should be both awkward and exciting. So it would appear that this show is actually building up a relatively stable collection of enemies, friends, and frienemies for Oliver/the Hood, as opposed to having an in-and-out villain a week who will maybe last two episodes if he/she is lucky. Which means that Arrow has basically gone from being like the start of Smallville to the middle of Smallville in one season, while pretty much being better the entire way through.

Like Noel, I also appreciate how Malcolm was given a nice rounding out of character this episode. I always find villains much more believable when they genuinely think that what they are doing is right, which had been implied about Malcolm and his shadowy organization behind the Undertaking, but was confirmed in this episode so very well. And while I could see a Green Goblin/Green Goblin II thing going on with Malcolm dying in either this season or the next, and Tommy taking up the Dark Archer mantle, I really do hope that Malcolm sticks around for a while. Not only am I a fan of John Barrowman, but I think his is one of the most interesting characters on the show, and it would be a shame to see him go. His death would be a fitting end to this season, but it would still be a shame to see him go.

I know a lot of people would disagree with me on this, but I think that Arrow has gotten to the point that even the "bad" episodes are "good." For a while now, the only reason I've really faulted the lesser episodes on this show is because they aren't as good as other episodes, but not because they are actually bad in of themselves. Which means that, at this point, I can always count on enjoying each episode of Arrow, the only question is how much. And with only a few episodes left to go in this season, as well as a lot of necessary plot to get through, both on the island and in Starling City, I have a feeling that the following episodes of Arrow will be very enjoyable. The only real problem that I foresee with the end of Season 1 is that the writers won't be able to fit everything that needs to happen into only a few episodes, and that the result will seem way too busy and chaotic. At this point in the game, though, I have enough trust in the writers that I doubt this will happen.
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No, you're wrong. The bad episodes ("Honor Thy Father"*, "An Innocent Man", "Burned", and arguably "Muse of Fire" & "Vendetta") are still bad. :-P

*"Honor Thy Father" suffered from second episode-itis, so its badness isn't completely horrible, but still pretty rough episode.
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Maybe I should have specified this a bit more, and placed a cut-off marker on the season or something, but when I said "Arrow has gotten to the point that even the 'bad' episodes are 'good'" I really did mean that the show has gotten to this point, and that it didn't start at it. While I haven't been as harsh as you have on some this show's episodes, I have called out a number of them as being "bad" or as having bad elements in them. I even agree with the majority of the episodes that you list above as being bad. What I meant by my comment is that at this point (a.k.a. now) Arrow doesn't seem to have any "bad" episodes anymore, in my opinion, or at least the "bad" episodes are only bad in comparison.

Looking back on Arrow's previous episodes, I do agree that a number of them were bad. "Burned," especially, I agree with you on, mostly since Firefly barely had any lines or purpose (his reason for wanting all of his fellow firefighters dead didn't really make that much sense in the first place). I also agree with you completely about "Honor Thy Father," especially when comparing it to the Pilot. It would appear that I didn't have as much of a problem with "An Innocent Man" as you did, though I have to admit that I don't remember much of it other than the premise, which isn't a good sign for an episode which presumably had superheroes, intrigue, and thrilling fight sequences. And as for "Muse of Fire" and "Vendetta," I didn't think these were bad episodes. They certainly had awkward moments (the double date shenanigans for instance), and some parts could have been better, but I wouldn't call them bad episodes. Though you did label them as arguably bad, so you must not dislike them as much.

On a side note, I don't actually recall what you said about Huntress and whether or not you liked her as a character, but since she's a common factor of both of these episodes I'm guessing that you're not all that pumped about her returning. Anyway, my point is that I did not, nor have I ever said, that Arrow has never had a bad episode. And even during some of the good episodes, the episodes that I enjoy, there will be bad moments which I don't let slide (Oliver wandering into the sketchy building [which has an address oddly enough] on the docks in "Year's End," for instance).

If you look at the episodes that you listed as being bad, all of them except "Burned" are from before the mid-season finale. And I know this does seem like I'm cheating a bit, since the natural line to draw through this season would be right after "Year's End," but since "Burned" was a bad episode I'm going to draw the line right after it. So, just to specify, I think that ever since "Trust But Verify" Arrow has been such that its "bad" episodes are "good," and are only bad by comparison. Now I'm not saying that the episodes in this category didn't have their faults, nor am I saying that the next episode can't be terrible, but from "Trust But Verify" onward I have been able to enjoy every episode of Arrow, and I have been able to count on enjoying the next episode as much as the last one.

Now, though you didn't mention any of the episodes after "Burned" in your list of bad episodes, it could very well be that you consider some more recent episodes to be bad as well. If that's the case, then that will simply be the point where our opinions collide with each other. But as it stands, I mostly agree with your list of bad episodes, and it was some poor wording on my part which made my statements seem a lot more lofty and outrageous than they actually were. Anyway, I just hope that "The Huntress Returns" is as good as these last several episodes have been, if not better, and that it doesn't snuff out what has been a great recent trend.
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The ones I list were bad before there was much better to compare them to. I mean, you had the pilot and "Damaged" and maybe to a lesser extent "Legacies" before your cut off, so they can stand alone as being bad, without a "bad by comparison" qualifier. But I can dig your overalll argument and positioning.

But then I'm weird, of course. "The Odyssey" is probably many people's favorite episode so far, whereas I found it to be just fine. I'd rather have an episode like "Dead to Rights," but that's mostly a taste issue, I freely admit. :)

And if you wanted a post-mid-season example, "Betrayal" isn't that good, the nice ending and some decent character stuff aside. The Vanch plot is so very blah. And I did compare it to "Innocent Man," though "Betrayal" is better than its predecessor, as I mapped out, and so the Vanch plot doesn't drag the episode as much as it could have.

The reason for the 'arguably' qualifier is that, if treated as a unit, the Huntress two-parter is messy (it needed a third episode, really); if separated though, "Muse of Fire" works well enough, but "Vendetta" is frustrating. I am curious about what justification Huntress has for coming back. The character doesn't bother me, but the dynamics she was supposed to illustrate were ill-served, so I'm hoping, given the changes within the narrative, that it'll be better.
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