Arrow "Muse of Fire" Review: And the Well-Dressed Man Is...

Arrow S01E07: "Muse of Fire"

Damn you, Arrow. Knowing this episode was next, I did my duty as a reviewer and refreshed myself on a lot of Helena Bertinelli’s history and whatnot over the Thanksgiving holiday. Had I been aware that I should’ve brushed up on my on Merlyn the Archer knowledge instead, I WOULD HAVE DONE THAT.

So I guess we should talk about that first, then? The whole John Barrowman’s Well-Dressed Man being Tommy’s dad thing? I'll admit that my jaw hit the ground a bit at the reveal, and I’m big enough to admit that I’m a smidge disappointed he’s not Maxwell Lord (kudos to those 54 of you who thought he was either an original character or some other DC Comics character in the poll a while back). However, I’m also rather excited about the narrative avenues this opens up for the show.

When Arrow started, I purposefully sat on the Merlyn thing since I knew some folks might be interested in seeing Tommy fall from snarky rich dude to master archer and rival to Oliver, and that Merlyn—unlike, say, Deathstroke—wasn’t as widely known outside the comics fandom, so it would be a pleasant arc for viewers fresh to the property.

But now there are two possibilities for the series to introduce a major Green Arrow baddie in its own way, two characters who may develop (or who already have) reasons to go after the Hood on their own terms. This was a clever reveal that will pull the rug out from under folks who just watch the TV series and folks who know the comics fairly well. I can dig that.

While John Barrowman being Tommy's dad was the big reveal in the episode, the real meat of the hour was the introduction of Helena Bertinelli, otherwise known as the Huntress in the comics (though not in the current DC continuity, but that doesn’t really matter). In those pages, Huntress has always been a bit more violent, a bit more volatile, a bit more willing to kill than other heroes since her mission was always to exact revenge for the murder of her mob family at the hands of families in the mafia. As a result, Helena moved between being a murderous vigilante and a hero respected by the cape-wearing community.

On Arrow, Helena’s operating in a similar vein, targeting her own family this time to get revenge for the death of her fiance. It’s a nice-enough modification that keeps the character true to the source material while still offering a new interpretation, something I’m always happy to see.

This interpretation also forced Oliver to confront his personal sense of his mission, his own methods for cleaning up Starling City. Diggle was not wrong when he called Helena a “killer” and a “bad guy,” and so Oliver must reconcile her extreme behavior, his attraction to her, and the fact that there’s a person who understands, on some level, his mission, someone who understands him.

It’s that understanding that makes their dynamic interesting. Both Oliver and Helena are able to be themselves around each other and allow their emotional scars to show, to “tell the truth.” But it’s also the reason why Oliver no doubt thinks that he can guide her onto his path. Their shared pain connects them, and while we don’t know who taught Oliver to channel that pain (no island flashback this week, in a break from the typical episode structure), it’s clear that Helena didn’t have that, and it’s the reason she got lost in her quest for revenge.

This is also likely the reason Stephen Amell and Jessica De Gouw have a bit more chemistry with one another than Amell and Katie Cassidy do in the bigger romantic moments. The restaurant sequence especially clicked for me, though I feel that De Gouw struggled to find some footing during the final scene in her bedroom. I’m not sure exactly what went wrong there, but it felt just a tad overbaked.

That portion of the episode did have some stumbles, though. Having Helena quote Oliver lines from the pilot episode felt a touch heavy-handed, even with my high tolerance for that sort of melodramatic repetition. I likewise wondered why Helena, who couldn’t shoot straight according to Quentin, could hold her own in hand-to-hand combat. Seems like a weird disconnect in what was likely self-taught training. I just assumed that learning to shoot would likely be easier than developing crazy island fighting skills.

Tommy and Laurel continue their courtship, and it’s cute. Tommy’s trying really hard, but I can understand why since he’s clearly very into Laurel. Arrow has sort of struggled with the show-and-not-tell aspect of their past relationship since we don’t get flashbacks for them (thank goodness for that, since it would clutter up the episodes), but I do like how the show is trying to shift past that problem with Tommy wanting this to be sort of a do-over attempt. We’ll see how things go now that he’s completely cut off from all that Merlyn money.

There were some nice bits with Moira and Thea, and Thea and Oliver, and Moira and Mr. Merlyn, so those elements of the show are coming together, though none of them were the focus of the episode. But they didn’t feel completely extraneous to the episode either, like Quentin’s unnecessary drop-by warning to Oliver about Helena, since Diggle had basically said the same thing. They were good character moments, and I’m happy to see Arrow better integrate those.


Notes & Quotes


– Of course, the Tommy/Tommy’s dad thing also could end up mirroring the Lex/Lionel thing from Smallville, which I’m sure that some of you will have strong opinions about.

– How did Quentin have a bug on Frank? Are the feds sharing information with the Starling City police? Did I miss a beat somewhere? That seemed sloppy and sudden.

– What was with the muzak during Tommy and Laurel’s date? After the solid music choices for Oliver and Helena, it was jarring.

– I’m always happy to see Tahmoh Penikett, but did he have to go so soon?

– “The rich man’s Lindsay Lohan.”

– “He seems like a real stand-up mobster.”

– “You're supposed to be going undercover, not speed dating.”



What did you all think about the episode?

Comments (99)
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I wasn't wholly impressed with Helena as a character, because I felt we were being spoon fed the similarities and differences between her and Ollie etc. But I did like that she has a better chemistry with him than Laurel. I believe the attraction between them...even though I felt it ending with a kiss directly after her speaking of her love for her dead fiance was too much. They have a better chemistry that flows better than Ollie and Laurel.
-Laurel and Tommy are cute together. Or something. I don't know. Since I'm at best indifferent to both of their characters the majority of the time, there is something quite solid and pleasant about them sharing screen time with one another. It works. Unlike when they're onscreen with anyone else.
-Finally Moira voiced that she's trying to accept that Ollie isn't the same person. Finally. I felt like for so long this was being glossed over and it was bugging me. I'm glad she had that talk with Thea. Maybe now we can get over this "business as usual" attitude that they seem to have in regards to him.
-It was a solid episode. Sort of light on the action, and it only took minute steps forward in the plot. I mean we had the reveal about Tommy's dad, and the Helena thing...but it still felt like it didn't really move forward.
-Oh and Diggle is the best.
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Ok, its official, "Arrow" is Batman-Light (As it has always been)
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OK I'm out, this show is just not interesting me at all.
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Jessica De Gouw failed to impress me at first, but luckily in this case the initial impression was plain wrong. The scene in the restaurant clicked really well on an emotional level, and she shared a nice chemistry with Amell. The ending was predictable, but I didn't have any problem with it.

I'll admit to feeling somewhat bugged when Noel spilled the beans regarding Merlyn's possible future. But then I realised that the Canary reveal didn't bother me as much, so why should this.
So while I like the comic book references, I must say that it wouldn't hurt to hold on to some of them for a little longer. After all, the show probably won't get there anytime soon.

Ditto on Tahmoh Penikett being grossly underused.
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I have only one thing to say. Tahmoh Penikett did go waaaaay too soon. I love this guy with all my heart. Damn you, TV Gods, Penikett deserves his own series and one that will last longer than Dollhouse and have a larger audience. And if he is going to be stuck in guest star or supporting roles, you gotta give us more of him. Or, at the very least, you gotta give more of him to me. :P
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It wasn't an awful episode, but it was pretty boring. I dunno, without a buttload of action, I'm finding this show less interesting lately. I don't care about Tommy and Laurel, because I don't care about Tommy, I really don't care about Laurel, and we all know how they'll end. With the comic book info thrown in, if Tommy's going to end up as rival to Oliver (and how is possibly going to sell that...?), it's going to be over a girl, and a very uninteresting one. It's all so tired.

So on to the girl who's meant to be interesting. I guess any woman on television is attractive to someone, but I don't see it with Helena. My GF says I'm too hard on women because I've lived most of my life near Hollywood, but I think I'm fair here. Attractive is one thing, but pretty is literally supposed to me better looking than average. She's not...bad, but I can't see the va-va-voom or anything else. Anyway, as far as her character goes, there's a ratio between attractiveness and maintenance, and she's just way in the red.

The worst part with the two of them is while they were fighting in the warehouse, Oliver killed a goon who was no longer struggling *just* as he's judging Helena for killing the guy that murdered her fiance. If Oliver's such a good shot (and he is), he hasn't had to kill any of those guys. Unless it's okay when a guy does it...

Part two of Diggle's the Sidekick. When he finally (but kinda quickly) joined up with Oliver, he said he wouldn't be the sidekick, and I was doubtful. I said something to the effect of "as long as he's not holed up in the batcave all day while Oliver's in the field..." and "as long as Diggle has his own projects and Oliver helps him with those, as well". So, oh well.

Last week, I liked that Oliver stepped up and spent some quality time with his mom (even though she's kind of the bad guy), but they're still giving him shit over it this week. What is she, 90? They act like she's a little old lady complaining at him from her rotary phone.

Imaginary 90-year old mom: "Ya never call. I'm just witherin' away in the dark over here."

Oliver's got things to do, and so does she. Oliver running off after the attacker looks bad, but where else would anyone really think he was going? She nearly gets killed and he runs off to stock the club he doesn't run? I get that Thea's a little shit during most of the episodes, and then mellows out and they hug it out, but how many times are they going to do the same things? It's not progression; it's lapping.

The ridiculousness of China White has already been covered by most, but all I really wanted to add was that maybe they should've just gone with white (grey) contacts and a thin white streak. No assassin wants to stick out this much. Guess that's it.

And Tahmoh Penikett (Helo from BSG and...that guy from Dollhouse. Thx to Noel for teaching me his name.) was completely wasted here as a two-bit thug. Just an utter shame is what that was. The worst part is that he can fight so well. They should've made that better and last longer. A job's a job, but still. If anything, he could've played a thug for Barrowman. At least he might've gotten a few more episodes out of it.
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I'll admit I'm not sure how, exactly, to respond to your De Gouw's appearance comment...While certainly a degree of physical attraction helps sell Oliver and Helena's budding romance, it's more founded on their mutual emotional scars than it was their visible appearances...As for your evaluation of De Gouw's looks...okay? I don't know that I really gave it a great deal of thought while watching the episode, and when I do think about it, she mostly just looks like Liv Tyler to me, so take that for whatever it's worth....?

I disagree with your assessment about Oliver leaving Moira in the opening. I mean, no one knows he's fast enough to catch the motorcycle, so why would they assume that him leaving her next to a corpse is okay? As far as they know, he wouldn't be able to catch it, so why bother? Why not stay with her? It's incredibly flimsy, and it's showcasing more that he's not good at keeping his identity hidden, and that he's really bad at lying (still).

And so, looking after her following the accident...yeah, I'd be giving them both failing marks. You factor in the lack of Walter in the picture up to that point, and someone staying with her is just plain supportive, regardless of if you also just split a really good burger.

I can see your point about "lapping" but I'm not in full agreement. I like that Thea and Moira are talking about these things, because it's helping to understand their new family dynamic and also work through Oliver's behavior with one another. Is it the freshest of material? No, but it is important in understanding them.
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I sorta agree there, while I found both the actors playing Oliver and Helena lacking in chemistry, I did feel their emotional bond, they get each other right now. And a lot of people are confusing this connection with real chemistry.

The last scene with the kiss was particularly terrible, no sexual chemistry there but the diner scene had an emotional kind of chemistry.
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Yes, the last scene was a disaster through and through.

I like your refinement about emotional bond vs chemistry. It's a good thing to point out. I'll make sure I try and to think through that slippage in the future. :)
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Liv Tyler? Really? I guess the...hair's similar, so there's that.

Anyway, it wasn't about Helena being attractive to Oliver, as he's not that playboy anymore, and when he's into someone it isn't about her looks--ZZZ. All leading guys are this way now. Whether the actress or her character is hot, that's not why he likes her. That's fine; it makes sense for the demographic. I just meant attractive to the audience. Whether--as a whole-- we're looking at her and we're saying "Yeah, I see it," or "ehh, whatever he's into...as long as she doesn't compare to the main actress." 99% of the time, we get the latter.

As for Oliver leaving Moira (thx again for the name), sure, no one knows he could actually pull off chasing down the killer, but that doesn't have anything to do with him trying. If someone almost kills someone you love, but doesn't succeed, and they don't need immediate medical attention, it makes perfect sense for a guy to at least run after the attacker to try and get a license plate number. Of course, it's also dangerous, but so is not trying to catch them at all and leaving them free to try it again. Moira's a public figure, so there was reason to think she might be the target. *That's* why you bother. Again I ask, what else would anyone think he was trying to do? The first thing to occur to someone isn't that he's a super-conditioned superhero.

So yeah, he should've at least stayed with her that night for support, if not the moment it happened (which, I agree, still looked bad). But this goes back to the lapping I was talking about. Is he going to spend ten minutes of every episode taking care of his mom? Do we want to see that? She's still a bad guy, whether Oliver knows it or not. And another five listening to his sister complain about *his* feelings? Another two with Diggle complaining about Oliver's family complaining about his feelings? Laurel, when they get together? It's one thing if his actions from the previous week make a dent for the future week; that would be progression.

He's home. Maybe they could consider being cool? Personal space? Breathing room?

(And points for fixing the typing window. Thx guys.)
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On Helena's appearance, I must echo Noel in his befuddled "...okay?"

I would have just let your comments be, but the bizarrely long paragraph about your qualifications to judge the prettiness of woman (hollywood, "she's not... bad," va va voom... whaaat??) just really irked me.

Can we stop measuring how interesting or plausible a woman character/actor is based almost solely on her level of attractiveness? Not saying that audiences don't like eye candy (whether they're men or women) or that we can't express our subjective attractions. I just find it so exhausting how much pressure female characters/actors are under to prove that they in your words "make sense" based on their looks, especially when compared to their male counterparts. I'm sure we don't determine the character worth of Oliver Queen based on Amell's abs... so c'mon, let's afford the same dignity to the women in this series, too.

(P.S. what does the "ratio between attractiveness and maintenance" even mean?)
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@ JohnnyCanucks: I think Laurel's pretty, but as I find myself more annoyed with her character, she becomes less attractive to me.

To me, that's how it's supposed to work; looks are just a starting point, and who they are makes them more or less attractive.
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To answer the obvious question: "Who are you to judge whether or not someone's attractive?" - No one at all. Just someone watching the show, like everyone else. Now, you're right, it shouldn't matter what these people look like; they're actors filling a role, so virtually anyone should be able to fill their roles. But *does* virtually anyone? Nooo. Is it random hot guy casting that put Tommy and Oliver's actors together? Stefan, Damien and Matt? Laurel and minority co-worker? Beauty and minority co-worker? The guy from Twilight and the human guy from Twilight?

It's not that I'm saying that pretty people need more acting roles, I'm just asking if it's necessary that 'the other person' doesn't compare with the main person. They don't have to both be pretty; they can both be w/e. If the two leads are destined to be together (even for a season or so before something breaks them up), then why does it matter what their competition looks like? They're going to choose each other on their other qualities, right? To me, it's like a woman in the crowd wearing white at someone else's wedding: her wearing white shouldn't take away from anything the bride is doing, but it does. I admit that I'm being an ass, but these shows are being both cynical and manipulative.

But once again, I never said there was no reason for Oliver to be attracted to her, all that makes perfect sense. And I'm not saying anything ends with a person's looks. If it matters at all, after five minutes of Helena, I would choose her over Laurel in a heartbeat, but I find that sad not because Laurel's supposed to be the more attractive one (I'll explain next), but because Laurel's so very uninteresting.

We know where this story goes, if not how exactly it ends. Oliver, while at first enjoying the solace he's found in a kindred spirit, realizes that he needs someone who resists his dark side, not adds to it. Someone who makes him a better person. Oliver rejects Helena (unless she dies) and heads back to Laurel's direction, and Laurel rejects Tommy (it'll likely be his fault; Laurel's already unpopular enough without breaking Tommy's heart for no good reason) and heads back to Oliver. Helena vs. Laurel, and Tommy vs. Oliver. Helena and Tommy are placeholders to make us wait for the reunion we're supposed to want. It may take a year or two, but it's inevitable. The journey not the destination, right?

Most of the length of my paragraph about judging her looks was saying why I wasn't qualified, and that I might have a bias, though I don't think so. I don't say anything that diverse people haven't said. I notice that you didn't say you disagreed, only that it's rude to talk about it. As for Amell and his abs...you don't think they played a role in him landing this job? That a young Adam West or someone else abdominally-challenged was just as likely to be the leading man on a CW show? Stefan, Damien, Tyler, Tyler's dead uncle who's now on that NBC show, the Beast (can't remember his name), Dexter, the Haven guys , the Twilight guys, they all came from a binder of men. Buff pretty men. A friend in high school almost killed himself 'losing water weight' for spring break seven years ago. Women have it worse, certainly, and it's fairly recent, but men are catching up.

So, I'd be fine with it not mattering...if it didn't matter to these shows. It shouldn't matter, but why does it matter? I don't think it does anyone a service to ignore that they're choosing opposing character roles...on looks. If me saying that someone was cast because they weren't as attractive as another character was bad (again, I accept that), then what does that say about shows if they're actually doing it? How should that make an actor/actress feel?

Finally, the attractiveness / maintenance ratio is simply that a person is more likely to put up with more negative qualities from someone they find more attractive than someone they find less attractive. Could be anything: stupidity, greed, selfishness, laziness, childishness, giving up friends, etc. It's defined by Barney from HIMYM (yeah, I know), but there were episodes on the first seasons of Suburgatory and Apartment 23 that covered this exact thing from the female perspective. Obviously, not a good thing, but it's natural, and very common.
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I agree with most everything you say from the perspective of TV/Movie actors or actresses. My 2 cents as a comic geek would be that Helena Bertinelli was stunningly beautiful as Huntress in the comic and I was just not seeing the TV version in that costume. However full credit to the producers for going their own road on this one.

Also, next to the actress who plays Laurel few women could measure up. She is stunning IMHO
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I'm just glad to see Huntress on TV again :)
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I liked the Lex / Lionel dynamic, but Lionel was a much more likable guy. You could sympathize with him(sometimes). Mr. Merlin is, of yet, just a mean little prick. Makes the whole father son relationship a little cut and dry.
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I agree to an extent. From seasons 5-7 Lionel could be a sympathetic character. In the earlier seasons tho, Lionel was not a likeable guy.

How about John Glover on Arrow? I think he would fit perfectly into this world. He would play a great villain
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I would be all over John Glover showing up.
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another solid episode. One of my fav's at the moment.
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Man, did they milk the hell out of him being Tommy's dad. How long does someone on TV stand around in a friggin' fencing mask before it becomes an obvious cheap out reveal coming your way? It was apparently about half the ridiculous length of the shot as they had it here, and then to follow it up with mega-arbitrary actions just cemented silliness. I'm glad he's not Maxwell Lord but Merlyn the evil archer, this is smaller and easier for a show like Arrow to handle than to write off stuff like Checkmate and mind control powers and all that comic book stuff - look at how watered down they ended up having to make Lex Luthor on Smallville.

Quentin's comment about Huntress not shooting straight was dumb, dumb, dumb, that's where the problem came in. She's shooting from a motorcycle, it's going to be hard. If they had written the line as just "too many bullets to be a pro" it would have worked fine, instead they went the nonsense way and it sets the character up as lesser-than right up until she becomes a super badass out of nowhere.

For me, the stuff with Tommy and Laurel detracted from an interesting plot, it felt like an entirely different show where pretty but generic people have pretty and generic lives made of gossamer fluff. Perhaps the writer on this episode wanted to have the contrast between Ollie and Helena's meal played against Tommy and Laurel, but I didn't feel any connection, it was just a thing that happened without connection to anything significant.

Speaking of disconnects, I know you liked Thea and Moira in this one, but those were elements that felt so heavy-handed to me and ultimately went nowhere for our protagonist. If the show is supposed to be Dynasty or some other family soap opera, then it'd be understandable (and not a show I'd have chosen to watch in the first place) but since this is Arrow and these characters and events only affect Ollie in little pieces here and there to make him brood, it's not clicking for me at all, especially Thea who just felt out of character here all caring for Moira and Ollie.

Oh, and disconnects also could refer to the necks from spinal cords, that scene made no sense - Ollie kills a guy and then freaks out literally a quarter second later when Helena does the same thing? I rewatched that scene twice because it was so poorly expressed through a quick-cut edit, and eventually just gave up and played it through to find out he was miffed, but still don't really get why.

I don't get why they didn't put Helena in the costume, there's already pictures out there of her wearing a domino mask, so since they skimped on how she became what she is, why also skimp on her leading this double life? It's bad enough the casting feels super generic and puts so little effort into getting the characterizations pushed out of the actors (I'm not blaming the actors, almost everybody on the show might feel like a Canadian miscast but most of them are bringing something to the table, just not consistently thanks either to soft scripts or distracted directing), but why take even more away from the show when it doesn't have to? Hell, I was annoyed enough in life by Batman Year One ending with "Batman"'s costume being a motorcycle getup, did we really need to repeat that? Is there really a huge story arc to build Helena into the Huntress from here on in?

Anyway, not the worst episode, it was good to see Ollie have feelings regarding the roles he's taken upon himself, Diggle is still playing "Urban Alfred" but at least he seems to be having fun, this felt like an issue of a comic more than a CW ripoff of Revenge, but obviously it was not without faults.
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Man, you do like your complaints. I usually disregard some of them as a plain ol' grumbling (honestly, the tiresome and overused casting gripes?), but there are also a few that always strike true.

I pretty much agree with most of your points about Helena. It doesn't seem like they had a clear plan on how to handle the character. Lack of costume, albeit odd, might yet be explained. Making her seem inadequate at shooting and then allowing her great close-combat skills certainly felt at odds. And the final scene in the warehouse was absolutely senseless for the reasons mentioned.

As for the rest - a matter of perspective it seems. I like Thea and Moira stuff just fine, Tommy and Laurel a bit less (but it's not grating). Merlyn's father reveal was okay, I thought. After all they didn't make him stay masked for long, painful minutes.

And since no one seems to notice - we should give writers some credit for not making Helena & Ollie bump into Laurel & Tommy while in the restaurant. How many shows wouldn't be able to resist and play off such a 'coincidence'?
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I didn't start typing that post with the intention of complaining, Noel reviewed and asked what we thought which spurred my train of thought. I did say it wasn't the worst episode though.

As for casting though, c'mon, if you transplanted Ollie, Thea, Moira, Tommy, Laurel, and now Helena to TNT's new Dallas or any other show of that ilk, would you even be able to pick them out of those crowds?

Thea barely seemed like the same character this week, now she's angry because she cares too much, and despite being a shallow nightmare of a teenager she's a caring-machine. And Moira, what is her motivation? She's lightly mysterious and lightly evil or maybe just being manipulated and holding her own, but who is she as a character, and what is her value to our protagonist's life aside from nagging and scolding and being disappointed? That's why I can't get into her.

Ha, ok, I'll give you that THIS episode didn't fall into that trap of having the two couples meet by accident. It'll happen though, I betcha.
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I'm probably biased when it comes to reading about various casting gripes, because it seems to be one of the favorite subjects of many commenters - for pretty much almost any show out there. I still remember how much beating Olivia from Fringe took for the most part of season 1.
Granted, it's a highly subjective topic. I do feel, however, that too often (and too quickly) a character or an actor is deemed "bland, generic, boring, etc.", with such approach not giving much of a chance or allowing to notice any of the finer details.

As for the Arrow crowd: I (mostly) agree about Tommy and Laurel. They are likeable enough, but have yet to grow any distinct personalities. I also feel that Quentin should be on this list and above everyone else.
Oliver, on the other side, works for me pretty well. He makes bad calls, he is confident yet liable to occasional hesitation, his masked life seems to tear at him more than he thought it would. I do find enough layers to keep things interesting, and the character still grows.
Thea looks pretty consistent to me. It is not the first time she shows that she cares (the talk at their father's grave, noticing Oliver's scarred torso) - in her own, sometimes misguided way. She also clearly wants more attention, to the point of being downright annoying. And she is too hard on Ollie because he isn't behaving "as expected". Nothing terribly outstanding, mayhaps, but I can roll with that.
Moira, aside from overstepping the line of the caring and nagging mother that you mention of, does seem rather honest in her emotions (towards Walter or Oliver). She clearly was involved with the wrong crowd (still is, in a way), took part in some despicable things, and now might be on her way towards regretting or wanting out. Or it is all a fasade. She isn't always scolding or being disappointed, either - vide the dinner with Oliver in one of the recent episodes. I would say that the worry towards her son is genuine, and that she's been trying to make some effort to understand him in this episode (the talk with Thea in the bedroom).
Helena is fairly new, so it is pretty much wait and see for me. Fairly poor first impression that changed into a fairly good impression by the end of the episode.

And we shall see about them falling into the familiar trappings! The few times I'd been expecting it so far, they managed to avoid taking the cliched route.
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My point was more about just being able to drop them into any CW cast or other youth-skewed soap (like the new Dallas) and not being out of place in those.

Laurel I think is partly about the writing and makeup/look, they cast someone to be young and act like a light teenage-type character and then wrote that character to be a passionate lawyer with deep-seeded complicated feelings, so it doesn't really work, they cast and do makeup and hair and costume to say "youthful, bubbly, light, talks with girlfriends about highschool-esque silliness" but they write the character with all manner of complex, mature stuff which doesn't fit that at all. The casting directors go for someone who fits The CW's type rather than the content's needs. Look at Lois Lane on Smallville, Erica Durance, who took years to actually fit into her character and get working, for a long time it really wasn't Lois Lane at all, it was just "pretty youthful girl who interacts with protagonist" which hamstrung Durance's acting voice.

Det. Quentin Lance played by Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files is one of the most underrated shows of the last 10 years IMO) is just on an entirely different show, his character is written as more aggressive and more comic-booky and he plays that with teeth, and they even shoot his scenes from different angles. It definitely doesn't fit quite right on Arrow, yet it's anything but generic.

Ollie seems to have two modes: small voice like that of a young man or even a boy, and brash over-the-top confidence and conviction with little backing it up. That could be chalked up to writing, but it's expressed through the acting either by choice of the actor or the director. Stephen Amell may have a big boy voice somewhere inside him, but it hasn't yet come out here in his performance despite the character being transformed by 5 years on a brutal island.

It's good to have something to discuss though in the genre world of TV again, no matter what side we're on though, so thanks for the thoughtful reply.
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I'm ready for us to come to blows over this. *laces up gloves*

I was fine with the fencing mask reveal. Was it milking it? Yes, absolutely. Did it bother me? Not in the least. It was the sort of reveal I'd expect from the pages of a comic, which is probably exactly why I wasn't bothered by it. Sometimes that impulse doesn't play well live action (see Helena repeating Oliver lines to him), but in this instance, I liked it.

Certainly they're not prepared for Checkmate and all that, but given the nature of this conspiracy in Starling City (Tempest, I think they're calling it?), it wasn't outside the realm of possibility for them to be laying that groundwork. I was mostly just sad about being wrong!

The Helena stuff may just be an issue of pacing since next week is where those mask photos came from (and was included in the promo). I'm treating this week and next as an unofficial two-parter, and we'll see how it all goes. I was generally okay with the Helena stuff, though, apart from the inconsistencies I mentioned and that last scene. We'll see where I fall once this little story is finished.

I don't think you're ever going to come around to the show's family melodrama impulses, which is fine, but I also don't think they're ever going to go away. These scenes don't need to connect to Oliver immediately, and even then, they don't always have to be connected to Oliver. Thea and Moira are characters with their own motivations and and arcs, and while the show is *still* trying to figure out Thea's place, I didn't have an issue with her trying to take care of both Moira and Oliver. She doesn't want that family dynamic to go away again, but none of them, her included, is making that job an easy one. The show's not doing the best job dramatizing that conflict and everyone's place in it, though given released future episode summaries, that may be changing a bit, and hopefully for the better.

On a lighter note, you really hate Canada, don't you? ;)
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Comic pages can play with something like that, they can take their time and let the reader fill in the blanks between panels. On TV there has to be more thought to pacing, and I'll slug it out to argue it was at least a whole beat too long. Not sure how punching each other will prove or disprove the shot's unnatural, awkward feeling though. ;-)

Smallville did Checkmate already, DC / Warner Bros seems to want to stay far away from the Marvel unified screen universe type of thing, so the rule of thumb is to err on the side of the opposite. It's not that I wouldn't like seeing them do larger stuff, but it's become apparent they're unwilling to go there so now I keep hopes in check.

Good idea, CW should also have treated it as a multi-parter and marketed it as such. Ha! Like they do marketing for this show.

The problem I have with the soap stuff is that it's soap stuff, characters are living these ridiculous soap opera rich people lives that are shallow and have all these brash things happening yet it never seems to come from who they are, it's only lines on a page, and it rarely interacts in a strong way with our protagonist. If you took Ollie out of this show, you'd have a very generic CW-style teen soap and not even a compelling one - no vampires or witches in the bunch! Since Ollie's interaction is to duck out and brood when scolded about it, he's not part of that world. I've seen DC pull that crap before in comics too, and those books usually tank or get revamped after a year because nobody wants to read comics for the rarely-connected C-plots that ape cheap tv soap plotlines.

I don't hate Canada, I hate crappy US shows that are Canadian productions which don't try very hard. I love Psych, it's shot in Canada. Watched BSG, all the Stargate series, Mutant X and Andromeda, Blade, Dark Angel, The Dead Zone, Viper, Kung Fu The Legend Continues, Eureka, X-Files and its 2 spinoffs, they were all Canadatastic, yet they all tried harder.
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JT kirk I have to agree with you about what you said about Laurel earlier. You hit the nail on the head when you explained the disconnection between the writing and how the character looks. They are writing a mature and proffesional character here but the make up on the character and how she is screams sorority girl , its mismatched. Im a fan of the character, I think she could be brilliant but there is something missing. There is a disconnection with how the character is portrayed.if the worst comes to the worst they will have to recast.


But like you said Erica durance did get better over the years, so will see if the actress gets better too. ,
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I'll give you an unnatural awkward feeling. *unlaces glove, puts a horseshoe in there, relaces* I don't think we need to slug it out over a beat. Perhaps just a thumb wrestle.

But Oliver's not part of that world for a reason within the narrative (trauma, inability to fully connect, etc), and so those aspects not always reaching him make sense on some level. He's not able to deal with his pain, let alone with theirs, and ducking out when confronted feels motivated, at least for me.

The range of your shows as "trying harder" is a little unfair considering that some of them probably had more money (X-Files included in that list is TOTALLY cheating!) than Arrow is likely operating with, especially the context of how little the CW may be able to put up and how much Warner Bros Television is *willing* to put up. It took Supernatural, what, three seasons, to start getting real money from them?

You'll appreciate, then, that while I didn't mention it above, I did wonder why Nick decided to kill Helena and Oliver to the same warehouse that Oliver confronted the German arms dealer in a few episodes ago. ;)
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I WILL DESTROY YOU IN THE THUMB-RING!!! I WILL TAKE THE THUMB BELT FROM YOU, GAAAAAAHHHH!!!

Of course you're right that Ollie is disconnected partly from that world of his closest friends and family, my point is what about their stories is so important to the overall story of our protagonist that it justifies this much time expended telling them? That's what I'm not seeing, a connection to that world. When we got a glimpse into Diggle's story it was a direct connection to Ollie's story and even weaved back into that directly; but there's so much about Moira and Thea and Laurel and Tommy's stories shown that is just melodrama filling time and wouldn't make the editorial cut if this were a comic (unless it was a terrible one, which there are plenty of, but why would we still be talking about it at this point?).

Not all the shows I cited try harder, they're just the gamut of shows I have seen in the last 20 years that were shot in Canada - some worked the Canadianness into the shows, some just let it overwhelm. X-files started as a tiny-budget earlish Fox series, the big money didn't come until later as it went into seasons 3 and 4 I think. Arrow seems to put a lot of resources into looking the way it does for a budget adventure show - sets, CGI worlds, stunts, cinematography, even costumes, makeup and hair aren't cheap, they just all look very... CW. I wonder how far back that warehouse goes, maybe Clark Kent as "the blur" fought crime there as well. They should really tear those warehouses down, they fester crime. It was kind of you not to point that out.
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as the face of Boe is is old so in that regards he could have a lot of sons oh wait ? this is not doctor who link LOL. he looks almost the same age as his son in the show but still very well presented. hope to see birds of prey in action with huntress and black canary with their classic suits
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Wow, Barrowman must be older than I thought to be playing a man with a son that old, unless Tommy is much younger than he looks...
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Tommy is played by Colin Donnell who is 30, while Barrowman is 15 years his senior. The issue is A) they aren't far enough apart to be believably father and son; and B) Colin looks a bit older than his age while Barrowman looks notably younger than his own age.
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Because no one has ever been 15 & had a kid before...
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I didn't say it was impossible, just that it was an issue.
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Spinoff/Prequel idea: The Merlyn Boys. The two relocated to Stars Hollow for a series of madcap hijinks, romances, and town festivals.
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I'm in for more more Barrowman! Glad he's on something more mainstream that may get him some praise. I loved Torchwood a lot but it's pretty unknown outside certain circles.
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Such an interesting episode! I didn't think Barrowman was Maxwell Lord, but I REALLY wasn't expecting him to be Tommy's dad. Maybe this organization he heads will turn out to be similar to Intergang - I still get that vibe, and the show seems to have a penchant for reinterpretation. So I wonder if that means Merlyn Sr. is on 'the list' then, and if he is.... Oliver's going after his friend's dad? I'm still having trouble imagining Tommy as Merlyn the Archer, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops. On a side note, I enjoyed Quentin more in this episode since he was doing actual police work (and possibly because he had no scenes with Laurel.) Let's hope this trend continues. I enjoyed Laurel more too. Tommy loosens her up, and I find them cute together. The song playing during their scene at the end was 'Tourist' by Yuna. I love the song, but it was a jarring transition to the one that followed with Oliver and Helena. I thought it might have been deliberate to highlight the differences in the relationships - sweet vs. edgy angst. I liked De Guow as the Huntress, but I also wondered about how she learned street fighting well enough to stand up to a fight with Oliver. I will say they have buckets more chemistry than Oliver and Laurel, so I'm interested in how that will play out in the next episode. For me, this episode was more cohesive, and it was a nice change in that I enjoyed ALL of the characters and their interactions with each other. Looking forward to next week!
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So, I get too distracted by this thought with new shows, when did they know they got picked up. I actually would think it begins with next week's episode that they all knew, so you might see Helena directed a little differently when they had the knowledge that they weren't just going to have the 13 episodes and she would likely be the biggest adversary Oliver could face. Now they can slow them down a little and we probably will get some of the sarcastic and more relaxed Oliver that we see with Diggle (you ever notice even the body language change..around his family, he like bodily turns when he is turning his head, when around Diggle, shoulders are relaxed and body posture is more natural).

Anyway...I thought Helena was a little stiff, but then I started thinking well, so is Oliver around his family and when he is being Oliver Queen. So, I will give her a chance. I do like her better with Oliver, especially the mental and emotional PTSD type state he really actually is in.

Because I recognized his voice, I was already thinking...wait, is this another case of actor not being old enough to play character's father? Basically because Oliver, Laurel and Tommy are all at a minimum like 27 years old (I am figuring, Laurel had three years of law school which she was not in when Oliver left, he was gone for five years, I think there was some indication they were all not in college any more, but she seems like she isn't brand spanking new). But then I remembered, John Barrowman is over five hundred years...no wait...
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Well, Arrow wasn't picked up until Oct. 22. This episode, at least according to the Arrow fan wiki (based on the cover of the shooting script posted by Guggenheim on Twitter), was shot from Sept. 14 to Sept. 25, with next week's being shot from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5. They could've gone back and re-shot stuff, but it seems quasi-unlikely (budget reasons). So the effects of the pick-up won't be seen, really, until the near the end of the initial episode order, depending on their normal script turnaround.
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Interesting...I just always wonder if some shows hold back on some stories to keep them able to be closed quickly and succinctly if they just get a 13 episode order. Like it sounds like Last Resort can end itself. And then you see towards the end of the 13 run scenes that relax some of the story a bit and you start to see new sets or whatever.
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LOL I think is time for Barrowman to be a father :)
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It may have looked strange to have Helena merely learn hand to hand combat instead of shooting a gun; but i think this was important for her character. It reflects her rejection of the gang culture she grew up in. learning how to fight ultimately makes her violence as a women more personal and definitive.
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"the Huntress" - Jessica De Gouw - is a 24 year old Aussie who probably is doing a lot of her own stunt work like the other OZ Babes, Lucy Lawless, Yvonne Strahowski, etc who both said that the acting schools in OZ all teach physical stage work - brawling, swords, etc., as an integral part of the curriculum. I have no idea how the writers of Arrow are going to match Greenie and Huntress, but we'll see, Yes, I'll keep watching; this show has a lot going for it."
and just for the record, I haven't read a Green Arrow comic book in 30 years
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Didn't even think about the Lex/Lionel comparison. But yeah, there can be some resemblance.

Man, I remember really really liking Lex's character and the way Rosenbaum played him. Such a complicated character, a 'lost soul'.
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There could be, but as the most casual of casual Smallville watchers, I just know that Lex and Lionel had a very complicated dynamic and that Rosenbaum and John Glover always brought their scenes to whole new levels. I would not mind seeing that particular aspect repeated between Barrowman and Donnell.
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The problem I had with that dynamic is that it quickly started to feel like Lionel Luthor was the real Lex Luthor. Here, Tommy isn't evil, he's just kind of a dink, but it's clear Barrowman is playing a real badguy, and Merlyn is an older badguy villain so I think it is wise to play it away from Bad Son & Bad Dad. Plus, it seems like if Laurel sees something of value in Tommy, he's probably not the type of person who turns into a costumed villain.
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Far and away the best actor on Smallville.
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I don't like Jessica De Gouw at all so far. I don't like her acting, I don't find her attractive. She's the only casting misstep so far on the show for me.
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At first I felt similarly, she looks generic and her dye job was hard to look at (eyebrows makeup people, eyebrows can't just be light on a black-haired character!), but as she got more serious through dinner and after that, I warmed to her performance, it was more mature and nuanced than earlier scenes. I'd argue the way she played the character was certainly more than anything we've gotten from Laurel so far (but I'd blame the directors and casting and writing for that over the actress though, don't get me wrong, Katie Cassidy's not had a chance to take it anywhere I think).
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John Barrowman could successfully play Tommy's older brother
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I looked up their ages. 30 and 45. Age difference about 15 years and 7 months. In other words, a typical age difference on the CW. Certainly not the lowest age difference they've had.
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The age thing really didn't bother me that much. Sure its 15 years for the actors but who knows where the story is going here. Mr Merlyn seems to have plenty of derision for his son. I interpreted the cut-off more as that of a rival then a wild-child dependent. I mean Tommy just threw that big gala, albeit for a girl, but its probably the most responsible thing hes done with his money ever. I really doubt that Mr. Merlyn is first generation Merlyn money. There are several generations of trust funds here I assume. Its not at all unlikely for Mr Merlyn to have had a "mistake" in Tommy at age 17 or 18.
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Actually, by age 30 I think Tommy is required by CW law to be playing the parent of a teen. 45 is pushing grandparent-hood.
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Aaaaaaaand now all I can think about is Jenna during a 30 Rock episode doing everything she could not play a mom on Gossip Girl.
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I think that, more than the fact that they're only 15 years apart in their age, the fact that they actually look close in age is what makes it distracting. There are times when they can have actors pretty close in age playing father and son, depending on the actors' looks. A good example being the show Frasier, where John Mahoney played Frasier's father, and he was also about 15 years older than Kelsey Grammer.
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"The rich man's Lindsay Lohan."
I laughed so hard with this one!
I actually found Jessica De Gouw rather pout-y at the beginning but I felt she got better...and yes Amell and her have a nice chemistry...
Always happy to see John B ;-)
Penikett has been doing a lot of hit 'n run lately LOL! I wish he got a juicy part somewhere...
Enjoyed the episode although felt it was a bit over the place...
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I find the less time Oliver/Arrow spends with Laurel the more I enjoy the series, whereas when they're together I want to take a rusty icepick hold it over an open flame till it gets red hot then slowly shove it into my Urethra because the feels better than watching them
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Graphic... but damn, so true!

Hopefully Laurel's Canary will be killed off as quickly as those playing card bank robbing fools. Or China White- except whuut she's still alive? WTF I thought she died?
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lol,she didn't die...Ollie and her were fighting,cops came and when they heard sirens they stopped fighting and both ran away
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Oh. Clearly I pay a lot of attention while watching Arrow... Well good, because I was starting to get annoyed that they were introducing significant comic book characters to only dispatch them later in the same episode!
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Awesome episode.

Definitely got the catwoman/batman vibe frm Ollie and Helena. They also reminded me of Dexter and Hannah (if u watch that show, u know wat I mean).

Loved the reveal of Tommy's dad, def did not c that coming. The fencing was pure smallville and im guessing that wasn't an accident, as Lionel and lex would fence others or each other on occasion. Clearly the relationship between Tommy and his dad will be similar to lex/lionel, and if it's half as compelling, im all for it.

I feel like smell really nailed Oliver queen in this episode. Some of his line deliveries were spot on. I especially liked his convo with merlyn.

Keep up the good work Arrow
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My only real complaint of this show so far as the way Quentin has been shoe-horned in. I'm all for the character, and I'm sometimes a fan of Paul Blackthorne's work, I just wish they would give him a story instead of just dropping him in just so that he's around. I'm sure they are building to something, just starting getting to it.

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Quentin is frustrating me as well, and like you, I've liked Blackthorne for a while.

Doubly frustrating, and related to Quentin: Does his partner have a name in the show? I mean, he has a name, and it's out there and you find it, but have they said it on the show? It's sort of driving me nuts that this recurring character has no name.
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I really don´t like Laurel.
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I just want to tell the show to slow down and ease up on the gas a bit. Characters are coming into this universe really quickly and not being given time to develop. I guess that is what happens in TV series like these but I don't need a new name drop or two every week. Let some of the barely introduced characters out for a romp before throwing more names into the ring.
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That was a good episode. I am not sure whether having Oliver and Helena an item as well as partners. But at least they have chemistry. So that is good. The rest was great, John Barrowman's reveal was good, though a little bit of a description as to why he thinks his son is a waste of time would be nice. But I am sure that is coming.

All the things with his family was better. I like that they are fleshing out the characters more.
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I agree that some reason why Tommy was being completely cut off would've been REALLY useful, but Daddy Merlyn seems like a pretty nefarious guy. Who knows if it would have been his real motive? ;)
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you really need to add spoiler alerts before dropping infos from the comic, Noel...
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I debated it, but ultimately decided that this particular aspect about the Merlyn character had been circulated enough in interviews (in popular press outlets, not just comic sites), particularly as framed in the tradition of Clark and Lex on Smallville, that it didn't constitute a spoiler. Likewise, if you visit either Wikipedia or the fan-maintained Arrow wiki, both make references to the connection to the villainous archer (Wikipedia anchor texts Tommy's name to the Merlyn article), so it's out there, and not at all difficult to stumble upon. Did the comments for the first few weeks about the Laurel/Black Canary connection constitute a spoiler...?

Along those similar lines...I'm also not sure it's actually a spoiler. Me revealing that Barrowman is Tommy's dad three weeks ago (I didn't know, for the record, I found out last night like everyone else)? That would have been a spoiler. But the show may not even make either of them the Merlyn archer, so is it a spoiler if it doesn't happen, or if they tweak the character somehow?

All that being said (and I wish I could bold that), I'll continue to weigh things like this and decide its relevance to the discussion. I'll continue to find, as @FringeFanatic notes in their comment, a balance for that sort of information. So far, I think I've done fairly well in keeping this sort of a thing on an even keel, and even going so far as to contextualize things if I find them particularly fanboy-y/irrelevant to the episode (like I did with the RFG in the previous episode). Here, I thought mentioning the Merlyn aspect was *very* relevant to the discussion in regards to the show's future potential, and that's why it was included.
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So you are saying, if I don't know the comic and want to watch the show without any knowledge whatsoever, I can't read these reviews. Thus I guess people like that are not your target group and that is obviously ok, if a pity because i really enjoy reading again about what happened and what other people think.
However, there must be a lot of people like me, who didnt read the comics but enjoy the show , so would it really be so bad to give a minor notice before going into the comicstuff? So we can read around it?
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I like how you read all of that, including the various justifications and contexts, and decided that I said you were being left out in the cold, and also decided to be passive-aggressive about it.

It would not be bad at all to provide it. But as I said, I didn't perceive a reason for it be included here since that aspect of the character(s) is incredibly prevalent in a range of outlets, including interviews.
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I'm sorry if it sounded like I was attacking you, all i mean to say is, if I don't want to be informed, so I don't know anything about the story ti come yet, (interviews/wiki) this was a spoiler, right? However for people who are a little more informed it seems be general knowledge. That are the criteria for your review right? Thats why i didn't go into them. I didn't try to be passive aggresive, it was just: This spoilered me, and you say, you're gonna stay at this level of "spoiler"(just a word I'm using, it doesn't have to be a spoiler for most ppl, for me it was though) so I guess I can'T read this anymore if I want to stay totally blind for future episodes.
However I enjoy these reviews and a minor notice to be able to read around would be welcome.

I'm thankful thankful that you put alot of work into these reviews and this was just a personal inquiry. Again I did not mean to insult you and apologize if it did seem like that.
also I was quite sure you didnt really care for the comment^^, just take it as a opinion among many.
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I love it,when he takes "that exta mile" and offers more then just some recap of episode and some random thoughts about episode. And he also replies to sooo many(which is a great thing) comments,that we post
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I get an extra $10 for every comment I reply to. (Not really.)

I'm glad you're coming for the insights and not my recaps and random thoughts. Also: I put a lot of work into attempting to structure those random thoughts. ;) This week I admit that the post isn't my best by a long shot, but I had a crud coming on (that waylaid me from my 9 to 5 today), so the NyQuil was kicking in and it was making about as much sense as I could beat into it.
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Reviewing a show when its based off a book or a comic is a tricky thing. It gets even trickier when the reviewer knows the source material.

Tim Surette had a difficult time reviewing GoT at first. He had read all the books, but didn't know how much of that knowledge he should use in his reviews. Obviously giving things away would be decried as spoiler-ish, but if he feigned ignorance like he had no idea what was going to happen, when he clearly did, then that would be viewed as disingenuous.

As it happens, he received both criticisms from readers and non-readers alike. Until he eventually decided to mainly write his reviews with the knowledge we gained from the show, while occasionally dropping little easter eggs only the readers would be able to decipher. He didn't just do this on a whim, but actually explained at the beginning on one of his early reviews that this was the tack he was going to take. It worked. The non-readers didn't have to worry about spoilers, and the fanboys were gleeful in their understanding of his inside jokes and comments.

Now, a more relevant comparison would be Tim's reviews of The Walking Dead, another show based off a very popular series of comics. But he didn't really have the same issue with TWD. Even though he had read the comics, the two are so different from one another (unlike GoT), so it was much easier to compartmentalize them. He would usually share his inside knowledge after the fact. Like if the show deviated from the comics. He once again was able to strike a fair balance.

Noel is going to need to find his own balance. But I'd say his job is even tricker because he's dealing with a well known superhero. If in the beginning of Smallville a reviewer wrote about Lex Luthor and Clark Kent one day being arch-enemies, and just when in the hell was Lois Lane going to make an appearance, would that be deemed a spoiler? Probably not. Some things are so prevalent in popular-culture that you've got to work off the basis that people know what you're talking about. I realize the Green Arrow is not in the same rarified pantheon as Superman, but he's still a superhero that many, many people have at least a passing knowledge of. Noel shouldn't be chided for using the fairly well known source material as a quasi-basis for some of his insights into the show. I'm sure over time the show will deviate further and further from the comics until this almost becomes a non-issue like TWD, but it won't go away. Characters will show up from the comics that Noel and other readers will already know, and its fair if he wants to use his inside knowledge to a certain extent.

When we're dealing with comic book superheroes, it comes with the territory.
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Nicely said.
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Anyone think that The Black Archer will be Merlyn senior? Tommy may be a Jr. and the dad may be the target of being the primary villain. We can see correlations between Lionel/Lex all day. It is a dynamic that is a staple of drama.

Tahmoh Penikett, was under utilized and should have been a character that has a story arch. I would have liked the arch with the Huntress to last a few episodes. It was such a good lead up and then too quick to resolve.

Otherwise, good episode. Arrow is shaping up to be one of the stronger new series. It is no Last Resort, but really good.
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The best part about the Merlyn reveal was that he was NOT shooting an arrow. If they didn't have Thea or Diggle or Huntress I would even go as far as guessing Tommy Merlyn (probably Jr.) becomes Speedy at some point. I just hope they don't do a Spiderman Goblin thing where Arrow kills Jr's father who then turns evil and seeks revenge.
However, as of right now, Jr's character is kind of just there. Sure, he's the best friend and they are using him to start some kind of love triangle, but really, besides some comic relief every now and again his character really doesn't serve a purpose.
I personally like how Oliver is all "you can't just go around killing people because it's wrong" after having just killed a person himself.
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Great episode except I don't understand why characters aren't written for Tamoh Penikett and John Barrowman that are morally conflicted. Barrowman seems to get cast as the heavy yet the actor does charming but covering for something so well. And Penikett played the most conflicted character of all time Karl "Helo"Agathon - seeing him as simple stone cold killer is tough. Too bad he had such a short shelf life.

Great introduction of Jessica DeGouw's "Huntress". Her and Amell didn't have to wait too long to establish great screen chemistry. (Their children would have the most beautiful green eyes.) Same cannot be said for Katie Cassidy and the generic CW handsome actor playing "Tommy".

So far so good for this show. Glad to see its not in danger of the early axe like most decent shows on this network get.
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A friend of mine tweeted that she was frustrated that Penikett seems to have gone for two stone-cold killer characters (here, and on Castle) and I agree with her. He's got range, and these roles don't show it off.
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Tommy getting cut off financially is just cruel and unusual punishment.
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I kind of agree. I'm no expert, but JB cut off Tommy's stocks and junk- can he even DO that? Like, if Tommy invested it, aren't the proceeds completely his in every sense of the law? I dunno. OMG I don't even care, I don't even LIKE Tommy.
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But just what he needed LOL!
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I really liked the reveal of Tommy's dad. I certainly didn't see that coming. It's a bit too early to say how their relationship will play out, outside of the money issue, but I certainly did get the Lex/Lionel vibe you mentioned in the notes. And I got an even stronger vibe from Oliver and Helena, whose relationship reminded me of Batman and Catwoman's relationship. Even before he took her helmet off, I knew that they'd find out each others' identities, and have sexual tension, while Oliver disliked her actions. I really liked them together though. They certainly do have chemistry together, so even if their relationship doesn't last long, I hope they use her as a recurring character to play off of Oliver's character. Also, even if his character wasn't in the episode for too long, I'm so glad that Walter is back.
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I'm glad Walter is back, too! I'm a big fan of Colin Salmon, so his presence on the show was a big draw for me on the project. Now that he's done on the British incarnation of DWTS, he may stick around for a bit longer. His whole plot with Moira, knowing he was on that show (after @Gully_Foyle told me when he departed), probably was the reason it was so sped up.
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Great episode.
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I bet you, that Laurel's wheels inside her head are spinning out of control("What Tommy!?!? You are broke?!?!??!!?!?....Damn it, I can't dump him right away, have to play it smart or else my bff P.I.M.P. Joey(is that her bff's name?) will go crazy. Think Laurel,think damn it" ) :P:P:P

wow this was probably the best and strongest episode of Arrow yet. From Ollie doing the Will Smith in Bad boys,where he chases bad guys on foot,to reveal of who Tommy's daddy really is, to Huntress being probably the first female "hero"(if that's what we call her) on tv that I really liked. On other shows female characters just come in, like: look at me and my ass...ain't I hot?...yes I slept with producer to get on tv,etc. Jessica De Gouw just seems to me breath of fresh air and how female character should be on tv. I really liked her performance at the end. She acted it how her character felt. From oh brother,you gonna preach me,to why is your thing more special than mine,to what are these feelings that I am having. There's some chemistry between those 2!
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read my comment about Aussie actresses getting lots of stunts training. I think this gives them a lot of physical confidence on screen, and that makes them more believable as characters and strong performers.
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"On other shows female characters just come in, like: look at me and my ass...ain't I hot?...yes I slept with producer to get on tv,etc."

I admit that I'd like to watch those shows.
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Such a jaw dropping moment when Mr Merlyn was revealed!! I was like =O
I also really love the blossoming relationship between Laurel and Tommy they're really sweet together, she brings out the best in him. I feel like Oliver should spend more time with Tommy he's always running away from him. I also thought the last scene was a little meh...I think I was expecting a more passionate embrace, less crying with resistance hahahaha. Overall great ep! Also, I always love to see Kelly Hu appear even if only for a second.
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Great episode. but with both Geoff Johns & Marc Guggenheim writing it that's hardly a shock.
Nice to see Colin Salmon back so soon after 8 weeks prancing around on a dance floor.
And with the reveal of Merlyn Snr. it opens up a lot of doors for Tommy, the expectation was that he'd turn into the anti-Arrow and work for the "Well Dressed Man" but that doesn't seem as likely now. The only crititisim I have with Meryln Snr. is that if you look at all of the potential\actual costumed 'cannon' vigilanttes in the show all of them have Daddy issues of one sort or another be nice if there was someone who was a little different.
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Staff
It would! But so few heroes seem to have mother issues. Wonder Woman probably comes the closest, but even that's been changed in the new continuity to, well, father issues. Damn.
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I liked the reveal of Papa Merlyn alot. It surprised me & reminded me to trust the writers that they have the capacity to adapt comic characters into their grittyesque framework. I was worried for a little while that Tommy may eventually end up as Merlyn the Archer simply because of his name, but instead we got a guy that could better fit the position.
I also liked that this ep. focused more on Ollie as Ollie instead of as the Hood...I do wish they did some island flashbacking though, I miss that.
The only things that got under my skin were already mentioned: Helena's acting range (she was fine with regular dialogue, but her anger & sadness was painfully soapy) & the background music in Laurel's apt. Normally when the CW pushes a tune they wanna sell, I can tune it out & concentrate on the dialogue, but this week it seemed louder to me than normal & I had trouble hearing the lines to the point where I had to back up the DVR & re-watch the scene
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You can always tell when two characters are about to passionately make-out/have sex on the CW. Just wait for a teenage-ish song to start playing and slowly rise in volume with the (of course) palpable sexual tension, then BAM! (Bam is my sound effect for sex.)
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Tahmoh Penikett was criminally underused...I am not happy about that!
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Staff
Word.
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Since when does Oliver get all upset over the deaths of a few mobsters?? It seemed pretty hypocritical for him to tell the Huntress not to kill people when it's been established he's killed a butt ton of people already. Relatedly, where is this show getting their sound effects? Those neck snapping effects sounded like a ripe tomato being thrown against a wall. Way too 'splat-y'.

When Oliver was like 'so uh how did you know I'm the vigilante?' I was hoping so bad the Huntress would reply 'Because you wear a freaking HOOD and EYE-SHADOW! That is not a mask, dummy!', and then maybe laughed at him. Because really, that is a terrible disguise. It looks cool enough, but it doesn't do sh*t.
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We'll see how the killing thing goes next week (Amell's said he considers eps 7 & 8 one long episode). I just summarized and attempted to contextualize where things were on that front this week, but I hope to fully engage that concept next week, especially based on how things appeared in the promo. I'm hopeful for a focused episode on how Oliver deals with a different(ish) version of himself.
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The second I heard John Barrowman talking from under the fencing suit, I was like WWHHAAT?! = So. Good.
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