Arrow "The Odyssey" Review: Let's All Give a Warm Arrow Cave Welcome To...

Arrow S01E14: "The Odyssey"

Have you wanted Felicity to be in on Oliver’s vigilante activities?! Then tonight you got your wish!

Have you wanted an episode set mostly on the island?! Then tonight you got your wish!

Have you wanted Arrow to be more of a full-blown action show?! Then tonight you got your wish!

I’ve wanted that first one for a while because I enjoy Felicity and Emily Bett Rickards’ portrayal of the character. The nervous energy and stream-of-consciousness chattering give her scenes a whole different vibe from the rest of the show while still feeling like they actually belong. And now that she’s aware of Oliver’s double life, and willing to help out—at least in locating Walter—it means we’ll get more of her this season, and that’s hardly a bad thing... unless all the Windows product placement that often surrounds Felicity annoys you.

Plus, if Felicity is going to be around more, it means that there’ll be someone else for both Diggle and Oliver to talk to. This won't make as much of a difference to Oliver, as he gets to interact with lots of other characters, but I’m excited by the notion of Diggle having someone new to converse with. The dynamics of Oliver and Diggle’s relationship don't really involve telling personal stories, especially since Oliver isn’t much of a sharer. And that’s fine for them since their relationship is still developing, and Oliver’s still learning to let his guard down, to trust people who aren’t his family or friends from before he was stranded on Lian Yu.

But Felicity is a talker, and she prompted Diggle to provide a new perspective on Oliver’s actions, and whether or not Oliver’s activities are “worth all the collateral damage” they incur. It was a big moment, because even though Diggle isn’t shy about volunteering his opinion, he often frames them around Oliver’s conscience, to keep Oliver’s soul from being scrapped away. His opinions may tell us what Diggle values, but they don’t tell us what Diggle thinks about this "crusade," as Felicity called it.

And so he told this story about protecting a warlord in Afghanistan and how it resulted in a number of deaths, including that of a kid 18 years old or younger who Diggle shot through the throat. Diggle, understandably, didn’t feel good about that. He killed to protect a scummy warlord, after all, and no one should feel good about that. But with Oliver’s “war,” there is, it would appear, a sense of clarity, of well-defined lines in the battle. The goons that get killed in the process knew what they were getting into, Diggle seemed to say, with his acceptance of there being so many casualties.

It’s the sort of pragmatic approach to the mission that Diggle has come to showcase. Even when he doubted Ted Gaynor’s involvement with the armored truck robberies in “Trust but Verify,” he still investigated the possibility of Blackhawk being involved, and that process is again playing out with his suspicions of Moira. It’s something that even though we can see through his actions, Felicity’s presence in this episode offered an opportunity to fill in some character motivation, and that’s the sort of inner world Diggle has been missing.

Of course, this episode also showed that Felicity isn’t prepared for the toll that the mission would take on her, directly or by association. This could be a good thing for both Felicity and Diggle, a reminder that perhaps the pragmatic approach to war isn’t the only option. Diggle may want Oliver to make larger differentiations between those on the list, but Felicity may be able to provide a non-lethal, less violent approach in the future. Like in the form of a boxing-glove arrow. (I really hope not. But maybe some stun arrows?)

As you may have guessed from reading all this, I had more thoughts to share about the brief scenes that took place between all the stuff happening in flashbacks on Lian Yu, and if you did, you’d be right. This isn’t to say that the Lian Yu developments weren’t interesting or thrilling—they were—but there’s less to engage with in them than there is in the interplay of characters in the present day.

Manu Bennett as Slade had an easy, delightful chemistry with Stephen Amell, veering between condescension and gruding respect without any of it feeling forced. And Amell continued to mine new depths for Island Oliver, between his excitement at recognizing challenge code—“They picked the one book I read in college!”—and the relieved sigh as Fyers’ men passed right by him as he attempted to infiltrate the camp to leave with Yao Fei.

If Present-Day Oliver is compact and laser-like, then Island Oliver is a frantic man who's very nearly running on empty after being the island’s butt monkey, and Amell makes them feel so wonderfully distinct but connected. That connection will be important moving forward, of course; with Slade and Oliver now having to work together to survive, Oliver’s training to obtain the skills he uses in Starling City is about to begin. The determination and intensity aren’t there yet, but they’re coming, and I’m eager to see how the show and Amell create the throughline between these stages in Oliver’s life.

The episode also introduced new mysteries for the flashbacks as well. Fyers’ employer is now a voice at the very least, and Yao Fei’s daughter, Shado, provides a new complication in the conflicts on Lian Yu. Obviously Fyers would have a boss, but now Arrow can start unfurling reasons as to why Fyers and his team are on the island, beyond keeping some prisoners contained. But how, oh how, did Shado end up there?

I will say that I missed the larger thematic parallels to the present-day action that normally accompany the flashbacks. While the connection was still there to a degree—means to justify the ends and doing what must be done to survive—it was also less pronounced, favoring the fighting, gunshots, and explosions. It’s good that the episode played this particular aspect out through the whole episode, but it may've also highlighted that I’m more interested in how the flashbacks complement the present day than the other way around.


NOTES & QUOTES


– In case you didn’t see the news, on Monday The CW renewed Arrow for a second season. And then on Tuesday, the network announced a casting upgrade for Season 2. Be as excited, dismayed, indifferent, or cautiously optimistic as your opinion of the show dictates.

– Billy Wintergreen, Slade’s traitorous partner on the show, is named for William Randolph Wintergreen. In the comics, Wintergreen is much older, but more experienced, than Slade, and essentially functions as Slade’s mentor, confidant, and nurse. Basically, Wintergreen was to Deathstroke what Alfred was to Batman.

– I’m not going to talk about Shado in relation to her comic book analog. She’s an important character in the Green Arrow mythology, particularly during Mike Grell’s tenure with the character, but that’s all I’m going to say.

– “You’re bleeding.” “I don’t need to be told that.”

– “You need a doctor, not a steel worker.”

– “I’m kind of having a bad day, you know.”

– Diggle’s exasperated response to the electrodes coming loose was just the best.

– “I’m impressed. You didn’t puke.” “I swallowed it.”

– “I’m trapped on an island and my only friend is named Wilson.”

– Action, while fun and exciting—especially when it’s well-staged, as it generally was here—isn’t my primary interest with Arrow... or any show, for that matter. So please understand that my response to the Lian Yu sequences, especially with regard to a lack of discussion, was very much grounded in personal taste, and not a larger criticism of the episode. It’s also what comment sections are for, so have at it!


What'd you think of this week's episode?

Comments (123)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Great review. I think the fact that there was no Tommy and little Laurel (or no Laurel at all, considering all we got was the idea'of Laurel that island Oliver had) helped the episode be one of the most solid of the season.
They tend to hold back the show from what it can be to a less 'serious', more teenage, lite version of itself. (Moira and Thea also give me the same feeling)
2
Reply
Flag
I have actually stopped watching Arrow since episode 11. It was very inconsistent show. A few episode I liked but the rest were very weak. I never read the comics so I just watch the show for what it is. I did planned to give it a chance some point in time. This week because there were no elementary and scandal episodes so I decided to go back to ARROW. And boy it was the best decision I made. Episode 12 was good, 13 and I am hook back into the show and this episode was the best ! The story felt it was finally moving along. Now I can wait to catch the rest of the season! I just hope it continue to maintain the same quality and not slip back to slow moving plot thin episodes again.
1
Reply
Flag
The island scenes let us dig deep into Oliver and set up a foundation for his vigilante grit, something that transcends his kicked-dog look when he talks about the island. The sooner we can get some real bad ass operators in present day the better, but for now they are all on the island. I understand they are building up these characters to be big deals when they waltz into town as Finales or such and I'm having fun watching them get built up. Also Slade Wilson/Deathstroke have fantastic potential and I would love to see a Deathstroke spinoff show.
1
Reply
Flag
I appreciated the shift away from villain-of-the-week for this episode, and while I don't think the Island heavy plot should be followed every week, it was really needed at this point in the series I think
Reply
Flag
Finally watched this episode. I'll just say: Yay, Felicity!
3
Reply
Flag
This episode actually addressed a lot of questions I have seen people post; like how many people Oliver just seems to kill. Though if you think about it, he might actually be killing them all. He has those knock out darts (which Im still wonder how he fires) after all. He even says I only kill as a last resort, so maybe he's not actually killing all those henchman.

Also, I pretty sure the daughter is evil or in on it or maybe will even turn out to be China White somehow. She did the whole evil eyes thing when Yao Fei hugged her. Also the whole look at this tattoo she has that Oliver also has. I would like to point out, Oliver wasn't actually on the island the entire time. I missed it the first time, but in Trust But Verify Oliver tells Digs that he found a video that his father left him. Also, it would explain how he has Russian Mob connections.
Reply
Flag
The series diverges from the GA source material quite a bit, but one thing I can at least guarantee ya for certain is that Shado (Yao Fei's daughter) and China White are completely separate characters.
Reply
Flag
Loved this episode and especially Slade going all Spartacus on, well, everyone he encountered!
3
Reply
Flag
Yes, yes, yes, yes YES!!!!!!!!!!! I realize I'm dangerously close to sounding like an Herbal Essence commercial. We'll just stick with that, but I was soooooo beyond thrilled to finally see Felicity get in on the action. My three fave characters sharing the cave together. It didn't get any better than that. Plus she had her shizz together, she admitted that she knew they were full of crap with all the stuff they keep coming to her for, so thank God the risk of her coming across as incompetent or foolish was gone. Plus she held her own during the entire process of saving Ollie. She freaked out but it was just enough to be amusing and charming and not too much where she would have been useless.She's just so lovable and endearing with her quirkiness.
- You nailed, absolutely NAILED what Felicity will bring to the table as far as character dynamics and interaction. I too was thrilled to see Diggle interacting with someone outside of Ollie,and she does become the perfect foil to bounce more intimate and personal things off of for both Ollie and Diggle. As much as I loves me a bromance...it's true that you just won't get as much deep stuff out of a guy unless he's interacting with a female, there are just certain things that won't come up between Diggle and Ollie that can come up and out between either of them and Felicity. Love it.
- It really was great hearing more about Diggle and why he was so on board with Ollie's work. I knew there was more to his begrudgingly agreeing to work with him all that time ago. I appreciated the insight into his character, and I do love the pragmatic approach. Diggle keeps Ollie in line but Felicity will keep them both in line.
- The entire review was on point. Agree with every word. I didn't feel as attached to the flashbacks either. I found the other stuff more interesting to watch. But it did explain the distinct lack of flashbacks in the previous episode. I did like the chemistry between Slade and island Ollie. And sadly, I welcomed the tighter focus in this episode, as I didn't miss the other characters at all.
-I'm happy to see it got picked up for another season, because I like watching the show even though it isn't as amazing as it could be. I don't know how I feel about the addition of new characters however, because honestly I'm still waiting for them to do more to some of the other characters to make them stand out and hold their own.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I actually like her freak outs. I agree with everything you said but just to defend her Yes she did what Ollie told her but it didn't mean she believed him. Its the Boss' son so she can't really say no.
Reply
Flag
FelictyandOliver!!!!!!!!!!!!!! make me happy to watch the show again and again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
Flag
Applause more Emily Bett Rickards. More Felicity. I think she's the hottest woman on the show. I've been waiting for it for a long time.

The present day villain of the week is a little over the top for an edgy show like this. Even the Deathstroke costume is annoying sometime. The island thing used to be annoying when Oliver was just moping around about his dead dad but his transition is amazing to watch.

I realized something In the pilot Deathstrokes mask was hanging on a pole on the beach with an arrow in the eye but Billy Wintergreen Deathstroke was stabbed. Does this mean Billy's still alive or will Slade double-cross Oliver or is Slade killed by Yao Fei.

There are a lot of unanswered questions Oliver's tatoo becoming a captain in the Russian mob how did all that come to pass.
5
Reply
Flag
And I have to say, how about a round of applause for Emily Bett Rickards!

She is such a juxtaposition to Laurel and Joanna (the should be poor but for some reason are immaculately hot pro bono lawyers - do they even get paid?!)

Emily has no low neck lines, no super perfect cleavage shots, no perfectly tailored tight ass shots like the above two.

Her hotness comes completely from her character creation and facial expression (okay, and perfect makeup), but Felicity is the hottest woman on the show and it comes from the neck up. Pretty damn cool.
12
Reply
Flag
I was glad they finally brought Felicity in on things and as she laid out the things they've asked of her it mirrored my earlier questions of "how can such an intelligent woman be so freaking stupid??" I was glad she made it a point of mentioning all that. and anything to get her more screentime is just a huge plus in the pros category.

Loved the island flashbacks and glad we got more than usual this time around, Normally they don't take this long to run an "origins" story but the change of pace is both innovative and refreshing over the usual method done a hundred times over elsewhere.

Great review, great show, glad, but not surprised to hear it got picked up for season 2. this one has the potential to go for years if handled right and so far, they're off to a great start.
Reply
Flag
Come on !!! Missing Present day story lines ....never!!! it was the weak point of every Arrow episodes especially the lame week-case . This episode was awesome and i was waiting for a whole episode in the island , and yes, this was it !!! For me the best so far :D
3
Reply
Flag
Whoever hates the flashbacks on Arrow has no idea what they are watching...how can you have a hero without knowing his origins I feel the flashbacks are just as important as the present day
11
Reply
Flag
I kind of hated the episode just because of the flashbacks, I found myself watching only Felicity (beautiful actress XD) and Digs converstaions. I wish they stopped with the flashbacks, enough please! I don't care what happened to Oliver on the island! =.=

Anyway, looking forward to next episode. Now that Felicity is part of Oliver's team. :)

I wish they explored Felicity/Oliver romantic relationship and or Oliver/Laurel. But the latter most likely won't happen because she is with Tommy....blah < BORING! :L
Reply
Flag
? Wow! Really? Ok, to each their own.
1
Reply
Flag
Well, the island is the origin of the character, & that is well loved overall...so while I understand it's not your specific cup of tea, I also understand that when flashbacks happen, it must suck to be you during those times.
I'm sure overall you can deal with 'em when they happen.& move on to thinking fondly on the parts you don't specifically hate
2
Reply
Flag
I much prefer the present day than the flashbacks, so i was a bit iffy about this episode but the flashbacks were enjoyable enough. Im really glad that Felicity is joining team Arrow!!! I did miss Thea but we will see plenty of her next week when she meets Roy Harper played by former Teen Wolf hunk Colton Haynes. SO looking forward to next week especially the introduction of Roy who will eventually be Olivers sidekick, so cant wait to see how that unfolds!!!
1
Reply
Flag
I was wondering where I had seen the guy that plays Slade before and then in hit me... I didn't recognized him dressed ROFL! That's the awsome Crixus from Spartacus LOL!
Nice episode, a lot of background from the island and not only flashbacks... which was nice and not so annoying.
There were a lot of silly and funny lines like: ".. my boring life of being an IT girl." So she says!
There was plenty of action... basically that, but I guess that was fine...
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
"I didn't recognized him dressed" may be my favorite comment of the thread.
3
Reply
Flag
Thanks Noel! ;-P
Reply
Flag
This was probably the best episode of Arrow yet. Slade is beyond awesome and i am really glad Felicity is now in on things. I also got the notion that the island story will somehow blend over to the Starling City story. Why are there mercenaries in on this island? Who is their employer? Is it someone on the list? Is it the one who made it? A great many question arose in this episode yet there still was time for character development and lots of fun action. Arrow at it's best.
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
Marc Guggenheim gave an interview this week saying that they thought about connecting the island and present-day storylines in some way, but they ended up decided against it because they felt it would "...be too much of a coincidence. The connection between the present day and the flashbacks will stay, like we've been doing, thematic in nature."

Of course, it could just be a lie. Damn showrunners.
Reply
Flag
But if they did connect island and present-day more closely in each episode all the critics would be shouting "They're just ripping off Lost's early seasons format"
Reply
Flag
Staff
I can promise you: I would not say that, let alone shout it. :)

Though, even thematically in nature, Lost's flashbacks often provided a parallel to the island events.
Reply
Flag
Ever since I saw Slade appear in the island arc, I've actually been waiting for either Slade or Yao Fei to come out in the present day and try to kill Oliver In fact when I saw the Dark archer I thought Yao Fei. I'm a sucker for master vs apprentice showdown.

I didn't think "it would be too much of a coincidence..." You can't really trust showrunners it would probably depend on the fan reaction.
Flag
When it comes to Arrow, i love your reviews, you are the nerd perfect to review this show (and when i say nerd, i say it as it should be said,.with respect!). I love how quick and thoughtful you merge the episodes story lines with the comics.
So far i have no opinion on Slade, i guess am still trying to consolidate what i imagined and what i am watching. That said, i wasn't particular immersed in action sequences..or much of the island story this week. I was too excited for Felicity..that is until i heard Yao Fei's daughter name is Shado.. and her tattoo. suddenly the island got way more interesting. Way less Laurel and Thea, i accept.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Thanks for the kind words.

This Slade Wilson isn't very Slade Wilson-y from the comics, as has been noted elsewhere in the section, so I sort of feel like we're getting a dual origin story, that of Oliver's as the vigilante and potentially that of Slade as the Deathstroke most folks are familiar with. 5 years is a long time for things to sour, after all.
2
Reply
Flag
I've been asking for an island-focused episode for a while now, so I should be glad that we got one. And I suppose that I am. Mostly. It was a welcome break from the present day's villain-of-the-week-that-is-being-grossly-underused framework. Luckily, it wasn't bland at all. Unfortunately, it also wasn't silly-free.

Manu Bennett comes off well as a harsh mentor that grudgingly disapproves or (less often) approves. The training sequences looked serious, most of character's motivations ringed true as well. Some good moves when he was slaughtering soldiers, but it does make one wonder how much more inept these mercs could be. Average henchman's reaction time = very poor.
Stephen Amell does a good job at keeping younger Oliver significantly distinct from his present self. There are still remnants of the typical rich boy's attitude, there is still the occasional carefree behavior despite the seriousness of the situation. The lack of confidence is quite apparent. Just that clinging to Laurel's picture which was... umm, not fitting? Not that calling her was.

I liked that they made Oliver botch the assault on the tower man. It all looked awkward when he was trying to put his very short training to use, and this in turn made it very believeable. His run for Yao Fei was both noble and naive, yet easy to accept as what would the character choose to do.
What I didn't like was the easiness with which Oliver infiltrated the main camp. Main Camp. He was just running unmasked, 'hiding' in the plain sight! How did he even slip by the guards (who should supposedly cover the entire perimeter), how did the guys passing him not notice anything out of the corner of their eyes, given the proximity? Some peripheral vision, please.
I won't even mention how conveniently Yao Fei's tent was placed.
I also found it hard to believe that Ollie would just remember this specific passage from "The Odyssey" (there are quite a few Homer quotes that could be considered more widely known), or that it would be the only college book he picked to read (the narrative isn't exactly that of a modern prose) - I wouldn't expect him to read any. But who am I to question the convenience.
The most silly part - for me - came with Slade Wilson's attack on the main camp (or maybe the fact that Oliver's speech roused such pragmatic character?). Some random explosions and fireworks (how did he do that, anyway?) were enough to have every trained mercenary in the field just run away, scattered, leaving their boss and the prisoner on their own. The show is asking me for a greater leap of faith that I'm willing to take. The fight between the Australian guys was ok-ish, but boy, isn't (wasn't?) Wintergreen wooden whenever not in the midst of combat.

As for the present day stuff - glad that Felicity is on board. Like both the character and the actress. I do am worried, however, because I fear that the writers will be using her whenever they can't be arsed to stick to compelling reasoning. It's similar to Chloe from Smallville - nowadays computer geeks are akin to magicians. "Hey, I hacked this". "Oh, I hacked that." We won't tell you how, but it's done, nothing to worry about. Blood samples, inconvenient footage, unwanted audio, etc. Just poof, and it will be gone. And anything you want found shall be - yes, you guessed it - located with ease. You cannot question the computer magic, it is infallible. And it will be your solution to whatever you want it to be.
Anyway... kudos to Diggle and his reactions.

I'm also starting to genuinely dislike present day Oliver for his thick-headedness. And for a warped sense of justice towards the ones close to him. So Moira uses a picture of her children to appeal to vigilante's conscience, and when he lowers his weapon and promises not to harm her, she pulls a gun and starts shooting with a clear intention to kill. How is that not cold blooded and cynical? How can you even defend that? Damn right the other villains didn't do that! They at least had the guts not to hide behind sappy family excuses. Just... argh. Give me an episode where Diggle repeatedly smacks Oliver over the head until he comes to his senses.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
Aesandil, agree totally with your commentary. Expecially Oliver's apparent thickheadedness which I mentioned in my own comment below. It's begining to get old, and less credible. But if I paid attention, as many here do, to the numerous flaws, plot holes, sloppy narrative, missed opportunities, etc. I'd never get through a single episode. So although I notice them, and agree with you, I tend to just skip over them.
1
Reply
Flag
agree with both of you.
His "naivety" regarding his mother goes against character and against logic.
Reply
Flag
I really loved this episode and it also made me realize why I had been kinds eh on Arrow for so long. I think the Laurel, Tommy and Thea storylines need to be tertiary to Oliver/Moira and Oliver/Diggle/Felicity storylines, too often they've been at the forefront and none of those actors or their stories are particularly captivating. They are all actually kind of unlikeable.
I hope future episodes are going to be centered more around The Undertaking, Moira, Diggle, Felicity, the island and I guess the villain if the week. All the other personal life drama should be in the background and intertwined with the main story when its organic and makes sense.
Maybe I'm alone in feeling this way but it would def make the series more enjoyable for me at least.
9
Reply
Flag
You're not alone Uma. If you can access it read some of the past commentaries of past episodes. What you say about the Laurel/Tommy/Thea storyines have been true for the first half of the season and many of the commentators hereI agree, it bogs down the Arrow story. Hopefully now that the show has shifted focus to the Undertaking and the real plot of the story, we'll see less of the soap opera.
2
Reply
Flag
wow I'm having some major grammar issues, shouldn't be doing this while at work haha
Reply
Flag
I second this - based on comments I've read, I think others would agree
1
Reply
Flag
If this review happens to post more than once, please just delete the second one – it looked like it posted once but then disappeared, so I assume it didn’t actually post. My Internet connection is so bad on my compound that I’m pretty sure there are sheep herders on remote mountaintops with iPhones getting a better signal than me. And it took me all afternoon to download it, but what an episode! It was more flashback heavy than I was anticipating, but I admit that I enjoyed it. It answered some questions I had about what was going on there and why Yao Fei kept flipping the good guy/bad guy switch. I also like the actor portraying Slade Wilson – he and Amell have a good rapport in scenes. I’m looking forward to the training between them, and Amell continues to do a good job showing us pre-vigilante Oliver. They seem like completely different characters. Of course, now we have more questions. I feel I need to read up on this Shado character since she and Oliver have the same tattoo. And while there wasn’t much connecting the flashbacks to this episode, I did see a parallel between Yao Fei and Moira Queen in that sometimes people do questionable things to protect the people they love. I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but I still feel like there’s more to Moira’s involvement with this shadowy organization than we’re yet aware of.

I also liked seeing less of Laurel – they really should have left her out altogether because her scenes felt completely unnecessary. I still can’t imagine her as a lawyer, never mind as Black Canary – what a waste of a character. On the other hand, I LOVED seeing more of Felicity. Whoever cast this Rickards in this role should give themselves a pat on the back because she totally works as Felicity. Her runaway dialogue brings a lighter feeling to the show without seeming out of place, and she lightens up Oliver’s character as well. He’s amused by her, and she really does deliver the best lines. I also enjoyed seeing the chat between her and Diggle. As you pointed out, it gave us some insight into Diggle that we were missing, and I can see that continuing. Oliver may not be the chatty type, but we can learn a lot through conversations between Diggle and Felicity. I admit I’m very curious about Felicity’s backstory now. I also had the same idea that you did while watching – that she might be responsible for a more non-lethal approach to crime fighting. Perhaps she’ll be the one to suggest a taser arrow? I do think that she and Diggle will have an influence on Oliver. Right now they’re the only people he can connect with in an open and honest way, and I think he’s going to value that more than he realizes.

Hopefully the cast upgrade you mentioned means we’ll get more of Felicity and Diggle. I hope it doesn’t mean more Laurel, but considering Dinah Lance’s role in the comics, I’m afraid it does. I don’t mind seeing more of Moira, but I’m on the fence about Tommy and Thea – mostly because they haven’t been given the best material so far. I think Tommy could be a great character, but I’d almost rather see him as the charming playboy type than Laurel’s SO – it’s like she’s made him more boring than he was when we first saw him. Anyway, I’ll be watching next week. Thanks for your insights! I enjoy your reviews because while you’re in-the-know comics wise, you recognize that the show is a different animal and therefore don’t expect them to behave in the same manner. Kind of like watching a movie version of a favorite book I guess – you have to appreciate them in different ways.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
The season 2 casting upgrade is for Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity. She'll be a series regular come next season, instead of a recurring guest star.

I dig your thematic connection to Yao Fei and Moira, even though one of them blew up her husband's boat... ;) The idea, however is a nifty one. I'll mull it over some.

And thanks for the kind words. I try to abstain from fanboy comic-y ranting, and if I ever do, I will do so in the notes and frame it as such (like I did a way while back with the Royal Flush Gang-inspired group). But as you point out, I tend to try and treat their interpretations as just that instead of saying, "Well, here's this gold standard of interpretation, and they're not doing that and now it sucks and they suck."

It's a silly thing to do (though I totally get the impulse, and fall victim to it), since some interpretations or versions of characters pass out of favor. You look at the people who despised the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold for its campy and humor-heavy presentation of Batman, and they're annoyed because it doesn't match the the grim and brooding dark knight version, never mind that Batman used to be funny: Dude once snuck into Superman's fortress of solitude to play a birthday prank on the man of steel!
More +
Reply
Flag
I thoroughly loved this episode. Felicity is awesome, and bringing her into the fold is a very good move. And she's been bumped up to a regular for next season, so there's every chance that the writers will have a little more freedom with her character now that they know she's going to be around for a while.
13
Reply
Flag
Agreed! She's a great character and I'm so glad they've bumped her up to regular.
3
Reply
Flag
ARROW delivers another great episode. If it can maintain what it has built over the last few episodes than I think this series can become one of my favorites.

I loved that most of the episode was set on the island. This was much needed not only in terms of storytelling, but also for a change of pace. Hopefully we get more island episodes in the future (I think we will).

I loved that Felicity is in on the secret, she is a great addition to the team.I know she said she is only in it to find Walter, but I think while she works with Ollie and Digg she will come to appreciate what they do and want to stick around. I also think that Digg will take an interest in her and kinda take her under his wing.

Ollie's intstructions to Dig regarding his mother may seem like a cop out or a prolonging of the inevitable by the writers (and maybe this is true) but, for now im ok with it. Ollie doesnt want any harm to come to his mother, which is understandable. But as Digg said, is Oliver doing this because he is only concered for his mothers saftety or because he is afraid of what he will find out? I think its a little bit of both. As it stands now, he doesnt now exactley what her involvement is; all he knows is that she is his mother, that she loves him as well asThea very much and whatever shady dealings she had gotten herself into may not be entirely of her own volition (as per the recording). So before he goes after her again, he wants to be damn sure of what the hell is going on and her involvement within it. As her child im sure Oliver feels he owes her at least that.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
Speaking of Felicity, though, how is it that this one episode gave more chemistry and me more desire to see a romance between her and Oliver than I have ever felt, across all episodes, for Laurel and Olivier. Their parallels in this episode were brilliant, in my view, the way they both were the same the first time they had to deal with a bullet removal. I think she is going to be instrumental in him recovering the sides of him he had to sacrifice and lose in order to survive the Island.

Speaking of the Island, though. I am not sure what to make of Slade Wilson. I think the portrayal is great and I am really liking the character, tough, charming, funny, but there is such a disconnect from what I thought and expected that by the time it came to showdown with Billy, I really wasn't that pleased. They have made him seem too much a hero. So much so, I was wishing that they would go back to the moment when he seemed summoned by the mask and was staring at it as though it were talking (his own face perfectly shadowed on one half in reflection) went down the split personality route they seemed to be implying. The only thing I do like, though, is that although he is protecting him and training him, he can also be construed as a bad influence, instilling within in Ollie the traits that Felicity and Diggle are trying to steer him away from. And I can but hope that Ollie's lingering humanity on the Island will eventually put them at odds. Still got to see how the mask ends up on the beach.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Is anyone else convinced that both Quentin and Moira know that it is Oliver is 'The Hood'? That last scene just seemed full of expressions and glances that seemed to imply as such. Besides, Oliver was being far from subtle about it. It is almost to the point that if they don't realise, it lessens the supposed intelligence of their characters. Especially in Moira's case. To put it in Felicity's words, 'She may be blonde, but she's not that blonde.'
1
Reply
Flag
Given how bad Oliver is at coming up with excuses or faking genuine reactions, I'm surprised that every character on the series hasn't found out already. Especially when we add in the reckless bravado that doesn't help things.
It wasn't like this at the start...
1
Reply
Flag
Ugh, I didn't want this to be a bunch of random nitpicks, but this episode had 'em in spades. I didn't hate this episode, I didn't love it, it was kinda fun to watch but felt hollow, largely for the reasons you cited: the action isn't the core of what this show is about for me. This was like eating at McDonalds, it's food and it tastes good in the moment but it's not terribly satisfying and the bitterness of the mediocrity of the ingredients comes through from all sides. This episode didn't give much insight or do much for the vigilante storyline and didn't come together as a quintessential "this is why Ollie is like he is" story either.

I will thank them for not making this a clip show, this felt early like it was going to be one but it avoided that. On the other hand, why were we watching this flashback, what did it have to do with Ollie's state of mind after being shot by his mother? I kept expecting some twist that would tie it together, but it seemed like just an excuse to take "today" out of the picture, which sadly they did too much as a couple more scenes with Dig & Smoak might have at least given counterpoint.

The scene with Felicity fixing the defibrillator was, I hope, the stupidest thing this show will ever do. That was dumb, dumb, dumb. There's no way in hell she could have diagnosed its problem without some ridiculous superpower, nor could she have just "gone into the wiring" and fixed it, that was just horrible writing and served no point at all. She could have looked up the answer to the problem online in lightning speed, gone into specs and such, but instead she just pokes around in a live, high-amp environment with no knowledge or understanding and makes it work - I utterly hated that moment.

Diggle's justification about feeling good about killing felt hollow, Ollie's "war" is literally just shooting people protecting people whose names are in a book, that's all Ollie really knows about this and yet he hunts them down and risks murdering them and their bodyguards because he's made a large leap of logic (granted, the show presents it as an accurate one, but Dig doesn't know that and he's said as much before).

I liked "Slade Wilson" but at this point he's an entirely different character from the comics, so I have to constantly remind myself that they're making a left turn at Albuquerque. Slade has a conscience, he is pragmatic until he becomes a softy for Ollie and leaves his escape to save the boy. He's a compelling character and it was fun to watch him interact with Ollie. But having "Billy Wintergreen" (really, "Billy???") be Deathstroke, complete with an arrow through the right eye, that didn't quite work for me, and the Deathstroke character interacts with everything like a lumbering stuntman rather than a character, he has no acting performance, no command of his environment, he's just waiting to hit cues and trade whiffed blows with actors and other stuntmen and it shows badly.

That said, it doesn't feel like Ollie is really becoming anything yet, he's not alone, he's not surviving by his own abilities, he's still a rich boy tagging along with one father figure after the next. This island part of the episode felt like a significant backslide from the character he was when Yao Fei was training him. And this need to hear from Laurel doesn't feel like the character we have been watching all along up until now, it feels like a reboot of Island Ollie, so it was just a random action adventure story.

There were some island flashback pickup shots where Ollie is wearing different hair and a thicker van dyck beard & mustache, and he looked WAY more like Green Arrow with that look to the point where it distracted me because I pined for the vigilante of today to be wearing it, give him some maturity instead of looking like a babyfaced know-nothing.

The digital explosions and muzzle blasts on the island were probably the worst special effects imaginable, they looked cut-n-pasted from an entirely different lighting scenario, they were entirely silly and mainly pointless since they also had big methane fireballs as well which further showed how a real effect would look in that location.
More+
Reply
Flag
Felicity fixing the defibrillator with ease - while absolutely dumb - didn't surprise me any more than the insufferable hacking magic that I came to expect. She can wave her enchanted wand and do just about anything that needs doing - we'd best remember that. Because I am entirely confident that the writers won't let us forget for a gooooood while longer.
1
Reply
Flag
I hear ya, but it's a lot more plausible to watch someone hack on TV because at least you know the computer is doing part of the magic wand waving. The defibrillator was more akin to Fonzie banging on the juke box than tapping keys on a keyboard.
Reply
Flag
BEST episode so far. LOVED IT!!!!
2
Reply
Flag
who is shado in the comics and wats with the dragon tatoo she and ollie has? Could this be a very small stepping stone to felicity becoming black canery in the future? And what makes slade go bad a he is known for? Next week Roy Harper is supposed to be introduced!!!
Reply
Flag
I doubt it, Laurel seems to be black canary in the version, seeing as she was kicking some ass last week.
Reply
Flag
Staff
If you'd like to know about Shado in the comics, you can read Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters by Mike Grell.
1
Reply
Flag
but slade is being nice, do u think he's gonna end up dead from the mask we saw in the pilot or will he turn bad?
Reply
Flag
Or just Wikipedia the name, the writeup there is brief but clues you in to the major beats.
Reply
Flag
Staff
But I get a kickback every time someone buys the comic.
2
Reply
Flag
Nice! So that makes you, what, a dozenaire by now? Poor DC and what they laughingly call "sales".

I feel like fans of these shows generally aren't patient enough to track down comics right away and absorb all that story, they want the basic beats instantly, and maybe later they'll get into the comics based on that connection.
1
Flag
Great review!! I love this show and I'm sure it will get even better!
2
Reply
Flag
I'm happy about Felicity's upgrade (and the actress') in the show, her chattering and humour make for a nice change in the rather serious sausage fest that is the antics of Oliver and Diggle.
6
Reply
Flag
Im glad Emily Bett Rickards is getting promoted. I completely agree she brings a much needed lighter tone and sense of contrast to the show, and she somehow does it in a way that does not feel out of place. She actually reminds me a lot of Palmer from NCIS.
5
Reply
Flag
I've been trying not to comment on this show because while I read the comics I wasn't that invested and feel a little out of my depth. I was also still on the fence about whether I wanted to seriously watch this show or not. That said, I just watched the last four episodes and this was a well crafted episode in terms of character exposition. I LOVE Dig and now that Felicity is most likely going to have a more consistent role on the show I just might start actively watching.

On the other hand I might have just enjoyed this episode more because Laurel gets on my nerves and there was minimal Laurel-related drama this episode. (I did enjoy the episode from last week with David Anders who I just hate and must watch in everything he's in)
5
Reply
Flag
This was really a great episode. I have been waiting for a good comprehensive flashback that explains more of how Oliver became the Hood. Bennet is great as Slade, I am not sure of the mythology or if he lives but i I was the CW I would be looking into a spinoff in the future.

I would also like to thank the show runners for Felicity. It is nice for some shows to recognize their weakness in that none of their female characters are particularly good. And then throw in a good one. A solid one, and not bounce back and forth between competence and being weak and idiotic. (The Walking Dead, I am looking at you) But she is a great character for several reasons. She will bring a nice levity to the duo, and a new level of intelligence that isn't strictly weapons and tactics. And granted I like the darkness of the show, a little nerdy joke here and there will be welcome.

There really isn't any aspect of this episode that I didn't like. Save for Oliver got injured again, which seems odd because he was just injured. And he is kind of being stupid about his mom. Because granted she reached for his picture and none of the other people have done that. But this was the first woman that he has dealt with in that aspect. However, I imagine they are saving his realization for the season finale.

The aspects I really liked were that Thea and Laurel were kept to a bare minimum.
More+
4
Reply
Flag
Staff
The episode is sort of a shiny distraction from the fact that it is actually delaying that Oliver and Moira confrontation (and only reinforced by Oliver and Diggle's final scene). End last week with a big cliffhanger and then shoot the hero (and get rid of the blood evidence) so the confrontation is delayed again.

Island development versus present day development becomes the battle, and the show did need this big chunk of island development, but it was sort of a cheating way of getting there.
2
Reply
Flag
I initially thought it was going to be Oliver vs Malcolm as the finale and it still might be. But I think they are going to save the final confrontation with his mom for the finale. Which is fine by me save for it does delay it again, and it gives Oliver something to tip toe around which is unlike the character. So in a way it is compromising the character that they have developed.

I don't mind the cheating, because it makes more sense than Oliver spilling his guts to someone about it. Because that is A unlikely or B would be revealed to Laurel which would require her being there.
Reply
Flag
well said Mate

his blind trust (it seemed like he confronted his mother to prove Diggle wrong) in his mother has compromised his character (compromised the character they have developed); otherwise it was an excellent episode

great point about lack of strong female characters in many shows (yes, TWD) and I'm thrilled there will be more Felicity
Reply
Flag
Staff
They're likely going to save it, but the issue isn't so much saving it as bringing it up and then backing away from it, and doing that organically. It's a narrative sleight of hand that can't work but once (maybe twice?) before it just feels like they're spinning their wheels, waiting for the episode count to get to the right place.

Again, it's not a dismissal of the episode -- it is good -- but just a technique to keep an eye as it goes forward.
1
Reply
Flag
i love this show
3
Reply
Flag
I warned Ollie not to mess with the Borg Queen.
2
Reply
Flag
Thanks, I did not know that. Now I going to expect to the Borg every time I see her.
Reply
Flag
What I like most about this episode is not longer gaps between Flashbacks. Flashbacks were getting story of their own and the present story was popping up and that felt somehow very right. It also feel if the writers are now winding up the flash-back sessions to move on with the building crises in hands.

We learn Oliver trained not by one person but two of the best, or maybe there are more since the first questions raised in the earlier reviews that how come he returned home with all knowledge of current-tech.

Quick one liners during tensed scenes were very entertaining, I always like such pieces in any show/movie, not too much but just enough to feel it right. And yes Finally she is here, and she is most welcome to the team. I bet she will stay there for longer then she said she would be.
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
I thought about your reviews during Diggle's Afghanistan story. So we are acknowledging all the dead bodies Ollie leaves behind and offering feelings about them! Yay!

Not gonna lie, I'm kinda behind, so if Show already talked about Ollie's methods and whether they're okay or not, I'll catch up. I just caught this one while I was making dinner.

2
Reply
Flag
Staff
We're acknowledging them, and basically saying that it's okay, at least in Diggle and Oliver's minds.. The weird classist issue is still at play where the mooks get killed and the head honchos get jail or chance to right their wrongs, so there's still that tension.

And you're fine, re: show talking methods. It's been murky at best. I'm still not completely satisfied with it, but good clarifying step here (hence my heavy focus on it)
1
Reply
Flag
Personally this doesnt bother me. Its a TV show. The main villain always has "henchman" that bite the dust before the "hero" stops or approaches the villain. Also, to build a gallery of villains the main villain of the episode must live. If "henchman" never died and the villain always died then that would be pretty boring.
1
Reply
Flag
Yes and no. It does feel too video game-y to me. Where you have to go through a number of weaker enemies just to reach the boss. And then you don't even get to kill the boss.
It wouldn't hurt if Arrow toned down that aspect of the show.
Reply
Flag
This is probably the most well thought out review i've read in a while. Good job
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Thanks. And I'm going to pretend you mean in general and not specific to me. ;)
Reply
Flag
i do me in general
Reply
Flag
Staff
In my defense, I only asked because I felt like my TVD review last week was really scattered and awful, so been insecure about it. :)
Reply
Flag
STOP BEING INSECURE! It was a good review, the TVD audience is tough, we're fairly large and opinionated so it's hard to completely please even a majority of us. We're slowly getting used to not having Price so anyone who touches that show is going to have his or her work cut out for him/her, and going to be constantly inferior to Price which is rough. I respect all you guys for trying your hands @ it (especially Cory Baker for being the first I'd imagine he was very nervous and prob. over-intellectualized the whole thing but man that must have taken guts). I think if you go back and read the comments on Price's reviews there were a lot of critics then too. I think what people love about Price is that he's this nerdy, opinionated and comical personality that a lot of people can envision just by reading his reviews; and we were "exposed" to him for a while so we had time to fall in love with him as a writer and a person and we started imagining what Price would say about different episodes and tuned in to gripe and laugh about it because we all thought he was a fan like the rest of us. I'm saying all this to say what I could have easily left at your review was good! To cover TVD you can't take anything too seriously and have to just enjoy the ridiculousness of the show and keep your wits about yourself. I also like this Arrow review!
More +
4
Flag
Looked pretty specific to me :P
Reply
Flag
I agree with the majority of posts that precede mine, this was my favorite episode so far (and I think we are in the episodes where they knew they had a full season now to reference earlier conversations). Let me also restate another point, but I have never read any of the Green Arrow comics but I did learn a bit about Shado accidentally. If they have her comic book story follow the general outline, I could see it going really good or really bad. Really good, it would be (and my theory here is that she runs off with Slade and...well, not Xao Fai) and that is the thing that finally turns Oliver from Island Oliver to the Oliver we know and Xao Fai sharpens that for the remaining time on the island until he up and dies which is when Oliver starts trying to get off. It could be bad if it is just too, well Maury Povich if you get my drift...

Okay, I totally snickered at Felicity's demands...yes, yes, they will focus on looking for Walter, but she clearly is going to be put through the ringer in the next few episodes and the concept of the Undertaking will totally get her hooked. I have this weird idea that after next week the next big worry the boys will have about her is I kind of think her and Helena will get along...

More+
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Yes, this episode was prepped and shot about a month and a half after the full season order came down (Nov. 28 through Jan. 4, a long-ish period, but they had a two week holiday as well)

And knowing what I know of Shado, I'm excited by her introduction, and how they went about it. I knew it Shado was arriving, but I wasn't expecting it in this way.
2
Reply
Flag
Shado is going to end up being nothing like the comics, if Dinah/Laurel, Deathstroke/Slade, Ollie's Backstory/These Flashbacks, Ollie's family life/Thea & Moira & Diggle, Deadshot, Felicity Smoak, Ted Gaynor and the Blackhawks, the Royal Flush Gang, Count Vertigo, Merlyn, Deadshot, and Ollie himself are any indication. Maybe she'll end up being a used car salesman from Poughkeepsie in the modern storyline who is trying to adopt a child from Queen Industries Orphanage.
1
Reply
Flag
I think it will pull us non comic book readers in so much that if they do it correctly, we will be as gut punched as Oliver will be.
1
Reply
Flag
Why does Oliver and Shado have the same tattoo on their backs? Did anyone else notice that? I have never read any of the Green Arrow Comics so I do not know their shared story.
1
Reply
Flag
Well, again, no comic book reading experience, but from what I understand in one edition of the series she gets pregnant by Oliver and then refuses to let Oliver play any role in the kid's life (that is all I really know, but from other comments, I get that is a more supernatural version of the story). I think there could be a play on it that they manage to rescue her and she seems into Oliver and does the tattoo herself, but she has more nefarious motives and maybe her and Slade team up to get off the island and leave Oliver and Xao Fai behind but somehow we and Oliver learn that Shado is pregnant before they leave, but it is clear she wants nothing more to do with any of them and even that she is going to abort the baby. And that is what shuts down Oliver's emotions to make him the more laser focused (and lets be honest, emotionally damaged) Oliver we know today.
Flag
Best Episode Ever.
1
Reply
Flag
Turning Slade into Ollie's island mentor is a smart move and gives that story another dynamic, and the two actors look like there is a bit of chemistry between (not exactly Ollie\Diggle bromance levels of chemistry but it's early days). Wintergreen getting stabbed in the eye makes the 1st episode a little more interesting, was the mask on the beach Wintergreen's? Is Slade going to become Deathstoke at somepoint down the line? Is Slade also going to need to invest in a monocle case ?

After a couple of episodes which have been light on the DC references, they more than made up for it this week. Maybe there's a seasons quote of these types of easter eggs and they've been saving them up recently? Liked the reference to his son, but hopefully no mute, body swapping teenagers will be turning up.

When Felicity picked up Ollie's bow was I the only one thinking that *if* they do eventually give Ollie a more traditional partner\sidekick, Felicity would be a better choice than either Laurel or Thea?

And what was it that Felicity said in her car? "Something tells me blood stains ..." *mumbles*
4
Reply
Flag
Totally off topic... Gully_Foyle? as in:
Gully Foyle is my name
And Terra is my nation
Deep space is my dwelling place
The stars my destination
Reply
Flag
Staff
Considering that the mask in the pilot had an arrow through it, and not a blade I have my doubts about how long Slade and Oliver's friendship is going to last. But 5 years is a long time.
3
Reply
Flag
Something tells me that blood stains aren't covered under the lease.
Reply
Flag
This was probably my favorite episode to date. There was so much fleshing out of the the Island storyline, and so much time spent with Manu Bennett (I fucking love my Crixus, okay?). I love how well Amell plays the very distinct characters of "Island Oliver" versus "Present Day Oliver". The uncertainty and nervousness that dogged Oliver the entire episode on the island is such a nice change up from the very assured Oliver we normally see.

Also, I love Felicity. I've loved her since the very first time we met her, and I continue to love her. It doesn't hurt that she's easy on the eyes, but the way she runs her mouth, and constantly speaks without thinking, sticking her foot in her mouth, is just so endearing, you can't help but love her. I was super excited to hear she's been upgraded to fulltime cast member next season, I can't wait.

Lastly, loved the small bit with Diggle, and his experience overseas. Gives us a deeper understanding and respect for his personal views and reasons for the fight.

Overall, a fantastic episode, can't wait to see more. My only hope is to see Helena come back again and stir some things up.
More+
2
Reply
Flag
agree!
I thought Slade was Crixus and I was going to google it....
Reply
Flag
About the only downside here is the ladies don't get to drink in Manu's man-package here.
Reply
Flag
Yep, this episode was pretty much my favorite one so far. While I have thus far greatly enjoyed the island flashbacks, it has been annoying at times that the island footage so far would only span the length of an episode. So I was very excited when early only this episode it became clear that the majority of it would take place on the island. And frankly, the show needed this to happen. Arrow already juggles several characters around pretty effectively, in the present day that is. I know a lot of people would disagree with this, and would say that they think Tommy and Thea are dead space, but I would disagree with them. Because while Tommy and Thea don't get involved in every one of the show's villains of the week storylines, they still appear quite a bit on this show, often in ways that connect well with other characters and storylines. This isn't Castle, where Alexis and Martha only show up momentarily to say a few things each episode, often with very small and rather tedious issues each episode with no overall plots to occupy them. Tommy, Thea, and Laurel though, are characters that have actually shown a fair amount of growth throughout this season, and this is due in a large part to their tapestries of storylines that have often strung together and merged with others, while occasionally darting off on their own. But as I've specified, this tapestry of character relationships are all in the present, where most of the show takes place.

The island, however, has started to become a pretty big place as well. What started out as a beach and a cave, with only two living characters, has now become a sprawling island with a large military/commando-style camp, a crashed plane, an airfield, and a lot of natural, beautiful landmarks in between. We also have compiled a fairly large list of characters which include: Oliver, Yao Fei, Fyres, and two Deathstrokes. And with these ever-evolving characters and relationships that have become more and more complex, the world of the island has started to become as complex and intricate as modern day Starling City. And just as the Starling City part of the show requires the bulk of the episode to stay afloat, the island part really benefited from being able to take up the bulk of this episode. Because this week's island flashback didn't feel stretched out at all. It wasn't like in the past when Oliver spent four flashbacks trying to get himself to kill a bird in order to survive. While Slade Wilson and Oliver had the main goal of getting on the plane this episode, this ended up being composed of several smaller goals, such as: take over an airfield, convince a plane to land, save Yao Fei, and escape the camp.

Not all of these goals were accomplished, but most of the characters on the island made some very big steps forward. Oliver is starting to get bad-ass, Slade killed his partner, Yao Fei got to see his daughter who appears to be Shado, and Fyres talked to his boss. If we didn't have an episode devoted to the island, all of this would probably have taken the rest of the season, and it would have been very broken up; which it a shame, because all of these scenes flowed pretty well together. So I'm very pleased that we got an island episode, because it gave all of these characters the screen time they needed to either get more developed or get dead, while also introducing new questions, problems, and potential. The sides are becoming a lot more clear now, people are starting to really pick their side, and a large better will inevitably commence soon. The island is no longer a physical Hell for shell-shocked Oliver to stumble around in, jumping in fear at monsters in masks and hooded men shooting arrows. The metaphorical mist that has bathed the island in mystery was thinned out quite a bit in this episode, though there are still many compelling questions left to answer. Still, the tone of the island flashbacks have shifted significantly, as we are now entering a different chapter in Oliver's development from weak rich kid to hooded vigilante. This is the part of his origin story that I have been waiting for.

The way I see it, the season so far has been more about the development of the show's villains than it has been about the heroes. Sure, Oliver has gone through a lot of changes and has learned many lessons, both on the island and in the present day. And the team of heroes has also grown, with Oliver, Diggle, and now Felicity partnering up in Starling City, and Oliver and Slade partnering up on the island (Laurel and Yao Fei are kinda allies of the good fight, though they like to stay various shades of grey). But most of the season arcs have revolved around Oliver trying to discover what the bad guys are up to in Starling City, though he's always a step behind the audience, and Oliver trying to figure out what the Hell is going on the island. It's like this show is a game of Starcraft, or similar strategy game, and Oliver is probing about in the darkness, getting more and more glimpses of the enemy, and starting to get a clearer picture of what their big base looks like. And through both the eyes of Oliver, and the eyes of the villains themselves, we are slowly being exposed to what I hope will be a grand tapestry of devious construction, something that will stand tall above Oliver and his allies as a titan that they will be hard-pressed to slay. We have learned arguably more about Malcolm and Moira than we have learned about Felicity and Diggle. And while we have only gotten glimpses and peeks of what they have been planning, these glimpses have been numerous and splattered across this entire season. One thing that this show really does right, and it does a lot of things right, is that it has spent a lot of time building up formidable villains, opponents that Oliver will have to put everything he has forward in order to defeat.

While I enjoyed this episode a whole lot more than the majority of the episodes so far, and I have enjoyed all of them quite a bit, it did demonstrate to me that watching this show requires a lot of trust on the audience's part. Because the truth is that Arrow covers a lot of ground, especially when it comes to plot. It has burned through so many of the premises you would expect to see seasons into a show (the police think Oliver is the vigilante and they arrest him, for instance), and yet it still continues to move forward, more often than not, at the same rapid pace. And because this show covers so much ground, it sometimes chooses to gloss over quite a bit, leaving behind a lot of unanswered questions. Questions like: who was the mole that tipped off Detective Hall about the meeting between the Count and Oliver, and the locations of the Count's drug factory? How did Oliver become a member of the Russian mob? And why is Yao Fei suddenly working for the enemy? By taking more time with the island storyline, the writers were able to answer quite a few questions in this episode. We now know that Yao Fei is doing what he's doing for the sake of his daughter, and that there are powerful people who are using the island to get information, or something valuable, from people like Yao Fei and Oliver.

When most shows leave a lot of questions unanswered, I often assume that they don't have answers for these questions, and that we're supposed to just sit back and let the show take up where it will, even if it has no idea where it's taking us. But this episode demonstrated that the writers do in fact have good answers for a lot of their questions, they just don't have the time to tell us all of them right away. So we just have trust that eventually we'll find out to that confidential informant is, and that in the mean time we really shouldn't worry about it. And for now, I think that Arrow has earned my trust. So I will just sit back and enjoy the show, while trusting that the writers aren't steering their huge mass of story and characters off a cliff.
More+
6
Reply
Flag
I also really appreciated that the vast majority of the episode was actually on the island. I had actually been dreading the flashbacks in recent weeks because they all seemed to put Oliver in some sort of peril that you were just rolling your eyes at because, well, we know Oliver five years later. I liked also that we got a time check on the Island (Oliver has been there for six months). And even though in your gut you know that Slade is eventually going to be the real Deathstroke to Oliver's Arrow and you know that is going to be why Oliver really can't trust anyone, you just can't help but like him yourself.
2
Reply
Flag
agree but I think Oliver trusts his mother more then he should based on what he and Diggle "know"
Reply
Flag
Wait, you don't roll your eyes at the present day situations that put Oliver in peril? ;) This episode we even got as far as to have him flatline for a moment! Because they just couldn't resist.
1
Reply
Flag
I know but I could at least suspend some disbelief for the current time (heck, weren't there 2 Green Arrows at least?) but the flashbacks were getting to me.
Reply
Flag
I'm so glad the show finally delivered what I've been waiting for since the pilot. I really hope they continue on that path instead of falling back to the non progressing (and thus meaningless) plots including Tommy, Laurel and Thea.
2
Reply
Flag
This episode of Arrow was very good...but one thing, never glove up to keep from excess germs getting into a wound and before you operate you touch someone else with said gloved hand..It made the whole gloving up redundant...But all that aside I am really liking Arrow...
Reply
Flag
good point but they weren't sterile gloves...just regular non-sterile gloves that come in boxes (you often see the boxes of glove, like tissues, sitting on the counter or hanging from the wall in exam rooms) and not sterile gloves (used for sterile procedures/surgeries) that can be a b*tch to put on...lol
1
Reply
Flag
Somehow I got the feeling that Slade never really needed Oliver to take the air strip. I thought killing the guy in the tower was the first thing to do so that he wouldn't alert for help when Slade began taking out the guards. But he just sat there while Slade easily killed the guards. And finally even he was killed by Slade. At no point was Oliver needed.

I'm not complaining, though. Just thought it was more of a funny thing in the episode.
2
Reply
Flag
I think Slade was just being smart and planning for things to not go incredibly well for him. Both he and Oliver were lucky on several occasions, as normally one man wouldn't be able to take down ten men without anyone noticing in time to warn everyone. And those last four guards were killed by Slade at the same time that Oliver was supposed to be killing the guard in the tower. And during most of that time the tower guard was focused on Oliver, so maybe he would have noticed something if only one man had been there to do all the killing.

And while both Slade and Oliver were pretty lucky that all those guards were killed without the plane being alerted, the code check was an unexpected problem, and one that would normally have caused the mission to fail. And if Slade had gone on this mission solo, then he wouldn't have succeeded. Still, I agree that Slade could have sneaked around, taken out the few guards between him and the tower, taken out the tower guard, and then taken out the rest of the guards. This is still a pretty daunting task, and relies on the assumption that there will be no point where the plane radios in and Slade is not in the tower, and that he will be as effective with is sword as he was with his sniper rifle.

Basically, the smart, reliable plan required two people, and Slade was going for smart and reliable. In this case, however, the crazy and unpredictable plan ended up working for the most part.
More +
3
Reply
Flag
Another thing: You wonder how Shado ended up on the island and how it affects Lian Yu. But I wonder more about how and why Oliver got the same tattoo on his back that she has.
1
Reply
Flag
Or she and Oliver do have a little island romance, but she does something that helps turn Island Oliver all the way into our Oliver.
Reply
Flag
Maybe Shado will somehow fill the role Taiana had in Green Arrow: Year One, somehow inspiring him to become the Green Arrow and fight for justice. She must have had an impact when he's got her tattoo.
1
Reply
Flag
As you say Noel, the episode many of us have been waiting for. Perhaps the best episode of the series so far. The focus on Lian Yu, minus the usual Laurel-Tommy-Thea pseudo drama, made this a thoroughly watchable action piece, spoiled only by the couple of totally unnecessary scenes with Laurel. What are the writers thinking? Do they really feel this character has to have screen time in every episode? A potentially heart rending moment stirred by hearing a far away voice on the phone was totally destroyed by the cutaway to actually show her.

Appreciate that the action sequences in Arrow aren’t your primary interest, but it made this particular episode enjoyable for me. So I have to disagree a bit regarding Lian Yu. For me the story taking place on the island was compelling in itself, for all the reasons you state, and I didn’t need it to complement the present day. That it didn’t, since the only present day story was patching up Oliver, and Diggle and Felicity clicking together, made this episode all the more compelling.

Whoever writes Felicity’s material, she has the best lines in this show.

The scene with Diggle and Felicity discussing killing is the cleanest and clearest Arrow has been on this theme since the series began. In past episodes when the show raised this theme, it seemed to me they tended to belabor the point in a confused, tiresome manner. Hopefully this clear statement by Diggle, “unfortunately there’re always casualties when you’re fighting a war”, will put this issue to rest, and instead explore the more poignant emotional toll of killing, which Diggle warned Oliver about in the beginning of their partnership – preventing his soul from being scrapped away - and which for Oliver began on the Island, profoundly changing him.



My one peeve in this episode, it’s one thing for Oliver not to want to harm Moira, and even for him to believe she’s under some sort of coercion, but at the very least she’s a lead to what’s going on and to Walter’s disappearance. To not follow that lead, even surreptitiously, just isn’t not credible, it’s also lame. By not following up on such a lead Oliver can’t discover what’s behind Moira’s actions, or whether she might actually need saving from someone holding a threat over her (if that’s what actually going on). Hopefully Diggle will continue his surveillance and he and Felicity will follow that lead in attempting to find Walter, despite Oliver’s almost fatal shortsightedness.
More+
5
Reply
Flag
well said!

After all the betrayal Oliver has seen/experienced, his blindness or unwillingness believe his mother may be "bad" makes him seem weak or naive (goes against character imo). I expect more suspicion and distrust from the character and not just blind faith in his family....just my opinion.

Regardless, I really enjoyed this episode...finally...I was starting to lose faith in the show but this episode renewed my interest.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Felicity's presence affords Diggle a way to keep an eye on Moira without seeming like he's ignoring Oliver's wishes, so it's a handy work around for him.

And while that scene clarifies the killing of the mooks, it still maintains that weird classist tension of keeping the folks on the list/involved in the Undertaking alive, or at least given a chance to live provided they right their wrongs in some way while the folks who signed up to protect them aren't given that choice. Ultimately, it still underscores the "any means necessary" mentality of a vigilante.

Do you really dislike Laurel that much that you cannot tolerate her for two scenes? I know you've said you haven't how she's typically deployed in the narrative, but here it just seems a tad spiteful considering that her first appearance is the result of a guilt- and stress-laden dream, and thus makes sense for her to show up given Oliver's state of mind. The phone conversation cutaway I can take or leave since that sequence is really more about Amell's performance, and I don't think the decision to cut to Laurel impacts that.
1
Reply
Flag
Noel, to be clear, I do like the Laurel character, and she's important to the overall story. My issue is how the character is used in the narrative, which as many of us and you yourself have commented, tends to be a distraction which sometimes seems to be a completely different show. I still feel that the two minor appearances in this episode were unnecessary. As you correctly say it was all about Oliver's state of mind. It was a moment for Arnell to display emotional depth, with nothing but his facial expressions to display his anguish triggered by Laurel's photograph. Those are poignant moments which I felt were diluted by the cutaways (we didn't really need to actually see her). So again, for me it's not about the character, but about the storytelling.
1
Reply
Flag
This was supposed to be episode 1 of the second season before they upgraded this first season and in that respect it was perfect, and I am naught in using that word.
Felicity will be here for a while, and I cannot wait to see how she will evolve, from the shy young woman to a more mature,savvy character.I think the Walter limit is just lip service and will change as the series goes on. Deathstroke and Shado is just icing on the cake.
As someone who has seen action, I am impressed by Oliver being able to get up after being shot and whimsically attended to by Diggle and go back home as if almost nothing happened.Okay, I know it's a fiction, and Arrow is supposed to be extremely tough, but still.
This has been my favorite series so far with Supernatural, but if this goes on it can get ahead real fast.
1
Reply
Flag
Good episode overall, Diggle's medical training was rather poor though, or rather the show needs a better medical consultant. If someone goes into asystole you give them CPR and epinephrine, it's not a shockable rhythm.
3
Reply
Flag
I don't think he was a medic in the military but I do agree they should have acls training based on the high probability of sustaining injury in their current line of "work".
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook