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Arrow S02E04: "Crucible"

That the believed-dead Sara Lance is the masked woman—a.k.a. Black Canary—who's been keeping an eye on the Glades was pretty much the worst-kept secret of Arrow's second season. After all, Mark Pedowitz, The CW's president, let slip her identity in July at the Television Critics Association press tour for goodness's sake! Perhaps wisely, Pedowitz and Arrow's showrunners didn't try to talk it back, which would've just stirred up more press and attention that it actually ended up receiving, especially if some of your comments last week regarding her identity were any indication about how widely that bit of news didn't spread.

I was hoping that Sara would stay dead back in Season 1, as her apparent death functioned as a nice source of pain and tension between Oliver and the Lances. Of course, as more than a few of you pointed out in our discussions last season, superhero comics and daytime soaps have a similar rule regarding the deaths of characters: If you don't see the body, there's a very good chance that the character is not dead.* Since Arrow blends the superhero with the (primetime) soap, it likely should've been a foregone conclusion that Sara would resurface. Shame on me for ignoring my genre knowledge.

*And in the case of superhero comics, even if you see a body, there's still the possibility that the body is actually a robot, replicant, Life Model Decoy, or clone.

In any case, Sara's now alive status and how the show dealt with it in this episode only served to rather explicitly reinforce the idea that Arrow is ultimately using the trappings of the superhero narrative to think about trauma, what it does to us, and how we attempt to cope with it. Oliver put on a hood, shot arrows into people, and then crossed names off of a list. Helena went on a revenge-centric killing spree. Quentin turned to alcohol, Laurel threw herself into her work, and Dinah launched into an at first blush pointless search for Sara. Malcolm abandoned Tommy and then decided to destroy a portion of the city with an earthquake machine. All of these actions, regardless of their various justifications, were for about these characters trying to find some measure of peace and stability in a world turned upside down by hardship. They were all destructive though, in their various ways.

Season 2, thus far, has both remained steady with this idea, while attempting to refine it as well. Oliver's change of tactics represent a shift in his priorities to be sure, but also a way of him coming to terms with his father's dying wish and suicide, and his five years adrift. The loss of Tommy, spurred that on, of course, so in a way, Oliver's still working through some stuff, but it's more constructive than destructive, both in terms of bodies in a morge and in terms of his own psyche, something Diggle and Felicity made noises about in Season 1, but were never really heard. 

"Crucible" shifts that focus away from Oliver and puts it over to Sara and Laurel. Some of Sara's story will be saved for next week it seems, but what we can glean from her behavior and words indicate that her suffering may have had a particular focus on her gender. Her  attention to criminals that target women and her dislike of the word 'bitch' expressed in this episode lead me to that conclusion, but I'm just spitballing. Factor in her mention of Slade (!!!), her presence on the freighter, and her connections to the same group that trained Malcolm, and it's clear that, like Oliver in Season 1, she's also struggling with a sense of identity different from who her family remembers from before the Gambit's sinking.


Laurel's copious consumption of alcohol in the episode, and then the use of prescription drugs toward the end, have her repeating her father's self-destructive spiral as she deals with both her experiences with the Dollmaker and now blaming herself for Tommy's death. I'm glad that the show isn't sweeping any of this under the rug for Laurel, even if a lot of played like a Very Special Episode of Arrow about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, complete with patented "I'm fine!" and "You're one to talk!" throwbacks at the people who are worried about her. Her behavior here represents a way to survive, in the same way that Oliver and Sara all did horrible, painful things to survive. It transformed them, and Laurel's actions are transforming her. The difference, however, is that Laurel has people to help her where Oliver and Sara had few, if any, alternatives.

Arrow is also expanding this notion of survival and trauma to Starling City itself, which I'm all for. The Glades have created a space for violence, opportunism, and redefinition of self. The copycat vigilantes we saw in the season premiere followed Oliver's Season 1 model, but carried it beyond a list and focused on ineffective public officials. The Mayor (Clé Bennett) in this episode was as self-described nobody before the quake, but saw a way to establish some power and identity for himself in the wake of the disaster. Both sets of characters were trying to turn something horrible to their advantage to survive. Sebastian Blood appears to be doing something similar -- thanks for not dragging out that reveal, show -- as he is using drugs (maybe a version of Vertigo, given its green color?) in some way to create an army of people "ready to serve." His motivations, of course, remain a mystery for the show to explore as the season continues.

Not all opportunism could be perceived as negative, of course. Oliver's fundraiser and this week's cash-for-guns program are both ways to help the Glades but also to rehabilitate and redefine his and his family's image. It's genuine attempt to provide aid, but it also has the halo effect of being good public relations as he attempts to rebuild Queen Consolidated,* even as Isabel was disinclined to go along with the cash-for-guns idea. All of it is still motivated by a desire to help a city cope, in the same way he wants to help both Sara and Laurel through their current crises.

*As KhasOpelo pointed out in the comments, this is factually incorrect since no one knew Oliver was behind the program. I've amended the idea in a comment thread, but left it as is in the review so as to keep KhasOpelo's comment valid.

Despite all the good thematic work, I did find "Crucible" to be a bit of a dull episode, especially after the compelling and exciting three episodes we've had before it. Between Laurel's burgeoning addiction problem, the Blood reveal, and the stuff on the freighter, it seemed very much like an episode intended to set up things for the future. The search for the Mayor was handled with relative ease, and so never felt all that pressing, even after his crashing of the cash-for-guns events, though that entire sequence, from people running into the bullets to that event being held outdoors like it was a flea market, was sort of ridiculous. So long as there's some meat to it, though, I won't complain.



FROM THE QUIVER

– "You are noticeably unarmed, son!" The Mayor continues Arrow's bad habit of not defining its villains of the week all that well, though its especially frustrating here as the Mayor actually seemed like an interesting, different sort of personality for the show. Ah well.

– "Do you have any happy stories?"

– "Look, I know I’m skinny, but I can eat two of these, and I will." 

– "Lyla, you and I went to Afghanistan to try and bring law and order to a country overrun by warlords and weapons, right? Should we do any less for our own cities?" 

– "Old school weapons! Respect!"

– Another mention of the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator on the news, and with protesters now! Why people would be protesting a particle accelerator I have no idea.

 – Comic book bits: Camp Kirby was likely named for good old Jack Kirby. I also appreciated them keeping Black Canary as having a wig as part of her costume. I wouldn't have cared if they hadn't, but it was a nice nod to the character's history.


What'd you think of "Crucible"?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2016

Season 4 : Episode 23

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I would imagine someone already said, it may have even been said on the show, but isn't the large hadron collider a particle accelerator? and the fear, again think they even said on the show, is that they'll smash two particle into one another creating a black hole.
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I forgot that I actually watched this episode last week, I had a really busy week.

"The Mayor" had possibly the best friggin' teeth I've ever seen on a TV actor. They were beautiful, and light shone through them proving they weren't merely veneers or caps. And they were evenly ultra-white, not "white up front and yellow around the back" like most actors. Damn, those were some great teeth.

So the cat was out of the bag on Sara, and I'm glad I missed that for a while. It's disappointing that they backtracked on the character, nobody staying dead in the comics universe is already a frustrating trope, but for it to infect the "realistic!" tv-verse is just annoying because if we're stuck with one comic trope, why not better ones as well?

I liked this episode overall, the fight choreography and cinematography still sucks, and Laurel's pettiness about her addiction didn't really fit well, but at least characters were driven to interact and do things, they had reasons to get out there and it made for a better episode.

Geez, Sara's domino mask looks really bad in that still, why did they put on those sculpted lines? Just put a mask on someone's face, stop trying to be cute, what's the logic here that she sat around sewing on wrinkles???

I am nervous that they're going to make Sara too damaged by her focus on women-specific matters, it's going to make her backstory too sexual-assault-oriented for a show this light. Also, it's kinda lame, that's another comic trope but one that got left in the silver age - women heroes battling women's issues.
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I really thought that was the Scarecrow at the end and whatever he injected the Mayor with looked like Bane's venom serum
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Nope, Scarecrow's alter ego is psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Crane, who lacks Brother Blood's capacity for persuasion and lust for power as a cult leader, in favor of throwing everyone around him into a fear-filled hallucinogenic state for his own observation and enjoyment. (However, the voice portayal was very similar to that of Crane whenever he wore his mask in Batman Begins.)

But yes, a lot of us agree that the drug (and its effects) bears disctinct similarities to what you thought it was. Time will tell. :)
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Good to know not really familiar with Brother Blood
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Sara Laurel's identical twin in the first season? Wasn't her mom looking for a brown haired girl?
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Not twins--Sara is a litttle younger (hence Laurel placing the blame more on Oliver than her sister for the betrayal, along with the Thea-Sara parallels that were made). You'll notice that Caity was dressed during her final scene in this episode in getup similar to that of the girl in Dinah's photo (complete with ball cap), regardless of Laurel's discovery that it wasn't Sara--obviously another effort to replace the mental images we have of the previous actress with Caity Lotz.

(Which they can do all they want, IMHO, as Caity is pitch-perfect in the role.) :)

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They recast her. I think that flashback to Sarah on the Queen's Gambit was a reshoot of a flasback from season 1. I guess it makes Dinah look pretty stupid now. But they were never identical.
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I want Sara telling her family. Not doing so is extremely cruel.
In other topics, the green drug of Brother Blood looked like all the crappy things from Smallville, it would be fun if they said "it is done with powdered meteoric rocks". I know that is not going to happen, I am just saying it would be fun,
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Methinks Oliver chose the wrong time to adopt a no-killing policy. The fight is gonna get much meaner.

Aren't there any honest politicians anymore? Way to ruin a good character. Somehow I think the idealist politician would be a richer asset for the story than another psycho behind a weird mask.

"*And in the case of superhero comics, even if you see a body, there's still the possibility that the body is actually a robot, replicant, Life Model Decoy, or clone."
... or an alien, a shape-shifter, or a person's version from a parallel earth, or the person's future self, or a hologram, or the Specter brings the guy back, or it's all an illusion/dream/premonition, or a spell, or an incantation, or the Blackest Night, or... And in the case of Superman's big death event of the 1990s, it was none of the above and the guy still came back from the dead! LOL!

Oh, and Malcolm Merlin's plan to "cleanse" the Glades of its "filth and corruption" was really moronic, because things not only remain basically the same (with poverty, gangs, crime and all the things he didn't like), but also it created problems like the Mayor. So, Mr. Supervillain, next time you decide to totally destroy something and kill millions, go ahead and obliterate it. Or don't even try. Muwhahaha!!!!

Oliver is surrounded by beautiful women, but each is more broken than the last, so I imagine the shippers are having the hardest time doing their thing. Well, Felicity doesn't seem broken, to tell the truth, but she seems to love her Surface tablet above any man.
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Really loving the show, just wish Ollie would adopt his comic book code name instead of " The Hood". I don't want this show to become like Smallville where Clark Kent was called " The Red and Blue Blur" for about 10 years.
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I like the Laurell character less each time she shows up. Is it the actress or the way the character is written or both? So unlikeable!! I dread the thought that she would ever be Black Canary. I think that would kill the show
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Omg... Arrow has always been redicilous, but that's ok because, well, it's supposed to be. But this episode, come on, enough is enough...
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i already dropped the show when i saw the first episode of this season , still the same silliness sh!@ , i tell people when you watch it make yourself stupid..
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Poll

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what I don't get is if the black canary is blonde why does she put a blonde wig as well , it makes no sense , hannah montana knows how to make a better secret identity than that.
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As if Oliver's hood is a good disguise, it must have magical powers to hide his face because I'm pretty sure everyone facing him can tell it's Oliver. Just putting on a lot of eyeliner isn't going to hide your identitiy, Ollie!
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Well, if Superman can get away with changing his clothes and taking off his glasses...
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Damnit, you're right. DC, step up your game!
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The irony is, Oliver (at least originally) had a mask in the DCU, while Black Canary did not--switched here.

(This is also why I agreed with the Snyder/Goyer/Nolan decision to have Lois know Clark's secret in the recent Man of Steel reboot.)

My guess is that the mask either hampers Amell's facial acting or blocks our ability to see it (or both).

Really don't quite get how Dig not being in disguise goes unnoticed. He's not John Reese, a presumed-dead redacted-record ex-CIA assassin who is operating on the opposite end of the country from his hometown. Last I checked, he's a returned, decorated veteran with a very visible sister-in-law and a job as the bodyguard/driver of the most photographed/video-recorded tabloid-worthy eligible-bachelor in Starling City, but he can show up at operations involving baddies and even Quentin without anyone making note of it?
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i was soo thinking that too , I guess they both need a crash course in secret identity
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Disappointed in the reveal, was hoping it was Isabel, and it felt too early, would've liked it to drag on.
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What? Sarah alive and kicking ass...??!!! What the hell...
Laurel Laurel...my dad is the one with problem not me...uh huh...that's why you are taking pills with a glass of wine....sure you really have no issues...
Felicity is still my favorite character...he snappy funny comments...loving it..
Loved the flashbacks...
I just thought that Jake has small role this episode...
Loving where this series is going...!!
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I was actually really hoping Felicity was Black Canary is that crazy? LOL.
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"Why people would be protesting a particle accelerator I have no idea." Just in case you aren't being sarcastic, may I refer you to the kerfuffle over the Large Hadron Collider before it opened for business. IIRC, the concern was that at full power, it might create a black hole that would end up swallowing the entire planet.

Needless to say, there was some vocal protest about that. I'm just surprised that there wasn't violence. That seems like the kind of outlandish, implausible, and irrational thing that would attract all the crazies.
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Good show, like it. Better than SHIELD, I think?
And WTF is Samantha753 ad doing here?
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I have to say something about "Camp Kirby" -I have the Green Arrow Showcase Volume 1 from DC-(where's volume 2 guys!?) and it has Jack Kirby's run on Green Arrow in it. I won't say everyone who watches this show needs to get it, but I'm glad to know the people who make the show know about this era.I mean, every interview with Stephen he talks about "Year One" and "Batman Begins" as seminal, (no offense to Stephen, I know he doesn't have time to read every Green Arrow comic ever) but I love the reference to the really early era. As much as they based season one on "Year One", Kirby's era really WAS year one! OK, well, no, I don't think he was the first artist. And when he came on it was really old, and really campy, and really a Batman rip off. But if you are a comics lover (and especially if you are a Jack lover) it's great! Even in black and white, it's still Kirby. And let's not forget Jack Kirby not only created Captain America,and Nick Fury (when he was a soldier not a spy) but also served in WWII. So the naming the military camp after him makes sense.
I just wish the Marvel movie universe would give a nod to ol' Jack every once in a while instead of just Stan, Stan Stan, STAN!!! And while they are at it maybe give Steve Ditko a nod in the Spider Man films.
Anyway, now that we're referencing the golden age era of Green Arrow can we please get a boxing glove arrow? Or the ARROW CAR!!?? Plleeease!? Complete with ejector seats for Ollie and Roy? Or would Christopher Nolan not approve?
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I have a bit of knowledge about the DC universe and it might be reaching, but I keep thinking about Ras al Ghul and the springs he uses for immortality. That is what the deformed bodies make me think of. They could be a twist on that subject.
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Yes I have a bit of knowledge too, the wells are called Lazarus Pits, and I think that either Ra's is old and dying on the boat and is looking for the pits in the graves. Or Ra's has been buried there for a long period of time and the league has been searching for him to revive him. In one Batman story, Ra's actually at one point decides to stop his war on Batman cuz he helped Ra's somehow. And to repay Batman, Ra's brought someone close to Batman who had just died to the Lazarus Pits. But he only ever used them to become young agian, and the life giving he wasn't sure would work, it does but the person comes back insane and just not right. Maybe those deformed bodies were test subjects
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I actually didn't remember that Mark Pedowitz had revealed that over the summer (thank God) so I was actually surprised by it, even though it makes complete sense.

I'm gonna go ahead and assume that at some point, most likely within the next season or two, Sarah will (actually) die, and Laurel will take over her sister's role as (the real) Black Canary.
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Exactly what I thought, after all pretty much every superhero and even some villains origin stories start with a tragedy. Bruce Wayne's parents, Oliver's father and the island, Krytpon destroyed etc.. Like you said evetually Laurel will find out everything about Sarah being alive and everything that happened to her. Than Sarah will die and laurel will use her given name Dinah Lance, AKA Black Canary, and who knows they are introducing meta humans soon so the sonic thing could be something Laurel develops. She already has some fighting skills, but I could see after losing Sarah twice she will ask Oliver, if she knows about him, to train her or maybe Sarah will give pointers along the way or both.
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I'm liking these Amell Wednesdays :)
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While a lot of shows are in their set up of main story portions this one was actually good as an episode...I will say though it was really kind of depressing. I do wish Laurel hadn't immediately launched into pills or not I guess since she will likely monitor her own drinking just to have it to say I'm not an alcoholic but still self medicate. But I really appreciate we aren't ignoring the crap she has been through.
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Am i the only one who is wondering what happened to slade because last episode he was on fire near the end, then nothing in this episode other than sara mentioning his name to ollie asking what happened to him so that must mean he's on the ship or he's going to be. any thoughts?
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I've been wondering the same thing.
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i really don't know any of the comic book stories, and just vaguely familiar with some of the characters, but I still like the show. It's fun and has very good action scenes - really like the new arrow-ropes, good non-lethal tool. Still not sure how Black Canary escaped at least two of them wrapping her up, but I really don't care. It just a TV show. Respect.
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Being trained by the League of Assasins will certainly help.
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Ninja. They do that.
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Arrow needs to wear some sort of mask to cover some of his face! I can't suspend my disbelief anymore!
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I kind of thought so too in episode 3 at the end when Lance is hugging Laurel he looks up and sees Oliver and the bottom part of his face, The fact that Lance has been around Oliver so much he should recognize the facial hair
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yea, and black canary... Arrow must be thick or have prosopagnosia! I laughed out loud that Arrow was shocked he had been made and couldn't recognise Sara. 'Sara??' lol...
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Remember, Oliver was _convinced_ he'd watched her die--and not just when the _Queen's Gambit_ sank, but later on the island. So it was a genuine shock to him.
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good point. The bad disguise thing distracted me from that! I was thinking on the lines of 'man, her disguise is as bad as his!' Still at least both better than Superman's disguise.
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They could think of some plot that would imply Laurel wearing a mask instead - she could benefit from that! (*rant over*)

I'm enjoying Sin and Black Canary so far. I still see too much of Bullet in Sin, though :)
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It's hard not to see Bullet... Because it was such a memorable piece of acting. And Sin hasn't really had anything to do yet. She could've been any John or Jane out on the street for all she had to do in the two episodes so far. And so far the two characters seems a lot alike.

So it's understandable that one can't help but seeing Bullet instead of Sin so far.
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Same here. Everytime i see her I think "Bullet" and then I couldn't stop laughing at myself when she got shot and I said out loud "Bullet just took a bullet!"
It's the little things, like insanity, that keep me happy :)
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Glad to know I'm not the only one!
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I didn't know it had been confirmed, but I did have a sneaky suspicion that 'Black Canary' could be Laurel's (dead) sister. Cool that. Hot blonde in leather. Doesn't get much better than that and luckily, she doesn't have that 'you can't kill him' newly prevailing attitude.

Reading below, I note a lot of people make good analysis of the series, episode etc. I must admit, for me, Arrow is exactly like reading / watching a cartoon and I don't take it serious. It's just great light headed entertainment.
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Ignorance is bliss ;)
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Thanks to IMDB I knew it was Sara the day after the 2nd episode :(
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Great overall episode. However there is still the Laurel problem and it is getting bigger. It is like the writers sat down and said, "How can we make Laurel more unlikable", and someone chimed in with "we could also make her a dumb alcoholic". Bingo.

At least she is counter balanced with the awesomeness that is Felicity and now Sarah. Sarah didn't suck, I kind of like Black Canary, I like her and Oliver's chemistry, not up to Felicity and Oliver (who bother were hilarious when in front of Summer Glau) but way better than Laurel and Oliver.

I agree with your assessment that it was a little dull. It was basically a filler, prepping episode for another big bad down the road and Laurels inevitable spiral to full on mediocrity. Has anyone checked if she actually passed law school? But the funny/ great moments were pretty good.

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the problem with Laurel is that Katie has a very limited range as an actress - too 'daytime soap=y' even for the CW - she looks good in a full shot, and does 'mildly pissed off' and that is about the extent of her ?talent?
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I loved the episode and I have really enjoyed the season so far. It just keeps getting better and better.

I am a little worried, as the ratings have been poor the last few weeks, but hopefully it is because of baseball. Hopefully with baseball ending, the ratings will improve next episode.
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Summer Glau passed by
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"Holy Smoak... LOL" That was Me every time I saw Felicity! By the Gods she is stunning!
Anyway, not a bad episode I suppose. It was obviously just setting up some threads for later on in the season but they could have done a better job of the fight scenes, or more specifically the gun fights, which are usually terrible but these were laughably bad.
The big reveal at the end was kind of disappointing and not really a surprise but, as Noel pointed out, at least they didn't drag it out for another dozen episodes. Whilst Oliver and Blood were chatting at the gun market I was thinking that it would be nice for once if one of these politician types, who isn't more limp than week old lettuce, was actually a good guy doing everything he legally can to help the people around him. But that's against the laws of super-hero TV shows, so obviously he's this seasons 'Big Bad'. Shame.
Also, I had no idea that Black Canary was Laurels sister, I managed to miss that particular spoiler, although the actual reveal was a spoiler in itself, in that they spoiled a good opportunity. I never saw here body so I assumed she would come back, but to practically turn up as a carbon copy vigilante is very lazy. Sure the path she took between the ship wreck and returning home will be a little different to Oliver's but I still think they could have come up with a more imaginative introduction. I don't know, it just feels a bit same-y to me. And the girl behind the mask could have been someone completely new to the show, with her own unique past - with skeletons and bad guys included. Instead we get the disappointingly annoying "character-that-never-actually-died" cliché.
I am enjoying watching Arrow but I just wish they would actually do something a little different to others ever once in a while.
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Blood is not the "Big Bad" he is just a minion to the eventual reveal of the Ra's a Ghul who IS the big bad. But as for the poilitician type being evil, it seemed like whatever he injected the mayor with at the end either brainwashes you into serving Ra's or kills you. So maybe Blood is really a victim and whatever that stuff was it forces loyalty to the League, and apparently Sarah figured out how to overcome it or a cure.
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Felicity makes my socks roll up and down every time she is on-screen. Love her character, and *whistles* Hoo Baby!
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I don't know why but when he said "Old school weapons! Respect!" it was my favorite part lol
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Words, words, words CAITY LOTZ!!! Words, words, words, MORE CAITY LOTZ, words words, END.
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Quick question: Does anyone know why the Sara actress was recast to Caity Lotz? It was really distracting in the flashbacks because everything in season 1 had Sara as a brunette, even the boat scene there. I mean my initial assumption was so that they could keep it a secret, but like it was said, it was revealed in July.
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Because she's smoking friggin hot and they need a smoking hot and talented actress to help us forget the train wreck that is Laurel.
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Plus she's a better actress than the old Sara, and has more chemistry with Stephen Amell. And she does martial arts and stunt fighting. So the real question is: where did they find such a perfect fit?
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From my dreams, clearly.
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I thought this episode was spectacular! The big reveal for the audience was not that Sara was Black Canary (most of us knew that already). The big reveal for me is that Ollie KNEW she did not drown and she evidently knew slade AND it was still a surprising reveal for Ollie which was fun to see.

I'd also like to take a second to speak about Ra's al Ghul.
He trained both Malcolm and Sara which is pretty cool. He probably also had a hand in the undertaking much like Batman Begins.
He MAY have rehabilitated a dying Sara Lance in the Lazarus Pits since Ollie seems to have "seen her die" - this would bring in the supernatural element that seems eminent.
Also, when Fryer's explains the plot to take down the commercial airliner to destroy China's economy in season 1- he says it's not what he wants but it is what his employer wants. I have a feeling Ra's was behind that plan.

ALSO- In an interview Amell said don't be so sure Ollie hasn't seen supernatural powers before. I believe this could be related to the graves and the deformed bodies. Could even be related to the green liquid being injected by Blood. Who knows!? the possibilities are endless!
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I think what those graves those people on the island are looking for is one of two things.
First they are looking for specifically a grave in which somebody Rha's a Ghul is buried in, and they are his followers attempting to rescue him after a long period of time cuz he''s like immortal, and can be brought back to life if dead as well due to these Lazarus Pit things which may be on the island as well.


Or second: Ra's A Ghul is on that ship and is old and dying and is seeking the graves where the Lazarus pits are but were hidden by someone.
So as for supernatural powers I think that Oliver will turn out to have met Ra's on the island and even seen the Lazarus pits in action. In fact a story arc I think they could use is that Oliver, Shado, and Slade will escape and the season long story arc will be about Oliver's FIRST meeting with Ra's who will of course turn up in the City. Something will happen and Shado dies and Oliver makes a deal with the devil Ra's to bring her back to life in exchange for doing something for him one day, basically an offer Oliver can't refuse, and that deal will come back to haunt him in the present.
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" I have a feeling Ra's was behind that plan."
I'm not one to judge, but I get the feeling Ra's al Ghul wouldn't be seen dead in red stilletos.
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No but Talia or Shiva could both easily be in the shoes and taking orders from Ra's.
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Ah yes. I know! I was rewatching season 1 when I came up with that idea...right after posting that I watched the episode that shows the red stilletos... I do believe Talia al Ghul would be caught in those tho... maybe I'm stretching now just to make my original theory still seem reasonable but I do think it would be interesting to see a connection between the two plots.
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Those shoes suit two characters that are already part of the show. Well one we've seen and the other is due to arrive soon.
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Yet again poor Katie gets the ass parts of this week's script. I mean, she was Jessie Spano-ing all over the place. Meanwhile, I hope Paul Blackthorn's accent is not reigned in at all, by season's end he'll just be down to sounding like he's an extra from The Sopranos. (EH! FUGEDABOUTIT! YANKEES! GABAGOO!)

Weak episode, but groundwork episodes always are. Glad the BC reveal wasn't drawn out (I hate Caity's mask. Needs to be more sleek. This one just makes her look all "RRRRR!" and, honestly, maskless she looked MORE like a superhero) I can see a possibility that, if she dies before season's end, Ollie ends up with it. I did like the wig, even though under her blonde hair was OTHER blonde hair (not how that works, guys! It wasn't even done up!) She really holds her own in fight scenes, which makes sense as she SHOULD be a better fighter than Ollie.

Brother Blood is an interesting reworking. Kinda gave me a Scarecrow vibe, but I hope they don't follow that path too much.

Isabel does more to give off the possibility she's Talia (she DOESN'T want to get guns off the street? Why would that be?) If this season is moving toward a finale fight between Summer Glau and Caity, color me happy.

So now Roy and Sin are kinda friends, which puts Thea even MORE into the web of heroes surrounding her. I like Sin, and they let slip her and BC's relationship is similar to the comic's version. While I like that Sin calls Roy "Ambercrombie" I hate HOW she says it. It's probably just me, but it's like the inflection is all wrong.
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(she DOESN'T want to get guns off the street? Why would that be?)

She never said that. She said that it was, and I'm paraphrasing from memory, "an admirable endeavour, but we can't afford it". Sure she can be Talia, she could also be any other person, we don't know yet, and certainly not because of what you stated above.
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Are you hoping like I am that Roy and Sin getting more friendly will help push Thea further and further out of the spotlight??
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So all it takes to become an alcoholic like Laurel is two glasses of red wine? Damn. I never knew. There also seem to be treacherous sea currents at work between the island and where the Queen's Gambit went down. Seems like you can't help but be washed up at that tiny bit of land in the middle of the ocean.

Bad episode in my opinion. Like you said, the VOTW (Villain Of The Week, patent pending) was pretty flat and Sara not being dead was a bad plot twist to stir up drama in Oliver's life.

"Why people would be protesting a particle accelerator I have no idea."
Tiny black holes, duh. Ever heard of LHC over at CERN? People were going nuts. Legit scientists, too.
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She was driving with a 0.6 above the legal limit, so it isn't just two glasses of red wine. And like David I think it has been going on maybe since the quake, but certainly since she was abducted by the Dollmaker.
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My point is that while she may have been drinking since the quake, we weren't told. As a show, you can't go and say: "Oh, by the way, Laurel's been drinking since the quake, we only didn't show you until now!"
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I got the impression that Laura’s substance abuse has been going on for a while now since the quake and we are only now finding out about it. She is probably at the point where it starts spiraling out of control and affects more than her private personal life. When she got pulled over I was saying she didn’t seem like she drank as much as well but later when she was popping the pills and the wine it shows that the issue is a lot more progressed than the viewers realized.
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In regards to your first part, I don't know if anyone is calling Laurel an alcoholic yet. Its just that she is heavily predisposed to become on due to her father, so if she keeps it up, she will likely end up just as bad if not worse.
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The episode was decent in my opinion. My problem with Arrow is the need for the heroes to 'not' have powers. Black Canary was a perfect time to introduce subtle super power to the world that could be used in a budget friendly (hardly ever) way, since she is an excellent fighter in her own right. I can already see now that when it's time to introduce Barry Allen as the Flash it will be him on a motorcycle or roller-blades fighting crime. Unlike Marvel, I really hope the Arrow and Flash have nothing to do with the wider DCU with regards to films. I initially hoped that the show could serve as a functional jumping off point so as not to need individual 'origin' movies for these various heroes, but alas that is not to be. As we see with the various cartoon shows being canceled prematurely, DCU just doesn't know how to handle it's properties well, aside from the very awesome direct to video animated films, and Burton, Nolan, and Synder's movies.

I'm going to continue to watch this show because it is pretty good overall and I feel that super-hero shows need all the support they can get, especially from viewers who have cut the cords and only watch shows online like myself. I do enjoy the dark nature of the show and various intrigue that it weaves between flashbacks and established DCU villains.
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It's already been confirmed that Barry's introduction will also be the introduction of super powers to Arrow.
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Do I spy a Princess Bride reference in the title of this recap? :D
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Yep, and I'm banking on a very-near-future reference to Miracle Max's famous line while examining Westley--as I noted below and last week. :)
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I knew it!!! I called it back when she first arrived. I told my family that the only way there could be another Black Canary is if she was a family member!!! They didn't believe me and I was so satisfied when the reveal came!!!
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At least nobody guessed it was Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl--although they did steal the mask by the look oif it. :)
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The reason this is the worst kept secret of the show is because they flat out revealed it last season! There is an episode where Laurel mentions that her mother always called Sarah her "black canary"-I don't think the viewers were supposed to be shocked by this reveal. Just the characters.
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Yes Gully is right, Laurel mentioned when they were kids her father bought a Black Canary for Sarah. However it would chirp and make noise and annoyed the shit of her and everyone until they got rid of it. The mother nor anyone ever called Sarah or Laurel BC.
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Sara wasn't called "black canary" she had been bought a black canary as a birthday present
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Boy! Talk about a sewing kit! (My auntie gave me one when I left home, she said I ought to be able to repair me own trousers)

Found the ep a little boring and rather contrived. Where was Manu Bennet? Missed his voice! (among other things that is...)

At least loving Felicity a LOT now...
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Loved it !
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Diggle: 20 bucks says he was stationed at Camp Kirby.
Felicity: Pay the man!

While I enjoy an action scene as much as the next person, it becomes annoying when people are firing guns only a few meters from each other, there are hundreds of bullets in the air, and everyone still keeps missing. In this episode when Oliver entered The Mayor's lair, everyone was shooting at him at very close range, and when The Mayor crashed the gun collection party, all the cops with weapons training somehow managed to miss despite being so close they could have pissed on the truck. Bugged me a little.
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It's less far from the mark than you'd like to think. In WWII they estimated than only about 1 in 20 bullets because deep down people really don't want to kill each other. So lots of bullets flying around and not hitting anything is, sort of, accurate
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I have read stats that only 1 in 200 bullets hit anything. I guess a lot of it is cover fire. I also read in Iraq it is 1 in every 50,000 bullets!
I thought the most ridiculous sequence was the gun drive. Pretty sure the cops would've shot up the jeep before he could make an announcement..
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What kind of cop would initiate a fire fight in public with guys armed with machine guns? Seems even less believable.

Though I do find the issue bullets thing interesting... the gangters managed to hit the people when they were likely aiming at the cops.
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That annoyed me as well. But I suppose if the cops were competent in that universe then there wouldn't be a need for The Arrow so then we wouldn't have met Felicity, so I can learn to live with it!
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If you're bothered by the lack of realism in a show about superheroes, I can't wait for your reaction when the Flash comes around.
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Absolutly agreed, if anything I think this show has been the most grounded in reality superhero show. And Taccaddo, have you ever watched a movie or a tv show with shoot outs? You know where EVERY time the good guys are expert marksmans and manged to hide in time, and the villains as if they have never held a gun in their life! Try watching something like non superhero like 24, which was a fantastic show, but was as non superhero as u can get and yet Jack Bauer and everyone good shots, villains lousy, all the while Jack manages to cross all the way across LA in five to ten minutes without ANY traffic, in LA!
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Good point. This used to bug me when I was four, watching the A-Team et al. Can't believe show makers haven't conceived of more believable sequences by now.
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The sad reality is there are MANY documented cases of this happening in real life with police during shootouts. The frequency it happens on TV is a bit absurd, but the individual cases of it occurring aren't so far-fetched.
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Yeh I recall not too long ago (6 months? a year) where a couple of cops unloaded on a suspect who either had a gun or they thought it looked like a gun (I forget which).

Anyway the 2-3 cops unloaded on the suspect, and swapped out their clips a couple of times. 2-3 cops went through 4-5 clips total.

Guy was only hit a couple times. Talk about poor marksmanship. Granted it was at night and in a dark alley but still.
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The episode was full of cliches from Laurel's problem with alcohol and drugs to the resurrection of Sarah.Oh, and I forgot the whole "you have to treat your own wound.
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Umm, did you miss the mention of Ra's al Ghul in the last ep? You know he's all about the resurrection, right? See: Lazarus pit.
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I can't think of many other scenarios where I've seen a baddie shoot a guy in the side and leave him with some pliers and disinfectant and wished him the best of luck. Hopefully you could give us a few more scenarios of this happening on film???
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Anyone who protests the creation of a particle accelerator, be it in reality or in a tv show or movie, on the basis of the creation of black holes, has either not done their research, or is anti-science and technological advancement.

The fact is that, yes, particle accelerators do have a theoretical ability to create black holes, however these would be so small, that they would not have the energy to pose any threat to the planet in any way, shape, or form.

A bit of interesting reading on the subject, that is well-explained, for the not-so-scientifically-minded:

http://livescience.com/27811-creating-mini-black-holes.html
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We already know the 'particle accelerator' will be used to give the Flash his powers. Given a world where things like _that_ can happen, I wouldn't hold it against the protesters paranoid about Black Swan events....
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In real life I would totally agree, but in a comic-book based TV show, I would imagine the particle accelerator will be used to open a portal to another dimension or some such thing.
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If this supposed 'Flash' spin-off has been internally green-lit, and is being used to build the foundation for the character's development, leading to a back door pilot, I'll let it slide.

But one thing I will never allow or stand for, is the misunderstanding, fraudulent verbal abuse and misinterpretation, of the very same fundamental physics, that has shaped and given life to this marvellous era!
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Love the nod to 'Princess Bride' lol - and it really was an apt description for this episode. I enjoyed the episode a lot, but as you said it was a setup for future events. I agree that Sara probably suffered a specific sort of abuse and that's what's prompted her to target specific criminals. Her reaction to 'bitch' was further evidence. I actually missed the spoiler about Sara Lance being the Canary, so I wasn't aware of it until I read through comments from last week's post. But I was already sort of guessing that was a possibility - like you I'd hoped she might remain dead, but even alive I think she will be a source of tension and stress between Oliver and the Lances (assuming she tells them she's alive.)

Laurel's arc seems very afterschool special to me, but I guess it's good we're seeing her deal? I still didn't enjoy watching her scenes. If they can give her some good material to work with and make her more entertaining (which she almost was at dinner with her boss) that'd be great. And all these references to Oliver and Laurel's 'epic' love story are just boring at this point because it has been the least epic love story of any show I've ever watched. He seemed to have a more meaningful relationship with Shado - I mean, he wasn't exactly pining for Laurel that whole five years, now was he? On the other hand, he has a lot more chemistry with Sara IMO. I confess to being an Olicity shipper at the end of the day though - but I'm in no rush. At this point if Oliver is with anyone other than Laurel, I find it believable. On another note, the trap Oliver set for Canary was very cool, and I enjoyed watching them fight side by side. She's still a loose cannon and I'm interested to see how that shifts the dynamics of Team Arrow.

Diggle's military contacts came in handy here - I hope we see Lyla again. And Felicity "I borrowed the FBI facial recognition software" - hehe. She revved up the 'awkward' in this episode, but it's funny. I'm looking forward to the Diggle centric episode I've heard is coming up. I'm also looking forward to more on Sebastian Blood. This actor is doing a great job, and it's interesting to see a charismatic adversary. All in all, great start to the season so far.
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So, Oliver's poor? That whole thing made no sense. Oliver may have had to use his trust fund to buy QC stock, but he still has a driver, an over $300K car, still lives in a huge house, etc. Yet, we're supposed to believe he doesn't still at least have a few hundred grand (not to mention that as CEO he's at least making $100K per month in salary).

It's nice Summer Glau (I forget her character's name) mentions that Oliver pretty much simply has the title of CEO. But she doesn't mention who's actually running the company. It doesn't seem she is. And if she was against his being named CEO, he couldn't have become CEO.


The Black Canary stuff: it's clear Sara's also had years of training, and that training was probably more formal than even Oliver's training. So, how is Laurel supposed to become the next Black Canary?


Oliver seemed to be killing the Mayor's gang, so why was he against killing the Mayor?

I'd like to know how much money Thea Queen has. It seems Oliver was given a ton in cash but also billions (perhaps even 10s of billions) in QC stock. While it's possible Thea inherited a big portion of QC and that that 30-40% or whatever of the stock the Queen family owns includes the shares owned by Oliver, Moira, and Thea, it hasn't been expressed that Thea owns anything but Verdant.

Given Thea likely has at least 100s of MMs of dollars, why couldn't Oliver ask Thea to sponsor the Cash for Guns thing? It seems like a no-brainer. And that'd be better PR for the Queen family than Oliver doing it.
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From what I understand Oliver and Summer Glau character own about half while the last small portion keeping the balance is owned by a bank represented by Ollie's stepfather Walter Steel.

Oli didn't really need to buy QC stock his mother and father already owned it since his father died and Mom in prison control and ownership of the stock would have gone to Ollie and Thea. All Ollie needed to buy was enough to balance out SG character numbers. Ollie couldn't do that on his own he needed Walter's help. In theory, Thea should have some cash but maybe she doesn't control it or she used it to pay for Ollies bar, but I doubt she has the amount of money you are suggesting.
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It seems I (thankfully) completely missed the spoiler about Sarah being the new hot lass. Thus, I enjoyed the episode as it was a genuine reveal for me. I love how quickly this show burns through plot points!
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That is why it is better not to come on here or worst of all Youtube until u are all caught u. I also stayed away and had never read the comics, so I was also surprised about Malcolm Merlyn last season, had no idea he was Tommy's father, nor did I know he was Dark Archer. What I love about this series is how unpredictable it can be, I mean in the pilot episode I never thought that the season would end with the villain killed, and thinking they saved the city by shutting down the machine, only for there to be another one and have hundreds of people including Tommy die, it was so depressing!
Anyway having just read that one of the producers actually spoiled it was Sara and was spread out I still didn't see it. I had heard BC was being brought in as well as the Flash and I wondered how they were going to that since Arrow while a superhero show has been grounded in reality, in other words no actual powers. Like Black Canary's siren call being siren call which is a power she has being a device works, but next to come is Flash with even already a rumored spin off of the character that hasn't even come on yet, he must be pretty good. So unless they make him have some kind of device or suit that allows him to run, they are gonna have to open up the Meta human world. I don't know how I feel about this, I have actually enjoyed the no powers thing they have done so far. But season 2 is gearing up to be a whole other level in this show, I think once Black Canary is revealed to be another vigilante working with Arrow, it will be like what Diggle said, that Oliver has started a movement and more superheroes will be coming. That was something I loved in Smallville too, in fact I remember the first super powered person who wasn't a villain Clark met was a teenaged Flash, and up to that point Clark had thought all the powers people developed was due to the Kryptonite in Smallville and therefore only people from there became "Meteor Freaks" but Flash tells him that he isn't from Smallville, never had been there a day in his life, and that moment was the first step in the eventual Justice League arc.


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yer i knew about sarah...wish i didnt tho....id expect less spoilers from the writers tbh
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I didn't know it too, until I read about it in the comments of the last week's review.
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Ack! That must have p*ssed you right off :0/
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Yeah... while reading the review i thought: WHAT? everybody knew about that beforehand?
I'm glad I'm not the only one who missed that news and therefore enjoyed the reveal.
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I enjoyed it. Starting to have some meat on its bag of bones. Nice!
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I'm thinking the recurring particle accelerator bit is foretelling a possible origin story for the Flash. I'm guessing to them, a particle accelerator accident=Flash story sounds more believable than a lightning striking chemicals=Flash one.
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By itself it was a decent episode.
But i agree its the weakest one yet this season, due to it being an episode setting up the plot for the future.

The only surprising thing in this entire episode was the reveal that Sarah was on the freighter and apparently working for the people on it.
Which tbh gave me huge flashback to Lost season 4 with the freighter showing up at the island with Michael working on it.
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"Old school weapons" that was a clever pun. This episode was great I was not expecting Sarah and didn't expect Blood being some kind of creepy weird masked crazy person. This season is turning out be be fantastic, but laurel needs someone to snap or slap her out of this depressed state she's in because her character is becoming emotionless and boring even though the story ark she is in should be filled with intense emotion. I'm really excited to find out more about what happened on the boat from hell and when and where Oliver got his tattoos also what happened to Sato and Slade
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Why protest about the partical accelerator?
Guess you missed the news about the guy in US trying to get a court order to stop the Large Hadron Collider being switched on because he thought it might create a black hole.

Also the episode could have used more David Nykl
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Gah. Now that you've said, I do remember those legal challenges.
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