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Arrow S02E09: "Three Ghosts"

I'm so glad that Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired their respective mid-season finales in the same week. I could easily launch into a lengthy discourse about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s failings so far—Arrow suffered some of the same problems in its freshman outing—but this isn't the place, and I'm not sure how much of an overlap exists between the two show's audiences. And while Arrow has found plenty of strength in Season 2, if you'll allow a brief comparison of the two shows, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "The Bridge" was a nice example of how NOT to get viewers excited about a show before a month-long break, whereas "Three Ghosts" was EXACTLY the right way to have your audience chomping at the bit for your series to return.

"The Bridge" did next to nothing to alter S.H.I.E.L.D.'s status quo or even make gestures toward solving its bigger ongoing storylines; there was just more teasing about Skye's parentage and how Coulson was alive. "Three Ghosts" gave Oliver a mask (finally), it gave Roy superpowers (eh), it gave Barry superpowers for his own show (neat), it killed Shado (whoa), and then it revealed that Slade Wilson is alive and in Starling City working as Sebastian Blood's benefactor... oh, and that he has nasty, long-term plans in store for Oliver (hells yeah). 


So like last season's pre-winter-break episode, "Year's End," things changed, and Oliver at least managed to put a masked face to the threat of the Mirakuru serum, even if that threat remains something of a question mark to him. Similarly, there's a sense of Oliver recommitting to the mission, and a renewed sense of self in that journey. Malcolm Meryln's showdown with Oliver as the Dark Archer rattled him, but it also strengthened his sense of resolve at the time; stopping Blood's operation was shown as having a similar effect, along with the mask and Oliver's discussions with the hallucinations of Shado, Slade, and Tommy.

The hallucinations may have been the weakest part of this episode, however, as the emotional set-up for them was decidedly soft. Hallucinated Shado's call for Oliver to "stay with her" and to "give up" stemmed from insecurities, as did Hallucinated Slade's comments about his strength to shoulder the burden of saving Starling City. These are not things that Oliver has routinely expressed to anyone, even if they were larger than the issues that circulated around him last season. So they're fears that Oliver likely carries with him, and they were complemented, to a certain degree, by Shado's death on the island—but to have them come up now felt rather sudden.

Likewise, Hallucinated Tommy's arrival on the scene to tell Oliver to keep fighting, to function as that driving force that Oliver uses to better himself as the Arrow, might have landed stronger had the whole "no killing" aspect of Oliver's mission—not to mention how Oliver grapples with it—been given a bit more weight. We saw it as he sort of dealt with killing Count Vertigo, but in Arrow's rush to set up Barry Allen in the episode that followed Vertigo's death, it might've sacrificed a stronger dramatic through-line to make Hallucinated Tommy's words really hit home, even if they were just the words Oliver needed to repeat to himself to take down Cyrus.

But while I take issue with those emotional shortcuts, they weren't enough to sap the episode's strengths. Beats like Thea and Sin going to see Laurel to get info on the blood drive...  and Roy breaking into the (comic book nod) Langstrom Langford Institute...  and Quentin leading a squad after Cyrus. Those are the sort of procedural bits I can always get behind, but since Arrow often struggles to fully incorporate them into all its other plots, it's always at its strongest when it has A- and B-stories—in addition to the Lian Yu flashbacks—that tie into one another, instead of all that plus C- and possibly D-stories that often just end up feeling like throwaway ideas, like Moira's lawyer wanting Thea to end her relationship with Roy a few episodes back.

Other, larger plot-changing elements—like Roy surviving the Mirakuru injection and thus gaining superpowers, and Shado's death—also buoyed the episode, even if I'm less keen on the former. Roy getting powers changes the dynamics of everything in the present day, as he'll be able to be reckless in the Glades and come out generally unharmed, and so he'll become progressively bolder in his attempts to save the city. It's a smart way to keep Roy in Oliver's crime-fighting orbit—better than the messenger boy role—but I'm not exactly looking forward to "Roy discovers his powers and looks shocked and excited!" montages, and I am curious about how Arrow will integrate his abilities into the narrative, while still being happy that Cyrus is out of commission (for now?) and so we won't have superpowered baddies running around.

Shado's death would've significantly shaken up the characters on the island regardless of Slade being alive or not, but since he is alive, in pain, and has superpowers, it makes things very dangerous for Oliver and Sara on the island until Slade can get a grip on himself, which will probably mean killing Ivo. That may, of course, reveal that Oliver made the choice to save Sara instead of Shado, and obviously that will not end well for anyone.

That brings us to our antagonists. I was worried for a while that Blood was operating with the League of Assassins, a la Scarecrow in Batman Begins, so I'm glad that Arrow is apparently side-stepping that particular rehash in favor of Slade working a long game against Oliver. As you might've guessed, I loved the snippets we got of Blood's mayoral announcement speech, particularly the bits about elites and the oppressed in Starling City. The show has teased issues of class and race since it started, but never fully delivered on them. I'm hoping that Blood's campaign brings some of this to the forefront, and in productive ways.

As for Slade, his eyepatch, and his seemingly ill-fitting suit, I'm thrilled that he's operating in the present day. The threat he poses to Oliver, both physically and emotionally, is immense, and immediately adds weight to whatever's coming next. While Malcolm was/is a personally connected threat due to his dealings with Moira and being father to Tommy, Malcolm's plans weren't targeted at Oliver; he was just against Oliver foiling them. This season, it's not just a matter of Blood taking control of the city, it's a matter of Slade destroying Oliver's life for personal reasons, and that's much more compelling and ultimately dangerous than Malcolm's city-destroying earthquake machine to avenge his wife's death.

How long until January 15?



FROM THE QUIVER

– Mmmm. A little side pectoral never hurt anyone.

– I really liked the scene in which Barry got his powers. It combined the traditional origin of The Flash that I mentioned last week, while offering a bit of a fresher update with the much-ballyhooed particle accelerator. It is, as Andy mentioned on Twitter, "much more scientifically valid" now. My biggest problem was that it felt so very jarringly placed in the episode. There was the big Slade reveal followed by cross-cutting between the Arrow Cave and Barry in the lab. Without the Barry scene in there, the Arrow Cave stuff was a nice denouement to the episode; with it, everything felt dragged out, killing the momentum that the Slade scene set up.

– Ivo's little game of "Pick who dies!" seemed really contrived to me. Sure, he was pissed, but just shoot everyone and be done with it. It was a sloppy way to get to the desired result of Shado's death.

– How much are we reading into Quentin, Roy, and Felicity appearing during Slade's little speech about his plans for Oliver? Roy and Felicity make complete sense, but Quentin seemed like an odd inclusion there. 

– How happy must Celina Jade and Manu Bennett have been with this episode? "You mean we get to shoot somewhere other than the forests of Canada?! YAY!"

– I wish you all a happy new year, and I'm sure I'll see you in the comments as we roll out our end-of-the-year stories! I'm especially looking forward to the discussion surrounding everyone's best/favorite shows of the year.


What did you think of "Three Ghosts"? How are you liking the season so far?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/25/2016

Season 4 : Episode 23

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great episode great season!!!

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I was a bit disappointed about Slade being the main antagonist. How many times have people died on this show, only for us to find out later, "surprise! They're not dead!!!" Deadshot, Merlyn, and now Slade. Come on.
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Good thing you don't watch Supernatural . . .
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I thought that it was a great episode. Great to see Slade in the year of the now. The Flash stuff is cool. I see a lot of folks are in to that but to be honest, I was missing Malcolm Merlyn and I hope he comes back for more next half of the season. He doesn't seem to want to hurt any of them, he has a valid reason for sticking around. I'm also curious about Roy and what will happen with him. I think that they could and should use him more he is such a great actor. I never was into DC comics too much... More of a Marvel Girl... so question: Is that Blood guy supposed to be The Scarecrow?
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i agree!!!
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In the comics Brother Blood and Scarecrow are two different characters. Though this interpretation of Blood does kind of harken to the Nolan Scarecrow. In the comics Brother Blood is a charismatic cult leader. He kind of has that feel here as well. I'm curious to see how and why Slade chose Brother Blood to be his front for the serum.
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I have to admit that the first time I saw the production photos a while back (before the Brother Blood plot materialized), I thought they were bringing Black Mask over from Gotham. (Which didn't exactly bother me, as he's not typically been used much in TV or film, Under the Red Hood being the exception of course.) Then the first time Blood wore the mask and did his altered voice, a family member in the next room thought Batman Begins was on, since the voice (and mannerisms of Blood in the mask) were as you noted almost a carbon copy of Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow.

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Also... I had no idea that so many people are shipping Olicity... had never even heard of the term until after this episode. I am joining this community so that I can stay informed. :)
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Be still my Olicity loving heart!!! This episode gave us more then I was expecting! From Barry's 'yeah right' smirk to Felicity trying to get Oliver to promise he'll come back to the hug when he does. And can we please just stop for a moment to appreciate that when Blood says 'the people Oliver loves' it's Felicity that we get a shot of and that Laurel is absolutely nowhere in that montage!!! So much wonderful that I had a few moments of, "Is this really happening or have I been reading too much fan fiction?!"
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So did anyone else catch Barry talking about a "compressible micro-fabric" to Ollie? Maybe a material so compressible say a whole suit could fit inside, oh, I don't know, maybe a ring or something?
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Great episode. The hallucination of Tommy was a very pleasant and touching surprise.

I think I figured out Slade was Blood's benefactor moments before the big reveal.
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i agree
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Wow, the show (and CW, I imagine?) REALLY didn't want a shot of Olly giving Roy mouth to mouth. A lot. Like, CPR-by-shouting-at-your-face a lot.

That weirded me out. Between the mildly homophobic undertones and the lack of confidence it shows it made for a more awkward scene than it needed to.

Now, hey, how about we don't make the Flash show suck, huh? That'd be great. Arrow was very flimsy on season one, it's pretty decent so far in season two. Maybe we don't need the first season shakes this time? Cool, thanks.
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Agree with everyone, great episode and great mid-season finale!
But I for one hate everything to do with hallucinations, seriously. The 'fight' with Slade was sooo ridiculous! I get the meaning behind the hallucinations (like you aptly pointed out Noel), but i don't think it makes for good tv (and Fight Club is a dumb movie)...
Very excited about anything Barry Allen/Flash too. The actor playing the role is a great choice!

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Finally i could watch this episode!! it was awesome, i didn't like that roy get superpowers but the rest was awesome, barry is so sweet but hands off felicity, she is for oliver and i was so excited when they showed felicity during slade's speech that means they are planning something for olicity right? otherwise they would put laurel right??
January, I'm waiting for you. Happy Holidays!!
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I love this show. And, I really like whole Barry has become The Flash. I love how Laurel is in so few minutes of an episode. The hallucinations are quite far fetched but I'll wait and see where they take this story. I hope they don't sail this these stories all over the place.
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No rich people, no poor people? Is Sebastian Blood a Communist?
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More like Tom Hardy's Bane in TDKR--using that point of view to dupe people into trusting him, when all he wants are power and control for his master (really for himself, but he's cooperating with Slade as he needs and fears him).

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I completely agree with your Agents of Shield comparison. The show is so mediocre that there's no way Joss Whedon is that actively involved in it. It's like they tried to mainstream Whedon's normal fare that they took out all the stuff that makes Whedon special.

As for your review of Arrow, it's funny how obvious it is that a man is reviewing the show. Most female viewers focus on all the delicious emotion and pathos the show revealed about Oliver. We could care less about the comic book stuff. I always learn a lot reading your reviews. The hallucinations let us see inside his guilt ridden head. The scenes with Felicity were amazing and the reason why the female fans are rabid over the show. Stephen Amnell did an incredible job in this episode.

The revelation that Slade is the new villain made me sad for poor Oliver. I can't help but wonder if the end of the season will build up to Slade making Oliver choose to save either Laurel or Felicity. They are being to obvious about how Felicity feels about him lately, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's their end game. Wouldn't it be great if Laurel got killed and we got to keep Sara?

I can dream!
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I'm hoping that we don't see that much more of Slade in the present day, not until next season anyway, and the reveal is just the writers planning ahead for the end of season 2.
The way the island story is shaping up looks like Ollie and Slade are in for a huge falling out and that everybody is going to leave the island at the end of the season. And I'm really hoping that season 3's flashbacks are of Ollie and Anatoli in Russia. So to keep Slade in the show they have to drag him forward 5 years but to do that as the last scene in season 2 would look contrived, so by doing the reveal now they've set things up for Slade to be next season's focus.
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We need an episode of Malcolm Merlyn vs Slade Wilson!!
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3-4 min of Laurel in the last 2 episodes plus all the great things already mentioned =priceless.
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I've been hoping Slade would appear in the present day since he first showed up on the island. It didn't surprise me in the least when Yao Fei died and I assumed Slade and Shado were dead as far as Oliver knew when he was rescued, but I'd always hoped Slade would somehow show up in Starling City.
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This mid-season finale definitely delivered!

I see your point about the "pick who dies" scene but, for me, although it was obvious who was going to get the bullet...to see the struggle that Oliver experienced in those seconds was pretty heart wrenching.

It's going to be a long month.
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Slade freaking Wilson!!!! his speech gave me goosebumps!!!
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I have a feeling that Roy will some how be retconned and not have super powers after all when the season starts again. Like they'll filter his blood out similar to dialysis and send him on his way, so he is healed but mostly just the same. However; I do hope I'm wrong, because Red Arrow should be an aspect of this show, and getting him started in training with Arrow would require some kind of advantage since he doesn't have the benefit of the years spent on the island.

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Me too or that the formula that was given to Roy at that point wasn't as strong (as in it could give a brief burst but not permanent). I just imagine that Oliver will reveal himself to start training him to do the avoiding Slade route and at some point like Diggle goes to punch him and Roy goes flying and Oliver and Dig both look at each other panic stricken.
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I love this show, but as I've said all along, Warner Bros/DC/CW whomever is in charge doesn't know how to handle the properties. Still no super powers on this show. You can be grounded and still have super powers, I just knew they wouldn't let the Flash be on this show, sure Barry Allen but not The Flash. Next year we will hear about how an awesome pilot got made, will never actually air on tv, and didn't get picked up for a full season. Then months after that we will finally see the pilot and cringe at what would have been an awesome show. I think WB/DC forgot just how popular Smallville was, and I'm not saying that they have to go that route specifically, but clearly super powers didn't hurt that show.
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Though I appreciate that they are trying to base any super powers so far in some form of even pseudo science (like the lightening wouldn't have done anything big other than possibly electrocute him if not for the wave of whatever energy the particle accelerator had just swept across probably also effecting some of the chemicals, or the super solider is due to a formula from people we know historically were trying to figure that sort of stuff out along with the Nazis, and us, I think). I think they are going to be careful, like for instance if the Flash doesn't really work, Barry Allen and some aspect of his powers could now fit into the world of Arrow and he just becomes a character there, which if they eventually see this becoming some sort of justice league or whatever the DC equivalent of that is after Oliver completes his journey to hero.
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I forgot to add, how exactly does someone hallucinate being thrown over a table or into a wall?
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watch Fight Club, it happens lol
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The writers were clearly so impressed by Fight Club they thought they would attempt something similar. Except the Arrow version turned out to be completely ridiculous, pointless, and unreasonable.
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Lol. I always knew slade was alive cos he could only be the source of the miraculu.

that mask is a tupid thing because couldn't oliver have come up with the idea himself? What's so special about it? Lookes like a regular cut-and-sew to me.

laurel=boring

Arrow was already loosing me untill I heard the name "barry allen". If they are really making his own show, Its bye bye arrow and hello flash(or whatever they call it) and its really more scientifically accurate (the barry allen scene). Still better than superman flying round the earth in reverse to rewind time (DAFUQ (۳º̩̩́_º̩̩̀)۳).

for now, I will rate arrow above agents of shield untill I see how they go with the flash story

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Finally my wish comes true to have SLADE in real time story but man i really didnt want him as a super villian but lets see For me Person of interest is the best show so far but man ARROW is quite awesome as well
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noel, since you brought up AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D, I posted an article on the community pages I think you might like.
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Staff
I'll take a look.
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Deathstroke is back :D
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Billy Wintergreen is back from the dead???!!!
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Er, no. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathstroke
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Cast list from Season 1 Episode 14 http://www.tv.com/shows/arrow/the-odyssey-2636790/cast/

Manu Bennett : Slade Wilson

Jeffrey C. Robinson : Deathstroke

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one, if we count next week's episode promo.
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So you don't care about the credits, hmm. So the fact that the writers, producers etc. decided to call a character that isn't Slade Wilson, Deathstroke isn't relevent because you don't want it to be. Yeah, that's how the world works.

So characters that matter, will be the same in the comics as in the show. I think that most people would agree that Felicity matters to the show, so when do you think her step-son Ronnie Raymond will be showing up? Do you think they are saving it for next season? Or is it possible that they might not do that?
So if it's possible that one thing from the comics isn't going to happen in the TV show, isn't it possible that a second thing from the comics isn't going to happen in the TV show? Such Arrow's Slade Wilson ever being referred to as Deathstoke.
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Once again your logic is flawed, in the comics the dark archer is Merlyn, not Malcom Merlyn, not Tommy Merlyn, just Merlyn.

So, given the name, either one of them could turn out to be the Dark Archer.
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Yes, because it obvious to everyone that Tommy was going to turn into the Dark Archer and look how that turned out.

Also I wouldn't be too surprised if Roy's alter ego ended up being the Red Hood (much to Noel disappointment I'm sure).
Quentin : "You know that gut runs around with Hood but doesn't have a bow?"
Hilton : "Yeah but that's a bit too long for police reports"
Quentin : "He wears red."
Hilton : "Red Hood it is then."
Quentin : "Sold"
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I honestly don't care about the credits, the eye patch and the super human strength are clear indicators that he is in fact the one and only Deathstroke.

In fact Roy Harper is also Red Arrow in case you aren't aware of that. But he can't obviously take on both alter egos. But i am sure he is bound to become Red Arrow.

It is obvious that not all characters follow the same route as the ones in the comics, but the ones that matter will obviously be the same in the show and in the comics.
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So because the character played by Robinson wasn't called Deathstroke on screen the character isn't Deathstroke.
Out of interest how many times has Manu Bennett's character been called Deathstroke on screen?

Your logic is that in the comics Slade Wilson's alter ego is Deathstoke, therefore Deathstoke's alter ego in the show is Slade WIlson. Applying the same logic, in the comics Roy Harper's alter ego is Speedy so Speedy must be Roy Harper in the show, except that the only character refered to as Speedy is played by Willa Holland, so is she playing the role of Roy Harper?

When Manu Bennett's charcter is refered to as Deathstroke in Arrow then he'll be Deathstroke not before as it stands in the show right now Deathstroke is\was Billy Wintergreen.
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Unless they actually called him Deathstroke on screen (which they did not) it doesn't count. Not to be pedantic but that is lame, and I have more faith in the writers than that. They have proven very effective at slow, tantalizing origins for the characters on the show.

Obviously the outfit that Wintergreen (and Slade) wore will and does have an influence on the presentation of his eventual Deathstroke ( the Terminator) costume.

The the graying and eye patch were demonstrative of the path on which he is on to become the Slade Wilson Deathstroke that we know and love!
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Now I can't wait for the Flash TV series to start!
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Now we have to see how he will look when he goes fast and fights...hopefully wont look to fake and he will have villains that can stop him and be believable
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That was a very good episode!! We got:
- The "birth" of Solomon Grundy; one super-villian; Check.
- The "birth" of TWO superheroes: Speedy/Red Arrow and The Flash; Check
- The reveal of another super-villian: Slade Wilson / Deathstroke; Check
- Arrow getting his mask; now all he needs is the name.
What a way to close out the mid-season.
Now, we have to wait five weeks... bummer.
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It really rubs me the wrong way that CW/DC/WB doesn't just let the heroes use their actual names. Smallville was 'the blur' or some such, this is the 'Vigilante' /Arrow, and with the Flash show they will probably call him 'lighting or streak' lol really ridiculous Even the cities aren't the same. I'm sorry, it's all fictional, why not maintain the canon of the source material. Should the Gotham show not actually take place in Gotham?!? lol
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The problem now is flash will be more powerful than Oliver and that feels wrong, barrys character feels a little too smug for me as well
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There are a lot of characters in the DC universe more "powerful" than Green Arrow. Flash will have his own show so I would expect him to be powerful there and not on Arrow week after week.

No one says Batman isn't powerful because he doesn't have superpowers. At least in the comic books Batman takes on some pretty powerful opponents and wins. There is no reason that as time goes on and Ollie faces more powerful enemies that he can't outwit and advantage those he comes up against, powerful or not. Arrow should not face him against super-villains week after week, and I don't have any feeling that they will. But super-powers in the Arrow-verse is a good thing in moderation.
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actually that fits Barry Allen character perfectly as he is smug lol
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Didn't say it didn't fit I just didn't like it
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Aw man, I felt so bad for Shado and Slade. =/
I fully agree with the review, it was an amazing episode that'll definitely leaves the fans wanting more!
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As a major superhero and comic book fan this year has opened up some amazing and possibly scary (I don't mean that in a good way) ideas but, Arrow has more than surpassed my expectations. All I can say is "I WANT MORE!"

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loved it!!!
Totally agree with your analysis about Arrow and SHIELD. I really don't find Marvel's show that compelling or good, but I watch it because I like comic book shows/movies. However, I just watched both episodes back to back and one was clearly and definitively way better than the other.

I wanted Oliver to kiss Felicity so bad when she put the mask on him, but no dice!
Until January
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You know he's got one of fake door/wall setups, like Merlyn did, that has got all his arsenal and gear. I can't wait to see it!
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10/10 EPISODE, AWESOME, EXCILARATING, THE CHARACTERS WERE AWESOME!!!!!!!!! Man im soooooooooo exited that slades in the modern day, i just cant wait till oliver, felicity & diggle meet slade, and see that u dont wanna f*ck with this motherf*cker lol
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Didn't Slade mention to Oliver when they met that he had a family back home? So why is he so upset about Shado and totally forgotten his wife back home?
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Yes and no. Slade talked about his son Joe, doesn't mean he still has a wife also he's been away from home for a couple of years with only Ollie for company so.....
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Slade is angry but what did he expect Olly to do, he was tied up and Ivo was gonna kill Shado anyway. The super soldier storyline is a bit far fetched but it is good to see Slade as the boss and not Baron Blood.
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the story line is perfect, im sure u cud come up with a better one huh!!!!!!!! plus ivo wasnt gonna kill shado anyway, it was a 50/50 chance, he cud have killed EITHER sara or shado
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Yeah but didn't Ivo say that he cares for sara and that's why he doesn't want to kill her? But still it did look like a even chance but perhaps weighted towards killing Shado? SO confused. But the Barry-getting-superpowers scene was so amazing, I was focusing on that. Can't wait for The Flash!
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You know, I suspected Shado was dead and Slade would be back, so those reveals didn't surprise me. But the manner of Shado's death did surprise me, and I'm not happy that it was so pointless. If it was going to be a sticking point between Oliver and Slade, which I also already suspected, there were a lot of other ways it could have gone down. I didn't think we'd see Slade in the present so soon, though - that he's the mastermind behind Blood was also surprising, but he's going to make a formidable foe both physically and psychologically. I'm eager to see how he starts going after Oliver and the people he cares about. But we've got a lot of villains this season! I think Isabel could be connected be connected to Merlyn. Then there's the League of Assassins who are now after Merlyn. But the biggest bad of the season seems to be Slade. So now I have to wonder what alliances might be formed to fight a greater evil - Malcolm and Oliver against the League? Oliver and the League against Slade? Oliver and Slade against everyone? And Sara's a wild card since Slade probably doesn't know she's alive. We've also still got ARGUS knowing Oliver's identity and whatever they've cooked up with HIVE - and we're only 9 episodes in lol. And Cyrus (aka Solomon Grundy) is likely still alive.

Not sure how I feel about Roy getting dosed with Mirakuru after being shot in the leg. I'm guessing we'll start seeing his transition to superhero now (Red Arrow or Arsenal.) I think he's going to have a very rocky partnership with Arrow going forward, and he'll suffer some psychological effects from the serum. The recipients who live don't seem too stable. And speaking of instability - what are they doing with Laurel??? She is all over the place! They made a big deal about her substance abuse problem - so is it magically gone now? I admit I rolled my eyes when Thea asked for her help, but then I thought, "Ok be fair." She did help Thea last season and Thea worked with her at CNRI - I guess it's plausible even though she just tried her mother in a death penalty case. But two episodes ago, Laurel flipped out when Oliver asked if she was okay and was suffering major guilt - she literally ran from him. Now she's okay with walking into their house like an old friend? I honestly don't get where they're going with this character, and nothing about her involvement seems natural at this point. Canon or no, I'd prefer they keep Sara as Canary - at least she makes sense. And physically, Laurel does not look up to the challenge of kicking ass - she looks kind of fragile. (And if, as someone below suggested, they try to make her Canary with that serum, I'm going to be disappointed with the EPs and writers because that's not what Black Canary is about. That would just be cheating and lazy storytelling.)

Felicity and Oliver... they're really developing into a thing this season. I'm surprised it's gotten so much attention this season, but I do like the organic way it's developing. They spend so much time together that it makes sense, and they support each other (Diggle included.) If they're really going there, I just want to see it develop slowly. Oliver is still a psychological and emotional mess, and I'd like to see Felicity have an outside life before she's even more entrenched in Oliver's.

Loved the Flash ending! I was surprised they recreated the comic book origin story in such a detailed way, but it was cool. They kept talking about the particle accelerator so much that I figured he'd be there when it happened. Barry fit a lot better this time than last time - maybe because he and Felicity weren't being so awkward together? I'm looking forward to the potential spinoff.
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I kinda get the feeling that Slade is going to be one of those villains that hangs around for more than one season, so I really wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a lot of headway made there until the end of this season.
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I hope you're right. It seems like there's too much going on to have it all resolved in one season. That's why I wasn't expecting to see Slade in the present day so soon.
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I kinda liked the idea of the three ghosts or hallucinations, but if the whole idea was that it was survivor's guilt and it was Ollies subconsciusness that was producing ghosts that was trying to tell him something, why would Slade be there as Ollie obviously knew he survived the Miracle shot?

I tossed this idea around in my head when it was revealed that Slade was alive and I was actually a little disappointed when he was shown to be wearing an eyepatch, I had just realized what a great twist it would have been if Slade wasn't a hallucination, he really did appear in the Arrowcave and beat the crap out of Ollie.
But that would leave us one ghost short, and I thought it would have been perfect for the episode to end with Ollie in the mansion, noticing a figure behind him and as he turns around he says "Dad,,,," Fade to black.
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Oliver knows that Slade survived the Miracle shot; however, given that Slade is lacking an eye (and it is implied that Oliver drove an arrow through that eye), it seems likely that Oliver and Slade end up fighting on the island. Remember that Oliver says he has defeated somebody using superserum before. My guess is, one of the flashbacks on the island will show Oliver fighting Slade and taking his eye, leaving him for dead. Hence when Oliver hallucinated he did assume Slade was dead.
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I felt like that was a really, really strong episode, it had so many exciting aspects and really sets the second half of the season in a great place to explore lots of interesting avenues.

I don't remember the last time I finished watching an episode of anything with such a buzz!

Roll on Jan 15th!
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So this version of Slade looks like it's gonna be more like the Teen Titans cartoon version-super villain puppet master instead of tough guy antihero. Well that works for the premise but how did Slade get rich?
This was an intensely awesome episode. As far as mentioning comic book nods-how could you not mention: "Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday..." plus, now that Cyrus is dead, if he comes back to life, he really will be like Solomon Grundy!
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It really was a great midseason finale. Don't have much to add; you pretty much covered it all :D So excited about Slade, Roy, Olicity, the reveal of Shado's death, Barry's powers. I literally kept gasping and going 'oh my god!' throughout the whole episode, and my mom kept making fun of me lol.
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Nice ending. Arrow loves to be near death. LOL.
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I have given the award for the most improvement in a show to ARROW. The past 9 episodes had been the best. It had also officially won me over for the new Flash series. I will definitely watch it now. When will the show debut, I am guessing it will be after Arrow season 2 ends. I think it had been quite successful introducing Barry Allen to the viewers.

One of the reveals that you did not mentioned was that we finally got the show to agree what we have been guessing all along. Felicity is secretly in love with Oliver. Hopefully we get to see more of that this season.
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Is it really a reveal, though? It's practically been text instead of subtext for weeks now. I do admit that I'm not deeply invested in that relationship -- if the show pairs them up, fine, whatever, it'll be hot when they make out -- but of the things I'm interested and concerned about it, it's pretty low on the totem pole until/if/when they get together.

Honestly, I'd sort of rather Felicity have a personal life outside of Oliver and his work (all-consuming though it is), but as the show proved last season, it's not the best at giving Oliver's partners lives separate from him, sadly.
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Having Felicity finally admit it is sort of a reveal. I am not one who is always interested in the romance side story of a show but I am in Arrow. Perhaps Felicity smoak is now the Hot chick of the season. Ha.

Last week theguylafayette even put up a discussion on it and had 35 comments so I guess many viewers are interested :-)

On a side note: I would like to know Mr. Noel, how much of TV do you watch on average in a week (both for business and pleasure) ?
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marlonjones

I watch about the same amount as you and I too think it is a lot. I have no time to marathon old shows unless its Christmas holidays or summer time where there are very few current shows on.
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If it's a full week, I'd estimate that I watch around 24 to 26 hours of TV a week, including my morning viewing of a Family Ties episode before I head to work. This doesn't count random marathoning, like last week where I watched around 19 extra hours as I caught up on two shows before I turned in my top shows of the year list.

That average would probably be a smidge higher if I had been better about watching the fall anime season (it would've likely tacked on at least an extra 1.5-2.5 hours/week depending on the shows I stuck with), but I just never made time for it after the first week or so, so I'll be catching up starting...this Saturday or Sunday, probably. My goal is not to let that happen when the winter anime season that starts soon.
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Not knowing if you watch a lot of sitcoms/hour-long shows, how many current shows a week would that be Noel?
For me it's like 25-30 shows a week without any marathons/old shows on the side and I would probably call that a lot!
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Sad story is that I'm only freelance -- this is a side job for me (and I like TV). If I did TV-writing full time, I'd probably watch significantly more. Which is depressing to me.
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I asked because I want to keep myself in check and make sure I never go higher than any of you professionals.

If I ever did, I must go professional too :-)
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R.I.P. Shado


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Goodbye to all the things that could have been ... would have loved to see a love like theirs:-)
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Now the only question is, why on earth did they have to bring Malcolm back if we already have a bunch of awesome villains (Slade, Blood, Cyrus, the other superhumans) that are more than enough for a season? Honestly.
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anyone else think of when robin fought slade in hallucinations when oliver fought slade?
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I loved this episode though the whole Roy thing felt kinda cheap... Like they didn't know how to implement him in Team Arrow so build it up by giving him powers.

Now how are they going to do about Flash, I was surprised that they decided to show his origin story here because that probably means we won't be seeing it in the pilot of Flash's series. IDK but personally I'd much rather see Barry becoming the Flash in his own show.
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Episode 20 of Arrow was supposed to be the backdoor pilot for the Flash TV series, but that was scrapped a month or so back in favor of doing a standalone pilot. So I imagine they'll re-use or re-shoot the sequence we saw this week for the pilot and then build out from there when they shoot the pilot next year.
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Yeah I know and I was hoping they weren't going to do that either.
I sure hope so because that scene was short enough and well shot for them to re-use it.
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I like how, when Arrow decided to commit to being a "superhero" show with superpowers and everything, they really jumped into it. This finale bascially said goodbye to all the old rules they made. Flash. Solomon Grundy. Superpowers. Masks. Supervillains.

I liked Gustin better this week. He felt a little more grounded and added some nice balance to the show. When he (sorta) stood up to Ollie for Felicity...that was a very Barry moment. (I don't know about him post-new 52, but before that, he was always a very noble character). That was the moment I decided he'll be at least an ok Flash if the stories are true to that aspect of him. While the particle accelerator accident was completely telegraphed forEVER, the buildup to that moment actually worked. However, I hope they don't go full-Smallville and the villains in Central City being ALSO affected by the explosion. One or two is ok (would be the best way to bring in Mirror Master) but not 75% of the roster.

Also nice was the show addressing some of the concerns like the mask and Ollie's identity. I loved Amell playing hurt when he learns Felicity brought Barry in. I think that was the right way to play it.

While it was pretty clear Ollie was trying to have Ivo kill him instead, I'm sure Slade won't see it that way. It also seems the serum has some effects on your state of mind, which is what may ultimately lead to Ollie vs Slade and the real reason for Slade's animosity. I appreciate they've made Ivo a truly unlikable villain, too.

It is unavoidable to compare Arrow and SHIELD. Both are comic properties going for similar audiences. ABC has a bigger budget yet SHIELD somehow ends up looking cheaper. Whereas Arrow ended this first half as, almost, the end of a chapter leading into the next one (one thing this show does REMARKABLY well) and SHIELD just kinda did the same old/same old.
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The superhuman was definitely front and center this episode. But as long as they can temper it and be judicious in its use then I'm ok with it. As I really want Arrow to be recognized as a member of the DC/Man of Steel shared universe. Superhumans have to be a given.

Which does fit with the comics. Green Arrow is not battling godly or even powerful super-villains every week. There is a natural progression in the Ollie/Arrow have been pretty dominant physically in his realm so far, it makes sense to give him some challenging foes. That is the exciting part of Batman. He isn't just taking on mobsters and street thugs. He's a strategist. He can take on opponents who are "greater" than him and be victorious. Ollie needs to move to this level. But I do wholeheartedly agree not every week, and not "unrealistically".

One of my outstanding concerns with Flash is the root of all the super-villains. Are they going to be "meteor freaks" of the week, or more so "collider freaks" of the week. I have faith given overall how well the creators have built Ollie/Arrow over a season and a half now.
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I am amazed at how good Arrow has become!!! I was not annoyed by the hallucinations, and I am usually very annoyed by hallucinations. I was glad to see Tommy and hear him call Oliver brother, even though it was in his mind. The hallucination of Shade showed us that Oliver things that he is dead, and it will come us a surprise to him when he will find out that he is alive. Roy getting superpowers is a little strange. Really like Barry and the way he became the Flash!!! The moments of Felicity and Oliver were not as natural as they used to be. Loved the Christmas tree and Thea's room, but then again the whole house is amazing. I just have a question? Would it be impossible for Shade to be Ras Al Ghul? (So thrilled he is alive regardless!!!)
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Agree the series getting better and better. Since i am not too much in comics I did not know that Slade Wilson AKA Deathstroke. Saddens me to see him as a vilain but Oliver got it coming , which explains his Fight club moment. His guilt taking over
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I feel like it would be pretty difficult for Slade to be Ra's. Sara seems to know Ra's in some way, so she's likely met up him at some point, and would be aware of Slade and Ra's being the same person (provided a decoy wasn't used, of course), and she is unaware of what happened to Slade.
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Yeah, I don't see Slade being Ra's either. For those reasons, and because Ra's is too big of a name/draw to simply merge him into an already established character. For a while, I actually suspected the new DA to be revealed as Ra's. Given how he seemed to be trying to get close to Laurel (a good place to be if you are looking for Sara) and pursuing the death penalty against Moira, when she was mentioning a secret that should not be spoken of. Which, at the time--along with a few other tidbits-- I thought meant a knowledge of the League and Ra's. But that has since been revealed as another, not quite as intriguing or impactful secret.
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The last 10 minutes were great, the scenes before were a little ruined by the B and C plots you mentioned. Overall, still a very solid mid-season finale.
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My only real complaint over this episode was with the Shado hallucination. Not the hallucination itself but that it pretty clearly tells us she's dead BEFORE we actually see her die. We know something happens to Sarah to convince Oli that she's dead so I suppose it was possible that it was still 50/50 which of the girls was going to eat a bullet, but with the hallucination so recent, there wasn't much doubt in my mind. Unfortunate, cause that could have been a really tense scene. Beyond that, I liked the Ebeneezer visits Oli to give a little more insight as to what's going on in that brain of his. It's no longer about who he directly kills but people that have died around him that, rightly or wrongly, he claims responsibility for.

Oh, I'm also not real keen on the idea of Roy having powers, but it'll take a few episodes for that irk to truly set in. And speaking of powers, nicely done with Barry. Not a backdoor pilot, but a couple of crossover scenes...well done. But regardless of whether or not he's now The Flash, I must once again remind Mr Allen that if he hurts Felicity...it's his ass!

Speaking of payback for heartbreaking, am I the only one who thinks that Slade might be over reacting just a touch? From an "I should have told you how I really feel" deathbed confessional being the first sign that he had any interest in Shado to the "choice" over who dies made by Oliver turning into a crusade for complete destruction? Unless there's some psychosis associated with Mirako, that all seems a little excessive for a guy who was Oliver's friend...though I suppose more of the story is still to be told.

Because it bears repeating, "Hey Barry! I got my eye on you"
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I think they have done pretty good this season of showing or at least alluding to Slade's jealousy. I'm sure Slade feels like he is the alpha male and the more capable suitor to Shado. Slade is more reserved and business-like so Ollie's charm kind of won over Shado. Slade really can't compete on the charms aspects. Both this season and last Slade has made comments that could allude to his "home sickness" and wanting to get of the island. Ollie's failed attempt at rescuing Yao Fei caused them to miss the plane. Ollie's return with Sara (and by extension Ivo) resulted in Shado's death so serum or no serum, rational or not Slade has a crap ton of unresolved animosity towards Ollie right now.
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Maybe it's just me, but I never got the jealousy vibe. Awkward...yes. Third wheel...for sure. But never any resentment towards Oliver or Shado.

Perhaps a small observation (or lack of) on my part since Oliver's has his issues with over reacting as well with putting an arrow through Roy's leg. But at least he helped out after the fact, "It was the least I could do"...good stuff.

I'd still like them to fill in the emotional gaps as to how Slade got from where he was to where he is, which I'm sure they'll do. It just seems like a pretty big leap at the moment.
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