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Arrow S02E12: "Tremors"

Roy's on Team Arrow now! It's exciting! I guess! Probably! After all, it was the natural next step for Arrow's trajectory. There was little doubt about where Roy would end up after getting the Mirakuru in his system, so Roy joining the team—or Oliver revealing his identity to Roy to get Roy to focus and trust him—was going to happen sooner or later. And it's for the best that it happened sooner, because I don't think the "I have rage!" "You need to learn control!" "BUT RAGE!! AND DISTRUST!" stuff could've gone on for more than an episode anyway.

However, it's what this opportunity means to Oliver that really matters, more so than Roy coming to grips with his rage issues through crime-fighting. Roy being injected with Mirakuru gives him a chance to right the wrong he made with Slade, a wrong that he believes resulted in Slade's death. "Tremors" spelled out the Slade connection for us, but it does go deeper than that.

Oliver's been on a redemptive journey all season, from the no-kill policy inspired by Tommy's death to his attempts to get Sara to come to grips with herself and re-join her family to his efforts to help Laurel with her grief and addiction. Each situation is something that Oliver himself has dealt with, in one way or another. He struggled to reconnect with his family after returning from Lian Yu, because he was so wrapped up in what he became and what he believed he had to be to honor Robert's memory—the same way Sara is now. He knows firsthand what alcohol can do, and he sees that behavior in Laurel.

But all of that pales next to the chance to right what Oliver believes is the deadly wrong he had to inflict on Slade. Oliver is better at coping with his demons than he was last season, where coping meant putting lots of arrows into people. So if he can find some sense of peace by saving Roy—short-lived though it may be once Slade formally reintroduces himself and once again throws Oliver's emotional world into turmoil—then I'm all for it.

So while I'm engaged by the character development possibilities for Oliver, overall, I'm not particularly excited about Roy joining the team. There'll be an option for more and different types of action sequences—though I can certainly do without Roy mindlessly punching people in the face again and again. I guess it has to do with bias. I like Roy as a character just fine, but I have more of an attachment to and interest in Diggle.

I feel like Roy joining the team is just another reason to keep Diggle sidelined until there's either a Deadshot–, A.R.G.U.S./Lyla–, or Andy–related plot for him to participate in (remember H.I.V.E.?). I miss the dynamics of Diggle and Oliver's relationship, the one where Diggle is more than just the guy who nudges Oliver to open up and share every now and then so we can transition to a Lian Yu flashback. That's Diggle's role now: flashback trigger. What purpose does he currently serve on Team Arrow, mission-wise? What does he do when he's not in the cave? At least Felicity got to leave the city for a little bit!

The remainder of this episode's plots fall squarely into the "your mileage my vary" category, especially based on your early comments, and that's about par for the course, I think. At least in Laurel's case, anyway.

Yeah. Laurel. After two weeks of setting her up to get knocked down—hard—"Tremors" decided to kick her a couple times for good measure. Between Joanna's job offer psych-out and the impending disciplinary action from the Starling City Bar Association, Laurel's drink-a-thon at Verdant ("Can I get something with olives?") wasn't all that surprising. Her behavior toward everyone from Quentin on down to Thea was consistent with this sort of character arc for other TV addicts, and so it's probably the most competently Laurel's ever been plotted, even if it's also the pretty tired "My pain is special! No one gets it! Who are you to tell me what to do?!" scenario.

Like I said last weekArrow hasn't given us much of a reason to legitimately care about Laurel up to this point, so a drunken spiral of entitled and destructive behavior isn't going to win over viewers who are consumed with the likability of a character. But at least the show is playing this out, and that's more respectful of Laurel than Arrow has been in the past, and I appreciate that. Also, hey, Sara's back in Starling City! So you can't complain too much.

Then there's Moira, who decided to run for mayor against Sebastian after some prodding from Walter, Alex Krycek, and Thea. I am fully and totally on board with this ridiculous train of silliness, but only so long as it results in a debate episode. If there's not a debate episode, I wash my hands of it. The entire idea of the campaign feeds back into the redemption and righting of wrongs themes that I discussed above with regard to Oliver, but it's too soon too tell whether this will lead anywhere other than melodramatic silliness or melodramatic boredom, like Moira's trial. I mean, she's already plotting to take care of her OB. That's just fantastic.


– Amanda Waller's forming up the Suicide Squad! The show explained the premise for the group in the episode: Bad guys work off their sentences doing black op missions under Waller's direction. In the comics, they've had a slew of different members over the years, so there are plenty of options for Arrow to choose from. (If Shrapnel, the anti-government fanatic, ends up being part of the team, I'm going to roll my eyes so hard.)

– If there's one thing I often hate about super-strength as a power, it's the sloppiness that frequently accompanies its use. Roy can punch a hole in a cargo bin or throw Oliver half the length of a warehouse, but when he's pounding someone's face in, how come a single punch doesn't result in something that looks like what happened to the guy who had his face repeatedly smashed by a fire extinguisher in the film Irréversible?

– While I wasn't much a fan of "The Odyssey" last season, I do hope the show is building up to an Lian Yu-centric episode soon. Certainly the whole "take the freighter" plot will need more time than what the flashbacks normally get on a weekly basis to be successful, let alone exciting. If one is coming, I suspect it'll happen around the time Slade reveals himself.

– "Which, BTW, is a terrible a nickname because tigers are not bronze."

– "Uh-oh. You got angry face."

– "So... The secret society gets a new member."

– Dear commenter who asked about Joanna last week: Can you magically summon other characters to appear? Or maybe request that Diggle have something to do? Use your powers for good, not evil!

– Okay, so, next week for the Roy and Oliver shirtless salmon laddering, right? 

What did you think of "Tremors"?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/14/2014

Season 2 : Episode 23

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