Jessie Robertson reviews the ninth episode of Arrow season 3…
“One man’s agony is worth saving a city,” Maseo conveys to Oliver, as a tortured doctor sits motionless with an arrow-shaped wound in his side, bleeding through his cotton linen shirt. This sums up Oliver’s journey as the Hood, the Vigilante, the Arrow and provides a nice backdrop to the ongoing scenes of Oliver, struggling up a cliff face, with no harness or tethers, as he climbs the snowy peak to fight the most dangerous man in the world, in a battle he will surely lose. The determination in which he continues the climb, despite nearly falling several times, the camera glancing up and down the peak, giving viewers at home a queasy feeling, but he continues the ascent, steadfast and willful. They are quick cuts, but once you have the whole picture, reached the end of the episode, the journey, its really quite beautiful. But, how the hell did we get here?
In typical Arrow fashion, tons of subplots were going on during this mid-season finale, most of them crucial to the over-arching season, not the least of which is the murder of Sara Lance. After 9 episodes (mostly) of red herrings and intrigue, the mystery is revealed and Malcolm Merlyn steps back into the spotlight as the possible villain mastermind of Season 3. How genuine is his relationship with Thea is a question that would (and should) come to the forefront as we continue on, and how much training did she receive? From this episode’s content, including a Thea-Arrow fight, and Merlyn’s incriminating video, it seems as if she’s been through League Basic 101. Speaking of, what’s the percentage that Thea might think, getting a good look at the Arrow up close and personal, that he bore a somewhat resemblance to her brother? 30%, 40%? I guess it’s just one of those things that always irks me but needs to be looked over. With the damning evidence in hand, Oliver and Merlyn are forced to make a deal and again, it’s fun to watch these two eat scenery with each other.
So, Laurel, coincidently, is struggling with Sara’s death, just as her Mom arrives in town. Did anyone else feel the scene between Laurel and her mother eating dinner was as contrived as could be? Sure, mother’s intuition, I’ve seen it first hand, but that dialogue was stretching as far as Plastic Man in my mind. Maybe I’m just an insensitive male in this regard; it leaves again, the looming presence of the news hitting Lance like a ton of bricks. Knowing Arrow, he’ll know soon but with so much heft surrounding it so far, this could be positioned as a major plot point later on down the road. I’ve often enjoyed Paul Blackthorne (Quentin Lance) in this role and it’s a shame he’s not seen more this season. Also, the scene where Laurel is visiting Sara’s grave hit me deeply, as the reality, even in this scripted world, that she’s looking at the final resting place of a twenty-five year old woman is sad (the gravestone indicates she’s twenty, but remember, they were gone on-off-island for five years).
Felicity takes a back seat this week but still manages to get in a couple good scenes with Ray Palmer; I thought they were fine, and their dramatic beats aren’t nearly as interesting as Felicity and Oliver’s, or their funny scenes together. Felicity demands to know Palmer’s plans and he introduces the A.T.O.M. schematics to her; she’s officially a magnet for super heroes. Is Felicity the GQ Sidekick of the new millenia? The men of Starling City seem to think so. Does Palmer have any kind of training, or just super intellect? How did he plan on going about helping these people? Has he given up on his push to rename it Star City? Lots of questions that need to be addressed in this situation; if anything, I felt like these scenes could have been saved until a later date; none of these revelations needed to be shown in this mid-finale.
Bad-Ass Chick Sword Fight~! Okay, now I fully admit that’s a trivialized male statement (sorry ladies) but our flashback provided just that. Maseo and Oliver are on the hunt for a supervirus named Omega that could wipe out a whole city and traced it’s roots to China White. Maseo’s wife has been kidnapped and that’s where we leave that thread: but when Maseo shows up as Sarab, one of Ra’s al Ghul’s guards, it throws a whole dynamic into the flashback. His kind nature shines through, as he doesn’t want to see Oliver killed, which he tells him, but it’s damn intriguing to me to find out how he arrived at this station in life. After the deal is cut, and Oliver takes responsibility for his sister, it all leads to the moment shown in those awe-some previews over the last week: Oliver and Ra’s fighting in single combat. Luckily for Oliver, League protocol gives him 12 hours to get his affairs in order. His speech to Felicity, his declaration of love is right on the money, and again, paints such a different shade of color than how Barry delivers his but is accurate as a green feathered arrow shot into a bad guy’s hand. The location of this battle, just epic and exactly where you want Ra’s to have these legendary fights (he hasn’t been challenged in 67 years.) Let me leave you with this until Jan. 20th, the pre-match smack talk:
Oliver: “You’ve taken your last life.”
Ra’s: “You’ve lived your last day.”
No other side notes tonight; just re-watch the last 4 minutes because it’s that intense. This is exactly what comic fans drooled over when thinking about a comic book show on television. January 20th seems so far away! Have a great holiday!
Jessie Robertson is a contributing writer who loves all things comic books. He currently has one novel on Amazon.com, exploring people able to consciously do what they want in dreams. Yeah, sounds good right? Feel free to email him anything, questions, comments, critiques or Lost trivia at firstname.lastname@example.org.