Jessie Robertson reviews the tenth episode of Arrow season 3…
We hit the ground running with a full plate of storyline directions by the end of this first episode and it’s a really interseting take to leave the Arrow team on their own as Oliver will be having his own trials moving forward. Let’s take stock here: the team is fretting big time over Oliver’s whereabouts, but are still following his lead and busting the bad guys. Their latest incarceration (with Laurel’s help) reveals a crime boss located in the Glades by the name of Brick (Vinnie Jones). He’s perfect in this part, a brawling, brawny English mobster who isn’t too affected by bullets apparently (arrows seems to work better, as Roy points out). As evidence comes to light that Oliver is, GULP, in fact dead, Diggle puts his thinking cap on and realizes Brick is about to run a scam that would nab all the evidence for every bad guy they’ve put away since the end of season 2. So, he and Roy spring into action. I loved this action scene by the way, gave Diggle a chance to show off some of his moves (like that running slide under the tanker truck); it was fast paced and not as choreographed as much of Arrow’s setups.
But it’s not about Diggle and Roy, the actual feet on the street, that can take up Oliver’s physical role where it’s left a hole with him gone; it’s the women of Team Arrow who take center stage. Felicity, very uncharacterstically, places the team in a state of mortem, even closing off Dig and Roy’s escape route to go after Brick, by keeping them safe. She is the one who refuses to believe Oliver is still alive; but being a woman of science, when the actual proof is staring her in the face (Ra’s sacred blade, covered in black blood) she shuts down. She’d also been an (unwilling) accomplice in Ray Palmer’s superhero venture, the A.T.O.M. exo suit he was planning on using to fight crime; but Ollie’s death shook her core, and she refused even taking Palmer’s wife’s name to help illustrate her point, which did not sit well with Ray. The balance of humor (which seems to be the crux of their relationship) and real, deep emotions played out very well in this scene, one of the most memorable of the episode.
Laurel, on the other hand, shines in a real way for the first time in a long time and acknowledges that even if Oliver is dead, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gone and refuses to let these new circumstances change anything. The courtroom scene tonight made me imagine the possibilities of more scenes like it, with Laurel as prosecutor, fighting the Arrow’s legal battles; but that’s not what this show is about, as intriguing as it could be, and Laurel, while sitting in a darkened Verdant basement, comes across Sara’s weaponry and disguise and decides to take the next step. I’m actually intrigued by how the team will react to her choice and what, if any effect, it will have on Felicity’s modus operandi right now.
The wildcard right now is Malcolm Merlyn; he proceeds in this episode like a wounded father, taking immediate concern when Thea voices her worry about not hearing from Oliver. He even scales the hollowed fighting ground of the League to search for evidence. He fully admits to Felicity and the gang that he did organize the events and yes, he’s actually responsible for Oliver’s death and will bear the burden for the rest of his life. These words may seem a hollow convenience to the team, but there’s real pain in his eyes when conveying this, and you get the sense, no matter how twisted it might be, Merlyn did view Oliver as a son in many ways and his death affects him deeply. By the way, Thea’s a badass with swords! She’s a million times more convincing as a possible vigilante than Laurel at this point.
And surprise! It is revealed at the end of the episode (after seeing a cloaked figure dragging Oliver’s dead corpse through the snow little by little) that Oliver does in fact remain alive (or came back from the dead, not sure which at this point.) This plot point ties directly into his Hong Kong flashbacks where we start seeing the first skin of the Oliver we knew from Season 3; the more compassionate, steady hand as Maseo’s missing wife weighs heavily on his mind. He picks up information on her, even in the midst of disobeying Waller during a mission, just to help his friend. Maseo tells him he will forever be in his debt; the debt is saving his life after Ra’s finished him. And who played a part in being Oliver’s guardian angel? Maseo’s wife, Tatsu, the same woman who told him to do his own laundry!
– As we learn from Diggle’s dress up at the start of the show, he prefers glocks.
– Did Felicity really just shut the lights off on Dig and Roy? Cold!
– Theorycrafting time: when Ollie was killed, most comic fans were thinking, “Lazarus Pit?” Right? I mean, it was Ra’s that did it, they’re tied together. Now that Tatsu is invovled, it could be ancient Japanese secrets, spiritual medicine, or her famed weapon from the comics, the Soultaker, could play a role? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.