There were so many things to love about this episode, starting with the new intro. In fact, I haven’t been this impatient to see the next instalment since…well, since episode 10!
It was great to have Ollie back this week, and he had a lot more screen time in Midnight City, including a rather clever dream sequence. It’s the first dream sequence that I can remember, but it made sense as a manifestation of his guilt. He’s recuperating after all, so his mind and body are working over-time. It was one of those dreams which start really well (for some fans exceptionally well), and then quickly turns to hell. Ollie replayed his last moments with Felicity, only this time he chose to stay. There was a sweet moment when they kissed, which ended with Ollie coughing blood – the contrast amped up the horror factor.
Based on the timeline in this episode, it’s been a week since Maseo pulled Ollie back from the edge (or saved him from the ledge – one or the other!). Tatsu, having worked her magic, did make a reference to the cold (and snow) – contributing these to the brew of ambivalence (or was that penicillin). Seriously though, I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but she wasn’t wrong about Ollie’s incredible will to survive. Plus – we’re talking about Oliver here.
I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Tatsu and Maseo’s past. I know I was wrong about his reasons for joining the League, but if not his wife’s death, then I’m guessing it has something to do with their son. I really liked the glimpses of Maseo’s internal torment. He dominated the scenes in the cabin (where Ollie is holed up), and the connection between the two friends hinted at more to come from this storyline.
We learnt a little more from the flashback episodes. Ollie’s plan to track Maseo’s wife was almost redundant in the end, considering Maseo had his own plan – to trade her for the Alpha serum. This culminated in the pair fighting their way out of a nightclub (the meeting place for the exchange), and a revelation that Amanda had switched the vial, having anticipated Maseo’s actions. Perhaps the most vital piece of information was Maseo’s confession he would do anything for his family. He would even risk the lives of thousands of innocent people. It echoed Ollie’s own commitment to the people he loves.
But let’s leave Ollie there for the moment, because I haven’t even gotten to the things I loved about Team Arrow. Laurel, or Black Canary, was wonderful in this episode. Not because she excelled in her sister’s role, on the contrary she still has an awful lot to learn. It was the vulnerability that drew me in, the raw passion. Her uncanny improvisation skills helped – using her heel as a weapon was absolute class!
Roy too, really stepped up his game. He had a few memorable scenes; saving Laurel’s skin when she was cornered in an alley stood out. It was probably the first time he’d encountered Laurel’s Canary, so his line “I think we should talk” was perfectly timed. Later, when he was stitching up a minor injury to Laurel’s arm, he told her exactly what he thought of her heroics (“I’ve had training from Oliver and years on the streets. You have a law degree!”). Roy’s best moment though, was squaring off with Malcolm Merlyn. He was clearly picking up the slack by protecting Thea in Ollie’s absence, and it was really convincing. I have a new respect for his place within the team, especially when he donned the hood as Arsenal in this episode – he really had Laurel’s back.
Felicity went through a transition this week too, which was the result of witnessing her friends in danger. It began with an explosive scene at city hall, and perhaps one of my favourite scenes of the episode. Ray and Felicity were invited to a meeting arranged by the mayor, a kind of ‘let’s pool our resources and get the crazy man off the streets’ kind of affair – clearly Danny Brickwell has been busy. Aside from Ray’s bumbling entrance, because my mind screamed Clark Kent, it was gripping stuff. Vinnie Jones has clearly settled into his role as Brick and revelled in playing a kingpin. He gate-crashed the party, snatched a few aldermans and ordered his goons to execute everyone else in the room. Ray held his own, which was a point in his favour. He did get a little banged up, though there was some lovely team work between (Captain) Lance, Ray, and Laurel.
The after effects of the violence brought Ray and Felicity closer together. When she was able to see beyond her grief she was almost like her old self again, though their banter was muted (it wouldn’t have worked otherwise). The highlight for me was her request to borrow Ray’s helicopter for a Team Arrow mission. It was wonderful to see Felicity back in the driver’s seat, coordinating the assault and being the knowledgeable voice in their ear.
Black Canary had a few run-ins with Brick, which I enjoyed. I was hoping she’d get her own back for his “Lucky for you I don’t like hitting women” comment and, despite a few blunders, she did manage to have the last say. A fact I found extremely satisfying!
All in all, I like Brick as a villain. There was a point when I wanted to scream at the television ‘for god’s sake take him into custody’ (yes, I’m one of those people). He was pontificating in front of armed police officers at the time, with nothing but the fact he had hostages to save his bacon. I guess it wouldn’t be much of a reign of terror if he didn’t have a few tricks up his sleeve, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt!
Obviously with the appearance of Black Canary, Lance assumed Sara was back in town. It led to some difficult questions, especially given that the team couldn’t explain Ollie’s disappearance. Laurel’s decision to imitate Sara during a phone call to their father was heart-breaking. I wasn’t entirely sure about her (in the shadows) appearance later in the show, but maybe they’re moving towards a big reveal.
That about covers the highlights. I did miss out the scenes with Thea and Merlyn. It wasn’t a surprise she refused to leave without hearing from Ollie. Her turnaround, however, made for an interesting twist in Thea’s story arc. She has decided to make a stand, to fight with her father against the threat posed by Ra’s al Ghul. I wasn’t going to mention the DJ, he wasn’t particularly memorable in the grand scheme of things. Having said that, the ending was a surprise. Discovering he’s spying on Malcolm for the League means there might just be hope for him yet!
So, with Felicity agreeing to help Ray complete the ATOM project, Team Arrow holding their own and banding together, it will make for an interesting reunion when Ollie makes it back. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too much longer!
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