Arrow: Season 3 Recap – The Heroes

arrow-header-5There’s not long to wait now – only one more week and Arrow returns to our screens. I’m going to steal Luther’s line, because it seems fitting – is it next Wednesday yet?

In last week’s recap I dealt with the villains from Season 3 so, as promised, this will be a low down on the heroes.

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Oliver Queen (Green Arrow/The Emerald Archer/The Hood) – Vigilante crime fighter/superhero.

I’m going to start with the obvious because, let’s face it, despite his slight absence from Team Arrow, Ollie is the hero of the show. He’s had a tough time of it this season; an identity crisis (or two), losing Felicity, the death of Sara, discovering Thea’s dark secret, a new dynamic within the team, Laurel becoming the new Canary, Ra’s proposal, and let’s not forget the dying part – or almost dying anyway.

Though Ollie can be intense, and often arrogant, he has developed considerably during this season. Perhaps the most surprising, at least for me, is his somewhat convoluted relationship with Malcolm Merlyn. Not only has he saved him, more than once, he is currently working with Malcolm to enhance his swordsmanship. There’s no disputing the Dark Archer’s skills, but still – it’s quite a turnaround.

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John Diggle (Dig) – Bodyguard, former soldier, member of Team Arrow.

Diggle is one of my favourite characters. He’s more than Ollie’s bodyguard, he’s an integral part of Team Arrow and quite often, he acts as Ollie’s conscience. Their friendship is one of the highlights of the show.

We’ve seen Diggle fight his own demons this season, particularly his guilt over failing in his job. Diggle still views himself as Ollie’s protector and the fact he couldn’t save him or at the very least back him up (during his battle with Ra’s al Ghul), really took its toll.

That said, he stepped into a leadership role of sorts while Ollie was away. The team naturally turned to him, and he did a great job. I enjoyed seeing him in action, because he isn’t utilised as often as he should be – at least not in combat.

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Roy Harper (Arsenal) – Member of team arrow.

I’ve enjoyed Roy’s development in this season though, like Diggle, he isn’t utilised as much as he should be. He has had an opportunity to show off his burgeoning skills, especially when Ollie was away, and has come into his own – in terms of his alter ego Arsenal. I particularly enjoy scenes when he works closely with Ollie. Most recently he’s taken it upon himself to be Thea’s protector and confident, though he doesn’t always say the right thing!

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Laurel Lance (Canary) – Assistant District Attorney, member of Team Arrow

Laurel has far exceeded my expectations as the new Canary. We witnessed a kind of character evolution, which made complete sense. Her training sessions with Ted Grant fit really well, especially since Ollie refused to help – she had to gain the skills from somewhere. I like how tough she is, while at the same time, her abilities are raw and in need of honing. Now that Ollie has accepted her role within the team, he might be more willing to support her in the transition. Her mistakes make the role believable, and Laurel more relatable. I’m keen to see how she develops during the remainder of the season.

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Felicity Smoak – Member of Team Arrow

While not strictly a hero in the conventional sense, she is a fully-fledged member of Team Arrow and in a lot of ways, she’s the heart of group. She is an expert hacker and a great source of information, both in and out of the field. My favourite aspect of the character is her dry sense of humour – Felicity is a great source of entertainment.

Her relationship with Ollie has taken a number of hits this season and her attentions are turning more and more to Ray Palmer. This dynamic offers a light, often humours respite – balancing out the darker elements of the show. They are certainly fun to watch.

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Ray Palmer (Atom) – CEO

I wasn’t entirely sure about Ray in the beginning, but I’ve grown to appreciate his intelligence and humour more as the season has progressed. For me, his character was slow to develop, but thanks to his relationship with Felicity, and the fact he finally donned the suit, I’m sure there is a lot more to come from him. I enjoyed seeing his creative genius at work, and even more, his eagerness to step up to the plate when it comes to protecting those he cares about.


Did I miss anyone? I’ve covered the main heroes, most of whom belong to Team Arrow, but there are others – those who have flashed in and out with a guest slot or two! What do you think of the team? Have you enjoyed the developments? What are you looking forward to most when Arrow returns? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


NB: Images used within this recap are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.

Arrow: Season 3 Recap – The Villains

arrow-header-5As I mentioned last week, Arrow is taking a two week break, which means my reviews of the show won’t return until the 20 March 2015. Of course, I’m not going to let that stop me from getting my weekly fix. So, just for kicks, I’m going to recap the season so far. This week I will explore the villains of Season 3 and next week we’ll deal with the heroes.

So let’s get started. I’m going to bring order to the chaos and deal with each villain in the order they appeared (mostly).

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Werner Zytle (aka Vertigo) – Crime boss/Mobster. Appeared in: The Calm and Canaries.

Vertigo kicked off Season 3, with a pretty impressive performance. I think Quentin Lance said it best, when he described Zytle as a ‘complete nut-job’. I found him incredibly entertaining, especially his wit. The lengths he went to in order to eliminate the competition were, quite frankly, brutal. He is clearly a man who enjoys to make a statement, given that he fired a rocket into a restaurant to take out Ollie. The fact is – he cares nothing for collateral damage, as long as his goals are met. I enjoyed his larger than life personality. He was a great adversary – his use of pressure points to overpower Ollie was a nice touch.

He was less impressive in Canaries, but I think that had more to do with the fact he became a crutch for Laurel’s story arc. She needed to face her demons, and what better way to do that than by hallucinating her dead sister while under the influence of vertigo. Well, okay, there are better ways – but you see my point.

Komodo

Simon Lacroix (aka Komodo) – Mercenary. Appeared in: Sara.

Komodo has definite potential, so I hope there is more to come from him. As another archer, this allowed for some incredible fight scenes. Granted, the best part was Ollie catching one of Komodo’s arrows and throwing it back at him, but still – I enjoyed the character and his obvious skills. There isn’t really a great deal more to say about him, because his appearance was somewhat overshadowed by Sara’s death and the emotional tension in the show.

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Malcolm Merlyn (aka Dark Archer) – CEO/Ex-member of the League of Assassins. Appeared in: Sara, Corto Maltese, The Magician, The Secret Origins of Felicity Smoak, The Climb, Left Behind, Midnight City, Uprising, Canaries, The Return and Nanda Parbat.

Go on, admit it, we all love to hate Malcolm Merlyn. There is no discounting his skills, his wit (some of his lines are hilarious), and the supreme arrogance – a charisma which is interpreted beautifully by John Barrowman. He’s also slightly insane and as ruthless as they come. Merlyn’s character has taken many turns in this season, and I’m still no closer to guessing what his end game is. He is one of my favourite villains though. I don’t buy the whole turning over a new leaf deal, but it is fun to watch. The fact Ollie has been forced to defend him several times this season makes for an interesting dynamic.

We’ve seen him put his fighting skills to good use too, particular in The Magician. As well as his intense training sessions with Thea, he has also tested Ollie a time or two and, though captured in Nanda Parbat, he was nonetheless impressive in his attempts to escape the League.

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Cooper Seldon (aka Brother Eye) – Hacktivist. Appeared in: The Secret Origins of Felicity Smoak.

Although this was one of my favourite episodes of the season, I was unimpressed by Brother Eye (not a great name for Cooper’s alter ego). He did have a few clever tricks up his sleeve, but was no match for Felicity and the fact his questionable plans were all about the money – well, let’s just say I was disappointed.

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Isaac StanzlerFormer Vigilante. Appeared in: Guilty.

He deserves a mention because he was a villain in the show, albeit a forgettable one. I much preferred his mentor Ted Grant, but he’ll have to wait until next week – since he’s one of the good guys. He did, however, allow us to draw comparisons between the mentor/apprentice relationship he shared with Grant and the dynamic between Ollie and Roy.

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Carrie Cutter (Cupid) – Former Police officer/Member of the Suicide Squad. Appeared in: Draw Back Your Bow.

I liked the idea of a copycat vigilante, and Cupid was entertaining in this episode. She had the obsessive, stalker down pat. I enjoyed her portrayal of a woman with post-traumatic stress and, coupled with a severe detachment disorder, it made for an interesting combination. Since she joined Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad, we might see more of her in the future.

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Digger Harkness (Captain Boomerang) – Boomerang wielding mercenary/Former member of the Suicide Squad. Appeared in: The Brave And The Bold.

This episode was another favourite episode of mine because it formed part of a cross-over double bill with The Flash. I particularly enjoyed the use of symbolism in terms of the weapon of choice and that, everything comes back at your sooner or later. An interesting form of karma. Boomerang was a memorable villain for me. He had a formidable presence, and his fight scenes with Ollie were great to watch. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of him.

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Ra’s al Ghul (Demon’s Head) – Leader of the League of Assassins. Appeared in: The Magician, The Climb, and Nada Parbat.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly impressed when Ra’s was first introduced. But he completely turned me around in The Climb. His presence was unmistakable, as was the calm superiority which gave us a glimpse of his power. I don’t like to say it, but Ollie was outmatched during their battle – the fact Ra’s started without a weapon and, at times, fought with both hands behind his back, was just plain mesmerizing. As far as adversaries go, he’s terrifying. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next showdown with Ollie.

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Daniel Brickwell (Brick) – Mobster. Appeared in: Left Behind, Midnight City, and Uprising.

Who better to play a mobster than Vinnie Jones? Although I found his role a little predictable, most of the time he was a pleasure to watch. He got a three episode story arc and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only did he make for a worthy opponent for Team Arrow in Ollie’s absence, but he gave us an unforgettable character.

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Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) – Mercenary. Appeared in: The Return.

It seems fitting to end with Deathstroke because, even without the Mirakuru induced strength, he still had the whole crazy vibe going on. He still posed a major threat, and maybe because of their history, he succeeded in getting inside Ollie’s head. There’s something majestic about Slade Wilson, so it was great to have him back.

Who is your favourite villain of the season so far? As always, I welcome your comments.


NB: Images used within this recap are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.

Arrow: Season 3, Episode 15 – Nanda Parbat

arrow-header-5So much happened in this week’s episode that I don’t know where to start, so while I want to jump right to the end and the rather explosive cliff-hanger, let’s start at the beginning instead and take things one step at a time. Not literally, since that’s hardly my style, but there is a method to my madness!

Nanda Parbat opens with Ra’s in the Lazarus Pit, and there really is no question that this is the regenerative pool from the comics. Despite the fact Ollie didn’t get to swim in the mystical waters, I’m convinced the pit has its part to play, so I’m being patient.

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Anyway, Nyssa makes a dramatic entrance, bringing news of Ollie’s miraculous recovery (she’s obviously never heard of the herb-induced brand of penicillin tea). Obviously Ra’s is aware that Ollie didn’t perish, and isn’t overly concerned. We all know that he didn’t buy into the whole ‘I killed Sara’ deal, and I think he actually likes Ollie – again no surprise.

In Starling City we got to see a rather short practice session between Malcolm, Thea and Ollie, which allowed Merlyn to show off his skills. Mostly, it was a chance to point out Ollie’s flaws, with the crack about bringing a bow and arrow to a sword fight. Though if Ollie were an expert with a blade it would be a very different show. And it could be, if his confrontation with Ra’s later is anything to go by. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Diggle arrived to reassure everyone that Argus provided the necessary tech to fortify the club, and couldn’t resist a ‘dig’ at Merlyn (that was terrible, even for me). “My friends’ call me Dig – you shouldn’t even speak to me.” After a rather awkward conversation between Laurel and Thea, which hinted at the direction their scenes would take, Diggle then checks in with Ollie. The show has been missing this connection, and their scenes together were some of my favourites.

arrow-image-nanda-parbat-stephen-amell-600x400The first flashback in this episode involved General Shrieve and the rather surprising revelation that Ollie and the Yamashiros had been released from Amanda’s, shall we say, employ. I didn’t buy it for a second, it was just way too easy. Still, it set things up pretty nicely.

While we’re on the subject of flashbacks, the next time we see Ollie he is with the Yamashiros at the docks. Ollie’s ‘I hate boats!’ was a nice touch. I think we all knew, before Maseo realised there was something wrong with the picture – trouble was on the horizon. Amanda had sent in a team and it wasn’t to say goodbye. A gun fight ensued, and the flashbacks culminated in Maseo and Tatsu getting pinned down, and Ollie hightailing it out of there with Akio.

But let’s get back to the real action. As I mentioned, Thea came face to face with her demons the moment she saw Laurel again, which led to the first major surprise of the episode – confessing all to Laurel. I didn’t see it coming, nor did I expect Laurel’s reaction. She didn’t blame Thea for her role in her sister’s death, she blamed Malcolm and challenged Thea’s decision to side with her father.

confession timeThis leads to Thea turning her father in to the League (though she later tells Nyssa the truth). Perhaps the most telling of her scenes is the moment she offers Nyssa a chance to exact her revenge (by giving her a dagger). I’m not sure how that will turn out, but if Nyssa takes up the gauntlet, it won’t end well.

Laurel was pretty great in the episode too. I actually cringed when she went to see Ollie, because she led him into a trap. Naturally he lied to her, and we watched him do it. We also got to see her face off with Malcolm which, granted, was a purely emotional response. Merlyn was dynamic in this scene, clearly amused by Laurel. Nyssa and the League arrived at just the right moment and took Malcolm into custody. I’m not sure why, but I almost felt sorry for him – the man gets to everyone (the power of John Barrowman, I suppose).

merlynOf course the episode is called Nanda Parbat, and it was a given that Merlyn would be taken. Ollie’s reason for going after him, to save his sister’s soul, was almost believable. Though, like Diggle, we all knew there was more to it than that.

The rescue attempt didn’t go well, despite the fact Ollie managed to grab Nyssa, and Malcolm made an impressive last ditch attempt to free himself. He’s good, but he’s no Ra’s al Ghul (he needs both hands to fight!)

The scene between Ra’s and Malcolm was electric. Ra’s is one cool cucumber, and he turned Malcolm Merlyn into a gibbering wreck – well, not quite, but he did beg.

arrow_70297But before I get to the conclusion, I’d like to touch on the other surprise of the episode. Finally, after weeks of wondering what happened to Ray, we got to see his special brand of eccentric billionaire, which was adorable. Yes, I said it. I didn’t think of CK once! I loved his response to a concerned Felicity in regard to his disappearance. A slightly confused ‘it’s been a week?’ and all becomes clear that Mr Palmer has been in a world of his own.

The chemistry between Ray and Felicity has been growing for a while, and considering her emotional state, it was hardly a shock that she acted on the attraction. It was almost funny when Ray woke up and was hit by a wave of inspiration that solved all his problems. But who cares because we got to see A.T.O.M at last. It was beyond awesome to see Ray flying around Starling – I cannot wait to see where this goes.

So that just leaves Diggle, because he was a big part of the action this week. As I said, I loved his scenes with Ollie – watching them fight side by side was a wonderful treat.

ollie and digAlthough they were captured while trying to storm Nanda Parbat, they did come pretty close to achieving their mission. Ollie finally opened up, and in a particularly touching moment (I know I’m being sentimental), Diggle told Ollie he views him as his brother. He even wants him to be best man at his wedding (if they make it out alive). Ollie wasn’t the only one who felt ‘pretty good’ about that. It definitely gave me a case of the warm and fuzzies!

Eventually Ollie is led to Ra’s al Ghul to meet his fate. In typical Ollie fashion he refuses to beg for his own life, but is more than willing to beg for Diggle’s. Not that Ra’s has any intention of killing him. What he wants is something altogether more terrifying – he wants Ollie to become the next Demon’s Head. Now I know some people predicted as much, but not me. I was blown away by this turn of events.

_1424936429How about you? Did you suspect Ra’s had an ulterior motive? What did you think of A.T.O.M? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Arrow is taking a break for a few weeks and will return March 18. My next review will be on Friday. March 20..


NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.

Arrow: Season 3, Episode 14 – The Return

arrow-header-5Well, this week’s episode included a few old faces, some really bad wig choices, and an interesting flashback or two. Though we were without Team Arrow, there was plenty of action, thanks to Ollie’s return to Lian Yu. Let’s deal with that first.

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Ollie and Thea’s time on the island began with a few great shots of the pair training together. This sense of camaraderie broke us in gently, lulling us into a false sense of security, one which couldn’t last – Lian Yu is hardly a weekend retreat. Pretty soon, Ollie had to clear his head. Chased away, not by his inner demons, but the prospect of spilling the secret we all knew was coming – who really killed Sara.

So now Ollie is feeling confused and, tormented by the knowledge of Malcolm’s deception, where else would he go? To see Slade Wilson of course. Unfortunately their happy little reunion didn’t go according to plan, because Malcolm threw a spanner in the works – he let Slade out of his A.R.G.U.S secure prison. How he pulled that one off I’m not quite sure, perhaps the man really is a magician!

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Malcolm’s smug telephone conversation with Ollie was a nice touch, though little more than a ‘surprise’ – now go find those killer instincts, kind of speech. Unsurprisingly, Slade steps in when they are off their game, so Ollie and Thea wind up in his old cell.

I have to say, it was great to have Slade back; every maniacal inch of him. His crazy ramblings didn’t make a great deal of sense, but then that’s what we love about him. He left them to sweat for a while, but not before planting more doubt in Thea’s mind that Ollie is keeping secrets. It’s not like he could go anywhere. He’d already used the clearing his head line, and being stuck in confinement kind of limits your options. Dislocating his sister’s arm did seem a little extreme as evasions go, but at least they got out of the cell. The security in that place needs a serious overhaul.

sladeThe scenes on the island were actually my favourite thing about the episode (I’m dealing with the flashbacks separately), especially Thea almost running into one of Ollie’s old traps. He jumps to her defence just in time and takes a spike in the shoulder. With nowhere left to run he finally spills the beans, and Thea’s reaction was spot on.

thea and slade

She uses the anger to good use because, when Slade pops up again, she gives as good as she gets. Ollie and Thea actually had a whole tag-team thing going on, which was really cool to watch. Without the benefit of the Mirakuru, Slade is no match for them and Thea turns his own gun on him. Ollie manages to talk Thea out of shooting him, and instead they put him back in his cell. Slade being Slade though, has to have the final word. He pushes Ollie’s buttons a little, before calmly settling down on his bunk like it’s just an ordinary day on Lian Yu.

Flashbacks

Personally, I think the flashbacks ate into time better spent on the island. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the huge risk Amanda faced by taking Ollie back to Starling. Any number of agents could have high jacked China White’s deal, especially since she was missing a major component – the Alpha. But then, they had to find some way of linking all the storylines together and there’s definitely more to come.

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One major plus was the fact we got to see Tommy again, which is always a pleasure. I’ve really missed his presence, so I don’t begrudge him the onscreen time. Thankfully they didn’t force him to wear a terrible wig, which is another thing I’m grateful for. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Quentin Lance, though he was true to character and as electrifying as ever.

I was a little confused about the purpose of Diggle’s role, especially as his brother was introduced for the first time and yet the storyline went nowhere. Felicity also made an appearance, though it felt forced. The fact she happened to comment on Ollie’s photograph when he was within earshot was convenient to say the least. Though she does have a tendency to talk to herself, and I do like that about her.

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For the most part, Ollie’s scenes were believable. Naturally, his mind was on his family, especially when he witnessed Thea’s downward spiral. So it made sense that he would jeopardise the mission to help her. Finding a recording from his father, beseeching him to right his wrongs and save the city was also a valid reason he chose to help stop China White. But it didn’t explain why he agreed to go back to China for ‘one last mission’.

While we’re on the subject though. There was an appearance from General Matthew Shrieve, which begs the question, are the Creature Commandos going to get some airtime in Arrow?

What did you think of the episode? What was your favourite part of this week’s show? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


NB: Images used within this review are the copyright of The CW Network. All rights reserved.