Good afternoon and welcome to Same Geek Channel. I’m without my sparring partner as I’ve worn him out snarking on The Flash. (Okay, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I suspect Mordechai’s day job played a part in his absence.)
But in the spirit of point/counterpoint, I’ll try to pick up both sides of the conversation by pointing out the good and the bad in this week’s Arrow episode, “Uprising.”
–The whole team pulling together with the help of Starling citizens to stop Brick. Wonderful and just the kind of scene I love in superhero stories. I admit, I cheered.
–Diggle and Felicity being adamant about turning down Malcolm Merlyn’s offer of help. I worried they were going to go there and it was so stupid, I was about to turn off the episode, and then Diggle gave his speech and withdrew my objections. More on this later.
–Ted Grant and Sin being included.
–Captain Lance knowing who’s wearing the red leather. One assumes he also knows who’s wearing the green leather.
–Felicity. Just all of Felicity, the voice of reason.
–The lcall out to The Warriors.
–Diggle getting some action.
–I do love to see Roy and Laurel fight together.
The Not So Good:
–Brick’s changing power set. First, he can bounce bullets off his head, then he survives an attack by Wildcat, a premier boxer, but somehow Malcolm brings him down with an arrow and Brick seems scared of a gun again?
–I’d have liked it better if Team Arrow saved the city without Oliver’s dramatic re-appearance. But, I admit, it was dramatic and a nice play on “you have failed this city.”
–The whole reminder of the ridiculous “let’s pull the police out of the Glades because a criminal threatened us” plot.
–Though the episode clearly tried, I’m not buying Malcolm’s willingness to change. And even if I am, he still needs to pay for hundreds of murders, including Sara Lance’s death. At least Moira Queen went on trial for her role in the bombing of the Glades. Malcolm is allowed to run free and train Oliver? Isn’t anyone worried that he’s going to brainwash Oliver like he did with Thea?
–Keeping the secret from Thea. She was brainwashed to kill a friend. How the hell can you keep that from her, especially since you don’t even know how the brainwashing worked? How can you let her continue to trust a man who did this to her? Not telling her is the worst kind of paternalism. She’s an adult. It’s awful but she needs to know.
–John Barrowman’s flashback haircut.
–Oliver deciding that Malcolm and only Malcolm can train him to defeat Ra’s Al Ghul. Oliver has Barry on literal speed-dial. Even if he’s reluctant to send Barry into grab Ra’s and show how easily his fortress can be broken into, Oliver also has the Star Labs team in Central City and he has Ray Palmer. Why play Ra’s game? Why not throw out the rule book and take out a more powerful opponent in an unusual way. Science team to the rescue! Oliver has prep time, he has people with knowledge, and he has allies. He doesn’t need Malcolm to defeat Ra’s Al Ghul.
This episode showed why I originally loved Arrow and why I’ll probably give up on this show after the season. It mixes the awesome moments with staggeringly stupid character decisions that I assume are driven by the need for the plot to go in that direction. No amount of cool action can make up for characters being twisted into pretzels for plot.
And Malcolm should have stayed dead after the first season. I love John Barrowman but every time a show tries to get a hero and villain to work together because said villain is popular with viewers, it kills the show. It didn’t work when Sylar came back from the dead in Heroes, it didn’t work with Sloan somehow being in charge of Jack and Sydney Bristow in Alias, and it’s not going to work here.