Hello, fellow GeekDads. Joey here, filling in for Mordechai this week on the Same Geek Channel review of Arrow. Don’t think that just because Mordechai’s out and the sub is in that you can goof off. There was a lot of forward momentum in this week’s episode, so let’s get to it.
Where we left off:
Diggle doesn’t trust Ollie. ‘Cause, you know, Ollie kidnapped Diggle’s wife last season. And–maybe more importantly, though Diggle would never admit it–Ollie left Team Arrow. Again. But now Ollie’s back and having a hard time adjusting to not being the baller. The shot caller. The one everyone looks to both on the streets and back at the Arrow Cave.
Ollie doesn’t trust Thea. Something about the water they used to bring Thea back from the dead isn’t sitting so well with Speedy nowadays. Who’d have thought it? Oh, that’s right; Malcolm warned Ollie about this. Well, at least Thea’s the only reanimated corpse walking around…
No one should trust Captain Lance. The one-liner-slinging everyman cop has been coerced into making some sort of deal with the devil that is Damien Darhk (try saying that five times fast). Lance even took a bullet to the arm in order to sell the deception. That’s commitment.
Felicity is bad at the domestic lifestyle. Really bad.
Oh, and somewhere near the end of this season, someone who was close to Ollie and Barry Allen is going to die. That death will cause Ollie to abandon this new leaf he’s turned over and vow to kill “him.” Presumably the person who put the mystery friend into the ground.
If only there was some way to bring a person back to life on this show.
This week’s episode, “The Candidate”
We open with Team Arrow physically working well together. Seriously, nice Ollie-to-Laurel zip-line power move! But the team is clearly not on the same page intellectually or emotionally. Felicity is badgering Ollie for a nickname. Diggle has a helmet to keep the bad guys out and all the feels inside. Speedy has a mean punch and an even meaner attitude. Ollie has his hands full. Trying to win Diggle over. Taming Thea. Picking the saddest fern in the flower shop and making his girlfriend lunch for her first day back at work.
Remember the good ol’ days, when he had all the time in the world to — flashback!
Ollie lands back on Lian Yu, the most visited secret island on television since LOST. He disables one of the Others… I mean, a guy in camo with an assault rifle. A guy who is working for a low-level militant group. I mean, these guys can’t even afford balaclavas or grimacing two-toned masks. Waller’s mission for Ollie? Infiltrate the group. Make them trust you.
To save having to recap the flashback scenes, we’ll just say that by episode’s end, it’s mission accomplished.
On the heels of our “infiltrate the group by making them trust you” flashback scenes, we meet our first new characters of the episode. Jessica Danforth is the old friend of Ollie’s and Thea’s deceased mother, Moira Queen, whom Moira used to talk about all the…
No? Don’t remember hearing about Jessica and her daughter Madison before? Hmm. That’s odd. I mean, Jessica and Moira were so tight that Jessica has decided to pick up the torch that Moira dropped when Slade Wilson killed her back in season two and run for mayor of Star City. She wants to inspire people the way Green Arrow can’t. Detective Captain Lance is so desperate for someone to believe in that he must have been thrilled to see Jessica step up to the challenge. If only he hadn’t thrown in with Damien Darhk already.
While Oliver and company are off doing their “save the city” routine, Felicity returns to Palmer Tech to attempt her own version of taking a once great institution and restoring it to respectability. Enter the next newcomer, Mr. Holt. Here is the man Felicity could have been, had she not fallen in with Team Arrow, even down to the mannerisms. Not that Felicity would have become a man. Aw, you know what I mean.
So, these are our themes for the first part of this season. What did this episode do to forward these plot lines?
Diggle opened up to Laurel about his obsession with the HIVE since learning two years ago that they were the agency behind John’s brother, Andy, being killed. Laurel tells Diggle that he can’t keep that bottled up. He needs to let the team help him cope, so he can become as well-adjusted and accepting of a sibling’s violent death as she has become.
Ollie reveals to Thea that her violent tendencies are a result of her resurrection in the Lazarus Pit. Essentially, in front of the entire team, Ollie tells Thea “You’re broken.” Odd that she didn’t take that well. Helping Thea did have the effect of pulling the team together in a way that just thumping on bad guys hasn’t.
Our villain of the week is one Lonnie Machins, who kidnaps Jessica’s daughter, Madison. This in an effort to move up from small-time mob enforcer to heavy-hitter with the HIVE. Darhk doesn’t approve. Darhk says the HIVE is all about order, so long as Darhk is at the top of that pyramid scheme. Darhk doesn’t just abandon Machins, but even goes so far as to tell Captain Lance where to take find Madison and take down Machins. Lance tips off Team Arrow. Thea sets Machins on fire. Madison is rescued. Jessica drops out of the mayoral race. Lance still doesn’t like Ollie.
Back to where we started the episode, right?
Felicity has decided that the best way to save Palmer Tech is to stall for time and trust her doppleganger to bail her out. No pressure or anything. Figure out some mind-blowing technology while I relax on my impossible condo’s impressive balcony. Ollie has decided that he’s not going to just save the city as Green Arrow, but as mayor of Star City, too. He’s going to be the hope that the people of the city can believe in. Plus, he can handle himself when the next round of crazies come to take down Star City’s leadership.
Crazies who might represent a new level of order for Star City. Crazies led by Damien Darhk. Or, perhaps, crazies looking to wipe out any semblance of order in Star City, including that imposed by the HIVE. Crazies led by the escaped Machins, calling himself Anarky (he’s so anti-establishment that he refuses to spell “anarchy” correctly).
That leaves us with Thea. After being horrified at what she did to Machins, she has agreed to go with Laurel for a spa getaway and try to shake off the effects of the pit that brought her back from the dead. Or, you know, to go dig up Laurel’s dead sister —the one whose death Laurel is so over— and dump her old bones in the magical hot tub of resurrection-at-the-cost-of-your-soul that worked wonders for Thea.
-It was good to see Thea pull off the ol’ Waternoose Jump & Growl on Ollie again, like she did when she first emerged from the Lazarus Pit.
-I’m digging the Thea and Laurel relationship. They remind me of an Attack of the Clones/Revenge of the Sith-era Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. If Obi-Wan had only been a Jedi for a year or so. And had a dead sister that he was so totally over. In all seriousness, how is it that the same producers can do so well with the female characters on Arrow and produce such poorly-realized female characters on The Flash?
-Speaking of shared universe, at what point did we become okay with Barry Allen killing villains with impunity on The Flash and Oliver Queen being the symbol of hope for Star City?