Arrow delivers an appropriately bleak and cliffhanger-y fall finale as the mythology jumps to the next level and a countdown is initiated. Six months, folks: that’s how long
Sunspot Sunscreen Starling City has.
Let’s bitch it out…After a string of semi-lackluster mid-season finales, it’s nice to see one that recognizes the value of leaving viewers hanging. So ends Arrow as ‘Year’s End’ finishes with Walter (Colin Salmon) drugged and presumably kidnapped, Moira (Susanna Thompson) in the know about it and Oliver (Stephen Arnell) bruised and
back broken following a devastating attack by the Dark Archer, Merlyn aka Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman). It’s epic enough to be memorable without unduly packing in too much in a single episode.
If we’re being honest, this is exactly where I think the show’s strengths lies. Whether this episode succeeds precisely because it is a mid-season finale or not, we see a nice balance between villain of the week (in this case, our impostor archer), some family drama (Willa Holland’s Thea’s return to full-blown b*tch) and some nice mythology pieces (the city will fall in six months if the evil white collar criminal enterprise’s plans succeed). It’s a great balance between the appropriately ridiculous elements we’ve come to expect from a CW show, including a holiday party that comes together in less than 24 hours and a motorcycle accident with no police report. Does it strain credibility? Oh sure…but it’s clear that this show is one helluva lot of fun. Throw in solid pacing, pretty people and lots of well-choreographed fight scenes and The CW has made a very, very solid choice with this show.
And that’s not a bad note to end the year on, no?
- Admittedly I could do without the Batman homages. Tonight there are two incredibly obvious parallels: the hostages are being kept at a chemical plant (is it ACME?!) like the 1989 Tim Burton classic and after being shot in the leg and back and escaping via a drop into an alley, The Hood lays in the rain and calls his trusted advisor
AlfredDiggle (David Ramsey) for help via Batphonewalkie-talkie (ala Batman Begins). If these aren’t intentional references, that’s terrible. And if they are, why does Arrow seek to constantly remind us of these other works? It’s good enough to stand on its own two legs
- Another week, another blah plot for Katie Cassidy and Colin Donnell. The holidays are hard in the Lance family because of whatsherface’s death and Tommy wants to help by further reminding them of her absence with a lovely group photo. I kinda wish he had photoshopped himself in because it would have made this dull storyline more memorable
- So has Thea been tested to see if she’s bi-polar? Because the b*tch is back, folks! Yeah, we get that Oliver isn’t the same brother and things can’t go back to how they were, but it’s not like attending a family Christmas party is the end of the world. Plus Dirtbag Shane (Scott Lyster) is clearly sketchy; I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that those flowers are poisonous or stolen from a funeral parlour. Good hair, though
- I’m guessing that Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) doesn’t ever get to leave the building? Is that why she’s always at work? Or is it a Hanukkah thing?
- It’s like someone read my mind! I’ve always found Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to be a pompous blowhard, so I’m psyched that the show has introduced Commissioner Brian Nudocerdo (Robert Moloney), a character who’s even more insufferable. Voila! Lance suddenly seems so much more reasonable and level-headed. It’s like magic…if magic were a TV show populated by a few characters that you hate
- Finally, what do we think of Purgatory Island flashbacks? Aside from the atrocious wig + bangs on Oliver, do you feel like you’re getting what you want out of them? Tonight we focus on the events immediately following Oliver’s escape from Deathstroke in 1×05 ‘Damaged’. Clearly our modern day connection is that his sensei was lead into a trap, which is exactly what Oliver does (twice) in his interactions with the Dark Archer (first with the bomb-o-gram, and then the ACME hostage plant). Plus it turns out that Mom orchestrated the island kidnap and torture scheme…bad mama!
- Thea (explaining how she knows Shane): “We rob banks and smoke crack together”. I firmly believe that
- Diggle (when Oliver asks if people are having a good time): “Maybe now’s not the best time to be Santa’s elf.” Way to be a fun sucker, Digs
- Thea (when Oliver suggests the timing of the party was poor): “That was just me being a bitch.” It’s like she’s in our head!
So that’s it for our first batch of Arrow episodes. How are you feeling about the show? Do you feel it’s gritty enough for your tastes? Are you excited about the reveal of the Well-Manicured Man as the Dark Archer, or do you wish it had been Tommy? Is Shane sketchy? And what will happen to Walter? Hit the comments below
Arrow has finished airing its fall episodes for 2012. It will return on Jan 9, 2013