Don’t you just hate it when you’re forced to choose between two girls and the one you don’t choose gets shot in the face? Apparently so does a certain supervillain and now he’s out for revenge.
Let’s bitch it out…Yes folks, that magical moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived: Slade (Manu Bennett) has returned – in the present! The aptly titled ‘Three Ghosts’ (nice nod to the holiday season, Arrow writers) pulls a long con on us because we assume that the ghosts haunting Oliver (Stephen Amell) are all deceased loved ones. This doesn’t bode well for Shado (Celina Jade), who we didn’t know was dead and is in fact marked for death later in the episode. When Slade shows up, the pattern is set and we assume that he, too, is dead (after all, we saw it occur last week and again in the “previously on” segment that opens the show). This is all just a ploy to throw us off the scent of Brother Blood’s (Kevin Alejandro) true master, though, who is naturally revealed to be Slade. All that is missing is the “dum dum DUM” sound effect.
So Slade has come to Starling City to become the supervillain he was always meant to be. I only wish that his rationale for exacting vengeance on Oliver were a little more substantial. After all, Oliver’s very impromptu decision to save Sara (Caity Lotz) did leave Shado exposed, but the true villain in this piece is surely Dr. Ivo (Dylan Neal). Perhaps Slade is coming after Oliver because Oliver denied him his revenge by killing Ivo himself? (Remember Oliver confessed to killing him in ‘The Scientist’) Regardless of his motivations, Slade makes it very clear (via ominous voice over) that he has no plans to simply kill Oliver. Instead he wants to tear everything Oliver cares about apart, destroy those who choose to follow him and corrupt his friends. The editing of this brief montage is significant (particularly in an episode so chock full of foreshadowing): Lance (Paul Blackthorne) will be torn apart, Roy (Colton Haynes) will be destroyed and Felicity (Emily Bett Smoakes) will be corrupted. It will be interesting to see if these three do end up with targets on their backs when the series resumes in 2014.
- Grant Gustin’s performance as Barry is just as charming the second time around, though this time it feels significantly more like a backdoor pilot (The CW is already pursuing a standalone pilot for The Flash next year). The ending in particular, when the particle accelerator is finally turned on in Central City, feels oddly reminiscent of a Smallville-esque plot as Barry is first struck by lightning, then falls into a shelf full of particle accelerated chemicals. And so a new superhero is born!
- In seeking justice for Sin’s (Bex Taylor-Klaus) murdered friend Max, Roy finds himself on the pointy end of a needle filled with Mirakuru serum. Since Oliver manages to resuscitate him, it’s safe to say that Roy is also a new superhero. Let’s hope super strength is accompanied by a personality! Ohh, maybe it’ll rub off on Thea (Willa Holland), who’s still being given nothing to do
- Speaking of nothing to do, Laurel (Katie Cassidy) is back and doing random odd jobs like investigating blood clinics and waxing nostalgic about magical Christmas memories of Tommy (Colin Donnell). 1) Doesn’t this beyotch have a legitimate job to do? 2) I thought she was all sauced/coked out. Is addiction a plot device that just comes and goes when convenient now?
- Laurel does get to preside over her father’s bedside after Oliver kinda sends a whole squad of cops to their deaths, including poor Detective Hilton (Roger Cross, returning to the series solely to be killed). On the plus side, Lance is able to get a key (the key?) off super soldier Cyrus Gold that may help Oliver figure out what’s going on
- Think Diggle (David Ramsey) will ever get a storyline of his own again? Guy is the definition of a sidekick. Now that Roy is super strong, does that make Diggle irrelevant?
- Now that Slade is back, who else will come back from the dead? I hope the series ends with the reveal that Oliver’s father is still alive!
- Finally, did we know that Felicity is Jewish? ‘Cause if not, that was just kinda thrown in there pretty randomly, no?
- Felicity (when Oliver admits he’s having hallucinations): “Shado, Sara, how many women were you marooned with on that island? Are you sure it wasn’t fantasy island?”
Arrow has now finished airing its 2013 episodes. The series returns Wednesday, Jan 15 at 8pm EST on The CW