Since Esther seems to have pulled an Oliver, I've decided to bring back my Arrow recap for the week.* It's official: we've hit Arrow's midseason slump. Uprising, the finale of a three parter episode coming on the heels of an excellent episode and a mostly terrible one manages to be just so-so, mostly because we don't dwell very much on the credulity straining main plot in favour of some great character moments.
Some parts of this episode worked and some of them really didn't. The flashbacks to the time where Tommy's mother was killed were a nice surprise and they worked very well. Merlyn has been a bit of a cartoon villain so far, helped along by John Barrowman hamming it up. And it worked, but it's nice to flesh out the character a little more. What didn't work: Attempting to sell us Melyn actually caring about someone else for a change. He's still a fucking psychopath. Even his wife's death is all about what he lost and his anger.
I think someone needs to introduce Thea (and Roy) to the concept of "Cool motive. Still murder." Okay, so Thea doesn't know about the Sara thing yet, but Roy does. How can he for one second believe that what Merlyn did was not out of self interest? He really is dumber than he looks.
And Laurel, too. He killed her sister, how can she entertain the idea of working with him for a second? Luckily she came to her senses because that was DUMB. Dig delivering the "verdict" was perfect, though. Because Dig is perfect. Oh, and Felicity not even bothering to consider Merlyn's crazy-ass offer.
And speaking of dumb things, HOW HAS NO ONE NOTICED MALCOLM MANAGED TO INFILTRATE THEIR SUPER-SECRET SUPER-HERO COMPUTER SYSTEM. Goddamit. Not only does he get in and out at will apparently, but he also either installed a camera or hacked their system. WTF? It makes no sense, other than to reveal to Malcolm that brick was Rebecca's killer. Writers, please stop dumbing your characters down for your lazy writing.
The other thing that's bugged me for the whole ep: keeping Dig in the foundry with Felicity. I suppose it makes some sense considering Brick & co. are apparently fond of going after people's families, but at the same time it really didn't feel right. Especially considering how much Roy and Laurel almost get their asses kicked.
I'm not even going to comment on how stupid the idea of a police force ceding a whole neighbourhood to a bunch thugs for more than a week is, I think that was well covered in last week's recap. But: Seriously? The TV pundit defending it was even worse.
Organizing the people of the Glades to kick out the ne'er doers? Probably a good idea. Certainly made for an awesome "HELL YEAH!" moment. But probably also not a fantastic idea. That could have been a spectacular backfire. I mean Wildcat got beat up pretty hard(just because he got a gig on another show -that was mean, writers), and people seemed pretty banged up. And then they'd trust the police to actually take Brick off their hands? Let's pretend this plot never happened. (If I were Esther I'd snark about how Arrow finally showcases the true heroes of this show: the people of Starling City who, after all the disasters, still haven't gotten the fuck out - or chased out the vigilantes with pitchforks.)
One of the problems with this three parter was trying to pack too much into not-three-hours of TV. Vinnie Jones was criminally underused. Besides the white-washing of the character (Arrow, you have a representation problem what with your magical asians and white-washing certain charters and fridging women. Do better.) if you've got Vinnie Jones on to chew scenery, let him. It's fun. And they didn't even bother to address why he seems impervious to bullets! It was also great seeing Sin again, and I'm guessing she had more scenes that maybe got cut for time. We need more normal person perspectives on this show, now that everyone seems to have joined the vigilante crew. And can we give Katana something to actually do? She can kick ass, let's have more of that!
Det. Lance was on a roll tonight what with rolling with the
Hood Squad Team Arrow and snarking Roy (hopefully they'll stop asking us to pretend he hasn't figured out who the Arrow is, too). Minus points for not figuring out which daughter is wearing the costume though. I suppose it could make sense, humans can easily fool themselves int believing whatever they want, but somehow, I suspect the writers didn't think this through that much. The scene with him and Sin was great though, and I'd like to see the two of them interact more. Sin as a rookie cop?
I also keep being surprised at how well Laurel works as Black Canary for me, considering how much I liked Sara and how mad I still am about how they fridged her. I'm also enjoying the hell out of all the interactions between Laurel and Felicity. I'm really glad they're building up that friendship.
The titular hero's triumphant return isn't that triumphant, and his speech seems a little ridiculous especially seeing how he hasn't saved anyone in a while.
Really, the whole ep was saved by Felicity at the end speaking her mind (and the audiences' mind), telling Oliver straight up just how far his head is up his own ass. Because Oliver, this is possibly the worst idea you've ever had, and at one point you wanted to just let Slade kill you. I mean you want to train with the guy who has such poor anger management skills he tried to level a whole city quarter, who purposefully painted a huge target on Thea's back and who let you get killed in his place. It's like way past time for Merlyn to face the consequences for his epically bad decision making.
(Also, if we could stop having men telling women "you're not upset by this, but that other thing" I will be forever grateful. It's awfully patronising, and it seems to happen every other ep.)
They're building something up with that discussion they had before he left and the conversation with Tatsu in this ep: that Ra'as will use his humanity against him. They're also building something with "only the student can defeat the master" thing. Merlyn defeats R'as and Thea defeats Merlyn? Or either Nyssa or Maseo (or both) turn against R'as. Because the student of the student thing isn't going to work for Oliver.
MAJOR SPOILER WARNING
Seriously, skip to the last paragraph if you want to avoid spoilers.
Here's the canadian promo for the next episode "Canaries":
It seems that Oliver finally tells Thea about being the Arrow. That's one long overdue moment (and she doesn't seem surprised), and I it brings up some exciting possibilities.
Overall this three parter had a flimsy plot and somehow still managed to not have enough screentime for everything it wanted to achieve. It did give us some really great character moments and some much needed development to characters that so far haven't had much time to shine
due to the non stop Oliver angst. One of the things this episode made clear is that we need a Roy flashback episode as well. We know very little about him and what he did before he decided to steal Thea's purse. Here's hoping that from now on the writers manage to keep things more balanced, as this show is so much better when it focuses on the ensemble than only on Oliver.
*Hope you're okay Esther, and not fighting any duels to the death on any remote mountaintops.
Gif credit: one,