TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 8 – The Scientist

arrow-tvreview-logosmallArrow season 2 continues after a short break for thanksgiving. I do not thank you, dear Americans, for interrupting my Arrow viewing this way! This week sees the introduction of a new hero – one who will be getting their own series. Does this intrude or is the balance right? Find out after the break

Police scientist Barry Allen travels to Starling City to investigate a seemingly impossible robbery from Queen Consolidated’s Applied Science Division, and Felicity takes a liking to him… much to Oliver’s dismay. Meanwhile, Sin asks Roy for help tracking down a missing friend, and Thea joins her boyfriend in the hunt, only for one of them to be injured.

It’s here. The moment when “super-powered” rather than “technology-powered” characters start popping up in Arrow has arrived. I like the slow build up that’s been made towards this – especially the links back to Oliver’s time on the island. I’m still wary of the inclusion of super-powered folk in the series, but I do trust the team to work it in nicely. Admittedly the super-soldier-serum is a bit of a cop out on one level, but I think within the rules of the show as established in season one a scientific (or pseudo scientific) explanation is needed in Arrow.

The episode introduces another hero into the mix although we see him here in a pre-powered state. Barry Allen (who comic fans know as The Flash) is a forensic scientist working out of Central City. In the comics he gained his powers by being struck by lightning and hit by a cocktail of chemicals. I mention this solely because there’s a nice nod to this event in the episode that’s subtle enough for those in the know to get but not intrusive for those who don’t .

Barry comes over as something of a Felicity analogue. He’s a bit bumbling and doesn’t know when to stop talking sometimes. He’s also extremely intelligent and innovative. I’m not sure if the direct mirroring of Felicity works or not but time will tell. There’s an instant attraction between the two that when examined deeply (they’re practically the same personality) could have some creepy implications! However – I like that Felicity has someone to flirt with who isn’t Oliver and there’s a nice level of jealousy played by Stephen Amell in his reactions to Barry and Felicity. Yes, Oliver is attracted to Felicity but he is also out for her happiness and knows that his own attraction is probably situational rather than anything truly meaningful.

We’re given an insight into Barry’s motivations that doesn’t feel overly forced and gives an added dimension to the character. Admittedly it’s the usual “why I became a detective” trope (a childhood event leads to the child growing up wanting to stop that event happening to others) but it seems right for the portrayal of the character none the less. It also hints at the possibility of super-powered beings that haven’t come from the afore mentioned super-soldier-serum…

Despite the introduction of Allen, for me this felt very much like a Moira episode. She’s not in it much but I think she shone throughout all her scenes. Following on from last week, Moira has a decision to make. One that Malcolm is determined to force her hand on. She also has to face the fact that although a jury may have acquitted her, the city hasn’t. This is also a lesson that Oliver learns the hard way this week.

Moira takes matters into her own hands and although her problem is resolved, I can’t help but wonder the ramifications for her further down the road. Her decision and actions have an element of “out of the frying pan” about them but certainly for this week she seems to at least have empowered herself. I’m sure things will unravel in due course.

Over in the past, back on the Island, Oliver’s attempt to save Slade is underway. There’s a great bit of banter that occurs during the scenes where the group make their way to the submarine that contains the “miracle” serum. This being the island, things don’t go as planned. I have to say, I disliked one particular line of Slade’s at a crucial moment which seemed very out of character for him.

I have a quick point about the music this week. I can’t remember exactly when it happens but there’s a real “Harry Potter” style theme that kicks in when Felicity and Barry are together doing science. It really distracted me from watching events unfold as it seemed so out of place for Arrow’s normal score. I piped up to my wife with “Why is there Hermione and Ron music? This is Arrow, not Agents of Shield”!

This is another solid episode that drives the story along. Barry Allen’s introduction is well handled and it seems he will be around for longer than the single episode I thought we’d get. As always, the directing was superb with a couple of nice action sequences though I do wonder why Oliver wasn’t out for the count before being injected with … stuff. Good stuff.

Rating: 4 / 5
Reviewer: Wedgedoc

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