TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 9 – Three Ghosts

TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 9 – Three Ghosts

16 Dec, 2013

The mid season finale of Arrow Season 2 aired this evening. Weirdly, this is also a sort of pilot for a new series – seeing the origin of another DC Comics character as well as introducing two other villains (well, one we’ve already seen) from the comics continuity into the world of Arrow. How does the episode fare? Does it hold the viewers’ interest? Are we left wanting more? You can see what I thought below. After a battle with Cyrus Gold, Oliver is poisoned and left for dead, and Felicity gives him an antidote that causes hallucinations of his past. Meanwhile, Brother Blood captures Roy, Barry continues assisting Felicity, and Lance loses someone when he tries to run surveillance on Cyrus. Episode nine marks the mid-season finale for Arrow. Set at Christmas, the story can’t really be called a “Christmas episode” but it does have elements of a Christmas Carol in it. Well, sort of. OK, there are three ghosts but they’re all from the past. So not really that much in common at all when you think about it. Following on from last week, we get a great scene where Barry performs science (I love the eliminations he goes through). It seems that there are after effects to Ollie’s trauma last week and, being the science guy, Barry is tasked with finding out what is effecting our hero. As with last week, these quiet scenes with Barry work really well and Grant Gustin seems to have a great presence without being in-your-face about anything. Good casting. The ghosts in the title refer to the hallucinations that Oliver has following the beating and injection he received last time. These take the form of Shado, Slade and Tommy – all of whom died in Oliver’s presence. Clearly the man has some survivor’s guilt issues to work through and on the whole this works for me. The resolution of this plot point, not so much. I found that slightly cheesey and clichéd, but that’s to be expected. This is another episode that focuses more on the support characters than Ollie. Feeling compromised, our hooded vigilante has taken a back seat sending Diggle on investigations. Meanwhile, Thea and...

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

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

9 Dec, 2013

Arrow 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...

TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 7 State v Queen

TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 7 State v Queen

28 Nov, 2013

Arrow Season 2 continues apace with Moira Queen facing trial for her involvement in Malcolm Merlyn’s great undertaking. Read on to find out if my patience was put on trial or if the episode was found not guilty of crimes against television drama! A deadly illness sweeps through Starling City. When Diggle is struck down, Oliver confirms that the source of the illness is a new version of Vertigo. Tracking down a lead, Felicity is soon captured by The Count, who has escaped prison. Meanwhile, Moira fights for her life in the courtroom against a death sentence, and Laurel is forced to prosecute her when DA Donner is stricken down by the same illness. Count Vertigo is back this week, having escaped from Iron Heights when Merlyn’s Earthquake Device struck six months previously. Returning villains are always great fun as the writers can skip over origin explanations and there’s an antagonism formed already between hero and villain that can be drawn upon. Such is the case here. Vertigo is portrayed as a bit more of a “care not what”, Joker type villain. After all, he has been to the brink and back after being injected with an overdose of his own drug in the previous season! Vertigo’s plot is also larger. No longer is he just targeting those who will buy his product. This time, he’s infecting the population of the city on a larger scale without them being aware. Again, this is reminiscent of the Joker, particularly in the 1989 Tim Burton film. Seth Gabel is superbly cast in this role, bringing a believable madness to the character without making the Count too over the top. This element of the story is nicely progressed and has a satisfactory resolution … providing the consequences of Oliver’s actions are addressed. I personally believe they will be, based on the current direction of the show. Our civilian plot this week concerns the trial of Moira Queen. I thought this strand would perhaps take place over two episodes but although the timescale seemed abbreviated, the episode crammed enough in to get the relevant plot points over. During the course of events, a rather unsurprising revelation is made...

TV REVIEW: Arrow Season 2, Episode 6 – “Keep Your Enemies Closer”

TV REVIEW: Arrow Season 2, Episode 6 – “Keep Your Enemies Closer”

18 Nov, 2013

We’re approximately a quarter of the way through Season 2 of Arrow now, and it’s been a pretty non-stop, action-packed ride to this point. What does this episode bring, and does it stand up to the excellence that’s come before? Click on to find out my thoughts.       A.R.G.U.S. recruits Diggle to rescue Lyla, who has disappeared in Moscow following a lead on Deadshot. Oliver and Felicity volunteer to go with their friend, but run into trouble when Isabel insists on accompanying them. Meanwhile, Moira’s attorney suggests that Thea stop dating Roy because it’s hurting Moira’s defense. Ah, Arrow. You were doing so well with your re-imagining of characters. Then you do this. Amanda Waller should not be a slim and attractive young woman. I know that the character has been reset as such recently, but frankly I think that’s a disservice. Waller was a woman who had lived, who enjoyed life and worked her way up to be in charge of a secret government unit. The woman had (pardon the expression) balls. Sigh. Now, we’ve not seen a lot of this version, so I shouldn’t really judge but honestly, when you have a cast full of eye-candy already, why not include the occasional bigger-build character? This week, team Oliver find themselves heading oversees. This time, Ollie has Diggle’s back and his hunt for Deadshot has placed A.R.G.U.S agent Lyla (no surname?) in a spot of bother. The aforementioned Waller turns up to recruit Diggle’s help (and, as an aside, to let him know that she’s aware of Queen’s night-time antics) in recovering the missing agent. In the course of events, our heroes head to Russia with Queen’s partner, Isabela Rochev (Summer Glau) tagging along for the ride. Pardon the pun. I think what I liked most about this episode may seem a little odd. With the action moving to another country and Diggle taking on the active role, there’s no chance for Oliver to don his leathers. Handy, really, as I doubt he’d have got the archery stuff through customs unquestioned. Oliver is reduced to being the man who has the contacts (via a fellow prisoner from the Ship) and the exit...

TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 5 – “League of Assassins”

TV REVIEW: ARROW Season 2, Episode 5 – “League of Assassins”

11 Nov, 2013

The Canary’s past begins to be revealed, and we are introduced to yet another DC Comics character in re-imagined form. Oh and there are ninjas. What could possibly go wrong? Check out our review of Arrow Season 2, Episode 5 entitled ‘League of Assassins’ after the break. An assassin attacks Queen Manor in an attempt to kill Black Canary, who has taken refuge there with Oliver’s help. Meanwhile, Moira is reluctant to make a guilty plea despite Thea’s advice, and Oliver is furious when he discovers that Laurel will be prosecuting his mother in court. I have to hand it to the creative team. No sooner do I ask for Sarah-related flashbacks (see last week’s review) than they deliver the beginnings of one. It seems to be a trend in television at the moment, at least in the sort of programs I watch, that questions are asked and answered in relatively short periods of time. It’s a trend I much prefer to the full on Lost-style of season or series-long questions that get answered way down the line. Arrow season 2 has been successful in maintaining a level of intrigue by drip-feeding new elements to the audience. Alderman Blood, the Canary (notice how everyone seems to be dropping the colour from their names!). I really like the way they manage this. We’re given a proper introduction to the League of Assassins (no brainer – see episode title!) this week. It is obvious to the audience that Merlin was a member, but interestingly, Oliver initially believes the assassins are copy-cats out to get him. I’ve seen some comments and speculation that the boat is run by the League and that this is where Sara received her training, but it’s clear that Sarah went to the League “after the island” and that something possibly more sinister is taking place on the ship. Probably to do with the previously seen mutated corpses. We’re shown that Sara was taken aboard the ship very soon after the Queen’s Gambit sank, meaning we have a year of catch-up with her to (hopefully) look forward to. I’ve said before how I love the re-imagined versions of DC Comics characters that keep cropping up in...