by Chelsea Dee, Editor-At-Large
This was a mixed bag episode for me, and I have a few reasons why, but I think instead of having a rambling intro, I’ll just do the recap and then talk about feelings afterward. Previously on Arrow, Oliver was killed by Ra’s al Ghul but not really because his old friend from the flashbacks Maseo yoinked his body. But everyone on Team Arrow believes that he’s dead. Felicity’s quit the team, Ray hasn’t been able to figure out the suit enough to become ATOM, so Laurel’s taken to the streets as Black Canary. There’s this baddie played by Vinnie Jones named Brick who has taken over the city now that no one’s really around to stop him. Malcolm Merlyn drugged Thea into killing Sara, and now that Ra’s beat Oliver, he still is out for blood against Merlyn, so he’s been panicking and trying to abandon the city.
Laurel is on the street as Black Canary, but she’s not very well trained and almost immediately gets herself killed. Roy comes to the rescue, and him and Dig tell her she has to stop. “What the hell, Laurel?!” She’s going very gung ho and threatens a bad guy to put him in a prison where he’s sure to die unless he gets them information on Brick. This is after a direct assault by Brick and his people against Laurel, Quentin, Ray, the Mayor, and a few of her people. They are hostages taken. After getting a location, Laurel insists on being in on the plan to take Brick down. Felicity is still on the NOPE side of these things, although after a talk with Ray where he says he wants to fight to protect her, she starts to rethink things. She also figures out that Quentin believes Sara is back in town because of Laurel in her costume. After a confrontation with Brick, Laurel and Roy soundly get their asses handed to him, and he murders a hostage, making it clear it was their fault for testing him. The two do feel responsible, Laurel especially, and she says she’s ready to quit. Felicity pops by and decides instead to reverse her position, saying that they have other reasons to fight than only for Sara and for Ollie. But to fight to protect people still alive.
So the team is temporarily back together. Brick demands that they evacuate the police from his part of the city and give it up, or he’ll kill the hostages. The team manages to thwart him, and Laurel manages to survive a brutal attack by him, long enough for them to feel like they get a win. Still, Quentin is told that all of his people need to be evacuated, because Brick’s still threatening people and their families. He’s angry about it. He tells “Sara,” or Laurel dressed as Sara, and she doesn’t give away who she really is. Meanwhile in the flashback Maseo betrays Oliver to try and save his wife Tatsu, but it doesn’t work out. They do all manage to fight their way out, and he says he’ll do anything to protect his family. This seems to be related to the real world, where Tatsu saved Oliver, but Maseo refuses to abandon the league. He kills other assassins to protect his people, but says he’s going back anyway. My guess it might be partly because of their child? The child is the only one unaccounted for right now. Malcolm tells Thea the truth, that there’s someone who will kill them because of what he’s done in the past, but she says they should stay put and fight instead of flee. Her … brief boyfriend-ish person is secretly part of the league, because of course he is, and he calls Maseo to say that Merlyn isn’t leaving. Uh oh.
Okay first let’s start with the good stuff. I’ve complained before that I feel like Laurel’s moving too fast on the Black Canary front, and I appreciate that she’s definitely struggling. She is pretty terrible at it, because she doesn’t have a lot of experience, and it’s going to take her awhile and some experience to get better. The fact she put on the suit too fast is actually part of the story, and not just us fans going SIGH about it. I like that both she and Felicity, and Team Arrow honestly, are fighting for the right-ish reasons now. It’s not just about revenge or in honor of a memory, but because things are really bad in their city and someone needs to be fighting. Since Felicity is helping Ray with his ATOM armor now, I would expect that means he’ll join the group? It doesn’t seem logical for him to fight on his own when they can clearly all use the extra hand. I have to wonder where Ted/Wildcat is. Are we going to see him again? Laurel was training with him for a bit and now he’s gone, but he could have definitely offered her better vigilante training. I hope he’ll show up, he could definitely be a help too, c’mon. I liked that Roy and Laurel were both shaken after seeing that man die, it wasn’t easy for them to shake off.
As for the bad stuff, I’ll start with saying BS to Oliver’s miraculous recovery. What the hell. Seriously. They can’t make us think that he’ll just bounce back from a sword through the chest thanks to some penicillin cocktail she’s given him. I keep hoping there is something else to her “cure” that would make sense of this, because even if he’s still weak, he’s not nearly as weak as he should be considering THE SWORD THROUGH THE CHEST. Or abdomen. Still. Sword through the body. If eventually we find out it was Lazarus Pit related or magic herb related, I’ll forgive it, but right now, this is completely ridiculous. And it belittles the whole impact of him getting stabbed in the first place. I am still furious about the fact that Laurel refuses to tell her father about Sara. This is borderlining flat out cruel now. Her saying that she’s doing it to protect his heart is ridiculous, he’s a cop, he’s dealing with gunfire and danger all the time. Yes it is going to suck to know his daughter is dead, but finding out his other daughter lied to him all this time and never gave him a chance to grieve is gross. It’s really irritating to me at this point. I hate Laurel as the Black Canary and that’s not going to change. It’s great that she’s not immediately good at it, she’s going to work hard for it, and I appreciate everything Katie’s done to become a better stunt fighter. It’s not entertaining to watch all the same. It’s awkward, annoying, and like nails on a chalkboard. I accept that she is here to stay and I have to deal with it, or at least I do as long as I keep watching the show. I maintain that they should have left us wondering a little longer about Oliver, because it would have given all of the characters more time to breathe and grow in the meantime. Instead it’s just like a ticking alarm until he comes back already. Which apparently is next week. Vinnie Jones seems his typical self as Brick, and he doesn’t have much motivation or compelling character traits. He’s just this thug trying to take over, and Arrow usually does villains better than this. So far I haven’t been that impressed with the results of the Ra’s al Ghul fight, and the flashbacks are borderline boring. Hopefully this is going to change soon. It’s not bad TV, it’s just not great TV. Maybe I’ve been too spoiled with Arrow always exceeding expectations in the past.
But what do you think? Do you agree?
ComicsOnline gives Arrow Season 3 Episode 11 3 out of 5 Vinnie Joneses
Arrow: The Complete Second Season (DVD)