Arrow Season 3 Episode 12 – TV Review
Not even an arrow to the head? No?
Not even a bullet to the head? No? Malcolm was going to but you wouldn’t let him?
TL;DR The Super Friends bring together Glades volunteers to oppose Brick in a mildly epic showdown; Malcolm offers to help (because it turns out Brick killed his wife back in the day), but a team-up is vetoed; Malcolm gets involved anyway; Oliver returns in time to be heroic and shit; the flashbacks are to Malcolm’s past this episode.
He has incredibly rubbish hair. Spoiler alert.
Following last episode’s police withdrawal from the Glades, the Super Friends take it upon themselves to fight against Brick’s goons and protect the innocent. In the course of their hunt for Brick, they come upon evidence that Brick murdered Rebecca Merlyn, which Malcolm finds out about because he’s spying on them. Malcolm comes to the Super Friends to suggest an Enemy Mine, but only Roy votes to allow it, so he goes after Brick on his own, anyway. Meanwhile, the Super Friends recruit Sin and Ted to help rally an army of citizens for a brawl agains Brick’s thugs. The fight goes down, and Malcolm gets Brick alone, but is prevented from executing him by a returned Oliver. Brick is arrested, and all is well(ish) in Starling City again. Later, having consulted with Tatsu, Oliver asks Malcolm to help him train to defeat Ra’s, as Malcolm, being a student of Ra’s’, should have insight on how to defeat him. Subplots include: Sin realising the current Canary isn’t Sara and telling Quentin about it; Thea not taking the impending attacks from the League seriously; and Felicity, while overwhelmed that Oliver is alive, fucking off Oliver romantically because the women he loves (Moira, Sara, Laurel, Thea) generally don’t have good things coming their way. And the flashbacks show how Malcolm became evil by hunting down and killing who he thought was Rebecca’s murderer, and then his journey to the League of Assassins.
Child Nyssa is ridiculously adorable.
Oliver’s official return to the scene is touching and welcome, but Brick didn’t turn out to be very impressive as a baddie, did he?
Maybe he’ll break out of prison and get back amongst it.
Or maybe Arrow just couldn’t afford to keep up with Vinnie Jones’ appearance fees.
Why I hate this episode:
I still find it hard to believe that middle-aged, not-entirely-ripped Malcolm Merlyn is some supposedly almighty, physically imposing warrior. Brick gets knocked around pretty easily by Malcolm and Ted, but apparently a bullet to the head from Diggle a few episodes ago was nothing? What?
Thea apparently still has her conscience in tact, as she frustrates Malcolm by refusing to kill her hypothetical enemies. Malcolm’s like “the League of Assassins are a league of assassins. Assassins kill people. You need to kill them before they kill you. I taught you to be a fearless ninja badass for a reason, you know” and Thea is like “Nuh-uh.” Oh my God, I actually want her to get kidnapped just to shut her the fuck up.
Sin’s back. I’m sure her one, non-lesbian fan should be grateful for that.
Flashback Malcolm kills the murder suspect by shooting him in the back. Rude.
We don’t see the Super Friends vote on the Malcolm team-up, but before the vote is taken they’re split half and half, with Roy and Laurel advocating for the team-up (because Brick is a murderous gangland warlord, you know?), Felicity vehemently opposed (because Malcolm killed Sara/is generally Satan-like, you know?), and Diggle softly opposed. Laurel apparently changes her mind, because the team-up is vetoed, and Roy is the only one who was still in favour of it. Nobody likes a wishy-washy superhero, Laurel.
Why didn’t Brick’s goons just let loose their machine guns against the Glades volunteer army?
Oh, and Malcolm blames Brick for all of the bad things he did, because Rebecca’s murder is what set him on the path of evil. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s Glee. And people who eschew personal responsibility.
But it’s not all bad:
Oliver’s back. No more unnecessary angsting about whether he’s dead or not.
And Felicity, in a suprise move for our otherwise withering wallflower, cuts the cord on their romance. While she’s ecstatic that he’s not dead, she is acutely aware of how damaged any woman close to Oliver’s heart ends up, and drops this episode-closing bombshell on him, which is also the best line this week: “I don’t want to be a woman you love.” Fuck, man.
Roy and Laurel prove themselves a capable crime-fighting duo as they do their best to keep the people of the Glades safe. It’s good to see Laurel is improving.
Quentin is getting closer to the truth about Sara.
Before trying to execute him, Malcolm interrogates Brick about his murder of Rebecca. Brick blithely recalls how killing her was simply utilitarian: it was required as initiation into a gang he was joining. He even laughs about it. So callous. So chic.
The Super Friends may have voted against teaming up with Malcolm, but Oliver doesn’t feel the same way. I look forward to seeing just how well they can put their shit aside so Malcolm can teach Oliver how to defeat Ra’s.
Our minor characters are doing a good job of spotting weaknesses in the Super Friends’ identities, as Quentin tells Roy that he knows he’s the red vigilante; Ted tells Laurel he knows she’s the Canary; and Sin spots that the current Canary isn’t Sara. Good on them.
The flashbacks feature child versions of Oliver and Tommy. Aww.
Oh, and Laurel seriously looks so great in her costume without the jacket and wig. They should just stop bothering with them.