Arrow Season 4 Episode 2 – TV Review
The bad news: the flashbacks are here to stay.
The good news: their screentime is neutered and I don’t think even the show is taking them seriously anymore.
So the show finally caught up with the rest of us, then.
TL;DR The Super Friends face off against a wacky guy who auditions to be a member of Damien’s gang; Damien does not accept him; Jeri Ryan tries to run for mayor, but is scared off; Oliver decides to run for mayor; Thea’s psychopathy grows; Felicity plays mother hen at a cash-strapped Palmer Technologies; Quentin is still a douche to Oliver.
What happened to you, Quentin? You used to be cool.
So the drive of the episode centres on Jeri Ryan, an old Queen family friend who has come to town to run for mayor. You know, because being the Star (it apparently is Star now) City mayor is such a non-lethal gig, right? Jeri is promptly attacked, which doesn’t deter her. But then her daughter is kidnapped, which does deter her. Oliver and the Super Friends manage to rescue her from the kidnapper, who was doing all this in an effort to impress Damien and be accepted into HIVE. Damien does not approve of daughter kidnapping, though. Meanwhile, Thea’s evil aggression manifests itself more and more, which leads to her setting a dude (the kidnapper) on fire for kicks. Laurel ignores that little hitch of the Lazarus pits, though, and recruits Thea to help her dig up Sara’s rotting body to go pump full of Lazarus juice. Meanwhile, Felicity is pressured to make massive layoffs at Palmer Technologies, but she meets a brilliant young man who inspires her not to. And the flashbacks show Oliver infiltrating a poppy plantation on Lian Yu by posing as poor, stranded rich boy Oliver Queen. The man in charge allows Oliver to become a guard/enforcer for the poppy field.
Arrow does know that The Beach wasn’t that good, right?
I’m still undecided on whether to continue on with Arrow or not. It’s coming to the point now that all the pretty people and TV-level action sequences aren’t enough to justify having to endure the glacial plotting.
I’ve got three more episodes before I’ll make my decision.
Let’s get some zombie Sara in here to spice things up, and maybe we’ll have a deal, Arrow.
Why I hate this episode:
Though, I suspect all that zombie angst will be saved for Legends of Tomorrow.
The flashbacks are still the weakest element of Arrow. Despite the “why didn’t you tell us before?” factor, I kind of find it insulting that we’re back on fucking Lian Yu again. And now there’s a poppy field operation that just happened to be chilling there. I guess they were never concerned with all that war and explosion stuff going on nearby?
Quentin continues to be a mostly unnecessary irritation. He’s only around to get his required lines, which consist mainly of bitching at Oliver. Oliver tries to tell him that, as the Green Arrow, he’ll be different than when he was the Arrow. But then Thea sets a guy on fire, and Quentin is unimpressed. It’s just repetitive, and I’m over it.
Oliver is inspired to run for mayor because he, unlike somebody like Jeri, is tough and can take a few assassination attempts. But what about, like Jeri, if enemies go after your loved ones? Diggle, Laurel, and Thea could probably take care of themselves, but what about your girlfriend?
Damien has fucking standards when it comes to supervillainy? Get outta here.
Felicity’s gambit to keep all the employees she was supposed to fire at Palmer Technologies is to bluff to the board that she has some amazing new product that will rescue the company. The board are evidently happy to take her obviously shaky word on that, and wait the six months until the next meeting where it will need to be presented. What the fuck?
Felicity’s afro-sporting miracle employee developed an algorithm to determine which employees deserve raises, and is horrified when the board use it to instead determine which employees could be fired. Fucking duh, dude. Really?
Oh, and Laurel is less concerned with the wellbeing of her roomie and living friend, Thea, and more interested in using magic psycho water to bring her decomposed sister back to life. We even get a shot of Sara’s corpse and it’s all dry and disintegrated. Yuck, Laurel. Also, if we’re going to be chucking corpses into the Lazarus pit, why not Tommy?
But it’s not all bad:
I have to tip my hat to anyone tasteless enough to dig up a grave on a whim. It takes a lot of commitment, and I salute Laurel for putting in the effort.
Thea, likewise, is fully committing to her bit as our resident crazed psycho. When she and Oliver go on a recon mission to interview some hobos who might know something about the kidnapper, Thea breaks one of their arms to torture information out of him. Oliver confronts her about it back at base and they end up fighting. And Thea fucking demolishes him.
Later, in the final boss battle against Sir Kidnapper, Oliver takes him on unsuccessfully before Thea steps in and beats his butt. She kicks him into some flammable chemicals and, with Oliver screaming not to in the background, uses Sir Kidnapper’s shock stick to set the dude on fire. The whole fight is the highlight of the episode, featuring some delectable kick work from Thea. And who doesn’t want to see a man on fire getting beat up by a crazed superhero? It’s excellent practical effects work.
Felicity’s subplot at Palmer Technologies is a tolerable complement to the main action. I found myself kind of caring about Felicity when she was forced to hold the termination meetings. And I’m glad Afrojack helped her come up with a solution. A flimsy, temporary solution, but a solution.
Afrojack sprinkles in that he’s gay and has a husband. I’m sure some minority-obsessed bean counters out there will appreciate that.
Jeri Ryan doesn’t stick around for long, but she’s believable as the tough-but-not-that-tough mayoral candidate. At least she tried.
Felicity says that she thinks she and Diggle should get codenames. I concur.
The flashbacks are thankfully unobtrusive.
Diggle and Laurel briefly discuss that the mention of HIVE has put him on edge.
Sir Kidnapper ends up murdering the paramedics in his ambulance and getting away. He leaves an anarchy “A” written in blood as his calling card. Damien also includes the fact that he’s too anarchic in his rejection speech to him. An anarchic villain could be the first step to an enemy civil war, which could spice things up a bit.
Oh, and Arrow doesn’t shy away from the dead body shot of Sara. I thought they would, but nope, it’s corpse time.