This week’s episode sees Arsenal and Canary challenge Brick with two unexpected allies–Merlyn and a not-as-dead-as-everyone-thought Arrow–in freeing the Glades.
Pretty decent episode this week.
This week’s pointless flashback was brought to us by, of all people, the original Arrow big-bad–Merlyn. It was a curious use of the runtime in a series that has a lot of characters and plot to divide its time amongst. Firstly, I felt that we knew Merlyn’s backstory, and seeing it was unnecessary and didn’t humanise him at all. If the series is trying to redeem Merlyn it’s a tough sell. He’s tried wiping out a deprived part of town, used his daughter to murder someone and put her in the way of a threat she can’t hope to defend herself against so that her brother will protect her and take out Merlyn’s enemy in the process. That’s pretty f***ed up. I mean the residents of Starting will probably make him mayor, but I don’t think he can be accepted into the pantheon of heroes that ‘Arrow’ is giving us, do you?
The big fight between Brick and his men and the Arrow team and the Glades was cool, but felt like it should’ve had some more thought. Do all of Brick’s men often tail him, hanging out of sight, just in case there’s an uprising? And, why oh why do people with guns not appreciate they are in possession of ranged weapons… People on both sides were running at each other with assault rifles like they were armed with swords… Either don’t give them guns, or change the battleground… I think if ‘Uprising’ had left out the Merlyn flashbacks and the scenes of Arrow leaving Tatsu we could have had more build-up than we got and the revolt could have happened in stages, which would have really suited the kind of guerilla resistance fighter kind of takeover that would’ve been more believable.
Nice to see Sin return. This show is already pretty overloaded, but I can’t help feel that she could have a storyline to follow. She’s a little like Roy was, and still is to a degree–a brittle shell of toughness with a soft-centre of innocence and vulnerability that I like, it would be nice if she found her strength through an alias as Roy has. Sin has sown the seed of suspicion around the Canary for Detective Lance though–if he finds out that Thea killed Sarah… Dramabanana, it’s gonna kick off. Providing, you know, he doesn’t have a heart attack or something when he does find out :s
Of course, the big return was Arrow. Great to have him back in Starling City. Nicely dramatic return too. Although clearly it’s not going to be an easy reunion of the Arrow gang with Arrow set on teaming up with Merlyn–that’s especially not going to sit well with Canary.
Arrow deciding to ally with Merlyn is a brave choice on the behalf of the writers as it does put Arrow in very grey ground. Yes, it nicely prevents Felicity and Arrow becoming ‘Olicity’… because, you know, people can’t be in love or be happy–where’s the drama in that? Facetiousness aside, the alliance is hard to palate. I’m not sure it makes that much sense either. Merlyn is marked for death by the league of assassins but doesn’t think he can take Ra’s al Gul out, and thinks Arrow has a better chance, but he kind of got that a bit wrong as Arrow got killed. But I’m-alive-again-Arrow thinks Merlyn is the man to train him to defeat Ra’s al Gul… The logic doesn’t quite hang together for me. Unless, I’ve got the motivations completely screwed up in my head?! I realise this isn’t very dramatic, and a bit easy, but why doesn’t Arrow fess up to Ra’s al Gul about what Merlyn has done and then double-cross Merlyn with Ra’s al Gul and let them have at each other? I hope Arrow has a deception up his sleeve here.
Oh, it was nice to have the series poke fun at its conceit of hoods and eye masks being the instant cloaking device with Lance recognising Roy in all his ‘leather and lace’. Made me lol. Also, Merlyn wading in to help Arsenal and Canary against Brick was awesomely camp, the way John Barrowman cast off that hood and pouted around his ‘We need to talk’ line, that was FAB and also made us lol. We had to watch that again for the comedy value. I mean no disrespect to Barrowman, I love that he can balance being a bad ass with a dash of panto villain. It means he get the menace and the laughs.
Once again, an enjoyable episode and a little stronger than what ‘The Flash’ had to offer, but a little muddled. I’m not sure it’s going to find it’s feet for a few more episodes either with Arrow’s choice of bedfellow, so to speak. Clearly we have a lot coming with Detective Lance heading towards the truth, which could lead him to Thea or Merlyn for justice, and if Merlyn’s at risk, then so is Arrow’s alliance and training, and we could have team Arrow and Merlyn vs Felicity’s Team Arrow, and everyone vs Ra’s al Gul… Lots of potential. I just want a bit of status quo back.
What did you think of this? Did it float your boat? Or do you think it also felt a little all over the place and tough to engage with?