Arrow Episode 14 ‘The Return’ Review…


In this episode, Arrow and Thea start their training on the island–and Merlyn decides to ‘help’ by unleashing Slade. His definition of ‘help’ probably needs some talking through. Although, this is the man that thought levelling part of a district would ‘help’ the city. This is only the start of Thea realising the depths of daddy’s complete sociopathic nature in an episode where more truths are revealed… Oh, and the obligatory BS flashback which has next to no plot value…

This was a pretty good episode. I questioned keeping Slade alive at the end of season 2 as it felt like he should’ve been killed off–but now I appreciate them keeping him alive as realising he’d escaped had such dread attached to it. The fight between Arrow, Slade and Thea was short but cool. After Thea being overpowered so quickly last episode it was nice to see her hold her own in a real tag team style fight. Slade had real big bad quality, so I hope he gets a comeback.

I was surprised that Thea found out about her role in killing Sarah. All the secrets that have hung between characters seem to be coming out. Although we still have Laurel and her father to learn who killed Sarah–I wonder whether they will be able to accept that Thea was controlled?

Thea confronting and rejecting Merlyn was a relief–but, wow, Merlyn is mental. I mean completely delusional. Did he say he did it for her? What?! He framed her and put her at risk of Ra’s al Ghul killing her just to save his own ass. His twisted motivations and his justifications make him frighteningly barking. I even think he believes them. He has to die. Hopefully at Thea’s hands.

Oh, I can’t let the prison escape go though. So, that ultra secure prison has a door release button just, and only just, out of reach through the bars. Because they only imprisoned big men in those cells, so they couldn’t reach it. Really? Really? I’d be putting my shoe in a pillow case and swinging it around the corner. Might take a while, but I’d have plenty of time to try. Ricockulous. From a writing point of view, why put characters in that situation if you can’t credibly get them out of it?

The flashback this week was what I expected. Oliver having a secret tour of a life he can’t rejoin. It felt utterly pointless. The virus plot just doesn’t engage me–it’s a prequel, so we know there’s little at stake. The only thing that got me through it was the action–Oliver arriving at the auction and chasing China White was really cool, especially when he jumped on top of her car and fired his gun down through the roof. Awesome. I did like Maseo’s joke to Oliver about how his wearing a hood, even if he’d worn grease paint, wasn’t much of a disguise. Nice lol at that in our house.

These flashbacks–are, to quote Blackadder, like a broken pencil–utterly pointless. What is their value? This didn’t further any of the characters we know and didn’t give us anything new. OK, except for Marc Singer of the 80s series ‘V’ sans ultra tight butt hugging jeans jeans and open shirt, which was pretty cool. I’ve only just rewatched the miniseries though, so, wow, bit of a shock going from 1980s Singer to 2010s Singer.

This episode’s flashbacks did have some decent action in it, but I want that action to be in an episode fully set in the present. I mean, this episode was cool, but I would’ve preferred it all set in the island for a tense cat and mouse game between the Queen’s and Slade. It would’ve really played on Thea and Oliver learning to fight together and given them some meaningful time together too. The flashbacks just eat into plot time.

Anyway, enough bitching–good episode despite the flashbacks and I’mlooking forward to seeing where this goes now. It feels like the decks have been cleared of a bunch of stories in recent episodes–hopefully to make way for some league of assassins action!

What did you think of this one?


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