Arrow Thoughts & Open Thread: Deathstroke

Arrow[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF ARROW]

I’ve been pretty open about not being particularly into the last few episodes of Arrow, so I’m pleased that last night’s episode focused more on things I care about – Oliver’s personal and professional angst. Awesome fights. Queen Consolidated. The mayoral race. Oliver in business suits.

The ongoing struggle between Oliver and Roy about what to do with Thea is interrupted by Thea herself being kidnapped by Slade – which we knew – who is working with Isobel, which we did not know. I was wondering if or when she’d be coming back, so this was delightful – especially since we got to see a Summer Glau/Stephen Amell fight. Isobel uses Oliver’s distraction during Thea’s kidnapping to get him to hand over the company to her “temporarily” – but of course takes it permanently – and I like that her aim was (at least partially) getting the Queen labs to replicate serum, rather than just being evil.

There’s a political side too – Thea’s ransom video interrupts the mayoral debate, and I loved the mention of the sympathy bump the incident gave Moira in the polls. Blood – who is also working with Slade, remember – is upset, as he somehow thought this whole incident was intended to help his campaign, but Slade points out that he promised Blood the city, not necessarily the election, and it turns out he’s in fact building an army to take the city. I hope this doesn’t mean we see fewer campaign shenanigans, because I honestly love the election plotline. Less island, more city politics!

Thea returns safely, thank goodness, having served her purpose, but not before Slade tells her her brother’s “secret” – which ends up being her own paternity. Why he frames that as her brother’s secret rather than her mother’s, I don’t know, other than to pull a bait-and-switch on the audience and make us think that someone else might be finally finding out the real secret. But then! He shows up at Laurel’s apartment and tells her that Oliver is the Arrow! I am so excited to see where this goes. Between this and Oliver’s “Now we fight back,” Arrow has me more engaged than I’d been for several episodes.

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “Your mascara is running.” Of course he has a handkerchief.
  • “You letting the bad guys stay alive this year has filled the jails to capacity.” Heh.
  • “Well, I told a guy the truth and he got struck by lightning. To be fair, that probably won’t happen again, statistically.”
  • I loved Felicity trying to get Oliver to make time for the company, and, of course, she was right.
  • “I’ve gotten pretty good at pretending to be something I’m not. I learned it from you.” Queen family angst is my favorite.
  • I love that Oliver still calls Lance “Detective.” Speaking of Lance, I am worried about him.
  • “I’m not one to hold a grudge.” Hahahaha.
  • Roy: “Well, of course you’d take his side. You’re screwing him.” I love having Roy on Team Arrow.
  • “From the moment your children are born, you worry about what the world might do to them, but you never stop to think about what you might do to them.” . . . “Do you have any idea of who you sound like? You sound like her.” Again, Queen family angst is my favorite.
  • “Why are you here?” “Where else would we be?” Aww. And Diggle’s “Now what, boss?” reminded me very much of The West Wing‘s “What’s next?”

Arrow Thoughts & Open Thread: Blind Spot

Arrow[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF ARROW]

Last night’s episode, “Blind Spot,” gave a lot of screen time and narrative importance to characters who aren’t Oliver, and much as I love him, I have to say I loved this too. It made me extremely happy that Laurel had such a big, active role – I’ve liked the character from the start, but the show hasn’t always given us a lot to work with, especially with the increased role of Felicity. And really, why can’t we have two interesting, complex women with large presences in Oliver’s life? Anyway, I liked that Laurel’s more active role came while the show is still allowing her character to be hugely flawed. Her drug arrest and addiction issues are real, and her father and the other people in her life are right to be concerned, but Laurel is actually correct that there’s a conspiracy out to get her. She’s also right about figuring out the truth about Blood, way before either of Oliver’s personas, or her father, or Felicity. And she herself gets to shoot her kidnapper. She’s getting a bit of agency back, and having stories beyond being sad about things that have happened to her, and more of this, please. (Of course, Oliver takes away the completely wrong lesson from all this, declaring her his blind spot and basically vowing to never listen to her again. Sigh.)

The episode also gave a lot of time to Thea and Roy’s story, which (at least until the end of this hour) only tangentially involves Oliver. Roy is trying to deal with his Mirakuru-enhanced abilities, both physically and emotionally, and Thea is basically trying to figure out what the heck is going on with him, and, for the record, I’m still pulling for these two kids to make it. I love that the show took this opportunity to bring back Bex Taylor-Klaus, who is always a delight, and to show how even when Roy is trying to use his powers for good, doing some vigilante-ing of his own, things are more complicated and more difficult than he’d like. By the end of the episode, the Arrow has offered to start mentoring Roy, so I look forward to seeing where that goes. (Okay, partially because where it goes seems to involve Colton Haynes and the salmon ladder. But only partially!)

Other favorite lines and points of interest:

  • “What color are your shoes?” I was eating dinner while watching and almost spit out my soup at this point.
  • “Lurking in an alley. That’s not at all creepy.”
  • Oliver: “Roy is not the kind of guy who’s comfortable discussing his feelings.” Diggle: “Not like you and me.”
  • “I never left one of Tommy’s parties with my memory intact.” Aww, Tommy.
  • “I’m so sorry, but I’m right in the middle of a polling SNAFU.” Heh.
  • You’d think having your superhero ex at your apartment taking care of you would at least prevent you from being kidnapped, but apparently you’d think wrong. Oh, Ollie.
  • “You certainly know how to talk yourself out of a victory.” “It’s a gift.”

Arrow Thoughts & Open Thread: Blast Radius

Arrow[SPOILERS BELOW FOR LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF ARROW]

Arrow returned last night with “Blast Radius,” featuring a visit from Sean Maher (a.k.a. Simon from Firefly)! Seriously, this show is the best when it comes to geeky guest casting. He appears as the terrorist Shrapnel, bombing events such as Sebastian Blood’s unity rally – and making Oliver go from campaigner (which is kind of delightful and hilarious) back to vigilante. Oliver winds up on Team Blood in two ways here – campaigning for him as Oliver Queen and then, at the end of the episode, making a deal as the vigilante to work with Blood on behalf of the city.

But at the same time, Laurel, who is sort of casually dating Blood, becomes more convinced that he’s not what he seems and starts digging into his past, with her father’s help. Blood talks about his tragic past as an orphan, and tells Laurel that his mother killed his abusive father and then vanished, but when Laurel tracks down the institutionalized “aunt” whose bills Blood pays, she claims that she is actually his mother and that Blood killed his father and claimed she was crazy to shut her up. “Sebastian is the devil. He’s the one who put me here.” Oh, Ollie, you should really check out the opposition research before you commit yourself politically.

Roy is dealing with the after-effects of the serum, and though Thea tries to cover to Oliver (“How’s Roy?” “Handsome . . . brooding . . . usual . . .” Hee.), she can tell something weird is going on – especially when his injured arm heals immediately. I hope these crazy kids can work it out – I like them together.

And then we come to Oliver and Felicity. Sigh. I love them as friends and partners so much that I’m very, very afraid of what will happen if the show goes ahead and puts them together romantically in the near future, and it’s looking more and more like they’re headed that way. I can’t imagine Oliver staying with a season two girlfriend for the rest of the show, and I don’t want their awesome partnership to be ruined by a breakup. Grumble grumble. Anyway, at the beginning of the episode Felicity is away taking care of Barry, who is still in a coma, and Oliver is clearly jealous, though he tries to make it sound like he just wants her there to help him with Arrow stuff. And then when she does hurry back, he accuses her of being distracted. Diggle: “I think you didn’t have a problem with Felicity’s performance until she met Barry Allen.” Indeed. Oliver eventually apologizes to Felicity and talks about how much he needs her, and at least he’s recognizing what she does for him, but I’m still not thrilled with where this seems to be going.

Other thoughts and favorite lines:

  • When exactly (and why) did Sara read research on the serum? Presumably not on the island. Am I forgetting that she was supposed to be a scientist or something? Possibly.
  • I may be in a minority on this one, but I was happy to see Laurel get so much screen time this week.
  • I know I say this every week at this point, but how does Detective Lance still not know about Oliver??
  • “If you’re dropping fewer bodies, Starling City should probably build a bigger jail.”
  • “Were you apologizing to me or were you talking to your quiver?”
  • “You’re not my employee. You’re my partner.” I hope you’re still going to pay her a salary, Oliver. Not all of us are billionaires.
  • “I finally have a guy who’s interested in my and he’s struck by lightning and ends up in a coma. Typical.”

Comic-Con: Arrow Casting News & Sizzle Reel

ArrowLate last week, news broke that Arrow had cast Caity Lotz, supposedly as the Black Canary, but EP Andrew Kreisberg talked to TV Guide to clarify that this may not quite mean what people think. And then at the Comic-Con panel, it was announced they had cast Kevin Alejandro as Brother Blood and Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger. I don’t know the comics well enough to really have opinions on this – any thoughts?

I do know that you should definitely watch the awesome Comic-Con sizzle reel: