“This is Your Sword” was another mixed bag of an episode. It had a lot of great moments, but as I’ve been saying in the recaps recently, the overall stakes don’t make any sense. The audience is steps ahead of the characters, telling them what will happen instead of wondering. We end with a cliffhanger where every member of Team Arrow (save Thea) “dies” from the Alpha/Omega bio-weapon. Yeah, uhm okay. Sure. That totally happened.
But some good things:
Diggle out in the field is always great. But. He. Needs. A. Costume. All those mooks they definitely didn’t kill saw his face and can ID him. Obviously he’s already been marked as an accomplice to The (Late) Arrow, but now he could get arrested for his own vigilante-sism! But I’m on good things, so: yes, Diggle out in the field.
I am kind of digging (lol) the Diggle/Black Canary partnership. I wish they had more dialogue together on camera, but I’m enjoying them teaming up and fighting crime. Now we see Diggle putting in earplugs for the Canary Cry as well. I think it’s one of those things they’d only use when there are no civilians around to be hurt as well.
Roy and Thea’s reunion was great.
I’m glad they got some closure and that Roy PASSED ALONG THE ARSENAL SUIT TO HER! Time for Speedy to get her Arrow on! I suppose her next stop was to a tailor to get it taken in… It was a bit weird that Roy left the note for her at his job rather than, you know, in the bed. But hey, sometimes you gotta write a change of scenery (and they had to justify building that autoshop set with a second scene I guess).
“I always thought red was more your color anyway.” – Says the kid who LOVES red hoodies.
Between this episode of Arrow and the penultimate episode of The Flash, there have been a LOT of Green Lantern references. This week they head to Ferris Airfield in Coast City (which must be in in the same “between the cities” space as Iron Heights. Neither team has any trouble getting to these places. Are the executive producers laying the groundwork for a Green Lantern series? Or an in-show introduction like they’ve done with The Flash and ATOM? Hmmmm.
“He has lied to us so many times it should be a drinking game.” Pretty sure it is, Felicity. Somewhere. That should be a Rule of the Internet: Somewhere, there is a drinking game of it.
Maseo vs. Tatsu wasn’t a good thing per se, but it was an enjoyable part of the episode, despite how heartbreaking it was.
It was great seeing Katana in action and suited up! With them on the empty field like they were, I felt like they were fighting on a Mortal Kombat stage.
I kept looking to the top of the TV screen, looking for a hit points counter.
I loved Felicity throwing her tablet at the League shadow and thinking she killed him, but then seeing Malcolm.
More of this Felicity, please!
Ray actually does something! He falls flat on his behind once again, but he’s getting his field training in!
Felicity and John holding each other as they die is so precious.
Again, the stakes of the moment are invalidated because, if we didn’t already know they HAVE to survive by being the ENTIRE CAST, the previews for the finale spoil their aliveness. But taking the moment for what it is between the characters, it’s great to get more Felicity/Diggle time. I hope we get to see more downtime between them, but I like how much they’ve stuck together with Oliver gone. In their “final” moments, they honored their bond.
Oh, is Felicity getting Palmer Tech?!
I of course want her to be in charge and hope that she’s the new CEO, but… Felicity knows better than to sign things without reading them. Did her a bit of disservice to not have her skim it (Oliver would totally sign without reading it, it’s not in Felicity’s character to not read things). OR perhaps Ray is giving the company to Damian Darhk and Felicity has to work for him, which might also be cool. HMM.
Things I didn’t like:
To start off this section, I will recount Diggle’s words to Oliver:
“You didn’t just lose my friendship. You lost my trust.”
Hmm, resonates with some fans about the production team, no? With the oddball storytelling, gaps in plot and continuity, and the way we’re steps ahead of the writing, it feels like the EPs will have to work to get us back to that late season two adoration of the show. Oliver and the show both have some work to do to mend some broken bridges.
There was no reason for Team Arrow to trust or accept Tatsu’s word that Oliver was good and had a plan. They don’t know her and she’s never even been mentioned to them before! There needed to be more for them to trust her, like a token or inside knowledge.
Her knowledge of Oliver’s feelings for Felicity don’t prove that he’s good right now.
So Oliver has been faking his brainwashing this whole time. I had a feeling, last week I listed all the reasons that gave him away, but Oliver ONCE AGAIN choosing to work with Malcolm rather than his team rubs me the wrong way. And again I think it’s a matter of how it was presented. I want to say I get it from a character standpoint to some extent — he doesn’t think they can act the part — BUT he got the idea from them! A few weeks ago, Diggle and Felicity proved they could keep a secret, from Oliver himself! Instead of taking the lesson that he needed to work with him team (he was upset they didn’t tell him), he once again goes behind their backs and keeps them out of the loop. If he hadn’t been doing it all season, I could see this being merely a useful, and perhaps necessary, retaliation to their plot with Roy, but instead it feels as though he hasn’t learned his lesson.
Then Malcolm immediately betrays him. I really hope that Oliver factored that betrayal into his plans. I am hopeful that he had, because he’d be stupid not to know that at this point, but I need more reason to trust Oliver’s plans before the reveal.
I feel like there were some weird word choices this week. Why does Malcolm say “charade” like that? And who says “capitulate?” And since when does Laurel say “sanguine?” Word choice is important in writing and none of these words felt organic to the character. The actors had a hard time saying them. Malcolm is a bit more understanding, he’s a guy who acts more important than he is, so his word choices would match, but it didn’t mesh with how these characters have been speaking all the time we’ve known them.
It’s just as easy to enter Nanda Parbat as it is to enter the foundry. And Lian Yu for that matter. All of these places need better security.
Poor Thea is out of the Team Arrow loop again.
THE WEDDING. Poor Nyssa feels so trapped and isn’t being helped AT ALL by Oliver (or maybe she IS in on it and is a better actor than Team Arrow would have been. The stab move could have been for show, because if she really wanted to kill Oliver, I choose to believe that she could have). Hopefully there is a plan, because this is ridiculous. I believe that, as with most weddings across cultures, it’s not legal until consummation and something will clearly get in the way of them even having to pretend to do that for Ra’s’ sake.
But if it’s not going to be valid, then WHAT WAS THE POINT? What does this wedding do/prove to the characters, to the story, to the resolution of this arc that couldn’t have been done without it? It feels like just a stunt right now, more so than any other aspect of this arc. While we may have conflicting feelings about the plotting and some of the choices, it comes from a sense of getting the story to move forward (even if it merely ends up making it feel backwards) or advancing a character’s development (Oliver’s death was also a stunt, but provided character development for all the characters and introduced new elements to the series). This was clearly just a stunt, one that failed miserably.
I’ve already mentioned why it’s ridiculous, but “poisoning” the entire cast was a dumb cliffhanger. The only thing it did for the writing was to put them all in one place so that… I dunno, they have an alibi for whatever else Oliver has planned? Again, this doesn’t really serve much of a narrative purpose and wasn’t at all an effective cliffhanger when we know they are all going to survive within minutes. Unlike Oliver’s death, this doesn’t give me character development, doesn’t move the plot forward, and I am not really concerned about how they will survive, because that’s clear: Oliver switched the poison out. I suppose Ra’s thinking they are dead is apart of the plan — but they’d have to be transported out of Nanda Parbat while gassed and Ra’s would have to not want their bodies burned.
A LOT of this arc being successful hinges on answers in the finale that I don’t think we’ll get. It goes back to that Diggle quote from earlier, the show has lost my trust. I will still watch it and enjoy the character moments, but I would not call this their best arc and I hope that season four takes the show in a different direction with a better handle on what works and what doesn’t.
Side thought: It might have been more interesting if some of the flashbacks this season were in Nanda Parbat. I dunno what Ra’s was doing five years ago, but I’m sure some interesting stories could have come out of it, more interesting than Hong Kong has been and would have eased the way the Hong Kong plot has been stretched out unnecessarily over the season. And while it would have been great to see Caity Lotz as Sara, if she wasn’t available, they could have just made references to her and kept it to Ra’s and Nyssa. Why don’t I write for this show? This would have been great.
Finally, this came to me suddenly and it makes this entire plot make even LESS sense. So Ra’s needs Oliver to destroy Starling City in order to complete the Rise to Ra’s’ tradition1. But when Malcolm did it in the season one finale, it got him booted from the League and sent on the run… So it’s only okay if you’re next in line for the throne? Apparently, from what I remember, Malcolm’s actions went against League violations… So Ra’s wasn’t angry because of the destruction (as he’s clearly cool with Oliver doing it now), but because of perhaps a Malcolm power move? Or what? Or is this the latest evidence of inconsistent storytelling?
- Amina Raatko… comic fans, tell me why this name is important!
- I guess you can fudge it as shaky memory (mine or Maseo’s) or word choice, but didn’t Maseo say Akio died in his arms as he told him everything would be okay? We saw it happen slightly differently…
The finale is upon us! As I said earlier, a lot is riding on it. I keep hearing things like “blow up” and am getting the sense that the finale changes the dynamics for season four. I’M SCARED GUYS. Both of what will happen AND that they will screw things up. But I’m hopeful that Barry Allen will smack some sense into everyone. People from Central City have a way of doing that to people. Also, they’re teasing a death in the finale, here’s my shortlist (in order of most likely to least likely):
- Ra’s — If they kill him (PLEASE BY NYSSA’S HAND PLEASE), he’d be the first Arrow-verse big bad to actually die.
- Malcolm — His place as Team Arrow satellite is wearing thin, especially now that Thea is soon becoming a full fledged member of Team Arrow. I foresee a heroic sacrifice, but who knows.
- Tatsu — Her entire family has died. While this could be the perfect impetus to get her to become full fledged Katana, I think that she’s a candidate to die in the final battle.
- Captain Lance — Where else is there for his character to go? While it would probably kill Laurel for it to happen, unless he suddenly comes on board to what Oliver is doing as the vigilante, which would take more than the five minutes of screentime he’ll be able to squeeze into this assuredly jam packed finale, then I think his other option is to die. He and Laurel can make amends as he breathes his last breath or something. He can be with Sara forever.
- Nyssa — I want her to survive, but I could see them killing her. I would much prefer her to become the head of the league, but hey, they made a lesbian get married to a dude, so I don’t necessarily trust them with her character right now.
Anyone else is unacceptable. Protect Diggle, Felicity, Lyla, baby Sara, Thea, and yes, even Laurel, at all costs!
Who’s on your Arrow Finale chopping block?
- We all know this is ridiculous and that Oliver will have to save his city because 1.) catchphrase, and 2.) he’s not actually evil. ↩