“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.
In which I attempt to be fair, yet critical of this episode of Arrow, while remaining hopeful about the road ahead.
I came away from “The Fallen” feeling conflicted. I spent a week trying to figure out how to discuss my conflictions, but I ran out of time and energy. But I will say that the big theme of this episode (not the plot itself, but watching it) is the weight of expectation. All of the things that happen in this episode were things we knew were going to happen. Either because the episodes prior were driving it there, or because the promos basically told us everything. We came into the episode knowing that Thea would be resurrected, Oliver and Felicity would get together, and Oliver would officially join the League. With these expectations met exactly in the way we imagined, it may have led to disappointment.
So we’ll discuss the plot as usual and we’ll open up the comments for what went right and wrong in this episode and how it might affect the rest of the season.
I got several notifications during both the East Coast and West Coast airings of this episode that said, “You were right.” And even though the following act proved me both right and wrong (somehow…), I feel so validated and honored that people listen to me. And that I am right.
If you’re reading this recap, then you’re going to be spoiled for the exit of a major character on Arrow. Continue at your own risk.
Sadly, I’ve already used “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” as an subtitle, so I was forced to come up with other options, despite this being the true moment. (Lance is Ross, who finds out last of the last.) So, today’s recap title comes from (in truth, the John Legend song, but more appropriately) the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. Among the lyrics1:
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Well. That happened. This week’s Arrow threatens to turn the show in a whole new direction. I can’t even begin to guess where they take things next.
Getting to the episode itself, after watching it, I (and trusty Flarrow sidekick Christelle) went back to see a Facebook post Stephen Amell put up earlier in the week to describe the episode.
What was immediately fascinating about this episode is how the flashbacks were in Starling City and the present time was on Lian Yu, a cool contrast from seasons 1-2 where it was the reverse. Especially while in the direct middle of the five-year journey. I also noticed that the present and past were a bit more even this episode, as opposed to majority present, minimal past. The focus of both sides of this episode is Oliver’s relationship with his sister. I am so glad that Oliver told Thea the truth once again. As she said, now they truly have no secrets from each other (well, Oliver always has a few up his sleeve).
Badass Digest recently wrote a piece explaining how Arrow has “failed” Felicity Smoak in its third season. It brings up a lot of great points about the ways in which her character has changed, but I think it unfairly places the blame on the Oliver/Felicity relationship, when I think things are a bit more complicated than that. Sara’s death, pieces of Felicity’s (of the admittedly little) backstory that we know, and the overall darkness of the season all help push Felicity to a darker place this season. And I think that’s okay for the show overall.
The piece, which you should click through to read, explains that once Felicity and Oliver had their failed date and Oliver pumped the breaks on any relationship between them going forward, Felicity became a “woman scorned.”
Well, almost. But two of the biggest season reveals finally happened in this week’s Arrow: Thea found out Oliver is the Arrow and Captain Lance FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY found out about Sara. There are a few things each character is a bit, ahem, fuzzy on… (how long has Sara been dead? Who killed Sara?), but it will finally be nice to get past both of these distracting omissions. Now, besides the circumstances of Sara’s death, we just need Lance to know Oliver is the Arrow and most of our major secrets will be out in the open!
The end of this week’s Arrow gutted me (and Oliver) more than the literally torso-piercing mid-season finale did. As I write this I am still in shock and can’t really move. We’ll get to that later though.
The subtitle for this recap is two-fold. With Oliver gone, Team Arrow is like kids whose parents went out of town so they have a big party, but everyone breaks things and they have to scramble to fix the house before the parents return. Only Oliver isn’t coming back (yet). On the other and more obvious side of the metaphor, Laurel’s absurd aversion to telling her father the truth gets frustratingly WEIRD.
Where do I even begin? There’s the remains of Team Arrow (or whatever it may become without the Arrow to guide them — oh, haha, get it?); the future of both the A.T.O.M. and the Canary; Malcolm, Thea, and everyone’s inability to disclose important deaths; the whitewashing of Brick; and of course: the revival! I think I’ll just go in that approximate order, and throw some flashback plot in there too (sorry, for now, they’re not my favorite thing).
WHAT A (MID-SEASON) FINALE!!
There are definitely some parallels to previous mid-season finales: Malcolm Merlyn, a tense battle, a moment of death for Oliver are all running themes in these fall finale episodes. I can’t say it was my favorite though, for a few reasons: I think I knew too much going in. Everyone knows Oliver can’t take Ra’s Al Ghul! And I think Stephen teased at some point (I’ve watched a lot of Stephen Amell Q&As okay?) that the episode might end over a cliff. Also, the other two major focuses of this episode were Laurel and Ray and if you didn’t know my feelings on them before, you’ll find out now, so that also dulled by excitement. BUT overall I am happy with what this episode means for the journey the rest of the season will take.
I have a lot to say about the end and the journey it will lead to, so I’m going to try keep the actual recap portion as short as I can. This episode is merely transition and shirtless ab fights than anything anyway.
We conclude Flarrow Week at the NOC with our own special crossover featuring our Flash and Arrow recappers Constance Gibbs (@ConStar24) and Christelle Gonzales (@christellexoxo). Together for the first time! Join us to sort out all of your thoughts and feels about your two favorite shows.
Wow. It’s been two days since the epic crossover between The Fastest Man Alive and the Emerald Archer blew up the internet and we are still thinking about it! Even though Christelle and Connie dropped 5,000 words combined on both episodes, we still have more to say. So we reconvened the Roundtable and brought in some of the other Nerds to talk through their Flarrow Feels.
*Mad props to my awesome Flarrow tag-team buddy Christelle for the subtitle. We are Flarrow. She’s The Flash, I’m Arrow and together we bring you these recaps with precision and speed. It’s our superpower.
The first thing I thought of when preparing for the Arrow portion of the crossover was how would they Flashify the title card? Instead of the arrowhead, we got a beautiful lightning bolt. And so begins the Flash team’s adventure in Starling City! We’ve actually seen all of these characters here before. Barry, obviously in his debut last season, as well as Cisco and Caitlin when they briefly helped Felicity on a case also last season. But it’s our first time seeing them all together like this and It. Was. AMAZING!
You guys you guys you guys… IT’S HAPPENING. Some have been waiting for this crossover since the announcement this summer, but I, personally, feel like I’ve been waiting since Barry’s first appearance on our screen’s during Arrow’s second season1. And I’ll say what the entire internet is saying about the epic Part 1 of The Flash vs. Arrow crossover: “Holy crap, they did not disappoint.” No seriously, just check all of twitter and tumblr. We’re all going crazy!
The epic The Flash/Arrow crossover (henceforth called #Flarrow) is so close I can taste it!
We’ve been getting teases all week from the actors and the PR teams, and it’s been giving me so much excitement anxiety! Soon we’ll get our OT3s from each show (Oliver/Diggle/Felicity, Barry/Cisco/Caitlin) in the same room, fighting the same villains! There’s so much to dissect concerning group dynamics (Oliver vs Harrison Wells — Oliver will surely find Wells suspicious; Diggle vs four talkative nerds; also: what’s Lyla doing in some of the promo shots?), but as The Flash portion of the crossover is called “Flash vs Arrow,” I wanna take some time to talk about Barry and Oliver and their differences as heroes. This will set the scene for what we’ll see in the episode and show us, perhaps, how each hero makes the other achieve character development over the course of the two episodes.
Seven episodes into season three of Arrow and one thing is clear: the universe that is being assembled on The CW is the most consistently entertaining take on DC’s heroes I’ve ever seen in live action1. Coming in to “Draw Back Your Bow,” I was actually expecting it to be one of the weaker ones of the series (and trust me, there were some weak spots, but more on that later) because I didn’t think Cupid — played convincingly by Amy Gumenick — would be a compelling enough villain. But by and large, the quality of the episode was up to par with the rest of the season so far.
See, this is why Stephen Amell is my guy.
We make no bones about the fact that we love DC’s CWverse superheroes. Arrow and The Flash have taken up lots of bandwidth on this site, and as each show gets better and better, that isn’t going to change. At the same time, I give a lot of crap to the movie side of DC’s offerings. And that probably isn’t going to change anytime soon either.
Anyway, a shockwave was sent through the interwebs when Oliver Queen himself questioned Warner Brothers’ approach to their DC Cinematic Universe.
I want to go about recap this a little differently this week. We encountered a lot of vigilantes in tonight’s episode, so I’ll talk about them and their story this episode one by one.
But before I get there, BOXING GLOVE ARROW! Wow, they pulled it off! (I feel like Ted Grant’s character was added into the show just to justify Oliver being around boxing gloves…) I think they figured out how to incorporate that move in a great way that the fans really, really enjoyed and didn’t look overly stupid or forced. Kudos to the writers and production staff for that one!
Arrow just keeps knowing it out of the park this season! This is the second Oliver-light episode of the season and it hits just as strong as a typical Ollie-centric episode does. Everyone’s been waiting for more information on everyone’s favorite (and I mean everyone) IT girl and we got loads of it tonight. From the appearance of Mama Smoak to Goth Felicity in the flashbacks (and a tease into her imagination — Dominique Ansel apparently didn’t think of cronuts first), we learned more about Felicity in this episode of Arrow than we have in the past three seasons.
The first four episodes of Arrow season three have been relentless in moving several plot lines forward. Ever since Canary’s shocking demise in the final minutes of the premiere, Team Arrow has been rocked to the core and even last week’s brief diversion to Corto Maltese definitely felt the presence of the dearly departed Sara Lance.
So when Nyssa Al Ghul showed up, bow drawn, in the Arrowcave at the end of last week’s episode, and since “The Magician” was also Arrow’s 50th episode, you knew the other shoe was about to drop.
I can admit when I’m wrong. At the end of last week’s episode of Arrow, when it was revealed that Thea has been training on the island of Corto Maltese1 with her biological father Malcolm Merlyn, I thought the follow-up episode would be a slog to get through.
Fortunately, episode three — titled, fittingly, “Corto Maltese” after the fictional island nation in the DC Universe — was a pretty great hour of television and moved a lot of plotlines forward for what is increasingly looking like an action-packed season of superheroing.