Arrow: Unfinished Business

Oliver: "Feel like sharing? I'm almost out of slapping water."

Well, this was a circular episode, starting with Oliver and Tommy getting along again, and ending with Tommy leaving in a huff. With twin vendettas clouding Oliver's and Dig's judgment, as well as a huge misunderstanding between Tommy and Oliver, things are not going well in Arrowland.

I think the biggest development for me was Tommy crawling back to his father. I guess that bonding moment a few episodes ago sunk in enough for Tommy to at least forgive his father for the time being. I wonder if Tommy is going to find the Black Arrow suit and turn against Dad like he did Oliver. I'm sorry, but if I learned that one of my lifelong friends was a vigilante, I'd want to find out why. Tommy isn't even asking basic questions, and that's frustrating. Although I did like that Tommy covered for Oliver when Quentin came a-knocking.

Maybe I'm right and they are pushing Tommy down the path of the villain, in which case, this is how it goes. Misunderstandings lead to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to anger. No wait, hold on. Fear leads to hate. Hate leads to the dark side. Hold on, no, umm, okay, can we forget that? In any case I could easily see this development going two ways. Tommy finds his father's bad guy costume and freaks out, or he pulls a Harry Osborn and becomes a super-villain.

Which brings me to the theory that Tommy and Laurel are doomed, even if she wasn't the female lead of the series and basically fated to be with Oliver somewhere down the line. I simply can't see Tommy and Laurel together for the long haul, especially with Tommy's confidence issues and easily swayable moral code. I do like them as a couple, finally, but I just think their break up is inevitable.

Okay, with three paragraphs about Tommy out of the way, how about we turn to the Count? Or not. I was marginally disappointed, I actually like the Count, and I was hoping for his grand entrance as one of Oliver's new big bads, only that's not what happened: we got a generic one-off baddie pretending to be the Count. With all the Joker build-up, I felt a bit cheated. Sure, this evil doctor managed to get furtherer than any villain except for Black Arrow. So that's something, but he's dead already, so whatever.

With the Count though, we did get a peek into Oliver's new frame of mind, and that was worth the price of admission. With the Count basically reduced to a jibbering mess of clich├ęd insanity, Oliver simply couldn't kill him when it was time. Once again, this shows Oliver's character is changing, and he even admitted it to Dig. This is one of the things I've been hoping would happen, and I'm so glad the writers are going this way.

Dig, on the other hand, isn't handling his own personal vendetta all that well. He isn't doing well at home, although it was nice to confirm that he and Carly are romantically involved. He is lying to Oliver, and even sourced out their information on Deadshot to some kind of government agency. My guess is it is probably A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Super-Humans), which is led by Wonder Woman's long time beau Steve Trevor (think the DC Comics equivalent to S.H.I.E.L.D). That is complete conjecture, but it would be a nod to the Justice League, which A.R.G.U.S. frequently liaises with.

On the Island front, we got to see quite a bit more of Shado, and I really like her so far. She's fun and witty, and totally kicks ass. It looks like she's going to be training Oliver and not Slade. We even progressed to the point where Oliver picked up a bow for the first time. What a fun and significant moment, using the slapping water as a frustrating and hilarious Kung Fu-esqe training technique. I also really liked Shado and Slade sparring, it was like a tent MMA match.


I usually hate club scenes, but for some reason the ones on this show tend to work. They are loud and noisy, evocative of the kind of violence this show tends to use, which is short, quick, and brutal.

The Smallville hospital stairwell is back! This mental institute has shades of Nolan's version of Arkham Asylum. (Starling County Institute of Mental Health doesn't have quite the same ring to it as Arkham Asylum.)

So Vertigo is delivered in little purple and green pills. That's almost like the writers are saying outright that this is a Joker product. And of course, Vertigo in liquid form is green.

Felicity's laptop once again has a Windows 8 product placement with a convenient Queen Industries app.

Oliver blew up a car with an arrow. Well damn, that's just cool.

Arrow gadget of the week: Injection arrow!

So Arrow had his first real Batman moment: he wouldn't take a life. Well, sort of, since he spared the Count right after he killed the crazy doctor with that awesome three arrow gimmick. I bet it'll bite him in the ass the same way, since Batman spared the Joker so many times.

Are Tommy and Malcolm going to be this show's Lex and Lionel?


Oliver: "Oh, look at these. What sort of business has a lost and found that's just filled with women's underwear?"
Tommy: "The best business ever?"

Felicity: "Good. You're here. Of course you're here. Where else would you be? You clearly love it down here." (I think I like this one because of her delivery.)

Dig (undercover): "All right. A person of color has successfully purchased your drugs."
Felicity: "For the record, I offered."

Felicity: "My only experience with drugs was an encounter with a pot brownie my freshman year. By mistake. Which could have been fun, except I'm allergic to nuts."

Random Tourist Girl: "Congratulations. You're officially the creepiest person I've ever met."

Oliver (staring at Shado in an extreme yoga pose): "My mom does yoga."

Dig (after killing a bad guy with a defibrillator): "Clear."

This episode felt different somehow, like more solidly put together. I think the writers have finally landed on where they want the show to be. I hope they keep up the solid work.

3 out of 4 Green and Purple pills, you know, the choice that Morpheus didn't offer.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Eris said...

Great review. I think this was one of those turning point episodes, for a lot of different characters. The breach in Tommy and Olly's friendship is going to cause major problems and his Big Question to Olly certainly needed to be asked.

Did you notice that The Count's seemingly random babbling was actually all dialogue from Hitchcock's Vertigo? Very cool choice and appropriately creepy and weird.

Austin said...

Hey J.D. I think it felt better put together because they didn't try to cram so many storylines into one episode, like they have been recently. It was mostly Oliver, Dig, and Tommy. No Moira, no Thea and her new Abercrombie model boyfriend. That being said, I thought it was a meh episode. An episode quickly forgotten.

CrazyCris said...

I really enjoyed the episode, although I would have preferred to see more of the Count! And I'm left wondering if he could possibly recuperate somewhere down the line... and remember hearing psycho-doc call the Hood Oliver Queen! ;o)

Big problem with turning Tommy into this show's Lex... he already knows about Oliver's secret! And I think you're right about the lack of future for his relationship with Laurel... he definitely has issues!

The moment he talked to his father... I got shivers! Felt very creepy! Merlin Sr has that effect...

tricksterson said...

Ooh, nice catch Eris. I had no idea about that.

I was dissapointed that the psych had to die. I don't know if his name was given but was hoping he would turn out to be Hugo Strange.

Freeman said...

Good episode. Like you said,this was a very solid episode and it definitely feels like the show has found its stride. Heck, it even showed us a locale that legitimately looked seedy in the drug deal scene with undercover Dig. Loved his quip about that by the way.

But yeah Tommy definitely being kind of a butt. Sure it would be horrifying to learn such a thing about your friend but at least give him a chance to explain himself. It ain't like he's killing every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes along. I'm gonna have a hard time swallowing it if Tommy somehow becomes a supervillain somehow physically on par with Ollie so we'll see how they play this. It'll also be frustrating if he learns about his father and is okay with it.

To be honest I was glad we had less of The Count. I was a little excited because I thought they'd use the mental breakdown as an excuse to kind of revise the character's mannerisms but he's still pretty much exactly the same. I find him far too cartoony.

I always enjoy training segments in shows and movies so the flashback was fun for me. Shado training Ollie seems more plausible as it's been repeatedly shown that Slade does not have the patience for training wimpy Ollie, heh. Though I'm not sure why you'd think Shado would be training Slade. The man is a friggin' killing machine already. He waltzes into battlefields with swords!

On a lighter note. I appreciated some eyecandy in the form of Shado after nearly 20 episodes of beefcake. And I dunno if it's just me, but Ollie's description of The Count's mental state totally reminded me of old Kung Fu flicks. I got a big kick out of it.

ChrisB said...

LIke Cris, I'm convinced that, somewhere down the line, the Count is going to remember seeing Oliver as the Hood. What fun that would be.

I think turning Tommy to his dad was an interesting choice. The Scooby Gang is growing larger almost every week; we need a villain of their generation.

Great review, as always, J.D. I've said it before, but I really appreciate how you incorporate the comics world for those of us who don't know it.

Demiurg said...

Why guessing? Dig says it himself when meeting the woman in red: "ARGUS".

Lamounier said...

No, Tommy, no! I can’t believe they are going all Green Goblin on Tommy. Sigh! You talking about Tommy and Laurel being doomed reminded me of another similarity of this plotline to Spiderman’s: Harry dated Mary Jane (he did, right? I’m not sure of that one).

I wasn’t crazy about this episode. The island scenes were the best parts. I kind of want to slap water now to see if it works the way it did for Ollie.

How did Tommy hide Oliver’s arrowy things without anyone else’s help? That was a bit of a slip from the writers just to create suspense...