Arrow: The Scientist

Felicity: "Why couldn't you have been marooned on Aruba?"

The Arrow universe has taken a big step towards joining the greater pantheon of the DC Universe, and I'm happy to say they did it fairly well. Especially in the casting of a major, major character.

Barry Allen immediately struck me as clumsy and funny, with a fierce intelligence and a thirst to unravel his tragic past. Those are all the makings for a strong lead character, which is a good thing because he's getting his own series probably starting next year. I'm holding judgment until next week, but as of now I'm cautious optimistic. I thought his chemistry with the group, and especially Felicity, was spot on.

I loved the scene where Barry made some really fun observations about the vigilante (Arrow). He guessed that the green was a nod to training in the forest, and even suggested a better type of arrow for him. It's almost like Barry idolizes Arrow the way Roy does, which might be a really good reason for him to eventually don the Red outfit. As far as the actor goes, he played a pretty effective villain on Glee, he has charisma, and he can sing and dance too, which means he can probably pull off the physicality required for the role. In other words, I'm fairly happy with the casting choice.

I'm not sure I buy Felicity's complete romantic shift from Oliver to Barry, though, but given how well they play off each other I'll let it slide a little. I thought the backstory they gave Barry fit well into the larger narrative too, and even more importantly, gave our group a reason to sympathize with him. Felicity had a point about lies, Barry's deception was very personal and totally understandable. No one has believed him for most of his life, why would he expect a bunch of total strangers believe him now?

I'm also a little unsure about Felicity's choice to bring Barry into the Arrow secret. It was a great reveal at the end, but at the same time it's a huge leap that I'm sure Oliver wouldn't have agreed with. So I'm looking forward to seeing Oliver's reaction to Barry's inclusion. I'm also very curious what Oliver was injected with. Was it Miraclo? If it was, is he going to get superpowers now? If so, doesn't that kind of betray character's strengths a bit?

Along with Barry Allen who will eventually become the Flash, the introduction of superpowers is a big step for the show. Using biologically enhanced people instead of freak accidents is probably the right way to start. I'm looking forward to some of the more fantastical elements that could come into play now. Sure, using a radiological serum developed during World War II is almost crossing into silly territory, but it's being used fairly well.

I thought Cyrus, the guy in the black mask, was properly intimidating. The way he threw Oliver around like a rag doll made me wince and cringe every time Oliver's body came in contact with something. Which happened a lot. Even if he wasn't poisoned, being thrown twenty feet into the air, into an air vent, and then into a bunch of cardboard boxes isn't exactly fun.

I'm still not sure about the Brother Blood angle because he feels like a middle management villain, like the Scarecrow in Batman Begins. I hope he's working on his own, but I'm pretty sure Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins have a hand in everything that's going on this season. It feels like they're a bigger threat than Malcolm and his wacky plan to destroy the Glades. Although at this point I'm not sure what the bigger picture looks like.

Island Flashback:

Most of the Island flashback was about keeping Slade alive by finding the Mirakuru (Miraclo), only to have it fail and kill Slade. Given what Oliver said about the situation, I'm pretty sure Slade isn't dead. However, I have no idea if Slade is the one Oliver had to fight and defeat. Unfortunately, Doctor Ivo has them cornered, so I don't think good things are ahead for our Island crew. Especially poor Sara. That makes me wonder though, if Oliver thought Sara was dead for five years, who else might he think is dead who isn't?

I do want to bring up the whole love triangle thing. It's pretty clear Shado realizes that Oliver has intimacy issues, and her reaction to hearing who Sara was made me smile. Is Slade the better choice for her? Well, obviously not right now since he's dead and all, but when he eventually comes back to life, I wonder if they have a future? Poor Slade though, he got the raw end of the deal.

One last little note, did the miracle drug look like Kryptonite to anyone else? God, what if it is Kryptonite? It is the DC Universe after all. Going by Smallville canon, the stuff can be used to induce all kinds of supernatural powers. I'm pretty sure it's been used in a similar way in the comics too, but I'm not positive on that one.

Comic Book Bits:

Barry Allen is the second and arguably the most famous incarnation of the Flash. He officially died in canon for 23 years, and was only recently re-introduced during the Flashpoint reboot of the DC Universe. My favorite moment in the episode was when he was rearranging all the chemicals and the lightning went off behind him because it was a total nod to his origin story for becoming the Flash in the comic books. Still, I'm not entirely sure how to explain his incredibly complicated history (which involves numerous trips to the far future) without going on for several pages.

It feels like they are sticking fairly true to his Comic origins, with some modifications for dramatic purposes. In this continuity a unknown human shaped blur (I couldn't help but think of the Red-Blue blur from Smallville) came through Barry's house when he was eleven. The blur murdered his mother and his father tried to fight him off, then suddenly Barry found himself 20 blocks away. Of course the authorities didn't believe him, and his father was jailed for killing his mother. That seems like a pretty good first season mystery for the new series.


So, the undertaking violated the League of Assassins code of honor. That's interesting. Also, even though Moira was awesome, how did she know about Nanda Parbat? Ra's Al Ghul threatened Malcolm, but I doubt this is finished. Also, what will this mean for Moira?

Cyrus carrying the centrifuge in that black and white video looked pretty goofy.

I get why Oliver shot Roy, to protect Thea. Still, that was pretty mean.

You know what was good about this episode? No Laurel. That's sad.

Great dress on Thea. Not sure about the hair. Roy was in a matching suit. Which brings me to the whole Roy/Thea matchy matchy clothes thing. What's going on with that? Is she dressing him? Also the red is the sign of Speedy/Red Arrow. So is it meant to throw us off? They've already nicknamed Thea "Speedy", so could they be building toward both of them taking up the sidekick mantle?

The tunnel in the truck chasing scene looked nearly identical to the similar scene done in The Dark Knight.

The magazine that Barry Allen was reading when he arrived in Starling City was; Science Showcase: "S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Collider -- is it safe?"

I swear if I lived in a city where there is a superhero, I would not take a job as a henchman, minion, or a security guard.


Felicity: "Did you do something to your hair?"
Moira: "Yes, I shampooed it without eight women and a guard watching me."
Felicity: (laughs) "Is it okay to laugh because I was ordered not to say anything about you being in prison just to avoid any awkward exchanges…"
Oliver: "Like that one."

Barry: "So you've seen him, right? The vigilante? I read that he saved you. What was he like?"
Felicity: "Green."

Barry: "If he switched to an aluminum carbon composite he would have far better penetration."
Felicity: "Maybe he thinks he penetrates just fine."

Diggle: "What, he has super-strength, likes blood -- please don't tell me we suddenly believe in vampires."

Felicity: (holding the bloody arrow) "I think I preferred it when you left these *in* people."

Oliver: "He did lie to us about who he really was."
Felicity: "And what do we do every day?"

Oliver: "FYI, they *will* card him at the bar."

I think this was a good episode, and a decent introduction to a major character. I almost wish they were keeping him on as a regular for this series, but having a hero as popular as the Flash sharing the spotlight would probably be a bad idea.

3 out of 4 Shelves of Inappropriately Organized Chemicals
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow, The Originals and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


ChrisB said...

I couldn't help but think of the Red-Blue blur from Smallville. LOL I had exactly the same thought and then spent a couple of seconds wondering if it were intentional.

As I have no idea of the comic mythology, nor do I read spoilers, I had no idea who the new guy was. I knew he was someone important, but it wasn't until I read this review that I now know. Even I have heard of the Flash.

Which leads me to something that has worried me from the start about this show. If the writers go further and further into the comic mythology, will those of us who don't know it be left behind and give up? I hope not as I am still really enjoying this show.

Patrick said...

Let me put on my comic nerd hat for a moment and offer a slight correction. :)

Barry Allen "died" during Crisis On Infinite Earths in 1985, though that term's a bit fluid when you're dealing with someone who lived a good part of their life in the future. He made a couple of appearances after that, popping back into the present day briefly. His full-time return to the comics wasn't in Flashpoint, however. It was in 2008's "Final Crisis" crossover event(DC & Marvel have far too many "events" for my taste). His return was heralded in "DC Universe #0", the last countdown issue before Final Crisis began, and omg the page that revealed it sends a shiver down your spine if you're a comics fan. :)

I liked Barry, but I'm not thrilled that he got brought down to the Arrow-lair so soon. Then again, the previews suggest Ollie's not going to be happy about it, which could be fun.

Freeman said...

This Grant Gustin fellow did a good job as Barry. He has that cheese factor that I love about Barry. Though honestly I'm having trouble imagining his jawline in a cowl. I'll let Felicity and Barry have their flirtations, since he's leaving the show to be on his own. Though he better not steal Felicity away to his show haha! My one reservation is that I wonder how long I could handle his whole awkward nerd dealio as a lead character episode after episode. I suppose something like that would be ironed out later though. It was a nice touch that they had Barry idolize a superhero like he idolized Jay Garrick. I love that they kept his habit for being late intact.

I find it interesting that Moira seems to be aware that Isabel isn't entirely what she seems. And I'm still curious if Ollie is aware of Isabel being a potential baddie as well.

It was fun seeing Moira turn the tables of Malcolm. I would've been aggravated if their relationship was gonna be exactly how it was in the first season. I wouldn't be surprised if Ollie needs to team up with Malcolm in an uneasy alliance during some dastardly League of Assassins invasion.

I don't think Ollie was injected with Miraclo because he didn't get the bleeding eyes thing. And I reckon Slade is gonna get back up and just go in on all of Ivo's boys whole they have Ollie and the girls captured, in the next episode. I'm quite excited to see Slade truly become Deathstroke.

It was a nice touch that the Miraclo basically gave Cyrus Grundy-like powers. I hope this two episode arc won't be the last we see of him, and he'll keep coming back in worse states each time.

Miraclo certainly has a Kryptonite look to it. And you hit the nail on the head. I didn't even realize Laurel was missing until a couple hours after i had watched the episode. Absolutely nothing was lost by her absence. And pretty much all the other major players were in this episode. Heck, even Sin was in the episode!

J.D. Balthazar said...

Chris, I'm pretty sure the CW won't let Arrow get so comicbook dense that the casual viewer won't be able to follow it. Though I'm surprised you didn't know about Barry Allen being the Flash, I thought that was all over the interwebs.

Patrick, thanks for the correction. The whole final crisis/flashpoint stuff is very confusing even when I'm fairly up on what happened. I know that he did come back towards the end of Countdown, and Final Crisis and Flashpoint was about the reset to the current continuity right? I kind of stopped reading right around that time.

I too was a little disappointed that they rushed Barry learning about the Arrow lair, but given he's only in two episodes I don't think they very much time left to work with.

Freeman, I totally agree. I loved the little nods to canon as far as Barry's character is concerned. I also loved the stuff with Moira besting Malcolm at his own game. I thought I would wait until next week before tackling Grundy, because if Cyrus dies it might be a nod to his eventual return.

As for Isobel, I'm half convinced she's Talia. Even though that's mixing up villains pretty heavily. It is clear that Moira doesn't trust her, and there is definitely some unspoken stuff going on between them, probably having to do with Robert. I too hope Slade becoming Deathstroke is super cool.

Anonymous said...

My Flash was Wally West..but I do remember Barry..this was a good version of him..
Isobel as Talia would be cool.
No Laurel this episode. I'm starting to think they're writing her out..or killing her off in the finale..
Sorry to say I didn't miss her at all.
Obviously Slade's not dead.

Patrick said...

JD, "Final Crisis" came around at the same time as the "Batman RIP" and "Blackest Night" events. Batman RIP was kind of a bust imho, though I enjoyed Dick Grayson's run as Batman. Blackest Night on the other hand was one of my favorite comic book events EVER. What Geoff Johns did with the Green Lantern mythos in the 5 years between Rebirth and Blackest Night was incredible. But I digress. :) Final Crisis didn't do much to reset continuity the way the previous Crisis events did. Flashpoint was a way for them to merge the DC, Vertigo and Wildstorm universes and paved the way for the "New 52" initiative, which rebooted all their titles with some changes to their characters & a new #1 issue, including Action & Detective Comics, the first time those have ever restarted their numbering. I got out of reading comics shortly before Flashpoint, it all got to be a bit too much to keep up with.

Isobel Rochev does appear in the comics, but she has no ties to the Al-Ghul family. She's Russian, and idolized Robert Queen when she was younger. She seems to be in love with the late Mr. Queen, and considers herself the true heir to Queen Consolidated. At the risk of spoiling, there have been news reports that a member of the Al-Ghul family has been cast for a future episode, and it's not Talia(no, it's not Ra's either). The casting choice is a brilliant one, I think. I'll let you go find the info yourself. :)

J.D. Balthazar said...

Thanks again Patrick. I already know about the casting news, I tend not to write about that stuff until it occurs in the show. But I'm also happy with who they cast in that unnamed part.

As for Isobel, I did a short description of her in the first episode of the season review, and I left out certain details that could be spoilery. At the time I wasn't sure if they were going for a more canon representation of the character, or if they were just using her in name only. At this point, I'm sort of torn I still don't know which way they'll go. I'm probably just indulging in wishful thinking in having Summer Glau as one of the Al Ghul family. But she's already a named villain who has a significant role in Green Arrow canon, so I should be satisfied with that... shouldn't I?

Patrick said...

Yes JD, when a show casts Summer Glau in a recurring/regular role, you don't question the nature of the part, you simply say "thank you" :)

Josie Kafka said...

I really liked this episode, and I laughed out loud a few times, which I never do with this show. Barry Allen had an appealing fanboy likability that I wasn't expecting, and it was fun to see Oliver play off of that. I think Oliver needs more funny friends; he's a perfect straight man. Although if the showrunners did that it might decrease the impressiveness of the superhero.

Marianna said...

When Moira told on Merlyn to Ra's al Ghul I thought "Yeah you do!" but I was also a little confused because The Undertaking seemed like it would have been right up Ra's al Ghul's alley.

One thing that disappointed me about the episode was Felicity's extremely inappropriate work attire. (Come on, Felicity; you're smarter than that.) I did think Felicity and Barry were adorable together. Their dancing reminded me of a couple of 12-year-olds at their first school dance.:) I didn't mind the complete shift to Barry because I imagine it was partially to make Oliver jealous and also to prove to herself that she could get past him, which sounds bad but doesn't mean she doesn't also have real feelings for Barry, sort of like the start of Willow and Oz's relationship in Buffy. By the way, my repeated comparisons of Felicity to Willow is the highest compliment I can give. ;)

Lamounier said...

This is The Flash? I totally need to watch that show when I’m done with Arrow season two. Barry Allen was adorable. For someone with such a tragic backstory, he is a very positive person. Seriously, I spent most of the episode smiling, which is a first on this series. Barry brought much needed levity on a show that’s usually dark and broody.

I did buy Felicity flirting with him because it is true to life that sometimes you have an uncorresponded crush on someone, and someone else appears and they are a perfect fit for you. Then you are left in awe for being taken out of a situation that was hurting you to one that fills you with joy and excitement. Also, I wasn’t enjoying the romantic thing between Felicity and Oliver. Felicity and Barry, on the other hand, made total sense, and the actors were glowing together. I know it’s unlikely they will become a couple, what with him getting his own series, but I’ll enjoy them together while I can.

Resurrected Malcolm is no better than who he was before, is he? I rolled my eyes when he said Thea was all he had, then I rolled my eyes again when he said Moira belonged to him. Possessive much, dude? I was so happy that Moira turned the table on him, even though I wonder how she would get in touch with the League of Assassins.

Oliver: "He did lie to us about who he really was."
Felicity: "And what do we do every day?"

Wonderful, Felicity.

sunbunny said...

Lamounier - Yes, you should definitely watch The Flash. Quality-wise, it's more or less on par with Arrow (sometimes better, sometimes not quite as good). And it does have a fun, light-hearted tone that comes not just from the human ray of sunshine that is Barry Allen, but the supporting characters as well. It's a nice counterpoint to the angsty brood fest that is Arrow. Not that I don't seriously enjoy attractive men brooding, of course. :)

Plus, there are several crossovers between Arrow season 3 and The Flash season 1, which are always fun.

J.D. Balthazar said...

The Flash is a totally different show than the Arrow, its tone, characters, and arc are not a rehash of Arrow plot lines. The first half is almost all stand alone episodes, with some arc stuff seemingly thrown in. But it all comes together, and even villains return. This back half of Season 1 has been a blast with only one episode I wasn't totally happy with.

Plus JRS does marvelous reviews for the series too.

Lamounier said...

sunbunny and J.D., thanks for the informations. The Flash is on my have-to-watch list now. :)