by J.D. Balthazar
Even though this episode was basically a stand-alone (despite the numerous arc bits), it still had to balance a lot of plates in the air (plot wise). Thankfully the focus on Roy managed to bring all those elements together in a fairly nice package.
The Bronze Tiger is kind of a meh villain. He's intimidating, and I like that he's basically a mercenary, but he wasn't really that interesting... at least until that final moment with Amanda Waller. Mostly he served as a platform for Roy to work through some of his issues, because using a prototype earthquake machine cut deep into the core of Roy's issues. He lost his home, and it was taken from him in the worst possible way. And until now he's been essentially unable to really effect change.
Now all of that is different because he has a support mechanism (Team Arrow) to help him through the worst of it. What I find interesting is that Thea is a big part of Roy's emotional foundation (which means her being in the dark makes even less sense). Much like Shado should've been for Slade, Thea represents a tie to Roy's humanity. It gave Oliver's reveal some layers. Not only was Oliver creating an emotional connection with Roy through Thea, but by entrusting him with his secret, he gave Roy something he didn't have before -- a chance to make a difference in the Glades.
Slade on the other hand is the example of what happens when that tie to humanity is severed. Without Shado, Slade can't hold onto himself even with Oliver's friendship. Clearly the theme for these parallel stories was withholding secrets. Specifically when Oliver chose not to reveal his secret about Shado's death to Slade, it was pretty obvious that this is the beginning of the end for their relationship. It does make me wonder, though, would Roy have a similar reaction if Thea died? I really hope they don't go that way, because I like Thea quite a bit. Unfortunately, that Malcolm daddy plot is still looming. It was even mentioned in passing.
Which brings me to Moira, and the interesting new direction they are going with her character. I have to admit I didn't see this one coming at all. She'd make a pretty good politician, because she is manipulative, charismatic, and duplicitous. Although Moira is fairly ambiguous morality-wise, will she serve Starling City any better than Sebastian Blood? Well, probably, since Blood is plotting something dastardly for the city. Still, she's only a step away from shady. I could easily see her turning corrupt.
We also got a good parent parallel going on between Thea/Moira and Laurel/Quentin, with Moira and Thea somehow having the healthier relationship. It was good that Quentin tried to reach out to Laurel, even though he was a bit heavy handed, I'm liking him more every week. Laurel clearly doesn't see how messed up she is, and the disciplinary action from the Bar Association was just the final straw that made her hit rock bottom. The fact that she didn't see it coming is telling.
Speaking of secrets that are clearly doing more harm than good, it's about time Laurel was clued in about her sister being alive. I'm really starting to think that Sara isn't Laurel's motivation to become the Canary, it's the other way around. Laurel might end up becoming Sara's reason to hang up the violent vigilante mantle like Oliver, and start down the path of the hero. Because at this point I simply can't see Laurel ever becoming Oliver's equal, while Sara already is. One thing I can say pretty resolutely -- if I had to choose one character to die right now, I'd pick Laurel.
Oliver made Roy do the water slapping cliché, I chuckled through the entire scene. I used Kwai Chang Caine as an easy reference to classic martial arts training scenes, since Kung Fu had them in abundance.
Roy is still a good man, but he is sorely lacking in social skills.
Gorgeous coat on Moira.
Nicholas Lea is gonna play a part in Moira's plot line. His character's name is Mark Francis.
How can Moira run against anyone? I guess she could be seen as potentially sympathetic.
The salmon ladder is back.
Nice nod to continuity, having Tommy's picture at Malcolm's house.
Another nice nod to continuity having Slade using Fyres' previously disabled rocket launcher to destroy the Amazo freighter.
Laurel is not a good drunk. She's mean and defensive. Is there anything about her character that's appealing? Seriously?
Comic Book note: Markovia is a fictional European nation ruled by a ruling family named Markov. I have no idea if it will be relevant to this series, or was just put in as an Easter egg for DC fans. Perhaps it'll have a connection to Isobel down the line.
Not sure what they are doing with Amanda Waller yet, but it's a good sign that she mentioned the (Suicide) Squad. Maybe it's a set up for next season?
The teaser scene was gross, with the guy that hid pieces of the Bronze Tiger's claws inside his body so that he could escape.
So um, the Bronze Tiger stabbed Oliver in the back pretty solidly, as in his claws had at least three inches of blood on them. I don't think just a few stitches and a bandage is gonna fix that one. Ah well, this show is based on comic book rules. If you can't see a wound, it probably isn't deadly unless you're coughing up blood.
Oliver: "You hacked into a prison system network?"
Felicity: "Is that judgment I'm hearing?"
Laurel: "Coffee with olives, bad combination."
Roy: "You know I slapped water out of a bowl yesterday. And I slapped water out of a bowl the day before."
Oliver: "You must be getting pretty good at it."
Roy: "Yeah, well, I can't wait to get attacked by a dog dish."
Felicity: "Iron Heights just put out a BOLO for Ben Turner, a.k.a. Bronze Tiger, which BTW, is a terrible nickname because tigers are not bronze."
Oliver: "Do you have one of your hoodies?"
Roy: "Do you seriously have to ask?"
Walter: "I'm just convincing your mother to run for mayor."
Thea: "Of what?"
Diggle: "So the secret society gets a new member. Where is he now?"
Oliver: "Home. He's… uh… processing."
Felicity: "When I found out who you really were, I processed my way through a pint of mint chip. (pause) I stress eat."
Oliver: "Thea. She can never know."
Roy: "I get the feeling that if I did tell her, that would be when you kill me."
Oliver: "Trust that instinct."
Roy: "Does this group have a name? Like 'Team Arrow' or something?"
Oliver: "We don't call ourselves that."
Felicity: "I do. Occasionally."
Not as good as the last episode, but still pretty solid.
3 out of 4 Bowls of Water Used to Gain Control of One's Strength... Grasshopper.