Arrow: Tremors

"We're just getting started."

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.

Bits:

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.

Quotes:

Oliver: "You hacked into a prison system network?"
Felicity: "Is that judgment I'm hearing?"
Oliver: "Pride."

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."
Oliver: "Stop."

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.
---
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.

7 comments:

ChrisB said...

The primary reason I continue to watch this show is the character moments, most of which tend to be fantastic.

Ollie's reveal of himself to Roy as the Arrow was fantastic. I didn't think it would happen so soon, but it really, really worked.

Similarly, just when I begin to think that Moira might be redeemed, she hires a hit on her OB. Damn, that woman is cold.

Thank you for explaining what the "Squad" is. The way the line was delivered, I knew it was important, but comic dummy here had no idea why.

CH said...

Excellent review, thank you. I loved the reveal of Oliver to Roy - I thought it worked as well.

I do have a question about this bit:

Also, it may be a small thing, but Sara's appearance at the end of this episode marks the first time that a flashback character has shown up in current continuity in the same episode (except for Oliver, obviously).

I don't think this is true...I thought that there were plenty of flashbacks with Sara when she was revealed to be Yellow Canary...and when Slade showed up in current time, wasn't there a flashback with him, too?

Just curious.

J.D. Balthazar said...

CH

I've been watching this closely, Sara and Slade are the only two characters to exist in both the Current timeline and the Flashback. In both cases they have until now only appeared in either a flashback or in the present, not both (in the same episode). Slade was missing for a couple of episodes during the Flashback, and instead showed up in the present. He has not been in both. Again, this may be nothing important but it jumped out at me. Also until now those two characters fully transitioned between Island and Starling, as in they were no longer in the other for several episodes at least. Now they are both in both timelines so I bet we'll get more back and forth.

This might just be a cost saving thing, but it does make Sara feel more important to me.

Patrick said...

Just a note from a former comic book nerd. You mentioned the Markov family ruling Markovia. In the latter half of Season 1, I'm pretty sure a Dr. Brion Markov was mentioned as the inventor of the earthquake device Malcom eventually used on the Glades. In the comics, Prince Brion Markov is the hero Geo-Force, who has powers with a geological/gravitational theme. I wonder if that connection will be explored further in later episodes. :)

Freeman said...

Wouldn't Oliver using the water slapping thing be more a callback to what Shado taught him? The funniest thing to me was when Oliver was going in on the Wushu dummy and then stops and is like "Ok now do that slowly."

It was nice to see Bronze Tiger do a bit more than look threatening and do awesome martial arts. They finally fleshed him out a bit, if ever so slightly. Maybe he'll have more to do when he actually has a team to bounce off of. Makes me wonder if they're going for a Suicide Squad spin-off series or just a separate group that sometimes takes the spotlight instead of flashbacks. Or maybe they'll just be someone to butt heads with Ollie.

Yeah I'm very curious as to how Laurel could possibly become a baddie thwomping hero at this point. Even if she has the self-defense stuff, Ollie and Sarah are basically bona fide ninja that trained for years. Add onto that her just general Laurel-ness. Then again there was The Huntress...

Yeah I dunno man, Moira came off pretty evil in that last scene. Maybe she just takes her politics really seriously and just wants Walter to send the doctor on a cruise around the world during the campaign?

CH said...

JD,

In Three Ghosts, Slade is in the present (revealed towards the end) and the flashback (first appears dead but then arises and finds Shado dead), and in Crucible and League of Assassins, Sara is most definitely in the present and in flashbacks. There might be more episodes, but those three are for sure.

I'm sorry to keep picking, but I was curious what you meant (I thought I misunderstood what you were trying to say?).

J.D. Balthazar said...

You're right CH, and I changed the review to reflect that. Oops, my bad. I seriously thought Slade wasn't in that episode where he was revealed at the end.