Arrow: Corto Maltese

"What's with your family and islands?"

I think the B plot involving Diggle doing a favor for Lyla was a mistake. It wasn't awful, but when the Thea plot was so important, it took far too much time to resolve.

I probably would've been fine with all the action taking place in flashbacks with Thea, seeing more of her training, and how she grew close to Malcolm. Instead we really only got one flashback, and all it did was prove that Malcolm is pretty intense and that Thea has changed quite a bit. Still, the interactions between Oliver, Roy, and Thea were all well done.

In fact the stuff between Roy and Oliver were pretty telling. They have a friendlyish relationship, but it's clear Oliver approves of Roy now. Roy and Thea still have some chemistry too, and I'm glad to see them at least partially reconcile. I just wish the big secret Oliver revealed wasn't such a cop out. He went there to tell her the truth, and while he did unload a bit, he omitted (yet again) his biggest and most important secret. Sigh.

Perhaps it's for the best, since it's obvious they are setting Thea up to be some kind of combatant. Either she is going to take Roy's place as a sidekick, or she's going to be twisted by Malcolm into doing something evil. I truly hope it's the former, I don't think she would work as a villain. She's too good for that to work. Or not. Either way, things are going to blow up emotionally when she discovers Oliver's real secret.

Speaking of a character stepping up to be a combatant, Laurel went in whole hog. Honestly I think it was a bit forced that she ended up getting as thrashed as she did. I know there was plot reasons, but she has already demonstrated she's a better fighter than that. Maybe she's rusty. It did work thematically, with Sara's jacket fanning at her anger. It also made sense that she asked Oliver for training. He should've said yes, though. He knows her personality and that she won't be deterred by a single no.

The B plot with Diggle was one long and rather uninteresting way to foreshadow Lyla's death. She isn't dead yet, but Waller has to come into this season in a big way later on and that would be an easy way for that to work. Even though the plot was so by the numbers, at least Diggle made it emotionally worth it. I also loved the moment where Oliver picked up a gun and showed he is a bad ass with one.

That basically leaves Felicity and her new job as something. Is she the head of applied sciences? I'm confused. Well, besides the mild confusion about her job, which she shares so that's probably intentional, we got some classic Felicity trying to juggle her new job, and her duties as a part of team Arrow. It might have been a scene that wasn't entirely needed, but it was so much fun I didn't care.

Comic Book Bits:

The Corto Maltese might sound familiar, but it isn't real. It is a fictional island country located off the coast of South America unique to the DC universe. It is basically a stand in for Cuba and there is always something pretty awful going on there. It's been referenced in other DC properties, specifically Tim Burton's Batman. It was also mentioned in an earlier season of Arrow as a base of operations for Deadshot.

Mia, the alias that Thea was using on Corto Maltese is the name of the female version of Speedy in the comics.

Bits:

Felicity's chemistry with Ray is both lovely and a little worrying. What is Ray up to? The big reveal about what he was looking for was the plans for some nasty looking planes and tanks.

Laurel's boxing plot was telegraphed and more than a little forced.

They mentioned Roy being tired twice. Is he dying because of the Mirakuru?

Felicity running off at the end of the episode was the Crossover Alert of the week. She will be on next week's Flash.

Great moment with Roy with the bow, Oliver saying he couldn't take it on the plane, and Roy admitting he had never flown before.

Ray and that espresso monologue was very Felicity-like. He has great delivery. Is Brandon Routh imitating Emily Bett Richards a bit? That's cute.

Quentin mentioning that cops shouldn't bring their badges into AA meetings was a pretty strong hint that Laurel's superhero attempt wasn't going to work out. He has a point. Laurel picked the wrong venue for her righteous intervention. Not that her going after a wife beater is a bad thing, but it does breach the confidentiality of AA.

The A.R.G.U.S. agent list is such an overdone plot device. I mean, sheesh, has there been a single property that involved covert spy stuff that hasn't done this plot?

Quotes:

Ray: "Applied Sciences, QC's bleeding edge research division, 'til some wacko blew it up last year."
Felicity: "I’m sure they had their reasons."

Diggle: "This is Lyla's busy work, man, you didn't have to tag along."
Oliver: "Well, I don't know how to vacation like a normal person, Diggle."

Felicity: "Are we favor friends now?"

Oliver: "I never said I didn't know how to use a gun."

Uneven, and the B plot was basically an A-Team rip off. Otherwise I really liked the pieces of this episode.

3 out of 4 Secret Agent List MacGuffins.

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.

4 comments:

Patrick said...

Seriously, when are covert spy agencies going to learn, don't put all the identities you wouldn't want the bad guys getting a hold of in one convenient file for them to download! And for goodness sake don't call it "NOC List" or something obvious, name it something else, like what guys do with the folder where they keep their porn. Not that I'd know anything about that.

I'm extremely curious to see where they're taking the story this season. We know who a couple of the players will be, but I'll be damned if I have any idea how they're going to fit together yet. I'm very much looking forward to Thea finally learning the truth about Oliver, there's no way it won't happen this season. But I think having her spill the beans this early wouldn't have worked. I actually liked him telling her what he did. It's not just his vigilante work that he's been keeping from her, it's all of it. What happened to him & Robert, how he's changed inside, everything. I think more than anything, it was the act of revealing something that had been weighing on him so heavily that mattered most, to both of them. I'm sure Thea realizes there's still a lot he's keeping from her, but I think that conversation was the first time he really told her anything about what happened to him while he was away, at least anything specific. Baby steps. :)

SO happy to see Nyssa show up! I've been waiting for her reappearance ever since Sara died. Katrina Law was wonderful casting for that role. Heck, Katrina Law is just wonderful, period. The more of her we get this season, the better. I don't expect a full-on hero turn from her, but it might be fun to see her & Oliver team up a bit to investigate Sara's murder, with Oliver having to remind Nyssa that no she can't go around killing people who are being unhelpful. I just hope Nyssa doesn't accidentally reveal to Quentin that Sara's dead. I very much want a scene between them sharing their grief over someone they both loved, but he shouldn't find out like that.

Cesare said...

Of course, the fictitious island of Corto maltese takes is named after a famous comics character created by the great Hugo Pratt (see http://cortomaltese.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corto_Maltese)

Paul Kelly said...

Patrick: that 96 GB encrypted folder on my 2nd hard drive is for my poems, I swear.

Marianna said...

I really hope Thea is going to end up on Team Arrow, something I've wanted from the very beginning of the series, but I suspect that won't be the case. How did Oliver pay for the plane tickets? Or for that matter how has he been eating? I seem to recall him losing all his money, and he doesn't seem to have a job. While on the subject of practical questions, how did Roy get a passport so quickly? I'm assuming he didn't have one since he's never been on a plane.

i completely agree about Laurel's plot being forced. I also suspect she ended up making it worse for Erica since he probably took out his anger on her when he got home so it wasn't a very well thought out plan. On the other hand I am glad she's finally in Team Arrow prep, even if indirectly. And will she tell her father that Sara's dead already!