Arrow: The Fallen

"So that happened."

I'm starting to feel sad. Although my sadness has nothing to do with any big tragedy in the series. I've come to the rather unfortunate conclusion that the writers don't understand the difference between plot driven stories and character driven stories, when this show screams to be character driven.

Every single decision made by our main characters this season (save for Diggle and Roy) has been influenced by a hand of plot fate. Starting from the earliest episodes, with Thea trusting Malcolm. Then when Sara was murdered for some vague reasons by Malcolm using Thea. Which culminated in Oliver falling to his death after being skewered by Ra's Al Ghul, a killer with a century of experience. Oh wait, Oliver didn't die somehow.

I think it is the fact that simple logic and reasoning that has escaped both character actions and consequences this season that has me so down. Laurel deciding that Quentin couldn't handle the news about Sara. Quentin going off the deep end when an obvious copycat started killing people in the Arrow's name. Now comes the biggest logical fallacy of the season. Not so long ago, Ray was fixed using nano-bots. His injury was very specific and difficult to heal, so why couldn't the same technology be used on Thea?

I guess the simple answer is that she had brain damage, but that was never mentioned once in the episode. Felicity even had the opportunity, and instead of asking Ray for his magical cure all, she requested a plane. His injuries were even referenced in that scene! In other words, each character I've mentioned had to choose the bad path, when another way was viable, so the plot would unfold as it did.

What's kind of funny is that I'm no longer upset by the whole thing. Because all my irritation has transferred to Ra's and his petulant insistence that Oliver be his replacement. Does he really think Oliver is just going to throw away who he is and take up the mantle? Maybe at first, when there isn't another option, but as soon as Ra's tries to force him to kill, especially if it is someone that Oliver cares about, I bet this cozy little scenario is going to fall apart. Oliver isn't there out of loyalty, or fear. He isn't a willing participant. He is a hostage, with his sister and friends being used for leverage.

Speaking of Thea, that scene with the Lazarus Pit was both awesome and totally underwhelming. Malcolm believing that his daughter was lost, and that the pits wouldn't bring her back the same, built up the tension rather well. If Malcolm couldn't live with what came out of that process, what was she going to become? Then she awoke from the pits as a salivating monster, attacking Oliver and having to be sedated, and waking up with a strange backward amnesia.

I wasn't happy about those changes to her character, but at least they were consequences. But when she finally woke up in her loft with Malcolm, it seemed as though nothing had changed. It took a lot away from the whole situation. While it is great she hasn't apparently suffered a major personality change, it is just as troubling that this was just another plot device to get Oliver under Ra's thumb.

At least we finally got some progress on the Olicity front. Though I'm a bit disappointed how easily Felicity dropped Ray, or rather how he backed away without argument. Of course Ray was fairly classy, clearly upset, but he was a gentleman to the end. This opened things up for Felicity to finally step up. She finally told Oliver she loved him, she threatened Ra's, orchestrated an escape, but not before sleeping with Oliver for the first, and perhaps only, time. Despite her total failure in asking Ray for his cure, it was a pretty good Felicity episode.


While Oliver spent most of the episode in the present trying to save his sister, in the past he was trying to save an entire city. The action here was pretty generic, but at least it was fun. Especially Tatsu and that sword. We still don't know how Akio dies, but it was confirmed that he does at some point in the near future of this storyline. Mind you, the biggest moment in the episode is when the vial with the Alpha/Omega serum is dropped and broken. Is it an airborne toxin? Will it spread throughout the city and kill most of Hong Kong? I guess we'll find out in the next few weeks.


Oliver saying goodbye to Diggle was lovely. Calling him his brother and the best man he knew was genuinely touching.

Thea having enough strength to crawl across the floor and find that phone showed how tough she's become.

When Oliver fell off the back of that car during the chase scene and then surfed behind it on his sneakers, my only reaction was, shoes don't work that way.

When Thea was being lowered into the water, I kept thinking of cooking metaphors. Like the League was having a big luau and Thea was the main course. Although poaching isn't the best way to... again I'm a very bad person.

Felicity drugging Oliver was a great moment.

Ra's keeps mentioning a transformation. What does he have in store for Oliver?

So we finally get to see why the show logo changed at the beginning of the season. That arrow head is the same as the League brand.

Malcolm breaking down in front of Oliver was another great moment, proving yet again that he is only human.

Felicity going to Laurel to tell her about Oliver was a really nice scene. It makes sense that Felicity would feel some kinship there, even if their relationship has never been that close.


Felicity: "Okay, even if a magic hot-tub were not crazy talk, we're not going to let you go a join the league of psychotic murderers, even if it is to save Thea."

Oliver: "John, you're the best man I've ever known. Whatever happens, you're my brother."

I've been really having a hard time with this final arc. I think these episodes are good, but I've been so frustrated with this plot that I haven't enjoyed them. I think I'll hold off on my rating again. I'd love to hear how everyone would rate this episode.

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.


Brandi said...

Honestly I'm finding it harder to watch the episodes lately, usually I might even wait a few days before I watch it. In the past I couldn't wait to watch it ASAP. I hope this changes in the next season.

CH said...

You know, I still very much enjoy watching every Arrow episode and eagerly await every Wednesday night. I am enjoying this arc with Ra's.

But I can't deny that, when I read this review, I actually agreed with most of what you said. It's a strange experience, enjoying the show in the moment and then contemplating these thoughts afterwards.

I did think a very redeeming moment was that Oliver did not get mad at Felicity for attempting to drug him. The cliche would have been having him angry at her and ending it that way (something I think Supernatural does too much of with the brothers).

At any rate, I really enjoyed the episode AND I agree with most everything you say in your review.

migmit said...

> I think it is the fact that simple logic and reasoning that has escaped both character actions and consequences this season that has me so down.

Exactly. That is what caused me dropping the show. Together with Flash.

I still enjoy the reviews though.

Marianna said...

I enjoyed the episode, but I also agree about the use of plot-driven stories. Another issue that bugged me was Malcolm objecting to the use of Lazarus pits when it was strongly implied that he used the pits or some similar reviving technique after his apparent death at the end of season one. It was like they needed someone to say the use of the pits could have consequences and none of the other characters had knowledge of them in order to say so.