Arrow: Star City Slayer

"Don't worry, Oliver. It's me."

Arrow does horror. Complete with the dark and stormy evening, off key pianos, and the semi-haunted house. So why do I think our biggest fears are yet to come?

The Powers That Be have been laying the groundwork for this episode for months. We knew that Stanley was completely off his rocker and that he had escaped Slabside. We knew that Laurel’s would be stalker was not responsible for the threats she and Dinah received and we had reason to believe that all of Team Arrow were targets. This is my argument for not seeing this coming. I thought Stanley wanted revenge on Oliver. I didn’t suspect he still considered himself Oliver’s protector, twisted as his efforts may be. Me not figuring it out even after they showed the Slabside uniform is completely beside the point.

The important thing is that it all worked. A serial killer targeting the now very public Team Arrow felt dangerous in a way that previous villains had not. Notes were left at Rene’s house where his daughter slept in lieu of attacking the bunker. Searching the abandoned house in the middle of a storm left me yelling “Yeah, what he said,” when Curtis, rightly, argued against splitting up. And the anxiety I felt the moment the power went out at the Queen residence was palpable. Especially after what had happened to Dinah.

Dinah’s injury was the only thing I did see coming and not just because of the VERY spoilery preview. The writers may have taken their time with Stanley but they rushed Dinah’s storyline. She frets about her abilities being made public, her former boss discusses the pros and cons of meta-humans, then she enters the lair of a serial killer. The bricks may have been laid neatly, but they were laid too quickly to be laid well. That said, it was only after she was injured that I realized she had never used her cry in the flash forwards.

For all the setup for Stanley’s return, that storyline seems to be a one and done. The flash forward serves as the real plot driver this time around. It is also a reason the episode should not have worked as well as it did. We already knew everybody, with the exception of Curtis, survived. And Curtis, the one person whose future was in question, was the only one who never appeared in serious jeopardy. We know Dig, Oliver and Felicity survive long enough to see the creation of the Mark of Four and William and the rest of the Team Arrow are alive and well in the future.

Once again, the flash forward raised far more questions than it answered. Narratively, it feels like whatever happens to make the vigilantes so hated should occur by the end of the season but since we know we’re building towards "Crisis on Infinite Earths," I don’t see how we get there before next fall. Besides, it is hard to see how we get wherever there is in less than ten episodes.

Additionally, what we know of William’s personal timeline complicates rather than clarifies things. At some point, he comes back to live with Felicity and Oliver only to be sent away again where Felicity gives him the hozen again and he never sees either of his parents again. He eventually creates a very lucrative company that he apparently no longer runs but is so out of touch he’s unaware the fate of Star City or The Glades, let alone Felicity’s supposed personality transplant. And although he still has fond feelings for Zoe, he doesn’t have a clue who Mia or Connor is. Although to be fair, neither did Dinah nor Roy.

Speaking of which, neither Connor nor Mia knew the location of the bunker. Why did Felicity hide its location from her daughter? Diggle and Lyla, like Oliver, are no longer in the picture. Did JJ change his name to hide his relationship to his vigilante heritage? Is that why Mia is a Smoak and not a Queen? Her hatred of vigilantes is obvious despite the most famous one is presumably her father. Her hatred doesn’t extend to her mother suggesting that Felicity’s opinions on the subject profoundly change in the not too distant future.

While it’s clear how Rene’s anger towards Star City’s power structure and his desire to protect The Glades could lead to his mayorship, his anger towards Dinah and the mysterious Canaries remains unexplained. As is the reason Roy was on Lian Yu instead of living an adventurous happily ever after with Thea.

The best part of the episode was William the Younger. We never did get a definitive answer to why he was expelled. In the end, that was beside the point. His mother died and his life has been threatened on a half dozen occasions because of who his father is. Plus he’s had to change his name and go into hiding twice, watch his father go to jail and be sent away to boarding school all in the name of his protection before turning fourteen. As much as William loves Oliver and Felicity, his desire for a little normality is, well, normal. Watching young William go toe-to-toe with a man who stares down criminals for a living and arguing for the right to live his life as he sees fit shows us how he became the young man willing to die for what he believes. Like father like son. I'm sorry to see him go just when he seems to be coming into his own.

Last but not least, we have Curtis’ departure. For all its finality, I have my doubts that this is the last time we’ll see him. Due more to what was not shown than what was. As far as we know Curtis and Nick have not split up and since Nick has taken on a bigger role at the SCPD, I doubt he plans on following Curtis to D.C. That needs to get addressed and in a more substantial way than an offhand comment, given they stood side by side in this episode and barely acknowledged each other. That said, it is probably the right move. They’ve always struggled to find a place for Curtis. He has always played second fiddle to Felicity in the tech department and was the weak link in almost every other area of crime fighting. His one claim to fame being the comic relief now that Felicity has grown darker. Curtis deserves better than that.

While this episode did not blow me away, it managed to keep me on the edge of my seat which was the point.

4 out of 5 tranq darts

Parting Thoughts:

The Blockbuster Gang is straight out of Bludhaven and the DC Comics.

Mivacurium is an actual drug that can cause paralysis.

Quotes:

Zoe: "About damn time. Your algorithm kind of sucks."
Future William: "Nice to see you too."

Curtis: "This is one I Know What You did Last Summer creepiness."

Rene: "Don't sweat the haters because they're gonna hate."

William: "This isn't a normal life."

Curtis: "Split up? What? Have you guys never seen a horror movie before?"

Future William: "You didn't need to do that."
Mia: "No. But I enjoyed it."

Oliver: "You have a home, with the two of us, in Star City forever."

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

No comments: