Arrow: Welcome to Hong Kong

“We honor the dead by fighting for the living.”

Oliver wakes up at the scene of one of his biggest failures. And after seeing Earth-2 destroyed before his eyes, he’s determined not to let it happen again. The question is whether doing The Monitor’s bidding is the best way to accomplish his mission.

I’m not a big fan of spoilers, so I do my best to avoid any mentions of upcoming plot points or returning stars whenever possible. So you must forgive me for not realizing that each episode would tie into a previous season. It is a cool concept but I’m afraid it may have diminishing returns.

Not that this was a bad episode. It wasn’t. However, as a look back it can’t compare to last week’s masterpiece. Mostly because the season one references were all related to emotional touchstones in Oliver’s life. Here the character most impacted by the previous events is Tatsu. And while she may be a beloved character and losing her family was gut-wrenching, season three’s flashbacks remain one of Arrow’s least popular storylines.

On the upside, it allowed for Tatsu and China White’s return despite the convoluted explanations given that China was last seen as an unwilling operative of A.R.G.U.S and Tatsu was a member of the Crescent Order. Now China has resumed her position as leader of Hong Kong’s Triad and Tatsu has become Hong Kong’s very own vigilante. All of which pales before their kick-ass rematch.

However, the crux of this episode and the part I found most fascinating was the journey Oliver makes over the course of the episode. In the beginning, we have a man completely shaken by the destruction of Earth-2 and his guilt over the possible role he might have played. If it takes following The Monitor's orders blindly to save his family and his Earth, then it’s a price he’s determined to pay.

Diggle creates the first crack in this argument. He may be down with the mission but he doesn’t believe the destruction of Earth-2 can be laid at Oliver’s feet. If the all-powerful Monitor is aware enough of the events to come that he knows how to avert the Crisis and can predict Oliver’s death, then surely he would have realized that Oliver could never have let his best friend become a mass murderer if he could stop it.

Tatsu takes that tiny fissure of doubt and takes a sledgehammer to it.  She seems to know exactly who The Monitor is and questions whether the mission is worth the cost. On the face of it this seems like a no-brainer. If all of the multiverse hangs in the balance of obeying The Monitor, then you do as he says.

However, the fact The Monitor has asked for a highly destructive element and a man who can create the world’s most dangerous bio-weapon is cause for concern. This coupled with Oliver’s doubts about The Monitor’s intentions lead him to the conclusion that he can’t just blindly follow The Monitor no matter how powerful or omniscient he may be.

Lyla took all of that into consideration and came to a different conclusion. And I suspect it may be the wrong one. I have never questioned Lyla’s intentions but I’m not always a fan of her methods. She is far too comfortable in the gray. Don’t get me wrong, so is Oliver. The difference is 1) he’s trying to change, and 2) he doesn’t have a clandestine government agency at his disposal when he goes off the reservation.

And why would The Monitor need a side arrangement with Lyla? Is it because he’s unsure if Oliver’s up to the task, or have The Monitor’s predictive powers led him to believe this is a necessary part of ensuring that Oliver is? It doesn’t bode well that Lyla is keeping this from Oliver or Diggle. Didn’t they vow to stop keeping secrets from each other?

Earth-2’s destruction is having an even more profound impact on Laurel. As she said, Earth-2 may have had copies of the people Oliver loved but it was her home. She spends most of the episode fighting to get back there to see if there is anyone left to be saved. When she realizes there isn’t, she returns to Oliver, committed to ensuring that level of destruction never happens again.

As for the flash-forwards, not only is JJ in it for the long haul, he is a far more strategic thinker than his brother. No one on the 2.0 squad stopped to consider why a flash drive is the only item to survive the Deathstroke Gang’s ransacking. It doesn’t say much for Mia’s leadership skills but it does prove her point. Connor really doesn’t know his brother as well as he thinks. Arrow, The Next Generation (I’ll find the perfect name eventually) is now one man down and they still have no idea what JJ is really up to.

Next week’s trip down memory lane lands us in Nanda Parbat which should be interesting if for no other reason than I wonder who’s running the place now that Malcolm is dead and Nyssa and Thea are gallivanting around the world in search of other Lazarus Pits.

After last week’s blowout, this episode felt like a bit of a letdown. But there were enough interesting character and plot developments to keep me engaged throughout.

3 out of 5 Alpha/Omega viruses

Parting Thoughts:

The Hong Kong storyline may have been from season three but they used the season two title card.



Tatsu’s entrance was awesome but I wonder what kind of impression a sword wielding masked woman makes wandering down the street.

Is there anyone else who got Star Wars vibes when Connor claimed there was “still good in him?”

Quotes:

Monitor: “You are not a man accustomed to following orders but the survival of the multiverse requires that you obey mine.”

Laurel: “Nice of you to show up.”

Laurel: “I just got my life back and I’m not giving it up without a fight.”

William: “Anyone want to fill me in on what happened out there?”
Mai: “I almost got my throat slit. Turns out Connor doesn’t know his brother as well as he thinks.”

William: “Not to brag but totally fried is kind of my wheelhouse.”

Mia: “The next time I see your brother, don’t get in my way.”

Diggle: “But if what you told me is true, which is that we’re facing the destruction of... Hell, man, pretty much everything, then to me that’s the very definition of all hands on deck.”

Diggle: “You want to tell me what that face is all about or are you gonna make me guess?"

Oliver: “I ignored the orders of a cosmic being and as a result I watched an entire world just disappear.”

Diggle: “If this cosmic being wanted someone willing to watch the mass murder of innocent people, then he picked the wrong hero.”

David: “Whoa. Is that an interdimensional extrapolator?”
Laurel: “If that’s nerd talk for breach device, then yes, and I need you to fix it.”

David: “I can fix tech. I can’t bring back a whole friggin‘ universe.”

Lyla: “I made any deal I could think of with any god I thought might listen.”
Laurel: “And did it work?”
Lyla: “Not exactly.”

Tatsu: “Sometimes the mission is not worth the cost.”

JJ: “You were wrong about me, brother. It was never a mask.”

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

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lyla Michaels aka Harbinger. Has a pivotal role in crisis in the comics.

Billie Doux said...

I've never been a Laurel fan, but I think I like this Laurel the most.

And I had this weird thought while I was watching this one -- that somehow the Crisis will "correct" JJ and give us Sara instead. It's always bothered me that Dig and Lyla lost their daughter the way they did.