By Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Welcome to the hour of Arrow history where a brother tries to save his sister’s future by consolidating with drug dealers and working with the Russian mafia. Oliver was dead-set this week to save Thea from spending any time in jail due to her DUI exploit. Not saying I told you so, but I did tell you that the timing (right after her eighteenth birthday) would probably not work in her favor. Judge Judy used Thea’s case as an example for the rest of the city, people who use Vertigo will face the court, and as Thea is no longer a minor she could face real jail time. But not if Oliver has anything to do with it.
This episode was a case of saints falling and clashes being resolved. Thea’s hatred for her mother fueled part of this episode as the headstrong eighteen-year-old with a death wish and a stubborn mind wanted to be put behind bars just in spite of her mother. The mother she believed to be cheating on her father. In order to get Detective Lance to talk to the Judge about taking it easy on Thea, Laurel had to liken Speedy to Sarah – Laurel’s long gone sister. They both were young, they both made mistakes, but they both had potential to be great. In order for Thea to see that her mother isn’t a conniving disloyal cheater, Oliver had to soil his father’s image by telling Thea that Moira never cheated on their father, but it was the other way around.
Peeking behind the curtain of the way their loved ones were remembered, Arrow reminds audiences that the characters are still grieving and mourning their losses throughout the season. The family ideals that Oliver guards so thoroughly are a testament to the fact that they have all lost too much to now lose each other.
Now, let’s take a few sentences to think about the villain of this episode. Week by week, I’m finding myself unintentionally likening the aesthetics of Arrow to Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. Is it just me or can anyone else see the similarities between The Count and Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Scarecrow in Batman Begins? The amplified movements, the peculiar Joker-esque voice and the ultimate breakdown at the end of the episode were undeniably indicative of Nolan’s film. I half-expected The Count to break out a mask and gas his victims, but instead he broke out a syringe and poisoned them. I mean, the guy even kind of looks like Cillian Murphy. At least if one thing can be said about The Count is that he stood out amongst all the Arrow characters we have been introduced to so far.
Another similarity: this week’s flashback. Recruits. Initiation processes. Members pitted against each other in the survival of the fittest. Are we talking about the banished souls on Purgatory Island or are we talking about The League of Shadows? Although this episode’s flashback did equip us with the knowledge that his mentor turned traitor turned mentor turned traitor to the other side is now on his side (I think), the flashbacks need to reveal more information and at a greater speed. Also, pretty nifty given that Oliver spoke Russian in present-day Starling City after the map he was left with on Purgatory was written in Russian.
Felicity Smoak: Oliver’s I.T. confidant and unusual knowledge extraordinaire. It’s about time she figured out who Oliver really is. After all, she is smart enough to figure it out herself. From the arrow Oliver gave her to examine to the military-grade blueprints and an ‘energy drink’ left in a syringe Oliver has practically presented her with his identity. She’s acknowledged that his elaborate lies are blatantly untrue and she’s confided in him with information Walter privileged her with; so here’s hoping one way or another, and very soon, she finds out that he’s the masked vigilante. This episode he asked her to analyze the contents of the drug Arrow was injected with after going arrow-less to defeat The Count. That is, the same drug that The Count was suffering immeasurable side effects from. Which begs the question, will Vertigo’s effects on Oliver be carried on into later episodes?
So as Thea is being made an upright citizen by Laurel, Moira is carrying on Walter’s tasks at Q Consolidated and Diggle continues to steer Oliver in the direction opposite to irreparable damage, Arrow is proving to be based on a storyline where one character cannot exist without the other and the interconnected web of relations are making the citizens of Starling City stronger than ever.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars