Arrow: Year’s End
by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)
Warning: Arrow spoilers – extremely juicy Arrow spoilers.
In this week’s episode, Oliver dealt with a copycat, Moira dealt with her husband, and Thea dealt with her candy cane craving. It’s a lot to manage, considering that all the while they were trying to spread the Christmas cheer.
The episode begins with Arrow’s copycat killing Adam Hunt. Remember him from the old days of clean cut “you have failed your city” plotlines? Detective Lance calls it right off the bat – it isn’t the work of “The Hood Guy,” it’s a copycat. Oliver finds out about his impersonator and we are lead to the first thrill of the episode – he asks Detective Lance for help. Finally, they’re working together. Yeah, there was a bit of hesitation on Lance’s part but he came around eventually giving Arrow the arrow used by the unknown archer. Might I add that Oliver left Lance with a burn iPhone; two words that should never be used together. Oliver then enlisted Felicity’s help, leading him to the location of the masked madman. Nope. It’s not that easy, Queen. A booby trap and an explosion later, and Oliver is even more determined to find the Dark Archer. At the end of the episode, Oliver gets his Christmas wish and it almost costs him his life. But we’ll get back to that after a momentary sidetrack.
Momentary sidetracking: let’s talk about the awkward board meeting-esque dinner Oliver happened to catch the end of at the Queen residence. Oh, the witty back and forth between obscenely rich individuals, discussing vigilante nicknames and all that jazz. “The Hood Guy” hardly sounds like something you’d call a hardcore archer. “The Hood” isn’t much better, either. “Green Arrow?” Tommy’s father, Malcolm Merlyn asks. “Lame,” replies Oliver. After finding out that Malcolm is the Dark Archer, I can’t help but wonder if he suspects Oliver to be The Hood. And was the entire episode a bitter retaliation because Oliver called him lame? More realistically, Malcolm is pretty high up in the evil ranks and Arrow isn’t making the villains’ lives easier. During their archery-off, Oliver figuratively and literally got his ass kicked. After getting shot in the back twice, Diggle rescued him in a quick getaway. Guess he isn’t as tough as he thought he was. Diggle took Oliver to a hospital and told the doctors that he had been in a motorcycle accident. Oliver woke up to a bit of family bonding. Thea and Oliver connected over their love for candy canes and the family was brought together over Oliver’s broken bones. Aw, shucks. Now back to plotting evil schemes and such.
Another plan of action Malcolm took to stop people questioning his villainous antics was to kidnap Walter. To ensure his safe return, Moira promised to remain quiet for six months while Malcolm completed his master plan to take over the world – sorry, take over Starling City. I’m glad Walter didn’t die; his lack of active involvement was refreshing between Malcolm’s scheming and Oliver’s counter-scheming.
This episode was centered on Christmas and it definitely had the standard sappy, tear-jerking moments. For example, Tommy’s present to Laurel. Thankfully, their relationship is further developing, which means three things.
1. We get to see more of Tommy.
2. Tommy is not a throwaway character and will probably have a moment where he needs to choose between his evil father and his lawyer lover.
3. Oliver and Laurel are not getting together any time soon – avoiding the major clichéd plotline that could occur.
The only disappointment of the episode was the flashback. I know they’re necessary to fill in the blanks and show us Oliver’s time on the island. But it’s tiresome watching him fail countlessly, having the same stilted conversations. Especially because all the while, he’s wearing exactly the same clothes with exactly the same amount of dirt smeared all over them. He was on the island for five years; it would be great if we could get past the first few weeks.
The important information we got from this episode’s flashback was that the island – Purgatory – was a Chinese prison for criminals who were too dangerous to keep on the mainland. The British villain we encountered a few episodes back was sent in with his crowd to “dispose of” all the convicts when the program shut down. Two prisoners remained: Deathstroke and Oliver’s mentor. We did need to know that, but Oliver could’ve easily told Diggle the same thing in one of his “I was on an island for five years, I can handle anything” rants.
All in all, congratulations Arrow cast and crew. You have successfully pulled off your first midseason finale. It was insanely epic and there is no doubt that fans will be glued to their televisions screens eagerly awaiting the next episode on January 16th.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars