“Uprising” was the conclusion of the arc we began with “Left Behind” two episodes back. It truly served as not only a conclusion to what was started, but also became a great spark for the rest of the season.
We knew that “Uprising” (via the preview for the episode) was going to be a true battle for the Glades with Arsenal and Black Canary at the lead, along with the true return of Ollie. What it became though was not only a proving ground for Team Arrow minus Ollie, but a possible redemption road for Malcolm Merlyn.
It was great to see Team Arrow being the only true law and order in the Glades, as Brick’s threat against the council made all the officers leave. Yet, as we quickly found out, just because they were protecting it, it didn’t mean they were enough to save it. Truly, they were still over their heads, and they didn’t have a true way to get rid of Brick himself. Superhero shows sometimes make it appear really ease for the characters to do their thing. Arrow has had that many times before. The Brick threat (again, Vinnie Jones is amazing) showed that even “common” street crime can be very dangerous, and deadly.
The reveal that Brick actually killed Rebecca Merlyn was very shocking. Even more shocking was Team Arrow considering using Merlyn to get rid of Brick. This was a very dark turn, and very reminiscent of Batman Begins when Batman told Ra’s “I don’t have to kill you, but I don’t have to save you either”. Not so ironically, Felicity was the only one whole-heartedly against asking Malcolm for help. Citing that Ollie would never do such a thing…
This led to the other shocker, that the episode showed the beginnings of Malcolm’s rise to the Dark Archer. Though simplistic, they really did tell the story of a man who lost his wife and fighting the grief that came with it. Fans will note some discrepancies from what was revealed in Season 1, but it’s small compared to the impact of the story.
Malcolm’s struggle with who he thought he was, and what Thea thought he was very cool. Yes, Thea doesn’t know what Malcolm made her do, but that just proves her intent was sincere. And it was very ironic that it was Ollie of all people to convince him to pick a better path and not kill Brick.
Ollie’s return home was short, and in a way a little pointless. All he really did was travel down the mountain and hitch a ride. The true meaning came from Tatsu, who instructed him on how to beat Ra’s al Ghul. I really hope this isn’t the last we see of Tatsu in the present. Katana is a very respected character in the DCU, if we don’t get to see her take on the name, I’ll be very disappointed.
The battle for the Glades as it were was very cool, and oddly imaginative. As Team Arrow asked for help from the people who they usually help. Having the town rise up against oppressors isn’t new to TV, but it still was very fun to watch…even if it made you suspend belief in reality for a bit. I.E. why are people with guns running TOWARDS the people without them?
Another cool bit was the fact that Sin and Ted Grant were brought into the fight as well. A lot of fans noticed the absence of Sin both in back half of season 2 and the beginning of season 3, so it was nice to see her again. As was her revealing to Lance that Black Canary wasn’t Sara. FINALLY!!!!! He knows!!!!
Now, as for Ted, it was totally awesome when he said he was Wildcat to Brick, and proceeded to beat him up. Yet the show made it seem like Ted was severely wounded by Brick, as stated by Laurel’s “lying” about him being ok. If he dies because of this, after barely training Laurel, and not being able to show his true epicness, I will be VERY ticked!
With the capture of Brick, the return of Arrow (complete with epic speech), and the reformation of Team Arrow now complete, all eyes turned to Ra’s al Ghul, who we know was already on his way back to Starling. Now though, he’ll be after three people instead of two. The twist though is that Malcolm will be the one training Ollie to beat him, this will be fun to watch.
Sadly, for the first time in possibly ever…one of the downparts of the episode…was Felicity. I know, I can’t believe it either. Yes, her final speech was powerful, and yet, there was a bit of…cheesiness? Soap Opera-ness? Something felt off. I can understand why she felt that Ollie wouldn’t team up with Merlyn because of what he had done to the Glades, to Thea, to Sara. But when the World’s Greatest Assassin comes to your door? You learn to make compromises. Besides, does she really think Ollie would do this if he didn’t believe on some level that Malcolm to be trusted? It just felt weird. I know they’re positioning her to be with Palmer now (we’ll see how that goes…), and her anger with Ollie doing this is reasonable to a degree. But on the whole…it felt a little petty.
In the end though, “Uprising” brought the “death” of Oliver to a close in a dramatic way. It wasn’t perfect, but the potential for a great set of final episodes for this season is truly there. Malcolm is going to be someone to watch with great interest, and there’s a big storm coming. Let’s see if they weather it, or get blown away.