This episode did so many great things that I could hardly contain myself, so lets get to it. Before this episode even aired I was already excited by the fact that it was written by Geoff Johns. For those of you that don’t know the name, Johns is hands down my favorite comic book writer, which is saying something because I am the type of reader who follows characters, not writers and artists, and is pretty much responsible for my reigniting my love of comics. The man writes Green Lantern (Though he will be giving up the title this May), he also writes Aquaman, Justice League as well as the new Justice League of America, not only that but he is also DC’s chief creative officer. Yeah, he’s a busy guy, but I knew when I heard he was writing this episode I knew it would rank among the best the series has offered, and he didn’t disappoint.
One of the biggest things that happened was the reveal that Deadshot is indeed alive after his encounter with Arrow and Diggle. Score a huge point for Johns here, I was so disappointed with what I thought was the killing of Deadshot because he is such a huge DC villain that it was a disservice to have killed him after one episode and with no development. Not only does he come back, but he also receives the iconic eyepiece he sports in the comics thanks to China White, who hires him on to take out Malcolm Merlyn for Moira Queen. I don’t know if they had planned to bring Deadshot back after we thought he had died, but I am more than glad that he is back.
The main story consists of Arrow and his team trying to figure out who is the target for assassination, which took us to some pretty interesting places, such as Oliver speaking perfect Chinese while trying to shake down some Triad members for information. I loved how this scene was pulled off with Oliver calmly getting away since the people he attacked never saw his face which set them off looking for a Chinese person.
This episode also marks the first time that not only did I not hate Tommy, but I actually enjoyed his character as he decides to cave in to his father to try to fix their severely damaged relationship. I finally saw the potential for Tommy to be a really good character in the series instead of just being there to deliver those cheesy CW type lines that we expect from every show on that network. Malcolm also came through with some more development as we get small allusions as to where he may have learned all the techniques he used to put Oliver in the hospital after their slam bang fight from the mid season finale. No, we don’t get any details, but he did speak a bit about the two years he spent away after the death of Tommy’s mother. I would really love to see this fleshed out more via flashbacks akin to what we see with Oliver’s time on the island, THAT would make for some great TV.
The time for the hit on Merlyn comes at an awards dinner where he is to accept a humanitarian award. Though Tommy was reluctant to go, he eventually changes his mind and I loved the way Malcolm used his awards speech to reach out to Tommy and mend some fences. He comes off as the guy who has a hard time verbalizing his feelings so it was nice to see him do it in the best way he knew how, which was not lost on Tommy. Things start to go awry once the Triad moves in Malcolm, which he immediately recognizes since he is secretly a bad ass, and he tries to move Tommy to safety. Arrow shows up and helps defend them, and Malcolm gets killing people himself, and I loved Tommy’s shocked reaction to seeing how bad ass his dad really is. It all seems for not though as Deadshot is still able to hit his target and Malcolm seemingly goes down for the count. I knew this had to be a trick though because there is no way that Malcolm Merlyn gets taken out that easily. Arrow shows up and offers a way to save Malcolm’s life, but Tommy is hesitant to accept his help.
That’s when we get another huge moment as Arrow unmasks himself to Tommy to gain his trust in order to help Malcolm. I could feel the excitement building up in my brain as he turned off his voice decoder and pulled down his hood. What a great reveal! I’m so glad that Tommy is in the know, but it seems like that list of people is starting to grow too quickly. Of course after Arrow manages to save Malcolm, Tommy is upset by Oliver’s secret keeping, but still manages to do Oliver right by not saying anything to the police.
Another huge moment comes as Laurel’s mother tries desperately to get in contact with her, but Laurel isn’t having it. This prompts her mother, who in the comics is named Dinah, but is also the original Black Canary, to show up at Laurel’s door. This is when she tells Laurel that she has the belief that her sister Sarah is still alive. Wait, what?! Sarah may still be alive? Johns you crazy bastard, what are you trying to do to us? This opens up the door to a slew of questions such as how did she survive the boat sinking? Where as she been? Did Fyers find her? Of course those will have to wait for another show because that was how it ended. I didn’t see any mention of it in the preview for next week, but this better get worked in because I can’t wait another 2 weeks to a month for the show to come back around to that.
Another really cool thing was all the DC easter eggs Johns dropped into the episode. They’ve been there before, but these were some good ones, such as the Bludhaven Apts sign and the picture of Laurel’s sister Sarah with a canary. In the comics Laurel is Black Canary, so this was an obvious nod to that, and dare I say a bit of foreshadowing as well, this could be the origin of how Laurel takes the name Black Canary, though I suspect if she does she will simply be The Canary.
The flashbacks this week were okay, but didn’t seem to play into the central story as they normally do. The biggest thing I garnered from them was that this possibly explained Oliver’s obsession for shirtless training, something I was glad we didn’t have to deal with this week. I understand the need to rope in the lady viewers, but it seems every single week Oliver is introduced into the episode with a bit of the shirtless training, and I’m glad Johns didn’t take us there. One other thing that caught my attention in a subtle way was Malcolm Merlyn’s speech to his group in which he says “We will not fail this city.” a nod to Arrow’s tagline when before he kills someone on his list. Also, when Malcolm took Tommy to his penthouse office for protection, was he planning on revealing HIS secret to Tommy? Hmm.
Overall this was easily one of the best episodes yet, ranking right up there with the one from a few weeks ago when we spent most of the time in island flashbacks. I loved almost every minute of it, which usually doesn’t happen, and it begs the question to be asked, Geoff, can you just write every episode?! One huge reveal right after the other was a great way to really kick start the direction this show should be going.
4.5 out of 5 nerds
Follow Christopher on Twitter @AUDone44 and The Nerd @nerdfollowing