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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Arrow SO1EO9 Year’s End

December 13th, 2012 by Christopher Williams Comments

An Arrow copycat is offing people on Oliver’s list with arrows. Oliver decides to throw the Queen Christmas party after discovering his family stopped celebrating Christmas. Tommy shows up at Laurel’s to deliver some more cheese.

It’s Christmas time in Starling City, and after finding out his family stopped celebrating Christmas after his disappearance; Oliver takes it upon himself to return Christmas cheer to Queen Manor. Oliver decides to throw the annual Queen Christmas party that his dad used to throw before he died. This move seems to upset his family at first, but he talks them into going with it. Meanwhile another archer is tracking down and killing people on Oliver’s list that he has already dealt with. That fact combined with the arrows being different leads Detective Lance to come up with a copycat theory, a theory the police commissioner isn’t buying, which leads to Lance getting a demotion after standing up to his boss. Right away this endeared me, finally, to Lance. He’s had Oliver and Arrow in his crosshairs since the beginning, which of course makes us not like him, but he didn’t let his personal feelings interfere with his logic, and he was able to see through the copycat archer immediately.

So now Arrow has to clear his name, and he decides to team up with Lance to do it. After talking the now sergeant into handing over one of the copycat’s arrows, Oliver was able to use the nerd girl who works at Queen Industries to deduce a location for the copycat archer. Of course once he gets there, he realizes he’s been Admiral Ackbar’ed (It’s a trap!), and high tails it out of there. It was nice to see him use an explosive tipped arrow to get out of this jam. Special trick arrows is something that we haven’t gotten a whole lot of this season, and I’m hoping that we get to see more varied trick arrows in the future.

A really interesting scene was the dinner party held by the Queens with Merlyn in attendance. Merlyn has been riding Moira about Walter’s investigations into the list, with Merlyn making a few veiled threats against Walter. Seeing the hidden tension going around the room was excellent. Of course talk of the vigilante comes up, and along with that talk of him finally needing a name. I started thinking, ‘Yes, this is it! No more calling him stupid names like the Hood or the vigilante!’ Merlyn suggests Green Arrow, which, in a funny moment, Oliver shoots down as “Lame”. Of course this ended all conversation on the topic and now I am afraid we are still stuck with the Hood or the vigilante. Damn you Arrow!

Tommy shows up at Laurel’s and makes an impassioned plea to have her spend the holidays with him. She tells Tommy that this time of year is Sarah’s birthday so Christmas is a sore subject for her and her dad, and she’s not sure that they are ready to move on. Tommy at least convinces her to attend the Queen party with him and leaves her with a gift that was pretty thoughtful. My biggest problem with the whole Tommy/Laurel thing is the amount of cheese that spews from Tommy’s mouth whenever they are together. Look, I get it, it’s the CW so they are almost obligated to have scenes like this, but at some point my ears need to be spared of all the eyeball rolling inducing dialogue. It seems that with Tommy he’s just so damn cheesy that I almost start to feel embarrassed that I’m watching this show, but then something bad assed happens and it makes me forget the horrible dialogue I had to suffer through just moments prior.

During the Christmas party Moira finally comes clean with Walter and he backs up his woman. She’s not only in quite the mess, she’s damn near at the center of it and it seems that Walter is finally relieved to hear some truth for once. All does not go so well for our hero though as the copycat, who is being called the Dark Archer online, has taken hostages and will kill them unless Arrow makes an appearance. I have to say; I thought this set up will a bit lazy and cliché. I mean, what’s next? Will the Dark Archer kidnap a woman and tie her to some train tracks to bait Arrow? Nevertheless, this plan works and Arrow does show up. After saving the hostages Arrow has a full on confrontation with the Dark Archer in which Oliver learns that he is not as formidable as he thought as he promptly gets his ass kicked from here to next Wednesday, or several Wednesdays as this was the mid season finale. Arrow does manage to escape, but his body pays the price for it, landing Oliver in a hospital bed. Oliver is down on himself for losing this battle, but Diggle is always there to provide the proper perspective, reminding Oliver that he did manage to rescue the hostages.

Then we get the biggest reveal of the season, the Dark Archer is none other than Tommy’s dad, Malcolm Merlyn! What a shocker! I absolutely loved this reveal as we finally see Merlyn taking a more hands on approach with Arrow. The guy is willing to get his hands dirty and I have to respect that.

Overall Year’s End delivered a tightly packed story that nicely sets up the next half of the season. Even though things flowed well this week, there were a few things that bothered me. The dialogue at times seems clunky and comes off more as soap opera than prime time super hero drama. One thing I have noticed and is starting to wear a bit thin is whenever someone interacts with Oliver it always seems that he is looking away and completely ignoring whoever he is sharing space with until they say something to him. He always seems startled by the fact that someone is actually talking to him, and then a smile comes across his face as he delivers some kind of smooth line to whoever is trying to engage him. Could he for once actually be involved in a conversation fully at the top of the scene? Though, for all the shows faults, it’s the first time that the CW has actually managed to make me a viewer, so they must be doing something right. We did get some more Deathstroke this week, so that’s always a plus as well. This show started off with a bang for me, and has since cooled down to just good, but at least it hasn’t fallen to unwatchable.

3 out of 5 nerds

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Christopher is self-billed as the World's Coolest Nerd (meaning he wears glasses and is clumsy, but he never earned good marks in school). He loves all things Star Wars and superhero related such as comics, books, cartoons and movies. He's a husband and father who somehow manages to keep up with his pastimes since his day job mainly consists of sitting around a store with not much to do. He's very outspoken and wants to share his opinions with the world, or at least his fellow nerds. You can follow him on Twitter @AUDone44.

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