Arrow Review – “Corto Maltese” S3E3

Arrow has been spot on with its cliffhangers this season.  I have yet to leave an episode without having to pick my jaw up off the floor.  As for the rest of “Corto Maltese,” I felt like it was a great setup episode for varying story lines, but in general, but otherwise, not much happened – except for amazing action scenes.

The focus this week was for Oliver and crew to bring Thea Queen Merlyn back to Starling City.  As I was writing my notes for this episode though, I found that not much of it had to do with Thea.  But I was impressed with her scenes.  I really liked that we got her flashbacks this week, which were brutal.  Malcolm Merlyn is as vicious as ever, particularly in the way he has been training his daughter to become a “warrior.” I also really liked the final sword fighting scene between Thea and Malcolm; he let her win. It would be foolish to think that after only five months that Thea would be able to beat the Dark Archer at anything.  And we got our little teaser that Thea will become Speedy, Arrow’s teenaged sidekick, since Thea goes by Mia on the island.

In the mean time on the island, Diggle tries to find a missing A.R.G.U.S. operative, Mark Shaw. This story seemed to take up the majority of the plot of the island, and therefore the episode.  For the moment, it doesn’t seem like it has much to do with anything, and wasn’t all that intriguing.  I do have a feeling that Mark Shaw, aka Manhunter, will be our link back to the Suicide Squad, briefly featured last season.  The best part of this whole scene?  Oliver’s MacGuyvering of bows and arrows from things around the hotel room and the subsequent battle scene that ensued.  Arrows shot, bullets shot, a kick that took three men down at once, and a neck punch with a computer!  I was very impressed.  I think this season’s action scenes are some of the best I have seen – ever.

Do you like my hotel lamp bow?
Do you like my hotel lamp bow?

Back in Starling City, there was plenty going on.  In fact, I felt that considering we were supposed to focus on Thea and Oliver, the meat of the episode was in Laurel’s storyline.  All of her little stories were fairly disjointed, but when tied together, were a bunch of really good Easter Eggs (which you can find my complete list below) and the beginning of the next Black Canary (maybe).  Laurel goes to a local boxing gym to interrogate a man named Ted Grant about Thomas Bronson. For what, I’m not quite sure, but he tells her to take classes.  Jump to Laurel’s AA meeting where a woman admits that she is being beat up by her drunk boyfriend.

Laurel decides to channel her sister, badly and goes after the guy with a baseball bat.  My biggest problem with it?  She didn’t even tuck her hair into her ski mask before she did it.  It’s a small gripe, but perhaps its from years of watching Joss Whedon shows, where in general, the girls have sensible hair styles when battling.  I did think it was good that Laurel was beat.  And no, its not because I think Laurel deserves it.  No one deserves it.  But again, it would be unrealistic that she would be able to just get away with plan that had no thought behind it.  I guess the best thing about it is that she learned from her mistake and will probably be a real badass once she learns how to fight – which she plans to do from the boxer Ted Grant.  It was also pretty cool that Captain Lance turned the guy who beat Laurel up in on an anonymous tip.  Healthy father-daughter relationships for the win!

Laurel has a dang good reason to learn to fight after this.
Laurel has a dang good reason to learn to fight after this.

Meanwhile, Felicity was busy helping Ray Palmer… and attempting to help everyone else.  I love Felicity but how is she getting duped to work for this charismatic asshole?  It’s easy to be all drooly over her new office and her personal assistant, but can’t she see through his facade?  It will only be a matter of time, I hope.  I loved how she was still trying to help Diggle and Laurel, and trying to explain herself to Ray with “It’s a long story.”  It was very Felicity and very adorable.

Truth and lies were very important for all our heroes this week.  And while there were supposed to be more truths exposed, it seems like there are still more lies than anything.  Oliver planned on telling Thea “everything,” but only gave her what I call “truth bait” by telling her only the truth about how Robert Queen died.  He still has yet to reveal his true identity to his sister; something that Diggle predicts could drive her away before it brings the siblings closer.  At the same time, Thea does not come clean about her time on Corto Maltese.  All the lies are bound to cause a lot of anguish for all the characters this season before any of them can come to terms with the truth of the world around them.  It’s going to be a long year, folks.

All the while, we still don’t know who killed Sara.  I suspect this will go on for at least half the season.  But the shocking cliffhanger may give us a clue.  Nyssa al Ghul, Sara’s former lover and partner in the League of Assassins, comes in to Arrow’s headquarters demanding to know where Sara is.  What could this mean for the future?  What could this mean for who killed Sara.  I could speculate, but that would take a whole other post.  For now I will just say I am teeming with excitement for what this could mean for the coming episodes. Gah!

And this:

  • Diggle’s line, “What is it with your family and islands?,” was the best line of the episode.
  • Roy has never flown in a plane.
  • Roy was about to take a frickin’ bow on a plane.
  • Laurel is getting really dark.  She told her dad that the world is a place where people deserve to get punished.  Not saying I disagree, but she is not the same girl she used to be.  Good.
  • Thea will never sue McDonald’s for a hot coffee spill.

Hush Comics give “Corto Maltese” a B, for great use of action, realistically portraying the females strength, and setting us up for what is sure to be an epic season.

Easter Egg Hunt (spoilers ahead):

Home of the Wildcats!: Laurel’s new teacher, Ted Grant, also happens to be Wildcat.  In his boxing ring, there was even a sign in the background that read “Home of the Wildcats!”  Wildcat is a champion boxer who has trained Batman, Superman, and yes, even Black Canary.  It looks like we will be seeing a lot more of him.

Greetings from Coast City: The man who Laurel tries to beat up has charges on him in Coast City, home of Hal Jordan and Ferris Air.  It was a cool way to tie different DC Universes together.

Felicity Smoak, meet your makerFelicity’s new assistant, Gerry Conway, also happens to be the name of the writer who created her namesake in the comics.  She first appeared in the Firestorm comics of the 80s.  This is yet another link to The Flash.

M & M & M: The first “M” is for Thea “Mia” Dearden Queen Merlyn is sure to become Speedy, Arrow’s sidekick.  She was created by Kevin Smith in 2001.  The second and third “M”s are for Mark Shaw aka Manhunter.  I am certain this was not his last appearance this season.  I predict there will be some sort of allusion to the Suicide Squad and possible a showdown with the League of Assassins.

BlueprintsThe blueprints that Ray Palmer were looking at had OMAC written on the bottom righthand corner.  The OMAC’s are machines that fight against humans with superpowers.  None of this is looking good for the heroes of Starling City.

The might be a stretch but..: At one point Ray asks Felicity about the data she is trying to retrieve for him and refers to it as a “Lazarus.” The Lazarus Pits are a major tool used by R’as al Ghul for restorative powers.  At one point, Black Canary was brought back to life by the Lazarus Pits.  It could be me reading too much into nothing, but it could be something… dunh, dunh, dunh!

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  The cover image and photo of Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen are credited to Diyah Pera. The photo of Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance is credited to Cate Cameron.

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Adrian Puryear

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, and Breaking Bad are the best things to ever happen to me. I'm only a Three on MeowMeowBeenz. I really want to be a Four.

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