Arrow Review – “Public Enemy” S3E18

I tried to enjoy this week’s Arrow, but I just couldn’t get there. The episode came off as comically strong-handed, not very believable as far as character actions go, and wholly unnecessary filler material. In short, it was Gotham-y, and that is not a flattering comparison. There were a few bright spots, but in a good episode, I probably wouldn’t even have merited them as “Pros.”

Pros:

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Palmer’s charm: He may have been a stinker in the last episode, thinking he could (and should) take on The Arrow in the last episode, but the guy has heart. His charismatic approach to Felicity and his work is really fun to watch. He’s a genius and he knows it, which will make him a great main character in the spin-off.

I don’t even have a regular plan: Finally, Oliver admits that he’s not always the one with the answers. Batman is going through a similar problem in the current comic book arc, Endgame, and it adds to the uncertainty that anything could happen because our hero is not 6 steps ahead anymore.

Roy’s selfless act: Honestly, I rolled my eyes at Roy when he took the fall for Oliver at the end of the episode, but then I thought about it for a while and decided that he was the only one with any fortitude to make things right. Now it’s Oliver’s turn to actually come up with an idea.

Cons:

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Quentin Lance’s flip is a little too extreme: I’ve really liked Captain Lance so far this season, but they’ve turned him into a one-dimensional angry cop, whose fixation on getting the bad guy is not really believable – even in light of all that’s been revealed thus far. I especially hate his Jesse Jackson-inspired “manhunt” demands. “I don’t give a DAYUM!”

Unnecessary characters: Is Felicity that weak that her mom had to walk her through everything this episode? I enjoyed having her mom on the show before, but she’s really just in the way here. I feel the same about Mei; why would you tease Shado’s return just to bring her sister in for some really stupid monologue. And why would she call the cops once she found out that Oliver shared the same tattoo as Shado? Seems kinda dumb.

Thea needs to get with the program: Nobody is hiding anything from you, Thea. You’re just too wrapped up in your own dumb shit to see what’s going on. Stop boinking Roy and ask your brother what is going on. And whining about just running away with Daddy’s trust fund blood money doesn’t really instill trust. I thought Thea would be written as a strong character after getting the training, but she’s devolved into another weak female character.

For Sara? Really?: Speaking of weakly-written female characters, Nyssa is willing to betray the Demon’s Head, her father… the head of the League of Assassins… just because it’s what Sara would have wanted. Jesus Christ, can no female on this show get her shit together for more than 10 minutes without giving way to the aches of her quivering heart? Ugh…

Why doesn’t Oliver just take the job offer?: I think we’re all wondering why Oliver didn’t just take the job. I’ve never been recruited so aggressively for a job, and I’d like to think that if the job entailed bending an entire band of assassins to my will, I would take the job – regardless of 401k or health care (which includes a Lazarus Pit). Why not just rebrand the League as something less threatening, like The League of Fluffy Kittens?

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Mini-van, vanish!: Let’s talk about how a minivan escapes multiple squad cars and a helicopter. Lance has the entire city after The Arrow, and all it takes to lose the tail on the manhunt (Jesse Jackson voice) is a couple of trick arrows and some smooth driving by Diggle to lose them. Either the cops in this city suck, or the writers for this episode dropped the ball. Maybe it’s 50/50.

Ra’s al Ghul’s temporary residency: So the dude is in Star City for like a week, and he feels the need to decorate his abandoned warehouse in the same dreary torch-lit corridor as in Nanda Parbat? I get the need for presentation, but this is absurd.

Easter Eggs & Predictions:

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Nanotech: There weren’t a lot of new Easter Eggs, but the one that punched me in the face was Ray’s use of nanotechnology. The Atom, as Palmer is known as in the comic books, has the ability to shrink himself down to microscopic proportions, and is able to literally surf the informational highway. This looks like the first step towards his full realization as the A.T.O.M.

Felicity is Team Atom: Not sure if this was coincidence or not, but when Felicity is at the hospital, she sports a red dress and blue fingernail polish.

Who‘s House: Felicity leaves the L word at the table, and when she freaks out about not being able to say it back, one of Ray’s best qualities is that he can describe all the plots for every single Doctor Who episode. John Barrowman (Merlyn) played Captain Jack Harkness in the show

Chicken or egg argument: Here’s yet another Batman-borrowed concept; which came first, The Arrow or his villains? Lance makes the point that most of the evil that has befallen the city was Oliver’s fault – and in a way, he’s not wrong. Oliver has directly brought Slade Wilson and the League of Assassins to Star City, resulting in the deaths of close friends.


 

Hush comics gives “Public Enemy” a D for being the most Gotham-y episode of the series. The writing was so bad that I thought Oliver’s admission of not having a plan was the writers speaking to us through him. And the show really needs to get its shit together when writing female characters.

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Diyah Pera

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Sherif Elkhatib

I like Batman.

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