Arrow Review – “Left Behind” S3E10

Arrow tries to pull the story forward after one of the most shocking mid-season cliff-hangers we’ve ever seen. Obviously, it’d be hard to discuss this episode without spoiling that particular cliff-hanger, so you’ve been warned! Will “Left Behind” answer any of our questions, or continue to pull us along with no answers?

Pros:

Arrow - Left Behind 02

Immediate response to Oliver’s predicament: Unlike this other show we knowArrow gives us instant gratification for whether or not Oliver Queen is dead. Whereas Flash played out the emergence of Reverse-Flash as the appearance of a boss battle in a video game, Arrow progresses the story naturally. I mean, you didn’t really think the Arrow was dead, did you? While this makes Felicity’s outbursts a bit more annoying, it would have made fans even more frustrated with the show for dragging us along.

A little father-daughter bonding: Thea has come back from her hiatus in Corto Maltese a solid character. And as much as you hate Merlyn for hiding behind Thea, the relationship these two have is pretty darn cool. Imagine how cool Speedy would be if she were actually Speedy. I digress – the sparring session the two have is a lot of fun to watch, especially when Merlyn gives her sage advice that he “wouldn’t recommend texting during a real fight.”

No stupid time-jumping: When a major event like the fight with the Demon’s Head closes out a break between seasons (or mid-seasons, in this case), it’s common for shows to convenient jump ahead in time to relieve themselves of the obligation of explaining what the hell happened. Twice now, once with Canary’s fall and now with Ollie’s, Arrow has taken up the challenge of actual story-telling. It’s nice that there’s still a standard for writing. Just 3-4 days after Oliver left town, and there’s a believable amount of time for angst, but not so much that there’s a giant hole in the timeline.

Flash-back: Mateo gives Oliver a huge IOU on this one when he thinks outside the box to help Mateo track down his wife. There’s still a big gap left to explain how Mateo ended up with the League of Assassins and how Ollie gets out of A.R.G.U.S., but it is closing progressively with each episode. We also get the creation of the trick arrow with this series of flashbacks. I didn’t think I would like this season’s flashbacks because of how much I loved the island, but they are providing so much more detail in story-telling.

Cons:

Maybe too much Felicity is not a good thing: We here at Hush rave about Felicity every episode (she made our list of Best TV Characters of 2014). She’s so smart and sexy and independent (except when bought off by Ray Palmer, but whatever), and mostly funny. However, there was nothing to laugh at this episode. She was nothing but selfish and weak throughout, and it got very grating, very quickly. If this was Arrow‘s way of giving one of the strongest characters in the show the spotlight, they did it terribly. Arrow has a knack for making us hate, then love female characters, so I’m hoping for a quick rebound for Felicity.

Oliver cheats death. We get it: Talk about beating a dead Queen, jeez. Oliver Queen has lived through so many life-threatening circumstances. He beat the island. He beat Slade. Wait, you mean you know that? That this isn’t your first time watching the show? Then why is it the focal point of every conversation in the Arrow Cave Quiver? This episode was so full of whiners that for the first time EVER, I was pining for more Laurel scenes. Where is Wildcat? Let’s get some more badass scenes with Laurel as she plays Canary. Sheesh, you cheat death a couple of times and all of a sudden people expect it of you.

How does Felicity have a job still?: Before I continue to kick Felicity while she is down, just think about what it would be like to be Ray Palmer. You meet this Smoaking hot girl at a tech store, and after seeing her genius potential, you hire her for pennies on the dollar (who cares how much? You’re rich!) as an assistant, and she is a wreck every time you try to talk to her about something work-related. That’s when she is there; because she’s always off with god-knows-who during crucial business times. Even after putting the moves on her, she bashes your dreams and tells you that your dead fiancé would think that they’re stupid. I’m sorry, but no amount of quid pro quo could ever be worth putting up with that.

Arrow - Left Behind 01

 

Easter Eggs:

He’s a Brick… House: It’s not really an Easter Egg, since this one is staring us right in the face throughout the episode, but “Left Behind” was kind of short on them, so we will use what we have. Vinnie Jones (very recognizable character actor) plays Danny “Brick” Brickwell, a metahuman crime-lord with the power of… ya know… bricks? I like the inclusion of metahumans in Arrow, and hope this is the sign of more to come. I also wonder if he sinks as fast as a pile of bricks.

Pride Rock will never be the same: As Merlyn returns to tell Thea the bad news that his dickhead plan failed, he tells her that they must “leave [Star City] and never return.” What the hell? Is this guy Scar from The Lion King in disguise? With Mufasa Oliver out of the way, who will protect young Simba Thea from the hyenas League of Assassins?? Maybe Timon and Pumba Diggle and Arsenal will able to give Simba Thea the confidence (s)he needs to turn on Scar Merlyn. Hakuna Matata, bitches.

Project A.T.O.M.: Ray Palmer wants to… “start small” on Project A.T.O.M. It’s no secret that The Atom will be making his debut on Arrow soon enough, but with pillow talk like this, it might come sooner than later.

Laurel takes up a new hobby: While Kate Spencer was never mentioned by name, her spirit lives on in Laurel Lance. Known as Manhunter in the comic book lore, Spencer is a prosecutor who begins moonlighting as a superhero with the help of an arsenal she accrued from the evidence room. Fun Fact: Spencer’s grandfather, Al Pratt, was the original Atom in the comic books. Anyway, I’m sure this is not hinting at anything deeper, but the parallel is definitely there.

Predictions:

Arrow - Left Behind 03

Canary will be instrumental in Brick’s defeat: I’m not sure how high Canary’s sonic frequency weapon gets, but it’s got to be a hell of a lot more effective than Diggle’s headshot was.

More Thea midriff: Don’t expect the hottest Queen in town to start covering that belly-button any time soon, folks. Sexy, but not slutty. Mysterious but still intriguing. Thea Queen’s mid-section has become the focal point of the show for us at home. Distraction? No way. This is The CW, baby. Gratuitous skin just isn’t their thing.

Oliver will eventually side with Merlyn… Ugh: Thea is going to be caught in the crosshairs unless Oliver steps in front of her, and faces the League again. Merlyn will keep himself attached to Thea to ensure their safety, and while he is kind of a coward, he does care for Thea. Beating Ra’s in hand-to-hand may not be an option for Oliver, but there’s gotta be some show of force to get the League off Merlyn’s back if he wants to keep Thea, and her midriff, on his side.

 

Hush Comics gives “Left Behind” a C for Felicity’s horribly written part in the episode, which really swallowed up way too much time when so much else was going on. We get that she loves Oliver, but knowing that he was not dead, and then hearing her blubber about it, and mucking up the mission just made her even less relatable. I actually had to pull a lot of punches on this review, but I’m nowhere near worried about the season rebounding.

All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Ed Araquel and Cate Cameron.

Best of 2014: TV – Best Character

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Characters on TV

  • Carol (The Walking Dead)
  • Felicity (Arrow)
  • The Inquisitor (Star Wars Rebels)
  • Jax (Sons of Anarchy)
  • Troy and Abed (Community)

WINNER – Troy and Abed (Community)

Yep, you read that correctly; Troy and Abed from Community are one. The connection these two have could send peanut butter and jelly to couples counseling. Before being canceled by the idiots at NBC, the same idiots that almost canceled Constantine not too long ago, Troy and Abed said goodbye to one another in one of the saddest moments of television I can remember. The series wasn’t over, but a part of the show’s spirit died a little when Troy boarded the Childish Tycoon with LeVar Burton and left Greendale. Gone are the pillow forts, Dreamatorium and tandem Halloween costumes. No one character is bigger than the show, but these two definitely were. – Sherif

Second Place – Carol (The Walking Dead)

Carol TWD Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up 1

Carol Peletier on The Walking Dead is a one-woman arsenal.  She blew up Terminus by herself!  She gunned down Denise Crosby with no qualms!  She shot Lizzie with some qualms!  Carol has had the most character development in the series, and between the end of season four and the beginning of season five, it has become clear that this is not the same women whose husband beat her in season one.  But Carol also revealed her sensitive side (to Daryl, of course), proving that she is more than a machine, she is a human. – Adrian

Third Place – The Inquisitor (Star Wars Rebels)

The Inquisitor Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up

So everyone is making a big deal about the three pronged broadsword-lightsaber wielded by the mysterious dark figure in the recently released Episode VII teaser trailer.  That’s fine and all, but if anyone should be making a big deal about any lightsaber it should be The Inquisitor’s lightsaber.  Have you seen that thing?!  No?!  Google it right now!  DO IT!  Better yet, watch Rebels and tape your eyelids open during any moment The Inquisitor is on screen.  Talk about a lethal and lovable character.  Here’s a list of words and phrases that describe The Inquisitor: awesome, scary, charming, charismatic, powerful, limber, has really cool outfits/gear, deep understanding of the force, cunning, has really sharp teeth, good posture, and deadly with a lightsaber.  In many fewer words The Inquisitor is bad-ass.  His actions in just a few short episode of Rebels has firmly placed him as one of the coolest force-sensitive bad guys among the stars.  That’s why we nominated him for best character of the year.  Be afraid rebels.  Be very afraid. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Jax (Sons of Anarchy)

Jax Teller Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up

From day one, Jackson “Jax” Teller has stay true to two things and two things only, his family, and his club. Although, he has constantly struggled with the angels and demons climbing up his shoulders, he would sooner meet the Reaper before allowing harm to come his “sons.” It has been poetic in nature to see Jax mature and grow through the years. Balancing between who he wants to be and who he truly is, regardless of where his character finished, his love was unwavering. No one through out the series has loved as hard as Jax, and it’s hard to believe anyone could ever match his level of love.  Jax was a bad man who loved hard, and followed his truths though thick and thin. – Evan

RUNNER UP – Felicity (Arrow)

Felicity Smoak Best of 2014 TV Series Character Runner Up 4

Everyone loves Felicity. Sometimes I think fans like her more than they do Oliver. Hell, if it was just Felicity with her own show I would be all over that. Sometimes I fantasize she’s the Oracle and I get my Birds of Prey show. I mean, the show keeps highlighting the clock tower, Laurel is becoming Black Canary, so maybe we can redeem the Huntress and have a fucking awesome kickass female fronted superhero show.Also, I’m sorry but I have to talk about her fashion. Her dresses… I want them! Or rather I want her tailor. Anyway, I digress. I think the other aspect that so many fans are drawn too is the alternative to a strong female character. I like a woman who can kick ass along with everyone else, but that’s not me. I am the woman behind a computer who uses my words to fight, which is just as valuable if more than a pair of fists. For Felicity, her power is not what’s under her dress, nor in the shape of her fist but rather her mind and her intelligence. And that’s why so many of us want her with Oliver, because she the sidekick the one who saves him through her ingenuity. Not to mention she’s a role model for all the girl programmers out there who want to do what she does. The more we see these smart savvy women in media the more women will feel comfortable pursuing their dreams.  – Jené

Next Category: Best Anime

Arrow Review – “Draw Back Your Bow” S3E7

Last week’s episode of Arrow, Draw “Back Your Bow”, may not have looked too appealing, but was actually way more delightful than I expected. It had its faults, but overall it was a pretty fun watch. This week, Oliver finds himself up against yet another person in Starling City who uses a bow and arrow to kill people, but this time it’s a crazy lady who’s in love with him. Can I just say really quick, if every foe you face uses a bow and arrow, isn’t that kind of lame? It doesn’t really set him apart from anything if apparently Starling City is the capital of archery. Anyhow, while Oliver deals with his secret admirer, Felicity gets closer to Ray Palmer and a love triangle is born. Well actually it’s a love parallelogram if you count Barry Allen who is also pretty into Felicity. But then again, who isn’t?

“Draw Back Your Bow” begins in a flashback to six months ago on the night Starling City fell. The Arrow jumps out of his van to save a struggling adorable red head from one of the juiced up masked men. Her attacker falls, the Arrow takes off and the damsel in distress swoons while cuddling the arrow that saved her. Low and behold, in a very short six months time she transforms herself from a victim to a full-fledged martial artist, bomb expert and archer all to get attention and affection from the Arrow.

Arrow - Draw Back Your Bow
Carrie Cutter is crazy Cupid. Alliteration much?

 

Carrie Cutter is kind of a random villain to bring in from the comics, and a very new one but I personally thought she was a lot of fun. I also thoroughly enjoyed that during all of her scenes there was basically slow circus music playing in the background just to emphasize that this bitch is crazy. I will not waste time trying to figure out how she gained the knowledge she seems to have now, because if she was a martial artist or any kind of the badass she is as Cupid then she probably wouldn’t have been so easily bested by her in the streets the night Arrow saved her.

I appreciate that the show at least addressed that she used to be a police officer, which explains some of the knowledge she has of weapons and fighting techniques, but the pieces still don’t quite fit if you want to spend time thinking about it.

Oliver Queen defends his city against... a lot of other archers.
Oliver Queen defends his city against… a lot of other archers.

While Oliver grapples with crazy Cupid he also has to deal with the heartbreak of watching the girl he loves but refuses to be with move on with her life. With the man who now owns his family’s company no less. Burn. I’m not crazy about the Oliver-Felicity will they/won’t they love story in the first place, but I guess Oliver has to have a love interest and why not the only redeeming female character on the show? While it hurts him to do it, Oliver stays committed to not being able to be with anyone as long as he is the Arrow and he gives a moving little speech to Cupid that is really meant for Felicity about the pain of not being able to be with someone you love. It was sweet, but frustrating.

When Oliver returns to the Arrow cave after his battle with Cupid, Diggle, who has been playing the unlikely role of matchmaker for whatever reason, gives him yet another push to just throw caution to the wind and go be with Felicity. Ollie decides to take that chance and sadly witnesses the MOST AWKWARD KISS EVER between Felicity and Ray. Sad face, he walks away and the love triangle continues.

Cue awkward kiss in 3...2...1... disaster!
Cue awkward kiss in 3…2…1… disaster!

Honestly, that’s really about all that happened in last night’s episode. We got to see more of Oliver in Hong Kong, attempting to bond with the space alien that is Yamashiro’s wife. Obviously something is going to happen there, not romantically of course, but still the flashbacks this time around were less than compelling. Ray Palmer continued to be alluded to as up to no good as he looked over plans of the ATOM exo-suit, but he’s still pretty darn likable. Overall, “Draw Back Your Bow” may not have really pushed the overarching storyline forward, but it was a really good filler episode in the lead up to the Arrow/Flash crossover. So far I think this season has been off to a little bit of a slow start, but episode 7 was fun and enjoyable enough to help solidify Arrow as still one of the best shows out there.

Finally, here are some points I may have missed from the characters in episode 7 that contributed nothing:

  • Hi, my name is Roy and I’m sad all the time now.
  • Hi, my name is Thea and I just let random guys walk all over me and then kiss me because I’m worthless.
  • Hi, my name is Laurel and thank god I wasn’t in this episode.

Hush Comics gives “Draw Back Your Bow” an A- for making something really enjoyable out of a filler episode.

All images belong to the CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Cate Cameron and Diyah Pera.

Arrow Review – “Guilty” S3E6

“Mine’s bigger,” spoken by Arrow himself, is the quote that perfectly sums up Ollie in this week’s episode “Guilty.” While it was laughable that Oliver Queen has to always prove he is better than everyone else, it was a nice change of pace to have a story where the Arrow was featured as more than just a side character, considering the show is named Arrow.

We finally got to go back to the format of Oliver and crew investigating crime in Starling City.  It was a nice reminder of how the show first started, without the distractions of who fathered who or who used to date who.  The team investigates a gang who is notorious for selling heroin.  They find all the gang members dead, with a message written in blood…”Guilty.”  Then we get to delve right into an investigation on Ted Grant, Laurel’s boxing coach.

Ted Grant: he can do more than just mop.
Ted Grant: he can do more than just mop.

Although there were drug dealers killed, there was also a trail of bodies, all incriminating Laurel’s mysterious coach.  I really liked how everything concerning Ted was revealed through Oliver’s investigation.  The episode flowed well because of it, and the viewers, comic fans and television fans alike, experienced all the reveals without being overwhelmed.  And we finally have Wildcat!  Former vigilante, current boxing coach, and all around badass.  I’m excited to see if he will be incorporated into the “group” more than just being Laurel’s trainer.  There was a hint of the story arc concerning his son, Tom Bronson, earlier this season, so it could be cool for that to be part of his plot.

Roy Harper is more than just a sidekick --- but first let's test that blood for Mirakuru!
Roy Harper is more than just a sidekick — we will never abandon you!

The other main aspect of this episode was Roy admitting to the team that he thinks he killed Sara because of the dreams he has been having, in which, well he kills her.  While it was obvious that Roy did not kill Sara (at least to me), I really liked the way the storytelling was done here.  Roy’s story nicely tied in the flashbacks from Oliver’s past in Hong Kong and the use of meditation to evoke correct memories.  It also tied together the parallels between himself and Ted’s aka Wildcat’s former sidekick, Isaac Stanzler.

Stanzler stands for nothing else other than what could be when it comes to Roy.  Isaac was Wildcat’s guy who went a little too far when it came to beating the bad guys: literally beating one man to death.  Wildcat cut him loose, only for Isaac to be captured and tortured.  He attempted to get revenge on Wildcat only to have it backfire.  Isaac Stanzler is not a character in the comics, but it was nice to see the comparison of Isaac to Roy.  We have not seen nearly enough from Roy this season, which is a shame because he is one of the best characters on the show.  By using Isaac, we get to see the difference in morality that Roy and Ollie hold.  Plus, we got to see a stunning sidekick vs. sidekick battle!

Oliver Queen is super jelly of Ted Grant training his ex-girlfriend.
Oliver Queen is super jelly of Ted Grant training his ex-girlfriend.

Laurel’s involvement in this episode was refreshing.  Not once did I roll my eyes at her, which is a rarity.  She is getting stronger, both physically and mentally.  In the wake of her sister’s death, she is taking stepping into the Black Canary’s shoes seriously.  She is not afraid to defy Oliver, who is totally jealous that Laurel is getting trained by someone else, and learn how to fight on her own.  She was also unafraid to stand up for what she knew was right: Ted Grand didn’t kill anyone.  I like this new Laurel, and I hope her character continues to develop into someone the audience wants to root for the way they did for Sara.

Injustice: Gods Among Us #5
Injustice: Gods Among Us #5

And this:

  • Freaking boxing glove arrow.  Comic fans had a nerdgasm.  See the above picture for one of many references to this in the Green Arrow’s career.
  • The game Memory looks way cooler in China.
  • Apparently the name Paco is pretty common in Starling City, as Felicity cleverly points out.  There are at least 86,000.
  • There is more we don’t know about Mirakuru than what we do know.  Good to know.
  • Laurel made the smart move of calling Felicity in order to get help.  She finally admitted she needed help!
  • But, Laurel was not scurred of Isaac when she was forced to drive.  Not at all.  Not one bit.
  • Was Diggle a little too quick to say, “Let’s get rid of Roy!”?  I think so.
  • Roy asked Ollie not to abandon him, to which Ollie told him it would never happen.  All the feels!
  • Roy certainly had his meditation breakthrough quickly.  Most people spend a lifetime getting that right.
  • Roy also said that he was gonna turn himself in, but the police don’t know that Sara is dead.  kinda weird.
  • Is it just me, or is Cupid’s bow too big?  She was struggling to hold it up!

Hush Comics gives “Guilty” a B+ for finally including Roy more, for delving into the history of one of the oldest comic characters in superhero history, and for using Oliver as the main character instead of a fleeting thought.

Easter Egg Hunt:

Wildcat, Vigilante: We finally go confirmation that Ted Grant, gym owner and boxing coach, is in fact Wildcat.  Six years ago, he was a vigilante. He did exactly what Arrow does, even wearing a mask. After a drug dealer was beat to death by Wildcat’s sidekick, he hung up his cape, so to speak.  Now he trains Laurel, future Black Canary.  In the comics, Wildcat also trained Batman.  Will we see a reference in the show?  We will have to see.

Princess Training: Ted agrees to train Laurel beyond boxing, but to give her the tools to avenge Sara’s death.  He says the last time he trained a princess, it didn’t go so well.  What could this be a reference to?  It could be to Yolanda Montes, WIldcat’s Goddaughter, and Wildcat replacement.  Unfortunately she died, but this could be another way to go into his past.

He’s in your Arsenal: Roy Harper finally has a nickname!  Isaac Stanzler tells Roy that he is just an Arsenal in Arrows toolbox, thus giving him his new name.  Just an Arsenal, huh?  Sometimes I think Roy is more badass than Ollie.

Street names always matter!: The investigation led Ollie to 9th and Hasen.  Hasen is the co-creater of the character Wildcat.

Cupid, Stupid: Who was that girl who showed up at the end?!  She had been hovering around in the background all episode and showed up at the end to make her presence known in Starling City.  Cupid is a woman who is obsessed with the Arrow, and let’s just say, she goes pretty far for him.  She wants him to love her, so she helps him by killing his enemies.  But she also does things like carving a heart in her chest from the tip of one of his arrows and cutting out the eyes of her hairdresser. Creepy!

 

Arrow Review – “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” S3E5

Whenever I talk to people about Arrow, Felicity Smoak comes up almost instantaneously.  She is the most beloved character on the show. So I was pretty excited when we were going to get some background on the cute tech whiz.  Instead, I was left a little disappointed.  We didn’t get too much of her story that we didn’t already get from the previews, and they writing made her seem petulant and a little weak, with small doses of her typical charm.

The beginning of the episode started out with said charm.  After seeing epic sparring scenes between Oliver and Roy, Thea and Malcolm, and (only semi epic) Laurel and Ted, we see Felicity struggling through sit ups to a workout tape inside her cheery apartment.  Ray Palmer arrives with a new task for Felicity called Co-Generation.  They talk briefly about what this means — being Ray’s newest idea to get people to stay in Starling City, by giving them free energy (a hint of his future powers?).  Felicity’s mother arrives unexpectedly, much to Felicity’s chagrin.  This was one of many scenes that made me lose a little respect for the writing.  Why make Felicity a teenage girl who hates her mom? Isn’t she a little too old to be embarrassed by her “not as smart as me” mother?

Arrow - "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"
Felicity and her mom. Holy cleavage.

This behavior goes on throughout the episode.  Felicity constantly dismisses her mother’s visit and presence in her life.  However, her mother seems like a perfectly nice woman, with a similar quirkiness, commenting on how many millionaires Felicity knows and doting on baby Sara.  Which brings up that Felicity was too dense to think that distracting her mom with a baby for four hours while she worked on the hacking of Starling City was a good use of her mom’s time.  It seemed incredibly unlikely that this would bode well for their relationship – which it didn’t. Towards the end, her mother tells her that no matter what, she was involved with Felicity’s life.  Finally Felicity has a change of heart, although it took both of them being kidnapped by Felicity’s ex-boyfriend for that to happen.  I don’t know, I just don’t buy the mother vs. daughter gimmick.

The other thing that bothered me is that while the episode implied we were getting the history of Felicity, the only thing we learned about her was that she is a natural brunette, former goth… and computer hacker (although we already knew that one).  Beyond that, we learned an awful lot about her rotten ex-boyfriend Cooper Seldon, which was not why I was tuning in.

Cooper was a fellow hacker, who declared himself a hacktivist.  He tried to erase all student loans from the Department of Education’s site, which Felicity inadvertently helped with, but also stopped.  She tells Oliver this at one point, but includes herself in the group of hacktivists and says it was her way of heroism.  That wasn’t true.  Her form of heroism was not allowing it to go through.  It felt like the writers were laying it on a little too thick at this point in the episode.

Felicity, the fake hacktivist.
Felicity, the fake hacktivist.

Anyway, Cooper ends up in Federal prison, supposedly kills himself, but really is recruited by the NSA and comes to Starling City to steal money, but starts by shutting down the power and tries to pin it all on Felicity just because she went “corporate.”  Does that sound compelling to you?  Me either.The most compelling thing about it was when Cooper’s college roommate, Myron Forest, was suspected of being the hacker nicknamed Brother Eye.  Look ahead for at the Easter Eggs for more on this one. Plus, when Myron was being investigated, Arrow broke out the famous “You have failed this city” line, and I’m a sucker for that one.  Plus Myron couldn’t have done the hacking because he drives a blue hybrid.  It is now known that people who drive blue hybrids could not possibly commit a crime.

Once he kidnaps Felicity and her mother, he forces Felicity to bring armored trucks of money to his warehouse.  He crushes her phone with his foot because he is such a badass, and sets up traps with lasers and guns just in case, making it convenient for a hectic acrobatic scene for the Arrow.  Felicity is able to get out of the hacking because she’s smart and then she pistol whips her ex.  It was nice for her to not be fully incapacitated for this episode, but I would have cheered harder if she had shown her strength throughout.  Plus, she could have pistol whipped the guy way before Arrow was shot out with machine gun turrets.  Just sayin’.

Sheldon Cooper... oops, Cooper Seldon, total badass.
Sheldon Cooper… oops, Cooper Seldon, total badass.

Meanwhile, Thea and Ollie argued about Malcolm Merlyn’s blood money paying for her oversized loft.  She admits it’s blood money, but she needs a nice place dammit.  They argue some more, but in the end, Oliver decides to move in with her… because it’s a nice place dammit!  Laurel acts as DA for the day, fails miserably, continues to lie to her dad about Sara, and then tells Ted the truth about why she is training.  This whole not telling her dad about his dead daughter is getting really old.  It needs to come out already.  Oh, and then Roy had a dream that he killed Sara.  Fact? Fiction? I don’t know, but it’s a damn good cliffhanger.

And this:

  • Roy doesn’t really care about killing people if he shot someone in the neck.  Ouch!
  • Is Ollie still trying to profess his love to Felicity?  The time has passed, imo.
  • Does Thea own any full sized shirts?  Or is it only ones that show her belly?
  • Malcolm Merlyn is so creepy.
  • Diggle’s only purpose in this episode was for his baby to distract Felicity’s mom.  What a waste of character.
  • Felicity changes her look from goth to preppy to remove herself from the hacking?  Seems like a cop out.
  • Det. Lance accused Laurel of boozing again.  It’s kinda funny?

Hush Comics gives “The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak” a C+, for lack of character development despite the promising title, too much focus on a seemingly insignificant character, and a lame reason to try to frame someone.

Easter Egg Hunt:

I miss you, Speedy: Ollie refers to Thea twice as Speedy this episode. It is becoming closer and closer that we could see his sidekick come to fruition.

Coast City, again: Laurel is the acting D.A. because the actual D.A. of Starling City is working in Coast City.  I’m still thinking this means we will be getting a Green Lantern show here pretty soon.

Myron Forest, creator of Brother Eye: In this episode, we meet Myron Forest, the roommate of Felicity’s college boyfriend.  In the comics, Myron is a scientist and the creator of Brother Eye.  He works for the Global Peace Agency who assigns him to work on OMAC.  It’s pretty roundabout, but there is a possibility that this is not the last we have seen of Myron, if he is at all connected to the project Ray Palmer keeps looking at.

Black: When Laurel talks to Ted about her training, he gives her the option of a black or red gee.  She chooses black.  While it is small, she is working on becoming Black Canary.

Blonde Ambition: Felicity reveals that she dyes her hair blonde.  This is a tribute to her comic book counterpart, who has dark brown/ black hair.

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron.

Arrow Review – “The Magician” S3E4

After a relatively slow start, Arrow has decided to pick up some momentum. Finally. Don’t get me wrong, the season three premiere was action-y and great, but episodes two and three in all honesty had me struggling to pay attention at times. Alas, episode four, “The Magician” (also Arrow’s 50th episode) really picked up with an interesting, action-packed story.

Sara’s death in episode 1 was sad, I’ll give you that. But since it happened, it has been weighing on the show in a melodramatic way I’ve been having trouble getting behind. I get enough of that on weekly basis from Oliver’s turmoil over the fact that he used to kill people, but now he’s reformed. Did you know that, by the way? He doesn’t kill people anymore. I think they may have mentioned it once or twice… But I digress.

By this point I suppose the Arrow team has spent enough time moping over Sara’s death and they decide maybe it’s time for revenge. Although that decision is single handedly forged by the reappearance of a super pissed off Nyssa al-Ghul. She shows up demanding to know where Sara is and deduces that she has been killed through a series of questions that no one actually answers. After a visit to Sara’s grave and a butting of heads with Laurel, Nyssa decides she’s off to confirm her suspicions of who killed Sara. That’s right, Malcolm Merlyn (aka, The Magician). Oliver follows her, learns what she’s up to and after dealing with the brief shock that a man he killed is still alive, they decide to seek him out and exact revenge. Without killing though. Ollie doesn’t kill anymore, remember?

Who wouldn't fall in love with a chick like Nyssa?
Who wouldn’t fall in love with a chick like Nyssa?

Naturally they find Malcolm, and after tagging him with an arrow that was laced with nanotechnology to track that didn’t actually work, there is a meeting in the middle of a crowded street where Mr. Merlyn begins to convince the dear Arrow that he did not kill Sara. Not that he wouldn’t have because he kills lots of people. But this one time he didn’t kill somebody because it wouldn’t make sense. The hundreds of people he killed before though, those made sense. The League of Assassins is displeased with Malcolm (codename The Magician) so there is no way he would have killed Sara so that he could be even more on their bad side. While this is a pivotal and interesting scene, that is really well shot, its whole point is to build up Ra’s al-Ghul as this season’s new bad guy. We’ve heard of him before and we’ve all known to expect his appearance this season. I get what they’re going for here, but it kind of raises more bad questions than good for me. As in how does an assassin get on The League of Assassins bad side for killing people? Did he kill too many people? Was an earthquake not stylish enough? Or, more likely than not, will we be finding out more about how Merlyn wronged his group of killers? And in all honesty, does it even matter or will things just become unnecessarily convoluted?

My name is Malcolm Merlyn.  I'm conniving and I scream a lot.
My name is Malcolm Merlyn. I’m conniving and I scream a lot.

Ollie begins to believe Malcolm and more action takes off from there. Mostly because Laurel and Nyssa don’t buy it, and Nyssa has had it with this nonsense and takes matters into her own hands. Thea is involved, against her will of course, a smoke signal is sent up and an awesome battle of the three archers ensues. Oliver decides that Malcolm did not kill Sara, The Magician escapes and the Arrow made a powerful enemy in Nyssa al-Ghul. It was a predictable battle, albeit a fun one. But seriously, Oliver just decides he believes Malcolm Merlyn? Of all he knows about him and the fact the he knows he’s already killed a crap ton of people he’s just going to take him at his word this time? I know Malcolm didn’t kill Sara, but the characters don’t, so this seems kind of unbelievable. Either Malcolm is most convincing guy ever or Oliver is getting soft in the face of having to kill someone, even if they have it coming.

Overall, nothing in the episode was shocking, there were no plot points that made me gasp but I really enjoyed it. Merlyn implies that Ra’s al-Ghul might be Sara’s actual murderer, which I suspected from day one but at least now it’s established. The action in this episode was balanced well with some background business noise with Thea attempting to reopen her club and there was added intrigue to the relationship between her and Malcolm but it didn’t steal the show as was the case in episode three. No offense to Thea, but she’s just too weak and uninteresting to carry much of the show on her own, I was relieved to see her back in her place this week. It does seem strange, though, that she was so strong last week, and this week is easily kidnapped. I get that she is being built up to become something bigger and honestly I’m excited to see what that is, but again, it was nice to have more of the story action focused on Oliver and his upcoming struggles with The League of Assassins.

Laurel was the female anchor of the group this week in Felicity's absence.  And that sucked.
Laurel was the female anchor of the group this week in Felicity’s absence. And that sucked.

We got to see more of Laurel whining, which I’m sorry, I’m so over. For whatever reason it seems the writers have been trying harder and harder each episode to make her unlikeable and it’s working. I feel bad for her, in the last few years she’s gained back so much and lost possibly even more but for some reason I just don’t want to hear her talk about or act out because of it. And her poor dad is just the saddest guy ever. If these two are supposed to be enriching the story with family drama it must be lost on me because it feels more like they’re just draining.

Obviously, the biggest plot point to touch on from last night was the introduction of Ra’s al-Ghul in the final moments of the episode. Maybe it’s because I knew it was coming, maybe it’s because so far I’m not thrilled with the casting, but my response to the reveal was “Meh”. I really hope as the season continues that Ra’s grows on me. I think the battle with The League could easily shape up to be the most exciting season yet.

Hush Comics gives “The Magician” a B, for the much welcome return of action and revisiting of what I hope will be a great overarching plot for the season. It was a good episode and it gave me hope, but it wasn’t necessarily a return to the Arrow greatness that got me so hooked in the first place. However, there is still one glaring question: WHY did Nyssa wait until they had gotten all the way back to the Arrowcave to punch Oliver in the face for letting Merlyn go? Wouldn’t she have done that like directly after it happened? That one should have been thought through.

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  They are credited to Cate Cameron

Easter Egg Hunt:

Ferris Air…again: The Flash and Arrow have certainly made plenty of references to Ferris Air this season.  This time, it was the flight that Amanda Waller tried to blow up.  This could still be a hint that the Green Lantern is coming soon to the small screen.

China WhiteThe flight Amanda Waller tried to blow up was an attempt to kill China White aka Chien Na Wei.  Chien is a major player in the drug cartel in SouthEast Asia, and a major adversary to the Green Arrow.

Jansen:   The notes that Sara was taking before her death included a note about “Jansen.”  Master Jansen was Oliver’s son’s martial arts teacher.  If Jansen is a code name for Merlyn, will he wind up teaching Ollie’s son years from now?

Lazarus Pit: Mentioned in episode two, we now get to see the Lazarus Pits.  Ra’s emerged out of the healing water before finally revealing his face at the end of the episode.  It will be interesting to see if the Lazarus Pits become a bigger plot point as Ra’s becomes the main bad guy of the season.

 

 

The Flash Review – “Going Rogue” S1E4

When I saw that not only was Captain Cold going to make his first appearance in this week’s episode of The Flash, but that Felicity Smoak was going to be in Central City, I was really excited for “Going Rogue.”  But I walked away feeling like this was a mediocre episode. Captain Cold was an awesome villain, and surely will continue to be, but the rest of the story line fell a little flat.

There could be a number of reasons about why this episode felt like it didn’t have enough umph, but Felicity actually summed it up quite well.  She told Barry that her group in Starling City didn’t come together overnight and that it took awhile for the trust to be built among the heroes there. It suddenly dawned on me that Barry’s group at S.T.A.R. Labs don’t have a lot of depth.  Harrison is mysterious, but unbeknownst to Barry, Caitlin has a bit of a cold heart, and Cisco is the lovable goof.  We had a glimpse into Caitlin and Cisco last week, but I still feel like we could get more. It also does seem a little strange that for someone who works for the police department, Barry is so trusting of all three of them.  This week they seemed to be filler, and for the group that is supposed to help Barry be the best he can be, they should not be treated as filler.

I may be in the background, but I'll suck you up!
I may be in the background, but I’ll suck you up!

And is it just me or is there too much emphasis on Iris and Eddie when it seems to be going nowhere.  The beginning of the series made it seem like Eddie was about to Single White Female Barry.  That story line seems to have dropped and now its all about how often we can see Iris and Eddie kiss, or how their relationship upsets Joe West.  I am hopeful that little hint about Eddie not knowing what the freaking Millennium Falcon (who doesn’t know that?!) was during the trivia night scene will bloom into a deeper story for Eddie Thawne.  Especially if he really is supposed to be Reverse Flash.

It was hard to tell who was supposed to be taking center stage in this episode, Felicity Smoak or Leonard Snart.  As much as I love Felicity, her appearance was a distraction.  The Flash has a large cast, many of them we don’t know very well yet, and this week, only four episodes in, Felicity swoops in and takes all the attention away from characters I am interested in getting to know.  Felicity comes in to check on her “friend” Barry after he wakes from his coma, but otherwise there wasn’t a lot of story going on.  Barry showed off for her, a lot.  She wore an array of hot dresses, a lot.  And the whole build up was for a kiss at the end, which if you are keeping up with Arrow, was a bit confusing.  It felt like the writers were trying to say “Hey Felicity and Barry belong together, but that will never happen. They will kiss to appease fans, but nothing will come of this other than a few crossovers with some quirky lines of dialogue.”  I guess I felt gypped because Felicity is an amazing character, and she had some really cute lines in this episode, but she cannot carry both shows.  It became even more obvious to me that The Flash needs a strong female to be the “Felicity” and Iris nor Caitlin are able to do that.

Would it be too much to ask that Felicity were on both shows?!
Would it be too much to ask that Felicity were on both shows?!

Despite my disappointment with the rest of the episode, I was extremely impressed with Captain Cold.  Wentworth Miller is no stranger to the small screen and pulled off the character with ease. Captain Cold is smart, calculating, and ruthless.  What’s not to love?  He is the first baddie we have met that doesn’t have meta human abilities, which makes him just a little bit scarier.  I particularly loved his scene when he talks about how far away police are from each bank and how no one could have gotten to the crime scene so quickly.  He clearly is better than the Central City Police Department (minus Joe West) at thinking about who could be saving so many people.  And realizing that Barry can’t not saving people and then derailing the train was brilliant.  The end was exciting because Captain Cold is starting to assemble The Rogues, what the episode was named after.  It looks like Heat Wave will be just the beginning for the group that Barry Allen will have to battle.  I love a good bad guy, and I have a feeling Miller’s Captain Cold will be one for the books.

Cool guys always stand in front of fire.
Cool guys always stand in front of fire.

And this:

  • Barry tests his abilities on his day off by playing ping-pong, timed chess and Operation.  Best. Day. Ever.
  • Harrison Wells is a dick for no reason. (ok, maybe there is a reason)
  • Cisco made the cold gun (its a freeze ray, people).  Maybe we should be focusing more on his capabilities because that is pretty badass.
  • Barry finally thought that calling himself The Flash was a good idea.
  • The show still doesn’t take itself too seriously *cough Gotham cough*.  The exchange between Barry and Iris about telling her about police work was fas and fun, and  what other shows need to do.
  • Barry’s shoes finally caught on fire.
  • Felicity referenced Arrow on his salmon ladder, because, yes please.
  • Cisco really won the day by using a vacuum.  I only hope my Dyson can win my day.

Hush Comics gives “Going Rogue” a B-, for relying on the cuteness of Felicity to pull the story, lack of depth in any of the main characters, but for Wentworth Miller making a freeze ray look so deliciously evil.

Easter Egg Hunt:

Things will be warming up in Central City: As mentioned before, the end scene shows Captain Cold recruiting a man named Mick to join his cause.  Mick can be assumed to be Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave, one of the main Rogues and nemesis of The Flash.  In addition, he is played by Dominic Purcell, who was Wentworth Miller’s co-star on Prison Break.

Ooooo, Shiny!: The diamond that Captain Cold was trying to steal was the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond.  Kahndaq happens to be where Black Adam is from.

Diggle:  Ok, Diggle wasn’t in this episode, but his old security firm was.  The armored vehicle holding the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond was a Blackhawk Squad Security car.

Street names always matter!: Crime always happens at a cross street.  This week was 4th and Kolins, a nod to The Flash artist Scott Kolins.

Night at the Museum: The curator who calls the police about Leonard Snart being at the museum was wearing a name tag that read “Dexter Myles.”  Mr. Myles happens to be the man who opens the Flash Museum.

All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment.  The are credited to Cate Cameron.