When Arrow had started, it was expected to be one of DC’s finest creations for their television line-up. By the time we had reached the end of the first season, we all knew that we had our expectations way too high. Arrow is one of the few serials that actually have a good fan-following with pretty average scores in reviews. It has had its moments over the past 4 years, let it be master villain Deathstroke and his story’s progression or Sara Lance’s return from the grave. There is however, one unmistakable fact about Arrow. It has simply way too many flaws as you reach season 4, with no signs of learning and repairing the damage from Berlanti Productions even at the tenth episode.
There however, were signs of reconciliation to tracing their series back to the comics. A dark, gritty hero who we got to see only for the first season, after which all these core elements of the comics were to be seen only in the flashbacks, with each iteration of the series experiencing a visible reduction of the same. As the show began with the now Green Arrow fighting his way thru the rooftops of the now Star City, there were glimmers of hope to watch the Green Arrow that we love, the one in the comics. Add in that a John Diggle that truly feels like one who served in Afghanistan, I sat back to watch a hell of a ride. But then, there again faltered Arrow back into its line, being moody and more emotional than engaging.
Let us explore the protagonist and his development in the 79th episode of his exploits. Here is an Oliver Queen, in pain and distraught who first is hell bent on getting revenge showing no signs of reconciliation beating Ghosts left and right in the first 15 minutes. As we progress into the episode, here again is an agitated Green Arrow, only this time a soft, lenient and highly perplexed. Now this simply was the most annoying feature in the complete episode, and with such a not-engrossing protagonist, are you even trying to keep your fans happy? There is a reason for Breaking Bad to have reach such cult status with prior hype or background. Walter White was able to carry the entire serial start to end on his shoulders. While I don’t accuse Stephen Amell of bad character portrayal, it is the distorted character who I am not enjoying in the serial.
The complete drama over Felicity could have been conducted way better. The audience is brought to their feet to see at what lengths the Green Arrow goes for vengeance for his love. I personally have always found the romance between Felicity and Arrow highlighted way more than what was required. It was a good feeling to see that it is possible to have bought a partner in his life only to get him back on his killer instincts. But then again, the never-failing Warner Bros. came back on track with a mild Oliver Queen, who once again bowed down. But then again, I have to mention how the complete drama did however come to fruition at the end of the episode, but this was also another long awaited possibility and more on this later.
This episode also saw some really good moments in the form of Andy and John’s conversations and emotions. This was something that was done better than most emotionally-attached interactions and meetings such as that of Arrow and Sara, which was rushed about. This one however got a good screen time to back it and with it, a really good soundtrack. The first interaction although does feel paced, but that later feels actually necessary as we aren’t exposed too much and are kept waiting to see what happened of it. Another character interaction which transpired but wasn’t met favourably was Machin’s and Speedy’s. Their relation could’ve been portrayed much darker and engrossing, but it is shadowed by rather lame dialogues such as ‘Because I can control myself’.
Speaking of dialogues, this has to be one of the most clichéd aspects of this episode. ‘They can’t fix her’ is something that could’ve been displayed in many other manners. Other than screen time and emotions between Andy and John’s path towards synergy, there again are key moments were there were many possibilities of adding in better dialogues other than ‘Because you are my brother’. One may argue that this was overlooked among the engrossing music and emotions, but this has been a recurring feature among the many character relations.
However, in this messy ride as I backtrack myself to the under story in the complete episode was a surprise package, I refrained myself from talking about the villains in particular since they weren’t the focus of the episode. The true intentions of the episode are revealed in the end where we learn that the mystery person in the grave who was almost confirmed to be Felicity before and into the episode, is not Felicity. This very surprising turn of events was quite the showstopper, as I was struck with awe. Arrow pulled off something that has been missing in DC serials for quite some time. A season suspense. And as far as this episode is concerned, it was executed really well, including the revealing moment. However, one thing to be noted here is that fans were so sure because it hasn’t been DC’s nature to keep surprises of such magnitude, and that itself speaks a lot. And it surely wasn’t enough to overlook the many wrongs that have been recurring in Arrow. But one thing surely I can forgive is the amount of time spent in the development of plot in keeping the focus of Felicity, but I do not endorse more screen time to her.