Arrow Episode Review: Tremors
The thing I love about Arrow is that even when the main story in an episode is a little off or there are some other head scratching moments in some subplots, there's always something in the episode that makes you excited for the next episode and the direction the show is going.
This episode sees the return of Michael Jai White as Bronze Tiger. He's broken out of prison and hired to steal an earthquake machine prototype from Malcolm Merlyn's abandoned house. Oliver has to stop him before his employer ships the prototype out, all while trying to teach Roy how to control his new found powers.
I'm going to switch up my review formula a little bit and talk about what I didn't like about this episode. I don't usually have anything hugely negative to say about episodes of Arrow and while these issues didn't ruin the episode for me, I want to mention them because I have a feeling the writers of this show are well aware of them and are going to address them.
The first issue has to do with the main story plot. I like the idea that Merlyn had a prototype device of the earthquake machine but it got me wondering: 1. How did the Arms Dealer know he had it? 2. Did the police not search the Merlyn Estate? First thought is that this was just a throwaway plot line and that it was just something to help move the (in my opinion) bigger subplots along. But I'm not so sure. The writers of this show usually aren't so lazy with such big plot holes and usually address these things. So it makes me wonder if there's not a larger, unseen hand, who was running this and trying to pay the Arms Dealer for the device? Remember, Isabel has been MIA the last few episodes. I wouldn't be surprised if she had something to do with this. Another idea is that Malcolm Merlyn himself was behind it. I mean who else would know exactly where in his Estate the prototype would be? It would also explain how the police missed the device when searching his home. Remember, he manipulated the courts to get Moira acquitted. Paying off the police would be nothing for him.
The second issue I had with this episode is the Moira storyline. I always see people writing about this show needing to address the issue with Laurel but to me, her storyline has been gradual and deliberate. Her fall from grace has been a combination of different things over the last season and a half. Moira though is a different story. It seems a bit rushed. Remember, beginning of this season, Moira is in jail awaiting a death penalty case. Then after a few episodes, she's a acquitted and brought back into Queen Consolidated. They even addressed how she didn't have as many friends as before when Oliver threw her that party and almost no one showed up. Now here we are, Episode 12 and her ex-husband Walter is really pitching that she should run for Mayor over Sebastian Blood? Just seems a bit rushed to me. But I'm not worried and here's why. First off, even Moira isn't 100% sold that she would have support. So it's not like the writers are ignoring where she came from the beginning of this season. The second reason I'm not worried also relates to the Laurel storyline. I'm getting a real "Tommy" feel from both Moira and Laurel. In Season 1, after a while I was really questioning what the writers were doing with Tommy Merlyn. He really felt like the third wheel and not just because of the love triangle. By the last episode, you see what the plan for him was and his death becomes a turning point for Oliver. I feel like the same thing is in store for Moira and Laurel. I don't know what it is, but these writers have had me questioning them before with certain plots to only turn around and knock it out the park. So I'm just going to trust them. Also, Moira running puts Sebastian Blood back on a collision course. Could get messy. Also it seems like Walter knew that Thea's real dead was Malcolm Merlyn. I'm wondering how they're going to "take care" of the doctor and you also know this is going to bring Malcolm Merlyn back out of hiding. All these things lead me back to one thing: I'm going to trust the writers.
Now that we have those 2 issues out of the way, I just want to say that even with those 2 issues, this is still a very enjoyable and solid episode to me. We finally see Oliver training Roy. It had a very Karate Kid feel to it. The young hot head being trained to control his emotions. While it's been done before, what makes this so different is: Oliver is young and a hot head too. It was like watching Oliver trying to train himself before he went to the island. I also like the fact that they didn't drag it out. As soon as Oliver started training Roy I knew he was going to have to reveal his identity to get Roy to listen to him. Even though I saw that coming, what I liked is that I didn't know when they were going to do it. I really thought when Roy started fighting Oliver and knocked him down and said he was going off on his own, that Oliver would then reveal himself. I like that they waited until the end when the device was activated and it forced Oliver's hand. I also like that Diggle questioned Oliver's decision. Remember, a few episodes ago Oliver flipped out because Diggle and Felicity revealed Oliver's identity to Barry in a similar "Life or Death" situation. I like that the writers forced Oliver to have to make the same decision they made. Oliver's constantly shown to be a hypocrite because of his demands and rules that he will always break. This was especially true in Season One and in Season Two, it seems like Oliver is finally starting to understand he can't be like that. It's like Oliver is being put in situations where a mirror is placed in front of him and he's seeing that he's reacting the same way. That's some good writing and character development there. When Oliver shook Roy's hand and said "we have a lot of work to do" and then brought him back to the hideout and introduced him to Felicity and Diggle, the smile on my face was too big to describe.
The second thing I liked I know puts me in the minority, but I'm really digging Laurel hitting rock bottom. From her dad wanting her to go to support group meetings for her addiction to her friend telling her she can't hire her because she's about to be disbarred. Laurel is done. Hell, she's so off the rails, Oliver called Sara. I thought he was on the phone with Officer Lance but end of the episode, it's Sara that shows up. Here's why I like this: Something big is coming. I said this above when talking about the Moira issue but, I really feel like something huge is going to happen with Laurel. I mean the first thought is that she's going to die. I mean with Sara being Black Canary, do you really need to Lance sisters? But that seems to simple. My theory is that Sara is actually going to be the one that dies and Laurel will take over as Black Canary. I think this for a couple of reasons. First, Laurel is the better developed character. She's been through so much, killing her off at this point would really be a cop out. I know folks hate this character but I've always felt sympathy because of the shit she's gone through. I think redeeming her in the eyes of her detractors would be a better story. The second reason I say this is, it just seems like the loop they would throw us for. Sure, Sara has been taught by the League of Assassins, but Laurel isn't starting off from the bottom herself. People always bring up how many times she's been in trouble but most times, its cause she's either been snuck up on or it's taken multiple people to take her down. Remember when she pulled out that shotgun on J August Richard's character? She also fought off a couple of guys who came after her in her apartment. It took a third guy with a taser to get her down. So it's not that farfetched to think it could happen. Looks like Sara does reveal herself to Laurel at the end of the episode so, who knows what direction it will go. But I like the fact that I'm not really sure what they're going to do with her.
Oh and can't forget. Amanda Waller showing up at Bronze Tiger's jail cell was straight out of the Arkham Origins game. Only instead of talking to Slade Wilson, she was talking to Bronze Tiger. When she said "we're putting together a squad...." Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan listen. Suicide Squad????
It does make me think. I'm not a fan of Arrow being in the DC movie universe continuity. But if the announced Suicide Squad movie and smaller budget movies aren't tied to the major big budget movies like Man of Steel or Justice League, I might could go for Michael Jai White and Manu Bennett playing Bronze Tiger and Deathstroke respectively.
All in all, a solid B episode. The issues I had only really open up more questions and speculation for me and to me, that's good. It's what keeps me coming back week after week.