Arrow Review: The Man Under the Hood

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Another week, another solid episode of Arrow.  I’m actually starting to get sad because I know there are only 4 more episodes left.  And the creative team behind this show is really bringing it home.  There are a lot of little subplots going on in this episode and I know that they’re all going to play a major role as we approach the season finale.

[quote]“Don’t Forget Who Taught You How to Fight Kid”
[/quote]

Slade Wilson clearly still has the upper hand on Oliver and his team but it was nice to see them take the fight back to Slade this episode.  Blowing up the Applied Science Lab at Queen Consolidated was a risky and dangerous move but the right The Man Under the Hoodcall. They needed to take the fight back to Slade & Isabel and while you knew blowing up the lab wasn't going to stop Slade, it would at least get his attention and force him to react.  And boy did he react.  The whole "villain infiltrates hero's hideout" thing isn't knew but it never gets old.  A hero's home base is their sanctuary and when a villain attacks them there, it throws them all off.  We finally get some Oliver-Slade action going on this episode and while it’s short, it doesn’t disappoint.  I don't know how Oliver is going to stop Slade.  Slade took out Sara (I believe he grabbed her by her throat mid-air) & Oliver and then basically laughed off Diggle shooting at him.  Only thing that really slowed him down were those new arrow tips Oliver was using that exploded.  If there's one thing I wish this show did more of it's that.  We need to see Oliver using more specialty arrow tips.  Again, nothing that needs to happen this season but since we know there's a Season 3, definitely something I would like to see more frequently (they actually are using more than last season, so there's definitely progress).

This episode Slade once again shows that he's one step ahead of Oliver as always.  I knew it would be too simple and a rookie move if Slade hooked himself up to the machine and I figured he had captured Roy.  Oliver's now going to have to deal with a Roy who is raging with anger.  I think I see how this is going to play out.  Roy is going to eventually be cured of the mirakuru and become a proper sidekick for Oliver.  Which I'm fine with.  I know Roy sometimes gets a little hate for the way he is on the show but again, let's remember who this character is. He's had a rough upbringing and he already had anger issues.  Then he was shot full of mirakuru which only adds to that.  And Oliver really hasn't been a good mentor to him so he's kind of lost.  I think over these last few episodes we'll finally see his character turn a corner and become what we want him to be.

And can we talk about Isabel?  Remember earlier in this season when I said that Isabel had to play a bigger role if they got someone like Summer Glau to play her?  Man is that really coming to fruition.  Glau is really doing a good job selling dual arrow-isabelroles.  She plays the innocent, yet driven newly made CEO of Queen Consolidated well but then can turn around and drop some ether on Oliver as well as kick his ass.  And now…she’s got #DatMirakuru in her (*Sidenote* Nice to see Diggle didn't have any problems putting 2-3 into Isabel.  Guess he does get that sometimes killing is the answer).  I want to learn more about her relationship with Slade.  It doesn't come off as a romantic relationship, more like a mentor-mentee relationship.  Which makes me wonder how this came about.  I really think there’s more to Isabel’s motives than just a scorned woman from Oliver’s father’s past.  I really don’t see someone subjecting themselves to the torturous training of Slade Wilson just because the person they thought was their soulmate dumped them.  Not only that, but I don’t think Slade’s motives are just to destroy Oliver either.  Right now he’s toying with him but there’s has to be a larger plan and motive for all this.  Slade is creating an army, that’s not just  to take out Oliver and Sara.  And I think the ramifications of Isabel taking over as CEO of Queen Consolidated is going to have a huge impact on Oliver's personal life and his ability to be the Arrow.  If his family is broke, how does he pay for "all his wonderful toys"?

As always, I know I'm in the minority but I've enjoyed the development and growth of Laurel’s character this season.   If she had found out Oliver’s secret earlier in the season, it would be hard for me to believe she would handle it as well as she did in this episode.  I liked watching her finally putting all the pieces together.  And then when Officer Lance told her he didn’t want to know who the vigilante was and why, I think it finally clicked for her.  The scene at the end of the episode where she just goes up to Oliver and hugs him? That was real to me.  Laurel’s finally at a place in her life where she’s taking control.  She’s not bitter and hateful now and I think she’s finally realized how much pressure Oliver really has been under and what he’s sacrificed not just for her safety but those of his family and the entire city.  Also, her putting her foot down and using her new found leverage and backbone to get her father out of jail?  Yup, that’s the Laurel I like to see.  I’ve always said that this character can be very good because of everything she’s been through.  She’s actually one of the strongest people on the show when you consider everything she’s been through.

Only real problem I had with this episode was Thea.  I understand her being mad at her mother  but I’m just not sold on the reasoning behind her being mad at Oliver.  Maybe it’s just that Oliver has done so much lying that this lie about who Thea’s real father just seems small (at least coming from Oliver).  I mean you would think from her point of view, that the reason Oliver stopped talking to his mom was that he found out about who Thea’s real father was.  Thea’s been too understanding and balanced this season for her to turn on Oliver like this now.  First season? I get.  But now?  I’m just not buying it.  Now if she found out that Oliver was the reason Roy left? I’d buy that a lot more.  It could also just be that Thea has finally cracked.  She's put up with a lot and had to grow up fast.  No way Thea from Season 1 could be running the Verdant and being a responsible adult.  Hell, in some cases she's even more mature than her older brother this season.  So this also could just be all the pressure on her.

The Man Under the HoodThis episode also had some tie-ins to the upcoming Flash pilot.  Cisco and Caitlin will be appearing as characters on The Flash TV show (Cisco is Vibe & Caitlin is Killer Frost in the comics).  I didn’t really have a problem with these scenes other than the fact that it was weird seeing Felicity act like she knew them when it’s never really been established before.  This just serves as yet another reminder that Felicity’s character is really underdeveloped this season.   Everyone loves the character but how much do we really know about her?  Don’t get me wrong, this is a minor nitpick that I gladly overlook most times.  With everything else that’s been jammed into this season, if there was one character that could go without really being fully developed, its Felicity.  But scenes like her talking to Cisco & Caitlin make me realize how little we really know about her life outside of working with Oliver.  Also, I’m curious as to how next week’s episode will go.  Remember, episode 20 was supposed to be a pilot for the Flash TV show but CW decided to go right into doing a full and separate pilot anyway.  Still makes me wonder if maybe we’ll get a cameo.  Seeing Red  is the name of the episode and obviously that seems to be talking about Roy going berserk but I wouldn't rule out a cameo by the scarlet speedster.

Only 4 more episodes left.  When it's all over, I might have to rewatch this season because it has been outstanding from the start.

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Charles (Kriss)

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