Arrow TV Reviews

TV Review: Arrow, “Midnight City” (S3,Ep11) – Please, Stop the Insanity, Tell Quentin About Sara!

After Arrow’s first season, the producers were not satisfied with what they had accomplished. In their estimation, they had failed to sufficiently center all of the storylines around Oliver thus making it feel like, as they put it, Laurel and Thea were sometimes off in their own show. In season 2, they tried much harder to tie everything together, using the return of Sara to draw Laurel and her dad closer to Team Arrow and the introduction of Slade Wilson in the present to make the island flashbacks seem more relevant. They are now pulling the same tricks this season, using Sara’s death to define every major character’s story arc to this point and making the flashbacks seem more important because two of its main players (Maseo and his wife) eventually showed up in the present to save Oliver. The problem is that Arrow has a nasty habit of doing a half-assed job with character motivations, and they just generally double down on regrettable storylines, hoping they’ll wear us down until we finally give into liking what they’re doing.

Chief among those storylines right now is the fact that Laurel still has not told her dad about Sara’s death.  Vulture.com posted its first ever Arrow re-cap last week, and they’ve somewhat hilariously decided to try to shame this show into putting an end to this ridiculous storyline, posting the following counter at the bottom of every recap until Laurel does the right thing: “NUMBER OF EPISODES LAUREL HAS GONE WITHOUT TELLING HER DAD HIS OTHER DAUGHTER DIED.” After “Midnight City,” that episode counter is up to 10, but Arrow took it to a whole new level.

Birds of PreyLaurel Is Using Sara’s Voice Now? | When Caity Lotz’s name popped up in the opening credits I thought, “Oh, cool. They finally got her back for a flashback.”  Instead, Quentin Lance has heard that someone in the Canary costume is saving women from Starling City bad guys again. He naturally assumes that Sara’s back when in fact it’s actually Laurel mostly getting her ass kicked until being saved at the last minute by Roy Harper.  Rather than use this opportunity to finally let Capt. Lance grieve, Laurel uses a program Felicity created to make her voice sound exactly like Sara’s. So, Caity Lotz was not back for any kind of flashback; she was just doing voice-over work so that we could watch Katie Cassidy speak into a microphone in the Arrow cave and cut to the police precinct to hear Lotz’s voice coming out of Capt. Lance’s phone. They did it again near the end of the episode when Laurel appeared as Black Canary to Capt. Lance, but kept her distance so that he couldn’t tell that the girl using Sara’s voice wasn’t actually Sara.

This is the type of thing that makes Arrow such a frustrating show to watch sometimes. You can never really escape from the storylines you don’t like because they usually end up being too important to simply go away, a side effect of the producers’ post-season 1 goal to better tie all of the show’s storylines together. Heck, even Thea’s stupid DJ boyfriend has now become an integral part of the season, revealed to actually be a spy for the League of Assassins. Thea’s continued ignorance about her role in Sara’s death (you know, the whole “killed her while brainwashed” thing) will clearly continue to be a big part of the season, and apparently so will Laurel’s continued insistence that her dad not be told that Sara is dead. I hate to see it because I love Paul Blackthorne, but at this point I honestly wish they had just killed off Quentin Lance like they teased in the season 2 finale. He’s had nothing to do this season other than be left totally in the dark about Sara, all because Arrow’s producers have a stated preference for family members to be constantly keeping secrets from each other each season. Granted, Quentin totally kept his secrets last season, not telling Laurel that her sister was alive, but Laurel not telling him that his other daughter is dead seems so, so much worse. And that was before Laurel started using Sara’s voice to give him false hope.

NUMBER OF EPISODES LAUREL HAS GONE WITHOUT TELLING HER DAD HIS OTHER DAUGHTER DIED: 10

NUMBER OF EPISODES LAUREL HAS ACTUALLY USED SARA’S VOICE TO FOOL HER DAD: 1

Please stop this, Arrow. It is not at all helping your efforts to rehab this character.

Arrow MidnightLaurel Lance, Not a Good Black Canary…Not Yet | Last November, The Atlantic described Laurel Lance as a classic wet blanket character:

“This unfortunate phenomenon describes supporting characters who begin their series as possible love interests and/or best friends, but are kept in the dark about important information for no good reason. These characters, as a result, end up making the hero’s life more difficult, which attracts viewer disapproval—and sometimes even hate—instead of sympathy toward them […]During the first season, the writers saddled Laurel with a love-triangle plot. During the second, they sidelined her with a weighty alcoholism arc. Now, during the third season, they’re finally bringing her into Oliver-as-Arrow’s world—but to most fans, it’s too late for character rehab.”

I get the sense that The Atlantic is fairly spot-on: At this point, the damage done to Laurel Lance as a character is so severe that many viewers will simply never be won back, especially since her ascent to Black Canary first meant the death of Sara (not all fans feel that way, of course, but a lot of them seem to). However, it really seems like the show is fully aware of how ridiculous it is for Laurel to parade around as Canary after just a couple of months of boxing lessons. In her first encounter with a bad guy in “Midnight City,” she gets her ass handed to her, leading to a thorough talking to from Roy, who holds up the Canary mask and tells her that putting that thing on is no way to grieve. Even when bad guy Brick’s big plan forced Roy and Diggle to accept Laurel’s help she was again a total failure, causing one of three hostages to be fatally wounded and thrown out the back of a moving car. Laurel makes the argument that she needs to be out there as Canary because the bad guys still fear the costume and wig from when Sara wore it, thus hopefully keeping up appearances until Oliver returns. However, you’d guess word would spread pretty quickly that Canary was easily beatable now, and Laurel seems especially despondent after her failure meant someone’s death.

Are you so opposed to the idea of Laurel Lance being Black Canary at this point that nothing will change your mind? Or are you kind of intrigued to see her start out as a pretty shitty Black Canary, someone who needs more training and has to learn the hard way that the real reason to follow in Sara’s footsteps is not to honor her memory but instead to help the helpless (Yes, I totally stole that last line from Angel)? I am surprised to find that I am in the latter category, and seeing Laurel interact with Diggle, Roy, and Felicity has actually been kind of fun. Heck, before this episode Laurel had been around Diggle so infrequently that I was actually surprised when she referenced the fact that Diggle had lost his brother and thus should understand her need to be Black Canary to honor her dead sister.  When did we ever see Laurel learn that Diggle had a dead brother? The fact that I don’t immediately know the answer to that question is precisely why it was long overdue for Laurel, Roy, Diggle, and Felicity to get some scenes together without Oliver around.

Arrow MayorFelicity and Ray, Just Kiss Already | Well, that happened a lot faster than I expected. When Felicity quit Team Arrow, I thought it would last for longer than an episode. Instead, it barely lasts half of a single episode. I was very interested to see how they’d pull her back from a place of no longer wanting to enable the self-destructive tendencies of those around her. All it took was being saved by Ray from madmen with guns, and then a bit of smooth talking from him afterward to make her realize that though Oliver is supposedly dead there are still plenty of people who are still alive and in need of her help. I would have thought that maybe seeing Ray dang near get filled with bullets as well as the super convenient cell phone footage of Laurel and Roy’s epic fail would have simply given her a “Geese, if I don’t help these people are all going to get killed” revelation. Instead, it was a more altruistic “We help because we can, and it’s the right thing to do” turn, which works fine enough. I would have simply found it more interesting if they’d gone longer with Felicity trying to go straight, so to speak.

As for her nascent romance with Ray, eh. Emily Bett Rickards has plenty of experience at this point with playing scenes where just when you think she might kiss the guy the scene cuts to something else. Ray is meant to be a better version of Oliver, repeatedly shown to be more emotionally available, pursuing Felicity instead of pushing her away, and he presents her with an opportunity to save him in a way she couldn’t with Oliver.   It all seems so smart on paper, but I’ve never been able to get past seeing Ray as more or less buying Felicity, stalking her, and coming off as hopelessly and dangerously naïve as opposed to endearingly naïve. This is again one of those storylines I simply can’t get away from because it’s too important to the overall season. Heck, they’re talking about giving Ray his own spin-off show. Ugh.

Arrow Climb Hong Kong guyOliver, Maseo, Katana & The Good Old Days in Hong Kong | We got to see how Oliver and Maseo freed Katana from China White back in Hong Kong, and that Amanda Waller predicted this move, setting Maseo up to trade a fake virus instead of the real thing. However, at that point Maseo would do anything for his family, regardless of the collateral damage, which is all ratcheting up the tension even more for the question of what exactly happened back there to make him leave his wife and join the League of Assassins. This was all fairly fun with some gun stunts in a Yakuza-infested nightclub, but to me it feels like Arrow would have been better off holding back on the reveal that Oliver is still alive for a couple of episodes.  Give us a couple of episodes with what’s left of Team Arrow fighting Brick in Starling City until you reach a point where it’s clear they’re not going win without more help.  Then combine the flashbacks in “Left Behind” and “Midnight City” into one primarily flashback episode, i.e., reveal that Oliver is alive, explain how and why in the flashback episode, and then have him return to save the day the next episode.

Arrow BarrowmanThea & Malcolm |Again, another storyline you can’t get away from. Everything about these two is now keyed off the fact that she killed Sara due to Malcolm’s manipulation and doesn’t know it. However, it was at least interesting seeing Roy call upon his own personal history with Thea to not physically threaten Malcolm but instead warn him that once she finds out the truth she’ll never see him the same way again. It was also nice for Thea to stand her ground and demand an explanation, albeit one that only told part of the story. It just didn’t really quite land that Malcolm would be totally convinced by Thea that they should simply stay in Starling City and fight. Wouldn’t that thought have already occurred to him? However, it’s clearly the show’s way of putting the pieces on the board and building to a point where Team Arrow has to partner with the Merlyns to fight the League of Assassins, with Thea and Laurel finding out the truth about Sara at some point along the way.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Seeing Laurel take her lumps as Black Canary was surprisingly effective, and a Oliver-less Team Arrow is a fascinating one because it is helping force new character pairings, e.g., Laurel and Felicity actually had a heart-to-heart! Sure, Brick’s big plan is fairly silly, e.g., why would he want to take over the poorest part of the city, but he remains a physically foreboding villain. The flashbacks may have been better served being held back for a showcase episode, but they weren’t exactly terrible. What was terrible, however, was the fact that not only has Laurel not told Quentin about Sara yet she is now using Sara’s voice to deceive him! Please, Arrow, stop with this storyline right now.

THE NOTES:

Arrow Brick1. Let’s ponder the life of Thea’s DJ boyfriend for a moment, shall we? He’s a member of a top-secret, ancient terrorist organization conducting assassinations around the globe. His mission is to infiltrate Thea Queen’s inner circle to keep an eye on her and her dad for the League, but in order to do so he must be a legitimately good DJ, working at clubs throughout Starling City to build up his reputation. I like to think that the League is like the town from Footloose, and this mission was this kid’s first exposure to anything other than classical music. As such, his new passion is music, and what he really wants to do with the rest of his life is play music at clubs, clearly torn between this passion and his devotion to the League.

2. As cute as the whole “They don’t have keys” bit with the helicopter was, I kept thinking that Brick’s men would have some sort of bazooka to shoot the chopper down, or that it would be so loud that there’d be no way for them to sneak in and save the hostages.

3. Brick is a classic action movie villain. Why? Because by all logic he should have shot the good guys multiple times now, but he keeps improbably missing.

4. Reason #10 Why Ray Should Fire Felicity – She interrupted your business meeting to request usage of your helicopter, offering no explanation for the why and how of it all.

5. Reason #1 Ray Won’t Fire Felicity – Because he’s just so in love. Plus, the whole “science, science, science, fix my Iron Man suit, science, science, science” thing, but mostly the love.

NEXT TIME

SECOND OPINION

Tv.com – We all have things we harp on. Clearly, I simply can’t stand what this episode did with Sara’s voice. This reviewer, on the other hand, really, really, really hated Brick’s “The Glades are mine!” threat and the rich white people totally going along with it: “Starling City’s answer to Brick’s threats basically amounts to it washing its hands of that part of itself. Ray threw money at the SCPD and wanted to call in the National Guard to deal with Brick’s gang. The mayor decided to turn over the Glades to Brick, surrendering the lives of citizens (and voters!) to a crime boss. Thea compared what was about to happen to something from The Purge. Basically, these folks couldn’t really give a damn about the folks who live there. The Glades’ larger social and structural problems, which Sebastian Blood gestured toward last season even if Arrow never fully committed to exploring them, obviously haven’t been addressed.”

I’m done with my ramble. What about you?

14 comments

  1. Wait? It was Laurel’s failure that got the alderman killed? I seem to remember that it was Roy shooting Brick with an arrow, after he came out of hiding while the guns were going off, that pissed Brick off and led to the alderman being shot in retaliation? But, you know, sure let’s blame the failure of the whole mission on Laurel instead of those guys that have been “trained by Oliver.”

    1. They’re both to blame. If Laurel had been a better fighter she could have defended herself against Brick, or if she’d been faster she could have gotten the hostages out before Brick came back. If Roy had been better he would have kept Brick occupied longer, and if he’d been a better shot he wouldn’t have merely annoyed Brick to the point that he shot the Alderman.

      1. Or maybe it was whoever decided that Diggle would be better used working the comms on their first mission and staying in the helicopter in the second. Let’s take the only guy who really knows how to fight well and bench him.

  2. I dropped the show after the first episode of this season. But while killing off Sarah was a large factor in this, it was by far not the only reason. The two main reasons were
    1. Circular writing. See, Arrow started out as a show which looked like it would develop the characters step by step. But in the second season, they stopped doing that. Instead it is the ever repeated circle of Oliver angsting over something, the neverending romantic triangle shuffle, which then end up contrived scenes with melodramatic speeches. And you can bet that a character is never deemed responsible for anything, even if he or she clearly is. The writers just don’t get it. The biggest strength of Arrow towards the end of season one was not Oliver, it was all those side characters who had interesting motivations and small arcs of their own. But now everything is about Oliver and it is tiring.
    2. This ties in with point one, but I couldn’t stand watching anymore how Felicity got reduced to love interest. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have minded a romance if it had been remotely well written. But they sucked everything out of the character which made her good – that she had her own motivation, that she didn’t take Olivers BS. Instead Felicity was turned into the quirky enabler who constantly moons over Oliver. I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

    In short, the CWness of the show became to strong and strangled it step by step. They killed of all the “old” people, ruined or killed of all the good female characters in order to give the one character which didn’t work at all center stage, and have now their white (with token minority) attractive young cast which sucks at each other faces, and speaks in hyperboles.

    1. 1. The last time I remember truly loving Arrow without reservation or any “It is on the CW….” qualifier is at the end of that first season. Ever since then, it’s been a lot of “Well, I like this one thing you’re doing, but I hate those two other things you’re doing.” You can still see that in my review of this episode. I actually like what’s becoming of Team Arrow in Oliver’s absence, but I also can’t get behind Felicity’s story with Brandon Routh’s character and I’m long since sick of no one telling Quentin his daughter is dead.

      Your description of how exactly they went wrong after the first season is pretty accurate. I think it’s actually related to what I said in my review, which is that in-between the first and second season the producers revealed that their plan to improve things was to make everything center more around Oliver, try not to let the supporting characters go off on unrelated tangents. However, it’s become repetitive, and they keep setting up somewhat interesting ideas and themes (e.g., After Sara’s death, Oliver doesn’t want to die on a slab in the Arrow Cave, but he doesn’t know how to escape his self-made prison of just being Arrow and not also Oliver Queen) that don’t carry through or get paid off the way they should. Plus, like you said, they have killed off or ruined all of the female characters, and while they are trying really hard to rehab Laurel as a character it might be too late to truly take her seriously. I do at least like that they’re having her fail as Black Canary to start with.

      2. I never really expected Arrow to go so big with the Oliver-Felicity romance, and from what I’ve seen you’re not the only one who can’t stand what’s become of Felicity at this point. I know you said you stopped watching after the season 3 premiere, but oddly Felicity is the character this season who has most often felt like she’s been off in her own show with Brandon Routh’s character.

      The CWness of the show is definitely more pronounced now than it used to be.

  3. Just a few thoughts.

    I thought this was the most BORING show of all 3 seasons..

    I have jumped out of a window to grab a dangling rope ladder it is very difficult. I didn’t do so well the first couple of times. Jumping through a closed window I believe would be hit or miss if a person had never done it before. The people I was watching with laughed hard at that.

    Having the news tell us that Roy was the Red Arrow sucked. He gets his name before Oliver? I thought it was going to be Arsenal.

    Ray/Felicity has reached saturation, they are just the same they are boring as well. Plus my friend yelled out no Gps on pacemakers.

    Laurel should have been replaced after the pilot. If she had we wouldn’t be in this mess this season.
    I think it was embarrassing to give us a Back Canary that was not any good. I really wonder if in the end she doesn’t go evil since she has the personality for it. Not telling her father is despicable.

    Loved your assessment it was spot on..

    1. I’ve been hoping for a while that Laurel would go evil. It would be interesting since she knows all their secrets, unexpected, and close to Katie Cassidy’s acting strengths. But having her name be Dinah Laurel Lance appears to protect her from going evil as well as from dying.

      1. With the build up to her premiere as Black Canary, Cassidy has given a bunch of interviews, and she’s stated that she was told pretty much from the beginning that eventually she would become Black Canary. We’re finally there, and that probably cancels out any chance of her ever turning evil. But…

        Katie Cassidy as evil Ruby on Supernatural was more fun than Katie Cassidy as Laurel Lance on Arrow.

    2. Loved your assessment it was spot on.

      Thanks.

      I have jumped out of a window to grab a dangling rope ladder it is very difficult.”

      I think you buried the lead here. You’ve actually jumped out of a window to grab a dangling rope ladder? Really? That sounds awesome!

      I believe would be hit or miss if a person had never done it before. The people I was watching with laughed hard at that.

      I think it would have been hilarious, in a very Joss Whedon kind of way, to have Laurel try to jump through the window and just fall flat back to the ground, murmuring, “Son of a bitch. That type of thing always worked for Oliver.” But I often look for ways in which Arrow could have fun with genre conventions, and they never do because that’s not the tone they’re going for. I just want to know when exactly Laurel reached the “jumping through windows” phase of her training with the seriously MIA Ted Grant. I’ll admit, thought, that I didn’t really laugh out loud at the scene. I did, however, laugh out loud in the mid-season finale when Thea threw her best leg kicks in sparkly pants at Oliver (as Arrow) before running to the balcony, warning the Arrow to leave her and her father alone, and then jumping down. Where could she possibly have been falling to from that height and in those clothes?

      Having the news tell us that Roy was the Red Arrow sucked. He gets his name before Oliver? I thought it was going to be Arsenal.

      Roy’s had so many different names in the comics that I think they are just throwing all of them at him, even referencing the fact that his name at one point was Speedy, e.g., When Oliver thinks Lyla was referring to Roy when she was really talking about The Flash in the Flash/Arrow crossover. However, they already settled on Arsenal. Throwing Red Arrow in there like that via a random newscast was pretty weak.

      Ray/Felicity has reached saturation, they are just the same they are boring as well

      I am glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is simply not feeling these two as a couple. It seems clear to me that this entire storyline and, in fact, the mere existence of Ray Palmer on this show has been a serious miscalculation on the producers’ part. But then I see them talking about giving Ray his own show and think that there must be some fans who really like him and really like him with Felicity.

  4. I only bond with one show at a time, and for two seasons Arrow was my show. But I am so close to throwing in the towel with this episode and the spoilers for the next batch.

    I thought the best part of the show was the flashbacks and Oliver’s relationship with Maseo and Tatsu. And this is from someone who generally hates the flashbacks.

    Much of this episode was boring. Some of it was stupid, like the mayor deciding to just hand over a large part of the city to a thug because he knows the home addresses of the aldermen. (How about getting more protection for them?) Quentin seems well enough to handle not only a police chase but taking down one of the bad guys himself. Why aren’t they telling him about Sara? Why does the ADA have fingerless gloves when she dresses up as a vigilante, so she can leave fingerprints all over?

    But what really makes me ragey is how they are distorting Diggle and Felicity to make Laurel and Ray happen as Black Canary and the Atom.

    Why is Diggle not only letting Laurel go out in the field with Roy when he’s already said she’s a liability but staying behind to work the comms? She can barely fight. (Unless it’s his plot to have her killed in which case, I say “Go, Diggle”). Why do they suddenly need a helicopter when they’ve never needed one before, and why couldn’t they get one from Lyla that came with a pilot?

    I’ve often though of Laurel as a neutron star, something with an incredibly strong gravitational pull that distorts the normal trajectory of other characters to suit her storylines, but it’s even more true in this arc. Last week Felicity didn’t want to see any more of her friends killed and so she let Brick get away with the files; this week she’s the one who talks Laurel into suiting up as the Canary after Laurel had decided she couldn’t do it any more. Last year Felicity was willing to lose her friendship with Oliver because she felt it was so important that he know about Thea’s paternity; this week she’s working up tech to help Laurel lie to her father and pretend to be Sara herself.

    That’s true also with Ray. Last week she was so heartbroken at Oliver’s death; now the tears are barely dry on her face and she’s flirting with and close to kissing Ray. Who is this person? I’m going to call her Fauxlicity.

    The much hyped Ray/Felicity chemistry has eluded me for the most part partly because, as you say, he’s creepy. If they are serious about trying to give Ray his own spin-off, they would be much better to make them a Cisco/Caitlin collegial friendship instead of a romantic relationship which a) is falling flat and b) will backlash on both characters because the audience knows Oliver loves her. Given how long Berlanti’s been in show business and the backlash against Sara last reason for the same reason with less cause, I don’t understand why they’re doing this.

    I know Malcolm Merlyn was supposed to be one of the villains this season but the last time he was interesting was when Moira Queen stood up to him. This season there’s no one and he’s approaching mustache-twirling territory. I was hoping Thea would channel her inner Moira and play him but so far it’s just Malcolm manipulating everyone else. Boring.

    Moira Queen and Sara Lance — two huge losses for the show.

    I watch for Oliver/Diggle/Felicity. Right now Oliver is gone and I don’t recognize the characters people are calling Diggle and Felicity.

    In the promo for next week, Diggle is heard telling Oliver that there’s a new order since he’s been gone (2 weeks???) and he’s going to have to step back. But for me, I think there are too many people running around in costumes and doing stupid things. Maybe if I’m lucky, Oliver will fly Diggle and Felicity to somewhere else and the three of them can start over, leaving Starling, I mean Star City to be run by the new Justice League.

    1. I only bond with one show at a time, and for two seasons Arrow was my show. But I am so close to throwing in the towel with this episode and the spoilers for the next batch.

      Arrow has gone from a show worth defending to a show worth abandoning, although when I look at the comments sections of Arrow reviews at bigger sites like IGN, AVClub, Vulture, etc. it often seems like half the fans are totally down on everything the show is doing (e.g., “It’s a cheesy soap opera with bad costumes”) whereas the others are still crazy for it (e.g., “This was the best episode of all time!”).

      I thought the best part of the show was the flashbacks and Oliver’s relationship with Maseo and Tatsu. And this is from someone who generally hates the flashbacks.

      I didn’t really communicate this as much as I could have, but I really liked the flashbacks as well, to the point that I would have preferred to have seen them given their own episode instead of sharing screen time with the deterioration of Starling City.

      Much of this episode was boring. Some of it was stupid, like the mayor deciding to just hand over a large part of the city to a thug because he knows the home addresses of the aldermen. (How about getting more protection for them?) Quentin seems well enough to handle not only a police chase but taking down one of the bad guys himself. Why aren’t they telling him about Sara? Why does the ADA have fingerless gloves when she dresses up as a vigilante, so she can leave fingerprints all over?

      As I wrote about in my review for last week’s episode, Left Behind, I am trying to give into a “just go with it” mentality while watching Arrow these days. After all, it is just a silly CW comic book show – Of course some of the stuff they do is going to come off as half-baked! But that’s really the type of thing you have to do when you’re trying to talk yourself into liking something more than you really are. For example, everything you just criticized falls into that, “Eh, just go with” category, but I never had to tell myself, “Just go with it” when I was watching that first season. What I think it points to is that as the show has attempted to become more comic book-y and less Batman Begins-y they’ve become pretty lazy with their writing. Everything about the Aldermans and the Glades in this episode does not really hang together, but they did it because they needed to create a situation where the police were taken out of the equation and the city’s only hope was Oliver-less Team Arrow. You just go with it because that’s so often how these kinds of things work on this show, but the “What you expect? It’s Arrow” excuse is a pretty damning one.

      But what really makes me ragey is how they are distorting Diggle and Felicity to make Laurel and Ray happen as Black Canary and the Atom.

      You’re not wrong. The distortion of Diggle, at least as it relates to Laurel, has only just started, but they’ve been doing it to Felicity all season long. Obviously, a huge part of this season has been about taking us on Laurel’s journey to Black Canary and Ray’s to Atom. The problem is if you don’t really like those characters you’re pretty screwed, or if you at least kind of like them but aren’t crazy about what’s happening to the other characters to help make those journeys happen then you’re still pretty screwed. Everything you said about the way Felicity has been distorted by what they’re doing with her and Ray seems especially spot-on to me.

      I know Malcolm Merlyn was supposed to be one of the villains this season but the last time he was interesting was when Moira Queen stood up to him.

      I still have a lot of holdover love for John Barrowman from Doctor Who/Torchwood, but I was happy with the way Malcolm “died” in the season 1 finale. I ultimately wish he’d stayed dead.

      In the promo for next week, Diggle is heard telling Oliver that there’s a new order since he’s been gone (2 weeks???)

      I totally missed that. Wow. That does sound pretty ridiculous. Angel tried something similar where he had a falling out with his team, and had to come back not as their boss but simply as an employee. Yeah, they stuck with that for 6 episodes, giving the rest of his team ample time to learn how to work without him and gain their own independence. I seriously hope Arrow isn’t going to try something similar after just 2 episodes.

      I think there are too many people running around in costumes and doing stupid things.

      There aren’t really more costumes than there were last year, it’s just Laurel as Canary instead of Sara. There are probably more costumed bad guys, though. I think the main thing is whether or not you actually like the people running around in costumes, and whether or not they’re actually believable. Then again, things did seem so much simpler and believable when it was just Oliver in his costume, Malcolm in his, with Diggle and Felicity providing support and Roy acting as Oliver’s eyes on the street.

      1. I think we’re talking about the same thing, under the umbrella of “they’ve moved from trying to write a good story about complex characters to Comics! Yay!” Suddenly Felicity is supposed to like Ray and accept his boundary-breaking because he’s Ray Palmer, the Atom. (We are too, I guess.) Diggle gets sidelined for Laurel and Roy even though he is a more complex character and played by a better actor. But he’s not from the comics or the Dark Knight trilogy. The TCA panel was an insight into this. Instead of some of the more important characters on the shows, they brought along the costumed ones, including Heat Wave and Martin Stein who hadn’t even been on yet. (Plus David Ramsey because someone must have freaked out about the all white panel. ) I saw your link to Berlanti’s mea culpa but he knew days before that fans were upset and it never occurred to him to add Katrina Law, costumed, female and of mixed race to the panel.

        I agree about Barrowman from Dr. Who and Torchwood but they’ve wasted him this season. From being able to walk around Starling City and have no one identify him as the man who killed the Glades, to Oliver protecting him (a truly “you’re such an idiot, Oliver” moment for me) to manipulating everyone around him, he’s no fun because there’s no pushback against the character. The description for the next episode says that Laurel and Roy argue that Malcolm should be allowed to help Team Arrow. Do you remember the story of the Scorpion and the Frog?

        As she’s written, Laurel has more in common with Manhunter than with the Black Canary and I wish they had gone with the grey shades of that lawyer. I think Katie Cassidy was miscast but the writing has done the character no favors. Maybe if she had been going to the gym and taking martial arts classes all along for exercise as many non-vigilantes do, it wouldn’t be such a 180 now. And someone should have stopped Katie Cassidy when she wanted fingerless gloves (she said in an interview that she thought matching nails and lipstick would add a feminine touch to the outfit) because now that ADA is leaving fingerprints all over town.

        The reason I’m still watching is that there are so many intelligent posters and reviewers in the fandom. It was earned in the first two seasons, not so much now.

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