This week’s episode featured the return of Oliver after his fight with R’as Al Ghul and served to do exactly what the producer said it was going to do – infuriate you a little. Caution – *Spoilers Ahoy*
This episode furthered the two converging storylines of Brick trying to take over the Glades as well as the return of Oliver to Starling City after his near death battle with R’as. The team left in Starling minus Oliver is still picking up the pieces trying to defeat the Brick. The very cool change of pace was that the flashbacks we get every episode seemed to center around an unexpected character – Malcolm Merlin.
Through the flashbacks we learn that Malcolm’s first ever kill was the man who killed his wife or so he believes. However, by tapping the Felicity’s computer camera, he learns that the man who killed his wife was in fact Brick. However, I want to focus on this for a minute. Felicity is a super hacker through everything that we have learned so far. How in the world did Malcolm figure out a way to take over the camera on her computer. This infuriated me for a moment, but I am going to just choose to move on.
Upon learning that Brick is in fact the man that killed his wife, he attempts to team up with the rest of Oliver’s team to take down the man. The team refuses and instead enlists a group of their own friends to come in and take care of business. All this culminates in a very weird street battle of the citizens of the Glades versus Brick and his army of hooligans. If you believe that Brick stood a chance, well maybe this is the first time you have ever watched a superhero television show, movie, and have probably never read the comic book.
It is in this time that Oliver chooses to announce that he has arrived back in Starling City by shooting one of his arrows into the fight. However, he never actually joins the fight. He finds Merlin and Brick in an alleyway with Merlin standing over him to kill him. Oliver then talks a trained assassin out of killing the man he hates more than anyone in the entire world. What?
Now with Brick in custody and Merlin off to do whatever pouting assassins do after not getting their kill, Arrow stands on top of a police van and gives a very cheesy speech about how the people who participated in the street fight “did not fail this city.” He then shows himself to Thea and talks to Merlin about training him to defeat R’as in the epic showdown we all know will happen in the final episode of this season.
However, in the process we have the part that infuriates. When Oliver finally returns to his base of operations, he doesn’t quite get the homecoming he was hoping for. After his team refused to work with Merlin, he announces that he will be training with him – an ends justify the means thing that the rest of the team was unwilling to do. This upsets Felicity into giving Oliver about a speech explaining how she doesn’t want to be a woman he loves.
In doing so, they completely broke down the entire Arrow character into the reason for everyone’s death. There were ways to do this without annihilating your main character and the producer of the show just said, “Nope, let’s torch him.” I didn’t hate that they are keep the love interest separate and I do believe that there was a sense of foreboding when he was told that in order to defeat R’as he must lose what is most precious to him, but you did not need to annihilate your main character again. It seems like every time that they finally get him to a point that he isn’t the most broken emotionally man on the face of the planet they break him down again.
All in all, this was a solid episode with a clear setup for something that everyone has been hoping for – a true battle with R’as Al Ghul. The mountainside scene was cool from the midseason finale, but this deserves something to the effect of the final battle with Deathstroke from last year’s season finale.
Also, everyone did catch when Brick referred to Arsenal as the Flash, right? Man I like crossover jokes.