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Arrow Trades In Its Villains

But is it a good idea to let a great bad guy go just because you think the next one will be even better?

Tobias Church has been a great villain, hasn't he? I like to see a guy who enjoys his work, and Mr. Church is a man who very much enjoys his villainy. It's not just the way he took over all the gangs in Star City. Anyone could do that. It's more the way his eyes lit up when he got to put on his brass knuckles and duke it out with someone. He really seemed to relish the opportunity to get his hands dirty, ideally with the blood of a good guy. I'll miss him, especially since his role as Big Bad seems to have been usurped by yet another ninja archer. You can call yourself "Prometheus" all you like, but I need to see something cool before I'm happy that we replaced a guy with a ton of personality with another taciturn assassin.

Rene "Wild Dog" Ramirez has a good week: he gets to bond with Diggle, who seems to be in kind of a father-figure position, but also gets to whomp someone with a shovel. And at the end of the episode, he literally faces his fears by throwing down with Church for a second time. Rene's not a big enough character to finish off the bad guy himself, but he seems to be holding his own. Perhaps this will be the impetus he needs to become a team player. And then we can move our focus to Evelyn Sharp, who has done basically nothing so far. Even Curtis has been sidelined in favor of Wild Dog stuff. The best thing about Curtis this week is Felicity's line, "That's a bigger leap than Curtis took at the Beijing Olympics." (I realize that line is terrible, but it's terrible in a way that I happen to enjoy.)

Oliver actually puts in some time on his day job this time, working a councilman for his vote on a rezoning issue and even schmoozing a reporter. Okay, so some of that is done by Christopher Chance, but there are weeks when Oliver wouldn't even bother sending a fake mayor.

But enough gabbing. How Arrow-y was Arrow, anyway?

Arrow-ish Element Present?
Trick arrow Okay, there wasn't anything amazing like the Hacking Arrow or the Boxing Glove Arrow. But that arrow that Oliver uses to trip people and hang them up by their feet is definitely not standard-issue. Fair warning to the producers, though: each gimmick arrow only counts one. Next time I want to see something new.
Oliver Queen: A Jerk Oliver is in a pretty good mood this week. Sure, he shouts at those thugs when he's looking for Tobias, but that's just part of the job. The important part is that he's very professional with his team, and is even pretty good at his job as mayor. Admittedly, some of that is done by a professional impersonator, but I'm still counting it.
Comic book reference Those other cities are from the comics. Bludhaven is where Nightwing lives; Hub City is from the original Question; and Keystone is The Flash (replaced by Central City on The Flash). And Christopher "The Human Target" Chance had his own comic book. He also had a television show that nobody remembers! Even Mark Valley has probably forgotten it, and he was the star.
Someone walks into the Arrowlair without warning It's been a while since Malcolm Merlyn showed up in the darkened corners of the Lair, hasn't it? Luckily, people are still making use of the back door that presumably exists, because everyone seems surprised to see John Diggle stroll in. And everyone also agreed that people just walk in to Oliver's secret base of operations, so it's not like they're not aware of the problem.
Flashback scenes mirror the present day Most of the time, Oliver's problems could be solved if he'd just read his diary from exactly five years earlier. This time, however, the entry would just remind him about that time he got drunk with Anatoly and then someone tried to kill him. I'm not counting the appearance of Christopher Chance or someone finding out that he was in Russia, not on an island. Those are too direct to count as parallels.
Things get gory Things on Arrow have gotten darker over the years, huh? When Oliver kills someone these days, it means more, and when someone gets hurt, they get REALLY hurt. Rene spends most of the episode as a man who's been beaten to within an inch of his life, and he starts the episode receiving that beating. There's blood everywhere. Gross!
The Only Hospital Room In Town I was sure we were going to go to everybody's favorite hospital set when Oliver got shot. But they just declare him dead! And he isn't, which is a relief, but it means we're denied that one hallway. I miss you, hallway!
Someone gets kidnapped Even with a pretty big cast, everyone manages to keep themselves from getting kidnapped by bad guys this time. It would have been bad for team morale if Rene had gotten grabbed a second time, huh?
Someone goes shirtless Stephen Amell seems to have learned how to wear a shirt at some point, which I think takes something away from the mass appeal of this show. But the good news is that he's not the only guy in the cast. Rene is shirtless when he was being beaten to a pulp, Diggle takes his shirt off for no reason at all, and even Felicity is basically shirtless -- albeit facing away from the camera -- in her scene with Billy Malone. It's a good day for fans of torsos.
5 / 9
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