Tonight’s episode of Arrow has the series taking another step into the larger DC Universe. We’ve seen a lot of nods before, the most recent ones dealing with Black Canary and Ra’s Al Ghul. For several weeks, we’ve been hearing about the particle accelerator that’s going to be turned on at S.T.A.R. Labs. And Starling City gets a special visitor from Central City, that visitor being none other than scientist Barry Allen, known better to comics readers as The Flash. Sadly, we don’t get to see that transformation just yet.
The episode, co-written by DC scribe Geoff Johns along with Andrew Kreisberg, starts off interestingly enough. During an electrical storm, two security guards at a warehouse for Queen Consolidated Applied Sciences division are attacked during a robbery by a very strong, mysterious figure. Diggle alerts Oliver to the theft, and when he, Diggle, and Felicity arrive on the scene, former detective Vance is on the scene, as is Central City forensics investigator Barry Allen (guest star Grant Gustin). He tells them he’s investigating a similar case, and has come to Starling City to help. Turns out the perpetrator was just one man, and a very strong one at that, as video cameras capture the man carrying a centrifuge on his shoulder. Another theft at a blood bank follows, and Oliver makes a connection to an incident on the island. He realizes that someone is trying to recreate the serum to make superhuman soldiers, which we as viewers know that’s also the aim of Brother Blood. But is the thief working with Blood? Or is he working for someone else?
As this was only part one of a two part midseason finale, we didn’t quite get that answer yet. Oliver confronts the thief twice, and loses each time, though the second loss in far worse, as the thief injects Ollie with an unknown substance. Felicity turns to Barry for help in a nice turn of events that end the episode. It was a nice touch as Barry awakens in the secret lair, seeing Oliver’s bows and suit, and the look on his face as he sees that the vigilante is really Oliver Queen. As we found out earlier in the episode, that was the real reason Barry has come to Starling City- in hopes that maybe he can get the vigilante to investigate the murder of his mother when Barry was 11 years old, the murder that his father is serving a life sentence for. Barry believes his father to be innocent, and he tells Ollie and the others that a “blur” entered his house like a tornado, and that he saw a man at its center. Because of this, he investigates unusual cases, hoping that one will tie in to his mother’s true killer.
The episode has some fun moments, as we watch Barry and Felicity work together on investigating the thief who broke into the warehouse. Gustin plays Allen as a very enthusiastic, geeky scientist, reveling in each discovery they make. There’s a cute attraction between Felicity and Barry, and her hurt is palpable when she learns that Oliver has Diggle check Barry out. They find out his story is a front, which upsets Felicity. Oliver tries to explain, “He did lie about who he was.” To which Felicity shoots back, “And what do we do everyday?” Ollie tries to smooth things over, bringing Barry to a party he and his sister throw for Moira’s return after being acquitted at her trial.
Speaking of Moira, she had a rather big moment in this episode, even though at first her material seemed to be more filler. She returns to the boardroom of Queen Consolidated, much to the displeasure of Isabel. Later, Malcolm again appears to her, insisting that she tell Thea the truth that he is Thea’s father. Malcolm makes mention of his time in Namba Parbat, a fact that Moira ends up using against him in a nice little twist. Turns out much to Malcolm’s dismay that Moira has gone ahead and notified Ra’s Al Ghul that he’s still alive, something Ra’s was quite pleased to learn. It was a nice scene to see Moira standing up to the man she feared, being able to threaten him with the one name that could chill his blood. Moira tells Malcolm to run, for the League of Assassins are none too pleased with his actions in The Glades.
In another subplot in this busy but engaging episode, Thea and Roy meet with Sin, whose friend Max has gone missing. Thea volunteers her and Roy’s help, and the three investigate Max’s apartment. They’re observed by a man outside in a car watching the place, and we learn then that Max has a connection to Brother Blood. That doesn’t bode well, and Max does turn up dead. The police say it’s due to an overdose, but Sin Doesn’t buy it, and Roy manages to get a picture on his cell phone of the body. He shows the picture to Oliver, which shows Max laying on the ground with blood streaming from his eyes. It’s a scene that’s quite familiar to Ollie from an incident on the island, and he tells Roy to stay away from the case. Roy argues, and Oliver shoots him in the leg to make his point. Not very nice, but it definitely drove the point home (Yes, pun intended. Groan if you must.).
Tying in to everything were the flashbacks to the island, as Oliver, Sara, Shado, and a greatly weakened Slade find the sub. The group ventures inside, looking for the serum, which Oliver hopes can possibly save Slade’s life, as he’s fading fast. Sara reveals that Ivo told her a sedative needed to be administered along with the serum, otherwise it could kill Slade. The sedative is nowhere to be found, and Ollie insists they have to chance it, since either way Slade will die. He injects Slade, who has a severe reaction, and tells Shado he should have told her before how he felt. Slade becomes unconscious, with blood streaming from his eyes. Ollie tries to rouse him, and the flashbacks end with Ivo’s men bursting into the sub.
The episode was quite well done, even with it being quite busy. It helped being part of a two part episode, so any questions raised in this part will hopefully be answered in the midseason finale next week. One has to wonder who the thief is, as the mask looked similar to Deathstroke’s, yet it was pure black. Is the thief Slade? Or one of Brother Blood’s men? Moira for now has put off telling Thea the truth about who her real father is, but will it stay that way? Or will Malcolm still insist, even with the threat of the League of Assassins hanging over his head? Just what did the thief inject Oliver with, and can Barry save him? (We’re pretty sure we know the answer to that one.). And what else happened on the island that led to Ollie burning all of the serum?
The next episode may not answer everything, but if it’s done like this one, we’ll be in for a good time. A lot of plot items were moved forward, with some new ones raised. There were a couple of decent action scenes (the fight between Oliver and the masked thief in the ARGUS warehouse was well staged), some nice humorous moments (Vance telling Felicity to alert their “mutual friend” to the theft at the Queen Consolidated building, with Felicity telling him, “Don’t worry. He’s already on it.”), and a couple of dramatic scenes.
Just what you’d expect from a Geoff Johns penned episode.
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